Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Moving

I have a new photo blog at www.isaachernandez.com. I'd like to keep this blog alive, as it is a bit different than my other blog, covering a wider range of subjects, but I cannot see keeping it up, while I also keep a blog at isaacart.com. Plus, I'm starting to grow blogs at condedelipa.comphotographybyisaac.comecoheroesproject.com and mercurypress.com... and I have autotao.com, where I occasionally post my car thoughts. What can I say, I have many interests.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thank you Jim Marshall

Jim Marshall, you made many friends while you were among us, and you took some wonderful pictures. We miss you already. Life ends so suddenly, doesn't it? When I last saw you in SoHo, with our common friend Pilar Law, I wouldn't have thought that it would be the last time. My heart goes to Pilar and those who knew Jim well.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Charles Moore


©2010 Isaac Hernández

Charles Moore
Fotógrafo de los Derechos Civiles
Isaac Hernández, Santa Bárbara, California
Mientras otros fotógrafos mantenían las distancias, Moore estaba siempre encima de la acción, con su cámara lista para captar a los hombres y mujeres atacados por los pastores alemanes de la policía o resistiendo la presión del agua de las mangueras del cuerpo de bomberos de Birmingham, Alabama.
“Deberíamos estar luchando contra incendios, no contra la gente”, diría un bombero sobre las protestas por la igualdad de derechos civiles.  Si no fuera por las fotografías de Moore, no hubiéramos vivido esos ataques como si fueran sobre nuestra propia piel, aunque fuera de color distinto que la de los retratados.
Moore nos traslada a la comisaría de Montgomery, Alabama, un día de septiembre de 1958, cuando el Reverendo Martin Luther King Junior fuera arrestado por “deambular” delante de la casa del juzgado, y maltratado por dos policías. Fue su primera foto del movimiento por los derechos civiles, que se publicaría como una doble página en la revista Life. A partir de ese momento, dedicaría siete años a hacer accesible al resto del mundo las protestas y abusos, como freelance del semanal.
Cubriría las protestas por la matriculación del primer estudiante negro, James Meredith, en la Universidad de Misisipi en 1962. Atendería con su cámara a reuniones del Ku Klux Klan. Pasaría cinco días en primera línea fotografiando la campaña contra la segregación en Birmingham. Para una de sus imágenes más famosas, de dos jóvenes resistiendo el agua a presión de los bomberos, se arrastró por el suelo situándose entre los bomberos y los manifestantes.
Si hoy en día estas fotos causan impacto, cuando fueron publicadas en Life “electrificaron y horrorizaron el país”, como diría la cadena de televisión CBS en 1991.
"Para la gente que era verdaderamente racista, yo era su peor enemigo, un chico sureño trabajando para Life”, diría Moore al diario USA Today en 1991. “Yo sabía como contestar a los racistas”.
A pesar de que el trabajo de Moore fue definitivo para la aprobación de la Acto de los Derechos Civiles en 1964, el fotógrafo era muy modesto. "Sé que yo no soy lo importante, sino las fotografías”, diría en 2002 al diario Birmingham News. "El mundo aprendió mucho de ellas. En verdad, si esas fotos hicieron que el Sur donde nací, y el cual amo, fuera un sitio mejor, entonces estoy más que orgulloso ".
Su trabajo no sólo era arriesgado, sino también emocionalmente duro. Está recopilado en el libro “Días Poderosos: La Fotografía de los Derechos Civiles de Charles Moore (Powerful Days: The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore, 1991).
Charles Lee Moore nace el 9 de marzo de 1931 en Hackleburg, Alabama, hijo de un pastor baptista. Hace sus primeras fotos con una Kodak Brownie cuando todavía es adolescente. Se enlista en los Marine Corps donde trabaja de fotógrafo. Al acabar el servicio, estudia fotografía de moda en el Brooks Institute of Photography de Santa Bárbara, California.
Regresa a Alabama en 1957 para montar un estudio de fotografía de retrato, pero pronto lo deja para trabajar para el diario Montgomery Advertiser. Comienza a trabajar por libre para Life a través de la agencia Black Star, que todavía representa su trabajo. Intenta dejar Alabama en 1962, mudándose a Nueva York. Pero Black Star le convence para regresar a Alabama y seguir cubriendo las protestas por los derechos civiles.
Su trabajo fotográfico continua en Haití y Venezuela, donde cubre protestas, y en Vietnam, donde trabaja como fotógrafo de guerra.
Moore muere el 11 de marzo de 2010 en Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, a la edad de 79 años.
# # #

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thank you, Charles Moore

Charles Moore, what a wonderful man. I met him about 20 years ago, when I was attending Brooks Institute of Photography, a school he had graduated from many years before me.

