Photo Essays, Spot News and Stock Photography

Posts from the ‘Dispatch On Assignment’ category

Chichicastenango (July 1936)


And these are the people that we’re supposed to be afraid of, the “invaders”? Are you kidding me? You can’t be serious. The United States was built by immigrants, refugees and those who came here unwilling in chains. Historically, the first generation has more difficulty in assimilating than their children and their children’s children. Eventually there is no longer any collecitve memory of the ancestral homeland. New arrivals, by whatever means they come here, need “stuff” as they arrive basically with their clothes on their backs. An economic argument against the newcomers fails as they will need jobs, housing, food, clothing, cars, cell phones, toothpaste, etc. By any measure this is win-win for retailers. They will learn the language and become citizens. They will serve in the military. And they will also vote. Our history shows that all newcomers face discrimination at first. Are we to turn away Central American refugees, and that is exactly what they are, as Jews were turned away from entering the U.S. during Hitler’s Germany? What kind of people are we? We allow children to be separated from their parents in refugee camps? No country operates refugee camps in that way be it Turkey, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia or anywhere else. The only example that comes to mind where this was done was in Nazi Germany. Incremental attacks on various segments of the population, particularly Jews, was the policy of Nazi Germany. The Nuremberg Laws institutionalized the persecution of Jews which became legal under German law. May I suggest that you read your history books of events of the 20th century in particular and make the appropriate analogy to our current situation.

Our photo in this blog is “Los Guatemaltecos (The Guatemalans)“; Chichicastenango, Guatemala (July 1936).

Mongolia 1987


DPI’s contribution to the conversation on this film:


Gust Avrakotos: There’s a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse…and everybody in the village says, “how wonderful. The boy got a horse.” And the Zen master says, “we’ll see.” Two years later the boy falls off the horse breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, “How terrible.” And the Zen master says, “We’ll see.” Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight …except the boy can’t because his legs all messed up, and everybody in the village says, “How wonderful.”

Charlie Wilson: Now the Zen master says, “We’ll see.”


You have to see the film. Our photo is “Mongol Horse and Yurt“; Mongolia (July 13, 1987). “It ain’t over till it’s over.” –Yogi Berra

Refugees: Rebuilding After Typhoon Mary


Diagonal lines are good. Horizontal and to a lesser extent vertical lines are bad by comparison. By this we mean that in photography, diagonal lines draw the viewer’s attention into the image creating a dynamic and tension element into an otherwise staid photograph.

This is why photos lacking diagonal lines do not move our subconscious to the same degree and are, in effect, boring by comparison. Take a look at the lead photo here: “Refugees: Rebuilding After Typhoon Mary“; Hong Kong (June 15, 1960). The toddler in the left foreground is a plus, but see how many vertical lines you can find in this photo.  In the background is Victoria Peak. See: Typhoon Mary.

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Poverty in San Sebastián, Spain c.1933.


At first glance you may not realize the significance of this image. We see a man on a staircase overlooking a railing. Only when we discover that the location is San Sebastián, Spain does the picture become clearer. This is Basque Country and the Basques are treated like second class citizens. Recently, the Basques have voted for independence only to be denied once again by the ruling Spanish government. When we observe the poverty surrounding the man in this image, “The Basques” c.1933,  we begin to understand the reason for the Basque separatist movement.

Lave Cooling Operation


To close out our blogs for February we bring you a February event from the past. Here is something that you will not see too often. The eruption of Eldfell Volcano on an island off the southwest coast of Iceland bought out firemen in a “Lava Cooling Operation“; Heimaey, Iceland (February 7, 1973) in an attempt to try and stem the flow of the threatening lava. DPI pays homage to the great, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado as we believe that this photo represents his style of work. In this photo firemen are spraying seawater on the steaming lava.

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A return to Dien Bien Phu, scene of the Vietminh victory over the French as told by Dermot McGrath. McGrath takes us into General Giap’s headquarters where the operation was planned. A museum depicting the Vietminh victory over the French has been created. A map showing the location of Dien Bien Phu illustrates just how the French forces were cut off from any hope of rescue. Today, following what the North Vietnamese had called the American War their government is very friendly to the United States. I would argue that this is due in part to their brief border war with China following the U. S. withdrawal. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Vietnam needs protection from any future Chinese aggression as China has claimed several island in the South China Sea formerly considered to be Vietnamese territory.

McGrath’s photo essay can be seen in its entirety on DPI.

DELHI PHOTOS – Mayhem and Madness in India

The following blog has been contributed by Kristian Bertel. The photo essay can be viewed on DPI’s website.


In dust, noise and chaos, the photographer Kristian Bertel takes you here to Delhi, home to 16.7 million people, where ruins of Mogulriget and Medieval basements are scattered around office buildings, shopping centers and intermittent highways.


