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Busboy Juan Romero tries to comfort Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy after he was shot on June 5, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Photo: Bill Eppridge

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Bill Eppridge knows the rules of photography have changed. The ways of the ’60s, when he was a staff photographer at LIFE magazine, are long gone: Staff photo positions are near extinct, everyone with an iPhone now claims to be a photographer and film seems to be a four-letter word of antiquity.

That said, Eppridge, who has shot many of the historic events of the last half-century, believes the power of documentary photography will always live on, no matter how many photos are out there in however many formats.

“The best still images, they just nail you, you remember them,” he says, as is evidenced by his iconic work.

Millions of people likely have one of his images burned into their consciousness and will always remember certain events the way Eppridge saw them — from his photo of Bobby Kennedy lying nearly lifeless on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel, to his shots of the Beatles arriving in the United States for the first time.

“The process of keeping that iconic image in your head is important,” he says.

For Eppridge, still images can only do their job if you give them time to sink in. As someone who came from the analog world, where people got much of their news from magazines with ample photo spreads, Eppridge says he’s not impressed with many of the ways we choose to view photography today.

“The speeding up of the universe has not helped the type of photographic journalism that we used to do,” he says. “Consequently, we are going to have to start thinking of changing our methods of working and find a way that the person can look at the image and retain that image.”

Eppridge is not a luddite; he just doesn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. He posts his photography on the internet, he shoots with digital cameras and he thinks there’s a place for multimedia projects that combine the still frame with video and audio. But he’s also made sure his work continues to find a home in print magazines, books and gallery shows.

The importance of having time to absorb the still frame comes from his desire to use photography as a tool for change. An image needs to be remembered in order to make a difference. After years of documenting environmental disasters, murder and war, Eppridge no longer believes in objectivity. Instead, he hopes his work has educated the world about the events he’s covered and has helped avoid repeating past mistakes.

“You stay objective until the point where you understand what is right, and what is proper,” he said. “Once you see that, I don’t think the objectivity remains.”

Eppridge says there are several instances where he went into a situation with an open mind but quickly formed an opinion about what he thought was right or wrong. In Vietnam he tried to appreciate the situation facing American soldiers, but he couldn’t look past the atrocities they committed, either.

During the funeral for James Chaney — one of three Civil Rights leaders murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1964 — he says it was difficult to see the disdain the family received from the surrounding white community while suffering through a tragic personal loss.

“The treatment of the Chaney family was hateful and I couldn’t remain objective,” he says. “If you’re any kind of a journalist, you don’t remain objective.”

Several of Eppridge’s most moving frames from the Chaney funeral are currently hanging in a larger show of his work at the well-known Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe. He was also recently honored with the 2011 Lucie Award for Achievement in Photojournalism, an honor awarded to him by his peers.

Ultimately, Eppridge says he hasn’t given up on the power of photography or any kind of documentary work. While the days of 20-page spreads in LIFE magazine might never come back, he knows people are still out there telling stories for the right reasons.

“We’re in such a state of transition, I don’t think any of us can predict where we’re going to go,” he said. “But I can tell you one thing, we’re gonna’ win, the good people will end up on top, and that story has to be told.”

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Flood waters inundating Thailand north of Bangkok since July have made the journey south and reached the capital. The disaster is responsible for 400 deaths in Thailand and neighboring Cambodia and Vietnam. Thailand is the world's biggest rice exporter, but the floods have wiped out over a quarter of the country's crop. The government has declared a five-day holiday for the capital to allow residents time to evacuate. Damages could top six billion dollars in Thailand's worst flooding in 50 years. Collected here are images of the water as it moves south to Bangkok, and how residents there are dealing with the disaster. -- Lane Turner (43 photos total)
A woman holds a toddler as she walks through floodwaters in an area near the Chao Praya river in Bangkok on October 29, 2011. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)

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At a reunion of 600 Pan American Airlines alums last weekend in Miami, former employees got together to share stories of glamour and history, from the Beatles, kings and presidents to Vietnam orphan airlifts and hijackings.

Photos by Brandon Kruse for The Wall Street Journal, except where noted.


Bonnie Hinck, a Pan Am flight engineer and pilot from 1987 to 1991, and Mario Baldatti, a Pan Am pilot from 1964 to 1991, posed for a friend at the Pan Am reunion in Miami Saturday. The two met at a dive shop in Key Largo, Fla., and were married in 2004.


Loretta Erickson, center, a former Pan Am flight attendant from 1971 to 1986 who now lives in Los Angeles, danced along with other former employees.


Ellen Kiernan, right, a former Pan Am flight attendant who started working in the late 1950s, watched a slideshow of iconic Pan Am advertisements with her husband, Vince Kiernan, who manufactured tools for Pan Am. ‘It was the job of a lifetime,’ Ms. Kiernan said.


Jim Stehmo, right, danced with his wife, Jeannie Reynolds, a flight attendant from 1968 to 1986. The couple traveled from Los Angeles to attend the event.


Ms. Erickson, center, wearing her flight attendant uniform, cheered as other employees danced on stage.


