A surreal period: The vaccine protests in photos

Photographs by Alan Blundell

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A year on from the vaccine mandate protests, and this surreal time feels worlds away. It’s hard to believe that the demonstration, which saw thousands of people hit the streets, roads blocked, a 23-day occupation, and a playground slide go up in flames, actually happened in our quiet capital.

Photographer Alan Blundell got amongst the action in February 2022, capturing a dramatic, and unprecedented period in Wellington’s history.

“I was able to step right into the melee to capture the rowdy burnouts and the bikers close-up,” says Alan, who found the slow crawl of the protest gave him ample time to shoot. His image Freedom Bikers (also known as Men on a Mission), was selected as a finalist in the 2022 Capital Photographer of the Year (CPotY) competition, capturing the atmosphere of a group poised to embark upon the divisive occupation at Parliament.

Alan is influenced by documentary photography – a form which aims to accurately represent events or people. “I’m a fan of the great 50s and 60s American street photographers: Saul Leiter, Joel Meyerowitz, Gordon Parks, Garry Winogrand,” says Alan.

Working for a non-profit iwi organisation keeps Alan busy during the week, but when he has time (and is in the mood), he’ll pick up his camera, head out, and search for some photographic gold.

Alan was a finalist in the Capital Photographer of the Year competition in both 2021 and 2022. Read more about what’s next for CPotY in 2024 here.


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