Bob-portrait-WPI believe that I am trapped in the thoughts of a writer with no way out, I am terrified that at the end of the last chapter my character will no longer exist.I can only hope that the author has a strong vocabulary with very little rewrite. This is my sentence, where I live life on the streets of L.A. – what a crazy story this is going to be. The author writes a word without risk as I am forced to walk the boulevards day in and day out, but I forgive the author. How I have wonder, but am not sure if my story is being revealed to him or if the author has the final say. I can only hope that maybe, just maybe the author will let me know my fate. Esc key, fiction or non-fiction, I just don’t know.

 

 

I slid my right boot then my left boot into the hole leading to the tomb’s tunnel. There was the soft, muffed sound of my pants sliding against the rough stone as my feet fell into the tomb. My knees passed and my thighs followed – which was as far as I got. I was stuck between two worlds. My companions started laughing before cheering me on. “Push! Push, Dave”. There was a scraping noise as my 34 waist and belt buckle tried to shimmy. I’ve been told in the past, during romantic endeavors, that I have ‘a booty like a black man’ – something I’ve always thought of as an attractive asset, but which, in this instance, was a real liability. ‘I think I’m too big, guys,’ I told my audience, ‘I’m wedged in!’ as giggles grew louder and escaped from the darkness of the tomb. I too began to chuckle, which was uncomfortable considering the added pressure of stone against my waist.

When I returned to the States and the Tonight Show, I shared my big ass adventure with one of the comedy writers for the show, Larry Jacobson. We both had a good chuckle when Larry added. “You know Dave, if you were Kim Kardashian you’d still be stuck in that tomb.

I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated. – James Nachtwey

1100 Journalist killed since 1992

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Filed Under: WorldJames FoleyJournalism

The year 2014 was a one of contradictions, with stories only brought to life because of those journalists willing to go where the stories were.

The Sochi Olympics were a time of inclusion and world harmony as nations gathered in Russia to put differences aside and celebrate the love of sport, but weeks later Ukraine and Russia were at each other’s doorsteps, playing a game of political chess that would topple one country’s president, redraw borders, and forever alter Russia’s world image.

The U.S. legalized gay marriage in many states, while countries like Uganda and India took leaps backward, arresting gay people in the name of civility.

Health care reform took hold in America, opening access to medical care, but on the other side of the planet Polio was making a comeback in Pakistan and the Ebola virus was ravaging West Africa.

During the yearly U.N. general counsel meeting, nations talked of peace and yet Syria and Iraq burned under the onslaught of ISIS, girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and militias slaughtered each other in the Central African Republic.

The journalists below are some of the people who felt compelled to take the risks, to tell the stories, to go deeper than the vast majority would ever dream, so that we could better understand what is happening around the globe. Their pictures took us to the front lines, often at great danger to themselves. In some cases, they got too close and tragically we are now deprived from seeing the world as they saw it.

This is not every photojournalist we lost in 2014, this is only one small group, representative of the nearly 100 journalists who died while performing their job. They brought us the news we should know and reminded and why we should care.

If there is any lesson to be taken, it is this: pay attention, act, question and care for each other.—Shaminder Dulai

JAMES FOLEY 

James Foley reported from conflict zones in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, working primarily for GlobalPost and Agence-France Press. His striking, intimate video dispatches from conflict zones, such as this unflinching look at an ambush on a 101st Airborne company in Afghanistan, demonstrated his dedication to foreign reporting. He was captured while reporting in Libya in 2011 but eventually released. As the country’s civil war escalated, Foley reported for AFP and GlobalPost from Syria; he was captured in 2012 and killed by ISIS in 2014.—Jared T. Miller

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James Foley (Oct. 18, 1973-Aug. 19, 2014) in Chicago in 2007. PETER HOLDERNESS

