Photo Essays, Spot News and Stock Photography

Posts from the ‘Editorial’ category

BABYLON SUPER STORM – AUGUST 22, 2019

Those who lived through it had never seen anything like it on Long Island. I have been living here for over 46 years and survived several serious hurricanes witnessing destruction and loss of electric power for days. Nothing compared to the fright which this storm brought. It came in the night between nine and ten P. M. The house shook. All of the windows began to rattle and there was heavy rain, lightning and thunder and the wind. Everyone that I have interviewed swore we were hit by a tornado despite the weather reports of something called “straight line winds”. A super cell that descends quickly from the upper atmosphere seemingly out of nowhere. The hardest hit areas were in West and North Babylon. Crews from out of state are here restoring electricity and helping with the clean up. Like a tornado the damage was selective. Some patio chairs were overturned at my home while a neighbor had an enormous tree nearly crush his house. Cars that were unfortunate to be parked under some trees were totaled and in some cases caught fire.

Workers pour concrete at the border fence between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico.

BORDER ZONE

DPI is pleased to welcome our newest contributing photojournalist, David Barak. David is based in San Diego, California. Besides his passion for photojournalism he proficient in studio & portrait photography, graphic design, illustration, news reporting and editing and film & video production and editing. His website is: www.davidbarak.com. His first contribution to DPI is “Border Wall Construction“; Border Field State Park, California (June 21, 2019) from his “Border Zone” essay.

Migrant Girl c.1936

MIGRANT GIRL

With all eyes focused on the current humanitarian crisis on our southern border let us not forget that U. S. citizens were once also migrants living in squalor in relocation camps during the Great Depression. The power of the still photograph is clearly evident and on display with the recent, tragic photo of the migrant Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his daughter Valeria who drowned in the Rio Grande at Matamoros while seeking asylum in the United States. I think that it is fair to say that that image will clearly be in the running for the next Pulitizer Prize.

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Does anybody here speak any longer?

TEXTING…TEXTING…TEXTING

I think that the question of the day is how were humans able to survive for thousands of years without their smart phones? Our iPhones and Androids serve many purposes besides being able to communicate via telephone for which they were originally created. For emergency use, for checking news, sports scores or the stock market nothing can beat a smart phone. They have become indispensable. Today it is unusual for someone to step outside of their home without a handy smart phone nearby. I say that it is an important tool, but only a tool. The tool does not run me, I run the tool when necessary.

A new language has even been created, in part to cut down on usage for people without unlimited plans. LOL, IMO and TTYL just to name a few. We have a shared family plan with our carrier which is unlimited, fortunately. I checked our phone and text usage for a recent month. My usage was phone-93 minutes with 29 incoming texts. No outgoing texts. On the other hand my daughter’s phone usage was 287 calls for 1610 minutes and over 1,000 texts. The carrier does not provide information on text usage for over 1,000/month. It seems as if she lives on the phone. How does she have time for anything else?

What I find actually rude is when a stranger that you might meet is so busy texting a friend that you have become part of the wallpaper to them. It’s as if you don’t exist. If you drive your car by always looking in your rear view mirror you will miss very important information right in front of your face. We learn from observing and speaking to people that we meet for the first time. To text to family and friends ad nauseum is always to be looking into the past. It will always been a few seconds in the past. To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Our blog photo was taken on a Manhattan subway car in New York City, “Texting…Texting…Texting“; January 31, 2018.

 

 

 

Sleeping on the streets of Manhattan c.1931.

THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

You say that it could never happen again, scenes right out of the Great Depression. I say not only could it happen again under different circumstances, but there are already disturbing signs. For it is not only the 800,000 federal workers who are working without pay, but with every passing day there is going to be a ripple effect throughout the economy that is already underway. Breadlines have formed. The air traffic controllers have basically said that flying under these conditions is at your own risk. With every passing day of the shutdown more people will be affected than simply federal workers. Food stamp allocations for March will not be paid under existing conditions. At that point I would expect to see a hunger march in front of the White House. I do not think that the Administration has fully contemplated the wide-ranging effects of this self-inflicted government shutdown. Maybe the best people, these economists, were the wrong people to be hired or maybe they just don’t care?

