Gracias a la vida

Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto . . . the words from on of my favorite singers, Mercedes Sosa. It’s not only a song about love for a man, but love for life, para todo que nos da la vida. It is a beautiful song my mother and my aunts have always played in our home and her voice and words have become the ones I always take with me. Some of these pictures reminded me of this song.

El video de Mercedes Sosa’s Gracias a la Vida:

Catching up . . .

I’m so ashamed . . . it’s been several weeks since my last post. At least I can be honest and say it hasn’t been for lack of work, I’ve been extremely busy wrapping up my internship, driving home, getting ready to go to Sudan to teach english. I had an amazing time at the Sun Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and during a photo-teaching excursion to Mexico City with Project Luz.

The above photo are my students, from right to left: Adrian, Nidia, Mari, Yoharelly, Fernando, and Ana. We brainstormed over what to do for our short time together and settled on the glorieta where mariachis and norteno musicians wait to be hired. The kids had to learn audio, and some had never really even shot photos before but I was so impressed by their enthusiasm and natural eyes. I loved watching them interview the musicians, learn from their trails and errors, it was such a wonderful experience. Although I’ll be catching up on my posts soon, I just really wanted to share the amazing project my kids put together. I shot none of the photos and collected none of the audio, although I supervised and helped edit.

Here it is:

Here are some of the kids’ great photos, I included two from each:

Adrian’s photos:

Ana’s photos:

Fernando’s photos:

Mari’s photos:

Nidia’s photos:

Yoharelly’s photos:

I can’t believe how lucky I was to work with these amazing kids, I hope that more photographers can join the project next year!

Photos from Wednesday on Friday without color


Thank you Newsgate, for if it weren’t for you there would have been another photographer available for an hour and a half cruise on a doorless helicopter over Broward County. We had about six or so stories to shoot for so we went from a neighborhood in Parkland, Florida to the 595 to the cruise terminal, boat show, and downtown fort lauderdale. So cool, I can’t even stress!











Tuesday and Wednesday


Yes, that is my hand next to that quite large gun . . . I’ve forgotten the name of it, but again yes, I did shoot it. I have to say that when I saw one of our photographer’s assignments for the monthly South East Republican Club’s monthly meeting was being held at the Pembroke gun and range I got so excited.

I love, love, love shooting ranges. I love, love, love shooting (photos) of guns and people who own them.

Don’t know why I do, couldn’t tell you since you’d nearly go deaf from the noise and I believe the fellow photographer I worked with saw a woman drop a loaded gun on the floor but there is something to say about gun culture in the United States that is just incredibly interesting. Below is a picture of mom and son-in-law (who came along with father-in-law and daughter). Mom is talking about shooting the civilian issue AK-47. She was adorable and said, “Oh you know what they say, the family that shoots together, stays together!” What a sweetheart and you know I’m not messing with that family any time soon . . .



Anyway I’m rambling, but it was pretty cool way to end a Tuesday night.


Earlier that day:

I helped another photographer, Sun-Sentinel staffer Joe Cavaretta shoot Vanessa Williams of American Ugly Betty fame (as opposed to the original and most interesting Colombian “Yo Soy Betty la Fea”. Joe set up the shot outside of the building and used the colonnade that wraps around the building to frame her and a simple reflector and off camera strobe to light it. Here is the final photo, it took literally about 1 minutes and 30 seconds to complete.


A vendor at the Lauderhill mall who was interviewed for the story.

First off:Lauderhill Mall which is most likely the equivalent of a mall like Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe, Ariz. in about another ten to fifteen years. Second, Joy’s Roti Delight is probably the neatest restaurant I’ve been to. It is Trinidad and Tobago food, but for most who don’t know this the small caribbean country has an Indian (from India) population of nearly 40% so this restaurant is the indian-caribbean style food. Below is the Chicken curry roti. The curry is great and authentic but the roti, which in India is more like a cracker-ish or harder bread where as in this restaurant the bread is a little moister, reminiscent of Ethopian injera bread than Indian Roti. Also they throw some flour in there . . . like Brazilians will have for sprinkling on feijoada . . . it just reminded me of the Caribbean and other foreign flavors combined to make this food.


Third: This weekend is carnival in South Florida . . . Most people think of Brazilian Carnaval as the main or only one but Trinidad and Tobago claim to have had the fist carnival and today countries all over South America, Central America, and the Caribbean have developed and grown their own celebrations. In Barranquilla, Colombia carnival is huge, it is said (by Colombians at least) to be the second largest celebration in South American lasting four days and only outdone by Rio de Jainero in Brazil. In North America with a huge immigrant population carnivals have caught on and in my opinion they’ve been quite smart because New York, Toronto, and South Florida, all celebrate at different times. New York celebrates Labor Day weekend, South Florida is this weekend, and Toronto’s dates (although not released for 2010) are in July-August. Traditional carnival precedes the forty days of lent marked by the first day, Ash Wednesday, which can vary from late February to early March. So essentially you could easily enjoy an enormous carnival celebration at least four times, if not more, over the year . . .


In another change I hung out at the federal court house again, and yet again got nothing . . . but the photographer I was with, Mike Stocker, treated me to lunch at a Texas BBQ place . . . I ate the pulled pork sandwich for lunch and unfortunately only thought to photograph it when I was done.


And ended the night by photographing some people preparing for carnival this weekend. Although it was kind of like everyone hanging out and one guy was probably working the most on a hip piece. You know all the feathers that fan out from behind like this. Also at Joy’s Roti I got invited to a band’s jam session . . . trying to find someone to go with me to go check out these guys since they practice from like 9pm until 1am or so. Could be pretty cool.




Spent the later part of the night meeting with South Florida freelancer Jesse Swanson who will be heading out to the photo workshop Eddie Adams and I’ve no doubt he is going to be awesome. Today is a border patrol new site opening and maybe some high school football if I’m lucky.



So Wednesday was fun, I headed out with Amy Beth, another photographer at the Sun Sentinel to first photograph an elder at his church in Coral Springs, then a veteran returning to school at Florida Atlantic University where I shot some video and our final assignment at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

For those of you new to the Broward County and Palm Beach County, the city of Boca Raton is akin to that of Scottsdale, Ariz. I mean odd part is that everyone in South Florida has a relative, friend or acquaintance in the desert.

Anyway Boca was my favorite assignment of the day and although I would love to post all the photos and the link to the slideshow here of those pics I can’t, because it hasn’t run yet. So I’m posting the out-takes that didn’t make the cut. I’ll post the link when it is published.

As for my personal life, etc. in South Florida I am loving it. While Broward at times resembles Maricopa County it is definitely unique. Did you know it was the birthplace of the hit show (going since 1989) COPS?

Broward is also home to the newest COPS style show, Police Women of Broward County.

Also a couple of excellent reporters at the Sentinel run a blog called Floriduh and everyday I read the posts and can’t help but bust out laughing. Apparently you can find stories from around the state posted here about everything from adult diaper fetishes and clueless thieves. Totally, I mean totally, worth checking out.




I am participating in a grant with the Virginia G. Piper Trust to cover a local non profit, here are a few of the first images. These were by far my favorites from today.