Occupy Wall Street Seen Through a Camera Phone

A front line view on the Occupy movement, through a series of photos taken with an iPhone or similar camera phones.

by Harry on November 15, 2011

Thanks to the technological advancements of the last 15 years, including the development of image sensors capable of taking photos in low-light conditions, camera phones have become more and more important as tools that can turn each of us into a reporter. With the right apps, a current generation smartphone like the iPhone becomes a portable media center — you can take, process, and publish your photos on the spot in a few minutes. These devices become source of first-hand testimony on events that are either ignored or misrepresented by mainstream media sources. The wave of protests against the political and financial elites that is spreading throughout the globe are a prime example of this.

The Occupy Wall Street movement “officially” started on Semptember 17th, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, a publicly accessible park in Lower Manhattan, New York City. The protestors, coming from the most heterogeneous walks of life, grouped around a slogan, “We are the 99%”, which refers to the difference in wealth in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. And wealth, in capitalistic societies, translates directly into political power — thus, those that should reform the society are the same that are benefiting from the unequal distribution of wealth. The wealthy own the media, the flow of information, and they shape the destiny of a nation using their money.

Mainstream media did not help the Occupy Wall Street movement; fear-mongering news channels have spread an image of the movement that describes the protestors as a danger: the result of this is that a part of the 99% that would need social and financial reforms is against the protest, when not afraid of it. Yet, if you will look at the images in this article, shot by photographers armed with a camera phone, you will immediately realize that the Occupy movement, which has spread to other cities in the U.S. (some of the photos in this article are from Oakland, Boston, and San Francisco) and to other countries, is made also of people like you.

Since when we are born we are fed the idea that our nation is the best place in the world, the most free, the one that can teach others the “right” way of doing things, the one that is favored by a “god”. Instead of making free thinkers out of their citizens, a lot of societies seem to attempt to create an army of nobodies that should simply follow the rules; they make sheep out of men. This does not happen just in poorer countries, but everywhere: because in any country there are powers that are interested in maintaining the status quo or changing it at their advantage, little by little. This indoctrination, often done through the media and the frustration that comes out of unequal distribution of wealth, is the only reason why, in my opinion, U.S. citizens, who believe to be the most free in the world, live in a country where:

  • Major banks and multinational corporations control the democratic process. It does not take a good man to get elected as a President: it takes a man with powerful allies capable to pay for the epic campaign, allies that will then keep him under control throughout his mandate.
  • Universal healthcare, which is a moral obligation in an industrialized society, does not exist.
  • Post-secondary education is not guaranteed, and it is actually so expensive that 70% of the students need to get a loan. Many of these will pay their student debt through good part of their life, while the job market does not guarantee in any way that they will have a job to use their skills.
  • Trade unions have little or no power at all.

We have been preparing this article for about 10 days now, and the situation for the Occupy Movement has been getting more and more difficult with each passing day. Yesterday, in a move that has been described as “minutely planned, almost military-style operation to remove those who had been camping in the park for two months” by the New York Times, the protestors have been forced to leave Zuccotti Park in NYC; over 70 people (some sources report more than 140 people) that were in the park and refused to leave have been arrested.

We must thank all the photographers that accepted to have their photos shown in this article. Many of these photographers are active in the Occupy movement, others went there to see with their eyes and camera what was going on. The photos we picked, all taken with a camera phone, are remarkable shots that give front-line views on an event that is not getting the coverage it deserves in mainstream media. We ordered the photos in chronological order.

We encourage you to explore the photographers’ profiles, linked below the photo, and we hope that this article is just a starting point for those that had heard news about the Occupy movement only from mainstream media sources.

If you want to read more about the Occupy movement or support it, you can start from one of these links:

We Will All Be Arrested... But It Will Be Alright. Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Sion Fullana, taken with an iPhone.

September 25, 2011: “We Will All Be Arrested… But It Will Be Alright.” Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Sion Fullana, taken with an iPhone.

“…A few hours later, as the protest marched to Union Square without permission of assembly, the promised was fulfilled, and the NYPD officers raided the march, holding the protestors in nets, beating some with sticks, pepper spraying some defenseless ones and holding a large group of detainees handcuffed in MTA public buses for hours without reading anyone their rights or allowing them a bathroom to use. Excessive use of the force, perhaps? Abuse of authority?” writes Sion, commenting his photo.
Bigger imageSion Fullana’s gallery on FlickrSion Fullana’s website

No Revolution Has Ever Happened without Its Music. Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Sion Fullana, taken with an iPhone.

