Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Selections from People Get Ready: The Struggle for Human Rights

Neil Leifer: American Nazi Party Demonstration, District of Columbia Stadium,
Washington, DC, October 1, 1961

 "Even as I look at this picture, 50 years later, It’s hard for me to believe that the American Nazi Party was marching in our nation’s capitol, right in front of D.C. Stadium. In the fall of 1961, the Redskins still didn’t have a single black player, and the Nazis were out front, picketing to keep them that way. It gave a Jewish photographer the creeps. -- Neil Leifer

Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, is pleased to present "People Get Ready", a major exhibition of 55 dramatic photographs from significant human rights struggles in history. The exhibition continues through September 23.  We will be posting selected photographs from the exhibition here throughout the summer.

Monday, July 30, 2012

'I became a photographer and not a person'

In case you missed this, a must read, via The Guardian:

'I was gutted that I'd been such a coward': photographers who didn't step in to help

What's it like to witness a mob attack, a starving child or the aftermath of a bomb, and take a photograph instead of stopping to help? As two journalists are under fire for recording rather than intervening in a sex attack in India, we ask people who know

In pictures: the photographers who stood by (contains some graphic images)

One view: "I became a photographer and not a person" ~ Photojournalism as Morally Troubling?

Bill Eppridge, on photographing Robert F. Kenedy after being shot: In 1968 while five feet in front of his subject and friend, Robert F. Kennedy lay on the floor of the kitchen of Los Angeles's Ambassador Hotel, mortally wounded by a bullet fired by Sirhan B. Sirhan. Eppridge went into the crowd and began holding people back, but every once in a while, he would reach down and click his camera. “Everything I saw and everything I heard, it's still there inside my head, like a slow-motion movie," photojournalist Bill Eppridge has said of that night—June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. “When the gunshots went off in that kitchen...I realized what it was. I had been in riots and wars and revolutions, and I knew the sound of gunfire, especially the sound of gunfire coming at me. There were eight shots, I counted them. It went through my mind not to take the picture, but this was history…I made three frames: the first one was totally out of focus; the second was in focus, it was pretty good, the busboy is looking down at him; and the third one, with the busboy looking up as if he were saying, 'Somebody help".

Eddie Adams, on the Vietnam Execution photograph:  'I just followed the three of them as they walked towards us, making an occasional picture. When they were close - maybe five feet away - the soldiers stopped and backed away. I saw a man walk into my camera viewfinder from the left. He took a pistol out of his holster and raised it. I had no idea he would shoot. It was common to hold a pistol to the head of prisoners during questioning. So I prepared to make that picture - the threat, the interrogation. But it didn't happen. The man just pulled a pistol out of his holster, raised it to the VC's head and shot him in the temple. I made a picture at the same time. The prisoner fell to the pavement, blood gushing." "

Marilyn Monroe: June 1, 1926 - August 5, 1962

Eric Skipsey - Marilyn Monroe with pet 'Maf Honey' (a gift from Frank Sinatra)
at the Beverly Hills Hotel, 1961

Sunday, August 5 is the milestone 50th anniversary of her death -- yet Marilyn is probably as big a superstar today as ever. Like Elvis Presley and James Dean, she died before her fans were ready to let go of her.

Marilyn Monroe's eternal beauty : "Marilyn Monroe may very well remain pop culture's reigning beauty queen into the next half-century."

Marilyn Monroe still an icon 50 years later

Marilyn Monroe's fame endures through pop culture, nearly 50 years after her death

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/07/27/4131976/marilyn-monroes-fame-endures-through.html#storylink=cpy

Events around Southern California marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe

To mark Marilyn Monroe's 50th death anniversary, PS Resorts announced a tribute concert set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5 at the site of the 26-foot-tall “Forever Marilyn.”

Collector marks the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death with a straightforward compilation of her songs, from the sultry big band jazz of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” to her sweetly wistful torch-gospel routine on 1954’s “River of No Return”.

Alfred Eisenstaedt ©Time Inc.
Marilyn Monroe, Hollywood, 1953

More: photos of Monroe at home by LIFE's Alfred Eisenstaedt

Marilyn Monroe Singing "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy,
Madison Square Garden, NY, 1962
©Bill Ray

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Via The New York Times

Migrants’ Freedom Ride
Published: July 28, 2012

 On Sunday night or early Monday, about three dozen people are planning to set out on a six-week bus voyage through the dark terrain of American immigration politics. Their journey is to begin, fittingly, in the desert in Arizona, national capital of anti-immigrant laws and oppressive policing. It will wind through other states where laws and failed policies force immigrants to toil outside the law — New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee — and end in North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention.       

There the riders plan to deliver a defiant message to a president who is hoping to return to office on a wave of Latino support that they believe he has not earned.
There is something very different about this particular protest. Many of those planning to ride the bus are undocumented and — for the first time — are not afraid to say so. Immigrants who dread arrest and deportation usually seek anonymity. These riders, weary of life in the shadows and frustrated by the lack of progress toward reform, will be telling federal authorities and the local police: Here are our names. This is our plan. If you want us, come get us.
The momentum for this daring ride, called the “UndocuBus,” began building last Tuesday at the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix. The immigrants’ nemesis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was testifying at trial that day about his office’s long history of racial profiling and discriminatory policing. Out on the street, the midday glare off the pavement was blinding. Four unauthorized immigrants — Leticia Ramirez, Miguel Guerra, Natally Cruz and Isela Meraz — sat blocking traffic and waited to be arrested. They were taken away in cuffs to spend the night at Sheriff Arpaio’s red-brick jail on Fourth Avenue.
Their civil disobedience should not have been necessary. Hopes for reform were high in 2006, a year of huge, peaceful pro-immigrant marches in cities across the country, after which Congress entertained comprehensive reform that had strong bipartisan support. But Republicans killed the bill, and the years of inaction that followed crushed immigrants’ hopes while reinforcing the broken status quo — to the benefit of border vigilantes, the private-prison industry, the engorged homeland security apparatus and hard-right ideologues who started planting neo-nativist laws in legislatures across the land, starting in Arizona.
As Sheriff Arpaio quickly recognized, demonizing the undocumented was a potent political tool: once an immigration moderate, he recast himself as a relentless hunter of “illegal aliens.” With federal powers delegated to him by the Homeland Security Department, he spent years conducting “saturation patrols” in Latino neighborhoods of Maricopa County, abusing and terrifying those with brown skin.
All this time, as promises were broken and reforms went nowhere, as President Obama ratcheted up deportations to record levels, and as Republicans intensified their assaults, the immigrants lay low. But then groups of students, working outside the regular channels of immigrant advocacy, bravely “came out” as undocumented and demanded justice — and won from Mr. Obama a promise not to deport them.
A few more immigrants have now chosen to come out of the shadows. It is impossible to know how many of the 10 million to 12 million undocumented might dare to do the same. And while each and every one of them deserves a chance to get right with the law, one provocative bus trip may well seem like a voyage to nowhere, given the dismal state of Congress and the low odds of immigration reform.
But this small group has already won an important victory, a victory against fear. At the cramped offices of Puente Arizona, the Phoenix organization behind the “UndocuBus,” volunteers kept busy last week updating calendars and working phone banks. They made papier-mâché masks and silk-screen posters, and decorated plastic buckets for drumming. There was packing to be done, a bus to be painted. Saturday was the day for a march, Sunday will be for the gathering in a city park, for eating, singing and saying goodbyes. After that, the bus will roll.

