A year ago I met this guy in MacPherson Square in Washington D.C. during OccupyDC.
His “street name” is Bear and he was homeless and had been living in the D.C. streets for a number of years.
Then OccupyDC came along and gave him a safe, regular place to sleep at night; regular meals and friendship.
Someone gave Bear a point-and-shoot camera to document OccupyDC from his point of view. Bear took to it like the proverbial fish to proverbial water.
Having just the point and shoot, he produced some of the most amazing images of OccupyDC that have been made. Almost every reporter that came into the occupation tracked Bear down and interviewed him. Bear was riding the crest of popularity.
When OccupyDC was raided and evicted on February 4th, the crest broke. Almost overnight the action, activity and energy that had filled the park was gone along with Bear’s subjects that he regularly and routinely captured in the viewfinder.
In a few weeks I’ll be back in D.C. I have a couple gigs there that will keep me in the capital until after the election. I’m not excited about photographing election day activities in D.C. The hoopla, talking heads and speculations will already be covered by 1001 photographers from every major media outlet in the world.
I want to shoot Bear. I want to try to graphically show the dichotomy between all of the noise the politicians make about making the country a better place and how one person — Bear — isn’t going to be affected regardless of who wins the White House.
While my lens and the focus will be on Bear, he will be a symbol of everyone in the country who have been left behind. The hundreds of thousands of people who have to face life everyday and don’t necessarily see a better country — despite what the politicians say and promise.
My game plan is to live with Bear in the streets for about two to three weeks. I want to capture his life and share it with you. I want to be able to give you a small visual taste of what life in Washington D.C. is like for those who have been forgotten.
* I can’t remember where I was able to find this shot of Bear. If you are — or know — the photographer, I’ll be glad to give credit in a future post.