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Homeless men gather around a fire to keep warm.  Date is approximate; true date unknown.

“…WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE; WITH CHARITY FOR ALL;…” — Abraham Lincoln (March 4, 1865)

The quote, of course, is from Lincoln’s second inaugural address, and he was referring to the catastrophe of the Civil War and the need for reconciliation. We are using his words to introduce the theme of charities which are available to us in terms of making a donation. When I began to try and compile a list of those charities and organizations to which I have contributed I was stunned at the length of the list. As of this writing I am sure that the list is incomplete. Not only that but there are a number of worthy organizations to which I have not as yet contributed, but I hope to at a future date. My donations are small, but it is important to me to be part of the solution not simply a bystander. I sleep better at night this way.

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Walls Don't Work

WALLS DON’T WORK

Walls don’t work. You need to understand that construction of a wall in our current climate is only the first step. When the wall is breached and proved to be ineffective what is to follow? Guard towers with machine guns? Mine fields? A DMZ perhaps? Maybe a five mile wide buffer zone might work. These tactics have been tried before and do not work. The lead photo, “Walls Don’t Work“; China 1935 shows a debris field as Japanese forces breached the Great Wall.

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The Soup Kitchen

THE SOUP KITCHEN

A rare image deserves special recognition. “The Soup Kitchen”; U. S. c.1931. Possibly run by the Capuchin Services Center in Detroit. Note the cross on the sign, and note the box of Campbell’s soup carried by one of the men.

THE TRIPLE BYPASS

No, this blog is not about some new freeway in Los Angeles. For those of you who have been wondering what has been going on at DPI here is the explanation. A life-changing event. Mine.

During the last 10 days of September and early October I had been experiencing bloating in my stomach and heart palpitations almost continuously. Finally,  I made the connection and drove myself at 3 A. M. on the morning of October 3 to the Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, N. Y. My journey led me from Admissions to Triage, to the Emergency Room, then for a CT scan, thence to the Cath Lab and eventually to the Operating Room during the afternoon of October 4. It had been determined that I needed a triple bypass operation. The surgeon told me before the operation that there was about a 1% chance that I would not survive. I told him that I believed there was a 100% chance that I would not survive very long without the surgery. At first he said that it would only be a double bypass as he was not sure if he could get to the other artery. I told him that as long as he was in there to do all three as I certainly did not want to go back in again.

Following the operation I was unconscious for two days with tubes coming out of me from just about everywhere. When I awoke I was so weak that I could not even place the straw from the cup of water at my bedside to my mouth without great difficulty. I think that I was more dead than alive. To say that the doctors and nurses at Good Samaritan saved my life would be a gross understatement. I could not have received better care than if I were the President of the United States. I left the hospital on October 10 and have been recovering at home with the love and help of my family. Recovery is slow but steady. To try and describe the event is somewhat challenging. Imagine getting hit in the chest with a baseball bat and getting spiked in the leg at the same time. The operation involves removing some veins from the leg and grafting them onto heart arteries. Sort of like Tommy John surgery but a lot more delicate and serious. Fortunately for me I had the best surgeon available to work on me just by chance.

It’s a whole new world. Believe me. Medications that I never had to take before with their side effects. Weight loss of about 17 pounds and counting. That is actually good news as I had difficulty over the years in trying to lose weight. I would not suggest that anyone go through this procedure just to lose weight, but it does work. I feel an obligation to pass along my experience. This is something that you never, ever, want to go through. Anyone who would return to a lifestyle inconsistent with maintaining a healthy heart following a bypass operation would be a fool in my opinion. After all there are more arteries connected to the heart so it’s conceivable that a second operation might be necessary. You need to think very carefully about how you live your life following open heart surgery.

Recovery is measured in weeks in the beginning and then in months with full recovery projected for about a year’s time. I was well enough to vote on Election Day. I told my family that I intended to vote even if I had to be brought in on a stretcher. It never got to that point. From my knowledge of the recovery process I would say that I am on track or slightly ahead of schedule. I think that by next week I will be driving once again.

The good news for followers of DPI is that while it has been difficult to make new postings until now, we have been able to continue to acquire some of the best photojournalism and documentary images ever presented at DPI. I hope that in some way these new images will compensate for our silence during the last six weeks.