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Joshua Galloway photo exhibit captures images of local activism
‘In the Line of Sight’ documents Charlotte protests
Published Thursday, January 21, 2021 10:00 am
by Ashley Mahoney

Joshua Galloway’s images from protests in Charlotte last summer make up “In the Line of Sight” exhibit at The Light Factory that will go on display at a time to be determined based on mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joshua Galloway’s upcoming photo exhibit finds the intersection of activism and humanity.

“In the Line of Sight” was scheduled to open at The Light Factory (1817 Central Ave.) on Jan. 21-22, but the Mecklenburg County directive asking people to stay home unless absolutely necessary through Feb. 2 pushed the opening back to dates yet to be determined. Yet the relevance and gravity of Galloway’s work remains regardless of when people have the opportunity to see it in a physical space.  

Galloway is no stranger to photography with 12 years’ experience in the commercial and lifestyle sector. However, “In the Line of Sight” is his first opportunity to showcase his work as a fine arts photographer. The exhibition highlights Charlotte protests last summer in response to the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, both of whom were killed by law enforcement.

“The reason why it is called ‘In the Line of Sight’ is because if you aren’t in someone’s line of sight, you are invisible,” Galloway said. “A lot of the things I deal with as a Black person and [what] other African Americans deal with is people don’t look. They purposefully block something from their line of sight. I felt like this was the first time in the modern times that things were pretty visible, and everyone was like, ‘that is messed up. That is not humanity. That is not fair.’”

Galloway went out daily to record history. He wants people to see the images for what they are, not content to fill someone’s social media for likes.

“This is part of our history,” he said. “This is not to be brushed under [the rug]. This isn’t content.”

For Galloway, seeing his work in a show is a dream come true, but the process of preparing for an exhibit was both triggering and cathartic.

“I have a connection to every frame that I take,” he said. “Looking at those images, I can literally smell what was in the air. I can feel what I was feeling at that very moment.”
Galloway wants people to see and feel the raw emotion of the mostly peaceful Charlotte protests while also comparing them to what took place during the pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6 that left five people dead.

“This is how the police treated us in our own backyard,” he said.

Galloway recalled an early night during the protests when Justin Carr’s mother Ann Carr spoke on the steps of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. Justin was killed during the protests that followed the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer in 2016.

“She said, ‘go home. My son didn’t get to come home,’” Galloway said.

While Galloway went home, he had friends who were trapped in the parking garage the night of June 2 when tear gas was unleashed by CMPD. For Galloway, “In the Line of Sight” is a reminder of what happened.

The experience of documenting the protests led to Galloway’s worst fear becoming reality when his 35-millimeter camera failed.

“My worst fear has always been my camera breaking, because I knew I didn’t have enough money to buy another one if it did,” he said. “My worst fear ended up turning into my biggest blessing.”

When his Nikon D750 broke during the middle of a protest, he tried to take the lens off to fix it, and when that didn’t work, he kept taking pictures with his smartphone. Galloway started a GoFundMe to replace his equipment with the hopes of raising $4,000. He raised over $6,000 and was able to purchase his dream camera, a Nikon D850.

“There were so many people who showed up for me who I have never taken a picture of,” he said. “That was eye-opening.”


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