Keep Your Eyes Peeled.

The G-20

Posted in Uncategorized by johnnysimon on September 28, 2009

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Though they existed in one large, unorganized mass, I saw many different protests at the G-20.  There were the curious, the baby-boomers reliving their youth, playing Diggers anthems in a small brass band, the contingents of students, even some Tea Partiers.  They were all part of the large, unpermitted march that started their walk towards the G-20 summit happening in downtown Pittsburgh in Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville, a low-key, blue collar, and heavily residential neighborhood.  The march took them through the heart of a quiet, not particularly well off neighborhood, that had relatively very little to do with the events happening a few miles away.  But as the tear gas misted, rubber bullets flew and protesters scattered, I saw a protest that had been hijacked by its most extreme element and left the residents of this neighborhood bewildered and worried, about violence that occured in a march they had little say in.

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I grew up, and currently reside in the Washington DC area, a region no stranger to dissent and protest.  But the protests I viewed growing up never took place in people’s backyards or with so little respect payed towards the people whose neighborhoods these fringe elements had taken over.  I felt embarrased for the group I was documenting.

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Dumpsters were turned over to block police movements, as if riot-gear clad police officers could be stopped cold in their tracks by a few overturned garbage loaders and recycling bins.  The most direct engagement I saw of protesters with the locals was half hearted chants of “Join Us!” as if anyone who saw these people would run from their stoop to get tear gassed in their own neighborhood, where they had lived, in the case of some people I spoke to, upwards of 6o years.

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In the end, the worst irony is that the residents who were so disrespected in these marches were the ones who the protesters were really rallying for.  The downtrodden, the disenfranchised and the everyday, hardworking American.  But as I looked at the excitement of the protesters at the possibility to block a police car, and the indifference, sometimes even disgust of the Pittsburghers looking on, it made me look at the young protesters and wonder, “Who are they here for?

Pittsburgh’s Revival

Posted in Uncategorized by johnnysimon on September 20, 2009
Photo: Flickr/Cowtools

Photo: Flickr/Cowtools

I am heading to Pittsburgh this Wednesday to witness whatever is going to happen at the G-20.  I’m genereally pretty down on protest photography.  I feel much of it only serves to promote the most vocal and beligerant members of a cause.  Photographs of angry people, holding signs…where is the conversation?  With that in mind I’m heading to an enormous hub of just that.  Perhaps I can find something interesting that doesn’t rely on the words of a sign, but I may just resign myself to capturing angry mobs.

But this should nontheless be an interesting event, in that the G-20, usually reserved for a locations like Beijing or London, is being hosted in all places, Pittsburgh.  It’s a pointed decision, showcasing an American city that has weathered the economic climate relatively well and has made the transition into a post-industrial city (following its mostly defunct steel industry) quite gracefully.

More on Pittsburgh in this week’s Economist.

So yeah, protests, pictures and Pittsburgh.  See you later in the week.

Cats on Display Pt. 2

Posted in Uncategorized by johnnysimon on September 15, 2009

Some other oddities and scenes from the National Capitol Cat Show in Chantilly, Virginia this Saturday.

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Cats on Display.

Posted in Uncategorized by johnnysimon on September 12, 2009

So, on a whim and a dose of curisosity I drove out to Chantilly, VA this morning to attend the the National Capitol Cat Show.  Its a good feeling to go somewhere with no real agenda, assignment or project in mind, just to observe and make pictures.

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More images to come soon.

Marine One Landing

Posted in Uncategorized by johnnysimon on September 10, 2009

While interning at the White House, I got to see the President’s official helicopter Marine One land and take off several times. While seeing the President is a wonderful experience, the best part is seeing everyone in attendance blown away (almost literally) by the sheer force of the wind produced by this enormous flying machine.

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Catching up.

Posted in Uncategorized by johnnysimon on September 10, 2009

I hardly had a few hours to spare this summer, just to look through all the photos I shot. My creative process involved shooting and forgetting images and now in September I’m finally looking through it all.

This pictures jumped out at me. Me and a few fellow WH interns trekked to Dewey Beach and crammed inside a tiny beach house. On Saturday I was the first one up and this is what I saw outside out kitchen window.

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More images to come. I can’t say I dedicated myself this summer to one “story” or “project”. What ever I produce will be something tied to my first, and probably closest flirtation with politics.

My weekend from mostly horizons

Posted in Uncategorized by johnnysimon on September 8, 2009

Some shots from my weekend trek to Virginia Beach with Noah.  I’m currently based around DC, in October, I’ll be lucky enough to go assist a producer at the Eddie Adams Workshop, hope to see some of you there!

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