Independent Photography

Archive for November, 2011

The park reopens


This morning I was en route to the Service Ontario counter at Ottawa City Hall.  I needed to extend OHIP coverage for my trip to Costa Rica.  Ottawa City Hall is right near Confederation Park and I decided to check it out.  Two days ago I wrote a blog post about the day after the eviction and received a surprising amount of traffic on my site.

That night, or rather the next morning, Ottawa Police served the notice and removed the remaining protestors.  For context, the first night of the eviction there were 200 people in the park to resist, the second night there were 25.  Police made eight arrests, by that I mean they cuffed eight people and dragged them out of the park then uncuffed them and told them to go home.

There was one guy, named Obert Madondo, who was charged under the trespassing act and fined $65.  He also had to be taken to hospital after an incident during the arrest.  He claims police treatment caused injury, he was taken to hospital and released later with his arm in a sling.  The police claimed in a press release that the arrest aggravated a pre-existing condition. There is a video of Madondo leaving the emergency room at Ottawa General hospital here, and his statement.

Either way things happened largely the way the Ottawa Citizen hinted they would, not with a showdown and epic last stand, but rather remaining protestors were quietly removed and ticketed in the night.  It was sad to see it end that way somewhat.

Ottawa, ON - A women walks by the impression in the snow left by the medical tent from occupy Ottawa on November 24, 2011. Confederation Park, which reopened a day after protestors were forcibly removed, was the site of the 38 day long protest. On November 21, protestors received eviction notices, Police arrived at 2:30am November 23 and served the eviction notices then closed the park for cleaning. The next morning it was open again, the only visible signs of the occupation were impressions left in snow by the tents of occupy Ottawa.

While I was at the park I was trying to find a photo that included some evidence of the 38 day occupation that had ended only 48 hours ago, there was almost nothing.  I noticed some areas in the snow, squares and circles where there was no snow, these were footprints of the tents that had been there the night before.   I started photographing some of the footprints of tents I had photographed two days earlier when suddenly a passerby started to shout at me.

She indicated there was a cute squirrel eating a peanut (it was actually eating a cookie) in a tree, she was hinting that I should photograph that instead.  I humored her and she remarked, “Isn’t it nice to have the space back again?” before leaving.

The photo is cropped a lot, and was shot with Canon’s ‘thrifty fifty’ 50mm f/1.8, so there’s some gross chromatic aberrations at this crop…  Its a good thing I ordered a 135mm f/2.

As a final note, early in occupy Ottawa’s infancy I took a proactive role in the media committee.  At the time I felt documenting the creation of this alternative society was what I had to offer.  There is a flickr photostream, where I uploaded most of my photos but here is one I liked.  It was taken at a march on October 19th before the movement in Ottawa started to drift away from the so-called 99%.

Ottawa, ON - A women writes the words, "Honk if you're underpaid" on a sign at the corner of Queen and O'Conner on October 19, 2011. Occupy Ottawa protested outside the Sheraton hotel, denouncing a conference hosted there which was promoting greater economic integration with the United States.


That’s it for today.


Adam Dietrich

Occupy Ottawa: The morning after the eviction notice

Hello all,

Below are my thoughts on the occupy Ottawa movement, they have been shaped by my visits to the camp, my involvement with the occupy Ottawa media committee and conversations and interviews with people for and against the movement.  My interest was peaked by the inner journalist and my involvement was driven by the political science student in me.  I stepped away from the movement a few weeks ago because of how felt issues of harassment reported in the camp were being handled, and because I felt occupy Ottawa was failing to achieve what it had intended to do.  That and the ever mounting pressure of school and work.  However, with the eviction process started, it seemed time to take a look at the occupation again.

The nature of an occupation is never considered pleasant.  Typically an occupation implies the removal of rights from citizens native to a place by others from another place, usually imposing foreign values through force.  North America understands this concept because that is the nature of the foundation of our societies.  For all but a few, occupation is an unpleasant and oppressive thing.

The nature of the occupy movement is somewhat Marxist as it promotes class distinctions, are you in the 99% or the 1%?  The typical organization of each occupation in Canada has been anarchist in nature, promoting social organizational values of non-oppression, decentralization and consensus building.  In Canada at least, the occupy movement has been somewhat detached from the so-called ‘99%’ as a result.

In the United States, the middle class has been bullied by more than just the banks; for decades there has been the health care industry, insurance providers and their own government as well.  The United States is going through a period of self-awareness that Canada has either already experienced or has yet to experience.  Either way our middle class has not historically been hurt in the same way; while that is not the prevailing trend of the future for the Canadian middle class it is the pattern of the past.  Since the occupy movement draws support from the ‘99%’s’ experience of oppression at the hands of the ‘1%,’ for an occupation to be successful it requires the middle class of a society to feel oppressed.

Ottawa, ON - A passer by eyes a medical tent at Confederation park on Tuesday morning. Occupy Ottawa participants were served with eviction notices on Monday November 21, 2011. That night at a general assembly protestors voted to resist the eviction order, which took effect at 12am. While about 200 people were in the park at midnight to resist the eviction, by 8:30 the next morning only 10 people remained.