          On January 1, 1892; Annie Moore, a 15 year-old Irish girl, accompanied by her two brothers entered history and a new country as she was the very first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island.     Over the next 62 years, more than 12  million immigrants  were to follow through this port of entry.

Friday, July 27, 2012

"It is a dangerous time to be a journalist"

In case you missed this yesterday:

Committe to Protect Journalists' Deputy Director Robert Mahoney testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington on Wednesday, highlighting global attacks on press freedom and, in particular, assaults on the press in Honduras, Russia, and Turkey.

Mahoney's testimony highlighted the overwhelming number of local journalists "who are targeted and censored, whether with violence or intimidation or by the use of laws meant to punish and silence critical information." He also referred to CPJ's work in documenting journalist attacks, imprisonments, and murder around the world.

The hearing included testimonies by Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and Vladimir Kara-Murza, the Washington Bureau Chief of Russian Television International, among other witnesses. The commission was founded to inform, advocate, and develop U.S. congressional strategies that recognized the human rights values stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Below is Mahoney's full testimony, which can also be viewed on the commission's page:

(Meanwhile, two reports were independanty released that found evidence the  New York Police Department 'consistently violated basic rights' during Occupy protests:

"Obstruction of press freedoms and independent legal monitoring, including arrests of at least 10 journalists, and multiple cases of preventing journalists from reporting on protests or barring and evicting them from specific sites.")

Testimony before Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing
Worldwide threats to media freedom

By Robert Mahoney
Deputy Director
Committee to Protect Journalists

It is a dangerous time to be a journalist. Over the past five years, the Committee to Protect Journalists has seen an unprecedented diversification in the range of attacks and challenges faced by journalists in many countries around the world. Violence and repression have morphed into impunity and exile. Meanwhile, sophisticated online censorship tactics are coupled with punitive laws that suppress the reporting and dissemination of news and fact-based commentary.
An unwelcome development in the past year is the surge of press freedom violations and attacks on journalists covering conflict and political unrest. CPJ has documented this phenomenon particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. Libya was among the deadliest places for journalists in 2011. CPJ research shows that at least 16 journalists have been killed since November 2011 while covering the Syrian conflict, at least nine in circumstances that raise questions about government culpability. More than half of those killed are citizen journalists, who play a key role in covering the conflict and whose footage is used by international news organizations.
As clearly shown in the case of Syria, the use of technology, which has been transforming the ways that information is gathered and disseminated, means journalism itself is changing, giving more people the ability to participate. Consequently, CPJ has also seen that many of the journalists under attack are freelancers and online journalists, who are responsible for their own preparation, equipment, and safety. Anti-state charges and "terrorist" labels have become commonplace and are used to intimidate, detain, and imprison journalists. Media blackouts and limited access to war and conflict zones have become routine, along with the uninvestigated killings of journalists.
Regardless of the medium or circumstance, one thing is certain: It is overwhelmingly local journalists working on local stories who are targeted and censored, whether with violence or intimidation or by the use of laws meant to punish and silence critical information.
Since 1981, it has been our mandate to take action when journalists are censored, harassed, threatened, jailed, kidnapped, or killed for their work, without regard to political ideology. In doing so, we document cases, publish in-depth reports, conduct high-level advocacy, and provide individual moral and material support. CPJ's work is based on its research, characterized primarily by the following areas, which provide a global snapshot of obstructions to a free press worldwide.

On average, more than 30 journalists are murdered every year, and the murderers go unpunished in nearly nine of 10 cases. Among the countries leading in journalist killings that evade justice are established democracies where the rule of law should function yet a culture of impunity prevails. The absence of justice in journalist murders deters the rest of the press from critical reporting and leaves the public with a shallow understanding of their world. Journalists reporting on corruption, organized crime, conflict, and politics are the most targeted for exposing vital truths.
The reality is that the combat/crossfire casualties have long been a relatively small subset of all journalists killed (about 1 in 6 cases). The leading causing of death is targeted murder.
These murders do not take place in a vacuum. They occur in societies experiencing war and conflict, although many of them--like Russia, Colombia, and the Philippines--have democratic forms of government.
The generalized violence and the breakdown of law and order provide the backdrop for criminal, militant, sectarian, and paramilitary forces to carry out these killings. Most journalists killed in conflict zones are not covering war--they are local journalists covering local issues like human rights and corruption. In about a third of the cases, according to CPJ research, government links are suspected, thus reinforcing the cycle of impunity.

In 2011, the number of journalists imprisoned for their work reached a 15-year peak. Their continued imprisonment sends the same silencing message as the murder of journalists. CPJ research points to a general trend: Where journalists are being silenced through imprisonment, they are often not being assassinated, but the result is the same--the perpetuation of fear leading to self-censorship or to exile, particularly in countries where it is clear that the rule of law barely exists.
Despite the release of 70 journalists with CPJ assistance in 2011, our research shows that the number of journalists in jail has remained persistently high. To put it starkly, 81 journalists were in jail around the world at the end of 2000. By the end of 2001, that number shot up to 118. Today, there are 179, most held on state security charges. Abusive use of national security was the single greatest charge invoked to justify journalist imprisonments in 2011, followed by violation of censorship rules. The vast majority of those jailed were local journalists held by their own governments. Sixty-five journalists, or over a third of those included in the CPJ census, were being held without any publicly disclosed charge.
Iran, consistently among the world's leading jailers of journalists, maintains a revolving prison door with furloughs and new arrests; subjects prisoners to inhumane treatment; and targets their legal counsel. A relentless crackdown on the press has led 68 journalists to flee Iran since 2009, CPJ research shows.

Journalists facing imprisonment and other threats for their work are being forced into exile worldwide, with more than 450 fleeing their countries in the past five years, CPJ research shows.
In the past year, more than a quarter of the 57 journalists who fled their homes came from East Africa, reinforcing a trend from previous years, CPJ researchshows. This has resulted in a journalist refugee crisis in East Africa that has drastically affected the region's ability to maintain media institutions that provide reliable, vital information. After enduring violence and threats, these journalists fled abroad, only to land in a state of prolonged uncertainty as governments and the U.N. refugee agency process their cases.
During the past five years, the greatest number of journalists fled violence in Somalia, where six journalists have been killedin 2012 and no journalist murdershave been prosecuted since 1992. Eritrea and Ethiopia, East Africa's worst jailers of journalists, also lost many to exile. Journalists also sought refuge from targeted attacks and threats in conflict-ridden Syria and Pakistan.
CPJ's annual survey of journalists in exile counts those who fled due to work-related persecution in the past 12 months and provides an overview of the past five years. Dozens of journalists seeking asylum without the legal right to work nor access to basic services live in desperate, insecure, and impoverished conditions, CPJ research shows.

