Monday, December 23, 2019

Photographing People

(I just noticed, as I was taking a twitter break from tinkering with this, that Jörg Colberg has published a remarkably similar piece, which astonished me. Where we disagree substantively: he treats consent as a hard line which Must Not Be Crossed, not recognizing that consent itself is fairly squishy.)

There is a depressing trend in Serious Photography to not photograph people. How broadly based it is I cannot say, but I know that serious people who are taken seriously say things that point away from photographing people.

There are reasons, and the reasons are not bad. It is possible, even common, to take photographs which represent people poorly. We can, I dare say, think of many photographs past and present which present a person as odious in some way. There is, however, at least one more layer here, in that a viewer might tend to see a photograph that way. The academics I am thinking of are firm followers of the "Everything is Problematic" ideology, and therefore tend to see representations in a negative light. They are looking for Problems and lo, they find Problems. They might look at Migrant Mother and see poverty and shame, but miss the essential nobility and strength of Florence Thompson.

I am confident also, though, that this self-same trend seeks to provide covering fire for an unwillingness to deal socially with the subjects of study. Some of these people are, or have students who are, socially uncomfortable. How much easier is it, after all, to make a Serious Essay about poverty by photographing the things possessed by the very poor without actually having to talk to any poor people!

Orson Scott Card, a science fiction author who writes not very good books devised the notion of a Speaker for the Dead. This is a notional funeral ritual, in which rather than a religious figure or a community figure delivering a eulogy, a hired Speaker does that work. The Speaker arrives some time before the ceremony, with enough time to research, and the end result is, notionally, something resembling the complete unvarnished Truth of the deceased.

The concept is a bit of a stretcher, to be honest, but the essential idea is that a person's true and complete story constitutes a kind of redemption. If we can understand how they came to do the things they did, both bad and good, we can better honor them in our memory. We may find forgiveness, or censure, where we did not expect it. This is the opposite of the conventional wisdom, which is that we ought to as best we can sweep unsightly detail under the rug and replace our view of the deceased with a sort of simplified and rosy picture of them.

In the same way, I think that (mostly) a truthful photograph of a person will tend to honor and redeem them, rather than to do them harm. To photograph them truthfully, to tell their truthful story, has the potential to be a greater good than to sweep their story underneath a rug by either not telling it at all, or by telling it without their presence.

Taking that photograph, those photographs, is difficult and not entirely reliable. Even if perfectly done, it can still be misread.

This is a photograph of my friend, Steve, who is homeless and an alcoholic. I believe that it tells the truth about Steve, and that it honors him by doing so. There are surely those who would decry this photograph as invasive, abusive, exploitative. Steve was pretty drunk when I took it, so it would be pretty hard to claim that he gave informed and binding consent.

Contemporary practice suggests that I should have photographed, empty, the corner where he panhandles. His bedroll and other belongings. Perhaps I could have crept into the bushes and photographed the place where he sleeps. His arrest records would be a nice document to include. Perhaps even some medical records. I could avoid exploiting Steve by invading his privacy in a half dozen other ways.

Or, alternatively, I could simply slip aside to safer subjects rather than risk the wrath of the establishment for my middle-class gaze.

At this point it seems appropriate to point you to Small Town Inertia, a project by a Jim Mortram, who appears to be a unabashedly an English Bloke, and who does Steve only a million times better. To be fair, there are parts of the establishment that adore Jim, but they still shy away from his methods. I keep meaning to write something more serious on the subject of his work (starting with: go look at more of it carefully) but that's still in the future.

If the Serious Photography establishment wishes to ever leave the world in which their favorite Important. Necessary books sell 300 copies, they would do well to reconsider their methods. Perhaps returning to a focus on people could be helpful, here.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

My Story, Her Story, History

There is a river, the Niger, in Africa. 2600 miles long. It passes through or along 6 separate modern nations, by my count. It it known by at least 9 different names if wikipedia is to be believed. People have lived along its banks for probably hundreds of thousands of years, if not longer. It is reasonable that human-ish habitation along the Niger predates the arrival of homo sapiens entirely.

I recently read a somewhat muddled piece which remarked that the "history" of the Niger is the European one. Leo Africanus named the river, although he knew almost nothing of its course. Mungo Park "discovered" the river, in the sense that he led the first European expedition to see the middle section of the river. The author of that piece notes, querulously, that the people already on the river had perfectly good names for the river, and that they had certainly noticed its presence long before Park discovered it.

