Shedrick Pelt captures attacks on democracy



local photojournalist Shedrick’s skin captured the Capitol Uprising on January 6, 2021 with vividness. Like most residents of DC, as well as the country and the world, he was glued to the media coverage of far-right Trump supporters and 2020 election deniers violently breaking into the Capitol building, wreaking havoc and, in his words, attempting a hostile takeover by the government. Realizing the risk, Pelt decided he needed to capture the events that “would change the landscape of the American experience.”

“Everything about my work begins and ends with community and culture,” Pelt says. City paper. He spent the day on the Capitol grounds, wearing goggles and a respirator, capturing the horrific events with retreating police officers and shattered windows. As a black man, visibly cautious about COVID, Pelt felt insecure.

“I told myself that I had to keep moving so as not to let them focus on me. As I move around the field, people watch me, willingly getting in my way. Others, he says, intentionally coughed on him. Despite the fear, Pelt says capturing the riots is the type of story he’s committed to telling as a photojournalist and community member, one that involves being where the stories take place that need to be. be told. “As a photographer, it reminded me that it was my duty,” he says.

Today, on the first anniversary of the insurgency, Pelt posted two of his images from that day along the brick wall in the driveway of Adams Morgan Plaza at 18th Street and Columbia Road NW . Her mini pop-up gallery offers a preview of her next exhibition, Attacks on Democracy: Through the Lens of a Black Photojournalist, at the O on H gallery. The exhibition opens at the end of February, but today Pelt wanted to make sure that his voice and visuals were included in the retelling of recent history. On Instagram, he wrote: “I am amplifying the thoughts and emotions of being here on Capitol Hill at such a crucial and violent time.”

He chose the place to display his 70 “x42” wheat glued images because of his connection to local activism. AT City paper, he explained the need to publish the images publicly, outside and away from an art gallery. “We are in an age of disinformation, but the very nature of documentary photography makes it possible to speak the truth in the foreground,” says Pelt. “I wanted people to see these real images on the way to work or at the bar. Nowhere to run or hide when the truth is staring you in the face.

At 39, Pelt has been a freelance photographer for over ten years. His work was recently featured in the Phillips Collection Jury Competition, Inside outside, upside down, and he organized the exhibition currently on display at Metrobar DC. With Attacks on Democracy, Pelt says it’s an “opportunity to show my community that black photojournalists here cover the most important moments in history, even though we are under-represented in mainstream media.”

Altogether, Pelt’s exhibition will reexamine the insurgency and subsequent closure of the city, through the lens of black photojournalists. “I’m proud to be there as a storyteller,” he says of his work in general.

Pelt will meet with Tatiana Rice of Blk Arthouse to discuss her work and experience during the insurgency, as well as what it is like to work in a babysitting industry. The conference will take place on Blk Arthouse’s Instagram Live at 6 p.m. Attacks on Democracy opens February 25 and will be on display until March 6, at the O sur H gallery, 1354 H St NE.

About Debra D. Johnson

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