Friday, October 18, 2013

Old School

Randy Parraz, an Arizona human rights campaigner and frequent critic of Tom Horne, Joe Arpaio and the Arizona GOP establishment, speaks out against Attorney General Horne in front of the AG's office Thursday.

I went down to the AG's office to photograph a rally by DREAMERS opposed to Horne's decision to sue community colleges in Arizona to force the community colleges to charge DREAMERS out of state tuition even though they qualify in every other way for in state tuition.

In a planned act of civil disobedience, a group of DREAM Act supporters blocked the entrance to the AG's offices and were arrested by Capitol police. There were about 100 people at the rally but only eight or nine were arrested. These things are carefully coordinated by the protesters and police. The two groups meet in advance and work out who's going to be arrested. The protesters sit on the floor, the police ask them to leave, they don't and they're arrested.

I've been messing around lately with working in black and white. I thought this assignment would lend itself to black and white, so I set my cameras to record both raw and JPEG (color raw files, black and white JPEGs) and went down to the Attorney General's office.

Working in black and white has never been easier. Lightroom makes excellent black and white conversions and there applications like DxO Film Pack and Nik Silver Efex Pro that simulate the look and feel of classic black and white films but I prefer not to use them (although I own a copy of DxO Film Pack, I've never used it) - it feels a bit like cheating. If I want a picture to be in black and white, I am going to make the picture in black and white. Call me old school. So when I want black and white photos I set my cameras to record in both raw and JPEG. Since the raw files are unprocessed they contain all of the color information.

This is important for sales and reuse since there isn't very much of a market for black and white photos anymore. Even if a photo is ultimately going to run in B&W, most publications would rather start with a color original and make their own conversions.

The JPEG, on the other hand, is processed with the parameters sets in-camera. If I want a black and white photo, I set the camera's parameters to record in black and white. I end up with two copies of every photo - a black and white JPEG and a color raw file.

I use the black and white JPEGs for blog posts or Instagram and I upload them to my PhotoShelter archive (in case someone wants a black and white photo) and I send the color photos to ZUMA.

There are more photos, both monochrome and color, from Thursday's protest in my archive. The color photos are also available from ZUMA Press.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Honoring The Unclaimed

Members of a VFW Honor Guard await the remains of unclaimed veterans during a mass interment of the remains of veterans at the Phoenix National Memorial Cemetery Tuesday

There were 36 funerals at the National Cemetery in Phoenix Tuesday. The cremated remains of 36 veterans were given a military send off. The Missing In America Project organized the mass interment. The remains had been cared for by Messinger's Mortuary in Scottsdale. A few hundred people, mostly veterans, attended the service and stood a silent vigil as the names of the deceased were read aloud. 

Vets stand at attention as the names of the deceased are read aloud

I went out to the cemetery to photograph the service. It was a perfect day for a memorial. A cloudless, crisp (by Arizona standards) morning and a moving service. 

There are more photos from the internment in my archive or available from ZUMA Press

Finally, most of the photos in my archive are available for editorial use or self fulfillment as prints. If you see something you'd like to use or just hang on the wall, click on the "Add to Cart" button and follow the onscreen prompts

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Marching for Dignity

Immigrants march past the Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix Saturday. 

I've been gone from Phoenix for just over a year and one of the first things happening when I got back was immigrants marching for dignity and respect. On one level it's like nothing changed in the time I was gone. 

Except that a lot changed in the time I was gone. 

Sheriff Joe Arapaio has been put in his place by the federal courts. His "crime suppression sweeps" that targeted undocumented immigrants and victimized Latinos of any status, are a thing of the past. 

There's still no DREAM Act, but the President's "DREAM Act lite"has been enthusiastically received in immigrant communities. 
Marching for immigrants' dignity. 

When I left in 2012, I sensed a lot of anger and frustration when I covered events in the immigrant community. During the march Saturday, the crowd was festive. An organizer told me the frustration has been replaced with optimism. 
Immigrants' rights marchers in central Phoenix. 

Immigration protests before I left always featured a small but vocal band of nativists supporting the Sheriff. The Sheriff's legal woes seems to have taken the wind out of their sails. Four Tea Party nativists stood across the street from the immigrants' rally reciting the Pledge of Allegiance over and over again while everybody ignored them.

So while the more things change, the more they stay the same, in this case it's the more things change, the more they really change.  

There are more photos of the immigration march in my archive and available from ZUMA Press

Finally, most of the photos in my archive are available for editorial use or self fulfillment as prints. If you see something you'd like to use or just hang on the wall, click on the "Add to Cart" button and follow the onscreen prompts

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Back In The USA

A man waits to see someone at Social Security on the first day of the GOP's mandated shutdown of the federal government. Social Security was deemed non essential and provided only limited services to Americans in need of a little help. 

I come back to the United States and the Republicans respond by shutting down the federal government. I went out early the first day of the shut down to see how people were handling it. There was a long line of folks waiting to get help at Social Security, which had a note in the window that they would be offering limited services because of the shutdown. I made some photos of people waiting for help at Social Security then drove around to other federal offices, most of which were open. 

Arizona is in a unique position regarding the shutdown. There are lots of federal law enforcement officers and agencies here. Most of them are on the border but there ICE, ATF, DEA, FBI and the others in the federal alphabet of law enforcement have a huge presence in Phoenix and they were not furloughed. 

Arizona is also home to some of the greatest National Parks in the country. Park like the Grand Canyon and Saguaro National Park, were shut down. It's not just the federal employees who are losing out in this GOP inspired game of chicken. Tens of thousands of vacationers have had their plans ruined and, more importantly, the many small businesses in northern Arizona that rely on the Canyon are being forced to lay people off or shutter the business because a minority party can't get its way. To people in big cities, with diverse economies, like Phoenix, this is an inconvenience. But in rural areas, near the Grand Canyon, areas still reeling from the Great Recession, this GOP exercise is forcing them into a full blown depression. 

Arizona is also home to two large Air Force bases. Davis-Monthan in Tucson and Luke in Phoenix (Glendale really, but it's the Phoenix metro area). The bases are open and the military personnel working (but without the perk of being paid). Many of the civilian contractors though have been furloughed, and like the park employees, are left scrambling to make ends meet. 

I went out to Luke on the second day of the shutdown to photograph the workers' informational picket. 

Photographically, I'm experimenting a little with black and white. It's been years since I've worked in black and white - probably more than 15 years since I've used B&W film, but I felt the nature of the shutdown and what I was photographing lent itself to black and white photos. The picture agencies I work with don't usually accept B&W photos, but with digital it's not a big deal. I photograph in RAW and JPEG, with the picture style set to Monochrome (black and white). This gives me a color RAW file I can send it ZUMA and a black and white JPEG for personal use. Best of both worlds. 

Civilians workers at Luke Air Force base on their informational picket to protest the shutdown. 

Finally, most of the photos in my archive are available for editorial use or self fulfillment as prints. If you see something you'd like to use or just hang on the wall, click on the "Add to Cart" button and follow the onscreen prompts.