Tijuana’s ‘tent city’ shelters deported immigrants | PHOTOS

clips, mainstream media, photojournalism


Written by Michelle García, photographs by Erin Siegal McIntyre. 

TIJUANA, Mexico — There was a time when Javier Reyes conferred with architects about building plans, when a day’s work meant constructing new homes for Californians near Bakersfield. But the world of bricks and plywood he once knew has been replaced by a sea of brightly colored tents. Now he uses his quiet authority to bring a semblance of order to an informal camp of homeless people, many of whom were, like Reyes, tossed out of the United States.


On a recent morning, a tension comes over the camp. A man grabs a woman from behind and pushes her to the crowd. “She’s pregnant,” someone yells. A security team — men who live in the camp — is dispatched to break up the scuffle. Meanwhile, a tall man with a thick mustache and heavy jacket saunters up to the table and slips a paper across the table where Reyes sits — another deportee from California on the streets of Tijuana searching for refuge… 

Read the full story published by Al Jazeera America: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/11/28/tijuana-s-tent-citysheltersdeportedimmigrants.html

Latest Clip: New York Times

clips, photojournalism, Pictures

The rise of stem cell industry catering to customers who may pay tens of thousands in cash for miracle...

I photographed Dr. Javier Lopez of Tijuana’s Instituto de Medicina Regenerativa.

The story, “Stem Cell Treatments Overtake Science,” is by science writer Laura Beil.

“Maggie Alejos arrived here in June from St. Anne, Ill., with her husband, her daughter and a cashier’s check for $13,500, payable to the Regenerative Medicine Institute.

Rail-thin, with an oxygen tube anchored above her upper lip, Ms. Alejos, a retired Army nurse, has coped with emphysema for a dozen of her 65 years. Once she came close enough to a lung transplant that doctors prepared her for surgery, only to discover that the donor lung was unfit.

At a hospital here, doctors affiliated with the institute extracted about seven ounces of fat from her thighs, hoping to harvest about 130 million stem cells and implant them in her failing lungs.

Across the Internet — where Ms. Alejos learned about the Tijuana institute — adult stem cells are promoted as a cure for everything from sagging skin to severed spinal cords.

On the surface, the claim is plausible. Scientists have discovered that fat, bone marrow and other parts of the body contain stem cells, immature cells that can rejuvenate themselves, at least in the tissue they are naturally found.

But it has yet to be proved that these cells can regenerate no matter where they are placed, or under what conditions this might occur. Moreover, questions about safety remain unanswered.

These sober realities do not appear to have slowed the rise of an international industry catering to customers who may pay tens of thousands of dollars in cash for their shot at a personal miracle. (Some foreign operators offer creative variations on the theme, like cells from sharks and sheep.)…”

Read the full story on the New York Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/health/stem-cell-treatments-overtake-science.html

PHOTOS: Thousands Protest Peña Nieto in Tijuana


In nationwide demonstrations on Saturday, tens of thousands of Mexicans peacefully took to the streets in protest of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, accusing his party, the PRI, of corruption and vote-buying. In Mexico City, a reported 50,000 people participated in the “MegaMarcha,” while a simultaneous demonstration in Tijuana had an estimated 10,000 participants. Additional marches occurred throughout many Mexican states, including Oaxaca, Monterrey, Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Guadalajara, as well as in U.S cities like Los Angeles and Austin.

People held signs lambasting Soriana, the Mexican supermarket chain allegedly involved with vote-buying via gift cards  said to have been distributed by Peña Nieto’s party, the PRI. Many signs also mentioned Televisa, Mexico’s largest television network, accused of manipulating voters by skewing political coverage in favor Peña Nieto during the campaign. Some banners targeted the foreign press, declaring in English that “democracy in Mexico is a fraud.”

Tijuana’s own march was largely organized via social media networks, with help from students involved with Mexico’s growing “Yo Soy 132” movement. The march began and ended at the traffic circle Glorieta del Cuauhtémoc, named after Aztec ruler Cuauhtémoc, in the heart of Zona Rio, the city’s business district.

