I got a call from a colleague about a potential protest at a Phoenix Mosque, and we loaded our gear headed in that direction. When we arrived, the Mosque staffed with Phoenix PD in riot gear. Sides were, and people were passionately stating their positions. Passionately, meaning there was a lot of anger, screaming coupled with signage and custom printed message based apparel.
As a photographer, my views on this subject had no bearing, no influence, and no preferential positioning. Interesting because there were several sides gathered to make a statement. Everything from revolutionist's in military gear, religious fanatics ranging from street preachers to hippies singing hymns.
There was a Muslim presence, however very calculated. Meaning that there were Muslims on one the Mosque side but no one acting like or promoting any ISIS views.
I want to make something clear, and I am not in favor of any terrorist logic, methodology or beliefs. I am an American and do proudly support our constitutional values. I am also a father, a husband, and a human.
In total, I captured about 300 usable images from this event, the timing and intensity didn't allow me to focus on each shot as it happened, it was more like notice, point shoot, notice, point, and shoot.
It wasn't until I got back to the studio and began to process the images that one spoke to my heart. It was this image that spoke volumes to me. No matter who you are or where you come from a child's perspective is something we should always appreciate with full compassion.
This one did, it spoke to me.
So much so that I ordered a print and took it to the Mosque. Maybe I shouldn't have, my intentions were not to fuel hatred or justify anger toward our people. It was to show the leader that as an American I valued this little one's perspective.
When I arrived, there was hesitation when I asked to speak to whoever ran the place. Very cautious engagement for sure. It just so happens that the Imam was within earshot. When he approached me, I explained that I was at the rally, I was a photographer, and I am not a Muslim. I told him that this photo of this little girl showed me the reality of events where there is hatred, and how her compositional expression moved my soul.
I handed him the print. Without words, he pulled me in close and gave me a heartfelt, lengthy and genuine hug.
We parted with smiles and gratitude.
As usual, this is just me sharing with you, how I see the world.