My point here is that what we think of as the "history" of the Niger, or most anything else, is of course just the European story. The Africanus/Park story is my people's story of this river. It recounts the relationship of my tribe to this river. Certainly the people who live along the river have their own stories, and I rather suspect their stories don't make much mention of Africanus or of Park. This is just as it should be. Park's "discovery" does not concern the Zama people in the slightest, just as many of the things which concern the Zama are of little interest to me.

While there are certainly problems here, among them is not the mere existence of a European story of The Niger River. Perhaps something about the hegemony of that story.

Consider this young photographer:

I am in a protest march, photographing her. She is alongside the same march, observing it from the side, taking my photograph (perhaps).

We are observing and photographing the same event. I am in it, she is not, but we are both photographing it. Our personal stories of the event are different, our perceptions of the event are different. Hold that thought.

I was recently pointed in the direction of a Jim Kasson blog post in which he proposes a taxonomy of photographers, a subject I am maybe less interested in than you might reasonably guess. Anyways, one of his categories is meditator which I rather felicitously read as mediator for a moment. I rather like the idea of a photographer as a mediator. Both one who mediates, who translates, between two things, and as one who uses a medium.

The things we mediate between are the real world, the ground truth, and our viewers.

History in general, or a specific event, thing, person, or scene, is fractally complex. Nothing truly happens because of something. Everything, if you peel back the covers far enough, is merely the emergent result of everything that came before. The ground truth of the Niger River, or of a small protest in a small city, is intractable. The antecedents, the factual details of the thing itself, and the consequences, are infinite. If you treat them as all equally important, the result is an incomprehensible mass of detail. If you attempt to rank them, you wind up merely adding endless classification and taxonomy to the same mass of detail.

No, to make sense of anything, you need to find a point of view, a place to stand. You need to find some subset of that mass that hangs together coherently, where one thing is related to another. It need not be a single thread of consequence, it could be several threads, or a mesh, but it has to hang together to be accessible to the littleness of the human mind. The job is to relate this, not the totality of the thing. You hope that it provides maybe some interesting insight into the thing itself, but the idea that it encompasses the totality of the thing is absurd.

History has within it a subdiscipline, historiography, which seeks to make sense of the ways in which this has been done for history, and how it might best be done. What are the results of doing it this way versus that way? And so on.

Photography, despite also being a mediation between really the same fractally complex ground truth, and a consumer of a story, seems to have no such discipline. It has a lot of people who complain about how everyone else does it, and that's about it.

I dare say that you could argue that many kinds of photographs are exempt, here. There are pictures made purely for appearance, they are purely aesthetic objects and as such need not take any position. They say nothing about any "ground truth" and therefore do not mediate between such a thing and a viewer. I suppose that might be true, albeit not as frequently as you might like. It is rather the essence of the photograph to refer to a ground truth, and as such, your viewers will tend to infer some comment or another.

But set that aside and focus on those pictures which are meant to comment on an underlying ground truth, in some fashion. Photographs which do mediate in the way I mean.

What does photography have?

There are, I guess, some sort of proto-theories lying around. Gaze theory might be in there, but it is generally just applied as a vague nod, the way you drop Roland Barthes into an essay. It adds nothing, but identifies the author as a clever chappie. Politics of Representation (who has the power to represent whom and in what ways) is generally a bit more solid. These two do not, together or separately, really constitute a coherent theory, though.

There are certainly a bunch of approaches, and these can at any rate be described. You can re-photograph a whole bunch of documents and found material. You can do a traditional reportage thing. You can photograph objects that lie, as it were, tangent to what you're interested in. You can do portraits. You can mix and match these things.

Nobody seems, though, to have a coherent notion of which methods work for what, the conceit seems to invariably be "look, this is simply the right way to do it, for reasons, and everyone else is simply wrong." The results are all over the place, as a consequence.

Historiography is interested, approximately, in what one chooses as important, and how one organizes that material. "England in WWII" could be all Churchill all the time, it could be a deep dive into socioeconomic conditions of the common people from 1917 through 1945, it could be about a bunch of Generals. You could organize it like a novel, or year by year, or as a collection of biographies and essays.

Each of these approaches would tell you something, but they would be different somethings.