ANJA NIEDRINGHAUS

12_22_PJs_Niedringhaus_02An Afghan soldier, left, and a policeman peek through a window as they line up with others to get their registration card on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 1, 2014. ANJA NIEDRINGHAUS/AP

Anja Niedrinhaus, a former chief photographer for the European Pressphoto Agency, was part of the Associated Press team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for their work in Iraq. She reported from Frankfurt, Germany; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Moscow, and the former Yugoslavia, as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan and throughout the Middle East. Colleagues praised her fearlessness and leadership. Niedrinhaus was killed on April 4, covering the presidential election in Afghanistan. She was 48. An Afghan police commander opened fire on the car she and her friend, fellow reporter Kathy Gannon, were waiting in at a checkpoint. The commander was later sentenced to death. —Tzirel Kaminetzky
12_22_PJs_Niedringhaus_01Anja Niedringhaus is seen in this April 2005 file photo, in Rome. Niedringhaus, who has reported from many areas of conflict, died while covering the presidential election in Afghanistan, April 4, 2014. PETER DEJONG/AP

LUKE SOMERS

12_22_PJs_Somers_02Pro-democracy protesters in Sana’a, many of whom have lived in tents at Change Square for a year and a half, broke their fast as heavy rain poured outside, in July 2012.  LUKE SOMERS/DEMOTIX

By all accounts Luke Somers was the boy next door, driven by a passion to expose views of the “other” and challenge assumptions. He was also kind hearted and picked up his camera for the right reasons. “He never called with demands that his pictures weren’t being used enough, he just wanted to show people that Yemen was more than car bombs and terror,” said Ossie Ikeogu, one of the photo editors at his agency Demotix, who got to know Somers over the years. Ikeogu remembers first meeting the young man and thinking he was a teacher with a hobby, but a look at his portfolio revealed Somers was more than the unassuming translator for hire in Yemen. “He was always looking to paint a picture that wasn’t what we always see in the Western media,” said Ikeogu. He started with protests, but realized he preferred documenting the people in the market, the aftermaths of terrorism for citizens and clashes of culture, what Ikeogu calls the “winds of change” in the country, “anything that captured a flavor and sense of daily life.” He was aware of the danger, but not afraid, and felt comfortable in Yemen according to Ikeogu. At first he wasn’t worried when Somers didn’t return his phone calls, but a few days later that changed. For months Ikeogu called his phone with no answer, finally he sent a last email with the subject line “Hope you’re ok.” Somers had been kidnapped in Sana’a, Yemen, in September 2013. In December 2014 he appeared with militants demanding the U.S. give in to their demands in exchange for him. Somers was killed by Al-Qaeda militants during a rescue attempt by U.S. commandos in Yemen. He was 33. —Shaminder Dulai
12_22_PJs_Somers_01Luke Somers (1981 – December 6, 2014) SOMERS FAMILY

CAMILLE LEPAGE

12_22_PJs_Lepage_02Anti-balaka fighters from the town of Bossembele patrol in the Boeing district of Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 24, 2014. CAMILLE LEPAGE/REUTERS

Camille Lepage, 26 at the time of her death in Central African Republic, was a French photojournalist who had based herself in South Sudan two years earlier, covering the country’s development following independence in 2011. After studying at Southampton Solent University in the U.K., she was drawn to African issues, telling Petapixel in 2013 that “I can’t accept that people’s tragedies are silenced simply because no one can make money out of them.” In the last days of her life she embedded with a Christian anti-Balaka militia, in opposition to the Muslim-dominated ruling faction, in the western part of Central African Republic. She was the first foreign journalist to die covering the country’s violent conflict. —Jared T. Miller

12_22_PJs_Lepage_01Camille Lepage (Jan. 28, 1988-May 12, 2014) in Damara, Central African Republic, Feb. 21, 2014.FRED DUFOUR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

