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What could she possibly be smiling about?

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2015 at 12:51 pm

The heat, oh the heat!  I guessI knew in an abstract way that it would be hot in India this time of year. Sure, I’ve been to hot climates or at least I thought I had. I mean Africa (okay it was November) but I live in NYC, it’s so hot in summer their and the humidity can do you in. Still the heat I’m feeling here in Delhi is really kind of crazy! It’s over 100 degrees every day. I’m feeling more than a little disgusting and sticking to myself, I don’t want anything to touch me, I’m starting to dream of a shower, not literally but I am thinking about it hard. I know it’s going to happen and a cold shower sounds just about right. Knowing that I’m going to take that shower is something I can really hook myself into. Knowing that things change for me when I leave this place and that I CAN leave this place is really all the comfort I need at this moment.

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A dog cools off in an open sewer.

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Kids playing in an open sewer.

Kids playing in an open sewer.

Still this is not a story about my suffering, it’s a little story of how I came to be with and document the De-Notified and Freed Criminal tribes of India. Two weeks ago I had not even heard of these tribes but since arriving in India and working with Ruchira Gupta and her NGO www.apneaap.org I’ve learnt quite a bit and you can certainly look it up online to learn more but the bottom line is during the British rule they labeled these tribes who were as they said “addicted to the systematic commission of non-bail able offenses” Once a tribe became “notified” as criminal, all its members were required to register with the local magistrate, failing which they would be charged with a crime under the Indian Penal Code. The Criminal Tribes Act of 1952 repealed the notification, i.e. ‘de-notified’ the tribal communities. This act, however, was replaced by a series of Habitual Offenders Acts, that asked police to investigate a suspect’s criminal tendencies and whether his occupation is “conducive to settled way of life.” The de-notified tribes were reclassified as habitual offenders in 1959. So basically these tribes were essentially given a scarlet letter and even though the law was repealed when India got it’s independence the damage was done. Stigmatized and marginalized within a society that often falls back on a caste system these groups do not even qualify for the lowest caste. As such they are treated with very little respect and find themselves living on the fringes in abject poverty. Setting up little tent cities on side roads with limited opportunity for adequate income.

As a result of the limited financial income options they are often forced to turn their daughters and daughters-in-law to prostitution and their sons to pimping.

As a documentary photographer I have seen a lot of poverty in India, Bangladesh, Africa and Australia but what I witnessed within the community of these DNT’s was far beyond what I had seen in the past. With barefoot children and adults thin and frail in tattered clothes performing the most basic of services like blowing up balloons to sell on the street.

A young girl from the De-notified tribe blows up a balloon to sell on the street.

A young girl from the De-notified tribe blows up a balloon to sell on the street.

Since it was so hot out many people were just taking refuge in their makeshift tents and sleeping while others were on beds on the edge of the road. When I finally got out of the car I was greeted with warmth and kindness. Young kids practicing their English on me “ what is your name?” “my name is David, what is your name?” they would giggle and repeat my name, “hello Dabid, my name is….”

Huge smiles stretched across their faces as they asked to be photographed. Each child trying to one up another and taking the main focus of the composition. How could they be so happy I thought to myself, living like this? When their very lives seem so precarious not knowing where the next meal will come from never mind safety or education.

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We set up to photograph some portraits of the kids and adults to try and create images that would help to quickly tell a story of what goes on for these individuals to whomever viewed them. Communication was tough but thanks to Jasneet from apneaap we were able to get some great images.

It’s never my goal or intention to show people in a bad light, I try to focus on the positive and the human spirit. My goal is to make a “human connection” with whomever I photograph and with these individuals in a very short time I believe a trust was forged.

After about an hour or so we said goodbye and started to head back to the office of apneaap and I was scrolling through some of the images of the day. I was struck by the portrait of one little girl. She is using a pump to fill up a balloon to later sell on the street. I found myself getting a bit emotional while looking at this image. She was so sweet-looking but even more than that she reminded me of my little cousin. How is it that one person can be so lucky to be born in to a family that is financially and emotionally stable with all the love and support around her, not wanting for anything while another little girl is born into what appears to be the complete opposite. One with every chance provided to her to succeed having essentially won the lottery on life and one not even having enough money to buy a ticket for that lottery #thebirthlottery.

