Efficiency of protests: how to make the most out of your college protest


The purpose of this slideshow is to be a continuation of the article I published earlier on the efficiency of protests. The overall topic puts into question the tangible outcomes of protests. As seen in both the slideshow and the previous article I build off scientific studies that analyze the likelihood of protests become policy. The arching answer given by a Harvard study  is bit bleak, stating that protests themselves are not the causal change in policy but instead the motivated attendees becoming more involved in political spheres. This is both a jab and a silver lining – protests don’t solve problems, people do.

This is exactly the type of story line that I wanted to highlight in my slideshow. The reason I have people as my focus for the power point is because I want it to highlight that people have the power. The first three photos are my favorite, although taken with an iPhone camera. The first photo shows the sheer volume of people attending the Tax protest, its powerful. The second is of a little girl wearing a pussy hat, symbolizing women’s rights. The photo represents the importance of youth. The third photo is of a man selling political t-shirts. The vendor, to me, shows that people from all walks of life can unify under a single cause. The photos in sum, give a voice to the people.

I wanted a combination of photos that depict the city of Denver, the University of Denver, and the State Capital. I could have made my piece more DU-centric, however I chose not to because this topic surpasses college campuses. If I had not gone out into the wider community I would have missed the shot of the little girl and the African American vendor- both walks of life not related to or represented by DU. I also chose to incorporate photos of the State Capital due to its iconic presence and the relevance to my story which discussed turning protests into policy.

The photos that I decided not to incorporate into my slideshow involved radical graffiti, distasteful slander written on protest signs, and dramatic interpretation of Trump depicting him as either Satan or Hitler. Although these photos were taken at the protests, I chose to disregard them because I felt they did not represent the protest. The protesters where far and between, but only a small, yet memorable, minority where so radical.

Reflecting on my photographic process I learned the value of carrying a camera with you at all times. I learned this the hard way. The photos taken from the Tax protest where taken on my iPhone camera, which hindered the photo’s clarity. I also learned that time of day really makes an impact on your photos. I went to the protest around 10am and the sun was directly above me. This made capturing photos difficult because there was either a shadow or over exposure.

The slideshow is a great continuation of my previous piece because it puts the studies on protest efficiency and student commentary into photography. In my piece, I wrote about the Women’s March, #BLM, and NoDAPL all of which have in part been at Denver’s State Capital in the last few years. The slideshow encompasses photos from the Tax march on the Capital and NoDAPL on University of Denver campus. The photos that I took at the Tax protest in particular inspired me to look at efficacy of protests a bit differently. After doing much research on the likelihood of protest inciting political change – I was hopeful that some people are willing to get involved with politics. However, almost every person I had talked to had plans for writing their own policy, running for office, donating money, or voting in the next election. This was pleasantly surprising – as it again showed that the people have the power.

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