Central Michigan Professor Kent Miller took eight students from his JRN 422 Picture Story class to the Big Apple. I was one of the eight incredibly lucky students. I never thought in my dizziest day dreams that I would get to see New York City in my first few decades of life. It is an experience that I will never forget.
Within the first three hours I was in New York I saw the bloodiest face I have ever seen in my life. Honestly I was horrified when we first set foot in Zuccotti Park. I wanted to turn and run in the opposite direction. I didn’t want to be where I could get arrested for no other reason than doing my job and what I love in life. I didn’t want to be the kid who had a bloody bruised face and got arrested because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
When we first got there all was calm and I was a bit nervous but I was walking around with my fellow classmates taking pictures of things here and there. Next thing I know all hell broke loose and I saw a bunch of NYPD coming through the barriers. Kent happened to be next to me and told me to shoot everything I could. I put my camera to my face while holding back tears from fear and let my motor drive go. I was so worried about getting arrested that I couldn’t focus. I ended up on the outside of the barriers at some point worrying about everyone else who was still in the mess of it all.
Eventually things got a little more out of hand and we got to leave. We met up and everyone was safe. I was glad to out of it honestly. Looking back now. I wish I would have been more aggressive at the time. Actually not cared and got right in the action. Dodged the cops and such, but I needed what happened to be able to trudge on with no fear.
I left with Kaitlin and Jacqueline after that. We went to the student protest at Union Square. We met some awesome people on the subway and I was starting to feel better. Once we got to the student protest I just made my way through the crowd and didn’t care. I shot what I wanted when I wanted to. I ended up climbing on the side of a building to get a higher shot and then I got involved in the march. I marched with Kaitlin all the way from Union Square to Foley Square. That was the biggest adrenaline rush I’ve had in a long time. We were marching in bumper to bumper traffic with NYPD everywhere. We got knocked off the road at some point and lost each other a few times, but I had so much fun. I got a lot of sightseeing done and pictures taken all in the matter of few hours. It was such a great experience.
The day ended with a peaceful protest at Foley Square and many more photographs being taken.
The rest of the trip consisted of roaming around the city with classmates taking feature story pictures at Pier 17 and in Central Park.
It was a trip to remember and I will forever be greatful that I went. I learned so much about myself and about photojournalism in general. I met so many people, not to mention got closer to my classmates. I made new friends and new memories that will last a lifetime. I would change nothing that happened that weekend.