Photographs, and collections of them, similarly make choices about what is important and how to organize that material whether in the frame or in the sequence.

Let us contrast, briefly, Smith's Minamata and Asselin's Monsanto. Just flipping through each book it is clear what each author has chosen to make important. Smith centers people. By far the majority of his pictures are of people.

Asselin has more photos of Monsanto's advertising materials than he does of people. Asselin centers documents. He has newspaper clippings, advertisements, forms, re-photographed photos, and so on. The majority of the visual material in the book is documentary, either an actual reproduced document or a record-shot of some salient object. Secondarily he photographs places. Again, he has more pictures of unpeopled places than he has of people. Asselin appears to belong to the contemporary school of Serious Photography that doesn't like to photograph people.

The writing is much the same. Smith's writing, while journalistic, is very people-focused, whereas Asselin focuses on events, and on Monsanto.

Asselin's approach is intended to appear scientific, formal, fact-based. Smith's is human and journalistic. Asselin seeks to recite dry, factual, evidence of Monsanto's evil and place that in juxtaposition with their advertising, to slyly suggest double-dealing in a way that makes him unlikely to be sued. Because he declines to explicitly mention double-dealing, he cannot examine the double-dealing itself.

Smith shows us the human results of Chisso's evil, and tells us about the double-dealing while simultaneously struggling to understand it.

I like one of these approaches more than the other, but they're both approaches, and then can be examined in a sort of pseudo-historiographic way.

I think that one could make a pretty robust argument that centering people is always the power move here, but I don't think I'm going to take a swing at that today, and anyways I am as guilty as the next person are not centering people.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Protest Stories

Another story of protests. This one edges up against false, but the pictures are all real.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Protest Stories

Second edition of Protest Stories. This one is also true, but not the whole truth.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Protest Stories

I have a lot of pictures of protests, and I am going to try to tell some stories. Each true, but not the whole truth.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Another Kickstarter Project

There's this guy, Mauro Scattolini, who either has, or plans to have, a bunch of photos of sheep herders in Italy. He describes them as "nomadic" but I don't think that's true, I think it's the standard practice of moving livestock to one place for the summer, and back for the winter. These are not nomads as such, more like people with two homes.

That said, it looks pretty cool. This is definitely a dying tradition, as lands are enclosed and so on. The pictures seem to be just what you'd expect, but they are competent and appealing, and the subject matter is genuinely compelling.

Click here for the photographer's page for the project, and you'll see what I am talkng about. Make sure to check that page out first for, reasons.

The kickstarter campaign itself is here. To be blunt, this is a pretty lousy page. It blathers on about "transhumance" which I had to look up and it means "that thing where you move livestock up the mountain for the summer, like in Brokeback Mountain, but the gay sex is optional" and doesn't give you any good pictures.

But that's where you'd go to buy the zines. It's an all-or-nothing so there's less risk for you, I think.

I am debating whether or not to back it myself. It's almost my cup of tea, but maybe not quite, and I do watch both pennies and shelf space quite carefully.

You might like it, though!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Year End Wrapup: Best Cameras

Everyone seems to be doing it, so I am going to take a moment to discuss the cameras I have used over the last year, their pros and cons, and conclude with recommendations you can really use.

Let's start off with my workhorse, old faithful, the Nikon D3100. 14 megapixels, APS-C sensor. Several... modes. Can use any Nikon AIS or better lens, albeit sometimes with enormous difficulty. It has a meter. And it can autofocus with some lenses. Oh! It can take movies! Not very well. But it can do that!

Pros: small and handy, very familiar to me. Deep inventory of Nikon lenses more or less usable.

Cons: apparently kind of low resolution, I guess, and the dynamic range means you can only botch the exposure by like 2 stops either way, which I guess is bad. Also, it's going to break pretty soon, I think. The damned thing's 10 years old. There's like 54,000 on the shutter, which is well in to "this could die any time" territory.

So let's move on to.. oh, I guess there isn't anything else. Sony makes cameras now, apparently? I hear that they're amazing and terrible. You should check them out.

Anyways, I recommend that you use a Nikon D3100 for everything.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

PSA: Reichmann Retrospective now available cheap

Many of my readers who might find this interesting probably already know, but perhaps a few do not. One can now purchase Michael Reichmann's "20 year retrospective" book, formerly very expensive, for $80 (unsigned edition, formerly $350). If you like this sort of thing, that's quite a lot of photos for the money, and as a bonus the money does go to a good cause.