MICHEL DU CILLE

12_22_PJs_DuCille_02Moses Tarkulah stands by as colleagues enter the suspected Eloba case ward Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit, on Tuesday September 16, 2014.The newly opened 50 bed unit is managed by International Medical Corp, and was built by Save the Children. On its second day of operation, it saw three new patients; one patient died Monday night. MICHEL DU CILLE/THE WASHINGTON POST

Michel du Cille was coming off a 21-day Ebola quarantine and a few weeks of rest when he decided he had to go back to west Africa to continue documenting the devastating effects of the virus. As his co-workers and friends from past trips would write, du Cille was like that, driven by a calling to always get the story. Before his trip, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner reportedly told his employers at The Washington Post, “I have had to check my emotions, and I use those emotions to make sure I’m telling the story in the right way, to make sure I’m using my sense of respect, my sense of dignity, to show images to the world and to do the right thing by the subjects.” He collapsed while walking on foot from a village in Liberia’s Bong County, and died of an apparent heart attack on December 11. He was 58. —Shaminder Dulai

12_22_PJs_DuCille_01Michel du Cille (1956 – December 11, 2014) JULIA EWAN/THE WASHINTON POST 

AUNG KYAW NAING

12_22_PJs_Naing_01Than Dar, the wife of slain Burmese journalist Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Par Gyi, stands in front of a family photograph showing herself, her husband and daughter posing with Aung San Suu Kyi, during an interview at her home in Yangon, October 28, 2014. Naing was detained and killed by Burmese military while covering armed clashes between the Burmese army and Karen ethnic rebels. SOE ZEYA TUN/REUTERS

Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Par Gyi, was a Burmese freelance journalist and political activist from Rangoon working along the Burma-Thai border. His work appeared in many local Burmese media outlets such as The Voice, Eleven Media and Yangon Times. He was detained and killed by Burmese military while covering armed clashes between the Burmese army and Karen ethnic rebels. Activists and supporters protested the killing of Naing and called for an inquiry into his death, his wife saying she believed he was tortured while in military custody. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission reported multiple injuries to his body, including several gunshot wounds, discovered after after his body was exhumed in November. —Tzirel Kaminetzky

SIMONE CAMILLI

Simone Camilli, 35, an Associated Press videographer, was reporting in Gaza over the summer when he was killed along with his translator Ali Shehda Abu Afash by an unexploded missile thought to be of Israeli origin while it was being defused. Hired by the AP in Rome in 2005, Camilli frequently covered Israel and Gaza, basing himself recently in Beirut. He co-produced a 2011 documentary with Pietro Bellorini, About Gaza, which detailed the roots of the conflict and featured interviews with Gazans about life in the region. —Jared T. Miller

12_22_PJs_Camilli_01Simone Camilli (1979-Aug. 13, 2014) in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, Aug. 11, 2014. KHALIL HAMRA/AP

ANDREI STENIN

12_22_PJs_Stenin_01Andrei Stenin, 33, was a Russian photojournalist who contributed to news organizations such as Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and RIA Novosti. Stenin covered conflicts in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Gaza before covering the war in eastern Ukraine. It is thought that he was embedded with Russian-backed combatants when he went missing. His death was confirmed on September 3, 2014. AFP/GETTY

Andrei Stenin, 33, was a Russian photojournalist who contributed to news organizations such as Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and RIA Novosti. Stenin covered conflicts in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Gaza before covering the war in eastern Ukraine. It is thought that he was embedded with Russian-backed combatants when he went missing. His death was confirmed on September 3. —Michael Ip

ANDREA ROCCHELLI

12_22_PJs_Rocchelli_02Ten orphans seek refuge from overnight bombings in Sloviansk, Ukraine, May 14, 2014. ANDREA ROCCHELLI/CESURA

Andrea Rocchelli was in Sloviansk, Ukraine, covering skirmishes between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists, when he was killed by a mortar shell along with his fixer and another journalist. He founded the Italian photo agency Cesura in 2008, and contributed to Newsweek and Le Monde, among other publications. He had also covered the conflict in Afghanistan and the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Libya; here, this photo taken 12 days before his death on May 12, shows 10 orphans seeking refuge from overnight bombings in Sloviansk. —Jared T. Miller

