Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Category: Project365
License: CC-BY-NC-SA (What does this mean?)



Post Office Square, Brisbane City
General location: Australia, South-East Queensland

The Setup:

Alan Warren gave me the heads up that the protest was being broken up and moved along. He posted some shots on Google+ as it was happening. When I arrived at 7.20am, I was in time to see the last protesters being carried away.

I took lots of shots of people chanting, which would have been alright if I'd not gotten anything else. I also shot wide-open (f/4), because I wanted some of the background to be blurred (and the observers - having them in focus would be distracting). This was at the expense of sharpness of the main subject, but considering the situation and ultimate use of the photo, I thought that was a reasonable trade-off.

A little birdy told me that it will cost the Brisbane City Council $30-40k to re-turf Post Office Square after the tents killed the grass. I think it would come back quickly enough without being re-turfed - bit of a waste of money don'tcha think? (And isn't that what it's all about?)

The camera & lens:

Camera: Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL
Lens: Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM @ 80mm
Exposure: 1/500" @ f/4, ISO 800

Post processing:

Lightroom -

  1. Auto apply a B&W preset I have called "PSKiss-FilmStyleBW-01". It auto applies curves (lights +60, darks -12, shadows -12), brightness +45, contrast +45, clarity +50 and increases the colour mixes in all channels, but mainly green and aqua.
  2. Crop to highlight the subject of the photo. Just before publishing, I cropped a bit further (Slightly cutting off the bloke on the right adds to the photo, I think, as it gives the feeling that there is more happening in the scene than we can see. Cutting too much off would be distracting.)
  3. Curves: lights +100, darks -40, shadows -10
  4. (ISO 800 resulted in lots of noise, but I left it in because I wanted it to be a bit gritty)
  5. Recovery +80, fill light +15, blacks +10

The wash-up:

This is basically the shot I was after - though I didn't know what it would look like before I got there, it wasn't too hard to find the action and a good vantage point to see it.

What would you do?

You are welcome to have a go at editing this photo yourself. When editing in browser, maximum size is 1600x1200px and edits can be saved as a comment if you want to share your work. Go crazy!

If you'd rather, you can download the original/raw image to play with in your own image editor:
Download original file in DNG format Download original file in JPEG format

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12 Responses to “Project365 [306/365]: Occupy Brisbane – Brisbane Liberated”

  1. Matthew Byrne

    I love the philosophy behind this movement. "Hi I'm a bum, I have no marketable skills and hence I'm unemployed. But I demand that you institute my social and economic policies. I am the 99%"

  2. Al - brizmako

    Great pic, Sheridan. Has a real 60’s campus protest feel to it.

    I think the grass issue is being beaten up by the council more than a little bit. They didn’t really need an excuse to move the protest on from the public space, but to rely upon such a p!ssweak excuse is weird. Grass grows back, you can’t stop it. Wasting money on resurfacing is idiotic.

  3. Al Warren

    Isn't it curious how excessive wealth disparity and neocon economics is defended by the very people they prey upon, all based upon image and perceived worth of those protesting? I am long-term employed with a wealth of marketable skill and I demand a change to inequitable and socially-destructive policies. I am the 99%.

  4. Matthew Byrne

    +Alan Warren Not at all. No-one is preying on you, no-one is out to get you, such beliefs stem more-so from a form of psychosis than economic policy.

    The argument that these protesters are postulating is that we immediately adopt extremist-socialism (something the Greens and the bigoted Get Up! groups have been pushing for). The problem with socialism, despite all of its glorious manifesto's and fab quotes, is that it can never solve a fundamental problem. How do you motivate the workforce?

    For instance, if I asked you to clean my house on a continuing basis without any form of incentive you wouldn't do it. If I gave you adequate financial incentive to do it, then you are much more likely to do it. There are also those among us with special skills that when utilised can perform extremely valuable services for the community, such as physicians, scientists, educators, and the such. They should be given incentives based on the worth of their skill-sets to society.

    So you see, it's actually New Conservatism (neocon as you call it) that creates positive social policies. After all, it's the tax dollars that we provide to the Government that is ultimately re-distributed to pay for things such as hospitals, schools, and social welfare. It is in fact these policies that are providing the Government benefits to the protesters involved in this movement.

    New Conservatism actually steps away from extremist capitalism. It introduces the idea of reforming sectors such as banking to make it more balanced for the benefit of your constituents. Neither extreme, socialist, or capitalist are desirable. Simply demanding an end to the current system of economic and social policy is dangerous, and ill-informed.

  5. Darragh Murray

    As much as I hate to enter a debate on political ideology, Matt, I can't help but feel that your defense of neoliberal economics shows evidence of some starry eyed idealism that you accuse socialism of. If New Conservatism actually created all the benefits you're talking about, surely those protesting at Wall Street – who are surely not all socialists, wouldn't actually exist. Clearly, in the American case – neoliberal economics isn't working. Decisions made at the top by corporate and government elites haven't really punished those people in the ensuing fuckup, but instead impacted harshly of those at the edges. Hence, the discontent.

    But I also think you touch on the very problem people are protesting about overseas – the incentive has just become surviving in some very unequal societies. People will clean hoses for almost nothing because if they don't, they can't eat. Capitalism inherently rewards those who control the means of creating capital and fucks the rest.

    I believe a mixture of capitalist incentives and state-guided (and informed) social policies work best (see Scandanavian examples) rather than any mixture of the two extremes, as you say.

    However, I agree that the occupyAustralianCities thing is misguided here. Our grievances pale in comparison to those overseas.

  6. Michael Carroll

    I'm curious as to what policies the 99% have suggested that would actually reduce unemployment. I honestly don't know.

    And in my view the current economic crisises is as much a indictment of socialism as it is capitalism. The troubles in the UK, Greece, Portugal, etc are as much a result of unchecked socialism as they are of capitalism. And I think its entirely missed by these protests.

  7. Michael Carroll

    Take Greece. Unfunded social programs, very early retirement age. Services largely provided by government rather than private firms for profit leading to poor market competitiveness. Government is roughly 50% of GDP. I don't think you can blame capitalism for that one.

  8. Luke Grattan

    If you can believe the news, then in Australia "In any given year, Centrelink will deliver around $90 billion in social security payments and other benefits to some seven million people"


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