lord of the ring…

story and photograph by Eric Espinosa

I met James a few months ago when starting the
"Lords of the Ring" project, a photo essay on the boxing tradition in
Cincinnati.  James was a young vibrant boxer coming from one of
Cincinnati's tough neighborhoods…the type of neighborhoods that offer little
chance for the present and even less of a future… James had started boxing
when he was 8 years old, following the footsteps of his father who was also a
local Cincinnati boxer.  Father and son had both started boxing at the
Nothside Boxing school, both coached over the years by the Falcone family, a
traditional welcoming "Italian" family that breathes boxing with again a father
and two sons all coaching young kids from the city like

James' father made it into the PROs with over 30
professional fights… James trained very hard to get there himself… His
father was always there with his coach, training him, pushing him, helping him
become the man he wanted to be…

But, unfortunately, a tragedy
happened.  3 weeks ago, James was shot dead in the middle of the
night…killed by 9 bullets at the age of 18… a senseless "assassination"…
Last Saturday, his friends and his father gathered prior to the start of a local
boxing tournament and, during a moment of silence, James was given the "10
count" by his coach, a tragic tradition which consists of ringing the bell 10
times to honor a fine boxer who has passed away. 

There are no words to
describe the sadness of this loss for his friends, family and coaches, the loss
of a strong young man who was determined to beat the odds and to make it out of
a neighborhood where just surviving seems already an achievement… Hopefully,
the few pictures that I took of James doing what he loved best, boxing, will
help us all remember James' short life forever, a life cut way way too


85 Responses to “lord of the ring…”

  • ERIC

    Ever since I read your news about James, he has been on my mind. Him, his father and mother, any sisters and brothers he might have, his friends and neighbors, fellow boxers and coaches, and you. There are no words. How can I bring words to such a tragedy? No, there are no words. Just sadness for a life cut way way too short, for a vibrant, beautiful, strong young man who was determined to beat the odds, to make it out of a neighborhood where just surviving was something.

    I put myself in your place and I feel incredible pain and regret. I know you wanted to be there when he was mourned and buried. But I know you WERE there. You were carried by James’ friends when they carried a poster of the photo you took of him and his beloved boxing buddies. Before James was killed he knew he was valued and respected, not just by his family, friends and boxing community, but by this white man who had spent time with him in his home away from home, the gym, and had taken photos of him doing what he loved best, boxing. You gave his life meaning it wouldn’t have had without you. And he will live on because of your photos. I thank you for that.

    with love & gratitude for what you gave to James,

    Posted by: Patricia Lay-Dorsey | November 09, 2008 at 05:24 PM

  • good one eric..

  • Eric I agree with Patricia , you were there!
    You photographed him at his best , doing something he loved and his family will want to remember him like that.
    Photographs are a small consolation so soon but as time passes James’s family and freinds will look at the pictures you have taken and remember him well!
    Hard Yards Mate

  • ERIC

    I am so sorry…

    Its one of the horrible things about the work we do… We develop relationships with the people we photograph because of our proximity, which is intimate and emotional, regardless of how much we like to believe we are just observers…

    And then we discover that life is so fragile…

    This is one of the reason’s I am a photographer… to be there for the little bits of history… Eric, you have made this man/boy’s life a little bit of history now, someone whose life will not go without leaving its mark…

    Someone once said that in all calamity opportunity arises and maybe young James’ life is a poignant example of the necessity for change that has been so clearly embraced by Americans recently…

    If America rose up and overturned the tyranny of the NRA and the belief that it is every Americans God given right to carry their own personal weapons of mass destruction then maybe we would not be affected by the news of these senseless, senseless deaths on such a regular basis…

    Perhaps it is this very issue is one to test the newly elected President with… and then maybe James’ death would not be such a terrible waste after all…

  • Oh God…. I really don’t understand why this kind of things happen. This world is crazy! I’m really sorry for him and his family, for his dreams and a life cut with nonsense.
    Eric, your photos are a testimony of what he was fighting for, a testimony of his dream. Now his spirit and will has to encourage others to keep going.



  • Eric,

    Want to say something that makes it all better for all involved. Impossible….

    Thank you for allowing us to know his story. I hope you keep shooting this club or group. You are there for more than taking photos, that I am sure.


