PROTEST ESSAY II





Click here to go to the NEW College Discussion Forum

Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: PROTEST ESSAY II
By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:25 pm: Edit

Here goes, I'm on an essay roll! I have trimmed this to 708!! I'm sorry I'm just so impressed by myself, excuse the enthusiasm.

I actually LOVE this essay. It is so much more ME than any of the others, now that I read it over a few days after its conception. Tell me what you think - what must be spared, what must go, etc.

The orange nets unfurled from the hands of the police force, I stood there frozen, not immediately alert to looming danger. The police lifted their clubs, I lifted my camera. The demonstrators fell to the ground, I kneeled beside them. Images flashed before me, and I responded with the click of a button. The danger was still present, but remarkably, so were the protesters

A man holding up a bible, a policeman holding up a gun. An elderly lady playing chess with a dog at her side, an AIDS victim struggling for his last breath as protestors trampled him. The images flooded before me, but it was hard to discern the messages. What I was witnessing was more than a democratic movement; it was a snapshot of society at its best and worst.

When it started, I feared the protestors. They picked through garbage looking for left over food while I chewed on my granola bar that Mom had packed me. I clung to my cell phone, which had the number for a civil rights lawyer on speed dial, while they simply hoped that someone might bail them out. As the days dragged on, however, our differences became less of an issue, and our commonalities became integral to both of our causes. The protestors needed the awareness that I could provide, and I, as a photographer, needed subjects that could win awards and make the best images.

While the professional media sat patiently and waited for that one token shot of a protestor being dragged away handcuffed, I took an alternative approach. It all began with the purchase of a pin. It seemed simple enough. Affix an anti-Bush pin to my backpack, and reap the rewards that often come along when a photojournalist connects with his subjects. To some extent, this proved true. For days I had envied the photographers who got the “money shots”, and now, miraculously, the protestors put their faith in my pin and chose to turn to me as they were taken away. They saw in me the ability to make their cause known, and I felt guilty. I was not the NY Times; I could not deliver their message to the masses. When they spelled out their name as if it was to appear in the caption, all I could do was call it in to the AP wire.

As the days dragged on, however, my connections with the crowds grew closer. A bag of chips here, a free cell phone call there, any little thing that might draw me closer was worth the effort. During their brief respites, the truth of their cause was finally bared. I learned first hand that the messages they wished to convey were meant to extend to all facets of society. All along, they knew I was not a NY Times editor, and for the first time in my life, I thanked the naïve part of my personality for allowing my thoughts to warp to that extent. When the protestors turned to me, they turned to me to depict the truth to the members of my society, not their own, and not even to the readers of the Times. They wanted to show everyone the messages: the students of Northport High School, the internet surfers who passed through my website, even the relatives who viewed my albums.

The power of my camera was suddenly obvious. With the snap of a button, I could capture a movement without a word. I could freeze a moment in time that represented so much more than that one flash, and yet I could speak volumes through an eighth of a second and a few chemicals.

When the nets came sweeping through the park, I looked around with envy at those around me. At one time, I thought that they were there for the right reasons and I was there for the wrong reasons. They were there to prove, and I was there to document. What I realized in just a few days though, was that whether one was more important than the other could not be determined in that mere instant – and it really did not matter. So I grabbed a sign, affixed my button, and chanted with the rest of them. The whole world was watching! You can thank my camera for allowing them to see the truth.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:58 pm: Edit

DELETE:>>The images flooded before me, but it was hard to discern the messages.>>
>> that Mom had packed me.>>
>>and I, as a photographer, needed subjects that could win awards and make the best images. >>
change to: and I needed subjects to photograph.
>> It all began with the purchase of a pin. It seemed simple enough. Affix an anti-Bush pin to my backpack, and reap the rewards that often come along when a photojournalist connects with his subjects. To some extent, this proved true. >> Compress this passage to shrink the essay. You can say simply that you affixed an anti-Bush pin to your knapsack and thus won the trust of the protesters.
Delete: the truth of their cause was finally bared.
>>I thanked the naïve part of my personality for allowing my thoughts to warp to that extent>>
meaning unclear.
The two paragraphs should be condensed. The ideas are repetitive.
>>The power of my camera was suddenly obvious. With the snap of a button, I could capture a movement without a word. I could freeze a moment in time that represented so much more than that one flash, and yet I could speak volumes through an eighth of a second and a few chemicals.>>
Are you the one who speaks or the vehicle for others' to deliver their messages?
Who are the "those" in the final paragraph? The demonstrators? the professional journalists and photographers? The ending is strange. Do you mean to say that there is no dividing line between reporter (observer) and protester (actor)? You alluded to this idea earlier but this would be a time to discuss journalistic ethics, even for an amateur photographer. The ending also smacks of cynicism. And definitely get rid of that last sentence.
I suggest you rewrite the last two paragraphs with a view to conveying the exact message you intend the reader to get.
Otherwise, it's a great essay with lots of nice details.