Finding Fernanda: Pictures from an Investigation

clips, photojournalism

The New YorkerFinding Fernanda: Pictures from an Investigation

Finding Fernanda,” the first book by the photojournalist and investigative reporter Erin Siegal, uncovers pervasive fraud in the international adoption industry, specifically between Guatemala and the U.S. It’s not a photo book, but photographs are central to its conception.

The story began in December of 2007, when, on vacation in Guatemala, Siegal found herself surrounded by over a dozen American couples leaving Guatemala City airport with newly adopted children. “There was something very surreal about the scene because of the quantity of children leaving,” Siegal told me. “At first, I thought I’d shoot a simple photo story on international adoption, using images alone, and maybe some audio, but the more clips I read, the more I realized that the subject matter didn’t seem well-suited to visual reportage.” Nonetheless, as her reporting unfolded, Siegal found herself relying more and more on photography as a tool to inform her writing. “I needed to be able to describe scenes visually in the book, to keep things vivid, and it really helped having photos and video to rely on for description,” she said. Photos alone would not be able to tell the complex story Siegal was uncovering, but the story could not be told without them, either. “The road to this book included a lot of reflection on photography and the limitations of the craft, in terms of being able to tell in-depth investigative human rights stories,” Siegal told me. “I never meant to write a book; the story simply demanded it.”




Andrea Reese: Homelessness in NYC


In the NYT’s Lens blog, there’s a great interview with Andrea Star Reese, 58, a recent graduate of ICP’s Documentary Photography program. They’ve called her essay on the Lens blog “Finding Community in the Shadows.” On Reese’s own site, the work is called “The Urban Cave.”

The buzz about the images carried over to the NYT’s City Room blog, too- check out  here. It’s so well-deserved; Reese’s images are overflowing with the kind of grace acquired only through spending days upon days immersed in the story.

Since her work sparked my interest, I shot her an email and did a quick interview with her:

What other projects have you worked on before this one?

Before I began The Urban Cave, I was working with video and film. Just prior to starting a year long photojournalism course at ICP I was filming a series  of small stories in the year before and the years follow the first direct democratic presidential election in Indonesia. In addition to covering the election I spent a great amount of time on the streets and in various illegal settlements and everyday neighborhoods among those living in poverty and and those at risk. Among them were street children, a community working on a garbage dump, some traditional fishermen who were being evicted and refugees from the conflict in Aceh. I also followed religious leaders such as the nobel nominated Sister Briggetta and the charismatic AA Gym as well as the prominent political figures. I miss Indonesia very much.

What was the most challenging part?

The most challenging part was attempting to capture compelling images while still learning the technical basics of shooting still photography.

Lucky for me I had the support of my teachers at ICP and The Eddy Adams workshop during the first year and even up to now. Other then that of course it was gaining trust, and then more trust to work at a deeper level.

What’s next for you, & what are your goals in photography?

Next will be finding the next story whatever that will be.  My goal is the same as most emerging photographers I know, to achieve excellence which is an illusive and difficult undertaking. If I work very hard maybe that will be possible.

I was curious about your differentiations between white collar photographers & blue collar photographers mentioned in the Lens blog-could you explain?

White collar photographers are those incredible shooters able to capture compelling images in most of their shots. They are the true naturals. Blue collar shooters like me take a lot of images in order to find a few that are good. We need more time. The good side of that is that we are around when things happen because we are there a lot and for longer. I am hoping to move from blue to white.

How has it been for you to working in today’s media landscape since finishing at ICP?

There is not a lot of work out there for any photographers, much less emerging photographers. I have found a lot of great opportunity  by entering competitions, and by working on a long personal project that may not be  easy to get published, but is an important story non the less.

Rest in Peace, Uncle Ben

photojournalism, unpublished work

I learned tonight that the Federation of Black Cowboys’ oldest member, Ben “Tex” Miller, has passed away. I last photographed Uncle Ben (as everyone calls him) last June, and I’ve known him since my first days photographing the Federation, in early 2006. Despite a crooked, hunched back and various injuries from his career as a professional bullrider and cowboy, Uncle Ben was one of the most positive, upbeat people I’ve ever met. He was 97.

