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I was violated… the raid.

It wasn’t a pretty sight. I have to say it was nothing surprising, it has been going on around the world for a long time.

The night of the Occupy Boston raid at Dewey Square has been imminent for a week or so now and while most were predicting Sunday, we all know it would at least be during the weekend. For two straight days, myself and many photojournalists, videographers and writers had been covering this. I was exhausted and the minutes were being confused for hours. Thursday night the radios were quiet, and a few journalists and I were contemplating whether or not to go home or not. At about 4:30… nearly an hour before the raid, many journalists left the scene… much to what I believe was the Boston Police’s intentions. I received an alert at about 5:30am when the raid began, and it was that Dewey Square was being raided. I was in disbelief, and after 48 hrs of non-stop, I was angry.

Possibly the fastest I have ever driven.

I drove down to Boston 37miles from Salem, NH. I have never driven my car that fast before. As soon as I arrived, I was not surprised at what I was seeing. People and press were completely blocked off. I heard from other journalists, frustrated and tired, that they were kicked out and that there was one still and video pool, while the rest were designated to a press pool as if this was an Obama political speech.

What happened was wrong.

It was 100%, unconstitutional. No one was violent, and journalists were not interfering with police duty. Many journalists I was with were told to go behind the line on the sidewalk. As they cleaned up the the field, they continued to bar any press from going inside, even gave me trouble as I tried to go up to the barricades they put up themselves. We are not supposed to be ‘limited’ in how many press can show up to a public event, especially something that has to do with civil disobedience and rallies, etc. We are given distinct and specific rights as professional photojournalists, ie. press… to do our jobs and do it safely. We are trained to be safe and professional, while recording the images necessary to document history.¬†When a group of Police officers crowds around you when you are on the ground trying to photograph something happening, you feel helpless and completely overpowered as I did. Being backed up into a sidewalk is not fair and also illegal.

I do want to mention the BPD specifically.

I think we can all agree, across the country with the amount of people they had to deal with, the BPD was nearly perfect in there efforts to reach a common dialogue with the protestors and press since the beginning of this occupation. This was the only problem I had ever had with them personally. Having talked to many of the officers they are in fact people too and completely understand the movement. Some seemed to even agree. That is admirable to me and gives me hope that they are not only following orders, but are doing it the best they can without hurting anyone or revoking anyones rights. Let’s hope in the future this specific event does not happen again. I really appreciate their efforts and professionalism.

Covering my first movement, how I handled it… and why I care

I can remember being a lot younger(I’m twenty-three in ten days),

learning in school about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. It was possibly one of the first things that sank into me as a young child, that troubled me deeply. I did not understand the hatred towards other human beings and the injustice that was allowed in what was supposed to be the greatest nation in the world. When most children were enjoying video games and watching movies(I surely did the same), I was a lot more concerned about our history as a country. I started looking into WW1 and WW2. Then I moved on to Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement. Continuing, I read into and researched our Bill of Rights and Constitution. I hit the books hard. I was so proud to be an American. They had taught me that segregation was over and that we fought valiantly for our country. That was only the beginning for me. As I started to photograph and observe more, I kicked back from the tons of non-fiction, fiction and fantasy books I was just always engulfed in. I thought it was time to start observing. After going to college for two years, I felt it was not for me. It didn’t feel right and I wanted more. I took up a photography school in Boston and start photographing spot news and working for local newspapers. While it was amazing and I still do it, it wasn’t where I wanted to stop I started to see things for what they were, rather than learning form those with special interests and beliefs that I did not have. These feelings and circumstances led me to my first big story in Guatemala photographing at a dump outside of Antigua, Guatemala for about a week on a Visual Reportage workshop trip. Coming back, I was revitalized and my eyes were completely open, and for the first time so was my heart.

This summer I had won an award for the SPD Student Contest: Self-Portrait in documentary/reportage on my work from Guatemala.

The opportunity to Intern for James Nachtwey was a lifetime achievement for me.Things did not go according to plan, as things do happen like that. I was forwarded to Ben Fernandez by my instructor, Michael Hintlian. We met via Skype online and hit it off pretty well. I would go over and work all day, sifting through photographs and organizing them, as we were building his archive for the future. What I hadn’t realized before I joined, was that he was indeed, the famous Benedict J. Fernandez… the one who had photographed Martin Luther King from his days of an activist all the way until his death. His work was known world wide and was so amazing to look at and learn through his photographs and through his stories of yesteryear. I could not have asked for a better mentor and friend. It was mentally exhausting and at the end of the day, I would have dinner with Ben and his amazing wife, Siiri. The talking did not stop there. Ben would concentrate on his dinner, while Siiri and I would talk the night away as the sun settled in the New Jersey/New York City skyline about her time in the Garment District and speaking about the future of photojournalism.

