The majority of us, either willingly or not, know who the Proud Boys are. Largely, this is due to the Proud Boys photos that seemingly go viral whenever the group makes a public and sinister appearance.
But who are the photographers capturing this group of unyielding “men,” and even more curious, are many of these very photographers on the liberal side of the spectrum? We investigate several liberal photographers who have captured Proud Boys photos, and how they manage their jobs.
The photos tell part of the story. But how did the Proud Boys get started?
After the Jan. 6 storm of Capitol Hill, we all know what the Proud boys are capable of. They have terrorized America with their unwillingness to accept defeat in the election, and their actions will be recorded in history, as the first time in hundreds of years that U.S. democracy has been so close to the brink of collapse.
This is not the first time the organization has taken action to disturb the peace. In fact, this far-right, neo narcissist, male-only political organization has been around since 2016. The same year that Donald Trump won the presidential elections, coincidence?
The Proud Boys have been responsible for a number of far-right rallies, including the white supremacist Unite the Rally.
The organization emerged as part of the alt-right movement and it originated in the far-right Taki’s magazine under the leadership of Gavin McInnes — Vice Media co-founder.
In 2017, however, McInnes distanced himself from the movement. And, since 2019, the group has been led by Enrique Tarrio, an Afro-Cuban American, chairman of The Proud Boys.
What do the Proud Boys want?
Although they are have been identified with the Alt-Right, The Proud Boy’s main focus is not race. Instead, they believe that the entire western culture is under siege.
Nonetheless, they participate in racist events centered around anti-left movements. Inflicting their beliefs with violent attacks such as the ones we saw on January 6. So much so, that the Southern Poverty Law Center recognizes them as the “alt-right fight club.”
How long is it going to take to classify them as a terrorist group? Surely, after the Capitol Hill’s events, not only is America aware of their tenacity, but the entire world is too. And that has us concerned about the future and prosperity of America.
The day when Donald Trump is no longer president of the United States approaches, and thus it is crucial for us to never forget what he and his supporters are capable of.
Thankfully, we have these brave liberal photographers who risked their lives for history’s sake and captured The Proud Boys group in times of terror.
“As a Black member of the media, I have often found myself the target of harassment from these far-right groups. When I was taking photographs of Proud Boys before they started marching, one of them started fake coughing and sneezing on me without a mask,” told Cherry to ArtNet magazine.Jon Cherry, Art Net Magazine 2021
As a freelance photographer and contributor for Getty Images, Jon Cherry was part of a fearless press that braved tear gas, pepper spray and attacks, to record not only the violent acts of the Proud Boys organization but to proof the danger of having a narcissist president running a divided country.
Jon Cherry is portraiture, wildlife, landscape, events, and product photography. He believes that every photograph should be able to tell a story and invoke a reaction. And as a dedicated photographer, his Proud Boys photos capture the sheer horror that permeates when the group is together.
Stephanie Keith is a prolific photographer working as a contributor for Getty Images, Reuters, and The New York Times. Her work focuses on the polarization that America has suffered during the last few years. Fitting for taking photos of the Proud Boys and the group’s extremist agendas.
Due to her efforts, bravery, and fine eye, Keith was one of the six recipients of the Yunghi Kim grant Award in 2020. The photo that got her the award portrays a Trump supporter pointing out a finger to a cop at the October 25th rally in Times Square.
Keith is recognized as a hard-charging news photographer and one of the few women who are embracing hardcore, breaking news in photojournalism.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds is a staff photographer and editor with AFP. Having worked in Washington D.C, the Middle East, and South Asian countries, Caballero-Reynolds has captured a series of events around the world which not only provide him with different perspectives, but also allow him to grow his skills with travel photography.
He is one of the six brave photographers from Agence France Presse that were on Capitol Hill on January 6. His images caught the attention of multiple magazines and platforms, one being Getty Images.
During an interview he had with ArtNet magazine, he said:
“My one picture that for me captured the day was the noose someone had set up on the National Mall. It was a large structure. They wrote on the side of it ‘this is art.’ There were a lot of people who just loved it.”Andrew Caballero Reynolds, Art Net Magazine 2021
Due to Caballero-Reynolds and those like him, the greater public was able to see Proud Boys photos and other harrowing images detailing the grim events of the day.
A Trump supporter waves a flag as he stands on an government vehicle in front of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds via Getty Images) pic.twitter.com/yfEnLtCSxK— HuffPost (@HuffPost) January 6, 2021
After what I saw happen in the Kenosha riots, I think I was already expecting what was coming. They seemed so angry and frustrated. But as a Turkish American, I was kind of surprised.Tayfun Coskun, Art Net Magazine, 2021
Tayfun is a Turkish American photographer associated with Anadolu Agency. He has covered many protests and rallies concerning The Proud Boys movement. But, as he told to Art-Net Magazine, Capitol Hill’s events did surprise him because of the violence and fury that filled the environment.
Kent Nishimura was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and was raised in Honolulu. He is the staff photographer of the Los Angeles Times and previously worked as a freelance photographer based in the middle of the pacific for clients including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.
Not only is he a photojournalist, but he also has a prolific eye for portrait photography capturing prominent cultural figures such as Taika Waititi, Todd Phillips, and is one of the expert photographers capturing Kanye West’s Sunday Service.
He was recently on the beat on Capitol Hill but he has previous experience capturing the Proud Boys. However, as all other photojournalists would agree, he was astonished by January 6 events.
“I took a photo of a window on the east door, you could see the crack on the bullet-proof glass and I caught the reflection of the American flag in the window, and the crack is right over. And you can see some of the residues of the pepper spay projectiles on the door.”Kent Nishimura, Art Net Magazine 2021
Nemo Rodriguez is a latinx photographer specializing in photojournalism.
She has captured Proud Boys photos on a number of occasions, emphasizing the group’s violent acts outside events such as the Capitol Hill but focusing on a number of different rallies that they have held. Nemo is based in East Bay California.
The terrifying reality of being a liberal photographer covering the Proud Boys
We saw what the Pro-Trump mob did to photographers and journalists during the storm of Capitol Hill. Hell, we even saw what the ostentatious “Blue Lives Matter” crowd did to police officers.
For how much journalists and photojournalists are told to be unbiased, when one side of the spectrum calls for insurrection and thwarting of democracy, there’s only so much toeing the line you can do.
Thus, these liberal photographers covering the Proud Boys are constantly putting their safety on the line for the common good. Because only once we see what these people look like in the flesh, unmasked, can we begin to try and thwart their extremist agendas.
These Proud Boys liberal photographers are some of the toughest photojournalists working right now, and we salute them.