Sunday, July 3, 2022
I've written before about my struggles with celebrating the 4th over the last few years. Although some of the recent Supreme Court decisions have been incredibly scary and discouraging, my struggles actually began back in 2016. You remember 2016, the year one of the most qualified presidential candidates lost to a unstable egomaniac.... Since then, the stars and stripes seemed to have lost a some of their luster.
I have to keep reminding myself that the orange oppressor is out of office, and things have gotten a bit back to normal. Unfortunately, his actions and his stench continue to linger. The rise of cruelty and impatience he ushered in stubbornly remain, meaning even the smallest of things, (wearing a mask to save a life) are cause for protests, violence and outrage.
Despite how difficult it's been, this year I knew it was time to buck up. This year, when choosing images for the holiday, I began to again feel the excitement and optimism the day used to hold. I had to remember that the American flag has stood as a symbol of freedom and justice for over 225 years, through wars times and in times of peace.
Jayden by Tom Nakielski
In many of those 225 years, black men, and even longer for black women, were not able to vote. Women also couldn't vote for many of those years, homosexuality was illegal and gay men and women couldn't marry, and members of the trans community were, and continue to be vilified by many. Despite these obstacles, members of each of these communities remained resilient and celebrated the day despite not having equal rights and freedoms.
Trevor by Studio1x
In many ways, celebrating and raising the flag are even more essential when rights and freedoms are at risk. Some seem to have taken the flag, corrupted it for their causes, hanging it in their living room windows and hanging it on their trucks and cars. There was a time seeing a community full of the red, white and blue was welcoming, today it can be scary.
It's time to take back the flag, from people and communities who've used it for hate and to divide. The flag, and the ideas and principles at the core of the country were never about what is. If they were, we would never celebrate. Sexism, racism and homophobia have always been systemic in many communities and institutions. I know one day, and one day soon, the direction will again be positive and more forward looking.
Change has been painfully slow I know, but it has been happening. This positive forward change obviously scares the shot out of many, which is why they're freaking out and barking back. It won't last, it can't. Nothing can truly go in reverse for very long. It's time to view the flag and what it stands for not for what is, but for the hope of what could be, and most importantly what should be.
Like so many artists. Tom Nakielski (Lights On Studio) always worries before a session. What if the model doesn't show? What if they look different than their pictures? What if they're not supportive of the concept, the poses, or shooting nude? What if?????? You can't really blame Tom for worrying, especially with his string of no-shows for scheduled holiday shoots in jus the past year.