Online Censorship & Surveillance
As journalists increasingly use social media to report breaking news and the number of people with Internet access explodes worldwide, governments are employing sophisticated new tactics to suppress information, according to CPJ's 2011 special report "The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors."
CPJ's assessment of the prevailing strategies for online oppression and the leading countries utilizing such tactics shows that traditional mechanisms of repression have evolved into pervasive digital censorship. The tools utilized include state-supported emails designed to take over journalists' personal computers in China, the shutting down of anti-censorship technology in Iran, monopolistic control of the Net in Ethiopia, as well as synchronized cyberattacks in Belarus.
The techniques go well beyond Web censorship. The Internet is being used to spy on writers and sabotage independent news sites where press freedom is most threatened. The aim is not only to censor but also to block or disrupt the reporting process and the dissemination of news and information.

The digital offensive is often coupled with physical intimidation of online journalists. Recent developments in Honduras, Russia, and Turkey, which we shall focus on below, demonstrate the broad range of repression, coerced censorship, impunity, and outright violence faced by journalists today.

The Honduran press continues to suffer from the violent fallout of the 2009 coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Due to political and drug-related violence as well as widespread impunity, Honduras, a nation of 7.5 million people, is one of the most dangerous countries in the region for journalists, CPJ research shows. It is also important to note that Honduras is one of the world's most violent countries. A 2011 United Nations report found that it has the world's highest per capita homicide rate, with 82.1 murders per every 100,000 inhabitants.
At least 14 journalists have been killed since President Porfirio Lobo took office in January 2010. The systematic failure of Honduran authorities to investigate these crimes has frustrated any attempt to solve the murders, CPJ said in a letter sent to President Lobo in December 2011.
A 2010 CPJ special report, "Journalist murders spotlight Honduran government failures," found that the government has been slow and negligent in pursuing journalists' killers. As a result, many journalists fear the murders have been conducted with the tacit approval, or even outright complicity, of police, armed forces, or other authorities.
The climate is so intimidating that reporters told CPJ that they don't dare probe deeply into crucial issues like drug trafficking or government corruption. Many print reporters have removed their bylines from their stories. Tiempo, a San Pedro Sula-based daily newspaper that consistently criticizes the government, has shut down its investigative unit due to safety concerns. Some reporters claim the only safe way to tell the truth about Honduras is to write a novel.
Besides damaging the country's democracy, the June 2009 military-backed coup that ousted leftist former President Zelaya fractured the national press corps into opposing camps. Journalists in favor of the coup or who work for media outlets that supported Zelaya's ouster are known in Spanish as "golpistas" or "coup-backers," while those who opposed it have been pigeon-holed as "resistencia," or part of the political resistance. Local journalists state that when "resistance" journalists are attacked or killed, the news receives scant attention or comment from pro-coup media--which includes most of the country's major television, radio, and print outlets.
By contrast, the May 15 killing of Ángel Alfredo Villatoro, a prominent radio host and close friend of President Lobo, was headline news for days.
If the Honduran government is to be treated as a responsible international partner, it must move immediately and aggressively to correct these failures. It must assign disinterested and trained investigators to these cases; investigations must be transparent and free of conflicts of interest.
President Lobo and top officials in his government must begin to speak out, in a forceful and timely way, against anti-press violence. His government must respect its obligations to the Organization of American States and enforce orders of protection for journalists.
The international community must demand that the Honduran government immediately undertake these meaningful, measurable, and lasting steps.

Emblematic Honduras Case
TV Channel 5
March 14, 2010, in Tocoa, Honduras
Hit men lay in wait at the home of Palacios, 34, a well-known anchor for Channel 5, the main TV station in the Tocoa area, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. Palacios arrived at about 10 p.m. with a cousin in the backseat of a double cabin 4-by-4 pickup, and his girlfriend, a doctor, in the passenger seat. Neighbors told local reporters that a few shots were initially fired, apparently by a lookout, followed by a fusillade of gunfire as other assailants joined in. Palacios died at the scene. Dr. Yorleny Sánchez, badly injured, died two weeks later. Palacios' cousin was not injured, local press reports said.
Several work-related motives emerged in a July 2010 CPJ investigation. Palacios had opposed the 2009 military-backed coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya, and he had turned the TV station into an openly opposition channel, his colleagues said. Military personnel appeared at his house and detained him and his family for several hours in June 2009. That episode, along with other threats from the military, was strong enough that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued an order to the government of Honduras to protect Palacios. According to the commission, it was one of more than 400 such orders issued for journalists and activists in Honduras in 2009 and 2010.
The Honduran government was required by an international treaty to follow the directives, but it appeared to have ignored most of them. The government asserted that it never received an order in the Palacios case, although the Inter-American Commission noted that it had a signed receipt from the Honduran Supreme Court.
In the months before his slaying, Palacios campaigned on behalf of a group of several thousand peasants who had been demanding vast tracts of land they said rightfully belonged to them. They claimed that a few large landowners, in violation of agrarian reform laws, had greatly underpaid them for land many years earlier. Some of the land was retaken by the peasants--simply stolen, according to the landowners--and there were occasional armed encounters. Peasant activists said some of their leaders had been abducted and disappeared, or singled out and killed.
Aside from the wide belief that Palacios' killing was politically inspired, some CPJ sources said he could have angered a local drug gang with a recent news story about a cartel-linked kidnapping. Sources also said that Palacios, like other Tocoa journalists, had been accused of extorting money from sources. Palacios' father, José Heriberto Palacios, denied that his son could have been dishonest. "They killed him because he was honest and was not corrupt," he told CPJ.
The case was marked by a series of investigative failures. Almost three months after Palacios was gunned down, a team of investigators came to his grave in his hometown of Rigores, dug up his body, and at the graveside, in the open, conducted an autopsy. The coroner never examined the body after the murder; it had gone straight from the murder scene to the funeral home.
Investigators also started asking news photographers if they had any pictures of the crime scene because police had no photographs of their own. The prosecutor in charge of the case, Arody Reyes, conceded to CPJ that although the gunmen had lain in wait for hours at Palacios' house, police had not been able to retrieve any evidence from the scene.
Reyes said the exhumation and autopsy were suddenly important because the Honduran government had enlisted the help of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Local investigators, Reyes said, needed to show their U.S. counterparts something.

