The protests in NYC were definitely a sight to seen and Joe Rovegno was there to photographing it all. Check out his new book and exhibition Between Madness as he illustrates his experience through it all. The exhibition is open until 11/4/20 at the LAAMS store in New York City.
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What’s this new book called?
So this book is called 003: Between the Madness. The last book did was called Moments in Between Madness. And that was a series I did during the quarantine in New York City. For the first time everything was empty and there were no people on the street. I typically like shooting pictures of strangers, doing weird things so this was different for me. As this was happening, George Floyd got killed by the police, so I was active during the protest and was taking pictures the whole time. So those pictures are in this book and the exhibition.
Yeah it was probably the only time in history where the streets of New York were completely empty.
The streets were completely empty, people were afraid to go outside. Once the protests were happening, I was going back to the same places that I shot the photos of the empty streets, except now it's just flooded people. Cool contrast between those two,
This book is meant to showcase what was going on there in the protest.
What was your reaction to the general energy of the protests?
I just hope that looking through the book and seeing the photos, I could remotely portray how I felt in the moment. It's really nothing I felt before. it was peaceful a lot of the time and
"It was just people marching, being vocal, being angry, but also being together. "
"One time we were going over the bridges, we took over the FDR. They didn't know what to do because that had not happened before."
So they were trying to arrest everyone who was on the road. They were like, “If you're on the road, you're getting arrested.” Then that evening we walked over the Brooklyn bridge and that was the first time people were on the road in the Brooklyn bridge. So then by the time we got to the other side, it was like a line of cops and like riot chills.
So everyone was like hopping over the bushes, running through the little project garden over there. The cops were fucking people up. Like they were tossing people around and that's one of my favorite photos. I would say like 90% of the photos I took were pretty much of the same thing. It's just like big crowds of people with signs. But then there's those few moments that you could take out of it where it's like cop fucking someone up, a cop car on fire for like one of my favorite ones is like a little kid on a tricycle looking at a burnt up cop car on like Broadway.
it was a lot going on, but just those few moments and I'm going through all the photos, I was shooting like 10 to 15 rolls of film a day. I was literally outside until I ran out of film every single day. And I was trying to buy film off people and they'd be like, “I only got one roll left” and
"A couple times I had to venmo someone for some film. "
One of the days I like left at Washington Square Park to go get more film. I came back and then ran through it. A lot of them are just the same thing. But then like some of them stick out more than others.
What was the craziest thing you witnessed that you captured?
Craziest thing was definitely a photo I took of a helicopter going over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was so close to the bridge and it got so loud. If it was on the side of the bridge that's taller, it would have hit the bridge. Like it was so close to the bridge and it was going back and forth. So like that one photo where it's framed and you see the bridge and you see the helicopter and you see some protests. For the show, I scanned the full strip of film. So you see the two frames before that shot. Cause you see that one picture you're like, this doesn't really make sense.