He passed away last Thursday, as you can read in the New York Times.
I remember him fondly. He was so humble and generous. You may not know his name, but you know his pictures of the protests during the Civil Rights Movement. You just have to see them once and they become engraved in your mind forever.

You can also read about Charles Moore in the website of the agency that represented him, Black Star, and see some of his photos in the Kodak website.

Thank you, Charles Moore

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Is video the future of photojournalism? Does photojournalism have a future?

With video being all the rage on the World Wide Web, editors are asking for moving pictures. I've done quite a few of them, which you can see in my YouTube channel. For the most part, editors don't want to pay very much for them, and sometimes they even want them for free, because "we're not making money on the Internet"! My response? "I tried that with the camera store, but they wouldn't give me the camera for free because I don't make money from the Internet..."

It feels great to put into good use my talents as an film editor (I can finally start paying for my film schooling). Below is the latest act of personal magic: making a 10 minute video from a symposium that lasted five times as long. Jay Farbman, a great photographer, and I worked two cameras for a longer version that will appear on Channel 21, where I once was featured as a photographer for the project Difference Makers. The client, Antioch University Santa Barbara, is very happy with the results.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Latest publications

Dear Diary,

I have been busy with the directing of The Last Play On Earth, however this is what I've published since the last time we talked, starting from the newest:

Blogs

Hobart Shakespeareans and education. This is my favorite blog entry so far. From now on, I'm going to write from a "providing solutions" perspective.
Johnny Depp asks for a new trial for the West Memphis Three. This blog was a transition.
Story on discrimination toward Spanish, and towards the different ones. This is my least favorite blog. Yes, I got 50 comments, but I wanted to promote understanding between cultures, and I got some responses of hatred. I learnt the lesson, though. If you want to promote the positive, write positively.

Print
"Remembering Luis Leal" will be on print in Aurora Boreal, but you can also see it in Aurora Boreal Online
Luis Leal in El Mundo printed edition (see above)

elmundo.es
March for Education. This one with photos and video. The first time I post my own personal video to elmundo.
Will the next big earthquake hit Oregon?
An unbelievable parody of Pat Robertson is almost believable.
Oliver Stone's documentary on Hugo Chavez at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
ACLU lawsuit against TSA for arresting a student at airport security without reading him his rights or telling him why he was being arrested, other than they didn't like that he had Arabic flash cards.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bigelow and the others


Kathryn Bigelow through the lens of the 5D Mark II

I have a new camera, a Canon 5D Mark II, courtesy of by brother. Thank you brother! You know who you are.

I've been taking pictures at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. And I've been writing about it. I'm really loving distilling the events into fun and quick reads. One person stood above the rest, Kathryn Bigelow, so I wrote about her in my blog. You can read my latest stories, in Spanish, here:

This is a war! Impressions from watching Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" and Miguel Littin's "Dawson, Isla 10"
The Latin Vote Decisive, about a study by America´s Voice that promotes immigration reform, claiming that Latinos can turn 40 different elections come November.
James Cameron, receives Modern Master Award from Arnold Schwarzenegger and talks about the environmental message of Avatar.
Sandra Bullock, candidate to Best Actress and Worst Actress gets candid about her good and bad choices in filmmaking.
Palin´s dirty laundry, about Todd Palin´s influence in the Alaskan government, and about Diana Palin´s ilegal robbery to get money for drugs.
The Silence of the Whales, about the proposal for a quiet zone to protect marine mammals from deathly military sonars.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Don Luis Leal and Víctor Fuentes


I'm sad that Don Luis Leal, the best friend of Víctor Fuentes, passed away. Leal was a leader in studies of Chicano literature. I met him the week before he fell down and then got sick. That's when I took the photo above. He passed away last week at the age of 102.

Below you can read, if you read Spanish, an article I wrote in the memory of Don Luis, with the help of Víctor. I wrote it for El Mundo, but they have not published it, yet.

