Roe v Wade: Denver Protest: Patagonia

Photographer: Kate Fanning

Heidi: How would you define your photography style?
Kate: I would describe my style as honest. I’m not interested in perfect or highly manipulated images. There’s no grit there, no story. I want my work to represent and feel like the moment I was in. While I want viewers to see the way I see things, more importantly, I want them to decide how my images make them think or feel.

What moments appealed to your eye?
Opposites. Moments of juxtaposition. Messages written on the backs of signs, while the sign-holders moved forward. Fluorescent flashes of cardboard against heavy, black clouds. Mighty impactful phrases with so few words. A bright, rainbow pride flag, draped across the gloomy, gray facade of our Capitol building – a beacon of hope for equality, while standing in the trenches of inequality.

What moved you the most about this story? 
The American flag flying upside down. It was a gut-punch that I wasn’t expecting. I’m a Daughter of the American Revolution, and I come from a long line of veterans. Respect for our flag and country was instilled in me from a young age. When I wanted to buy Chuck Taylors in the eighth grade with an American flag print, my Mom said, “I won’t let you wear something on your feet that we fought so hard to defend.” I stood at my Father’s and Grandfather’s gravesites, listened 21-gun salutes that dropped me to my knees, and watched as their flags were lifted off their coffins, folded with such meticulous care and finally, handed over. My siblings and I grew up as flag code defenders, and I know what it means to fly it upside down. When I saw those stars waving in the wrong spot, I felt it – we’re in trouble.

What surprised you the most about this project?
Most surprisingly, were the intimate details that women so courageously shared. Stories of their lives scribbled with Sharpies on posters that lined a stormy sky. Skystories, I thought. Stories of loss, stories of rape, stories of religion, politics, grief, and anger. Stories that had nowhere else to go, except for up. I found myself wanting to tell everyone ‘thank you’. Thank you for sharing your trauma, thank you for showing up, thank you for fighting for the least of us, thank you for not quitting…please…don’t quit.

What do you hope for, for those who can become pregnant?
I hope it’s their choice. I hope their family is supported. I hope they get to raise children in a country that values babies AND parents. I hope their kids don’t grow up to fight this same damn fight.

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