In which our hero ventures forth into the great unknown to see what all the noise is about. Or, a first attempt at photojournalism at a local Occupy rally.
In light of the Occupy Wall St. Movement and its nationwide expansion, I realized that I don’t recall a movement such as this in my lifetime. Sure, there have been anti-war protesters, but when aren’t there protesters during war-time? This feels different. There are so many people coming together from so many varied backgrounds and they all have different ideas and somehow it’s all funneling down into one unified voice speaking out.
As I am interested in photojournalism and street photography (and seeing as how I’ve never taken photos of a protest) I decided to grab my trusty 500 DTL and check out my local Occupy group.
I’d heard of Occupy St. Louis at work from a co-worker who is an involved activist with the group. It sounded amazing and every day I was unable to go down to Kiener Plaza I felt I was missing something.
I work a 9 to 5 and decided to go on a Saturday on the way to get groceries.
Perhaps I got ahead of myself. Some may not know what this Occupy movement is all about. Long and short: The group is against corrupt corporation and banking practices. This summation isn’t precise, I’ll admit, but here are a few links for further education:
It was early Saturday and the group looked to still be in the shadows of trees holding their morning general assembly. Since I shoot film, I decided to go down to the riverfront under the arch and do some of my usual photography. After about an hour of snapping street shots I headed back up and there were some people holding signs along Market Street.
Members of the group come from all walks of life. In my brief period there I got to meet Janelle.
Janelle is from the area and she and her children have visited the plaza for the last two weekends. They were camping out again this weekend. She discussed with me the importance of the movement between cheers at honking passers by (honking in solidarity to one of the signs another person was holding) and felt that a change needed to be made to the current system.
Standing there on the median, alone with her daughter, holding a sign that says unity; she appeared, to me at least, as a welcoming figure like a grand statue welcoming you to the plaza. Her sign, a warm beacon of equality assuring you that you belonged.