All the Rage
Crowd photographs crowd social media. The reason is straightforward: crowd size is a proxy for support. Each person in a photograph is viewed as a vote for a cause. In the hazy world of social media, secondhand power is real power. This secondhand power is why crowd photographs are so often timeshifted, relabeled, recontextualized.
A photograph depicts a vast crowd of Trump supporters in Washington, D.C. on January 5, 2021. This is one day ahead of the now infamous January 6, 2021 “Save America” rally and attack on the Capitol. The photograph is shared widely on social media, especially in the moment. “Take back our country,” said the President the following day, waving black-gloved fists into the winter chill. His supporters stormed the Capitol.
The photograph is timeshifted from more than two years earlier. It actually shows the 2018 “March for Our Lives” demonstration for tougher gun-control laws. The image was made March 24, 2018 by photographer Salwan Georges and appeared on the front page of the Washington Post. The headline: “In grief, marching for change.” The caption: “Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators crowd downtown Washington on Saturday for the March for Our Lives rally to call for stricter gun-control measures.”