As Russia enters into a third term of government under President Vladimir Putin, a convergence of violence, impunity, and constraining legislation severely limits the space for public debate, dissent, and press freedom in Russia.
Impunity in attacks on the press remains high in Russia, CPJ research shows. Despite high-level promises of justice, including by former President Dmitry Medvedev, Russian investigators have yet to apprehend those responsible for vicious attacks. A CPJ delegation met with Aleksandr Bastrykin, chairman of Russia's Investigative Committee (a body responsible for probing serious crimes), to discuss this record of impunity in September 2010. Most recently, Bastrykin made headlines for threatening the life of a journalist and subsequently apologizing. He remains in charge of the country's chief investigative body.
Failure to prosecute the masterminds perpetuates impunity, even in cases where significant initial progress is made. The heart of the problem is a lack of political will and an apparent link between political power and criminality.
With 16 unsolved murder cases, Russia's rating is stagnant in CPJ's Impunity Index, a list of countries where journalist's murderers evade justice. The most recent victim was Gadzhimurad Kamalov, founder of the independent Dagestani weekly Chernovik, who was gunned down while leaving work in December 2011. The newspaper had received frequent threats for its coverage of government corruption, human rights abuses, and Islamic radicalism.
Authorities have made modest progress in some cases: Several suspects have been indicted in the 2006 killing of Anna Politkovskaya, but authorities have yet to bring the case to trial or identify the mastermind. "The impunity the masterminds enjoy--this is the main part of the mechanism, which breeds new murders," said Sergey Sokolov, deputy editor of Politkovskaya's newspaper, Novaya Gazeta.
Russia's parliament moved quickly this month to pass a new Internet bill that will create a blacklist of websites. The law is one in a recent slate of repressive measures, all rushed through the State Duma, aimed at reining in dissent. The steps call into question President Putin's commitment to democracy.
A key pending bill would re-criminalize defamation, while two other ones--just approved by the parliament's upper house--impose limits and labels on NGOs and enable the government to block websites. These bills follow the introduction last month of excessive fines for unauthorized protests.
The Internet statute Duma Bill 89417 is one of several provisions that would create a blacklist of websites which all Russians Internet service providers (ISPs) would have to block and refuse to host. Internet technologists had warned that 436-FZ was too broad, and would require individual comments and home pages to be marked with age-appropriate ratings in the style of American movies.
The defamation bill is a step backward for Russia. In November, parliament voted to decriminalize libel and insult in a move widely perceived as part of then-President Dmitry Medvedev's liberalization policies. According to the independent news agency Regnum, the new bill allows for imprisonment of up to five years, and a fine for moral damages up to 500,000 rubles (US$15,300) for those found guilty of defamation. The restrictive NGO bill requires that organizations receiving money from international sources carry the label "foreign agents"--a particularly negative term in a society where the Kremlin sustains and nourishes deep suspicion of foreigners. At the time of this writing, all three bills were awaiting President Putin's signature.
To stem the escalation of media repression and counter impunity, U.S. legislators should immediately consider an expansion of the "Magnitsky Bill"--which would place Russians connected with human rights abuses on a blacklist, denying them U.S. visas and freezing their assets--to include officials implicated in the murders of journalists.
The United States and the international community should continue to engage with Russian leaders on press freedom and hold authorities publicly accountable for crimes against those who expose misdeeds, as journalists regularly do.

Emblematic Russia Case
Novaya Gazeta, Kavkazsky Uzel
July 15, 2009, in between Grozny and Gazi-Yurt, Russia
Four men forced Estemirova, 50, into a white Lada sedan in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, as she was leaving her apartment for work, Reuters reported. Witnesses said the journalist shouted that she was being kidnapped as the car sped from the scene, according to press reports. Later the same day, her body was found in the neighboring region of Ingushetia, according to international news reports. She was shot in the head and the chest; no belongings were reported missing.
Estemirova was a frequent contributor to the independent Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta and the Caucasus news website Kavkazsky Uzel. She was also an advocate for the Moscow-based human rights group Memorial and a consultant for the New York-based international rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW). She was the fifth Novaya Gazetajournalist killed since 2000. Estemirova's colleagues told CPJ that her relentless reporting on human rights violations committed by federal and regional authorities in Chechnya put her at odds with regional officials.
Three years after Estemirova was abducted and found murdered, her killers walk free. The investigation into the July 15, 2009, killing started off on the right track only to get derailed, her colleagues at Novaya Gazeta and Memorial told CPJ. At a July 2011 press conference i in Moscow, they presented the results of their independent investigation, which revealed numerous apparent flaws in the official inquiry.
At the time of the murder, Estemirova was investigating the possible involvement of Chechen police officers in the July 7, 2009, public execution of Rizvan Albekov in the village of Akhkinchu-Borzoi. She was the first journalist reporting on the case. The Investigative Committee initially focused on the story as the likeliest reason Estemirova was murdered, colleagues said. In their report, "Two Years After the Killing of Natalya Estemirova: Investigation on the Wrong Track," Novaya Gazeta, Memorial, and the International Federation for Human Rights found that lead investigator Igor Sobol had sought information from the local prosecutor's office about Albekov's killing and local police abuses.
But investigators inexplicably stopped pursuing the lead in early 2010. The current inquiry, the report's authors said, has focused on Alkhazur Bashayev, a rebel leader whom Chechen authorities say was killed in a 2009 special operation. Bashayev was allegedly angered by Estemirova's investigation into accusations that he and other separatists were recruiting young men in a Chechen village. But the report by Estemirova's colleagues raised dozens of questions about the official theory.
How could the car allegedly used to kidnap Estemirova contain no sign of a struggle? How was the unsophisticated suspect able to falsify the police identity card that Chechen police claim to have found in the Bashayev home, along with the murder weapon? What happened to the genetic material collected from under Estemirova's fingernails that likely contained the DNA of her killers? The material, the report said, showed that Estemirova struggled with at least three attackers, one of whom was a woman. But investigators ordered only one type of DNA testing, which could neither categorically confirm nor disprove the involvement of Bashayev. In the process of testing, the report's authors said, the DNA samples were depleted, making further testing nearly impossible. It is possible, however, to compare the completed test results against other potential suspects--such as the police officers implicated in the Albekov execution. Why hasn't this been done?
The Investigative Committee did not respond in detail to the report, instead issuing a statement that said the findings "are not based on facts but are simply the subjective opinion of persons who do not possess the necessary competence, do not have information, and do not have access to all of the materials of the criminal case." The Investigative Committee did not explain what it found concerning the possible link to Estemirova's reporting on the extrajudicial killing of Chechen resident Albekov. The committee did not respond to CPJ's written request for comment on the Estemirova investigation. In July, CPJ learned through a source at the Investigative Committee that the Estemirova case was being transferred from lead investigator Igor Sobol--who had been in charge of the probe since the beginning--to another, yet to be named, investigator, due to Sobol's "heavy workload." In Russia's context, this translates into burying the case for good.