12_22_PJs_Rocchelli_01Andrea Rocchelli (Sept. 27, 1983-May 24, 2014). COURTESY CESURA

MOUAZ ALOMAR (Abu Mehdi Al Hamwi)

12_22_PJs_Alomar_02A Free Syrian Army fighter points his weapon in Tal Al Nasiriyah in Hama province, February 5, 2014. MOUAZ ALOMAR/REUTERS

The 17-year-old freelance photographer died, according to reports, while uploading footage of a bombing he recorded earlier in the day on April 25. He was published widely through social media. —Tzirel Kaminetzky

ALI MUSTAFA

12_22_PJs_Mustafa_02A civilian search and rescue team rushes to the scene minutes after a government air strike in the Aleppo neighborhood of Kalase, February 26, 2014. At least four people were killed in the attack. ALI/MUSTAFA/EPA

Canadian-born freelance journalist Ali Mustafa went to Syria to cover the gaps he felt were missing in mainstream media. As he has said “The only way I could truly get a sense of the reality on the ground was to go there to figure it out for myself.” Beyond his photographic contribution to as a SIPA press photographer, he also kept an active Instagram and Twitter account. One of his last posts on Twitter, dated soon before his March 9 death, links to a photo of a young boy carrying a sack of objects near a demolished home. He has stated that his aim was to portray “the way war impacts us as human beings.” He was killed during an airstrike in Syria. —Tzirel Kaminetzky

12_22_PJs_Mustafa_01Ali Mustafa, Canadian-born photojournalist covering the war in Syria, uploaded this photo of himself to Instagram, where he often posted moments from his travels, on September 19, 2013. Hashtag: “#Me.” _FBTM/INSTAGRAM

TURAD MOHAMED AL-ZAHOURI

12_22_PJs_Zahouri_01Turad Mohamed al-Zahouri, a citizen journalist from Syria, died Feb. 20 in Arsal, Lebanon from injuries sustained from a mortar shell that landed near him in Yabroud, Syria. He was the photographer for Al-Qusair Lens, a Facebook page that covered events in Al-Qusair and surrounding areas. QUSAIR LENS/AP

Turad Mohamed al-Zahouri, a citizen journalist from Syria, died February 20 in Arsal, Lebanon, from injuries sustained from a mortar shell that landed near him in Yabroud, Syria. He was the photographer for Al-Qusair Lens, a Facebook page that covered events in Al-Qusair and surrounding areas. —Michael Ip

FRANKLIN REYES

12_22_PJs_Reyes_02Rafael Manso turns his face away from sparks flying from the boiler as he works at the Jose Marti Antillana de Acero iron and steel mill in Havana, Cuba, June 7, 2012. FRANKLIN REYES/AP

Franklin Reyes was born in Havana, and joined the AP’s team in Cuba in 2009 after beginning his career at a local, state-run newspaper. At the time of his death, Reyes was working on a story about the Cuban economy; he died in a car accident while returning from an assignment in Havana. This photo from June 7, 2012 shows the Jose Marti Antillana de Acero iron and steel mill in Havana, Cuba. —Jared T. Miller

12_22_PJs_Reyes_01Franklin Reyes Marrero (1975-Nov. 3, 2014), in Cuba. AP

Michael Jackson Impersonator (1 of 1)While flipping burgers at McDonald’s in the early 90’s, Edward Moss was repeatedly told by co-workers and customers of his strong resemblance to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Edward likeness became his asset  leading him from the business of cardboard hamburgers to show business on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One of Edward’s first appearances as “The Gloved One” was at the old Hollywood Wax Museum. Standing at the entrance of the museum as living statue of Michael Jackson. Curious tourist would stop to take a gander at what they thought was a wax figure. As the vacationers gather for a closer look on cue a track of music would blast from the museum speakers. Startled by the music and movement, Edward would start dancing across the polished entrance of the museum to the surprise and amusement of his audience. For the Hollywood Wax Museum they sold tickets and for Edward it was the beginning to a career as a Michael Jackson impersonator.

