The National Day protest, 6th June 2021

I found information that The Freedom Movement was going to arrange an unsanctioned demonstration in Stockholm on Swedens national day and decided that it would be a good opportunity to practice my protest photography skills. As I don’t have much experience with this I need to use every opportunity for practice I can get.

The self-styled movement is a collection of conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, neo religious people and alternative medicine practitioners who have banded together to protest the Swedish governments coronavirus restriction polices.

When on my way to the staging area I discovered that the demonstration had already started and was making its way along Strandvägen. When photographing I tried to be more relaxed and focused in my approach, because of my introverted character I have a tendency to tense up when among strangers. I have become better at it and this time managed to weave in and out of the crowd while searching for photographic opportunities.

With police swarming around them the demonstrators marched past the Swedish history museum, Garnissionen Karlahuset and the offices of the Swedish state television (SVT) to finally gather at Hakberget on Ladugårdsgärdet where the leaders held speeches. After about half an hour the police started to break up the crowd.

For this demonstration I tried to focus on photographing prominent people and finding iconic moments. I managed to do an okey job of the former but still need alot of practice to nail the latter of the two objectives. Of all 30 photos I took only one can be deemed iconic.

There are two things that I did wrong during the demonstration. I should have saved most of my frames for the end, when the crowd had gatherd to listen to speeches held by their leaders and not waste them during the marching phase. I find it much easier to find good compositions and iconic moments when the crowd is stationary.

The second thing I did wrong was to have forgotten that my self rolled film only had 30 frames and not the standard 36. So when I tried to wind the shutter, to fotograph one of the movements leaders being arrested, it seized mid wind. The roll was actually finished and after taking a step back and thinking for a moment I realized my mistake.

There’s still a lot that needs to be learned but for every event that I attend, I gain some more knowledge and experience.

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