On Wednesday, I made sure to get out and photograph a rally being held at Columbia University, as well as many other college campuses around the country, protesting for an end to sexual and domestic assault at universities. The protest and movement were inspired by Emma Sulkowicz, a senior at Columbia University who, as a performance art piece, has decided to carry her dorm room mattress with her until her rapist is expelled from the school, as a symbol of the weight she always carries with her after the assault that occurred in her dorm room. What started out as an individual protest quickly grew into a motivated movement as fellow students began to help carry Emma's mattress with her, and has continued to grow from there.
I decided to approach the post production for this project in a way very different from my typical method, as I felt the color tones needed to emphasize the vibrant red that the rally seemed to adopt, while recognizing the communal emotions felt by all who attended. I thought muted colors emphasized not only the reality of what the day was like, but also the feelings many throughout the crowd expressed while protesting the collegiate system's lack of appropriate handling of sexual assault cases. It was inspiring to see so many students, both women and men, coming out on such a dreary day to support the need for change in how colleges treat the sexual violence that occurs on their campuses, and I hope that inspiration comes through with these images.