Click here to buy.

Finishing It

A theme I don't think I have expounded on for a while now is this: many photographers, I venture to suggest most, would benefit from picking an end goal, and making a concerted effort to achieve it.

I have, over the years, received a lot of flak for not taking very many pictures, or not sharing enough of them, or whatever. If one dropped in to this blog unaware, one might be forgiven for supposing that all Andrew does is bloviate about pictures without actually taking any. And, certainly, people have done just that.

Not to over-toot my own horn, but I finish more shit in a year than virtually any photographer out there. While it is true that I am not wandering around shooting all day every day, and posting my half-assed bullshit pictures for "comments and critique" in various online places, I do start, finish, print, and distribute 2-3 publications every year, each one with anywhere from 10 to 30 pictures.

Now, certainly there are working professionals out there hitting assignments regularly and delivering portfolios of pictures to clients, which is great. Mostly those guys are too busy to bitch about some random blogger, or to pass judgement on randos for shooting too much, or not enough, or the wrong pictures. They're also pretty rare in the people-online-complaining community.

Consider, for instance, someone like Ming Thein. While he certainly has a large and vocal fan base, what does he actually do with most of his pictures? Mostly he posts them on his blog, with an essay about how great they are. That's it. And, frankly, he's a lot more focused on an end-goal than most of his fans, who don't even do that. You could argue that his blog is a legitimate result, and while I don't think much of it, I would have to accept that. I never said you have to make something that I like, or even something good.

If you shoot a jillion pictures, pull them all in to Lightroom, and then "curate" the hell out of them before "processing" a bunch, and then you post your favorite one somewhere for critique... what the hell are you? What are you expecting to get out of this? What do you hope to achieve, and why are you doing this? I do not think it's unreasonable, if someone styles themself a creative, to wonder what exactly they are creating.

Answers to these questions are all optional, of course. Everyone is welcome to pursue their joy in whatever way they like, and perhaps you just enjoy mashing the button on your camera, or moving sliders in Lightroom, or whatever. If that's your jam, that's great, but it's not something that makes any sense to me, and I don't really see any way to imagine this process as having a conclusion, a point at which you're done, a point at which you have accomplished something you can point to and say "I did that."

Without some sort of result, a creation which one can point it, I have a difficult time seeing this as creative. I think in many cases it's some sort of notional precursor, practice, a learning and improving process, leading to creative action which never seems to actually take place.

How do you know when it's done? When you're finished with it. When you quit working on it. Ideally, you stick it out there somehow or another, but that's just a feeling I have. You could put it in a box in a closet too. The point is, though, that if someone did see it and say "You know what you ought to do.." you don't do that. You don't do anything. Because it's done.

If you haven't finished anything in a while, you may take this as a goad to go pick something up and do the tedious bit where you wrap it up. Go on, you can handle it.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


I saw this project on PetaPixel, you can look at it here, in one of those awful-to-navigate galleries. Sorry.

The commenters on PetaPixel hated it, of course, because Art and Women Power are two things they hate.

I gotta say, I'm not in love with the project overall myself. The statement is boilerplate, very much exactly what someone seeking to do something something Female Gaze would write about the project. Which doesn't make it wrong or stupid, necessarily, but in this case it sets a pretty high bar which the photos do not, in my judgement, clear. The pictures are just a series of slightly awkward feeling women, a bit overdressed, feeling a little out of place, trying to look Strong because Women Power.

It is interesting to me that Steele's specialty is portraiture, but all their portraits are the same vague yet stern expression.

What I do like about the series, though, is all the matchy-matchy colors! These things all look like fashion shots. Where the colors of the sofa/clothes/background don't match, they're complementary. Where on earth did Steele find all these wonderful pieces of furniture, and all the wonderful matching places to put them?

These are very well made, very carefully made, photographs. It is unfortunate that they seem to say nothing much about what the artist's statement references.

On that same note, here are a couple of threads from The Photo Forum: Thread 1 and Thread 2 but you needn't read them except for entertainment. I will summarize.

In the first thread, a photographer asks what can be done to improve their photo, this photo:

This is a clear attempt at a fashion shot, and actually comes pretty close, but fails distinctly in a couple of ways. The photographer gets some advice, which boils down to "use different and more expensive gear" and a little snark from the snarkers. Check out the one dude saying that the Asian model is squinting.

