When George Floyd’s life was unnecessarily and brutally snuffed out by Minneapolis law enforcement on May 25, it was yet another final straw…and that straw was set ablaze around the globe. Four days later, after participating in the Foley Square protest in Manhattan, I arrived at the Barclays Center protest in Brooklyn (the first of many) early, raised my fist, my voice and my lens while the proceedings were relatively peaceful.
On this warm spring day, four blocks from my home, a beautiful melting pot of humanity stood up for each other against the virus of racial injustice. Even though most were wearing masks to protect themselves from Covid-19, their souls shone brightly through their eyes and furrowed brows. I couldn’t help but capture these images and present them in black and white as a tribute to the great photographers and freedom fighters of the past.
Every day since then, Americans of all races, cultural backgrounds and political affiliations have taken to the streets to make their demands known, to fight for justice, to fight against justice––peacefully and otherwise.
No matter who wins the Presidential Election in November, systemic racism won’t be vanishing anytime soon. Change is happening, but all too slowly. More unarmed African Americans will be killed by police, more screams will pierce the skies and the protests will multiply. Both sides of the story need to be told.
It’s happening now–Seattle, Portland, Kenosha, Rochester, Louisville. As long as injustice exists and the streets are filled with humanity fighting for change, I intend to continue this work––to capture the pain of loss, the anger of betrayal and the reality of the moment. I want to shine a light on what the future could hold and what it needs to become. My shutter will not rest until Black Lives Matter.
About Bill Livingston
Self-taught and devoid of a particular style, Bill Livingston is all about the decisive moment, the happy accident and all instances in between to capture compelling street images. His photos have been featured in Black & White Magazine, ZEKE Magazine, F-Stop Magazine, Dodho, Right Hand Pointing and Montana Mouthful. His work has been in several group gallery exhibitions in Los Angeles and a group show at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, NY. His series Blessed To Breathe: Barclays Center Protest – 5/29/20 won a silver medal at Prix De La Photographie Paris 2020. A member of the American Society of Media Photographers, the International Center of Photography and the Social Documentary Network, his influences include Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mary Ellen Mark, Vivian Maier, Richard Sandler, Garry Winogrand and Bruce Gilden, to name a few. Originally from Altoona, PA, he now resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and twin daughters. [Official Website]