A critical journalist in Turkey these days needs a lawyer on standby. The press is laboring under a creaking judicial system and a panoply of antiquated and vague legislation that officials and politicians of every stripe find irresistible as a weapon against muckraking reporters and critical commentators.
The extent of journalist imprisonments has been disputed by the Turkish government, which asserts that independent assessments have been exaggerated. CPJ is currently carrying out exhaustive research on individual cases, legislation, and online censorship, all of which are choking press freedom in Turkey. Our research thus far indicates that there are dozens of journalists imprisoned in direct relation to their work. A report with our findings and assessment will be published in the fall of 2012.
After several years of legal and constitutional reform prompted by Turkey's application for European Union membership, moves to lighten the dead hand of the law on journalists are running out of steam. The United States seems wary of calling out Turkey on its human rights and press freedom record. Turkey, a NATO member and crucial U.S. ally in the region, is a progressive, secular democracy and a model of free speech compared with its neighbors Iran, Iraq, and Syria. But for journalists, particularly Kurdish and leftist ones, progress in freedom of expression has not kept pace with political and economic advances.
Journalists and press groups estimate there were up to 5,000 criminal cases open against reporters at the end of 2011. The cases involve charges such as criminal defamation, influencing the outcome of a trial, and spreading terrorist propaganda. The bulk of these cases have not resulted in convictions historically, but the endless court proceedings and legal costs have had a severe chilling effect, according to reporters, media analysts, and lawyers interviewed by CPJ throughout 2011. Prosecutions have intensified since authorities in 2007 first detailed the "Ergenekon" conspiracy, an alleged ultra-nationalist military plot to overthrow the government.

Emblematic Turkey Case
Imprisoned: March 2011-March 2012
Şık, a prominent reporter who had written for the dailies Cumhuriyet and Radikaland the weekly Nokta, was charged with aiding the Ergenekon conspiracy, an alleged nationalist military plot to overthrow the government.
Şık, co-author of a 2010 book on Ergenekon, had been known throughout his career for his critical writings about the "deep state," the purported secular, nationalist forces operating within the army, security agencies, and government ministries. Before being arrested, Şık was writing a new book with the working title, The Imam's Army, which was to allege the existence of a shadowy organization operating within police and other government agencies and said to be populated by members of the Sufi Muslim religious community known as Fettullah Gülen.
A draft of the new book was deleted from the computers of his publishing house and that of a colleague during police raids, Hürriyet Daily News reported. The interrogations of Şık focused almost exclusively on the unfinished book, according to the paper. The government's indictment, which appeared months after the arrest, focused on Şık's journalistic activities, especially in regard to the book, the local press freedom group Bia said.
"Criticizing the government and drawing attention to the dangerous network of people in the police and judiciary who are members of the Gülen community is enough in today's Turkey to become an Ergenekon suspect," Şık told CPJ. Amid international outcry, authorities granted temporary release to Şık in March 2012. However, the charges against him remain and he can be rearrested upon conviction.
In a disturbing development, Special Authority Public Chief Prosecutor Muammer Akkaş launched a new investigation against Şık shortly after his release. The new investigation accused Şık of allegedly "threatening and identifying judges and prosecutors as targets for terror organizations" in his statement to journalists upon his release from prison, the independent news portal Bianet reported. Şık had told the press that day: "Incomplete justice is not going to bring justice and democracy. About 100 journalists are still in prison. The police officers, prosecutors, and judges who plotted and carried out this complot will go to prison. Justice will come when they enter this prison," according to news reports.
In July, an Istanbul prosecutor demanded that Şık serve up to seven years in prison for "insulting" and "threatening" state officials, the Dogan News Agency reported.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Alabama bus boycott organizer, professor dies at 96

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Thelma McWilliams Glass, a longtime professor and civil rights pioneer who helped organize the Montgomery bus boycott, died on Wednesday. She was 96.

A statement from Alabama State University, where Glass was a professor of geography, said she died but did not give a cause.

"The ASU family lost one of its crown jewels today," said President William H. Harris. "Mrs. Glass was the consummate educator, whose life was a shining example of service, courage and commitment. She will be truly missed."

Glass was one of a group of women who helped put together the bus boycott in Montgomery in 1955. The effort came together after Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person.

The boycott by blacks in the city crippled the bus service and helped bring an end to segregation of public transportation in the South a year later. Glass was secretary of the Women's Political Council, a group that spread the word through the black community in Montgomery about the boycott.

"The men talked about it, you know, but we were ready to take action," Glass said during a recent interview with ASU Today Magazine.

Instead of riding buses, boycotters organized carpools to get to where they were going. Or they walked.
Glass also was an educator for 40 years, building a reputation for instilling in her students a desire to learn and become involved in the fight to end racial inequality.

Glass has an auditorium named after her in Trenholm Hall at Alabama State University - her alma mater. The university honored Glass with the Black and Gold Standard Award during the 2011 Founders' Day Convocation.

Glass was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She was also honored in 2011 by the National Alumni Association with the Harper Councill Trenholm Memorial Award.

Funeral arrangements for Glass have yet to be announced.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Related: People Get Ready: The Struggle for Human Rights

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

NYPD 'consistently violated basic rights' during Occupy protests – Report by NYU and Fordham law schools

Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Via The Guardian

"...evidence that police made violent late-night raids on peaceful encampments, obstructed independent legal monitors and was opaque about its policies"

"Obstruction of press freedoms and independent legal monitoring, including arrests of at least 10 journalists, and multiple cases of preventing journalists from reporting on protests or barring and evicting them from specific sites."

Full article here.

Previous coverage: Freedom of the Press?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hipstamatic angst, Instagram anxiety

"But, really, it’s time to move the conversation on. This applies to both the supporters and critics."  --David Campbell

"The second we stop thinking, provoking, debating and evolving is truly when a medium wallows. Therefore, I’ve not seen a photo-journalism industry as healthy and exciting as today in many years. " --Ashley Gilbertson

Read the full post with comments here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

W. M. Hunt in Santa Fe: “The Unseen Eye: A Life in Photographs and other digressions ... "


Not necessarily by popular demand but at his own insistence, W.M. – Bill – Hunt will recreate his unique performance piece suggested by the text for his book, “The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious” (Aperture 2011). Hunt debuted "A Life in Photographs and other digressions ...” last October when the book was launched.

 “The Unseen Eye: A Life in Photographs and other digressions ... " 

Special performance by W.M. Hunt on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 6 PM, at Tipton Hall, Marion Center for Photographic Arts at Santa Fe University of Art & Design, 1600 St. Michael’s Drive, Santa Fe, NM. 

Free and Open to the Public. 

This is a monologue with video suggested by the text for my book, “The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious” (Aperture 2011). It’s rude and sweet and funny. It lasts a little over n hour and will be followed by refreshments and a book signing.

This program is supported by Rixon Reed at Photo-Eye and Mary Anne Redding at the Marion Center,

Related:  Q & A with W. M. Hunt

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"in 2011, the NYPD stopped someone every 45 seconds"

Must Read: Stop and Frisk Procedures, Photography, Activism and the NYPD: A Conversation with Nina Berman

Via Prison Photography

"I was in the Bronx on another project and I didn’t have my camera out. I saw a man riding a bicycle and a cop stopped him in the middle of the street. He stayed on his bicycle and he just immediately put his arms out in the air, like he knew precisely what position to assume. That’s a whole other thing that interests me; how body language for some people according to their race is a normalized gesture. For white people gestures [associated with Stop & Frisk] would be abnormal gestures.

