We follow up yesterday’s street protest pic with another: Self-titled “Demonstration Against the Notre Dame des Landes Airport”, which Philippe Leroyer captured on Feb. 22, 2014 in Nantes, France. You did not misread—and identify major reason why the photo takes the Day. The raging flames feel wrong given what looks like a war zone but is not. The pic’s composition is excellent and is more dramatic in black and white (see the color companion for comparison).
The violent clash captured by Philippe, a photojournalist, is but one in a series of tense encounters. The airport remains in the news more than 20 months later as a family faces eviction from the home for refusing to vacate lands designated for the facility.
Philippe affirms an excellent standard for photojournalism, which I presume he keeps:
I follow three rules while reporting on news events: Honesty. Respect. Neutrality. Honesty is of course the basis. No lies, no fakes, only the truth. Respect toward my subjects is fundamental. But this respect is also directed toward the people I work for and the viewers of my pictures. Neutrality is my way of approaching things. It has been for a long while. I don’t care what my personal feelings or conviction are about the subject I shoot. As a witness, I have to keep that for myself as much as possible.
He captured our selection using Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens—a fine piece of glass. Vitals: f/9, ISO 800, 1/125 sec, 70mm. From Paris, Philippe joined Flickr in January 2006.
Editor’s Note: I prepared this post on November 10th. On Friday the 13th, coordinated terrorist attacks killed 129 people in Paris. I strongly considered not featuring Philippe’s photo, instead choosing to offer condolences and solidarity with Flickr a Day on the 14th. Street photography from the city continues for six more days, in memoriam.
Photo Credit: Philippe Leroyer