From the earliest days of the 20th centurythrough the rise of Black Lives Matter, photography has always been a powerful tool for exposing injustice. One person with a cellphone and a Facebook account can rally a nation to action.
But not in Spain, where a draconian law bans amateur video footage and “unauthorized” use of exactly the kind of photos that have fueled social protests in the US. Even journalists are not exempt—a reporter who tweeted photos ofan arrest was fined $680. The Citizens Security Law, which critics call “the gag law,” so outraged Daniel Mayrit that he decided to troll it. Hard.
Tenemos grandes binomios policiales!! Un equipo tambin fuera de servicio Las unidades de caballera siempre presentes en grandes dispositivos y en zonas de difcil acceso o peatonales. #policanacional #police #polica #seguridadciudadana #prevencin #caballera #patrulla #ayuda #parques #serviciopblico #horses #seguridad #091
A photo posted by Imgenes Autorizadas // (@imagenesautorizadas) on
After a few failed attempts, the Spanish photographerrealized that thebest way to mock the law was it work within it. He spentmonths downloading hundreds ofauthorized images from official police social media and Flickr accounts. He pixelated the officers in 50 of them, and created aparody account of the policeInstagramwhere he posts censored photos.Im just following through everything the gag law says, he says. If you actually apply it to everything, the result is so ridiculous, and it speaks to how ridiculous [it is].
Ridiculous, but troubling. For as long as people have been taking photos, they’ve used them to foster change. Spain’s efforts to criminalize thattroubles Mayrit. In an era where the government can watch everyone, everyone must watch the government.