Shepp, Accra


American, b. 1962; lives and works in New York, USA


The ongoing political demonstration Occupy Wall Street was first staged in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, beginning in September 2011. The purpose of the demonstration was to protest social and economic inequality, and the group’s slogan "We are the 99%!" resonated broadly across the Internet and social media. At the same time, news commentators seemed perplexed by the anarchistic structure of the growing movement, and what was often described as its lack of clear goals. In part to offset this coverage, Accra Shepp set out to create individual portraits of the Occupy demonstrators, to give the protest a human face and to reflect the diversity of the protesters’ backgrounds and messages. Using a large-format view camera, Shepp took between 30 and 40 portraits per week, showing protesters, police, news reporters, and curious bystanders. He then presented the portraits in a real-time exhibition in New York, continuously adding new prints. Each of the individuals Shepp photographed supplied another layer of meaning to his catalogue of the event. "The diversity of the participants and the range of their activities was so great that I felt it important to be able to consider each protester as an individual," Shepp says, "not as a faceless member of a cause."

Artworks by Shepp, Accra

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