Photographing the George Floyd Protests

Alex Golshani
A man pouring milk in his eyes
A protester washes his eyes out with milk after being pepper-sprayed by police, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, May 29, 2020.

On Friday May 29, thousands of protesters came together in New York at the Barclays Center, at the intersection of downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene, in an action against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, and the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among many others.

The protests continued for several nights, with clashes between the police and the protesters erupting into violence.

Alex Golshani, an Iranian-born, US-raised photographer, was there, and documented the events.

“While out in the field I’m looking for moments to tell the story,” he told The Yale Review by email. He has been photographing protests since Occupy Wall Street—the first major collective action to take place after he arrived in New York from Los Angeles, where he was raised. I first saw his work on Instagram in the protests following the 2016 presidential election, and published some of them in OSMOS magazine; I admired the way his portraits captured a certain timelessness of struggle through collective action.

“These protests were different from the post-election protests,” he noted. “It’s more dangerous now. I’m seeing a lot more aggression from the police—toward protesters and, worryingly, toward the press.”

These images, which capture the justified fury of the immediate moment, celebrate the communal struggle and drive toward recognition; they are a visualization of history in the making.

– Eugenia Bell

Police officers beside protestors
City Hall Park, Manhattan, May 29. An NYPD officer glances over at his colleague.
A person holds a handful of rocks behind his leg
Church Ave., Flatbush, Brooklyn, May 30. A protester clutches rocks.
Civilians photograph a line of police officers marching down the street
Flatbush, Brooklyn, May 30. NYPD officers walk in formation down Church Ave.
Silhouette of a man standing atop a Speedway gas station at night
Flatbush, May 30. Protester rallies fellow demonstrators from roof of gas station.
A group of police officers surround a man laying on the street
Flatbush, May 30. NYPD officers arrest protester.
NYPD officers on a subway car
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, May 29. NYPD appropriates an MTA bus to transport arrested protesters.
A police car with an explosion behind it
Flatbush, May 30. NYPD vehicle on fire.
A police officer viewed through a shattered pane of glass
Union Square, May 31. NYPD officer stands amid broken glass.
A young Black man holds his hands up above his head
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, May 29. Protester raises his hands while walking away from police.
Alex Golshani is an Iranian-born photographer who works as a photojournalist in New York City. He is a member of BIPOC photography community Diversify Photo.
Originally published:
June 1, 2020


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