Lillian Walby, dressed in an old uniform, was a flight attendant from 1969 to 1973 and an instructor from 1985 to 1990.


Former flight attendant Omar Rodrigues, left, danced at the reunion as his partner, Rober Melsby, right, danced with another guest.


Former flight attendants wearing their uniforms formed a conga line on stage.


PJ Rismon, a flight attendant from 1966 to 1969 who now lives in Montana, posed for a a picture with other former flight attendants on a classic car.


Irene Schwarz was a flight attendant from 1973 to 1991.


Lorrie Wright, a former flight attendant who worked for Pan Am from 1988 to 1991 out of JFK and now lives in North Carolina, had her picture taken with the hat from a friend’s uniform.


Former Pan Am employees, most of whom were flight attendants, danced in front of a screen showing an image of Britney Spears in a stylized Pan Am uniform that the singer wore in her video for the song ‘Toxic.’


Carmen Ongay turned down a scholarship to the London School of Economics to accept an offer from Pan Am. She thought it might be fun to be a flight attendant for six months, but once she got a taste for traveling the world with kings, queens and celebrities, she couldn’t give it up. (Left: Carmen Ongay)


Former Pan Am flight attendant Maria Monserrate, at left in an undated picture and at right at the reunion. (Left: Maria Monserrate)


Former flight attendant Yvonne Conde, at left in an undated picture and at right at the reunion. (Left: Yvonne Conde)

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A half-century ago, much of the world was in a broad state of change: We were moving out of the post-World War II era, and into both the Cold War and the Space Age, with broadening civil rights movements and anti-nuclear protests in the U.S. In 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th president of the United States, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly in space, Freedom Riders took buses into the South to bravely challenge segregation, and East Germany began construction of the Berlin Wall. That year, Kennedy gave the okay to the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion into Cuba and committed the U.S. to "landing a man on the Moon" with NASA's Apollo program. JFK also oversaw the early buildup of a U.S. military presence in Vietnam: by the end of 1961, some 2,000 troops were deployed there. Let me take you 50 years into the past now, for a look at the world as it was in 1961. [50 photos]

John F. Kennedy speaks for the first time as President of the United States in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 1961, during the inaugural ceremonies. (AP Photo)

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It's time for another look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today we have scenes of an elephant rescue in India, a loyal dog bidding a final farewell, a competitor in the Open Rabbit Sport Tournament, and a rather unfortunate moose discovered intoxicated and tangled in a tree. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from the past several weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers. [44 photos]

A dog casts a long shadow in the morning in St. Petersburg, Russia, on September 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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Ten Years. Troops from the United States and other coalition forces have now been in Afghanistan for a decade, following the initial bombing raids carried out by the U.S. on October 7, 2001. My father served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, and I remember a conversation I had with him shortly after the attacks of September 11, where he said to me, "Son, I really hoped your generation wouldn't have to go through something like this." There are teenagers now who were just toddlers when their parents first deployed to Afghanistan. As a photo editor, I've been curating an entry about Afghanistan once a month for the past two years, and plan to continue to do so. The U.S. and some 35 other coalition nations currently have more than 130,000 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, and it's important for us to see what they are dealing with, what we've asked them to do for so long -- and to see those who are so directly affected by this long conflict, the Afghan people themselves. Although the U.S. has been involved for a decade, the people of Afghanistan have known nothing but war for more than 30 years now. Gathered here are images from there over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. [41 photos]

Shahmal (right), 8, and Rahmatullah, 7, who lost their father after U.S. a night raid, pose for a portrait in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on August 20, 2011. The boys' older brother, Abdullah, dreamed of being an interpreter and got good grades until U.S. soldiers arrived at night and shot his father and elder brother. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)

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it's a spiritual successor to many things but not to Pineapple Express
Pineapple Smash Crew was our favourite of the excellent games on show at the Eurogamer Expo Indie Arcade. It’s a top-down, squad-based arcade style shoot ‘em up with retro appeal in abundance. To find out more about the design process, influences and what we can expect from the release, we spoke to designer Rich Edwards. With inspirations ranging from all things Team 17 to Space Hulk, alongside a dash of oft-forgotten Sega oddity Gain Ground, Pineapple Smash Crew is a heap of good things on top of a stack of more good things. As well as covering the game, we chatted about the indie scene, funding and what comes next.

(more…)

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Following the attacks on 9/11, Kate Brooks, at the age of 23, moved to Pakistan and began documenting the region—photographing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, daily life in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, and the historic revolutions in Egypt and Libya. Her ten-year odyssey is chronicled in the new book, “In the Light of Darkness: A Photographer’s Journey After 9/11”. The following is an excerpt.

December 2001

Nearly two months had passed since America started bombing Afghanistan and Kabul had already fallen. I couldn’t believe I was still in Pakistan.

Watching the war on TV frustrated me. I wanted to see these things myself, not through the eyes of other reporters. I finally acquired a digital camera and freed myself of all other commitments, but I didn’t know where to go.