Ben’s work card, from his teenage years.

A group photograph shows Ben at the World Championship Rodeo, 1959.

Ben’s apartment in Harlem, NYC, June 2009.

Ben deep in thought, springtime 2006.

I made hours upon hours of audio recordings of Uncle Ben detailing his life, from a tiny kid born to emancipated slaves through the hustle of the 1930’s rodeo circuit onto his wild life in New York City. Next month when I’m back in Oakland, I’ll edit some clips and post them. They’re amazing.

A heartfelt goodbye to the man who was quite possibly Harlem’s greatest cowboy.

NYBF Final Night: The Golden Pasties

gender, photojournalism

Last night was the final night of the 2008 New York Burlesque Festival, ending with the Golden Pasty awards. My favorite act of the night? Darlinda Just Darlinda closed the show, shimmying her way out of a star-spangled dress only to pull a photograph of Sarah Palin out of, um, a body cavity.


She subsequently ripped up the pic. If that’s not representative of New York burlesque, I honestly don’t know what is.


Ross & Laurie, and the annual Town Hall Meeting

photojournalism, Uncategorized, unpublished work

Today I spent my morning interviewing Ross Chatwin and his wife, Laurie, about growing up in the Church and their current excommunicated status.

At a special annual event in St. George, there were all-day training sessions on polygamy, followed by an evening Town Hall meeting with both the Attorneys General of Utah and Arizona.

My interview with Ross went way longer than expected, so getting to St. George was a little rushed. Thanks to the Hurricane, Utah police for the speeding ticket.

Polygamist wives from Centennial Park, a fundamental Mormon community that broke away from the FLDS, listen to Deseret News reporter Ben Winslow moderate.

Short Creek

gender, photojournalism, unpublished work

Short Creek is the old name for the sister cities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. As seen below, members of the Priesthood (alos known as the FLDS) were instructed by their prophet, Warren Jeffs, to erect fences around their homes. The purpose of the fence is twofold: to both keep “outsider” eyes out, and children in.

When Jeffs moved the “best” members to the YFZ ranch in Eldorado on 2004, he ordered those left behind to cease construction on all homes and projects back in Short Creek. The result is a smattering of unfinished buildings, throughout the towns.

I have no idea why this home has castle gates in front of it.

Yankee Stadium as Popeland, Day #3

mainstream media, photojournalism

Way too tired to post, but you can check out my work here:

Pope related pictures from  April 18th, 19th, and 20th

Or there’s pics on Time Magazine online, in their slideshow. Or, on the front page of the Boston Globe’s website. Or here, at Redux Pictures.

Yawn! So in lieu of my own photos, here’s a funny one my friend Bill Auth took of me, while I was wedged between a few Secret Service agents, an NYPD photog, and Police Commissioner Kelly today at the Yankee Stadium Mass.

Of course, I ended making friends with the agent on the left. He asked for a picture of himself with the Pope in the background. These Secret Service guys, I swear!

Last night, after the show ended in Yonkers, myself and my wonderful fellow photographer Erin Feinburg (yes, Chris hired two Erins, more on that later) were in the production trailer uploading our images. In popped two agents, who gave us expensive-looking business cards, along with very sheepish grins. They wanted to know if we’d taken any photos of the Pope with them in the background.


I found a shot with one of them- though it’s not exactly the Pope in the background.


what’s a “papal youth rally”?

mainstream media, photojournalism

Actually, it’s when Christian musical acts perform for bunch of nuns, seminarians, students from Catholic high schools and universities, and the Pope himself.

An excited nun.

One of the singers from Christian super-group Toby Mac.

The Pope arrives backstage.

A devout kid gets to meet him onstage.

Kelly Clarkson performs “Ave Maria” for the Pope.

The Pope performs his signature arm-wave for the crowd.

