Under the Umbrella: A Hong Kong Occupy Central Photo Montage

By Benjamin Chasteen
Benjamin Chasteen
Benjamin Chasteen
Benjamin Chasteen is a former photographer for The Epoch Times.
November 4, 2014 Updated: November 14, 2014

For more than a month now, Epoch Times photographer Ben Chasteen has been pounding the streets of Hong Kong.

Trusty camera in hand, Ben snaps away at both the eye-catching and the mundane in a bid to faithfully document civil disobedience history in the making.

(China Uncensored/Facebook.com)
Ben Chasteen (glasses, helmet, safety vest) at a police-protester standoff on Nov. 6, 2014. (China Uncensored/Facebook.com)

Ben was in the thick of action at Central on third week of the pro-democracy protests, which got off to a rough start on Sept. 28 when police at Admiralty fired 87 tear gas canisters at peaceful, unarmed students and citizens.

The wee hours of Oct. 16 and 17 was possibly rougher, as Hong Kong’s finest stopped protecting Hongkongers and instead wielded batons and used pepper sprays almost willy nilly.

While in Mong Kok, Ben helped the pepper spray-hit crowd with his water bottle.

By the end of the morning’s police brutality, Ben realized that he had just witnessed first hand how much “Hongkongers love their country and care for one another.”

“Even a protester told me today that he cares for the police and wishes they would stop because they are all from the same nation,” Ben observed.

“There is a bond here with Hongkongers that I have never seen or experienced anywhere else.”

When things quieted down in the following week, Ben got photos that were less intense, but no less powerful.

On day, after noticing a lady sweep up cigarette butts and litter stuck between bricks on a path, Ben asked her why she felt the need to be so meticulous.

“Because I love my country and I want to make sure it gets taken care of,” she said.

“Tears crept into my eyes,” Ben recalled.

After the first month anniversary of Occupy Central, Ben compiled this photo montage and threw in a little music from his band Beta Sun to show what its like living “Under the Umbrella.”

Benjamin Chasteen is a former photographer for The Epoch Times.