It’s a weird sight: families and high school tour groups smiling and posing against a wall of activists with guns slung on their shoulders, or signs held high above their heads.
But that strange sight might continue, at least for the month during which “The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America” is up at the Houston Bowery Wall in Soho. The image is a compilation of portraits photographed by French street artist JR, and it’s featured on the front cover of Time magazine’s November issue.
Depending on where one stands on the sidewalk, a certain stance on gun regulation might seem prominent; people and activists on both sides of the divided aisle are scattered throughout the art. But no single side or group is the focus; instead, it’s the conversation.
Or, more accurately, it’s the many conversations Time reporters, editors, producers and JR had with 245 people in Texas, St. Louis and Washington, DC. Mia Tramz, managing editor for Life VR and producer of the project, said the cover (and mural) have been in development since early summer.
After its debut in New York, the mural will come to many other states, Tramz said, in hopes that it will fuel civil conversation and prompt viewers to explore further into gun legislation. The issue is “something we, as a media organization, have to report on again and again,” she said.
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325 million people. More than 265 million guns. 35,000 deaths a year. And one 227-year-old constitutional right. To tell this uniquely American story, we worked with @time. In three U.S. cities profoundly affected by guns—Dallas, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.—we invited people to share their views and describe their experiences in a search for common ground. In all, we filmed and photographed 245 people—hunters and activists, teachers and police officers, parents and children—to create this mural for TIME’s November 5, 2018, cover. Explore the full project at TIME.com/guns-in-america @time
Survivors of shootings, mayors, senators, pastors, principles, moms, dads, brothers and sisters are among the people featured in the mural and the interactive feature at Time.com, as are groups like Black Lives Matter, Moms Demand Action, the NRA and Texas Gun Rights. Notable appearances include former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Republican majority whip Steve Scalise and Forward Through Ferguson organizer David Dwight IV. The youngest person pictured is 7 and the oldest is 77.
Basically, Time made it so there’s a spot for 245 people with different opinions at the table — and room for the hundred, thousands or millions of people that might see, watch, hear, or take selfies with them.