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Award-Winning Photographer and CCS Grad Gives Back

Asia Glenn

February 24, 2021 -- Asia Glenn, a 2009 graduate of Eastmoor Academy, is giving back to the Columbus City Schools community by speaking to a group of middle school students about her award-winning Black Lives Matter photographs. “Through my photography, I wanted to teach these students to pursue their passion and use whatever resources they can,” said Glenn. “I hope they understand they have a voice and a life that matters.”

In Sarah Brooking’s art class at Sherwood Middle School, Asia Glenn was the virtual guest speaker as part of the school’s celebration of Black History Month. Glenn is one of 12 recipients of the #ArtUnitesCubs Film & Photography awards announced late last fall by the Greater Columbus Art Council (GCAC). Along with having her photographs on exhibit at the GCAC, Glenn received a cash award for documenting and exploring the story of the Black Lives Matter protests in Columbus.

“My two favorite photographs in the exhibition are Broken Allegiance and War Zone,” Glenn told the students. “Broken Allegiance is a black and white photograph of a young man at the May 30th downtown Columbus protest draped in the American flag. That flag symbolizes liberty and justice for all. The photo captures the contradiction of the injustice surrounding the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis,” said Glenn.

“War Zone is another one of my favorite black and white photographs because you see the cops on the street in Columbus shrouded in a huge cloud of tear gas. In the background, there is a young man leaning against a brick building, alone and suffering because he was sprayed in the face.”

One of Ms. Brookings’ students asked the photographer if she was scared that day. “Absolutely,” said Glenn. “There were cops on foot with batons, mounted patrols, cops on bicycles and rooftops. Rubber bullets were flying through the air, and there was a lot of tear gas. I saw people on their hands and knees moaning in pain because they had been sprayed with tear gas. I was trying to get out of the way but document the protest at the same time. I had to run a few times. I had two cameras around my neck and a backpack, so running wasn’t easy.”

Ms. Glenn shared with the students that she always has two cameras with her when she is on assignment. That way, she doesn’t have to change lenses and miss a moment.

Another student asked Ms. Glenn why she chose to make the photos black and white. "I wanted to allow the viewer to focus on the emotional content of the images,” answered Glenn. “I also wanted the photos to have a historic feel. The goal of the photos from May 30th is to tell a story I hope inspires people to care and be more understanding of the hardships black people face.”

Glenn also provided some practical photography advice to students whether they use a cellphone camera or a more professional-grade camera, new or used. “Timing and perspective are the most important aspects of being a good photographer,” said Glenn. “Wherever you are standing, move around, don’t stand in one spot. Move around to get another perspective.”

To view Asia Glenn’s award-winning Black Lives Matter photographs, CLICK HERE to visit the Greater Columbus Art Council Virtual Gallery. To see all of Asia Glenn’s photos, go to Glenn’s Facebook page.