Photographing the George Floyd Protests

Alex Golshani


Barclay Center Brooklyn, May 29. Protester washes his eyes out with milk after being pepper-sprayed by police.


On Friday May 29, thousands of protesters came together in New York at the Barclays Center, at the intersection of downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene, in an action against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, and the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among many others.

The protests continued for several nights, with clashes between the police and the protesters erupting into violence.

Alex Golshani, an Iranian-born, US-raised photographer, was there, and documented the events.

“While out in the field I’m looking for moments to tell the story,” he told The Yale Review by email. He has been photographing protests since Occupy Wall Street—the first major collective action to take place after he arrived in New York from Los Angeles, where he was raised. I first saw his work on Instagram in the protests following the 2016 presidential election, and published some of them in OSMOS magazine; I admired the way his portraits captured a certain timelessness of struggle through collective action. 

“These protests were different from the post-election protests,” he noted. “It’s more dangerous now. I’m seeing a lot more aggression from the police—toward protesters and, worryingly, toward  the press.”

These images, which capture the justified fury of the immediate moment, celebrate the communal struggle and drive toward recognition; they are a visualization of history in the making.

—Eugenia Bell

 City Hall Park, Manhattan, May 29. An NYPD officer glances over at his colleague.

Church Ave, Flatbush, Brooklyn, May 30. A protester clutches rocks.

Flatbush Brooklyn, May 30. NYPD officers walk in formation down Church Ave.

Flatbush, May 30. Protester rallies fellow demonstrators from roof of gas station.

Flatbush, May 30. NYPD officers arrest protester.

Barclay Center, Brooklyn, May 29. NYPD appropriates an MTA bus to transport arrested protesters.

Flatbush, May 30. NYPD vehicle on fire.

Union Square, May 31. NYPD officer stands amid broken glass.

Barclay Center, Brooklyn, May 29. Protester raises his hands while walking away from police.