Racial profiling and police brutality—particularly in regards to race relations—have been front and center in the United States in recent years. The Black Lives Matter movement began as a hashtag (#blacklivesmatter) in 2013 as a reaction to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin; it subsequently grew after the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in 2014. That year also saw the fatal shootings of Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Jerame Reid and many, many others. In 2015, another long list: Freddie Gray, William Chapman, The Charleston Nine, Jonathan Sanders, Corey Jones, Jamar Clark and again, many more.
On assignment for Reuters covering a protest, photographer Jonathan Bachman captured a remarkable image that seems to encapsulate the feeling at the Black Lives Matter rallies occurring all over the country. Below, Bachman speaks about his award-winning photo.
On July 5, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man and father of five, was shot at close range while being held down by two white police officers. The shooting, captured on cell phone videos, aggravated the unrest that has coursed through the United States for the past two years over the use of excessive force by police, especially against black men.
Editor’s Note: Bachman’s image won 1st prize, singles, in World Press Photo’s 2017 Photo Contest. The World Press Photo Festival will be held from April 20 to April 22, 2017 in Amsterdam. We hope to see you there!