This project's funding goal was not reached on January 20, 2012.
About this project
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%.
- (38 days)