A portrait series documenting over 1,000 diverse voices of the 99% throughout Occupy NYC and Occupy Oakland, CA as well.
I was compelled to start this project in the beginning weeks of the Occupy Wall Street movement because I wanted to counter the negative perception perpetrated by mainstream media that the protesters were only a bunch of crazy hippies.
Through this project I have photographed hundreds of men and women in uniform, students, teachers, veterans, pilots, families, children, and even Wall Street employees and a few members of the 1% that seek change for our country.
I simply set-up a photo booth on-site, hand people a dry-eraser board and a marker and ask them to write their reason for being at Occupy Wall Street.
The thoughtfulness and sincerity that people have shown has inspired me to pursue this work and expand it. One of the most touching experiences was when a person who couldn’t read or write wanted to be a part of the project and asked if I could write his message for him. I feel so fortunate to have connected with these unique and diverse people, and to know that we all share a common set of values and that we’re all working in our own way to make this world a more decent place.
For this project I made a conscious decision to work with a large film camera using black and white film, also known as a medium format camera (Mamiya RZ) because the quality that I can obtain from the larger negatives is incomparable. I want the borders and beautiful grain you get from a negative. Although I could use a digital camera and create these effects in Photoshop, I believe this project is all about authenticity and I decided to shoot with this particular camera despite some of the additional burdens it poses.
Since shooting with film is a slower process, people realize they have to sit still much longer than if I were shooting digital. One of the benefits of this is that it allows people the extra time to connect with the emotions of their written sign, and to think about their roles as active participants in this historic moment. The end result is always a quiet, reflective, and emotional portrait.
This project is important because it is documenting a moment in history when we are all coming together with the common goal to create a more fair and just society for everyone.
I will continue photographing at Zuccotti Park in NYC, the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, as well as other Occupy locations throughout NYC. I also plan to take my project across the country to Occupy Oakland and San Francisco. Despite the recent park raids, evictions, and the ongoing attempt to silence the voices of the movement, I will carry on with my project in an attempt to compile over 1,000 voices from New York City, Oakland, and San Francisco combined. I believe that by giving these people exposure, I can amplify the volume of the voices of the 99%.
The music "Occupy", which was featured in my kickstarter video was produced by DJ Icewater, a Brooklyn based Hip-Hop DJ and producer. One of my rewards includes a CD featuring the instrumental version of the song and the version with recording artists Molina, Isis Speaks & Bravo One.
Lastly, note that Kickstarter has an all or nothing policy, so if I don't meet my goal, I won't get any of the funds. It's imperative that I'm able to have funding for this project because I'm recording history, and without your help this won't be possible. With your help I will be able to pay for the necessary equipment, buy film, process the film, and scan it.
This work was featured on NY 1:
This is the set of three 4"x6" postcards:
This is the CD cover for the "Occupy" single: Produced by DJ Icewater and featuring Molina, Isis Speaks & Bravo One. CD Artwork is by Dyallekt of Diamond Bois.
This is the 11"x17" poster:
This is the 11"x14" print:
This is the 16"x20" print:
This is the set of three 11"x14" C-prints:
This is the set of three 11"x14" darkroom prints:
The thought of a book has crossed my mind, and I have been approached by publishers regarding making a book, so this is a possibility. However, displaying the work in galleries, museums, and public spaces is also really important. This work has already been exhibited at RUSH Arts Gallery in Chelsea (Dec. 2011) and will be featured in the Occupy Wall Street exhibit at the South Street Seaport Museum in NYC (January 26 -Spring 2012). I'm also really excited about exhibiting this work in public spaces perhaps I'll occupy empty wall spaces throughout the city, or occupy billboards. The important thing to me about this work is that it actually helps amplify the volume of the voices of the 99%.
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My heartfelt gratitude and with your permission a thank you shout out on my project Facebook PageEstimated delivery:
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A personally signed 4"x6" thank you postcard, featuring an image from the project. Plus reward #1.Estimated delivery:
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A set of three 4"x6" black and white postcards featuring different collage images from the project. Plus rewards #1-2.Estimated delivery:
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A Hip-Hop/R&B mix CD by DJ Icewater, the producer of the track "Occupy" featured in my kickstarter video. Plus rewards #1-2Estimated delivery:
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A CD single of the track "Occupy" featured in my kickstarter video produced by DJ Icewater and featuring recording artists Molina, Isis Speaks & Bravo One. Plus rewards #1-2Estimated delivery:
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A black and white 11"x17" size collage poster of photos from my project. Plus rewards #1-4Estimated delivery:
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One limited edition, signed 11"x14" black and white inkjet print of the project. Plus rewards #1-4Estimated delivery:
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Your portrait taken at one of the NYC Occupy locations or Occupy Oakland holding up your own written sign on a dry eraser board. You'll also get a signed, black and white ink-jet print, size 8"x10". Plus rewards #1-4Estimated delivery:
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One 16"x20" black and white signed limited edition and numbered C-print (gallery quality print). Plus rewards #1-4Estimated delivery:
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A set of 3 different 11"x14" black and white C-prints (gallery quality prints) from the project. These prints will be limited edition, signed and numbered. Plus rewards #1-4Estimated delivery:
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A set of 3 different 11"x14" black and white dark room prints (one of a kind quality) from my project. These prints are limited edition, signed and numbered. Plus rewards #1-4Estimated delivery:
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I'll travel to your home anywhere within 50 miles of NYC, Oakland, CA or Los Angeles to take your portrait with my medium format film camera. You will get one 20"x30" black and white or color signed and numbered ink-jet print. Plus rewards #1-4Estimated delivery:
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I'll travel to your home anywhere in the continental U.S. (excludes Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico) to take your portrait with my medium format film camera. You will get one 20"x30" black and white or color signed and numbered ink-jet print. Plus rewards #1-4Estimated delivery:
- (38 days)