What's wrong with it is that the model is not separated from the background. You can go on about background blur, but that's not going to fix the tonal separation problem. Also notice the lack of matchy-matchy colors. The correct answer here is stick the model on a tonally light background, and with a big yellow car in the background. In particular, in terms of technical details, in terms of equipment used and the way it is used, this picture is 100% within the envelope of contemporary fashion photography. The photographer need change nothing except where the model is positioned to hit the right notes.

The second thread talks about this photo, which the (same) photographer aspires to make:

Find all the matchy-matchy colors, and near-matches! There are several. Also, the models are tonally separated from the background.

The same crew of dudes again misses the point, focusing, again, on the equipment used, the way the equipment is used, and some snarking from the snark patrol.

Gearheads, whatcha gonna do?

(Standard link for TPF readers who might swing by and get excited about being stalked: Read This, Idiots.)

Monday, December 9, 2019

That Art Basel Banana

There's been a Thing in the news lately. Artist named Maurizio Cattelan made a piece that consists of a banana duct taped to the wall, entitled "The Comedian."

Three copies of this work sold, for between $120,000 and $150,000. Crucially, the work includes a certificate.

The point here is that what you're buying is a certificate, which entitles you to tape a banana to a wall, and refer to it as "The Comedian," a piece by Maurizio Cattelan. He could have made it about a blank wall, but the banana makes it funny.

This is, essentially, performance art. There's a goodly history of sales of performance art which work in the same way: you are buying a contract which entitles you to stage, or command to be staged, a performance of whatever it was. There is a similar history around certain sculpture. I think it's Dan Flavin I am thinking of here. You can buy a sculpture that includes a bunch of fluorescent tubes made in Dan Flavin's shop, and it includes a certificate. With the certificate, it is a sculpture by Dan Flavin, and as such it is worth some money. Without the certificate, it's just a light, and is worth correspondingly less.

It happens that another performance artist walked up and ate the banana, he is hailed as a hero by the Modern Art Sucks crowd, but in fact he's 100% supportive of Cattelan's intention here. The banana doesn't matter, it is irrelevant. The certificate makes clear that you can stick a new banana up any time you like.

This is surprisingly relevant to photography. Especially in this day and age of color-profiled files and equipment, and inkjet printers, the intrinsic value of the Fine Print has never been lower. David Hurn allegedly tells curators at faraway exhibitions of his work to simply tear up the prints at the conclusion of the show, because it's cheaper and easier to re-print them than it is to ship them back, and he claims he is not alone.

The Art in the case of both a photograph and "The Comedian" lies somewhere other than on the wall. What is on the wall is merely an ephemeral manifestation of the Art.

Now, I don't find any particular Art value in "The Comedian," it's just some mook trying to have a Duchamp moment, which happens from time to time. I guess it's a fine thing to poke the eye of the Art Industry from time to time, except that the Art Industry seems to enjoy the experience (someone pulled down, what, $200,000 in commissions right?) It's just a joke, and a pretty good one. Who wouldn't want a certificate that permits you to tape a banana to a wall and, with real legitimacy, claim it as a piece by a more or less well known contemporary artist? I'd pay $10 for that on a good day. Logically, if I had a net worth 12,000 times larger than my current net worth, I'd as happily pay $120,000 for it.

This doesn't make it particularly substantive Art, though. People have noted a resemblance of the banana and duct tape to the hammer and sickle, but I am dubious, and anyways that's a thread of meaning that doesn't really seem to go anywhere.

A photograph, just as ephemeral, can be and usually is just as shallow and meaningless. But it doesn't have to be.

In much the same way, I can imagine easy-to-install installations like "The Comedian" which could be sold in the same way, and which would carry a lot of meaning, a lot of artistic weight. They would likely not be funny, and since they would also not be poking the Art Industry in the eye, they would not command the same prices.

I own a set of tires for my car which are, somewhat to my surprise, not actually tires but a right to have tires on my car. I got a flat and destroyed a tire across the border once, and my tire shop paid me back for the tire I bought in Canada, because I don't have tires, I have a contract to have tires on my car. I guess I also own some tires.

Anyways, there's no reason modern digital photographs could not be sold as in the same way as my tires and Cattelan's banana. You could sell a right to have one (or ten, or whatever) prints. If the print fades, or gets ruined, or lost, you simply bang out another one.

