By Darwin Nercesian
No matter what side of the aisle your opinions reside on, I think everyone can agree that the 2016 presidential elections in America were a wild ride that brought out the best and the worst of humanity. If I could describe this past year in a single word, it would be “division”. In the days leading up to the election and following the election, I set out to cover both sides of the divide, to experience their emotions and hopefully convey share them with you through the following photographs…
One group become well-known for gathering on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to guard the remains of the star dedicated to Donald Trump which had been vandalized several times throughout the election.
Under the signs and covered by cardboard lay the remains of the vandalized star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame belonging to now President Elect Donald J. Trump.
The police remained close by, and while I visited this demonstration sight a few times, most of the hostility I witnessed towards this group was delivered verbally, although I am told that there was some spitting and that they did have things thrown at them on occasion.
Remember when I mentioned the best of humanity as well? At one point I actually saw something that did bring a smile to my face in the midst of all the division and vitriol. The Trump supporters had brought out a stereo, started to play music, and invited everyone, especially those that did not agree with them, to dance and enjoy at least a moment of unity. Guess what? That is exactly what happened!
This Trump supporter and a gentleman who vocally opposed her just moments prior shared a mutual appreciation for music and dance, followed by a few laughs and what almost looked like a veiled understanding of one another.
All things must come to an end though, and some would say that in the case of this election, that is a welcome cliche. However, in what has been expressed almost universally as a shocking finish, the election of Donald J. Trump to become the 45th President of the United States did was not without fallout. In the days to follow, many American cities experienced protests and anti-Trump demonstrations which ranged from peaceful assemblies to the burning of the President Elect in effigy, the burning of the Flag of the United States, and the forced shutdown of roads and freeways as protesters flooded the highways and impeded traffic. Thankfully, these scenes have not escalated into pandemonium, as freedom of speech and expression belongs to us all.
I hope you have enjoyed the photos and a quick look into how I experienced the days leading up to and proceeding the 2016 election, and no matter what side of the aisle you find yourself, I wish you the best in 2017 and the years to come. I think it is important to remember that while we may not always agree, we should be willing to hear each other out and stand together, hand in hand for a better future.
I leave you with with one final image. On a rare rainy day in Southern California, on my way to cover a demonstration, I came across a reflection and a symbol of togetherness. My hope is that this final image helps you decompress after reading this article and viewing these photos. Thank you and be well.
My name is Darwin Nercesian. I am an architectural photographer and independent photojournalist based in Los Angeles, CA. Please take a moment to see my website at www.dna-image.com or visit me on instagram: @dna_image