occupy_280On the 15th of October 2011 a number of people from diverse backgrounds and ideologies came together to dispute the culture of greed they believe exists in the current financial system. They are part of a global movement that is currently ‘occupying’ over 1000 cities worldwide, most famously in New York, Occupy Wall Street. Although branded ‘anti-capitalist’, the majority of the protestors actually believe capitalism is the best system, but that left unchecked it has become bloated and corrupt.

I’ve been photographing protests in London since Mayday 2001 and I’ve noticed a very defined and predictable aesthetic in most protest photographs – images of protesters being beaten by riot police, for example. But this kind of photography, although important as a form of evidence, only perpetuates stereotypes and inhibits others from wanting to get involved, fearing the same fate if they should attend. With this work I aim to show another side to the Occupiers, to illustrate the level of organisation and compassion taking place. There are no villains in this series; the only city worker I photographed was donating cheese to the occupiers. I decided from the beginning that I would only photograph the Occupation at night – there was something quieter about the place when the tourists and bulk of the media had gone home. The camp really came to life then, despite what some journalists have claimed.

The spoken word poetry that accompanies the slideshow is of a young black occupier I met called J.J. It was recorded was in a tent outside St Paul’s Cathedral, the first time he’s had his poetry recorded.

Ed Thompson