On Saturday evening my father, Tenney Mason, was in downtown Baltimore (my home city in the U.S.) attending ArtScape, a local arts festival. A group of #Afromation and #BlackLivesMatter demonstrators walked past, and Dad decided to check it out. He had his camera with him and although he’s mostly retired, Dad spent many decades as a photojournalist and newspaper editor. When he sees a news story, he follows it. This is one of the photos Dad took of the demonstration. It was shot in front of Penn Station, Baltimore’s train station, which is also right where Artscape was happening. (Photo: Tenney Mason) One of the leaders of the demonstration. I hope he got some good GoPro footage. (Photo: Tenney Mason) I don’t know much about this demonstration and neither did Dad at the time. But after a bit of online research, I have learned that the demonstration was a protest against police brutality and “an affirmation of black life”. (Read a statement by the organizers.) Dad followed the protesters onto an exit ramp to Interstate 83. The ramp was closed to cars due to the arts festival. He saw a larger group of protesters down below, attempting to interrupt northbound traffic on I-83. […]
Before moving to South Africa, I spent much of my adulthood living and working in the Washington D.C. area. But growing up, I lived closer to Baltimore. My parents are both Baltimorians. I was raised on Baltimore sports. Baltimore has two major professional sports teams: the Orioles (baseball) and the Ravens (American football). Baseball season runs from April to September and football season runs from September to January. I was home during that magical month when baseball season is drawing to a close and football season is just beginning, and I caught one game of each. My dad is a die-hard Orioles fan and raised his two daughters accordingly. I remember when my sister Susanna and I watched on TV when the Orioles (who we call ‘the Os’) won the World Series in 1983; it was the best day of my nine-year-old life.
A few months ago I attended my first cricket match and learned that cricket is not a game for sissies. Yesterday I discovered rugby is not for sissies, either. I’ve watched rugby on TV before, and I’ve seen Invictus. But nothing prepared me for the moment after the whistle blew, when I watched a guy catch the ball, run for a few seconds, and get slammed to the turf by a 1500-pound mob of muscle. Without pads or a helmet. My sports photography leaves a lot to be desired, but you get the idea.