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Freelance photographer David Moriya is documenting the resistance to President Donald Trump’s administration ― and donating the photos to groups that are part of the movement.
Moriya started the Resistance Photography Project on Jan. 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration, taking photos at the Women’s March and subsequent progressive rallies in New York City. He’s been contacting nonprofits he sees at the protests ― like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center on American-Islamic Relations ― and sending them his best pictures, free of charge, to use on their platforms.
“This is a revolution,” Moriya said. “I want to be a part of it ― and being a part of anything, for me, is taking photos. I want them to be not for me, but for everybody else. We’re trying to make change. This isn’t about credit, this needs to be seen.”
Since the inauguration, Moriya has photographed nine events in New York ― from the recent rallies in Washington Square Park against Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigrants, to the Thursday gathering in Greenwich Village for transgender rights.
Not all the organizations he’s sent images to responded or used the photos, but the New York Immigration Coalition and the New York Civil Liberties Union, among others, have.
“I know it’s hard to get a great photo, besides just an iPhone photo. Nonprofits can use them, especially if they’re hosting the protest,” Moriya said. “The most powerful part for me is the amount of people. They fill the streets. So many bodies. It’s a field of people standing up for what they believe in ― and that’s powerful.”
For Moriya, the motivation to document the resistance is personal: His grandmother and her siblings are survivors of the U.S. imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“They were interned for years,” Moriya said of his relatives. “Everything was taken from them: their house, their land, their restaurant. That shouldn’t happen, and if I could have had a chance to say something back then, I would. So I don’t want that to happen to anybody else now.”
Actor and activist George Takei, himself a survivor of the prison camps, has drawn parallels between the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII and that of Muslim-Americans today.Close
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As a freelance photographer, giving away work for free is not an easy choice to make, Moriya said. He funds this project largely with his own money, earned from regular gigs taking concert photos or headshots.
He created a donation page when he first launched the project, but he hasn’t raised much since.
“Activism is extremely tiring and energy-exerting ― especially to do it as unpaid work ― but any protesters putting their bodies out there aren’t getting paid either,” Moriya said. “Everybody has a talent, and if they can take time to do something with those talents, as an activist, that’s great. This is what I’m going to be doing until the government changes.”
Here are a few of the most captivating photos from The Resistance Project.