You may not know this by just watching the above video of activist Paul Wicker at Occupy L.A., but an Academy Award winner shot it. For the past couple weeks, cinematographer (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Bound for Glory) and long-time liberal and union activist Haskell Wexler has been documenting the Occupy L.A. encampment around Los Angeles’s City Hall with a consumer digital video camera.
As Wexler told the Los Angeles Times, “Things were going on around the country—certainly in New York and even here—for a number of weeks before the conventional media paid any attention. I wanted to go down there and find out what was happening.”
Wexler has a long history of documenting activism, dating back to Watergate. “As a cameraman,” Wexler told Associated Content, “I am interested in images and truth. Today people are conditioned to accept lies if they are commercial lies. What we don’t see anymore in ethics.”
But as Wexler told the Times, there is a difference between the Occupy movement and the 1968 demonstrations. “This movement is a threat to the system at is core. There was nothing in ’68 that even dealt with an economic system which is incompatible with a democracy. One thing I did see in common was the idea of theater— the ideas of show.” However, a camera never lies.