Aurora Boreal published two excerpts by Víctor Fuentes, with portraits I took of him, in Spanish, about his time in London (here) and in Barcelona (here).


©2010 Isaac Hernández, All Rights Reserved


In Memoriam
Luis Leal (1907-2010)
“Padre” de los estudios de la Literatura Chicana
Isaac Hernández, Santa Bárbara, CA
Vio, de niño, entrar a Zapata y a Pancho Villa en la ciudad de México. De la mano de su hermanito, fue testigo de varios fusilamientos, cerca de donde ahora está el Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Llegó a Chicago con 19 años, el mismo día que Charles Lindbergh completó su vuelo trasatlántico, el 21 de mayo de 1927. Le siguieron las armas; en la peluquería mexicana a la que iba solía haber un gangster haciendo guardia con metralleta, pues el jefe era también cliente. Durante la II Guerra Mundial tomaría las armas, como soldado en las Islas Filipinas, de donde regresó con gran cariño por su gente, y por la herencia hispana que allá encontró.
En los años 50 y 60 llegó a ser uno de los principales profesores de literatura mexicana e hispanoamericana dentro de EEUU. Ha escrito más de 45 libros y mas de 400 ensayos.
Distinguido profesor en la Universidades de Illinois hasta 1975, se jubiló en Santa Bárbara, donde volvió a hacer carrera en la Universidad de California (UCSB), con tres décadas más como profesor, hasta casi cumplir los 100 años. Antes había enseñado también en las universidades de Chicago y Misisipi y la Emory University.
Compartía, caso raro entre catedráticos, las actividades académicas con las actividades culturales y cívicas de la comunidad: siempre preocupado por la condición de los mexicanos y de todos los hispanos. Su Breve Historia del Cuento Mexicano es un clásico, así como su libro sobre Mariano Azuela, el primero sobre el gran novelista de Los de Abajo. Fue uno de los primeros estudiosos del "realismo mágico” en los años 60 y en los 70, y puso el peso de su prestigio académico en el estudio de la literatura chicana, ignorada cuando no repudia en las Universidades.
En un sentido es el "padre" de los estudios de literatura chicana, los cuales promovió incesantemente. Dada la longitud de su vida y carrera, se podría decir que era el "Decano" de quienes se dedican en este país al estudio del español y de nuestras literaturas.
Aparte de su gran generosidad con estudiantes y colegas, le caracterizaba una gran sencillez e interés por los demás. “Trataba con la misma deferencia y afabilidad a Octavio Paz o a Carlos Fuentes que a una camarera o lavaplatos de un restaurante, quienes solían acercarse a saludar y decirle que le habían visto en uno de los programas culturales de la televisión en español en los que participaba”, recuerda Víctor Fuentes, escritor español y profesor de UCSB.
Tenía también un gran sentido del humor. Cuando algún chicano le preguntaba el secreto de su longevidad, decía, ‘porque como arroz y frijoles como ustedes’. “Finalmente, al cumplir 101 en la cena de cumpleaños  descubrió tal secreto”, recuerda Fuentes. “‘Es el amor que me tienes ustedes los amigos y yo a ustedes’, claro que en esos amigos implícitamente también incluía a la camarera y al lavaplatos antes mencionados”.
# # #

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Gay Experience (My First El Mundo blog)


Ann, Elaine, Dan and Noah (clockwise from top left). Ann is the mother of both kids thanks to artificial insemination. They are both legal coparents. The photo is part of an essay published in El Mundo Magazine in 2000, which started a conversation in Spain. Several years later, adoption and marriage by same-sex couples was legalized in Spain.
Writing this blog has provided a great practice to write about my photography. Thank you all of you nine followers for reading/listening, as you're making a difference. So it is appropriate that for my first superstar blog in El Mundo, I would speak about my photojournalistic experiences, My Gay Experience. You can read it in Spanish here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More stories with photos

I took a few days off from writing to attend the magnificent Entertainment Gathering, a baby of the TED conference. It was amazing. I will be writing about it here and in the paper during the weeks to come. I didn't take a digital camera, but a Hasselblad and a Nikon FM2, loaded with color and black-and-white film respectively. In the meantime, El Mundo has been missing my stories and they asked me to start writing again. Following are two links to new stories, and one link to a story posted last week.