 Music is a safe kind of high  -Jimi Hendrix

 It is my favorite assignment, photographing musicians while  in rehearsal or in a recording studios. It is the moment that the musicians delve deeply into the musical notes on a sheet of paper and give birth to a sound that becomes airborne with an arsenal of emotions. Like a still image, music can act as a synthetic acid which enhances flashbacks to a moment in time that has been joyful or painful and never forgotten. Music is the needle and thread that sews our humanity together and in spite of being in metal boxes on Golden State 5 you can witness the joy of Angelenos as they boogie, jive and groove to their own soundtrack, it is a collective consciousness of moving forward to the beat of their own music.

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Dave-Image047 There was a time in my professional life that the tools of my trade required 13 anvil cases, patients, and throw away paper underwear. The demands for international travel as a documentary filmmaker was like an assault on climbing Mt. Everest. Months of preparation are involved along with logistics, scheduling, and risk management. Once at the point of entry in a foreign country the arduous task of clearing customs begins with lots of patients as every item in the anvil cases are cross referenced to see that the serial numbers match the Carnet.  For those not familiar, a Carnet is analogous to a passport for equipment. It is an import/export document, which allows property to pass across borders without hindrance. Free passage is assured by the guarantee that imported property will be reliably exported again after a set period of time. However, the documents Whitewater Westmust be scrupulously prepared and every item’s serial number on the Carnet. The Carnet must be recorded through customs on entering a country and then checked out again on exiting. Any errors or omissions can cause the delay of the entire shipment unless you have Baksheesh which is tipping or as some may call it charitable giving. I call it outright bribery.
That was then and this is now, I can now wear brown socks with white tennis shoes, plaid Bermuda shorts and a “Go Dodgers “ tank top and travel as a tourist. Today, I travel “Light and Fast”  which is an alpine mountaineering approach to traditional mountaineering that seeks to leave behind everything but the minimum gear required to reach the 252617_3880792791286_1338272699_nobjective and allowing the climber to summit faster. An experienced mountaineer will jettison gear that was not used on previous climbs and go “Light and Fast”. With that in mind and since I’m not tackling Mt. Everest but Scotland I have downsized my gear to an carry on bag.
This is my equipment list today:Travel Gear
  1. Canon 5D Mark II, 17mm – 40mm Lens, for stills and HD video w/Sennheiser short shotgun mic, headphones.
  2. Fuji X Pro 1, 18mm Lens
  3. GoPro Camera
  4. Macbook Pro
  5. Portable battery charger
  6. External hard drive
  7. 3 thumb drives
  8. 4 Report’s Notebooks
  9. Composition Notebook
  10. 5 pencils
  11. 10 copies of Cue The Camels
  12. 100 business cards


A Graphic Novel

So, I’m gong to write a graphic novel, I’ve never written one before but the idea has been brewing in the back of my mind for years. I own several graphic novel’s, Sin City by Frank Miller, Cairo by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by M.K. Perker and DMZ written and artwork by Brain Wood and Riccardo Burchielli. Being aSin_City_Hard_Goodbye child of the 60’s I collected comics books as most kids did and we would barter and trade the comics like baseball cards. At that time comic books weren’t without their critics, conservative and religious parents called them “the ten-cent plague”, it was so bad that some of my friends would leave their comics at my house in a separate box with their name written in crayon. My collection ranged from Amazing Adventures, SilverSurfer and even amazing_adventures_2_post_cards-r5c5b358ac51b45618e4fe7c9b4cf9ed8_vgbaq_8byvr_324Uncle Scrooge. The artwork of these comics kept me in engaged as I dealt with the reading disability of dyslexia and attention deficit disorder (ADD). While thumbing through colored pages of eye candy, my ADD would settle and eventually I would scan the panels of narration and the dialogue balloons of the characters and read. In many ways the comics became my visual aid to keep me reading – even if they  weren’t the leather-bound classics, I was reading. AA1_Workout