What this does it it points away from the precious Fine Print as the locus of value and, to be honest, none too soon.

Yet another legacy of painting: the insistence that the object is the thing, which leads to absurdities like editions, hand work, and so on, to try to turn what is ultimately a mass-produced object into an object of desire. The value of the dye-transfer print is less in the majestic depth of the blacks and more in the difficulty of reproduction. If you pretend that the picture is somehow lifeless, artistically void, except in dye-transfer, then, lo you have created scarcity and thence, presumably, value.

We're past that now, the object need not be the thing. The art-ness of something can reside elsewhere, and the object (if any) is free to simply be an ephemeral manifestation of the art-ness of the piece.

I think movie-makers have known this for a long time. The art is only alive as it flickers on the screen, and when it's over, the art goes away. Somewhere. It's not entirely clear where. But that does not make a movie un-art.

I have this notion that something here might point the way to a better understanding of photography-as-art in social media, but in general photography sharing platforms are such pallid, lifeless, uniform containers for pictures I don't think there's a lot of hope here. Maybe there's a germ of an idea here, a more vibrant, interesting, platform. Something that doesn't force your pictures into the same pallid container everyone shares, but allows expression?

Maybe by embracing the ephemeral nature of the digital platform, something new and interesting might arise. Here's hoping!

Friday, December 6, 2019

People Pix

Took the kids to a Climate Change Protest today, and took a lot of pictures of people.

These people are at a protest. The entire point is to be seen, to be counted, to be remembered. In addition, I have a specific project in mind, for which I desire these kinds of photos. For me, this is a no-brainer, I can and do take these photos without compunction. This is, as I see it, an extreme corner case where the answer is very clear.

Unless you are a remarkably dim bulb, you will likely notice that these pictures are heavy on the pretty girls. I noticed this partway through the protest, and took stock. There just were not many dudes among the under-30 crowd. The middle-school skate punks, and a couple of boyfriends firmly attached to girlfriends.

The young people in this youth-led protest were almost 100% girls. I dunno what that means.

See the adorable little dork in the sport code, leftmost in the group? He's coming back, stay tuned. Oscar is kinda awesome.

Phones are ubiquitous, as is attention to them. This young woman was in fact only glancing down, so this photograph is not entirely fair to her. The next frame shows her fully engaged with the march.

I don't actually know, but I suspect this is another unfair frame. I think he's got some weird momentary expression, but there are no other photos of him, and I don't recall shooting this one.

Fair chance mom would be angry about this one, but she's the one bringing her kid to a protest. I am on unshakeable legal ground here, and pretty firm ethical ground as well. Mom might be totally cool with it, though, she seemed pretty relaxed about stuff in general.

These three girls, and their friend, are all wearing the same shoes. Damnedest thing.

These two gitls were listening to a speaker, and eating. I have several less flattering frames involving forkfuls of noodles. They seemed to really enjoy their noodles.

Beautiful singing voice.

I spotted her with her camera, and told her to "go!" until she pointed her camera at me, and I shot this, and yelled "WE'RE DOCUMENTING SHIT" at her as we marched by.

Antifa. Jesus. I told them I knew they were actually all cops, and then stood around taking pictures of them for ages, because, seriously, fuck these guys. The ones that aren't FBI are useless drama queens, and I am pretty sure Bellingham rates zero (0) FBI infiltrators.

I took a lot of pictures of actual cops, too, because I make a point of photographing cops when I see them, and have a camera. Every time. I want 'em to stay used to the idea.

There was a gang of middle schoolers who skipped out of school to "protest" but somehow managed to bring their skateboards. And helmets, too, do that's good.

Bellingham has a fake Christmas tree this year, a 60 foot cone of fake bristles. The branches can be moved aside, revealing a large space inside, which was full of kids. Some older man with a camera yelled into the tree that "the cops are coming and they look pissed" which they were not, but the kids came out pretty quick anyways, which was funny as shit.

Check it. These four girls (high school? college?) have the same boots.

Oscar was an articulate little dude, but when he started throwing in thinly veiled references to zoning policy instead of just talking about bad weather, it became clear that mom wrote his speech. But he delivered it like a champ. Go Oscar, you rock. Might wanna stop letting your mom dress you pretty soon, though.