On the 26 of March, the Women´s March on London organized an event to stand together at the Westminster Bridge to honor the victims and send a message of solidarity instead of fear to the world, writing “We stand together in grief for those who have died. We stand together in support of those who are injured. We stand together to resist the forces of fear and division. We stand together and will not be driven apart by hate. We stand together in solidarity for equality and justice. We stand together for peace. We stand together.”
Capturing this message of love was the photographer Elainea Emmot, who graciously agreed to share her stunning photos, Women’s March London 26-3-17, with Americans Resisting Overseas in order to “show the power of photography and how a single image can work universally to promote peace.” We are honored to share these moving portraits of resistance with activists around the world, as well as Elainea´s story, told in her own words of how she became a photographer and what it meant to her to photograph the Women´s March on London.
All photos are copyright of Elainea Emmott Photography.
I started taking pictures after I had a motorbike accident in 2013, the day my new boyfriend moved in to my flat, which put an end to my career in fitness and the relationship. I was literally devasted as I was aged over 40, gearing up to an alternative career in fitness and becoming creative again — performing in aerial competitions in an attempt to leave the office jobs I was having to do to support my son. I took up my film camera which I had only absent-mindedly used and just played around with it, taking notes religiously and aiming for perfection. I was broken at this point and at one of my lowest ebbs. So, after the accident, being at rock bottom, I was in bed with a broken collarbone, I was dealing with issues of loss, mobility and depression, and my work reduced my wages to £83 a week. It felt worse than the divorce and another plan gone badly wrong — messed up again.
I had a basic Canon film SLR camera and I only took pictures of my son and objects placed strategically around my flat on the table with natural light streaming through. I didn’t know anything else. I read books and really just studied great pictures from other wonderful photographers. I would take pictures and then rush to get them developed in an hour at Snappy Snaps and then become elated and then disappointed upon seeing the results— I wanted perfection. This saved me.
In 2016 I attended Photo London and was moved to tears to see so many galleries and amazing photography in London. That very day I saw a homeless man in Queens Park whom I used to see every other day. I nervously walked past him but then walked back to ask if I could take his photo. He said Yes, and I ran back to my flat to get my camera. With fumbling fingers, I managed to take 5 close-up pictures of him. Only 1 of them worked. I vowed then to take pictures and push myself like the photographers´ work I had seen.
“When Trump got in, I knew it was for me to step up as an artist and get to work.”
The Saturday I took my camera with me to the Women´s March in January, the day after the Trump inauguration. I was feeling depressed like many others and just thought I would see how things go. I took my son also and he was lovely, especially as he is sensitive to noise because of his Aspergers. We couldn’t move because of the crowd but it just felt like something I had to do. For the shot it was as though the crowds parted in front of me. I often get this feeling when taking pictures that all I have to do is press the shutter.
I have, in my life, been through a lot: doing a job you hate to support your family, suppressing your ambition, your creativity in order to survive. Failed relationships. Autism, which has made me the mother that I am (I also volunteer with the National Autistic Society to support other parents on the phone). My mother says that the Good Lord gives you all you can bear and I often wondered what my legacy was — what am I here for? When Trump got in, I knew it was for me to step up as an artist and get to work. And this is what I did.
“My mother had a picture of Muhammad Ali on our wall when I was a kid. When I am down, she always says, ‘Get up and Fight.'”
For the young women, the women of colour, it was a celebration of peace. The crowd moved slowly and peacefully but defiantly. We marched. It meant so much for me to be part of it, witness it, and then to share it. When I did, I was amazed by the amount of ‘likes’ I received on the page. While I also started receiving abuse from male photographers about my work, I wasn’t deterred. My mother had a picture of Muhammad Ali on our wall when I was a kid. When I am down she always says, ‘Get up and Fight’. This abuse is temporary; my walls are made of strong stuff.
On the Friday before, I got an email from Women´s March London asking me to take pictures for the Sunday 26 March at Westminster Bridge. The march was a simple act of love, respect and solidarity for women of all cultures to link hands and remember the victims of a terrorist act. As a photographer, I like to get close and have a connection with the person whose picture I have taken — the portrait they have kindly given to me– and so I went.
“I want my art to give inspiration, peace, solace, determination and the drive to all women and men to follow their dreams, ambitions. I want them to know that to take a little step each day is enough…”
And so I continue in this vein. I want my art to give inspiration, peace, solace, determination and the drive to all women and men to follow their dreams and ambitions. I want them to know that to take a little step each day is enough – we have to resist every day but now it is more important to become visible in the movements that support humanity. I — now aged 48 — have 2 exhibitions planned this year, and hopefully will continue to inspire others through my journey as a photographer.
Elainea Emmott is a London based photographer. She started as a fashion designer with an eye for muted colours and fabrics, selling international collections to the best shops in cities all over the world. She moved to London from the Yorkshire Moors making the city her home, exploring a different landscape in 2004, camera in hand. Her portfolio encompasses fashion, photojournalism, portraiture and landscapes.
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