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RPS Members Summer Exhibition | Call for entries now open | Enter your work

CREDIT: Charles Ashton FRPS

Charles Ashton FRPS

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Statement of Intent

I thought I knew what a demonstration was until I went to one.

On the backdrop of the Covid 19 pandemic and the death of George Floyd in the USA a series of demonstrations began. Having attended the first Black Lives Matter protest my preconceptions from media coverage were shattered. Where was the violence? This was a peaceful demonstration with a large proportion of white people many of whom were clearly enjoying themselves. I set about attending other demonstrations. I captured images showing a range of emotions and the diversity of the people I encountered, giving a more rounded view than that presented in the mainstream media. Although I did see aggressive disapproval, anger and dissent from disenfranchised minorities, I also observed a great range of people enjoying a day out and making their point in an upbeat and joyful manner. I witnessed the pleasure of people getting out and meeting friends as a contrast to lockdown whilst as participants they peacefully made their point. I saw restraint and engagement from the police. I started as an observer and often became a sympathiser although at times I felt like spy behind enemy lines when amongst the anti vax faction. I present a collection of images captured in London and Bristol between May 2020 and April 2021 covering the Black Lives Matter, Trans Rights, Unite for Freedom and Kill the Bill movements.