The widely covered peaceful protest, known as Occupy Wall Street, has been ongoing at New York's Zuccoti Park for over a month now. Like many people across the nation, photographer Eddie McShane wanted to get a firsthand look at the protest and the people putting their time and energy into this historic demonstration.
Despite living in New York City, the photographer hadn't visited the site of the protest until October 11, 2011. What he found was people, young and old, from all walks of life who had gathered to be heard. He invited these activists into a portable studio he had set up to take formal portraits without any distractions. McShane's photo series, entitled “The Occupiers,” is a collection of these portraits from his visit on October 11th and 14th.
McShane succinctly explains his takeaway:
“What I learned is that these people are not wackos, anarchists, or indigents. They are overwhelmingly working and middle class people of all backgrounds who feel that their government has failed them and does not represent their interests. They are there to protest corruption, not to tear the rich from their penthouses and drag them down in to the streets. They just want the basic promise of America; that everyone has a fair chance to live with opportunity and dignity. These people are your friends and neighbors, their children, and your own. They are Americans, they are Patriots, and they have a right to be heard.”
Travis, 32, From San Francisco, California
Chris, 47, From New York. Chris is handing out these purple headbands that represent all the colors of the American Flag when they are mixed together.
Guy, 18, From New York. He has been at The Occupation since day one.
Fetzer Mills, 51, From Waitsboro, North Carolina. Military Veteran, Arabic Linguist.
Tom, From Hastings, Michigan
Rebecca, 63, From San Francisco, California
Johnny Sagan, 31, From Brooklyn, Art Gallerist
Bri, 26 From Detroit, and Kevin, 25, From St. Louis, Missouri
Heidi, From New York City, Subway Busker
Ethan, 78, From Lansing, Michigan.
Dia, 21, From North Carolina
Michael, 24, from Maryland, living in Astoria, Queens
Nathan, 34, From Vermont, Lives In New York City. He is an attourney but cannot find work.
Reverend Ralph, 45, From Queens, New York
Yossi, 19, From London, UK
Daniel, 21, From Brooklyn. Daniel is expecting a child in a few months. He is at OWS because he wants to be able to provide better when the child comes.
Joe, 50, and his son Nicholas
Phaedrus, 40, From Pennsylvania, and Demetrius, 33, From The Bronx