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Photography Collective Opens Exhibit Showcasing Summer Protests

14 men and woman pose in an alley with graffiti.
The Wild Bunch Photography Collective opens its first gallery exhibition, “Our Streets,” featuring (front left to right) D. Randall Blythe, Domico Phillips, Keshia E., Foster “Frosty” Johnson, (middle left to right) Nate Carroll, Leewa “Bassam” Ali, Nick Hancock, Breon Corbett, Destyni Kuhns-Gray, Christopher "Puma" Smith, (back left to right) MarQuise Crockett, Lydia Armstrong, Phương Trần, and Landon Shroder. (Ross Gerhold, Altamira Film Co.)

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed the quote on police munition used on protestors to D. Randall Blythe. It was said by Landon Shroder. We have updated the story.


On October 30, the "Our Streets" photography exhibit opens at The Slowdrive Gallery in Norfolk, Virginia. The exhibit displays works from the Wild Bunch Photography Collective as they documented the protests in Richmond following the killing of George Floyd.

“The Wild Bunch is kind of an amalgamation of photographers that were out there the entire time,” said Landon Shroder, gallery co-curator and RVA Magazine managing partner.

The protests began in June and lasted weeks. “These are photographers that took the risk to be out there night after night, day after day, to be able to document this struggle for racial justice and police reform in Richmond,” Shroder remarked.

The exhibition features photographs of police violence and solidarity among protestors. 

“When the police start firing 40 millimeter sponge grenades, letting loose tear gas, concussive munitions, these are items that are used for crowd suppression, so if we are in an environment of crowd suppression, we are in a kinetic tactical environment,” said Shroder “First things first is everybody's safety is paramount in that situation.”

D. Randall Blythe, gallery co-curated and Lamb of God vocalist is no stranger to protest photography. He protested at Standing Rock in North Dakota, environmental protests in California, and the red shirt protests in Thailand.

“In New York City, the night of my first gallery opening ever actually, there was a massive protest right outside the gallery in New York, so I had to [document it],” recalled Bltythe. 

“My goal with the gallery exhibit is to provoke both deep thought and reflection and open discussion,” Blythe said. “Because I'm not really afraid of how people are going to interpret these images, that's, you know, that's not my job. My job is to reflect the times.”

The exhibit is open for two months and will showcase 3 - 4 photographs per contributor. The photographs fall under one of five categories: Police Violence, Solidarity, Removal of Statues, Quiet Moments and Portraits. Each of the photographers has their own reason for participating in and documenting the protests this summer. The Wild Bunch Photography Collective is just that: a collective of wildly-dedicated activists and documentarians, hoping to shed light on the events of Richmond’s summer protests.

 

Police in riot gear detain a protester in a black and white image.
“The idea of capturing history from my perspective is what motivated me to go. I’ve been protesting my whole life, so at first I wasn’t motivated to go at all. My vision is to show the photos that we all captured and to tell our stories for generations to come.” - Nate Carroll
Police in riot gear stand in a group with zip ties and guns at a protest.
“What moved me the most was how the RPD and VSP were so aggressive towards protesters. Throughout the summer I got countless footage of officers assaulting and tear gassing innocent people and using scare tactics against us.” - Domico Phillips
Fellow protesters pour water over a man's face to rinse off tear gas.
“It’s necessary to show you how angry we are and what exactly is happening, how police officers are treating everyday citizens. You know, it's brutal, and it's cruel, and it's insane. You know, so why would you not encourage the photojournalism videographers to go out and capture that and try to relay that emotion to policymakers? You know, that's who we are trying to get the attention of, people who are detached from these communities.” - Puma

 

Hundreds of protesters demonstrate in the street with signs.
“Participating in and documenting this movement wasn't really a conscious decision for me, it was more of a gut-reaction. The streets were filled with people protesting racial injustice and taking a stand like many of us haven't seen before--it felt like a no-brainer to be out there.” - Lydia Armstrong
Protesters line up with umbrellas to shield themselves from tear gas.
“What truly inspired me to protest was my home country. As a child I grew up in a corrupted country [Iraq] and every day my people fought and protested the streets, back then I was fairly young so I was not able to join them just yet. And also my parents were journalists growing up. Curiosity and the right for truth was passed down onto me from them.” - Bassam
A Black man stands with his arms in the air at protest as police stand in a line behind him.
“Raising a young black boy was the most moving factor for me. It’s important that I show him and lead him in a direction in which he can be successful. I have to be a black father to him. I have to protect him. It’s important that he knows the environment in which he is growing up in and to remain educated on all of the wrong doings that occur. It’s sad to think about, but it could be him on the other end. It’s my duty as a black father to prevent that.” - Breon Corbett
An close-up shot of a megaphone in a person of color's hand
“It is in my blood [to protest]. I'm 1st generation, 100% Haitian - the First black republic in the world. When I often share my experiences with loved ones outside of central Virginia, it seems as though it’s a tale of foreign land, but truly it’s just 100 miles south of where I grew up. This is something they must see to get uncomfortable and support the processes of new bills and judiciary battles.” - Keshia E
A crowd of protesters stand together with their fists raised.
“I would have been there in protests even if I didn’t have a camera. I know that when we mobilize as one unit that we are strong, loud, and unafraid. I have learned a lot about myself, and I have an understanding that you can always being doing more to help your community, it doesn’t stop with a sign, a photo, or even protests, it goes beyond all that, and if you have the time and the resources and privileges to help other in your community than you have no excuse not to.” - Nick Hancock
A young Black girl asks Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney a question at a press conference with protesters.
“[I want] to allow people to see, you know, images that might inform their decisions going into November 3, and I think that's deeply important. So when you view this gallery, and you see the categories and the curation … it is then up to you as a viewer to experience this story in Richmond and determine what future that you potentially want to live in not just as a citizen of the Commonwealth but as a voter.” - Landon Shroder