Some Inspiration on Dens

by alexmasonphotography

I have been looking at some work by a photographer called Ben Roberts called Occupied Spaces.

On the 15th October 2011, protestors representing the global Occupy movement set up a semi-permanent camp outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in central London. The aim of the protests is to encourage discourse and raise awareness of social and economic inequalities.

On the 25th of October, several UK newspapers and media outlets ran stories claiming that ‘thermal imaging’ proved that only 10% of the 250 tents in St. Paul’s Square were being inhabited overnight; I was immediately sceptical of these claims.

This series of photographs catalogues some of the communal and private spaces that have been installed in the St. Pauls and Finsbury Square camps. The traces of activity and inhabitance serve as a document of the intense utilisation of a limited space by a large number of both permanent and temporary residents“.

Whilst looking through these Den like retreats it is fascinating to observe the way they are set up and the way people like to have things to make them their own space. We have been doing all this from a very young age whether it was building a space for your lego men to feel safe in and please yourself in the creating of it or building a treehouse out in your garden with barriers and a trap door so it is trickier for enemies to attack you. In the instances of these images we can see get an idea of the people’s personalities are like who occupy these spaces without having to read the text below the photos. There are boxes and signs with protesting ‘equipment’. One of the occupiers has pillows on the floor and obviously likes to have a say and talk about situations, I get the idea this person is fairly strict with the ‘NO SMOKING’ sign and that the occupier likes to tower over people to feel like a more powerful dominant person.

As well as taking portraits of the inhabitants inside the dens they are going to make I want to start photographing the details of the dens to add more bulk and narrative to my project. I am going to photograph the ins and out of the dens and the way in which they pay special attention to certain details and the way the position a certain duvet.

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