Binge drinking damages the brain in teenagers. Girls get affected in their ability to do math and boys in the ability to focus in one thing. Maybe I had just one drink too many.
Proposition 8 trial continues. The witnesses for the defense take the stand. Trial scheduled to end today, although the verdict won't be announced for several days.
The jaguar is now protected in the US, a bit too late for Macho B, the last jaguar known to roam in the US, who was killed by Arizona's Department of Game and Fish last march.
Direct Relief International has been sending continuous help to Haiti since 1985. I met with some volunteers at their headquarters in Santa Barbara.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Photography with a Difference


Photographer Adam Bouska is changing the world through www.noh8campaign.com. I wrote a story about Cindy McCain joining the ranks of her daughter and others, in defense of equal rights on marriage. See the screen capture above, on the cover of elmundo.es today. Read the story here.

Someone asked me for McCain's full statement. Here it is:

January 21, 2010

“Senator McCain respects the views of members of his family.  The Senator strongly supported the effort to successfully pass Arizona Proposition 102, the Marriage Protection Amendment, and his opposition to gay marriage remains the same.  Senator McCain believes the sanctity of marriage is only defined as between one man and one woman.”

By the way, the story is the fourth most read today in the America portal, so far.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sounds of Silence


Simon and Garfunkel sang about it, but today is ever more difficult to find silence, natural silence. Ask Gordon Hempton, he's been searching for it all around the world, only to come back to his hometown, where he's trying to preserve his own square inch of silence, in the middle of the Olympic National Park. He wrote about his adventures in the book One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Silence.

I hiked with Gordon and Carlos Fresneda through beautiful woods. Carlos wrote about it in his elmundo.es blog. You can see more photos from this 5km magical hike in Mercury Press' archive, here. I will never listen the same way after this sound experience. You can read Gordon's own "silence" blog here.

Coal mining in Black Mesa, death row in California, Defense of Marriage in San Francisco

You can practice your Spanish some more:
Environmental Victory for the Hopi and Navajo: here.
California's Death Row reaches 700: here.
California Supreme Court trial on Proposition 8: here. This one actually carries a picture I took in San Francisco during the brief time same sex weddings were allowed by Gavin Newsom.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.



Dr. Martin Luther King  Jr. with his wife Coretta Scott King. Photo:  ©Benedict J Fernandez, III


Dr. Martin Luther King  Jr. buckling his daughter's shoe. Photo:  ©Benedict J Fernandez, III


Dr. Martin Luther King  Jr. Photo:  ©Benedict J Fernandez, III

My friend Ben Fernandez photographed King for the last year of his life. You can visit his website  here. I wrote a story about him for elmundo.es/america here. Thank you, Ben.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The .22 caliber rifle that changed a boy's life

The pen might be mightier, but the .22 caliber rifle is deadly. An 8-year-old killed his father and the man who was renting a room in their house. I wrote a rather concise story for elmundo.es/america, and it actually made it to the cover of elmundo.es. That's a first for me; I guess blood sells. The boy had learned to shoot from his dad, practicing on prairie dogs. He was sentenced this week, two years later, to enter a private rehabilitation program. I'm not against guns, like I'm not against cars; they're both dangerous weapons. But if you're going to have them, by all means, keep them in a safe -and keep the keys out of the reach of children-, for your own good, and of others, including children.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Pen is Mightier than the Camera?

One of my pictures that I know for certain made a difference when published in Spain, starting a dialogue about the acceptance of gay couples with children. Pictured above: Jeff, Brett and Madeline (clockwise). The four month old baby was conceived by artificial insemination. Both parents are donors; they chose not to know who is the actual blood father. Photo: ©Isaac Hernandez, All Rights Reserved

Well, we´ve heard it before, a picture is worth a thousand words. One picture can change the world. Right. But how many pictures can I take in one day that will change the world? The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. But is the picture mightier than the word? I'd like to think so. Well, I know so. There have been photos that have stopped wars, generated interest to create schools, and stopped injustice. And I'm working on a photographic project that I hope will make its contribution, featuring Difference Makers in the Social, Environmental and Creative fields.

If a picture is really 1000 words, I can produce thousands of words in a fraction of a second. However, will they be significant? Poet Lenore Kandel told me once in an interview that there are too many words out there, and that she only wrote the words that really needed to be said (I'm paraphrasing). Yes, I can "write" thousands of words in the shape of pixels in an instant. Millions of pictures are taken each second in this digital age. Do I really need to add more? I'm enjoying not owning a digital camera these days. Film slows me down to focus on significant subjects.