Last summer, I saw a guy – he looked like he was 17 or 18 years old – in the Bronx and two plain-clothed cops came out and pushed him against a wall and stripped him of everything. It was intense."

Read the full post here.

Open Society Foundation Moving Walls 2013 Exhibit Announced

Kim Jeong-Ya (a pseudonym), 67, lives in China near the North Korean border and belongs to a handful of Chinese human rights activists who dedicate their lives to help both North Korean defectors and abducted South Koreans make a safe passage from North Korea to South Korea via mainland China.
Photo credit: © Katharina Hesse

Via Open Society Foundation

2013 will mark a milestone for the Open Society Foundations’ Moving Walls exhibition. It will not only be our 20th exhibition since starting in 1998 but will be the inaugural exhibition at the Foundations’ new headquarters at the Argonaut building on 57th and Broadway in New York City. Moving Walls is a documentary photography exhibition produced by the Open Society Foundations that features in-depth explorations of human rights and social issues. These images provide human rights evidence, put faces onto a conflict, document the struggles and defiance of marginalized people, reframe how issues are discussed publicly, and provide opportunities for reflection and discussion. Since 1998, Moving Walls has featured over 150 photographers.

For the exhibition that will open in our new office, we received 300 proposals from 49 countries through an open call. The proposals were carefully reviewed by the Documentary Photography Project staff, an advisory committee of foundation staff, and the show’s longtime curators, Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas and Stuart Alexander, International Specialist at Christies. We recently completed selection and are pleased to announce that the following photographers have been chosen:
  • Katharina Hesse, on North Korean refugees who crossed the border into China
  • Fernando Moleres, on young men and boys imprisoned alongside adults and awaiting trial in Sierra Leone
  • Yuri Kozyrev, on the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa and their aftermath
  • Ian Teh, on the changing landscape of the Yellow River Basin in China
  • Donald Weber, on police interrogations in Ukraine
In contrast to our current location, the new exhibition space will be located on the street level in a public conference space. That, combined with being more centrally located on 57th Street, gives us opportunities to engage with the public in a different way. The current office has been a great home to Moving Walls but I am excited for the new possibilities. Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the opening of the exhibition.

Related: People Get Ready: The Struggle for Human Rights exhibition

Sunday, July 15, 2012

40 years later, Mississippi waiter's 'magical moment' renews race relations

 Mississippi: A Self-Portrait
Via NBC Dateline

"He came to me one day and said, 'I got a wonderful black man. His name is Booker Wright. And he's a waiter at Lusco's Restaurant. And what he does, is a minstrel scene. He does a singsong of the menu. And that's the only menu they have. People wanna know the menu, they get, 'Booker, go tell 'em.' And he'll sing them the song of the menu. And it's absolutely delightful.'"

Once Frank saw Booker Wright perform the menu recitation, he arranged to film the routine the next day. So Booker Wright recited the menu for Frank's camera. Then, without warning, he shifted gears and launched into a monologue that had been 40 years in the making:

"Now that's what my customers, I say my customers are expecting from me," he began. "Some people nice. Some is not. Some call me Booker. Some call me John. Some call me Jim. Some call me @!$%#! All of that hurts but you have to smile. The meaner the man be the more you have to smile, even though your're crying on the inside.

"You're wondering what else can I do. Sometimes he'll tip you, sometimes he'll say, ‘I'm not gonna tip that @!$%#, he don't look for no tip.’ I say, 'Yes sir, thank you.' I'm trying to make a living."

For nearly two minutes, Booker Wright, spoke straight to the camera, and straight from the heart.
"Night after night I lay down and I dream about what I had to go through with. I don't want my children to have to go through with that. I want them to get the job they feel qualified. That's what I'm struggling for," Booker concluded.

"I went there to photograph a minstrel show," Frank says, "And I stayed there to hear a man talking about his life and what his dreams are. And it was so moving."

Related video:  Former NBC News producer Frank De Felitta recalls a time he and his film crew faced some real danger in 1960s Mississippi

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vivian Maier: 1954, New York   ©Maloof Collection

Summer, 2012
Reviews, Santa Fe

Vivian Maier

Monroe Gallery of Photography

Among eccentric photographers of the 20th century, Vivian Maier stands out for her self-effacing reclusiveness. For much her life she worked as a nanny, and the tens of thousands of images she made remained unknown until a Chicago real-estate agent and amateur historian discovered them in 2007, less than two years before her death. Maier’s black and-white photos mostly depict street life in Chicago and New York, and bear comparison with the works of Helen Levitt, though Maier’s eye was more wide-ranging and her approach occasionally experimental, as when she ventured into pure abstraction in a manner reminiscent of Aaron Siskind. This show of images from the 1950s through the early ’70s offered a generous introduction to her remarkable output.
Like Levitt, Maier had an affection for children, capturing a small boy with one leg thrust forward, holding tight to a man, presumably his father, who adjusts the boy’s shoe. And like Weegee, she sometimes shot the seamier side of urban life, as in a photo of two men dragging another man down the street (Christmas Eve, 1953). But she was equally alert to the glamour of the city, paying homage to beautiful women in elegant hats and opulent furs. 

Some of the works here offered startlingly dramatic viewpoints: a man and woman, shot from above, hold hands across a restaurant table; a quartet of older women, pinned in a trapezoid of light, wait against a wall like characters in a Beckett play (1954, New York). Maier’s humorous side surfaced in an untitled image of a ragtag couple, the man standing on his head, in front of a poster for a strip joint. In another, Arbus-like shot, two men—one of them a stooping giant—inspect the goods in a shop window as a pair of curious women gape in amazement.

The show ended with a self-portrait of Maier, smiling wistfully, captured in the reflection of a mirror being unloaded in front of a drab apartment complex—as unassuming in art as she was in life.

By Ann Landi


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"A raised arm, black power and Olympic trauma"

John Dominis: 1968 Olympics Black Power salute ©Time Inc

Via The Independant

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Tommie Smith's salute is recalled in a new film

The veteran sprinter is reminiscing about just what it feels like to go to the blocks in an Olympic final. He makes it sound like a dead man's walk.

It is certainly traumatic, it is certainly traumatic," the sprinter repeats the phrase. "You know, looking around, walking in a stadium is an experience that only those in the field can feel. You work all these years competing against some of the best people in the world and then you get to the final race. It goes beyond human imagination to the point where you forget where you are and you go back to your childhood, thinking 'how did I get here?' You look around at these world-class athletes and if you're not very careful, you can lose your race before you start by thinking everybody else is better than you are and what are you doing here?"

Whatever the state of his nerves, the sprinter in question ran an immaculate race. He whipped past the finishing line of the 200 metres final at the Mexico Olympics in 1968 in an astonishing time of 19.83 seconds.

