One of my most favorite subject whenever I travel within or outside New York City is the American Flag. I don’t know what it is in me, but I can’t help pointing my camera to the Star Spangled Banner and shoot whenever I see it. It’s like an automatic reflex. There is something in the flag that is outright majestic and at the same time reverent.
In my years of being a photographer I have seen so many ways how the American Flag is flown, waved, hanged or even worn. What’s fascinating about it is no matter what form or shape it takes, it is still the most visually appealing subject in the human eyes. It has become not just a symbol of patriotism but also a living insignia of the American life. It has been so ingrained into the soul of the country that no matter how people express their love and respect or allegiance to the flag (standing, kneeling, with fist on the air, of hand on the chest), it still commands an unwavering patriotism among the people of this country.
Probably, one of the country’s most controversial symbol of identification of patriotisms, the American flag has always take its place on the spotlight no matter what current event it is involved in, whether in sports, politics, foreign policy and even on pop culture and fashion.
But despite the varying differences of expression that Americans pay tribute to our flag, I never for once doubted that there is always a sincere and utmost respect for the flag. It might be debatable in matters of ideological spectrum or partisan side, but truth is, everyone loves the American flag. In fact the mere protest in front of a flag does not convey disdain to it, but rather a deep yearning and a plea under the very symbol of the country they live in and ;love, for justice and equality, and that somehow, that yearning would ripple as a change in order to pave the way for a new tomorrow, for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexuality.
Seven days after the 2020 Presidential Election in November, Joe Biden declared as a potential winner just two hours before noon. I was on my way to Columbus Circle to cover the gathering crowd there. When Joe Biden was called out as the winner on CNN, the crowd swelled and streets became clogged with cars honking and waving the American flag. I stayed on until night and passed by Times Square, and there for the first time in my career as a photographer, have never seen all kinds of people waving the American flag. It was fascinating to see: Jews, Moslems, women in their hajibs, Latinos, Europeans, Pacific Islanders, Asian, Africans, Middle Easterners, Russians, virtually everyone from all ethnicity and race, religion and sexuality were all waving the American flag. I thought to myself, this is America. How a simple red, white and blue fabric was able to unite all people of different beliefs and ideology is truly beyond me.
This Fourth of July, together with millions of Americans celebrating the birth of a nation, I am posting my collection of Photos I’ve taken throughout the years featuring the American Flag. May this symbol unite us all as a one nation from citizens around the world.
“I would rather be assassinated, than see ad single star be removed from the American Flag” – Abraham Lincoln