News & Politics

The Story Behind a Very 2020 Photo

Photograph by Evy Mages

Washingtonian photographer Evy Mages swung by the Supreme Court on Sunday between assignments in Alexandria. Mages has made a point of photographing demonstrations during DC’s Trump era—she has a knack for capturing a single image that says a lot about what’s happening in DC at any big moment—and decided she should check out a rally against Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. Sunday’s event was not a big one, Mages says, so she wandered around to get a feel for things. A group of pro-life demonstrators stood across the street from the court, with some people occasionally going over to talk with protesters they might not agree with.

The young woman in the photo attended with several other friends, and they’d been chatting with people on the pro-life side. “They were just these really nice kids who were there to listen and have a discussion,” Mages says. 

The fellow in the “It’s OK to Be White” shirt in this photograph was hanging around with two other guys who were interviewing attendees, sometimes contentiously. When he encountered the young woman and her friends, he tried to argue that pro-choice language applied to his decision not to wear a face mask: “My body, my choice,” in his telling, meant he didn’t have to wear a mask. “They said they were quoting the CDC, saying how it’s completely safe not to wear a mask outside,” Mages says.

The young women also quoted CDC guidance about masks. The conversation “was not friendly,” she says. “At some point the girls just kind of turned away.” But not before she captured a fairly epic bit of side-eye.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.