“Photography has always seemed like a super power to me,” confides Joseph M. Giordano, an award-winning photojournalist and photography teacher based in Baltimore. For twenty-five years, Giordano has used his camera and an aesthetic informed by Brassai and others who intimately documented the culture of a specific place and time to represent Baltimore as a site of dramatic and dynamic shifts. Giordano tells Baltimore stories through a variety of overlapping photo series that include nightlife and fashion, art and culture, with a focus on political movements and protests over the past several years.
His work continues to put Baltimore on a national and sometimes international radar; his photos have been published in ProPublica, Al-Jazeera, GQ, Architectural Digest, Taste, The Observer New Review Sunday Magazine, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Washington Post, Baltimore City Paper, i-D Magazine, Discovery Channel Inc., Rolling Stone, XLR8R, and BmoreArt, just to name a few.
For Giordano, it has been essential to document what he calls “the resistance” that occurred in varying forms during Donald Trump’s presidency throughout the region and focused on Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington. Although he often documents protests as news content through his photojournalistic practice, the following photo essay has never been published all together. Giordano covered the riots at the US Capitol on January 6 and a peaceful Inauguration Day on the 20th, and the presidency of Joseph R. Biden feels like a turning point and an opportunity to consider the past four years as a historic and tumultuous time.
From 2016 to 2020, Giordano covered Trump protests in city streets and airports as well as counter-protests to Trump rallies and events. This collection of images reflects a variety of moments culled from dozens of different locations he experienced personally. Far from a comprehensive depiction of any one type of protest, this series focuses on signs and symbols, human figures, and crowds to create a multifaceted portrait of a movement and, sometimes, its counter-movement.
In his role as a photography teacher at the Baltimore School for the Arts, Giordano feels compelled to set an example for his students, to ethically document the peaceful and sometimes violent political protests of our time, not to sensationalize but to record the valiant efforts of so many individuals who have risked their lives and livelihoods in speaking out about that which they know to be wrong.
When Giordano isn’t photographing a rally or teaching, he works with other photographers to expand the audience around their work, co-hosting the podcasts 10 Frames Per Second and Photo Flip. He is currently working with Culture Crush Editions in New York on a new book, We Used to Live At Night, featuring images of Baltimore concerts, nightlife, bars, clubs, casinos, strip clubs, hiphop battles, and streets. Although the images from the new book are quite different in subject matter from the “Resistance” series presented here, the unique eye of the photographer comes into focus in both series, offering the viewer a unique glimpse into a place and time that is like no other.