In news photos, they either have their faces covered up with Guy Fawkes masks or they look very angry. Look at reports on recent protests against police brutality and you will find the same scenes, repeated over and over and over again. The header images on my own recent stories have shown nondescript, probably angry crowds of people, sometimes wearing Guy Fawkes masks, and I can hardly even hold it against myself. It's an issue.
It's a problem of perception that Charles Wade, creator and curator of the ongoing art project Faces of the Movement hopes to address. The project aims to rebrand the face of activism by releasing a new portrait of a Ferguson protester every day.
"We want to change how people look at protesters," Wade told Fusion in a phone interview. "We want to show that protesters are really just a part of active citizenship, and a lot of them are actually smiley, happy people."
"Plus," he said, "the project helps us extend the conversation about what the movement looks like, and who is quote in quote 'running it.' There's men, women, gay, straight, trans, differently abled people involved out here."
Wade said he's been living in Ferguson "pretty much full-time" since the death of Michael Brown last August, organizing with the non-profit group Operation Help or Hush.
Faces of the Movement will continue releasing portraits shot by photographer Attilio D’Agostino until the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death on August 9, 2015, Wade said. After that they will try to organize a gallery tour of the works across the country, which would hopefully make stops at many colleges and universities. A book may also be in the works.
"It just humanizes them," Wade said of the project.