In 1966 the social fabric of American culture changed with civil rights, anti-war demonstrations and the Beatles. I left my beloved comics in a cardboard box on the floor of my closet as I grew into adolescents and started watching TV. My attention and imagination was capture by an NBC television show called Star Trek. In an interview with Gene Roddenberry, Gene_roddenberry_1976the creator of Star Trek, he is quoted as saying, “I have no belief that STAR TREK depicts the actual future, it depicts us, now, things we need to understand about that”. Real issues of Racism, Sexism, Militarism and Peace were disguised in his science fiction teleplay and broadcasted to the American public – which I can only now appreciate Gene’s boldness and forward thinking. As my hair grew to shoulder length wearing puka beards and flashing the peace sign from my Volkswagen bus, I joined the counter-culture and gave financial support in buying R Crumb’s comics at the local head-shop. My favorites are Zap Comix’s, Keep on Trucking’ imagesand Mr. Natural. Crumb’s comics were filled with wonderful countercultural values of gratuitous sex, drugs, and violence.

So, as I start this project I bring with me a more mature attitude, experiences and a growing sense of awareness of how our world is changing. As Gene would say and I’m paraphrasing here,  “not to depicting the actual future, but depicts us now and things we need to understand”.

Beirut L.A. Journal Entry, July 14, 2025,

 After 17 years in the Middle East covering the war in Israel and North Africa, I have come home to an America that I know longer recognize. Ever since the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court back in 2010, a shadow government by Multi-National Corporations now controls America and all media outlets. The First Amendment no longer protects journalists and I can be arrested for having a camera in public – all as a result of the Patriot Act. The take over was insidious as the public was distracted with non-news, pop culture and celebrity gossip. There are riots, refugees, vigilantes, a serious water shortages, genetic food that is making people sick and private armies protecting pockets of wealthy communities from the rest of society — none of which is being reported. I have come home to Beirut L. A.    – Vito De La Luca

vito-email_1The Lazarus Report is Vito’s public moniker and news service. Much like a graffiti artist, Vito uses any means to get his reporting out to the public. Needless to say, Vito’s life depends on his anonymity. As a result of leaking real news to the public by bloggers, journalists and photojournalists, Corporate America a.k.a. SG (Shadow Government) is out to censure Vito and others like him permanently. Empowered by the Patriot Act and the Clear and Present Danger doctrine, SG’s private security detail is the US Enforcement Bureau, a.k.a.  Black FlyThe street name comes from the use of drones, quadcopters, stealth helicopters and close circuit camera. Beyond Black Fly perks and pay rate, handsome bonuses are given to those who find dissidents and eliminate them and the truth.

Beirut L.A. Trailer   Beirut L.A coming in 2015. Stay Tune !

Part One

Dave Banks discusses and signs Cue the Camels
Jay Leno says, “Within these pages Dave has written gung-ho, self-deprecating, wildly engaging accounts of his exploits, with all the behind-the-scene high-jinks that go into shooting news and documentaries across the world.” In Cue the Camels, Dave shares his misadventures in a comedic style that is sure to entertain.

Vroman’s Bookstore Link: http://www.vromansbookstore.com/local629

 Cue The Camels available atwww.cuethecamels.com, www.oodlebooks.com,  Also available at: Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, California www.vromansbookstore.com/book/9780957438385, , Book Soup in Hollywood, California,  booksoup.com/book/9780957438385 , Amazon Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.com/Cue-Camels-three-time-award-winning-film-maker-ebook/dp/B00IA10Z88/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403461103&sr=1-1&keywords=cue+the+camels

 

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