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So many of us are annoyed when a beggar comes up to us and asks for money or is trying to sell some knickknack. I know I was like this but after meeting these people I have a new understanding for these kids. Certainly it’s not their choice to be in this situation. There are many reasons they are there. The obvious of course to make some money but there is also organized crime that manages these people.

I think a society can be judged on how well it takes care of it’s people and unfortunately in the case of what is going on with these De-Notified tribes there is a great failure going on. Nobody should go without education or basic necessities. Growing up without them almost guarantees that the cycle will continue.

There is hope though! With organizations like what Ruchira Gupta at Apne Aap have created bringing attention to these people and their at risk children is imperative to helping to make a change. To force the government to recognize these people, help them to get their Indian identites so that they can qualify for social services. Make them aware of what is theirs to help create a sweeping change

This little girl is getting an education thanks to the work of Apneaap.

This little girl is getting an education thanks to the work of Apneaap.

IN OUR LIFETIME!!

Markham Summer Camp In Watts, LA

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2014 at 1:03 pm

From July 6-18 I was working at the Markham Summer Camp in Watts. I was hired to teach young boys and girls from the inner city of LA about photography. I’m writing this little blog post on my flight back to Brooklyn (gotta love inflight wifi) I had never been to Watts even though I lived in LA for 12 years. Truth is I had no reason to ever go to Watts. From what I had heard it was a very rough part of the city and the flash point to the Watts Riot in 1965  It’s been a place that has certainly been underserved with more than it’s fair share of poverty and violence. Still within this area the Markham Summer Camp exists on the grounds of the Markham Middle School.

When I first met my campers I was not sure what to expect. I was told that I would have as many as 20 kids. I’m actually glad that not that many campers ever showed up. I think the most I had at any point was 8.That does not seem great as far as attendance goes but in fact it was a great number to give some really dedicated attention to and so the kids that did show up had a great time and really took to photography. The camp does not have a lot of money for photography and the technical elements that go along with it like cameras, computers and printers but we managed to make it work. Don’t get me wrong, there were far more campers then what showed up in my photography course. The camp offers theater, sports, photography, Dance and many other options. Campers just pick what they want to participate in. Each week they offer new options for the kids to do.

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Portrait of Hector

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The group: Hector, Lesley, Amelia, Robe, Zhenn, Freddie, Catherine

Photo-bombed by Brian.

Freddy

Sharing and learning, Sevalas and Zhenn

Sharing and learning, Sevalas and Zhenn

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Portrait of Damien

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Portrait of Brian

It’s really amazing because the camp is offered totally free of charge to kids and they are provided with snacks and food. It’s a great way to keep them off the street in the summer and help them to socialize in a healthy and productive way. They also get an opportunity to engage in some activities that they would normally not have the opportunity to do.

Zhenn does a selfie.

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Captured walking by a mural of the Watts Towers

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Portrait of Lesley

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Even though the camp is free they still find it difficult to get campers to attend, odd considering all they get but life can be tough for many of the kids and it’s not always easy or even safe for them to get to the camp.

The staff was amazing and caring. I want to make a special shout out to a few like Grace, Dhakir, Robe, Amelia and Catherine. There were many more but it was these individuals that I worked with on a daily basis and selflessly worked long days to make sure the kids were well taken care of and enjoying their time.

The school is just around the corner from the famous Watts Towers an amazing man made sculpture created by one man over the course of 33 years. An Italian immigrant named Simon Rodia spent the better part of his life creating this work of art. It reminds me of  Opus 40 in upstate New York and Harvey Fite who spent 40 years of his life building it.

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Watts Towers

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Watts Towers

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Watts Towers

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Watts Towers

One of the nights after camp a handful of the staff and myself went along to a housing project for an event they call summer night lights designed to help give kids something to do to keep them off the street and away from gangs. “The Summer Night Lights program is a public and private partnership undertaken by the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (“GRYD”) and The GRYD Foundation” The goal was to tell the parents about the camp and encourage them to take their kids to the camp.

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Portraits from Summer Night Lights

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Portraits from Summer Night Lights

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Portraits from Summer Night Lights

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Portraits from Summer Night Lights

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Portraits from Summer Night Lights

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Portraits from Summer Night Lights

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Portraits from Summer Night Lights

 

So that was two weeks in the inner city of LA. If you ever get a chance to see the Watts Towers I highly suggest you do. I should say that most of the images in this post were done by the campers. It’s once again rewarding to give back and help out. Try it, you may like it!

 

David

Alaska (the wild frontier) by floating mall.

