Bans off our Bodies March


On Saturday, I headed down to shoot the Bans off our Bodies March & Rally. It was organized by Planned Parenthood in response to the release of the U.S. Supreme Court draft. If the decision is finalized, it will overturn Roe v. Wade, the historic 1973 case legalizing abortion across the U.S.

Because I had another event later in the day, I could only witness the first part of the event.  The news folks later estimated that hundreds of people came to the Capitol on the warm day.  Tablers occupied the concrete area to the west of the steps. You’ll see I have one image of Sacramento LGBT Center representative Eli Smith talking to a visitor.

I’ve now shot a lot of marches.  I started back in the days of the AIDS quilt in Washington, and progressed to same-sex marriage and Pride rallies and events. I sprinkled in various MLK, Caesar Chavez, Earth Day and other local events sprinkled in.  

What do I look for?

At this point, I’m very picky what I choose to frame.  Other than providing a few images for Outword, I’m not under any pressure to “cover” the event for a daily.  Therefore, I’ve decided it makes more sense for me to spend my time really looking for the images I want to create.  What am I looking for?  

In my case, I am always looking for some kind of queer connection to the event. Whether it’s a direct tie to issues of gender health, or more as allies and intersecting identities, I have had a lifelong and personal interest in the many facets of our community and how we engage in public spaces in the world.

Beyond that, I am looking for voices (through actions and behavior) that imply deeply felt narratives.   For example, since the Supreme Court decision (if it moves forward) will impact generations of women, I wanted images of young females making statements.

I also wanted the perspective of a mother who obviously made the decision to have a baby, but still supports a person’s right to manage their own body.  The image I chose is probably my least colorful, with a woman who looks a little tired and is carrying one of the simplest signs of the day.  To me, it is a snapshot in time of a woman’s life and about her commitment.

Finally, to fill out the generational range, I wanted images of older women.  Women who were around fighting for this same right in the 1960’s and 70’s.  People who have gone before and still care enough to show up even though the issue no longer directly affects their bodily rights.  In my ears, the voices of disbelief, palpable disgust and outright fury often came from this demographic.

Shoot pink

Of course, you can’t go to an event like this full of PINK and not include PINK. The bearded man in the t-shirt was an unusual image and I liked it. Photos of allies and minorities within any social justice movement are also important to me. Beyond that, I tried to find images that would work depicting the massing of bodies and more great signs and unique personalities.  With all that said, I offer my gallery as my chosen, curated witness and reflection on the day.

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Thank you for reading my blog post “Bans off our Bodies March.” To learn more about me and my work, please see my About page.

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