CMU Photojournalism Students Photograph Occupy Wall Street in New York City November 17-20

Bethany Walter

Brooklyn College students hold a banner on Nov. 17 in Foley Square during a protest in New York City.

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.

Veniamin Popov, 62, of Brooklyn, New York plays his saxophone on Nov. 19 in Central Park. Popov is originally from Russia and has been coming to Central Park for about 5 years to play his saxophone.

Eddie Rapp, 52, of New Jersey plays his violin on Nov. 19 in Central Park. Rapp comes to Central Park to play his violin about 5 to 6 times a week. He is a self taught violinist for 22 years. “I’ll let the little kids play with the bow.” Rapp said. “Getting a little kid is great, because I can teach them.”

Ariel Garv, 4, of New York laughs as his mom swings him around as they try to make giant bubbles in Central Park on Nov. 19.

Florida resident Patrick Bolger stands on Pier 17 with his girlfriend Liz Novotmy, a Hunter College student, in New York City on Nov. 18. The two have been dating for two weeks and were out exploring the city.

An anonymous man holds a sign reading “We are free people occupy” while marching with several thousands of people on Nov. 17 from Union Square to Foley Square in New York City.

Protesters gather in Union Square for a student protest on Nov. 17 in New York City.

Protesters placed a flag, a banner, and a hand written sign won an New York Police Department car on Nov. 17 in New York City.

An anonymous woman holds a sign while marching with several thousands of people on Nov. 17 from Union Square to Foley Square in New York City.

A sign being held by a protester reads “Schools not war” on Nov. 17 in Foley Square in New York City.

Protesters gather in Union Square for a student protest on Nov. 17 in New York City.

Protesters gather in Union Square for a student protest on Nov. 17 in New York City.

New School student Rachel Mailler yells into a rolled up sign during a protest in Union Square on Nov. 17 in New York City. “I’m a student in debt.” said Mailler “This is my life and this is what I do.”

The Rebel of Wall St. stands in Zuccotti Park on Nov. 17 in New York City.

New York resident and Cuny Hunter College student Tess Rollo holds a cardboard sign with a heart drawn on it on Nov. 17 in Foley Square during a protest in New York City.

New York resident Walter Benjamin wears a crown made of clothespins on Nov. 17 in Foley Square during a protest in New York City. “At the job I work at I get 30 percent shaved off because of New York state tax.” said Benjamin of why he was at the protest.

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One response

  1. JD

    Great photos Beth!

    December 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm

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