A line of police in riot gear stood to the left, visors down, mirroring the sun. Standing before them, she waited, arms to her side, wrists in front of her. Her gray dress floated about her in the summer breeze.
Two officers, guns holstered at their waists, fast approached with zip ties.
Then Jonathan Bachman, a freelance photographer for Reuters, clicked his camera.
The resulting photo was seen across the country after Ieshia Evans, 28, was taken into police custody and charged with obstructing the highway, one of more than a hundred protesters who demonstrated in the streets of Baton Rouge Saturday.
But it was the photo of her, standing alone against a line of police officers, that caught the nation’s eye. Shaun King, a New York Daily News writer and activist, shared the photo on Facebook, praising it as “POWERFUL.”
Commenters, including friends and family, marveled at her posture, “balanced, powerful, upright and well grounded with both feet firmly planted on the earth.”
“This is a legendary picture,” a commenter wrote. “It will be in history and art books from this time.”
But Evans suggested a greater power was at work in the moment the photo was taken.
“I just need you people to know. I appreciate the well wishes and love, but this is the work of God,” she posted Sunday night on Facebook after she was released. “I am a vessel! Glory to the most high!”
The licensed practical nurse from Pennsylvania traveled to Baton Rouge over the weekend to join the protests, friend R. Alex Haynes said in a statement to The Washington Post.
“She was overcome by emotions while she was watching the protest,” the statement read. “The officers wanted to push the protesters and viewers further back and she found that unjust – given that it was a peaceful protest.”
Evans, according to Haynes, also has a 5-year-old son “she wants a better future for” and “went to Baton Rouge because she wanted to look her son in the eyes to tell him she fought for his freedom and rights.”
Bachman, a New Orleans-based photographer, almost missed Evans. He went to Baton Rouge twice this week to document protests after the death of Alton Sterling, who was shot by police. But as police began detaining demonstrators who had blocked off Airline Highway in front of Baton Rouge Police headquarters, he happened to see and photograph her during her arrest, Bachman told the Atlantic.
“I had my attention on people confronting the police on the side of the road,” Bachman recounted, when he looked over his shoulder and saw Evans, though he did not know her name.
“It happened quickly, but I could tell that she wasn’t going to move, and it seemed like she was making her stand. To me it seemed like: You’re going to have to come and get me. And I just thought it seemed like this was a good place to get in position and make an image, just because she was there in her dress and you have two police officers in full riot gear.”
Evans was named on a list of people detained and booked in connection to the protest for obstructing a highway.
Her arrest was peaceful, Bachman told the Atlantic. “It wasn’t very violent. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t resist, and the police didn’t drag her off. It’s representative of the peaceful demonstrations that have been going on down here.”
Evans, in her own comments on Facebook after she was released Sunday, confirmed that she was not hurt.
“I’m glad I’m alive and safe. And that there were no casualties that I have witnessed first hand.”
But in another post, she said she wanted to share her story in her own words.
“To all of my friends and acquaintances please don't do any interviews about me,” she added a few hours later. “If they want my story, I am here. I would like the opportunity to represent myself! Thank you. Peace, love, blk power! #blacklivesmatter”
A message to Evans’ account was not returned Monday morning.