Tommie Smith was 24 at the time, younger than Jamaican champion sprinter Usain Bolt is now. "Aged 24, my speed and Usain Bolt's speed were about the same," Smith says today. The assumption was that he would get even faster. However, when he and third-placed fellow African-American athlete John Carlos went to the podium, they raised their fists in a Black Power salute. The gesture caused outrage at the International Olympic Committee, which dubbed it a "violent breach" of the Olympic spirit. Smith and Carlos were vilified, as was the white Australian silver medallist Peter Norman (who supported their gesture.) The story of the friendship between the three men is told in the documentary Salute, shortly to be released in the UK.

"He [Norman] was a man of his word and a man of honesty." Smith pays tribute to the Australian sprinter. "He believed in rights for all men. He was a true friend and he went through some of the same things that Carlos and I did," Smith remembers of how all three men suffered because of their gesture in support of human rights. Norman didn't raise an arm but he wore an "Olympic Project For Human Rights Badge" –itself a defiant act – and he suggested that Carlos should wear Smith's left glove. As a result, he was ostracised by the Australian media and the country's Olympic selectors, who never picked him again.

After Mexico 1968, Smith's own Olympic career was over. If he is bitter about the way he was treated by the Olympic movement, he is not showing it. He relishes the friendships that the Olympics can help foster between athletes all over the world. However, he has no illusions about the machinations that go behind the scenes whenever the Games are staged.

"The politics of it is a different story. Those who contend that there are no politics in the Olympic Games are speaking with false tongues."

Ask him today if he has mixed feelings about that moment in 1968 when his salute effectively ended his athletics career and he replies: "I regret the fact that I had to do that to bring out the truth about a country that didn't honour the rights of its constitution."

No, he says today, he didn't know that making the Black Power salute was going to curtail his athletics career. "But had I known, it wouldn't have made any difference," he insists.

Would he have won more Olympic medals? He ponders the question. "I certainly would have run. I don't know if I would have been the fastest – but whoever was ahead of me would have been in trouble!"

'Salute' is released in cinemas on 13 July and DVD on 30 July

John Dominis's iconic photograph is featured in the current exhibition "People Get Raedy: The Struggle for Human Rights" through September 23, 2012

Remarkable account of cops and prosecutors who set aside their own prejudice to crack extortion ring that preyed on Gay men

This photo first appeared in Life’s 1964 issue about homosexuality. Barney Anthony put up a sign warning homosexuals to stay out of his Hollywood bar. “I don’t like him,” he said. “There’s no excuse. They’ll approach any nice-looking guy. Anybody does any recruiting, I say shoot him. Who cares?” Photo by Bill Eppridge

Via Slate

The rise and incredible fall of a vicious extortion ring that preyed on prominent gay men in the 1960s.

"In the year following the Western Union arrest, the NYPD and the FBI, working in parallel (and sometimes at odds), would uncover and break a massive gay extortion ring whose viciousness and criminal flair was without precedent. Impersonating corrupt vice-squad detectives, members of this ring, known in police parlance as bulls, had used young, often underage men known as chickens to successfully blackmail closeted pillars of the establishment, among them a navy admiral, two generals, a U.S. congressman, a prominent surgeon, an Ivy League professor, a prep school headmaster, and several well-known actors, singers, and television personalities. The ring had operated for almost a decade, had victimized thousands, and had taken in at least $2 million. When he announced in 1966 that the ring had been broken up, Manhattan DA Frank Hogan said the victims had all been shaken down “on the threat that their homosexual proclivities would be exposed unless they paid for silence.”

Though now almost forgotten, the case of “the Chickens and the Bulls” as the NYPD called it (or “Operation Homex,” to the FBI), still stands as the most far-flung, most organized, and most brazen example of homosexual extortion in the nation’s history. And while the Stonewall riot in June 1969 is considered by many to be the pivotal moment in gay civil rights, this case represents an important crux too, marking the first time that the law enforcement establishment actually worked on behalf of victimized gay men, instead of locking them up or shrugging."

Full article here.

Related: People Get Ready: The Struggle For Human Rights

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is Linking A Crime?

A very compelling read:

Via Gigaom

"With the case, the U.S. government appears to be asserting that linking to copyright infringing files under any circumstances should not only be an offence but an extraditable offence, and that the U.S. government is fully prepared to reach into other countries and extradite their citizens when there is virtually no connection whatsoever between that person’s acts and U.S. law or jurisdiction."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monroe Gallery of Photography at VIP Photo

You’re Invited to VIP PHOTO!
Start Collecting on July 12. Opens at 8:00am EST.

Monroe Gallery of Photography invites you to discover hundreds of photographs from over thirty international galleries. Be the first to view this innovative event where you can browse, share and collect fine photography, exclusively online.

Click here to register for free:
Registering ensures you receive exclusive offers from VIP, newly available work, and news about upcoming events!


VIP PHOTO | www.vipartfair.com
Journey anywhere. Collect online.

