Michael Brown and Eric Garner are two names that have been in the media for months now, whose deaths are viewed by many as wrongful and an example of police brutality. The protests that erupted upon the “not guilty” verdicts of each police officer in question were predictable. After all, these two events aren’t the first time American people have felt racial injustice. Just as in the past, the people have taken to the streets, some peacefully, some with a destructive uproar. Mark Brown, a street photographer from NYC, joined the protests to capture the people demonstrating their right to free speech.

“For me personally, if I can shoot an image that captures the feeling of the moment, rather than the issue that’s at hand, than that’s what it’s about. It’s never about the actual protest, but, rather, the impact my photograph will have,” Brown said adding that the protest “was very organized and clear to see that the people there were passionate. There was a feeling of sadness, and of course, there was some anger and frustration.”

Interestingly enough, these photographs almost never happened at all. Brown was opposed to shooting the protest at first, reluctant to cover an event that so many others were already capturing. “I normally like my photographs to have subtler message. But the crowd was literally marching back and forth under my window. So I realized it would be stupid not to. I realized how historically important of a moment it was.”

All of Brown’s photographs are in black and white, not by chance but rather a well thought out decision. “When shooting a protest, it can be difficult to capture an image that isn’t overwhelmed because people are holding signs that say “I can’t breathe,”which are incredibly strong statements in themselves. That’s why I prefer to have them in black and white because it allows the photographs to speak for themselves.”

Check out the photos below to get a better glimpse of what’s been going on in your streets.

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown, “Regardless of right or wrong, black or white, criminal or not criminal, the fact that these people have to feel this way and feel the need to carry a sign is heartbreaking. No matter what side you fall on, how could you not see these images and not feel sad that people feel this way?”

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown, “The image doesn’t allow the viewer to know what the protestors are doing, or what it necessarily means. And that’s okay with me. I don’t want to know. It’s ambiguous.”

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

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© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

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© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

© Mark Brown

All photos were used with permission. To see more of Mark’s work head over to his site, Vimeo or Facebook.