My Photographic Foray into a Political Protest

Last Wednesday, Donald Trump “officially” opened the Trump International Hotel (aka the historic Old Post Office and Clock Tower) in Washington, D.C. But like this entire election season, it was not without drama. A scheduled protest demanding Trump negotiate with his unionized workers at his Las Vegas hotel forced the ribbon-cutting ceremony, originally planned to take place outside the hotel, indoors.

Curious about what was to transpire, I grabbed my camera bag, hopped on the metro (new city dweller that I am), and made my way to the event.  (I confess to googling “how best to photograph rallies” while on the subway. The most interesting tip was not to ignore the fringes, as oftentimes that’s where wonderful photographic opportunities arise.)

I arrived about 45 minutes before the event, and as my husband’s office is across from the hotel, we went to the terrace on the 11th floor so that I could get an “establishing” shot. (Notice the top of the Washington Monument to the right of the hotel. Thanks, Dave, for pointing out this view!)

Trump International Hotel Washington DC

The Romanesque-inspired building now occupied by the hotel was the city’s main post office until 1914. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. In 2013, the U.S. government leased the building to Trump Old Post Office LLC for sixty years.

And then I entered the fray, where it quickly became clear that the protest would be a larger anti-Trump event. I decided to treat this opportunity as a photojournalist and be fair and impartial with my photography to the extent the opportunities arose. My goal: provide the flavor of what went on that morning.

Police and SWAT personnel stand at the ready at Trump Hotel Washington DC protest

“Fringe” photo: Police and SWAT personnel stand at the ready.

Protestors at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Protestors and media begin to assemble.

"Shame on Trump" banner outside Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Man reads union flyer about Trump International Hotel DC protest

Trump International Hotel Washington DC protest

Protestors at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Young boy holding sign protesting Trump rhetoric at protest at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

"Arrest the groper" protestor at Trump International Hotel Washington DC protest

This protestor was a favorite of the news media.

Wheelchair-bound protestor at Trump International Hotel Washington DC protest

Protestors at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

“Rally tip”: More interesting to see faces than backs of heads. So, I jumped right in front of the approaching protest line.

Wheelchair-bound protestor at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Trump supporter at Trump International Hotel Washington DC protest

Man wearing "Hillary" baseball hat at Trump International Hotel Washington DC protest

Jill Stein supporter at Trump International Hotel Washington DC protest

“Fringe” photo: A lone Jill Stein supporter.

Noticias Telemundo interviewing man wearing "Nope" Trump badge at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Trump supporter "new sheriff in town" at Trump Hotel International Washington DC protest

“Fringe” photo: I didn’t quite get the reference to “dogs.” But, hey, she sure attracted attention.

Vitriolic veteran against Clinton at Trump International Hotel Washington DC protest

“Fringe” photo: Vitriolic veteran attacks Clinton supporter.

Woman wearing Trump hat in the midst of protestors at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Right after I took this shot, the woman removed her hat. Later, hat back on, she started up a “Trump” chant, which never got off the ground.

Protestors at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Protestors at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Eric Trump leaves ribbon-cutting ceremony at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Eric Trump has left the building. His thumbs-up is echoed by the man on the far right.

And last but not least, this woman sums up her feelings about Trump with a simple gesture for her selfie … and then left to go back to work.

Woman flips the bird protesting Trump at Trump International Hotel Washington DC

Eight days and counting. Can’t come soon enough for me.


48 thoughts on “My Photographic Foray into a Political Protest

  1. Nice work! I can’t lie. I am unhappy that someone who spoke like he did was rewarded with that position. It goes against all I was taught about character, ethics and behavior. Let’s just hope it is not as bad as it seems and feels. Either way, great pictures. I have always wanted to photograph a protest but was afraid that the emotions would turn the crowd into a frenzy. Good to hear it was peaceful and empowering.


    • Oh, Michelle, I remain very emotional about the outcome of this election. I am at the “anger” phase, which I believe will be a lasting emotion for the next four years. Not a bad place to be, as it will keep me engaged. I attended a second protest, this time as both a participant and a photographer. I found the entire experience very empowering. I may even “return” to WP briefly to post about that experience – kind of an update about what I’m doing instead of blogging. Anyway, thanks for your comment! I’ll be seeing you on Instagram for the present time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Stacy, your photos are so, so good, and I’m so, so sad with the election result.
    But you and I have discussed that already, so let me just say again, that you really captured the mood and emotion of the event.


