Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Faces of Occupy: Elijah

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©2012 Paul Davey
I met Elijah a couple of weeks back when I started shooting images at the Occupy LSX camp at St Paul’s Cathedral. I was photographing Indigo, his girlfriend as she sat in the entrance of their tent. Elijah was inside, in the shadows, embellishing some of Indigo’s answers to my questions, as I took shot after shot of her. He was like a colour commentator, allowing Indigo to do most of the talking, to tell their version of the truth. Eventually, he emerged into the daylight and we chatted together for a while. I was more interested in getting pictures than what we spoke about. I photographed them together and separately, but had no real idea of exactly what I was going to do with the images.

  Elijah and Indigo.
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©2012 Paul Davey
I visited the camp several more times and on occasion spotted Elijah or Indigo in the distance, but I was busy with other photographs and didn’t approach them. Clearly they were long-term residents in the camp.

Finally having decided to do a series, The Faces of Occupy, I came back to the camp with the intention to photograph and interview my subjects. I arrived at the camp to find residents dismantling the kitchen and parts of the “Tech Tent” and loading their precious, mismatched, disparate components that most people would classify as junk, into a van.

The day before, February 22nd, the camp had lost its High Court appeal against eviction and were packing up some of their more valuable items and moving them offsite.

I wandered around the camp snapping off the occasional image – there are rich photographic pickings to be had.  I came across Elijah and Indigo sitting beside the Tea Tent in camping chairs.  They remembered me – and greeted me warmly – as warmly as eighteen year-olds greet any forty-something from the same generation as their parents.

Elijah obliged and agreed to my five-minute interview. 

First name: Elijah.
Age: 18

How long have you been in the camp?
Since day one.

What were you doing before you joined the Occupy camp?
I was travelling in Germany and joined the Occupy Berlin camp. Before that, I was studying in Australia.

Do you have a specialist role in the camp?
I help facilitate camp-related meetings.

What compelled you to become an Occupier?
The tyranny of the rich over the working class, and the impoverishment of the third world by the powerful.

How will you as an individual make a difference?
Through honesty. Through speaking my mind, as a spokesperson for the oppressed and sharing my personal views.

Who is your Enemy Number One?
The greedy upper class

They hoard wealth whilst their workers are impoverished.

Who do you admire?

Too many cat stealing all the bread

What is the best part of being in Occupy?
It’s the all-encompassing work experience. You meet anyone and everyone. I’ve learnt a lot of lessons – we all have – and there are mistakes we’ve made that won’t be repeated.

What is the worst part of being in Occupy?
Fighting within the community.

Is Occupy making a noticeable difference?

How so?
It has sparked hundreds of conversations. Issues are being discussed.

Anything Else?
People need to communicate more.  We need more honest conversations. We lack the willingness to communicate.

Elijah, like any good young revolutionary, plays guitar. His song was obscene but funny, about being in love with a crack whore.
Click to enlarge
©2012 Paul Davey

Copyright © 2009 Paul R Davey. All photographs, text and artworks in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Paul R Davey unless otherwise stated. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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