All images by Alejandro Olivares. Used with permission.
Photojournalism and documentary work are among the myriad of projects aspiring photographers strive to get into, often driven by a strong interest for powerful visual narratives. We’ve been putting the spotlight on documentary photography and photojournalism projects of all kinds, and today we’d like to add another important body of work to the list. In a two-part series titled At the Gates, Venezuelan photographer and art director Alejandro Olivares captured the heated moments that transpired during the 2017 Venezuelan protests.
Taken in his hometown of Caracas, Alejandro described the demonstrations as “the protests that shook the country over the course of 5 months in 2017.” We can recall that this dark episode in Venezuela’s history began on April 1st, with anti-government demonstrators staging daily protests against President Nicolas Maduro and his administration across the country. The violent clashes with riot police tallied thousands arrested, hundreds injured, and 66 dead. Both installments of At the Gates takes us straight to the action — gas bombs, molotovs, violent clashes and all.
Alejandro’s photos, however, don’t just show us the skirmishes from his perspective; they also give us an idea about the lengths that photojournalists are willing to go to for such an important story. Plowing through dangerous ground and not getting caught in the crossfire are just a few of the things they have to be prepared for. On top of these, they have to be alert for any developments. Their eyes must be trained to see the angles and nail the compositions that would best tell their stories. And perhaps, the most crucial of all, they have to do everything with heart.
Photographed both in contrasty black and white and vibrant color, At the Gates is a powerful telling of the drama, intensity, and weight of the riots from both sides of the protests, and even the civilian bystanders caught in the demonstrations. While it seems that this series is Alejandro’s first foray into documenting the socio-political crisis that has overtaken his country, it’s easily one of his strongest works.
Check out Alejandro Olivares’ Behance portfolio to see more of At the Gates and his other outstanding work.