Kristof talks to the press
Protestor shown outside the BART station looking in.
Sign lists BART deaths
KCBS radio in San Francisco, on the evening of Thursday September 8, 2011, reported that numerous arrests were made at the No Justice No BART demonstration at the Powel station and that journalists had been among the arrestees.
Since it is newsworthy that the demonstration ended in numerous arrests and since it is unusual for journalists to be included in among the arrestees, there will be a demand for accounts of what happened there on the evening of September 8, 2011.
This will be a subjective report from a fellow who was there trying to simultaneously function as a photojournalist and a writer covering the events.
One of the habits we accumulated back in the Seventies when we did some paparazzi style photography, we would make it a point to take a moment and check to see if, when all cameras were pointing in one direction, it would make a good shot to turn around and look in the opposite direction. There is a tendency among photographers to flock to "the shot." (We remember one Lakers game where the L. A. Times, the L. A. Herald Examiner, the Long Beach paper, and AP Photo all featured a shot of the same play.) If you can break yourself of the habit of becoming obsessed with following the crowd, you might get a distinctly different photo by turning in the other direction.
Since we have that habit, and since we don't have a press pass, we made it a point to take a look around as the demonstration story was developing. We didn't think it would be a good idea to be caught in a round-up if we didn't have a press pass. There was a massive police presence on the perimeter. (We even noticed that the large contingent of San Francisco and BART police had been augmented by some officers from the Homeland Security agency this time.)
Younger journalists tend to favor getting close to the center of the activity and using a wide-angle lens to illustrate stories about a particular event. Older photographers tend to want to get an overall shot from above the edge of the crowd to have a different perspective on the images being produced.
A close up shot of one particular protester with one particularly eloquent sign may summarize the event. Conversely, if an overall shot shows that there was only two people participating in the protest and that there was a gigantic mob of media surrounding them, that tells the story a bit more accurately.
On Thursday in San Francisco, there was a contingent of journalists that indicated assignment editors around the city expected an important story to develop.
Since we have covered similar stories earlier in the year, we recognized some of the protesters as well as some of the police commanders.
At first the story seemed to be a routine demonstration one. Then we noticed that some on the gates to the station were being closed indicating that access in and out of the area was being restricted.
We decided to go outside and see if we could get some of the photos in the "overview" category.
As previously, mobs of people with video and still photo equipment were trying to get very close to the center of the activity.
Outside the station we observed more police arriving.