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A photograph by itself does not tell a full story, it only allows us to describe part of something. I have chosen to photograph how people express their convictions, by capturing their emotions: sorrow, passion, pride, rage, empathy, and hate -- to show part of a larger story about our country.

These images were created over the past year in Washington, DC, at several events including: a war protest, the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a pro troop rally, and a military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. A gathering of Patriot Guard Riders, paying their respects to a young soldier and his family was captured in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. These images are dedicated to the fundamental privilege that define being an American.

As Americans the core of our freedom, is the freedom to express oneself without fear or anxiety of retribution. The strength of this country is based on exercising our collective diversity of opinions. This strength has been derived from the sacrifices of countless men and women who over the course of this country's history gave of themselves in support of these fundamental rights.

My focus in this photographic series is to show that we, in America, are entitled to freely express our views, whether these views promote a healthy debate, demonstrate an individuals sincere convictions, or regrettably express prejudice. This freedom has a cost and we need to be conscious of this cost. My hope is for the viewer to appreciate this freedom, regardless of the message, and most importantly to remember the invaluable cost of this freedom.

Michael J. Spence

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Michael J. Spence
mikejsp

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