  • Eric and to James Family:

    There are so often so few times in our lives that seem to allow us to make sense of the tick and tock of living. For all to often, moments and lives and people pass before us and away from us in the knock of a blur, seemingly without reservation, without countenance, without a dither of a thought or meaning. And yet, there they remain, like a notch bellowed into the sturdy side of an Oak, not only growing but forming and shaping us in ways that we could not and shall not understand. So too especially true with those of whom we love and cherish fight like all hell to protect from both the vicissitudes of time and the sharky waters of life. And yet, it seems so often, we cannot protect them enough.

    And yet, they remain and they grow and they alight our lives in ways that we could not have ever remembered, touch along and ring throughout our lives and the people of our lives than no manner of taking or hurting can turn aside. The awesome truth of love and hurting is that it does not diminish it does not evaporate but it transforms and in it’s transformation it turns us into something else as well. We begin in flame and pain when they depart and that it is that, their greatest gift to us, begins the true healing. We begin to see just how much love and light their life offered and enriched us and we take that and make it new and whole again.

    I have been trying to thing of something to write both Eric and James’ family since i read Eric’s sad account of James’ all-too-early death. And even know, as a father and a son, i choke upon words that do not seem to come out yet right. So, only this:

    Eric, in your story, in the humanity and the celebration of these young men, your work has given us a doorway through which we can hope to walk through and meet these young men and boys like James, walk through and see them, take them into our homes and our lives and understand that like each of us, they aspire, they aspire and fight and hope and love and attempt to win from this difficult life a life that is finer than the one we, as adults and as a nation, have bequeathed them. YOU and your work have done a great tribute to Eric, for you made him and his friends flesh, you made their story our story and you made us care and believe in these boys, many of whom will continue to struggle and never bridge the economic or social wealth that many of us here so thoughtlessly and reluctantly enjoy. YOur work pays hommage to these men and boys who, but for the color of their economic hardship, are no different from our own sons and you made us care about them. Know that in your suffering for the loss of this young man, you have done more than many of us shall ever do, which is to celebrate unselfishly and with true light the lives of others that cast out shadow and ring them in a place of real, human value and honor. It’s a cliche to say the picture lives on, it does not. But the picture is but an act of love, and love growns and widens and that is the real tribute to this young man whose life has touched each of us.

    And to James’ family, I cannot possibly speak, as father and a son myself, upon the immensity of your suffering. But please know that your son has appeared to us, in a brief time, as a beacon of light, that he and has friends have come to us as examples of hope, as examples that no matter what the dire and difficult circumstances of life are givent to someone, people still break against the chains that have bound their lives, and in that breaking, just as John Henry’s heart broke against the machine, we are all set free in one way or another. YOur son may have lived for much much much too short of a time, but the amount of people’s lives he has light-end is a tribute to his remarkable courage and energy. In this unbearable moment of your grief, i simply tell you that i will show my 14 year old son your son’s face and that those two faces show grow together and make, it is my hope, a stronger and better place. My deep and loving embrace, from my entire family to yours….

    I am deeply saddened and sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing with us your bright and powerful son.

    bob black

  • Eric,
    I remember the images of James. You captured something of his spirit which pulled at my heart even before he was killed. Now, I am having a hard time forgetting them.
    I wanted him to “win.” I still want him to “win”–and ,in a way ,he has because he has “spoken” to us and is a part of us.
    James’ story is so tragic and so sad. However, his life also seemed to be one of victory because he tried so hard. It makes me want to try harder–to make the best use of whatever time i have. Thank you for sharing his story. My condolences and love to his family.

  • “To mourn too long
    for those we love
    is self indulgent…
    but to honor their memory
    with a promise
    to live a little better for
    having known them,
    gives some purpose to their life-
    and some reason
    for their death…”

    Eric, through your images and in sharing his story, you have honored James’ memory. My heart goes out to all who knew and loved him. Sometimes I don’t understand or like this world we have created…

  • eric…

    so so sorry to hear this disturbing tragic news…

    my heart goes out to james and his loved ones

    burning a candle tonight


  • Hey Eric,

    I too am sorry to hear about another unnecessary and violent death. My heart goes out to you and all those who knew James.

    all the best,

  • safe journey to james and his loved ones…

    om mani padme hum.