September 30, 2011: No Revolution Has Ever Happened without Its Music. Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Sion Fullana, taken with an iPhone.

Bigger imageSion Fullana’s gallery on FlickrSion Fullana’s website

Occupy Wall Street workers check out Occupy Wall Street. Photo by Shel Serkin, taken with an iPhone and Hipstamatic app.

October 3, 2011: Welcome To The Occupation. Occupy Wall Street, NYC. Photo by Shel Serkin, taken with an iPhone and Hipstamatic app.

Bigger imageShel Serkin’s gallery on FlickrShel Serkin’s website

Occupy Wall Street. Photo by Erika Plummer, taken with an iPhone 4.

October 4 2011: Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Erika Plummer, taken with an iPhone 4.

“Aristedes Philip DuVal waves a flag made in China – ‘see the stripe?’ he begs as folks walk by.”
Bigger imageErika Plummer’s gallery on Flickr

Occupy Wall Street: Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Paul Pacitti, taken with an iPhone and Camera+ app.

October 7 2011: Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Paul Pacitti, taken with an iPhone and Camera+ app.

Bigger imagePaul Pacitti’s gallery on Flickr

Occupy Wall Street: Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Paul Pacitti, taken with an iPhone and Camera+ app.

October 7 2011: Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Paul Pacitti, taken with an iPhone and Camera+ app.

Bigger imagePaul Pacitti’s gallery on Flickr

I Want a Future. Occupy Philadelphia, March to the Liberty Bell. Photo by Joel Levin, taken with an iPhone 4 and Camera+ app.

October 8, 2011: I Want a Future. Occupy Philadelphia, March to the Liberty Bell. Photo by Joel Levin, taken with an iPhone 4 and Camera+ app.

Bigger imageJoel Levin’s gallery on Flickr

The Occupied Wall Street Journal. Photo by Shel Serkin, taken with an iPhone and Hipstamatic app.

October 8, 2011: The Occupied Wall Street Journal. Occupy Wall Street, NYC. Photo by Shel Serkin, taken with an iPhone and Hipstamatic app.

Bigger imageShel Serkin’s gallery on FlickrShel Serkin’s website

ninetyninetoone. Occupy San Francisco. San Francisco. Photo by Andy Brooks, taken with an iPhone 4. Poster by Eddie Colla.

October 10, 2011: ninetyninetoone. Occupy San Francisco. San Francisco. Photo by Andy Brooks, taken with an iPhone 4. Poster by Eddie Colla.

Eddie has a collection of downloadable posters available on his Flickr profile.
Bigger imageAndy Brooks’ gallery on FlickrEddie Colla’s portfolio

Occupy Boston, Charlestown Bridge Sit Down. Photo by Mike Lindsey, taken with an HTC EVO 4G

October 10, 2011: Occupy Boston, Charlestown Bridge Sit Down. Photo by Mike Lindsey, taken with an HTC EVO 4G.

“It’s a shame what has happened to this country and the world alike. Movements such as these are a ray of light for free speech abroad, if not solely as a display to others that we need not keep our concerns confined to the water cooler or dinner table, and rather have a duty to defend our liberties and freedoms,” says Mike, author of this shot.
Bigger imageMike Lindsey’s gallery on FlickrMike Lindsey’s website

Occupation. Photo by Benjamin Curry, taken with an iPhone 4 and Instagram app.

October 12, 2011: Occupation. Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Benjamin Curry, taken with an iPhone 4 and Instagram app.

“Giving the OWS movement exposure is the most important issue. I truly love my country, but far too many things have gone wrong over the last decade for any of us to stay silent,” says Benjamin Curry, author of this shot.
Bigger imageBenjamin Curry’s gallery on Flickr

Turn Off the Dark. Occupy Wall Street. Times Square, NYC. Photo by Daniel Latorre, taken with an iPhone 4.

October 15, 2011: Turn Off the Dark. Occupy Wall Street. Times Square, NYC. Photo by Daniel Latorre, taken with an iPhone 4.

Bigger imageDaniel Latorre’s gallery on FlickrDaniel Latorre’s website

Occupy Chicago. Obama=Hoax Sign. Photo by Anna Aaron - PhotoSchmoto, taken with an iPhone 4.