India’s capital.

Delhi is to a degree a city surrounded by dust, noise and chaos, but it is also a city that holds so much more. As an eastern Rome, India’s capital is full of relics from ancient empires. A fierce flood of armies has been through the ages over the Indus Ganges and put their mark on the defeated city before their empire has dissolved, which conquerors before them also did. Modern Delhi which has fine restaurants and exquisite shopping centers , is a chaotic plot of medieval fortresses, dusty bazaars and colonial townscapes. And all is a short trip from Agra, another former capital of the Mogul kingdom and home to India’s most famous landmark. the Taj Mahal.


Mayhem and chaos in Delhi

To get lost in the mud of basements of Old Delhi is more than just a wild shopping trip, it’s a staggering bombardment for the senses. Aromatic incense and fragrant spices mix with car, body odor and worse, namely the sound impressions, consisting of a constant cacophony of cry, bark, music and car horns. Here you just do not get a shopping experience, you also get life completely under the skin, intense and unforgettable. As a traveler, the best time to come here in the morning is where there is actually room to get in the streets, but the Chandni Chowk district should also be tried to be experienced when it’s rush hour as this is a truly unique experience in Delhi.

The bazaars in Delhi have entire neighborhoods with certain kinds of goods. In Chandni Chowk you will find clothes, electronics and stuff that breaks, as soon as you buy them. In other basar areas you can find stuffed booths featuring silver jewelry, sari, shawl, chiffon and lehanga, long skirts, while other booths feature slippers with a sewn pattern and beautiful sneakers. You can also visit the spice market, packed with bunks of red chili, gingerbread, tumeric reddish, perberkorn, coriander seeds, cardamom, dried fruits and nuts. Here is really something for everyone.


Dilli ki chaat

Delhi is a great place if you are fond of food and the local little ones all day, either by the many stalls in the old town with dilli ki chaat, which are light meals and salads or in the fine restaurants where you can have party meals. India’s capital New Delhi is centrally located in Delhi, and is a new district built early in the 20th century. Like the rest of the Ganges Delhi is flat like a pancake. The only geographical features of significance are the Yamuna River, flowing down the eastern side of the city, and the Aravalli Mountains, which for a wide but low arc across the western side of the city. In the western part of Delhi, the city is crowded oin the almost congested Old and Central Delhi, and to the southwest are wide avenues in New Delhi, built by the British rule under their empire. The rest is an endless urban spread of suburbs and slums, while the southwest of Delhi, which is close to New Delhi, is generally richer.


Historic city during the Mogul kingdom

India’s capital has been reborn several times over the past couple of thousand years, partly explaining why so much happens here. In addition to dust, noise and chaos, Delhi also boasts stunning architecture, culture and residents coming from all over the country,good food and even better shopping. The heritage of the stormy clouds is one of the biggest attractions. Old Delhi embraces the desolate splendor of majestic Jama Mashid, the red fort and other monuments from the historic capital of the Mogul kingdom, adorn the old city that was the royal jewels. Modern Delhi has its foundation on a city that has existed for centuries. Different monuments lie scatter across the region, revealing the many empires that have invaded Delhi and made it to their homes.


Delhi’s growing population

Delhi is the best place in India where you can experience all that brings people to India. The city where history, culture, food, spirituality, madness and mystery blend together in a big pear wrap. Here in Delhi you can see the extreme scenarios, who at one time go as a photographer, but also get some travel-seekers to disgust at India. Here the travel experience is spicy with poverty, pollution and overpopulation.

The city has grown exponentially over the years and continues to do so to accommodate the growing population, currently estimated at more than 16 million in just under 1500 square kilometers. It is part of the larger National Capital Region, also referred t as the NCR, which includes the neighboring Pradesh and Gurgaon in Haryana. The latter is known especially for its call centers and shining shopping malls to India’s growing middle class.


Coexistence in the million city

In Delhi, the different layers of modern India are all in existence, and the metropolis’s opposites quickly become clear to the visitor. Newborn Indians talk on mobile phones and are transported in luxury cars with their own driver and comfortable air conditioning while dozens of beggars try to get through the day in the streets just outside the tinted and shielded car windows.




Lan Lan. I met her in the well-known Hoan Kiem Park & Lake near the opera house in downtown Hanoi. An air raid victim of the bombing on Hanoi on December 23, 1970. Shrapnel sliced off her leg at the groin. - Dermot McGrath


DPI welcomes our newest contributing photojournalist, Dermot McGrath. Dermot, a Navy veteran, is based on Long Island. He has traveled to Vietnam several times since the end of the war, and he is deeply involved with the Viet Duc University Hospital Humanitarian Project which is based in Hanoi. This effort sends Vietnamese doctors and nurses for training and observation to several Long Island hospitals.

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