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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The role of the Photojournalist

(Exert from a letter to a mentor)

"I certainly agree that, photographically, the subject of “the protest” has run its course. There are only so many pictures that can be obtained from any set of criteria. Especially with Occupy DC, where for me the overall feel of every action has come to be similar - the unique details are what must be hunted down and captured in order to present a unique photograph.

But is it not the duty of the journalist to keep an eye on the state, and report back to the public how the state interacts with it’s citizenry? With anti-protest legislation like HR 347 it is on the riot-lines of this country that our civil liberties are eroding. In an era of militarized police and the constriction of our civil liberties I would argue it is even more important that professional journalists are consistently at the scene of political protests and for them to enact the watchdog function of the 4th estate. This is for the sake of business, this is for the sake of democracy. Police, as agents of the state, behave themselves when there are lenses around, and to this end I have dedicated the vast majority of the past 6 months.

I certainly acknowledge that with my perspectives on the role of the American 4th estate that my photographs will carry a specific type of bias, but I find this bias to be far more appealing than the bias introduced when the journalist should have to cater their work to the perpetuation of their media outlet’s business. I find focusing on the stories that get you and your organization paid to be inherently unethical, as those are the stories that benefit no one but yourself. I recognize this condemns me to financial misery, but money cant buy me love. And that, the unfortunate inverse I have come to know all too well, love can't buy me equipment :/.

Plain clothes officers from the DC Metropolitan Police department block IMF protesters entrance to the One Washington Circle hotel when the protesters attempt to bring their messages to IMF delegates in their hotel rooms.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Occupy the Sidewalk

About 25-40 Occupiers have been sleeping outside of the Bank of America at 15th and Vermont NW for the past few weeks. They've woken up to hoses, police, and more than once a private security guard threatening their lives (caught on livestream - legal action is being taken).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Freedom Merger

The two Occupy encampments in Washington DC, Occupy DC in McPherson Square and Occupy Washington DC in Freedom Plaza, both voted to merge their general assemblies into a single occupation at McPherson Square last week. The merger ends 6 months of tension between the two encampments as they come together in an "occumarriage".

It was a sad day for Occupy Washington DC as they voluntarily dismantled their encampment on Freedom Plaza. Here, Vietnam veteran Edward Hunt removes one of the final items from the last communal tent : a dreamcatcher hanging from the only portal for natural light beside the doorways. Supplies from Freedom Plaza will be distributed to a number of locations including McPherson Square, into storage and a private site established for the logistical support of occupiers coming in from out of town.

A lot of emotion passed through these tents - love and compassion; frustration and anger; and what I can only imagine would be the hopes and dreams of a multigenerational movement to change the world for the better. I dont believe in energy working, but if there is such a thing, the web of this relic will glow for centuries to come.

Occupy Washington DC at Freedom Plaza votes to merge their occupation with Occupy DC at McPherson Square.

William Miniutti, signatory on Occupy Washington DC's permit for encampment on Freedom Plaza, speaks at a general assembly in McPherson Square about the issues regarding the transfer of the permit from Freedom Plaza to McPherson Square. The combined assembly found no consensus on the issue of the permit transfer, and encampment at McPherson Square will continue unpermitted.

The past two weeks

DC Metro Police escort a rally against the injustices against Trayvon Martin through the streets of downtown DC.

'Buddha Brian' brings up the rear of the sleepful protest march.

Breakout groups at the Money Out of Politics conference at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbia Heights.

Tie-dye rose, Georgetown

Occupiers from McPherson Square meet in a stairwell during intermission to discuss their actions in response to "Occupy GALA", produced by the GALA Hispanic Theatre independantly of Occupy DC.

Matthew Vaky acts out the character of a man whos will has been broken by Guantanamo Bay during Occupy GALA at the GALA Hispanic Theatre.

Ken Valentine of the DC Puppetistas tests the wing apparatus of an 80 foot dragon puppet prior to the School of the Americas Watch rally on Capital Hill.

Arrests are made at the School of the Americas Watch rally after a group of protestors refuse to move off of the street next to the US Capitol complex.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

National Occupation of Washington DC / McPherson's Resistance Carnival / April Fools

NOWDC general assembly

NOWDC general assembly

Banner behind the performance space, McPherson

Booth at McPherson Square's Resistance Carnival

Occupiers use their bodies to spell out "D.C." for a scavenger hunt in McPherson.

Bubbles - McPherson

Dance party at McPherson

Learning to ride a unicycle - McPherson

Dance party - McPherson

Dance party - McPherson

April Fools Day Black Bloc
Demonstrators hold a toast the Bank of America.

Arrested for chalking on a building housing an office branch of the Monsanto Corporation

Police in front of the Monsanto offices.

Annie Appel photographs occupiers across the country.

April Fools March

Solidarity push-ups