Thursday, 17 November 2011. Pigeons were occupying a sidewalk in midtown, protestors were occupying a sidewalk in the financial district, and I decided to occupy a sidewalk with my cameras just around the corner from the protestors.
There is something about the ordinary. We pass over it like shoes on concrete never the time to spare. Birds huddle on a sidewalk to warm themselves. Protestors paint the profane and march through us. We walk together on sidewalks and never make eye contact… unless some stranger is pointing his camera at us.
About the pigeons (pictured below). It is not the nuisance of the birds that amazes. It is their number and their defiance. It is their solidarity and need. They need the warm swath of sunlight coming through the tracks and building and no one in a suit is going to brush them away. Their occupation on Thursday, 17 November 2011 will long outlive the march of the protestors and the newsies who make their profits selling unrest and fear. The pigeons know the only unrest that matters if far more simple and ordinary. Needs are only as complex as you can afford them to be.
As I photographed the pigeons I realized others watched them with wonder too.
When I arrived in the financial district to photograph the Occupy Wall Street (uh, Occupy Chicago) protestors it was with the pigeons in mind. Because I had just pondered the occupation of the pigeons it was difficult not to see past the politics to the human side of things with the Occupy group. It was easy to look past the profane and into the eyes not of protestors but of people.I planted myself in a couple of spots and concentrated on capturing light and the interaction of the protestors and the passers by. There wasn’t much interaction. Noah and I chuckled a few nights earlier when Noah had landed and we came to see them. “Is this everyone?” I asked. The protestors don’t do much protesting. Mainly they stand around and chat and drink coffee.
I left the protestors and when I rounded the block I decided to plant myself and look at the faces of people passing me. How many faces do I pass in a day when I am in the city? Watching people I can imagine there are fascinating stories in each of these faces.