In the early hours of 28 February 2012, the bailiffs and the police moved in on the Occupy LSX camp at St Paul's Cathedral. Several small skirmishes and several arrests later, the camp is gone. I was not there - I am not a news photographer - but I do feel a sort of sadness.
I have come to know and photograph many of the characters within the camp. Indeed, I have some affection for one or two of them. I have listened to all sorts of views from the rational to the downright loopy. I have heard conspiracy theories and directionless rambling rants from people I can only describe as mad. I have also listened to well argued cases from quiet, intense activists with degrees in economics, politics and the arts. I try not to judge. It is the individuals I'm interested in and I am happy when I'm at the camp taking photographs of the many characters that make up the mad, sad, lively, joyous stew of alternative humanity that is Occupy.
Des, centre, looks on as Dom, right, engages in heated debate with the tall bloke on the left
On Sunday I met Des Brittain, a 63-year-old semi retired actor. Our first encounter was when I was shooting pictures of a magnificently clad eccentric, Don, who was arguing intensely with another activst - and filming it all on a little hand-held video camera. The argument was getting quite heated and had something to do about the movement's money and fraud and all sorts of devilish things - more evidence of the cliques and factions within Occupy and the inevitable struggle of some individuals to become top dog. I think. But I digress. Des:
Des asked me who I worked for and I told him about my Faces of Occupy project. We quickly found common ground discussing the mixed messages and the plethora of agendas, agreed that there might be some good underlying the whole movement, but were rather sceptical of its ability to gain the attention of more than just the passersby.
Des kindly agreed to be photographed, and to answer the same questions I asked Elijah (On page five of the Evening Standard today, 28 February).
First name: Des
How long have you been in the camp? I'm not a camper. Not in residence
What were you doing before you joined the Occupy movement? I'm on the fringe [of occupy]. I had a role in a New Zealand film, Tortoise in Love, coming soon.
Are you a full time resident in the camp? No.
Do you have a specialist role in the camp? No
What compelled you to become an occupier? I support some of what they're trying to do but don't trust the motives of some who are behind it all.
How will you as an individual make a difference? By speaking out and speaking my truth at every opportunity...and by questioning everything - including the Occupy movement.
Who is your Enemy Number One? International bankers
Why? They control just about everything. They are trying to get their fingers into everything. Those countries they don't control, such as Syria, Korea, Libya, Venezuela and Iran, they are trying to sieze control.
Who do you admire? Nobody anymore.
Why? The whole world is lost. We have no proper leaders anymore.
What is the best part of being in Occupy? Young people are asking questions.
What is the worst part of being in Occupy? No real message. It is saying nothing of substance and is totally controlled by a sinister inner clique.
Is Occupy making a noticeable difference? No.
How so? They send a confused message.
All images and text © Paul Davey 2012
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