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Shooting Protesters

Protesters are hard to shoot.

And believe me, I've been trying.

They keep moving around. You never know where the action will break out next. As the crowds surge the lighting changes. You've got to watch those exposure settings while looking for high vantage points and getting to them and taking pictures before the police tell you to get down 'for your own safety' and then be ready for the next photo opportunity, while the crowd carries you down the narrow streets. 


I've been to two Occupy Wall Street marches now and haven't yet been able to capture the events in images as I'd like. (It looks like there will be plenty more protests to shoot, so I'm looking forward to getting better at it.)


My first trip to photograph OWS was a march from Liberty Plaza, (formerly Zuccotti park) to the court house at Foley Square. I arrived about 45 minutes after the march was to start, so I went straight to Foley square, only a few blocks from the City Hall subway stop, but it was quiet there. I thought maybe I had the dates wrong. I decided to walk to Liberty Plaza and see what was happening. I could see the red tripod sculpture a few blocks away when I found the front of the march. The rest of the day was a whirlwind of picture taking.

Towards the end of the day, I met photographer Lauren DeCicca. Later, when I checked out her photos from the march, I saw she'd taken the same photo I had.

Here's my picture of this particular protestor.


The main protest is behind us, but the police have just put an arrested protester into the van in the background, and they are the object of this man's ire, so I felt the van and police needed to be in the image. However, if I didn't tell you this, then you wouldn't know it and the background is just that, background.

Here's Lauren's photo

Copyright 2011 Lauren DeCiccaI like her photo much better. I was carefully making sure to get complete images, to show what happened. I think I did show what happened pretty well, but my image is pretty static.

By cropping her image close to just the protester and his sign, Lauren makes you feel him reaching out and up. The image becomes more than just documentation of an event. 

So I stole her technique and started cropping closer. Here's two examples.

 I'm getting there, but there's nothing like repetition to get good at something, so I'm planning to photograph many more protests.

Check out the rest of my OWS photos on Facebook.

Here are the Foley Square March photos on Facebook

Here are the N17 A Day of Action Wall street photos on Facebook

Here is Lauren DeCicca's website

Here is Lauren's Blog  Check them out. She takes nice photos.

Posted on Monday, December 5, 2011 at 03:43PM by Registered CommenterOwen Long | CommentsPost a Comment

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