My good friend Joseph Boisvert took the following series of photos at Occupy Wallstreet and Occupy Chicago early this year. He is an amazing amateur photo-journalist, check out more of his photography on his Flickr.
Over the last semester I found myself (along with many other artists, students, and activists) drawn to the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in Manhattan in early September of this year. By starting with a fairly open shooting strategy I would visit Zuccotti park often looking for the “defining faces” of the movement, using at first my digital camera and then moving on to 35mm, and then 120mm black and white film. In retrospect I should have realized that there is no way to succinctly describe or document such a fluid subject as Occupy Wall St. I believe, whole heartedly, that I did not find these specific faces. Each time I would return to the site discovering that it had completely evolved, and that the faces I found were telling disparate, and diverse stories. In the same way I found it hard to discern whether or not I was attending these events in the role of a photojournalist, or protestor. The scope of the project was expanded by a brief trip to Chicago where I met a completely different group of protestors with their own agendas, goals, and gripes. In switching back and forth between these two modes of interaction I was able to solidify in my mind a clearer vision of the new role the activist-citizen must play in the public domain. These photos are less representative of the movement at large but, are more of a personal account of the faces I saw that defined my experience with this movement. The end product is a collection of portraits in black and white that are significant to me as a photojournalist and protestor.