For the last week or so I have been following the Occupy Philadelphia protest. It is a fellow movement to Occupy Wall Street that I am sure, or at least hope, you have heard of. The basic premise is that the people occupying Wall Street (self-proclaimed “The 99%”) have had enough of how banks have gotten bailouts and special treatment but still manage to take advantage of the average, middle class person in this country. This is not all they are protesting but this is a part of their core message. To learn more I would suggest that you look at their website www.occupywallst.org as I don’t want to say something that is not accurate.
This past spring the world was flooded with images, even more images than usual. The protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere filled our inboxes, Facebook pages and news sources. Images and stories filled our eyes and our minds. The shear proliferation of cameras assured that few if any didn’t see some image involving at least one of those events.
But of those images, although almost all were moving, few told the story alone. There was just too much to say and it takes many, many images to tell the whole story. This story isn’t over either, there is much more to tell.
This article is not about politics. But it is about the protesters and the stories that can be told and the images that may tell those stories. As I write this thousands are at a rally called Occupy Wall Street and many more occupations are beginning to take place throughout America, Canada, the UK, Australia and many other places. There is now Occupy Wall Street, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, and today marchers hit the streets in Greece again as well. These people “are the 99%.”
How is this opportunity? This is opportunity for every person with a camera to tell a story. This is a chance for professional photographers to get in touch with what brought many of us into the industry in the first place, and the chance to tell not only a story but to tell the story in the way that we see it. This is an opportunity to capture history in the making. It is opportunity in the streets.
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What you capture, the story you tell may be from the right or the left, if you are a journalist you will try to tell it from the point of view of an observer. To truly document these occupations you will need to be in the streets, out where the story is, among the people.
Tell your side of the story; get out and capture the chance of a lifetime when the story actually comes to you in your home city or town. Whether you are telling the story of the 1%, the 99% or both this is a chance to make images that will be remembered for a lifetime other than your own.
Maybe I will see you out there.