Sunday, December 11, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - New York

OWS in Times Square

Eviction night at Zuccotti Park.

The next night a lot of the occupiers spent the night at McDonalds and a local church

Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground while Occupy Wall Street protesters clash with police in Zuccotti Park on November 17, 2011 in New York City. Hundreds of protesters attempted to shut down the New York Stock Exchange, blocking roads and tying up traffic in Lower Manhattan.

Right after I took this photo Brandon grabbed onto my leg, took me down and wouldn't let me go, screaming over and over "help me". It took the police about two minutes to drag him off me. I was really shaken up and upset that I wasn't able to help him. All of a sudden as I was wandering around the park a big scuffle broke out with the protesters and NYPD. I ran over and saw a handful of terrified looking cops who were completely surrounded by protesters. It seems the occupiers and police were physically fighting with each other and Brandon was on the ground getting trampled... A few days later I read this explanation in the Daily News:

"Brandon Watts, 20 — who remains charged with felony grand larceny for swiping the hat off a cop’s head during a spat with police at 1 Liberty Plaza — was freed Wednesday after Occupied Wall Street posted $2,750 in bail.
Watts appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court to learn that the case, which also involves misdemeanor charges for hurling a pen and an AAA battery at police, has not yet been presented to a grand jury. He also went to face charges on two other protest arrests that include escaping from the back of a police van and resisting arrest after stealing orange netting from cops."

The eviction night and 'day of action' were really crazy. A lot of journalists and photographers were arrested and our press passes didn't mean anything to the police. They even barred all the press from the park on eviction night, keeping us in a pen across the street. The whole movement seems to have really died down and Zuccotti is eerily empty nowadays. I'm interested in what the coming months will bring for the movement.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vision screenings in Hispaniola

One day in June I got a call out of the blue from Adrian Hong asking me if I'd like to volunteer to photograph a trip he was taking with Lumoon Vision staff and two optometrists to give vision screenings and eye glasses to people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

In late August, just as Hurricane Irene was about to hit New York, we caught the last plane out of JFK before all flights were grounded and headed to Santo Domingo. Over the course of a week, with the help of local volunteers, hundreds of children were screened and provided with eyeglasses. Some of the kids in the IDP camps in Haiti had extremely high prescription needs, up to +8 or 9. Even a few adults who had never had an eye exam before were screened. One older man in the rural Dominican was considered legally blind. The team gave him a pair of eyeglasses, around a +8 prescription, and he could see clearly for the first time in his life. I'll always remember driving back down the road and passing him as he was showing off his new specks to friends, wearing the biggest smile I've ever seen.

Screening kids in the DR

Queuing up for screening in the Haitian refugee camp in the DR


This kid was amazing. He rode the tail all the way across the river.

Eliot and the two cutest kids in Haiti

Haitian IDP camp outside Port au Prince

I wanted to take them all back to NY

We brought a few soccer balls from the DR for the kids in Haiti

Kids stand for portraits in Haiti and the DR before they're screened

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Martha's Vineyard wedding

At the end of September, after a long non-stop month of hot and dusty Hispaniola, Fashion Week, and the UN General Assembly, it was a treat to spend the weekend on Martha's Vineyard with my family photographing the wedding of my cousin Andy and his bride Angie. It was a keg party-crockpot wedding, and after being the photographer at so many stiff and stressful weddings where the bride is too frazzled to even enjoy her day, this was a breath of fresh air. When they came skipping out on the dance floor to Third Eye Blind's 'Semicharmed Kinda Life' I knew it was going to be a great night.

Congratulations Andy & Angie !

Seen on the scene - the creatures of the tents

Held twice yearly in February and September, New York Fashion Week features designers from all over the world, displaying their creations on the runways. A small venue of tents pops up in Lincoln Center to house the crowd of celebrities, designers and models who descend upon the city. The event also draws its own share of notable and outrageous personalities, fashionistas, and those who come just to be seen on the scene.. (continue reading here)