Occupy Boston: Protesters Being Removed

After several false alarms and rampant rumors, the Boston Police Department forcibly removed protesters from the Occupy Boston encampment at Dewey Square on December 10, 2011. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)

Behind the Scenes:

During my career as a photojournalist, I’ve covered a lot of civil unrest confrontations between police and protesters. I must say this was one of the most well-planned, managed and executed massive arrests I’ve seen in my 18 years in the biz.

Once the police arrived they herded the media to specific areas and we were told to shoot from our “assigned location.” I’ve always had issues with the “media amoeba” (that amorphous mass of shooters who move as one and get the same images) – the mass mentality. I’ve felt I’ve always worked best when I act on my own.

So I kept trying to step back into the off-limit area a couple of times. After the second time I was told very politely by a police officer if I were to do that again I would be subject to arrest. At this point I decided to move away from the immediate area.

I saw one of Boston Globe star reporters, Maria Cramer, talking to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, whom I’ve photographed several times in the past, so I inched my way next to them. He saw me and he said hi as he acknowledged my presence. I hung out near him even though he was at the outer boundary of the “arrest perimeter.” This was progress but I was still pretty far away and the arrests were about to commence.

So I turned to the commissioner and said, “Sir, those people are about to be arrested and there is no media near where the action is happening. If some allegations of police brutality or the like were to be brought up in the future don’t you think you ought to have someone from an outside source in there documenting exactly what’s going on.” I added, “sort of a tight-pool situation.”

He looked at me and said, “You are right, follow me.” And that is how I got to be the only still photographer allowed to be so close to where the massive arrest action was occurring.

Lesson learned: Sometimes all you gotta do is ask.

Tech Stuff: 2 cameras, a Mark IV and a Nikon D-3s. Two lenses 16-35mm 2.8 and 70- 200mm 2.8. Two flash units with external battery packs. ISO 1600, speeds 1/15th- 1/125th of a second.