The UN was charging $2500 for a one-way ticket to Kabul. The alternative was to drive, but four journalists had just been executed on the road I would have to take.

After I spotted a newsflash that Osama bin Laden was believed to be in the mountains of Tora Bora, I decided to head to Jalalabad. I went independent of any assignment, knowing Newsweek was thinking of assigning me. A few other journalists and I organized a convoy.

A Pakistani fixer called Imtiaz voluntarily followed me through Pakistan’s Khyber Pass as far as the border. The father of two was appealing a death sentence after being convicted of blasphemy by the government of Pakistan. Even so, he knew I was driving into danger and felt protective of me. After the Pakistani immigration officer stamped my passport, Imtiaz shook my hand, wished me well and left me with the parting words, “Welcome to Afghanistan.”

Just after the convoy crossed the border, an Italian journalist began giving me a hard time for wearing a red shalwar kamiz, saying I wouldn’t blend in. I shrugged. I was wearing traditional Pakistani clothes. “Color won’t make a difference,” I said. Whereas male journalists could grow beards and wear local clothes, I knew that in Afghanistan I would be spotted as a foreigner unless I wore a burqa.

I was excited and anxious about covering a war in Afghanistan for an American news magazine and national paper. I had been shot at by Israelis during the second intifada and gone on a few Russian government-controlled trips to Chechnya, but I had never been on an active battlefield. And yet, while I was the youngest journalist covering Tora Bora, I certainly wasn’t the only one with limited war experience. The 9/11 attacks turned a generation of metro desk reporters into war correspondents practically overnight.

In the early hours of the morning, dozens of Jeeps and pickup trucks gathered outside the hotel to take us to the front lines. On the way, one journalist’s car broke down, splitting the convoy in two. While the lead cars waited for the rest to catch up, we watched a B-52 circle overhead. There was genuine fear we might be bombed. A few journalists tried to call Pentagon officials on their satellite phones, hoping to convey to the pilots that the large convoy was comprisedof journalists, not terrorists.

We drove through the residential area of Hadda Farm, where bin Laden had lived with the militants he had trained for global jihad. On the side of the road, an exceptionally tall man stood with a cloth draped over his head in ‘Gulfie Arab’ fashion. I watched this distinctive Arab-looking man turn to look at the bombing of the mountains. As our cars neared, he skittered off the road just before I could see his face.

Pierre laughed at the suggestion that I may have seen bin Laden, but we were driving so fast he hadn’t seen the shadowy figure and we couldn’t stop the speeding convoy. Could the mythical figure and most wanted man in the world possibly have been hiding in plain view? In my mind, it was entirely plausible that bin Laden could be in the vicinity with all attention focused on the mountains.

We eventually arrived at the staging ground, a desolate stretch of pebbles set against the backdrop of mountains that were being bombarded with “daisy cutters”, bunker busting bombs that were also used to flatten jungles in Vietnam. The explosive sounds from heavy artillery being launched from an old Soviet tank forced me to my knees. My body reacted reflexively to the boom. I tried to hide my embarrassment after being spotted flailing around. Someone kindly assured me the rounds were outgoing fire from the Eastern Alliance side.

Over the next few days, TV crews set up live stations and journalists began camping out in the makeshift parking lot. Pierre wanted to go deeper into the mountains. I did not. “Maybe you don’t know what you can do,” he said.

I wanted to avoid unnecessary risks, but in a hurried moment, I got into a vehicle with the mayor of Jalalabad and the Washington Post correspondent. The latter assured me we weren’t doing anything dangerous. The mayor then proceeded to drive straight into the mountains I had just photographed being bombed. I was breathless and spoke little. There was no translator in the car to whom I could convey my concerns or pose questions to ascertain what exactly we were doing.

Suddenly, Haji Zaman appeared, perched on a rock, as if in his natural habitat. He and the mayor exchanged a few words before we drove on. Somehow, seeing the familiar warlord made the situation seem less threatening.

As we parked the vehicle, dozens of journalists, who had followed the mayor’s SUV, pulled up behind us. Two of the most experienced war correspondents covering the offensive were already there viewing al-Qaeda’s fighting positions. They were in a hurry to get down the mountain, saying that they suspected that mortars were about to start coming in.

My stomach sank as I watched them walk away. Everyone else had marched up a hilltop to get a closer look. I looked around and realized I was standing alone with a war-crazed Mujahedeen fighter, who had been camouflaged in the trees. I was too afraid to go up and too afraid to go down. We listened to the deafening rumble of a bomber flying overhead. I could tell the plane was coming closer. Amused by my apparent fear, the fighter pointed at the sky “America. America. U.S.A. No Problem.”

I imagined how devastated my parents would be if they were informed that their 24-year old daughter had been killed in the mountains of Afghanistan and promised God I would quit smoking if I survived.

Brooks’ will moderate a projection of her work tonight at The Half King in Manhattan, followed by a discussion with writer Scott Anderson. An exhibition of her photographs will be on display at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida, through December 16. Click here for more details.

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