In Alaska, Cruise Ship, Juneau, Seattle, Uncategorized on September 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm

So if you have been following my Facebook fan page then you would know that I went to Alaska at the end of August. This was not a paid gig, just a family vacation. A little event was sponsored by my uncle (my mothers brother) who lives in LA. This is the Emmy wining writer of such shows as Fresh Prince of Bel AIr, Murder She Wrote and everyone’s  favorite The Cosby Show as well as many others. He is still the funniest uncle I could hope to have. We seem to get along very well even though we can argue.  Anyway it was my uncle his daughter her kids Talia and Maya and my mum who flew in from Los Angeles (my mum flew to LA viaToronto). We all met in Seattle and boarded the Princess cruise ship. I have to say that I never thought I would find myself on a cruise ship but it was the only way to Alaska that I could see at this time. My expectations for cruising were low and I was not let down in my expectations. I often say cruises are for newly-weds and nearly-deads.  I was not disappointed!  This was a boat full of older folks.  Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with either of those demographics. The only issue is that I’m definitely not the first and hopefully not the latter. I was amazed at the entertainment on the boat it was like being transported back to Las Vegas circa 1972. This giant floating mall that seemed to have done a big sponsorship deal with Citizen watches (only on the boat could you pick one up for 50% off US prices).

Of course there was the food! Another Vegas style event, It seems we had only just boarded  the boat when we made our way to the buffet, if you didn’t know, boats are known for the all you can eat at anytime type of feeding zones. This boat was no different. People sat down while still in port and began to eat like it was the last thanksgiving of their lives. Wasting food as if grew from the very oceans we would be cruising on and I’m not just talking about fish!

I can go on about the gluttony, the waste and the odd entertainment but the truth is the boat was simply a means to get ourselves to Alaska. We left Seattle on Sat morning and set out for Juneau. The weather although not cold or rainy was not really nice enough to enjoy the pool on the deck so I spent time in my room reading. I finally made my way through the Keith Richards bio “Life” … not bad but I’ve certainly read better. GIve the bio on Lenny Bruce a try.

Guitars as you enter the Experience Music Project Museum

Guitars as you enter the Experience Music Project Museum

Looking up at the Seattle Space Needle

Looking up at the Seattle Space Needle

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My mum looking out as we get close to Juneau

My mum looking out as we get close to Juneau

My cousin Talia expecting rain.

My cousin Talia expecting rain.

Looking down from the helicopter to the Mendenhall Glacier.

Looking down from the helicopter to the Mendenhall Glacier.

Helicopter landing on the Mendenhall Glacier.

Helicopter landing on the Mendenhall Glacier.

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

Our guide showing us how it's done on the Glacier

Our guide showing us how it’s done on the Glacier

Two days later we arrived in Juneau: In 1880, it was slow going for Joe Juneau and Richard Harris as they searched for gold with the help of Native guides. After climbing mountains, forging streams and facing countless difficulties, they found nuggets “as large as beans.” From their discovery came three of the largest gold mines in the world. By the end of World War II, more than $150 million in gold had been mined. Eventually the mines closed, but the town Joe Juneau founded became the capital of Alaska and the business of gold was replaced by the business of government.Some 30,000 people live in Juneau. Its total area makes it one of the biggest towns, in size, in the world. Only Kiruna, Sweden, and Sitka, Alaska, exceed Juneau’s 3,248 square miles.

Today Juneau is famous not only for gold and government but also for its breathtakingly beautiful glaciers and stunning views of both water and mountains.

Beautiful views awaited greeted us from the boat as we headed into port, The water was almost green and certainly very cool. Small ice bergs dotted the water. Trees on the either side of the boat gave the smallest taste of the forests that make up so much of the land.

The key thing to do when you take these Alaska cruises is to get off the boat and do an excursion. For me I decided to take my chances and go for a helicopter tour of the Mendenhall Glacier. This amazing glacier is 12 miles long, a half-mile wide and from 300 to 1,800 feet deep. Stretching from the Juneau Ice-field to Mendenhall Lake, it has been slowly retreating since the mid 1700s. This was an amazing experience and such a beautiful location. Somewhat sad as we realized how it has receded over the years. What once coated so much of this area has been reduced to a fraction of what it used to be. The helicopter ride was very cool if a bit scary. It was my first time being in one and i was not exactly excited for the ride. I was lucky though because based on my weight and size I was placed in the front seat beside the pilot. I asked if he was a war veteran and of course he said that he was a vet from the first gulf war, I felt safe in this guys hands. He told me I could open the small sliding window and shoot out but to be careful because the suction could pull the camera out. Since my favorite camera store Fotocare was kind enough to allow me to use a great 70-200 I was less inclined to hang it out the window. The 24-105 and the IPhone I thought sure why not.

