I swear I’m shooting more than just the Occupiers. Really. But the Occupy Movement has social, cultural and economic undertones (and overtones), whereas most of the paid work I shoot does not.
This past Tuesday, Occupiers from across the US gathered in DC for a protest against Congress. The crowd, though relatively small (maybe a thousand), still found ways to annoy the local authorities, remain in the news and enjoy a beautiful 50 degree day in mid-January. I tagged along as they “occupied” the Rayburn Congressional Building, marched through the streets back to the Capitol and eventually found their way to the White House.
Protestors occupy the entrance to the Rayburn Congressional Building.
A protestor dressed as a Guantanamo detainee enters the office of Maryland Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.
Cheers to the Secret Service and US Park Police, the DCPD, the Capitol Police and the protestors for an incident-free day. There were moments of tension, but that’s exactly what a protest is designed to cause. It’s supposed to be an annoyance — an interruption to normal day-to-day life — causing those who aren’t part of the protest to take notice of the grievances of the protestors. Occupy Congress took place the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day and it was, appropriately, a peaceful demonstration.
Last night, “delegates” from various Occupy protests around the country met in Washington D.C. for the first time. Occupy DC gained some occupiers from LA, Miami, Chicago, Minneapolis (and Duluth!), Wall Street, Houston, Portland and a host of other cities in preparation for today’s “day of action.”
I had too much action of my own going on to partake in today’s activities, but I did attend the “first General Assembly of the Nation of Occupy” last night at the Washington Monument. As I walked away, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was an event that will have significant meaning ten or twenty years from now, or if it was just a gathering of young people, airing their collective grievances to the dark, rain-soaked grounds that surrounded them.
“One belongs to New York instantly. One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” – Thomas Wolfe
The Cab Ride
A few weeks ago my friend John and I enjoyed everyone’s favorite Scientologist, Tom Cruise, in his Oscar nominated roll as Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July. At one point in the film Cruise says, “Love it or leave it, that’s what I think!” And that was that. Since that moment, this phrase has been used almost ad nauseam in our everyday conversation.
“I’m headin’ to school, JP.”
“Love it or leave it, Dave.”
“Lets go play some tennis.”
“Love it or leave it, John.”
“Internet just shit the bed on us.”
“Love it or leave it.”
It was no surprise then, that the phrase was on repeat in my head as I made my way through the Occupy DC crowd yesterday at Freedom Plaza in downtown DC. As most of you know, this “movement” of sorts got its start a few weeks ago on Wall Street. The Occupy Wall Streeters have stayed the course, so to speak, and have been rewarded with unions joining and other “occupations” sprouting up across the country, including in Minneapolis and San Francisco. This blog is for photos and not politics, so think what you will. Side note for my fellow photogs: everything was shot at f8 or higher, about 4 stops out of my comfort zone. Necessary for growth, I suppose, but a bokeh-less protest could be argued as un-American. Love it or leave it.
I recently shot the Taste of Reston festival with fellow-tog, Stephanie Bragg (thanks again).
There was ungodly amounts of delicious food and plenty of cold beereverages, some live music too. Most importantly though, the town splurged and hooked itself up with a carnival.
Carnivals are different from theme parks in that they travel, are much smaller in scale and have incredibly obvious names for rides (see photo #4). I find carnivals to be greasy and colorful and old and fantastic. Now, the title of this post is a bit deceiving. I do not wish to actually be a carny. I would, however, like to spend some quality time hanging out with and taking photos of this interesting breed. Future photo essay in development mode. Until then, here are some favorites from my hour at the Reston Carnival. Have a great July 4th weekend, everybody. Stay safe, drink booze and yell “America” a lot.
Naturally, guy was all smiles. Beer in one hand, cigarette in the other. America.
Yesterday was Father’s Day, a day when sons and daughters take their dads to the ball game, have a nice cookout in the backyard and give cards and gifts expressing their appreciation for all that dad’s do. I couldn’t be with my dad this father’s day weekend, but I want him to know that I, too, appreciate all he’s done and continues to do for me, the strange middle son.
It’s not easy to describe my dad, which I think is a great quality in and of itself. He’s quiet, witty, generally impatient, annoyingly intelligent and incredibly kind. He gives and gives and takes nothing in return. He answers the puzzles on “Wheel of Fortune” way too early. He stuffs his pockets full of dog treats so that all the puppy friends along Gardenview Drive can enjoy a treat with our dogs. While driving to church, he’ll curse under his breath at the woman who’s driving too slow. He sacrifices his time, his health and his sanity on a daily basis, continuing to put off retirement so that his family can travel to places like Italy. He leaves notes on the kitchen counter every morning, letting my mom know which dogs pooped and that he loves her.
Like most times in my life, I’m a day late (and always a dollar short). But I wanted to share some photos of my mom and dad and my brother John and his girlfriend, Jess, from our trip for this Father’s Day because I know that buildings and light and shadows and Gondola Guys are cool and serve as great reminders of things seen during a trip, but what’s really important is who you saw it with. I’m so lucky to be a part of my family and so thankful for their support. Love you, Dad.