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.
Naturally, guy was all smiles. Beer in one hand, cigarette in the other. America.
I parked on the corner of 17th and New York, mine being the only car on the block. As I lit my cigarette I noticed a steady stream of college students from GW and Georgetown, draped in flags, sprinting through the empty streets. I hadn’t anticipated this, but I had timed it right. I weaved my way to the front gate. The “USA” chants were already resonating throughout Lafayette Square but at that point I could still raise my elbows. A hundred people, maybe two. Three hours later, in the dead of night, reds and whites and blues waved as far as my eye could see. Thousands. I found myself caught up in the moment, joining in on an emotional rendition of our National Anthem. I didn’t know anyone killed in the 9/11 attacks but they were Americans, like I am, with mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, like I have. I’d like to believe that the joy we saw last night stemmed not so much from the death of an evil man but from the hope we all share that those families might now experience some kind of closure. It was quite a night.
Last week we had some shitty weather here in capital city. Yeah, I said it. It gets compounded here in DC because traffic is so bad to begin with; many drivers are from other states and countries and the three plows we have take their time getting around.
I had some fun on facebook with my trip updates – here’s the first one trying to get out of Georgetown at 4:30.
Needless to say, it was an exercise in patience. Final tally was about 3 hours, 6.4 miles. Luckily I had my camera to keep me occupied on the streets and highways turned parking lots.
My Mark Deuce hasn’t left my side since she arrived last week. We haven’t slept together yet; it’s a little early in the relationship to take that kind of step, but she rests peacefully on a sweater that I never wear, right next to the bed (in case I wake up and need her as I did in the previous post). The students in the full-time program have had to get used to this new relationship. I know they’re jealous but they’re learning how to cope. They spent this week in the studio with Ron Aira for their first attempt at portraiture. I took some photographs of the process. These are some of those some.
Yes, easily the most racist blog post ever…but before I move on, let me clarify. “Crushing blacks” is a term used in the photography world when you expose an image so that the “blacks” (darkest parts of your image) are “lost” – completely black without detail. And if you don’t succeed, crush ’em in post. I like this. Always have.
A few weeks back, the class I’m assistant teaching field tripped to the National Arboretum here in DC. I crushed some blacks. I tried to compose. I had fun.
Welp, see ya later…