After Juneau we headed off to Ketchikan.

Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s “First City” because it’s the first major community travelers come to as they journey north. Located on an island, Ketchikan began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan comes from a Tlingit phrase that means “eagle with spread-out wings,” a reference to a waterfall near town. In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska’s claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan. The growth of these industries helped make this Inside Passage port Alaska’s fourth-largest city.

Pretty pictures of boats.

Pretty pictures of boats.

Unfortunately both my cousin Jenny and I were a little late making any definitive plans for this one so by the time we tried to book some kind of exciting excursion it was too late and nothing of any interest was available. Not to worry though, we had some bonding time and must have walked close to 10 miles that day. Through the town that had more T-shirt stores and assorted jewelry stores selling native art as well as yep you guessed it…. Citizen branded watches than you could shake a totem pole at. We wondered to a very cool old cemetery and then hiked up to a beautiful waterfall. That’s where I took the requisite  waterfall images with the slow water and the fast water (shutter speed tricks).

If it doesn't fit in the crate it goes on top.

If it doesn’t fit in the crate it goes on top.

Back on the boat and it was off to Skagway, I can’t help thinking that it’s called Scankway but that’s not very nice haha! This time Jenny and I had our shit together and we decided to go zip lining  and since Jenny’s married name is Zipkin I decided that when I post on all social media for the day I would say we were #Zipkinin pretty clever eh? don’t answer. So we took the school bus out of town while the driver delivered her prepackaged story that lasted just the right amount of time and finished as we arrived at the Zip Line start. This is a town that used to rely on logging and fishing but now it’s almost entirely down to the cruise ship tourists. The day was great the zipping was fun and nobody got hurt or broke anything. It should be mentioned that even though my IPhone weather (Yahoo?) was telling me that it would rain every day on this trip it was anything but. Sun and blue skies.

Our next stop or place to see was Glacier Bay National Park. I will just copy and paste what Princess Cruises says about it because they do it better than me:  Just west of Juneau, this breathtaking national park and preserve boasts some of the world’s most spectacular tidewater glaciers, such as Margerie Glacier, which often drops colossal chunks of ice into the sea. Not surprisingly, Glacier Bay National Park and its epic ice giants are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising Alaska’s magnificent park system.

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It can be busy up here. Two ships passing in the day.

It can be busy up here. Two ships passing in the day.

The cousins having a look.

The cousins having a look.

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View from my balcony.

View from my balcony.

Coming into some fog

Coming into some fog

Some proof of my existence

Some proof of my existence

A little selfie.

A little selfie.

The whale tale shot. Wish I could have seen more.

The whale tale shot. Wish I could have seen more.

Skagway was the last stop so the next day we turned and headed back:

Skagway was the gateway to the gold fields for the thousands who flocked to Alaska and the Yukon with the hope of striking it rich. Skagway may have boasted the shortest route to the Klondike, but it wasn’t the easiest. Over 100 years ago, the White Pass route through the Coast Mountains and the shorter but steeper Chilkoot Trail were used by countless stampeders. Many a would-be miner perished on the treacherous Chilkoot Trail.
The gold rush was a boon and by 1898, Skagway was Alaska’s largest town with a population of about 20,000. Hotels, saloons, dance halls and gambling houses prospered. But when the gold yield dwindled in 1900, so did the population as miners quickly shifted to new finds in Nome.
Today, Skagway has less than 1,000 residents. It still retains the flavor of the gold rush era.

The cruise back was fine and uneventful, we stopped in Victoria, BC for a few hours at night and that was nice since I had never been but we really only had time to grab a bite, walk around a bit and then get back on the boat. The next morning we arrived in Seattle. I said goodbye to the family as they all headed back to LA while I was visiting friends in Seattle. I actually arrived in Seattle a couple of days before the cruise so I had some time to kick around. From the  Experience Music Project to Pike Place Market and Broadway where all the old grunge tattooed people are hanging out.  I had a chance to go sailing with some friends and even see Brue and Brandon Lee’s grave. One yummy place I ate at was Glos Cafe where I had the best egg Benedict I had ever had in my life. Of course the coffee is good in that town.

