Shortlisted for Paris-Photo Aperture Foundation Photobook of the Year 2019
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2019 by Todd Hido, Ed Templeton, Sarah Allen, Tim Clark
"Although it is not possible to be as indifferent and mechanical as a camera, it is possible to place an image before a viewer as an invitation to look and think; an invitation to measure it carefully against one’s own experience and judgment, to confront one’s preconceptions, to conclude anew or to leave matters open." David Campany
Americans Parade is a parade of Americans. One after the other, from one community to the next, building up a picture of Americans in the United States in 2016, the year Donald Trump was elected, a year when Americas division have never been more pronounced.
I have visited the United States several times over the years and outside of the biggest cities, I would see very little street life and have no reason to stop; I would only know of a place by it’s reputation, it was like the local community was invisible.
The idea for the work came about when I went to a Martin Luther King parade in a neighbourhood I had been to before. Unlike my first visit, when the streets were empty, the streets were suddenly alive, full of people, families, movement and a sea of sound, a complex community was suddenly visible.
In 2016, I decided to criss-cross the country looking for parades that covered many of the different American demographics. The NYT’s magazine liked the idea and supported me throughout, publishing the work on the weekend of Trumps inauguration.
Throughout the year I visit 26 parades, in 24 cities across 14 states. From the very first parade, my visual approach was simple and deliberate. Moving alongside the parade I would follow the route, waiting for a clear view to photograph a section of the crowd on the other side.
I would look at the landscape and the overall composition, at groups that caught my attention, at fleeting moments, but I also embraced the generosity of the camera, it’s ability to record and freeze more than I could register. The crowd gives the photograph that element of chance, to create itself.
The details become important. A sea of faces, expressions, postures, gestures, a look, a touch, alongside, fashions and social behaviour and interactions. A narrative full of complexities and ambiguities, like a series of modern day tableaux.
Although much of America is segregated and separated by race or income, and this difference is exploited as a means to polarise and divide, it is far too simple to define a community through this narrow identity. What I have attempted to do is create a group portrait of multiple identities, where people stand together, in a company of strangers.