John Anderson Shared the Power of Images to Show and Tell a Story in Photojournalism Workshop
Occupy Wall Street was an historic event that captivated the public and spread to cities across the country—including Austin, where Occupy Austin lasted for nearly five months, with protesters camping out at City Hall.
One local photographer—John Anderson—captured the entire event and will be publishing his photos in an upcoming book entitled: In Search of a Revolution. Occupy Austin in Photographs and Text.
John described his interest in documenting Occupy Austin:
“The project began as an assignment to photograph the Occupy Austin encampment for an on-going photo gallery for The Austin Chronicle website. The movement’s energy and 24/7 aspect made it an exciting and challenging project that I continued beyond what was originally expected from the assignment.”
Visually Documenting a Unique, Historic Event
His images tell the story of the struggle of a small band of local activists more than any words could.
I had the great good fortune to learn about capturing visual images at live events from John at a three-hour workshop held in June.
The event took place at a location I discovered in the spring, called 5604 Manor. 5604 Manor offers a wide variety of programs and events, like panel discussions with people in the natural food world and documentaries on activists’ issues, along with worker defense programs.
Workshop Covers Photographing a Controversial Activist Event
Then for the next two hours, he clicked through a slide show with many of the photos he took during Occupy Austin.
For each image, he discussed why he took the photo, what he was thinking at the time, what was going on around him, and visual highlights of the images.
This personal component made it hands-down the best photography lesson I’ve ever experienced.
One of my favorite behind-the-scenes commentaries was the revelation that there were a few undercover cops pretending to be protesters participating in Occupy Austin.
John and an associate were able to spot the undercover cops when they reviewed the images.
View Occupy Austin Images Online or in Upcoming New Books
“The book project documents a group in Austin, Texas, who participated in the international movement created by Occupy Wall Street. On October 6, 2011, they set up an encampment by taking advantage of a no-curfew policy at Austin City Hall and called themselves Occupy Austin. The project consists of three photo books all presented chronologically.”
The images will be available in several formats:
- The first book, In Search of a Revolution: Occupy Austin in Photographs and Text, contains 196 photos with 188 pages and includes an appendix with thumbnail photos to identify the undercover officers in the book, officers’ text messages, and links to more information. The book will be available for $59.99.
- The second book, Occupy Austin: The Encampment Months, is a subset of the first. It contains 49 photos with 50 pages just from the physical encampment period. It will be available for $29.99.
- The third book is an ebook version of In Search of a Revolution: Occupy Austin in Photographs and Text (for iPad only at this point). It will contain links spread throughout the book to The Austin Chronicle photo gallery, court documents obtained under subpoena regarding the APD under covers, a link to Wikileaks’ copy of the Stratfor email indicating DPS had at least one under cover officer with the group, and Chronicle articles about the infiltrations. The ebook will also have audio files of chanting. It will be available for $19.99.
- Finally, PDF files of the two books will be available for $7.99 each.
Occupy Austin: The Encampment Months will be for sale at Monkeywrench bookstore in Austin. The rest will be sold online to start.
While waiting for his book, you can view John’s Occupy Austin images on The Austin Chronicle website, where he has created an archive.
John’s workshop lessons in photographing important events will stay with me forever—as much as his powerful images will.
A few months after the workshop, I saw John in action at a local protest march. It was interesting to watch him as he did things like stand in the middle of the march facing the marchers as they walked around him.
I could tell John was capturing the best images of the day.