Here are a bunch of assorted IPhone shots for your viewing pleasure.

Sunset from my balcony.

Sunset from my balcony.

Space Needle

Space Needle

Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock Guitar.

Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock Guitar.

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Say cheese

Say cheese

view from the chopper on the way to the Mendenhall Glacier

view from the chopper on the way to the Mendenhall Glacier

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Palin 2012 two for one hats.

Palin 2012 two for one hats.

Me and Jenny.

Me and Jenny.

This is how we eat in Victoria, BC.

This is how we eat in Victoria, BC.

Bruce and Brand Lee's cemetery.

Bruce and Brandon Lee’s grave.

So those are the words and the photos that make up this Alaska trip, I hope you like it.

David

David Goldman Reveals Story Behind The ‘Enema Of The State’ Shoot (PHOTOS)

In Musicians, Portraits, Uncategorized on June 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

David Goldman Reveals Story Behind The ‘Enema Of The State’ Shoot (PHOTOS)

It’s been so long since I wrote anything in this blog that wordpress has totally changed the interface of the system. Ooh that is not a good thing for me. Last week I was made aware of a link about Janine Lindemulder who was the model I used for the Blink 182 Enema Of the State album cover back in 1999. Turns out time has not been great to her. I was a bit pissed that they showed the photo I took and it was all over the web. When the Huffington Post ran the photo they simply credited Amazon.com as if Amazon took the photo. So I contacted Kia Makarachi and he was kind enough to make the change to the credit and then asked me if I wanted to or minded being interviewed to ask about the shoot etc. I said sure and just the other day we spoke for a few minutes about the shoot and what I have been doing since and what my expectations would be after creating an image like that. Anyway it’s all here in the link, give it a read let me know what you think.

 

Getting Home: Day 3 Home at last.

In Documentary work, Ethiopia, Giving Back, Travel, Uncategorized on January 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm

“I grew up too fast and was made small and helpless and now I have become an adult again”

I can’t remember exactly where I read that quote but I know it had something to do with a young woman after she had gone through the tortures of an obstetric fistula. The words really spoke to me. I guess it can be the words of many people who have gone through so many different things, we can all relate. Perhaps that’s the point and what resonated with me. Often times we as people are faced with things that can break us and sometimes they do break us. What counts is getting yourself back together again. Maybe you lose someone close to you or maybe it’s a job lost, it could be an accident or a mental breakdown. It could be one of a zillion things that does it to YOU.

I have been so lucky in my life to see and experience so many amazing things and people both as a photographer and just as an everyday guy.

I’ve had about a month to think about how my trip to Ethiopia has affected me. I’m not the type of person who has the “aha moment” it’s more the slow revelation. I was talking with the founder of SalaamGarage today and we were discussing how the trip had affected me. She wants to make a difference, I think we all want to make a difference. I told her that She had made a difference to me by simply starting SG. Had I not heard about it, obviously I would of never gone on this trip and met the girls to take home. Of course there would of been no photos to show anyone. It would of ended right there. It did not though and even though as of right now the photos have just been seen by those who look at this blog or my Facebook page it has already made a difference. I can tell when people respond to them. I’ve heard someone say they had goose bumps from nose to toes. That was pretty cool. Making a difference and encouraging a change. That’s all I can hope to do. I’m so grateful for the experiences I had in Ethiopia. I learned about the hospital and the people that run it. To me what is more important is the human connections I made. We may live thousands of miles apart but in more ways then you can count we are all as one.

-david

Here in Addis

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 at 7:26 am

Sorry for the delay in getting some photos up from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. it’s been a whirl wind few days as we all get sorted out and find our feet. The Hamlin hospital is quite a place helping woman to fix their fistulas from child birth. It is really so sad all the young woman walking around. They are all so tiny from malnutrition it’s hard to believe they could even get pregnant never mind give birth. The truth is these girls lost their babies from prolonged labor and an inability to get to proper obstetric health care. JUST HAD A BLACKOUT!! I wonder how long that will last for?. Anyway here are some photos of the hotel I’m staying at and another building next door. Guess the one I’m in.

Communication Arts 2009 Advertising Annual

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2010 at 1:40 am

Looks like a beauty shot I did for Ponds has been used in the 2009 Communication Arts advertising annual. That is nice to see.