The photo that I chose to manipulate was taken in July 2016 during the Baton Rouge, LA protests that resulted in response to the police killing of Alton Sterling. The photographer is Max Becherer from the Associated Press.
The original man being arrested in the photo is the Black Lives Matter activist, DeRay Mckesson. DeRay is known for his heavy involvement in speaking out against the racial inequalities that African American people have been experiencing in the police and justice systems. He has ultimately become one of the most recognizable faces of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Deray was arrested with over 100 other protesters that night. After his release, he expressed anger with how the police were dealing with peaceful protestors.
I ultimately decided to do a face-swap of Deray Mckesson and Martin Luther King, Jr. Making this change draws parallels between the 2010’s and the 1950’s. The central message is that even though over 50 years have passed from the peak of MLK’s reign, not much has changed in the areas of race relations between black and white Americans.
I thought it was important to keep the bystanders with cell phones inside the manipulated photo because it does show one change that has occurred in those years: every person has the accessibility to be a journalist.
As we have discussed in our lectures, digital technologies have allowed regular people to dictate the news and what they see important. Social media outlets have opened a door for more coverage and conversation about the topics of mass incarceration and race relations that still occur in today’s society.
It is important to note that the Black Lives Matter movement is striving for equality and no special treatment in the justice system. I chose to use an image with Deray Mckesson in it because his values and those of the Black Lives Matter movement are still in line with the things that black people in America have fought for hundreds of years.