What makes this Baton Rouge protest photo iconic?

BTN11: What's in a photo?

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Every era or movement of importance typically has one or several photos that capture the sentiment of the time.

The image of a woman during a police shooting protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana could become one of those symbols. The woman appears to be peacefully resisting as police officers prepare to arrest her. 

“It seems so easy now, but getting those kinds of images has never been easy and never will be,” said David Husom, Senior Lecturer on Documentary Photography at the University of Minnesota.

The photo from Baton Rouge was taken last weekend by Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman.

“The first thing that I notice is the body language. The officers are all very tense, even though the shapes they make and hers is so smooth and flowing. You can't really see their faces so they become much more ominous but you see hers and she's looking directly at them,” said Husom.

While some will see stoicism in the midst of heavily armed state police. Others will see a woman breaking the law, blocking a highway with police tactfully wearing heavy riot gear after five officers were killed days earlier in Dallas.

Husom admits the stories surrounding some iconic photos can get lost.

“I think it's a real danger. I think there are, in photographs historically, where that's happened. To be honest, I had to read a little bit about when I first saw the picture,” said Husom.

What the Baton Rouge picture shows is that still photography is alive, maybe more alive than ever, and certainly still as powerful as ever.

“People at various points in the median felt that video or movies would've killed photography. But, if there's people worldwide making one trillion photographs, mostly on phones, still says a lot about the still image of the importance of it,” said Husom.

(© 2017 KARE)


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