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Terry Mclaughlin


Behind the Shot

The year 2020 will be remembered as one defined by seismic changes. A pandemic, a contentious election, an economic crisis, the upending of our “normal” lives—and throughout the summer, the dam-breaking moments when the horrors of police brutality, racial injustice and systemic inequality could no longer be ignored. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and many, many others, were captured on video and played and replayed on social media and on the news. Following the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, protests and unrest broke out in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and spread across the United States and around the world.

By June, curfews were imposed in more than 200 cities in the U.S., and more than 62,000 National Guard troops were deployed to stop the protests. An estimated 15 to 25 million people in the United States participated in some form of protest between May 26 and August 22. 

Support for the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the widespread and public acknowledgement of institutional racism by prominent politicians, public figures, and celebrities, brought these subjects into everyone’s lives in a way unlike ever before—perhaps because we as a society were collectively locked in our homes under COVID-19 restrictions, unable to look away from the footage that was played and replayed.  

Terry was moved by what he saw happening in Los Angeles, and photographed the events unfolding in his adopted hometown. “I visited the All Black Lives Matter mural in Hollywood a couple times. I’d been photographing a lot during the protests, and there were a lot of people covering the painted street (Hollywood Boulevard). The scene was very powerful, but you couldn’t read the writing. I knew the morning light would be more dramatic. I went back to shoot at sunrise, and I’m really happy with the result. I wanted to capture this moment of history.”