July 12 – August 12, 2012
Preview Day July 11

Remembering Miss O’Keeffe: Stories from Abiquiu

Former Caretaker Recalls O’Keeffe

John Loengard: Georgia O'Keeffe, Abiqui, 1967

Via the Albuquerque Journal North

In 1977, a 24-year-old woman took a job as caretaker for an elderly artist in one of New Mexico’s remote villages.
The woman was Margaret Wood; the artist was Georgia O’Keeffe, and their pairing would launch an adventure into food and friendship that would last a lifetime.
Wood was living in Lincoln, Neb., when she received a call from an acquaintance about a job opening in Abiquiu. Wood had graduated from Nebraska’s Hastings College with a degree in art education.
O’Keeffe was 90 at the time, and her eyesight was failing. She needed someone to stay with her throughout the night and to prepare simple meals. Wood’s duties included brushing O’Keeffe’s long white hair, using just the right pressure, reading to her and accompanying her on her walks beneath the red cliffs of Ghost Ranch or down her sweeping Abiquiu driveway.
She always called her “Miss O’Keeffe.”
Wood recalls her five years with the great artist in “Remembering Miss O’Keeffe: Stories from Abiquiu” ($19.95, Museum of New Mexico Press). Wood will talk about her time with O’Keeffe and sign books at Collected Works, 202 Galisteo St., No. A, at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“I knew someone who had been a companion for Georgia O’Keeffe, and she was looking for someone to take her place,” said Wood, now living in Santa Fe and working as a speech therapist. “Her (O’Keeffe’s) eyesight was failing due to macular degeneration.
“I was very excited,” she continued. “I thought perhaps I could do this. I had studied art, and I knew of her paintings. I was a fan. I especially liked the paintings of New Mexico.”
Her friend warned her of O’Keeffe’s exactitude; everything had to be to her specifications. She cautioned Wood to be patient. Wood rented a former schoolhouse in the small village of Barranco. She thought she knew how to cook, but she quickly learned otherwise.
O’Keeffe took great pride in her healthy lifestyle. Whole wheat flour was always ground fresh with the artist’s personal mill. Yogurt was homemade, often from the milk of local goats. Fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables came from the artist’s garden.
“I tried to fit in what she needed,” Wood said. “It took me several months to make friends with her. She was such a private person and an independent person that it was an invasion to have someone assist her in this way.
“It was hard because I had to learn everything from how to make the lunch soup just right to how to brush her hair with just the right pressure. If the plates were not heated, she would say, ‘Oh, my dear, these plates are stone cold.’
“I didn’t expect the level of simplicity yet perfection that she liked in her food and her surroundings.”
Freshly made beds had to be perfectly tucked in. Food had to be attractively arranged on the plate.
Wood worked from 5 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., while the rest of the staff went home.
“She enjoyed listening to music,” Wood said. “She had two beautiful stereo systems — one in her studio and one in her house.”
O’Keeffe was a fan of Bach, Schubert and Monteverdi. She liked Wood to read to her — mostly Prevention, Time and Newsweek magazines, the bold print version of the New York Times and art books.
But no rock and roll.
Despite her carefully cultivated image as a recluse, O’Keeffe regularly welcomed visitors. Wood was thrilled when singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell came calling, resplendent in gold eyeshadow.
“That was a great visit for me,” Wood said. “Georgia O’Keeffe didn’t know much about her. (Mitchell) was a painter. She gave her an album. We listened to it, and Miss O’Keeffe thought the music made her drowsy.”
Allen Ginsberg arrived with his partner Peter Orlovsky. They admired the late afternoon light as they compared the nature of words to action. O’Keeffe declared that talk was easy but it was action that got things going. Ginsberg countered that words often inspired people to action. He and Orlovsky climbed the ladder to the roof to watch the sunset.
O’Keeffe often talked about her late husband, the photographer and impresario Alfred Stieglitz.
“She talked about how people thought he liked the arts page, but he (really) liked the sports page because of the horse races.
“She thought Alfred could look down on her and smile.”
Sometimes, O’Keeffe’s traditional ways clashed with the changing times — especially the women’s movement. Wood felt like she was in a time warp.
“I was being trained in these old ways,” Wood said. “I felt like I was in an old-fashioned place.”
She left to pursue graduate school.
“I knew I needed to get more education in a field I could use for the rest of my life,” Wood explained. “All the positions in the O’Keeffe house were filled.”
She visited O’Keeffe after Juan Hamilton, her companion, had moved her to Santa Fe for 24-hour care. But on her second visit, Hamilton warned her that the artist’s memory was fading.
O’Keeffe did not recognize her. Wood was stunned, then felt waves of grief. She stopped going but still dreamed about the artist.
Today, Wood finds a direct link between her profession and her years spent with the great artist.
“I work for elderly people, and I think it’s because of my work with Miss O’Keeffe,” she said. “I like their stories and their experience of being in this world. Most of them are very comfortable with themselves.”
But mostly, she remembers the food.
“I have an appreciation and a style of cooking simple, nutritious food,” she said.”I still cook the lemon chicken. I still make the herb salad. I make the lemon pecan fruitcake every Christmas.”

If you go WHAT: “Remembering Miss O’Keeffe: Stories from Abiquiu” by Margaret Wood. A conversation and book signing with the author and Miriam Sagan.
WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Collected Works Bookstore, 202 Galisteo St., No. A
CONTACT: 988-4226

Saturday, July 7, 2012


The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market presents:

AN EVENING WITH GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, journalist and New York Times Best-Selling Author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

7 pm Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 West San Francisco Street (admission fee)
Tickets: Lensic Box Office or call the Lensic Box Office at 505-988-1234

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s riveting book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, follows the true story of Kamila Sidiqui, an extraordinarily determined young female entrepreneur living under the restrictive and punishing rule of the Taliban in Kabul after the civil war. By picking up a needle and thread and establishing a clandestine sewing business, Kamila, other female members of her family and neighbors managed to earn income to feed themselves and survive under impossible conditions for women. From reporting Kamila’s inspirational story, Ms. Lemmon has become a major voice to encourage financial institutions and governments to support female entrepreneurship in order to rebuild society in conflict and post-conflict regions around the world. She is Contributing Editor At Large for Newsweek Magazine and the Daily Beast, and the deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relation’s Women and Foreign Policy program. She will be joined by Market participant and entrepreneur Rangina Hamidi and Gene Grant, host of PBS New Mexico in Focus.

A limited number of $125 tickets provides prime seating for the event at the Lensic, and includes a pre-event party reception with the author at the Coyote Cantina (5:30 – 6:30 pm). Party goers will enjoy cocktails, appetizers, and will also receive a signed copy of the hardcover edition of Lemmon’s inspiring bestseller, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. (This is a fundraiser to support the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.)

Other tickets are priced at $35 for preferred seating, $25 general seating, and $15 balcony seating.

Full schedule of 2012 Santa Fe International Fold Art Market here.

Related: The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is a treasure for its global reach and domestic drawing power, a model for artists and artisans around the world:

Kandahar Treasures, is giving financial freedom to women who do the traditional geometric embroidery unique to the area. Started by Rangina Hamidi, an Afghan whose family fled war to the United States when she was a child, the project now has more than 400 women selling products. Some of the women earn up to $100 a month, which is almost double the average government salary. Homes with mothers and daughters participating have dramatically improved their family’s economic standing, and given women more control over their lives.

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is a results-oriented entrepreneurial 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides a venue for master traditional artists to display, demonstrate and sell their work. By providing opportunities for folk artists to succeed in the global marketplace, the Market creates economic empowerment and improves the quality of life in communities where folk artists live.

It is now the largest international folk art market in the world, and its success led to Santa Fe’s designation as a UNESCO City of Folk Art, the first U.S. city named to UNESCO’s prestigious Creative Cities Network.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

People Get Ready

A lone man stops a column of tanks near Tiananmen Square, 1989 Beijing, China

People Get Ready

Exercise your freedom and come witness 55 powerful photographs from significant human rights struggles in history. Reception 5-7 pm Friday, July 6.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

JULY 4, 2012

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4th, 1776.

On July 8, 1776, the first public readings of the Declaration were held in Philadelphia's Independence Square to the ringing of bells and band music. One year later, on July 4, 1777, Philadelphia marked Independence Day by adjourning Congress and celebrating with bonfires, bells and fireworks.

The custom eventually spread to other towns, both large and small, where the day was marked with processions, oratory, picnics, contests, games, military displays and fireworks. Observations throughout the nation became even more common at the end of the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

On June 24, 1826, Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Roger C. Weightman, declining an invitation to come to Washington, D.C., to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was the last letter that Jefferson, who was gravely ill, ever wrote. In it, Jefferson says of the document:
"May it be to the world, what I believe it will be ... the signal of arousing men to burst the chains ... and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. ... For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them."
Congress established Independence Day as a holiday in 1870, and in 1938 Congress reaffirmed it as a holiday, but with full pay for federal employees.