    • Thanks, Laurie. You may have seen the photos I took of a protest a few weekends ago – posted on Facebook. That time, I was an active participant too. So empowering to peacefully march in the streets and have my voice heard. I plan on continuing to show up in opposition to moves and countermoves that I disagree with, and with my camera in tow!


  3. Looks like you began before you even intended to. This pictures beautifully capture the individuals and their individual spirits at this protest. The media so often blankets and stereotypes protesters into a single category- but looking at your pictures, this type of categorization is impossible. ❤


  4. Goodness knows how i missed this post..
    Love your candid shots which shows a lot about whst is happening for people….and now trump has come to pass…mzybe he will step and maybe we will all step up….a picture is a thousand word or so : ))trees

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stacy, this is a fabulous post! I won’t waste your time with a litany of excuses about why I am so late in commenting, but now that I have caught up to my daily (sic) reading, I can say that you have a definite talent in the photojournalism arena. I would not worry that you might have been able to cull a few of these images. The beauty of a blog is that you are not necessarily constrained to a given amount of space. As long as what you display adds interest, it is more than justified. It is valued by the reader. I found myself (having been at similar events with my camera) wanting more, not less.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin, what a wonderful, thoughtful comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. I remember once reading about a WP “tell a story in three photos” challenge and what a fantastic idea that was. But it can be so difficult to do that. I wonder if photojournalists have a difficult time distilling their images or if it’s the editors who make those decisions. Interesting issue.


  6. Stacy, good for you for showing up and capturing all these amazing images. It really speaks to the turmoil, angst and disgust felt by many…and on both sides! I’ll join the chorus here on the need for civil discourse. Trump is the poster child for all that is wrong with our system. Like you, the election can not come soon enough. Next Tuesday our garage will once again be a polling place. I’m with her, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, really, a polling place?? How did that come about? Would love to know the story 🙂 California and DC don’t give me any nightmares, but apparently Virginia might very well be in play. I wish I could go back for one day and have my vote counted there!!


      • Sigh! I don’t know how Laurie is managing, surrounded by so many Trump signs/supporters. It defies reason. The very people that want to vote for him have the most to lose if he wins.

        So the polling place thing started with a random phone call back in 2008 I think. The registrar of voters called and said they were looking for more local places, like home garages, and would I be interested. I’m an organizer by trade, so my garage is always in good shape so I said yes! They came and did an inspection (working electrical, safe surfaces, accessable, etc. and they signed us up. They contact me twice a year every year. Some times they skip us, but most years we’re a polling place in June and November. I love it!


  7. You did a great job of documenting the protest Stacy, can really get an idea of the emotions and feelings there. You should do more documentary photography, I think you are a natural.


  8. Amazing group of shots, Stacy. I would have been hesitant to “join the fray” but glad you weren’t. I just don’t understand the mindset of those who are for Trump. They really believe he will look out for them and that he is actually for them? A man who has basically crapped all over them since amassing his fortune. Probably he was doing so all the way back when Papa Trump was amassing the original family fortune. Argh!


    • Thanks, Emilio. Given the historical context of this election, I felt it my civic duty to make my way down and record the event! And “argh” is the politically correct version of what I’d rather say!!


    • Oh, Pauline, my stress level is so through the roof – I’m my own wort enemy as I can’t seem to turn off the tv or stop reading all the news articles. And I fear the swill is only going to intensify in this last week. Horrible, hateful, frightening times in this country. All prayers welcome 🙏🏻 #ImWithHer

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the “last but not least” lol. Lately I’ve been realizing (hopefully I’m not correct) that Trump is never going to go away! Even when he doesn’t get elected (god willing), he will probably be out pushing himself into the limelight somehow either with lawsuits or his brand. Oy! Thanks for sharing all this and getting my blood boiling this morning LOL.


  10. Great images Stacy 🙂 Out of all the images the one that resonates the most with me is the woman giving you the finger. I can’t stand people with the typical F**k Y*u attitude. I think this country should have a mandate that everyone must take civility classes. People have to learn how to disagree respectfully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, I agree with you, Joe, that our civil discourse has gone down the crapper. As for this woman, her demonstration of her feelings was not intended for me. She was taking a selfie with the hotel in the background 🙂 In fact, as I saw her doing this, I asked if she minded if I photographed her. She was all for it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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