The Origins of An American Disaster

My life as a documentary photographer was already underway in 1968 when the Democratic convention in Chicago erupted in violence over the war in Vietnam, civil rights and the assassinations of Dr. King and Robert Kennedy.

So after the chaos of the Republican primaries, I expected a repeat of Chicago in Cleveland.. There were police from 45 states all over the city. Special safety corridors were sectioned off with steel barriers and the only violence we saw was a fistfight which the police handled in 2 minutes.

What I had not expected was a movie set that could easily have been devised by Fellini. There was certainly no shortage of visual and rhetorical violence and in retrospect, reflected exactly the sort of violence that has erupted in this country. In Cleveland, as you see, it was manifest in the most extreme way by right wing Christian groups. Perhaps it should have been taken more seriously as a warning.

I believe that photography keeps yesterday safe for tomorrow, which is why I made these images.