Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
October 6, 2011

Wall Street Occupation: Looking Down on Mr. Tambourine Man

This isn’t the first photo Mario Tama has taken using a reflection in a window to draw a contrast between the white collar class and the working stiffs. We did a post with Mario back in April 2009 capturing similar elements, taken during a Financial District demonstration protesting the Wall Street bailout. The difference between that photo and this, however, reflective of the growing traction of Occupy Wall Street, is the hardening of the anger and the sharpening of the divide.

A repeated visual theme of the protests so far has been the juxtaposition of the protesters and the suits. This photo (the nature of the two posters putting the culture clash on a war footing) is powerful for the expressions and the orientation, the corporate guys on the inside, having the higher station, looking down on Mr. Tambourine Man and his ilk. More than anything though, what this photo contributes to the narrative is that look of contempt.

In the 2009 photo, there wasn’t any tension at all “on the inside.” The businesspeople didn’t even notice a demonstration was taking place. To the surprise of just about everyone now, however, what both sides are realizing, more so with each passing day, is how much each has skin in the game.

PHOTOGRAPH by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

(caption: Protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement march past a bar in Lower Manhattan’s Financial District near Wall Street on October 5, 2011 in New York City. Thousands of protesters including union members and college students from an organized walkout joined today’s rally and march.)

About the Photographer

Mario Tama

Mario Tama has covered global events including September 11, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the funeral of Pope John Paul II and Hurricane Katrina - before, during and after the storm. His work on Baghdad’s orphans was exhibited at Visa Pour L’Image in France and his photographs from Hurricane Katrina were featured in National Geographic, Newsweek and newspapers worldwide. In 2008 he was nominated for an Emmy for his documentary work on Coney Island and won Cliff Edom's New America Award for his work in New Orleans. He has received numerous other honors from institutions including the White House News Photographers Association, UNICEF Photo of the Year, Pictures of the Year International, Care International Award for Humanitarian Reportage, China International Press Photo Contest, and Days Japan International Photojournalism Awards. He studied photography at Rochester Institute of Technology and freelanced in Washington, DC for the Washington Post and Agence France-Presse before joining Getty Images. Mario is based in New York City. See more of Mario's work for BagNews here.

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