Follow the Soapbox
 
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Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
March 30, 3015

(Please click here to learn more about my next book, Occupy These Photos!)

I’ve been taking photos for a little less than five years and make no pretense towards technical expertise. For me, photography is a labor of love and yet another component of my commitment to a life of activism. 

In fact, it still never fails to amuse me when I’m referred to as a “photographer” and some folks are surprised to learn I “also” write. My writing career began long, long before I received my first digital camera as a gift and I’ve always aimed to decode propaganda and demystify hype. Combining words with images enables me to take this mission to a new level.

In an increasingly visual age, my photos have helped introduce me to a ever widening range of activists and activist movements. As I’ve learned, struggles intersect. My decision to recognize and document these essential connections in New York City has blessed me with so many opportunities to listen and learn as a photographer (read: witness). 

Being physically present at events with a camera in my hands allows me to better comprehend how much we are lied to, how maliciously we are manipulated, and how deeply all our grievances and all our solutions are connected. From Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter and beyond, I’ve traversed my hometown and shared what I found-- thus bringing me into direct contact with new comrades, new perspectives, and new challenges.

The images I share have become a photo diary of my own radical development. You might even call it visual intersectionality.

Not every image I take is in perfect focus or displays ideal composition, perhaps some of my editing is heavy-handed, maybe I still don’t know what ISO stands for… but I do know what DIY means when it comes to challenging an entrenched system of propaganda.

The most effective weapon in the arsenal of the 1% is the corporate media and the images they present predictably range from condescending to confusing, from misleading to myopic. Thus, cameras of all sizes and styles are essential tools in the hands of activists --—providing evidence we need to counter the dominant narrative. This is the power of DIY photojournalism.

Without image-based evidence, we might believe smart bombs never miss or sweatshops are figments of some bleeding heart’s imagination.

Without radical photojournalists, we’d also know a lot less about police brutality, deforestation, rape culture, animal abuse, and so much more.

Without photographs (and video) to paint a more complete picture, it’d be even more challenging to inspire everyday people to embrace everyday activism.

Let’s work together to make sure the 1% can’t hide their global crimes. 

Let’s work together to make sure the 99% don’t hide behind the “I didn’t know” façade. 

As I said above: Combining words with images enables me to take this mission to a new level.

Now, I'm asking you to be part of that mission. Occupy These Photos is a book born on the streets and we're seeking funding in the same DIY manner: from the ground up. Please click here to find out how you can get involved! Thanks in advance for your support. Without you, this book would not have happened.

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

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