It was just after 10am, and a light mist hugged the city. Tens of thousands of protesters gathered on the National Mall - far more than I expected. I arrived too late to see the stage. In fact, I could barely make out the last jumbotron where I stood at 7th and Jefferson, unable to get any closer. The temperature was in the high 40s - cold, but not freezing. Stuck in my own little corner of the protest, I photographed people from all walks of life. There were small children in strollers, teenagers clambering up trees for a better view. Grandmothers with walkers. Several women in wheelchairs. From where I stood, I could see a massive sea of people, most of them women, and nearly a quarter sporting the knitted pink pussy hats. Although I couldn't see the stage, every once in a while a roar rippled through the crowd like a tidal wave - a signal that Gloria Steinem must have said something especially profound, or perhaps Alicia Keys had started to perform. I didn't know it at the time, but an estimated 500,000 people were there. I had come prepared for the worst, with sturdy shoes and a small first aid kit. I needn't have worried. There was no violence, and nobody was arrested.
After a few hours I dropped back to the National Mall, where the grassy lawn was covered in plastic matting that doubled as a stage for protesters to show off their elaborate costumes and hand-made signs. The march was supposed to start at 1:15pm, kicking off at Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, and heading toward the Ellipse lawn south of the White House. Quickly it became obvious that the crowd was too thick to march anywhere. The march turned into a tightly packed shuffle with protesters tiptoeing in the right direction, but after a few hours many people (myself included) gave up. As I walked away from the march, I photographed the revelry taking place on the periphery. A man in purple John Lenin glasses walked around strumming the mandolin. A drum circle formed, and dancing protesters took turns hopping into the center of the circle and back out again. The mood was joyous, resilient, determined. As I walked away from the National Mall, I stopped to chat with three military men clad in camouflage and sporting bullet proof vests. Had they heard of any disturbances throughout the protest?, I asked. They hadn't. When I asked about their heavily armored vehicle, they happily invited me to sit inside the driver's seat for a closer look (an offer I quickly accepted). Clearly, these guys were in a good mood. Or maybe they were just bored, grateful for the distraction of a curious photographer. I walked away from the protest the same way I approached, through Chinatown. Later that evening, after night fell and the protesters had long since disbanded, a Lyft driver told me that a small group of about 30 protesters still marching in the street. He had just picked up a woman who was too tired to continue. It was close to midnight. The following morning President Trump's administration would try to downplay the turnout at the Women's March, but crowd scientists confirmed that the crowd was three times larger than that of Friday's Inauguration. It was an historic event, and these photos capture only a few faces among the estimated half million who gathered at the Capitol to make their voices heard.