Preparing for the Pope

mainstream media, photojournalism

So after flying from SF to NYC last night, I got to St. Joseph’s Seminary this morning (big love to my lovely friend Bex, who let me borrow her car for the Brooklyn-to-Yonkers commute). The client I’m working for, a fantastic producer and total smart ass, had me work a 13 hour day shooting soundchecks and getting the lay of the land for this weekend’s, uh, Papal ecstasy. Here’s the throne, pre-Pope, on a wheeled dolly.

Christian group “The Three Graces” soundcheck. As the soundcheck ended, one of the many Secret Service agents trolling the Seminary grounds walked by me, lightheartedly growling, “I bet you can sing better than that.”

SF and the Olympic Torch

clips, mainstream media, photojournalism

I’m sure most of you know about the torch snafu here in SF today. It was a little chaotic- I feel pretty good about my own coverage though. Here’s one of my photos which is currently on the front page of the global Reuters site.

Starting at 8 this morning, I ran around on foot and on bike across the entire city, from the ballpark all the way up the Golden Gate Bridge in pursuit of that damn torch. Despite a pretty bad sunburned face due to losing my favorite baseball hat (riding the bike, didn’t want to pause to pick it up) and being totally exhausted, I’m happy with my coverage today. I feel like I covered pretty much everything within my ability.  Check out my site for a few more pics.


Yes, believe it or not, that is the Olympic torch, following a yellow duck boat.

Death, Race and Pulitzers

mainstream media, musings, photojournalism

Today it was announced that Reuters photographer Adrees Latif won a Pulitzer for his image of the death of Kenji Nagai, a Japanese videographer. You can read the backstory behind the shot here, on the Reuters photo blog.

What’s missing to me in the blog post is info about Nagai himself, shown here in a handout image via Kyodo circa 2003.

According to a 9/28/07 Reuters article, “…Nagai, 50, was shot dead on a Yangon street on Thursday. Pictures smuggled out of the country showed him taking photos with a small camera even as he lay dying.”

Nagai worked for the Japanese news agency APF News. The Times Online reported that the journalist’s mantra was ““Someone has to go to the places nobody wants to go.”

The winning photograph is here.

Has anyone recently looked through the history of Pultizer-winning photos, and analyzing them based on content? How many images do you think describe the moments before, during, or after someone is killed?

What do you think sells the most? The look on someone’s face before or after dying? Or would it be that last magical moment, a final fraction of consciousness?

Not to be cynical, but after leafing through the latest issue of News Photographer magazine, my curiosity is piqued. The cover image of the mag is another from a Pulitzer-winning take, although it’s not the exact frame that won the prize. It looks like it’s sequentially just a frame or two before. In it, a black woman, Diane Bryant, is caught in falling in mid-air seconds before her death.

How often have photographs of dead white bodies have won Pulitzers? How many dead or about-to-be dead people of color?

Red Carpet Reflections

mainstream media, photojournalism, unpublished work

This weekend I worked on a written piece,  which was a humorous reflection on various entertainment assignments I used to cover for Reuters and Retna while I still lived in New York. It got me thinking about my outtakes, wondering about the bad photographs I’ve taken that are the opposite of a good red carpet shot- you know, the ones where the subject isn’t just beaming faux smile at your lens.

 Like this actress from Law and Order…



or figure skater Oksana Baiul thinking very hard.

Anyone out there know of any entertainment photographer blogs who post their funny outtakes? A red carpet Bitter Photographer, if you will?

Hockey, once more

mainstream media, photojournalism, sports

To be totally honest, yes, I find it inexorably tiring attempting to understand how the public is so consumed with grown men batting pucks and balls around. Tonight’s game was the second I’ve ever been to, and one good fight broke out. Gloves went flying, helmets were chucked, and it got so dirty that the ref finally had to tear the two apart when guy in the white pulled his opponent’s jersey over his head. Yep, that’s dirty. hockey1.jpg

The Lusty Lady

gender, mainstream media, photojournalism

On the front page of Reuters’ international site- that is, www.reuters.com– you can see the first story I’ve ever reported AND photographed. It’s called “When Strippers Take Over the Club,” and it’s a feature on San Francisco’s worker-owned, collectively-run peepshow, the Lusty Lady. 


If you can’t find it, here is the direct link to the story.

The entire picture story is here!