During the first days of the Occupy movement in 2011, I spent a number of days on the ground photographing the events. I knew there was history being played out on the ground and I wanted to capture it. The first few rallies were held directly in Cleveland Public Square with people camping overnight nearby in a park. The weather was absolutely beautiful for October in Cleveland with a warm breeze blowing in and low humidity.
The scene on the ground in the first few days was one of contained chaos. It was a group of people that wanted good leadership, but that was very difficult to find. People were running all over the place trying their best to put together committees for the distribution of food, water, and leaflets. There were men and women trying to organize sign-making groups (which was difficult because people hadn’t been able to figure out what common themes to carry on the signs) and to arrange speakers to rally the crowds that had turned out. People were very kind to each other, and they had a genuine desire to help their fellow man.
Internet access was very spotty and nobody had been able to get WiFi into Cleveland Public Square. There were a few other people in attendance with cameras trying to document the beginning of what could have been a very historically significant movement. News crews were on hand every so often to catch a glimpse of the would-be revolutionaries to beam the images into the living rooms of the local population.
I volunteered to allow my photographs to be used by the Occupy movement, but the lack of solid leadership prevented me from being able to properly submit my work to the right people and my contacts were very difficult to get in touch with and soon disappeared all together. The Occupy Cleveland movement was a great experience to have taken part in, and I’m glad to have photographs of such a unique time in America.
Here’s a link to the Flickr account where the many of the photos I shot are hosted: http://www.flickr.com/photos/occupycleveland/