The Canadian middle class does not feel oppressed enough for occupations like those in the United States to work.  This has become apparent through the somewhat lackluster display of physical defense as evictions across Canada roll on.

We have not seen photos of riot police beating protestors in Canada because the cities and police forces have chosen to allow the movements to whither and then used tenancy law as a means to remove them whilst maintaining a positive public image.

This morning, the day after the National Capital Commission was supposed to evict everyone, and the day after the general assembly in which occupy Ottawa voted to resist, 10 or so people remained.  If occupy Ottawa and other so-called, ‘occupations’ want to remain relevant it may be time to pack up, regroup and reorganize.  I would suggest a start would be to change the name, as occupations have not been pleasant or positive things, historically.

Ottawa, ON - Five of the ten or so remaining protestors at the occupy site the morning after the eviction notices were handed out.  Monday protestors barricaded the fountain in the centre of the park ahead of an eviction which was supposed to take effect at 12am Tuesday morning.  While almost 200 hundred people were in the park at midnight to defend against the eviction most had left or were packing up following sunrise.

Ottawa, ON - Five of the ten or so remaining protestors at the occupy Ottawa campsite eat breakfast the morning after the eviction notices were handed out. Monday night protestors barricaded the fountain in the centre of the park ahead of an eviction which was supposed to take effect at 12am Tuesday morning. While almost 200 hundred people were in the park at midnight to defend against the eviction most had left or were packing up following sunrise.

It will be interesting to see occupy Ottawa and the NCC handles this in the coming days.

**The following photos were added a few hours later**

Ottawa, ON - Tents sit in front of the Elgin St courthouse in Confederation park on the morning of Tuesday November 22, 2011. The day before the National Capital Commission handed out eviction orders, that order took effect Tuesday morning at midnight. Close to 200 people were in the park at midnight to prevent the eviction, by 8:30 the next morning the police had not come and most of the protestors had left and dismantled their camps anyway.

Played around a bit with shooting into the sun, but I thought with the sun, tents and courthouse it said, “Morning, still there, law.”

Then I wandered around the camp a bit, it was quiet people were cleaning up.  I saw a few protestors playing with sticks like swords, so I took a few photos.

Ottawa, ON - A few occupy Ottawa participants take a break from dismantling structures to play fight with some wooden sticks on Tuesday morning. On Monday the National Capital Commission served occupy Ottawa with eviction notices, by Tuesday most tents had been dismantled and all but a few protestors had left the park.

After I turned back towards the courthouse and noticed some people taking some tents down, so I snapped a few photos, I liked this one.

Ottawa, ON - A protestor dismantles her campsite on the morning of Tuesday November 22, 2011. On Monday the National Capital Commission served occupy Ottawa with eviction notices and on Tuesday morning most structures and tents had ben removed and most of the protestors had left.

So that is all for this post, I promise.


Adam Dietrich


Back into the digital age

I recently bought a Canon 5D Mk II, brand new.  It’s a full frame, 1080 DPI, 22 megapixel, 28 000 iso capable camera and it weighs less than the lenses it uses…  Previously my primary digital bodies had been the 1D Mk II and 30D, fairly good crop body, 8 megapixel cameras, biggest issue with the 1D was its weight though, it weighs about 10 bricks.  I posted about my new camera on facebook and a friend responded with the following:

“I just wanted to say, welcome to 2011. Since you’ve been stuck in 2003, a Black man is President of America, The European Union has realised they can’t artificially inflate their currency. The Canadian dollar is higher than the American dollar, There was a giant earthquake in 2006 in the Indian Ocean that made the Earth change it’s orbit slightly. Oh, and Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi are dead.”

Pretty much sums it up, my 1D was released in 2003 and the 30D a year later, in short – The 5D is the most advanced and only new camera I’ve ever owned.

That said it’s low light performance is a little slow (my only complaint).

I found it ironic that the same night I purchased my 5D I also purchased a bottle of paper fixer for black and white paper printing, regardless the darkroom process gave me something to shoot right off the bat: the darkroom process.

My friend, photographer Christopher King, selects a negative to use for printing. In the background you can see the enlarger and bathtub used to develop the prints.

Christopher King adjusts the temperature of the water bath for the developing chemicals. In the foreground the enlarger projects an image of the spider in front of the National Gallery of Canada taken on 120 medium format film.

A photo of the process: the left tray has developer in it, prints develop there. The top tray has stop bath (mostly vinegar) in it, that stops the reaction of the developer. The tray below the stop contains fixer which finishes the developing reaction and contains a paper hardener to harden the paper. My print is sitting in the final tray, containing just water for a wash. The whole process takes about 3-4 minutes per print.

The final step, the completed prints are left to dry by hanging from a line.

I haven’t had an actual event yet to cover with the camera, although I have no doubt it will perform well when I need it to.  I mostly keep it in my bag on my to and from work and school, and sometimes make an interesting picture or two.

A seagull takes flight from the side of the Rideau Canal at Hartwell Locks near Carleton

I need something to shoot….

For now that is all peace,