Saturday, July 27, 2013

March Against Monsanto. May 25, 2013. New Brunswick, New Jersey.

On Saturday May 25th, the world mobilized against Monsanto. Protesters marched in fifty-two countries and 436 cities in what would be known internationally as the "March Against Monsanto." In New Jersey, the marches took place in New Brunswick and Atlantic City. I estimated attendance at New Brunswick to be, at least, three thousand people. 

I went to New Brunswick for two reasons : to protest and to photograph. Why protest? Well, there is something fundamentally wrong when a biotech company manipulates the genetic make-up of our food, a modification proven by European scientists through testing to cause malignant tumors in laboratory rats, and then refuses to label them for the consumer. Monsanto has resisted state legislation requiring them to label food that they have genetically modified. Monsanto dismissed the scientific findings of the Europeans and insists that there are no incontrovertible evidence that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are harmful to our health. 

No matter how you slice the pie, consumers want to be informed and they want to have a choice. People want to know what they are eating. 

The battle over GMOs is as much about truth in food labeling as it is about our health. There is the disturbing realization that Monsanto had, by now, attained a controlling influence over those who are supposed police them. Consider the dismissal of two investigative reporters who exposed the extensive use of growth hormones in cow's milk. Consider how President Obama became Monsantos' greatest ally in Washington. Consider our government's support for the Monsanto Protection Act ." Consider the FDA sidling up to Monsanto. Monsanto reportedly even employed goons to take care of those who do not conform. 

 I took approximately 200 photographs, but only a handful were acceptable. No cause for alarm. This meager harvest from a day's worth of shooting is often the case even with professional photographers. Just like in war, carpet-bombing the target area will produce a great number of casualties among whom, one hopes, a few significant targets will be included. I sought only to capture images that conveyed the spirit of protest, the rejection of the status quo, and people on the move.   

Dogsitting for a Friend. Rokinon 85mm f1.4. First Test Shots.