After showing a picture of this protester to illustrate how the media pays more attention to the “…most radical, unpalatable, and loudest…” I see this on CNN:
After checking my watch for the eleventh time I knew it was going to be close. 11:28…11:29 getting closer to the entrance to the Hart Senate Office building. As I walk in the building I can instantly hear the chanting. I hurried to empty my pockets, put my cameras on the conveyer belt to the x-ray machine, and get waved through the metal detector. Just as I got my camera ready a banner cascaded down from the fourth floor.
I hadn’t been able to sleep so I decided to go down to Freedom Plaza to try to get some photos that juxtaposed the Occupancy memebers with the “suits” heading into their offices. That didn’t happen, but I did get to sit and listen to the General Assembly meeting for the Occupancy. From that meeting I found out about the Hart Senate Building protest and the 11:30 start time. I got on the Metro, hurried back to my apartment to get the equipment I needed to cover the event.
It was a frenzy of camera flashes, Senate workers stopping to see the commotion, and police officers trying to maintain order. Protesters were on every level of the building.
After the initial onslaught of nonviolent meandering the Protesters met with Police to come to terms with what would be allowed if the Protesters wanted to continue their demonstration and avoid arrest.
There were no fire hoses, pepper spray, or German shepherds; only a few arrests for what I gather was noncompliance.
I must admit, I didn’t think I would want to cover anymore of the Occupy DC movement, but after the event yesterday I might have to reconsider.
Last Tuesday I was sitting in my apartment looking at CNN; I saw a headline about the Occupy Wall Street protest, so like any normal person I hopped on a train at 4 am to go see the protest for myself. I don’t know why I thought New Yorkers might protest differently than Washingtonians, but I did.
With only an hour of sleep I headed to Wall Street to see the revolution that was taking place; turns out it was less Che Guevara and more chai tea.
Like the rest of the photographers and cameramen I started circling around the protesters like a hungry shark waiting for the photo feeding frenzy.
It was going to take a few minutes for my nose to acclimate to the patchouli musk; while I waited I noticed the major fault in this protest that would seal its fate like the many protest I had covered in Washington. There, wading through the sleeping bags, was a correspondent for CNN. She wasn’t looking for a well-spoken, well-dressed leader of the Occupancy, but rather the cliché “I’m not another cog in the murder machine,” self professed hippie.
From my years of civil disobedience in New England preparatory school I know that nothing can hurt your cause more than an uninformed person speaking on behalf of your group. That is exactly what was taking place. The newscasters were honing in on the most radical, unpalatable, and loudest people to interview for the rest of the world to associate with the Wall Street Occupancy. These were also the people that the photographers were taking pictures of because these “protesters” were always walking in front of anyone with a camera in order to get their picture taken so everyone could see the witty signs the had written that morning. People like this guy:
Or this woman that ranted for hours about how it was unfair that she would have to pay back her eighty-nine thousand dollars in student loans. ($89,000 for all you visual learners out there.)
The longer I sat there with my cameras the more I felt like I was an accomplice to all these people that just wanted airtime and were not the intelligible folks that were pushing for some types of reforms on Wall Street/Big Business. All of the people getting airtime seemed like hilarious caricatures from the Daily Show and that was why I knew this protest was/is going to have an uphill battle to gain any sort of support from the silent majority that is most of America.
Being the glutton for punishment I am I decided I would walk down to Freedom Plaza to see how DC was handling the Wall Street Occupancy. Like the New York Occupancy, the Washingtonians did not disappoint with its showing of shirtless occupants fighting the power. And like New York, the media was all too happy to interview the exact people they shouldn’t.
This would turn the protest into an event for tourist to come photograph in order to show their friends the radicals that were fighting Wall Street in DC.
And of course there were teenagers fighting the Bourgeois decadence with their witty signs. All I could hear while I took this picture was my father’s voice telling me how, “immature” it is to use vulgarity to try to get your point across. I have to agree with him.
I found the whole Occupancy to be analogous to the person that always complains about where you have made reservations for dinner, but doesn’t offer any other viable option to TGIFridays. All they know is they don’t want to eat there, but they are unwilling to offer something better. Do there need to be reforms in our economic system? Absolutely. But until the movement can start to resonate with everyday Americans nothing will come from these types of protests. Until that day comes I will continue to try to capture images I’m happy with while I wait for an intelligible alternative of the status quo.
After sitting through a History Channel special about 9/11 I came to the conclusion that I had gorged myself on the images of that day. I was standing on the football field in high school, our headmaster told us about the attacks, and to go back to our dorms. Of course I sat down in front of the TV to watch CNN loop the video of the planes crashing into the WTC for the next 6 to 8 hours.
I remember the trepidation I felt while trying to call my Mom over and over again; she was in New York because she had just dropped me off at school. I remember half of me wanted our military to kill everyone that had been involved no matter what, and the other half was disgusted at my blood lust.
I’m having a difficult time trying to write how I feel…
Well it happened again. “What?” you might ask. Life. Life happened. The hours turned into days. The days turned into weeks. The weeks turned into months and again time has passed by faster than it has before. I find myself looking back and wondering, “When did everyone start growing up so fast?” I have been busy with work and life forgetting that everyone else’s lives have also been changing, not just my own.
Fortunately for me I was able to pause my life, if only for a weekend, and catch up with the lives of some other people I care about in this world. I boarded a flight to Texas to go meet up with my roommate from college, Aaron, to go visit our friends Aaron and Stephanie Castañeda and welcome their son Mason into the family. Thankfully he looks more like his mother than his father.
Aaron and Stephanie are the first friends my age to have a child, so I wanted to get a sense of what it is like to take care of little Mason. Here are a few things I learned in only four days with Mason. It quickly became apperant that sleep is a precious commodity when taking care of a two-month old.
One parent has to catch up on sleep whenever possible while the other takes care of business.
It is important to work out a shift system to best quell the rebellion of feedings, poopy diapers(that’s a technical term), and crying fits.
That there is a fortune to be made in selling adult size devices that are made for putting babies to sleep. I was envious from the first time I saw Mason passed out in this swing. I would buy one of these swings in a second if La-Z-Boy made them in my size.
If you happen to find yourself holding a sleeping child, enjoy it while it last. Aaron knows that better than anyone because Mason was often more fussy with him than anyone else. Here is one of the rare moments when they were in harmoney with each other.
When a grandparent offers to take care of your child for a night take full advantage. This is the morning after we went out in Austin while Stephanie’s mom took care of Mason; I got the feeling no one wanted their picture taken here.
Aaron has probably felt a lot better in his life…
Playing with a baby will always put a smile on your face.
But even that can take a toll on you.
Finally I learned that no matter what, once you lock eyes with someone this beautiful everything else seems a little less important. Mason is a very lucky boy to be the son of such wonderful people. I know they both love him more than life, and will do everything in their power to make his life as amazing as they can. And he also has two awesome uncles that are always there for him if he ever needs them.
Oh Mr.Moon, moon
Bright and shiny moon
Won’t you please shine down on me?
Oh Mr.Moon, moon
Bright and shiny moon
Won’t you come out behind that tree?
When I was a little boy my mother would sing that song to me when the moon was out and bright. The first photo is what I saw that got me off the couch and outside.