By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 11:27 pm: Edit

Hey thanks for the tips - here was my goal with the last part

I'm trying to say that by the time the protests were ending, I realized that neither one of us was more integral to the cause than the other. So I chose to forget the "battle" and join em...

make sense at all ? lol


and what do you mean about the cynicism, i thought it was a positive ending! hah so confused

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 11:40 pm: Edit

Ilcapo:

The protesters need others like yourself to get their message across, so you are important, but you are not integral to their cause. If not you, it would be someone else.
The cynicism can be explained this way: you do not quite believe in the cause of the protesters, so by joining them, you are not being true to your own beliefs. If you do believe in their cause, you need to explain it more. The earlier part of the essay suggests that you were a disengaged, neutral observer rather than a sympathizer to the cause the protesters were advocating.
Engaged journalism has a long tradition; but you need to make more explicit your relationship to the cause (which you never describe) which brought the protesters to NYC. Is it something specific or is it generalized anti-Bush sentiment? Why did you come to NYC? Merely to take photos or because you shared in the anti-Bush feelings?

By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 12:00 am: Edit

Ok Marite- I gotcha now...

But...what I was trying to say in the final paragraphs was that the protesters did need me, because they dont just want the readers of the NYT or USA Today to see their actions unfold, they want EVERYONE to see it...including white, upper middle class suburbanites like myself!

Thus I showed my little enclave a whole new world through the exhibition of my photos, for example.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 06:57 am: Edit

Ilcapo:
Then why don't you say exactly what you did just now? But you know, readers of NYT, USA Today are likely to be white suburbanites like yourself. What you probably mean is that they wanted to reach beyond the readership of mainstream newspapers. And you need to introduce the idea that you were mounting an exhibition before you bring it up in the concluding paragraph out of the blue.

By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 04:03 pm: Edit

But it was only a façade. I was not the NY Times; I could not deliver these messages to the masses. The furthest my photographs would go would be the Huntington Art League. As I envisioned the grand opening, one image kept playing through my mind; Mrs. Katzenberg wheeling her husband past my exhibit, cursing the existence of such a restless youth. Something had to be done.


Is that politically incorrect??

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 04:59 pm: Edit

Which paragraph is this replacing. You also need to do major surgery to reduce the words.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 05:02 pm: Edit

Ilcapo:

This is not the message you are conveying. The issue is not so much complete accuracy as coherence and clarity. And who on earth is Mrs. Katzenberg? Your essay should be intelligible on its own.

By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 09:02 pm: Edit

hahah sorry please forgive that paragraph, it makes no sense

sometimes i forget what I'm doing hahah

By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:25 am: Edit

Hey guys - thought you might want to take a look at one of my favorite pics from the RNC protests...

http://www.deviantart.com/view/10648881/

Just to give you an idea of the ways I try to blend photojournalism and artistic expression.


Hope you like.

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:45 am: Edit

I liked it. It is edgy and shows your artistic side.

By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:48 pm: Edit

Too edgy to include in my portfolio? hah im bringing it up to Bates so I gotta make sure.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:53 pm: Edit

I liked it, too. It is edgy because the subject is edgy. But it shows your sense of humor and your ability to capture the moment.

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 03:14 pm: Edit

I don't think it is too edgy. Too edgy is Robert Mapplethorpe. And if you don't know him, it's because you are too young. :-)


Report an offensive message on this page    E-mail this page to a friend
Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.

Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only
Administer Page