CANADA, Windsor: Onwards and Upwards aka Colour and Light { 37 images } Created 14 Jan 2015

CANADA, Windsor. 2012 to 2017. 'Onwards and Upwards', also known as 'Colour and Light', is a long term documentary project about the former members of Occupy Windsor. I was curious about the people would do after Occupy.

Occupy Windsor emerged from the Occupy movement in 2011. Windsor’s particular Occupy lasted longer than most and was modest in size; at its peak there may have been 50 people and 35 tents. I photographed nearly every day and in the end produced with the help of two Occupiers a handmade book called ‘Informal Gathering of Heart’.

Windsor, Ontario is a blue collar automotive city that is south of Detroit, Michigan. It is Canada’s sixteenth largest city, has the second highest rate of unemployment and according to Statistics Canada, has the greatest income distribution between rich and poor neighbourhoods.

The heart of the story is about human companionship and rising above personal poverty.

The group is a mixture of street people, activists, organizers, anarchists, academics, unionists,dreamers. Virtually all have a co-operative line of thinking, that is to say they are on the left of the political spectrum, tending towards socialism although there are a few communists and Marxist-Leninists.

It is a local story that covers sensitive issues such poverty, unemployment, street people, panhandlers, protesters, substance abuse and mental health issues.

Much of the photography takes place at meetings and public rallies or demonstrations. There is a core group that shows up at many functions. New people come and go while sometimes regulars remain on the sidelines for a while. There are competing groups and for its small size there are many disagreements--almost always along political grounds-- and so they stay stay in “silos”. Most are aware of this situation.

I am close to many of my subjects. Paul and Mireille are my closest friends. I would trust Richard, Ron and Vaughan--formerly homeless men with substance abuse issues--with handling my money or chaperoning my daughter.

Long term stories are challenging in that over time and with more knowledge things become less straightforward than originally thought. I change points of view as I get to know difficult people over time; acquaintances become friends after I learn and care more about their personal stories. I do not always agree with their politics and often I take a break as the politics becomes overwhelming and discouraging. I always return though--in my heart I like what they are attempting and grateful for their trust.

‘Onwards and Upwards’ was chosen as the title for this submission because I see a lot of positive good work emanating from this group. Much of it is personal development related and overall this will benefit our community. This work is for them and I hope they find it inspiring, good spirited and helpful.7
View: 100 | All