Photo Essays, Spot News and Stock Photography

Posts from the ‘Dispatch On Assignment’ category

Ukraine, c.1938


The mail must go through! We recently purchased several photos from Ukraine. Shown here is “Ukrainian Wedding“, c.1938. This is a traditional Ukrainian wedding scene. But the country is now at war! This photo came to us by way of Kyiv and with power and water cuts to Kyiv delivery could be in peril. The photo arrived in a little over a week. Future deliveries in these wartime conditions may never arrive. Mail from some European countries has taken as long as a month or longer to reach the United States and they are not in an active war situation. A people as steadfast as the Ukrainians need to be saved.


Ukrainian Postal System

Moscow, Russian Federation (April 1970)


Q. “Conan, what is best in life?”

A. “To crush your enemies. See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”

Two snakes and a black sun. Mr. Putin, this may have been the playbook for Genghis Khan but that was 825 years ago. 33 generations have passed. And Mr. Putin you’re no Genghis Khan. The world is not the same any longer and you too will be relegated to the dustbin of history. St. Basil’s was built during the reign of “Ivan The Terrible”.

St. Basil’s Cathedral“; Moscow, Russian Federation (April 1970)

France c.1949


A photo that we had to have but almost didn’t. The classic nature of this image was one that we had to have. It was mailed to us from Paris the old fashioned way in an envelope. But the envelope was addressed to us as Etats-Unis which is French for United States. The photo took six weeks to arrive. I doubt that the French postal officials had any problems with the address, but unfortunately it would seem that ours do not speak French. C’est domage.

French Peasant Farmers” c.1949

Marseille, France (1956)


Perhaps the ultimate in prisons except for Devil’s Island in what used to be French Guiana was “Château d’If” off the coast of Marseille, France. Prisoners were arranged by class with the poorest sent to the dungeons. Immortalized by Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Count of Monte Cristo concerning the imprisonment of Edmond Dantès. The prison, now a museum, is seen here in 1956. Clearly, Alcatraz was patterned after Château d’If.

Port of Spain, Trinidad c. January 1942


We acquired this photo without any accompanying documentation. Our initial conclusions regarding time and place were completely wrong. Only after we did our homework were we able to make a final assessment. We assess that this photo was taken in Port of Spain, Trinidad c. January 1942 following reaction to local labor issues which were compounded by British colonial policies in which the population did not receive adequate representation. Sound familiar?

The Rebellion“; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago c. January 1942


China c.1918


Sometimes good things come in small packages. While small in terms of pixel size, “Chinese Farmer” – China c.1918 is rich in its message. As you may know my field is International Relations. I cannot defend the policies of Communist China nor that of the PLA. But I will say that to understand some of the current actions taken by  Communist China you really need to study the history of China. If you truly understand their past it will greatly help in comprehending their actions vs. Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

Bamboo Man


Here is a fine example of an occupational portrait: “Bamboo Man“; China/Malaysia? (March 9, 1961). We know the date but are unsure of the exact location. It is the occupational portrait rather than a studio or otherwise sterile portrait that gives meaning to the image. Showing the subject in his/her natural habitat so to speak.