DU students protest Wells Fargo

The photos I used in my slideshow come from the protest of the Wells Fargo board meeting held this month in Salt Lake City. A group on campus called the Colorado Student Power Alliance teamed up with other activist groups across the country to meet in Utah to make sure that John Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo, and the shareholders of the company heard their objections and their personal testimonies.

With these photos, I wanted to show the protesters in action, the response of the hotel’s security as well as the Salt Lake City police, and the narrative that was purposefully kept out of the meeting that day. I hoped to show the enthusiasm of the people who participated in the action as well as the sense of immediacy and desperation that they brought to the protest. It was clear through my interaction with the protesters that many were losing their homes or drowning in student debt. I wanted to share their voices because no one else there was listening.

Choosing what to photograph was in many ways not up to me. The reason there are no photos of the board meeting itself is because recording devices were strictly prohibited by Wells Fargo. I would have been removed if I had attempted to take pictures of the meeting. Because of this fact, I had to use photos from the outside while audio explaining the interior of the meeting was playing. I understand that this causes a bit of discontinuity between the audio and visual elements of my project, but there was no reasonable way for me to fix this problem. Otherwise, I tried to match what was being said with the pictures I had taken of those specific events and those people speaking, but not having photos of the board meeting was definitely a challenge.

I chose to use the songs the protesters sung beneath the audio because I felt it emphasized the notion of community that so many of the protesters expressed to me. Having that communal voice run under the individual voice was my attempt at illustrating that the person speaking was one of many and her story was one of dozens shared that day.

I found that I really like the medium of an audio slideshow. I liked that I got to have my interviewees narrate the story and I got to in a way remove my own voice. It always seems that the people who were there, the people most affected tell the story the most effectively. I think if I could change anything I would have constructed at least a bit of a storyline beforehand so I could know which components warranted the most photos when I was shooting. I also wish that I would have been able to slyly take at least one or two pictures of the inside of the shareholders meeting, because, ultimately, the photos I used were the ones that I could most logically fit into the storyline and the board meeting itself had a noticeable disconnect between what was heard and what was seen.

One Response to DU students protest Wells Fargo

  • Hsing Tseng
    Hsing Tseng says:

    I liked the topic of your slideshow and especially the way that you used ambient sound behind your interviews. My only critique is that the pictures tended to seem repetitive/irrelevant to the interviews at certain points, but I read your reflection and understood that it was impossible to get those shots. Overall, your slideshow is an engaging piece.

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