New Jersey photographer documents violent riot at US Capitol
A Jersey City photographer who is well-known for his photographs of hip-hop stars captured history as it unfolded during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Mel D. Cole went to Washington, D.C. to document the pro-President Donald Trump rally, only to find himself in the middle of an attack.
“I think they’re some of the most important images I have taken my entire career. It was the craziest day of my life,” says Cole.
Cole says that he believed that the rally, led by Trump, would be historic. But then he found himself in the middle of a crowd as it stormed the Capitol.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect people to invade the Capitol building,” Coles says.
He also shot videos and interviews with protesters outside the building.
Cole is a renowned music photographer, shooting photos of the biggest names in hip-hop, including Drake and Kanye West. But he says that in the past year he has focused on protests, noting a difference that he felt between the Capitol attack and Black Lives Matter protests.
“And I was standing next to another photographer of color and I looked at him and I said to him, ‘Man, if this was all Black people, they would be shooting right now.’ If we were lucky, we would get rubber bullets,” Cole says.
Cole says that he is still coming to grips with the unprecedented assault, but says that documenting the events was crucial.
“It’s history. And I keep telling people, if not me, then who? If I wasn’t there, yes, the photos of the whole scene would have been taken, but they wouldn’t have been what you see,” Cole says.
More protests and rallies are expected to take place across the country ahead of the inauguration.