Which brings me back to writing. I can write 1000 significant words easier than I can take one significant photo, especially having the forum of elmundo.es/america, for which I now serve as West Coast Correspondent. After a few days of official business, I've written about sea lions vanishing from San Francisco, an environmental Mayor that campaigned on bicycle, the possibility of a new abolition of the death penalty in the US (it was already abolished in 1972), the possible legalization of marijuana in California, and new green regulations in the California building code.

These words seem to have started a dialogue among the readers, just like the photos that I took in 2000 of gay families with children started a dialogue in Spain, where several years later gay marriage and adoption was legalized.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Seattle elects environmentalist Mayor

Another story I wrote published today here, about Mike McGinn, new Mayor of Seattle.

Death Penalty story

I've never photographed in a jail, although I've always have wanted to.  The idea of dealing with the bureaucracy has stopped me from requesting access. Instead, I've written about the death penalty. A few years ago, I wrote a fascinating story about "The Last Meal", covering the strange passion that some people in the US have for knowing what prisoners order as their last meal. I will have to dig that story out and share it here. For now, you can read, in Spanish, the story that just got published about the American Law Institute removing the article on the death penalty from its book of law. They claimed that the death penalty hadn't passed the test of time. Here it is. I'm proud of it, especially of the headline, which is a bit difficult to translate to English. This is the closest interpretation: "Death Penalty Staggers". Did you know that in the 1700's there were studies that proved that the death penalty increased crime instead of reducing it? Did you know that the Supreme Court actually abolished capital punishment in 1972? This was definitely interesting to write. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Other Sarah of Alaska

Sarah James. | Isaac Hernández

Sarah James, Board Member/Spokesperson Gwich'in Steering Comitte, Neet'sai Gwich'in (Caribou People), the Artic Village (Alaska and Canada). Photo: © Isaac Hernandez, All Rights Reserved.

Excerpt from Carlos' Fresneda story, which you can see here in Spanish.

"'I'm the other Sarah of Alaska, I belong to the Caribou Nation and I live in the Sacred Land where life begins...' This is the way Sarah James, 65, introduces herself in public. She's the voice of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge."


Unlike Sarah Palin (who wasn't even born in Alaska), the roots of Sarah James go back 20,000 years, when the Gwich’in arrived to this spectacular and inhospitable lands following the route of the Caribou, nutritional and spiritual provider for the northernmost Native American tribe.

'The Caribou population has been reduced from 189,000 to 100,000 heads in just 20 years, and that's for us a cruel warning (...) The loss of the Caribou would be like the loss of the buffalo, which ended with many indigenous cultures in the West more than one century ago.'


We met Sarah at the Bioneers Conference (link) in Marin, California. She's educating the world about the dangers of global warming, which they're feeling greatly, with the dissappearance of the permafrost and numerous changes in the wildlife there.

The El Mundo story is a quick taste of this amazing story. And this blog is just the tip of the full interview, which is available for publication, if anybody is interested.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Writing photographer



Pier 39 in San Francisco. Photo: ©Helena Hernández/MercuryPress.com

Sometimes, in order to sell a photo, you also have to have a story. Many times I have done both the job of a writer and photographer. Often, Nancy Black is my writer (see her page here). Almost always, Nancy is my editor. Always, Nancy is my wife.

Last night, I wrote a story, published today in El Mundo (see here), about the exodus of sea lions from San Francisco's Pier 39. In one week, the number of animals went from 921 to 20.

This time, I was the writer, and my sister Helena was the photographer! I'm so happy for my sister. I requested for the newspaper editor to add her name to the credit. As of now, it only shows the name of our agency, MercuryPress.

It's perhaps appropriate that I sold my Canon 5D to a friend that needed one to go to Peru, so right now I'm digital camera-less. I plan to use my Hasselblad and Leica M6 with film until I'm ready for the Canon 5D Mark II; maybe it will be next week... maybe the 5D Mark III will be out.

I guess I will be doing more writing until then. In fact, I wrote a play over the holidays, which I'm producing and directing. Mark your calendars: March 25, 2010, La Colina Auditorium. And I'm co-writing a book with my portraits of environmental leaders.