October 15 2011: Occupy Chicago. Obama=Hoax Sign. Photo by Anna Aaron – PhotoSchmoto, taken with an iPhone 4.

“Strong sentiments expressed in signs all around especially at failed leadership. This sign expressed just how people are seeing their leaders,” says Anna commenting her photo.
Bigger imageAnna Aaron’s gallery on FlickrAnna Aaron’s page on Facebook

Occupy Chicago. Photo by Anna Aaron - PhotoSchmoto, taken with an iPhone 4.

October 15 2011: Occupy Chicago. Photo by Anna Aaron – PhotoSchmoto, taken with an iPhone 4.

“This was and is history in the making. The energy was amazing on that day and seeing the people united for change was never more empowering or moving,” says Anna about her photo.
Bigger imageAnna Aaron’s gallery on FlickrAnna Aaron’s page on Facebook

Occupy Wall Street. Photo by Jürgen Fauth, taken with an HTC T-Mobile G2.

October 19 2011: FDR. Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Jürgen Fauth, taken with an HTC T-Mobile G2.

Bigger imageJürgen Fauth’s gallery on Flickr

99% Signs. Photo by Benjamin Curry, taken with an iPhone 4 and processed with Filterstorm app.

October 19, 2011: 99% Signs. Occupy Wall Street. Broadway, NYC. Photo by Benjamin Curry, taken with an iPhone 4 and processed with Filterstorm app.

Bigger imageBenjamin Curry’s gallery on Flickr

Follow your hearth. Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Doctor Popular, taken with an iPhone 4S.

October 26, 2011: Follow your <3. Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Park, NYC. Photo by Doctor Popular, taken with an iPhone 4S.

“The truth is, they are all there. The kooks, the anarchists, the kids, the grown ups. You can easily find whatever you want to help convince you of what you already believed to be true,” writes Doctor Popular, author of this shot, in his group iPhone photo-blog.
Bigger imageDoc Popular’s gallery on FlickrObjective Scenes – group iPhone photo-blog

October 27, 2011: Occupy Oakland: Me; After Work Tuesday; Being Tear Gassed. Photo by Josh Redlus, taken with an iPhone.

“Regardless of one’s opinion on the Occupy movement, it nevertheless represents the right, guaranteed to Americans, and a prime feature of a true democracy, to gather and voice their opinion… And how, on occasion, those rights can be oppressed even in the ‘most free of countries’.”
Bigger imageJosh Redlus’ gallery on Flickr

Occupy Oakland General Strike on trucks at Port of Oakland. Photo by Steve Rhodes, taken with an iPhone 4

November 2, 2011: Occupy Oakland General Strike on trucks at Port of Oakland. Photo by Steve Rhodes, taken with an iPhone 4.

Bigger imageSteve Rhodes’ gallery on Flickr

ILAR November 16, 2011 at 1:43 am

an insiders view of history in making.

*goosebumps*

great pictures! well picked. Thanks Harry!

Reply

Doctor Popular November 16, 2011 at 2:21 am

Oh man, thanks so much for including my photo. This is a great round up of OWS photos.

BTW, I just posted another OWS mobile art piece here http://www.objectivescenes.com/2011/11/ows-a-fresh-canvas/

Reply

Harry November 16, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Doc, thanks to you for the great photo, and also for that link – looks fantastic, and interesting blog post.

Reply

Anthony Florey November 16, 2011 at 2:27 am

Thanks for sharing!

Reply

patti November 16, 2011 at 2:33 am

really wonderful compilation!
please keep documenting as an antidote to the smear campaign

Reply

Erika Plummer November 16, 2011 at 4:13 am

Wow! These are a wonderful representation of the movement Coast to Coast. Thank you for putting this together!

Reply

Harry November 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Erika, thanks to you for allowing us to have your photo in here!

Reply

Alysia November 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Nice selection. It’s a shame major media won’t do serious coverage on this. We heard some about OWS here, out of the internet I mean, but no media will offer a bit of insight.

Reply

Joel Levin November 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

It’s is an honor to be amongst such a great group of photos. Good Stuff!!

Reply

George LaCas November 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Great post, great pics. Keep them coming!

Reply

Mar November 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Harry thank you for caring, and for the inspirational article. The photos are great, and a much needed documentation on what’s going on.

Reply

Chris Mcnally November 20, 2011 at 11:02 pm

wow! thanks!

Reply

Torre November 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Wow-goosebumps. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

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