I knew that the image that would best represent hate crime (internationally) would center around a Swastika tattoo. The symbol is recognized everywhere around the world and instantly associated with hatred, and when it is tattooed into the skin, it strikes even more fear because it is deliberately and painfully part of their body. The difficulty was finding a stock image (because budget was limited) that didn’t look and feel contrived. I first found the image above on a student’s website. I was striking, and in the right lines of what was in my mind, but… it felt like a dramatic, (studio shot) image for a film and therefore compelling in the wrong way. The image I needed was for the police training website I was working on, the individuals that actually have to tackle such crimes face on. The image needed reality. I eventually found this shot from a 2009 Neo-Nazi protest. You can feel the difference. It is reality is tangible. Both images are seen from the back. Both images have limited color. Yet, even though you weren’t there – you know instantly which is real – you can feel it.
Image credit: SKOKIE, IL – APRIL 19: Neo-Nazi protestors organized by the National Socialist Movement demonstrate near where the grand opening ceremonies were held for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center April 19, 2009 in Skokie, Illinois. About 20 protestors greeted those who left the event with white power salutes and chants. (Photo by Scott Olson)