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The Flagstaff Women's March: From Behind The Lens

Dawn Kish

Saturday marks one week since millions of people joined, perhaps, the largest demonstration in American history. The Women’s March on Washington went far beyond the nation’s capital, as hundreds of similar rallies took place around the world, including northern Arizona. Thousands of people turned out for sister marches in Sedona, Prescott, and Flagstaff. Award-winning photographer Dawn Kish captured the scene, as a sea of pink overflowed a snow-packed downtown Flagstaff. Kish joined Arizona Public Radio's Aaron Granillo to discuss witnessing the event, from behind the lens.

Aaron Granillo: Dawn, you’ve traveled all across the Southwest, capturing stunning shots of people and places. Where does last week’s march rank among your portfolio?

Credit Dawn Kish

Dawn Kish: It goes beyond my portfolio. It goes beyond emotions. Seeing all those women, especially with their pink hats and their pink ears. That's my tribe. 

Can you take me behind the camera? As a photographer, what kinds of pictures are you looking for at an event like this?

I was definitely looking for documentation. I wanted to definitely tell the story. I wasn't looking for art. I just wanted to be there and give a voice to people that had to tell their story. And, I think that's one of the hard things to do is just like, well I'm taking out my voice now and I'm just going to capture everybody else's for this time being. And, I wanted to show how many people were there. I mea, there was thousands of people there. I've never seen anything like that in Flagstaff. And, when you have an event like this, you have to get a photo of, like, all of them together. And, so behind a lens is like, you try and just take yourself out of it a little bit and it's more about everybody else. 

What were some of the scenes or moments you captured in your photographs that really that stuck out to you?

Credit Dawn Kish

I saw a woman. She had a camera. And, she was down below the mayor just a few feet from me. And, when there was a couple speakers up there talking, she looked like she was crying. And I was like, I already had tears in my eyes from people speaking about equality or being illegals. And, I saw tears in her eyes. And, I was looking down at her and she could look at me, and we both had tears in our eyes. And, it was just because we could feel the power of what people were going through and why people were there. And, it was just a very emotional day, and she was photographer too. So, that was kind of cool.

You’ve already touched on this a bit, but being a photojournalist, part of the job is to separate yourself from the emotions of covering an event. How hard was that for you, being a female photographer, and watching women lead a march of this magnitude?

Credit Dawn Kish

I don't think I ever took the emotions out. And, there was definitely times where tears came to my eyes, behind the lens, because of just the magnitude of what was happening. I don't think I'll ever forget that day. You have to take yourself out a little bit to remember, like, okay you're trying to do a job here. Wake up. Get the photo of this person or that person. You kind of want to try and document everything that's going on. And, there's so much going on. And, being a woman too, just so proud of these girl for standing up for what they believe in. Yeah, we do have a voice and just knowing that we're not going to back down. That's really a proud moment for me. 

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