Your photo “Don’t Shoot” depicts a man with his hands up in front of a row of armed police. Take us to the scene of the photo - where was it taken? What was the mood? Was there a confrontation? Do you know the subject?
This photo was taken in Downtown Phoenix during the First Friday Festival. I was taking photos for Overthrow Clothing that night and then a big crowd started to form right behind me and they all started walking up and down the streets shouting, “Hands up, don’t shoot”. Being there it wasn’t scary and I didn’t feel like I was in danger. It wasn’t violent at all either. The local news stations were there and one man reporting live was reporting how dangerous it was and to avoid the area but in reality it was a peaceful protest. The protestors and the police were respecting one another. And I managed to capture this man with a calm expression on his face with officers in gear with the same expression.
Your photo was a juror’s choice winner in addition to taking second place. The image depicts themes that are deeply personal to those affected by the interplay between police and civilians. What is your personal experience with these themes? Why did you decide to photograph the event that night?
Personally I can’t say how it affects me because it’s never happened to me. I decided to photograph what was going on because it was happening right in front of me. I was walking past all these reporters saying how the police were interfering or how protestors were destroying the streets but none of that was happening at all. So my photo just shows how the protestor is respecting the officers and the officers are respecting the protestor. No violence just respect.