Time in New York was running out,

and the Occupy Movement started the day I had left for New Hampshire. It seemed that while things did not work out on one end, the power of the unknown took its course and sat me right in the seat of someone who had been covering movements like Occupy America, for 40 years. I would go to bed mentally exhausted at night, his pressing questions at me asking me what I was covering, why, explaining to me how both sides work; the activists and sympathizers, and the Police Officers and nay-sayers. ‘You have to wear both sides buttons, one on each side of your jacket.’ He was right about everything.

As a graduate of school,

I found myself searching for my next few projects. I always feel that, you have to photograph from where you are and document what is most important to you. I had had in-depth conversations with two good friends of mine, Bryan Huff and Scott Eisen about the future of where this country was going. People were upset and the tension was growing. The middle east was having a revolution and it was spreading throughout Europe. Our predictions were that it could only be a matter of time before it came to the U.S. I’m glad we were right.

Covering my first movement,

this has been an incredible experience. From meeting new people to covering this with our journalists, I have become a better person. I am aware of the situation at hand, and I agree with it’s motives. This was the hardest thing I have ever photographed, and it took a lot of blood, sweat, tears and sleepless nights… sometimes in a row. To think this is only the beginning of something bigger, excites me in multiple ways. As a journalist, I get to keep photographing a movement that is changing the world and in another aspect it gives me hope that our voices have not been muted, and whether or not you agree with such movements there is a sense of appreciation as they stop their lives to cry for help for the rest of us who are struggling to make simple ends meet. We are in fact a great nation, but a deeply troubled one. This movement has given me many more project ideas to photograph, something that I will be beginning as this new year begins and I can be grateful for that. Awareness and helping others is one of my top priorities and one of the many reasons I am a documentary photographer.

This movement has not been easy on me,

and the people around me. Leaving at weird hours, canceling on plans or leaving mid-supper is not something I enjoy doing. It kills me. But there always that battle of the emotions, that if I miss it, I miss out. I won’t have the photograph and will not have documented history. While my work may represent what is happening, my work outside of the lens was sloppy. I will fully admit to that. Editing and processing were not concerns. Getting my work out there, time management and wondering when it was all going to go down, was a struggle from the beginning. Being outside of Boston 37 miles, it was hard to make choices about whether or not to come, whether it was worth the gas dollars and time out of work to make it down. Was it worth it? Absolutely. But does it come at a huge cost? Yes. I can only thank those who are closest to me for knowing how important it is for me to spread awareness to the world was is going on. My fiance, Katherine.. is the one who gets the biggest nod. I have never met someone so willing and understanding of what it means to be a photojournalists partner. She is my guiding light and a truly amazing person, who helps others in her own way all the time at nursing homes and elsewhere. My parents and my family, my best friend Nick who is always there to listen, and to Bryan… someone who I met in a crazy circumstance, you too. I’d also like to thank all of the Boston Photographers and journalists I have met, including the members of my Dialogue Collective, Scott Eisen, Noah Fournier, Tommy Chevelier and Yusuke Suzuki. Also Courtney Sacco.

I know that in the future I will be better at covering this, and other subjects and projects. But I do feel a huge sense of accomplishment for finishing up the beginning of something bigger.

Occupy Boston Work

The past few weeks have progressed mightily for Occupy Wall St. and other areas of the country, like Occupy Boston. Their continued pressure to financial institutions include Bank of America, Fidelity, The Federal Reserve near Dewey Square in South Boston are unwavering and unique. Here is some work over the past few weeks.

Mitt Romney-

(Salem, NH)- Mitt Romney speaks at a town hall event, allowing citizens to ask questions about foreign policy, social security and medicare Monday at 6:00pm October 3rd, 2011.

(Salem, NH)- Mitt Romney speaks at a town hall event, allowing citizens to ask questions about foreign policy, social security and medicare Monday at 6:00pm October 3rd, 2011.

Occupy Boston: Occupying State Street

(Boston,MA)- They walked around State St., Downtown Crossing, and past the State house and back. Hundreds of protestors occupying what they can on the first night of many.

Take Back Boston Protest Rally @ Bank of America

(Boston, MA)- This afternoon over 500 people took part in Take Back Boston’s new surge. Across the country groups are forming in opposition of Washington D.C. leaders, Wall Street and Bank of America for lack of tax payment, economic hardships and other related topics on Friday September 30th, 2011.

Occupy Boston: The beginning

(Boston, MA)- Last night marked the beginning of yet another area of in the United States where formal gatherings are taking place around the country. Like OccupyWallSt and others, OccupyBoston has come together to set official dates of protest and meetings across Boston to spread awareness of the many issues facing America’s youth and general population. From Wall Street to the homeless, frustrated people came out to speak their voice in Boston Common at about 7.30pm. “This is only the beginning”, remarked someone in the crowd. “What are we changing!” Yelled another as the frustration builds over the issues that are presented.

Ryan McBride/Dialogue

Ryan McBride/Dialogue

Ryan McBride/Dialogue

Ryan McBride/Dialogue

Ryan McBride/Dialogue

Ryan McBride/Dialogue

Ryan McBride/Dialogue

Ryan McBride/Dialogue

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