  • Eric. Ever since i first saw your photographs they have been living inside me. I can’t imagine your sadness and anguish.
    I am so sorry. You have kept his spirit and determination alive and i hope you continue to be part of his life.

    anne henning

  • ERIC.. i am also heartbroken at the tragic loss of young James.. a piece of his life has touched me/us through your fine images.. i have some small understanding, some small concept with a larger sense of who he was because of your photography. i did not know James of course but his story and his spirit have entered my realm in large part because of Eric the photographer. an image that was used to commemorate James’ life amongst his closest loved ones has reached my reality and made an impression… i am again heightened here by the reach and importance of photography, and in this case especially saddened by the message.

    Posted by: Lance Rosenfield | November 09, 2008 at 04:19 PM

  • TO ALL-

    I just wanted to thank you all for your deepest thoughts. Tomorrow evening hopefully, I will plan on going to the gym and share all of these with James’ friends, coaches and family. Without a doubt, his father who still comes to the gym to help train the other kids, will be very moved by your thoughts but also very pleased to see that somehow, his son will be remembered… I also would like to thank David who, once again, showed me and all of us how big his heart his. Despite not knowing this kid, it was moving to see him wanted to do something for his family, post a tribute to James, show that WE CARE!!!! Thanks David for your generosity and compassion on behalf of James, his friends and family….


  • My condolences to James’ friends and family.

  • What a beautiful man you must be James’ dad, that you are still helping to train the other kids at the gym…may your closeness with the boys be a continued closeness with your son.

  • My most sincere condolences to the friends and family of James. There is no tragedy so great as the loss of the young, and no pain as great than to hold the bodies of those taken too early. Through the work of Eric the loss is shared to wider circles of community. Through Eric perhaps we all understand the challenges facing so many just a little more and move just a bit closer to each other as human beings. Peace be with you.

  • ERIC,

    my condolences to James’ family and to you on his untimely death.

  • TO ALL-

    For all of you who have been very kind to share your thoughts about James’ tragic loss, I wanted to let you know that I was at the gym this evening. I gave the short story with all of your comments to James’ father and coaches. I was at first a bit intimidated to talk with his father, who is a tough former heavyweight boxer who, during his prime time as a boxer, was called “Hard face” as he would never smile… It was however a very moving moment. Richard (James’ father) took the text and the comments and sat down to read the whole thing in a corner of the gym. I did not want to bother him at that time but I saw him with tears in his eye. I can tell that he was moved by all your comments and he did thank me afterwards as well as James’ coaches… I have promised him that I will do a quick “on-line” book for him and his wife with all the pictures I have of James and, if I manage to publish a proper book, then I will dedicate it to James… Times are tough right now for James’ family… I hate to fuel more drama to this story that is tragic enough already but James’ mother even had a heart-attack last week likely because of all the emotions and pain but thank God is slowly recovering… Sometimes, it seems that you enter a vicious circle of drama that does not stop…As the mother cannot work anymore, does not get a pay and my guess has no health care insurance, father and mother will have to move place in a week or two as they can no longer pay the rent where they live… I say all of this again not to make it more dramatic but to show how life can be in these tough neighborhoods… I will try to help James and his family in anyway that I can short term but, if I was to go back to David’s previous post, would it not be great if all this gang violence would come to an end, if these black kids from the ghettos were given a real chance to live a normal life, if all could have a decent health care coverage… Hopefully a new African-American president will be helping although as we all know, it will take a miracle for all this to get resolved any time soon…. but let’s hope for a positive change…

    Thanks to all again!


  • Just wanted to share something that is very near and dear to my heart…

    ‘Art making grants access to worlds that may be dangerous, sacred, forbidden, seductive or all of the above. It grants access to worlds you may otherwise never fully engage. It may in fact be the engagement, not the art, that you seek. The difference is that making art allows, indeed guarentees, that you declare yourself. Art is contact, and your work necessarily reveals the nature of that contact. In making art you declare what is important…’ David Bayles

    I wish James and you, Eric, well on your journeys…. in lux, wendy xoxo

  • Eric,

    its tough. I didnt know what to say here because its not easy to write something about a tragedy. Life can suck. We will all inevitably lose someone we care about and it will hurt badly, and we wont really ever get over it. I dont know if thats possible. Losses like that build up inside somewhere and they shape us from then on until we are gone, too. Im sure this will shape you, its up to you I guess if thats negatively or positively. I lost my mother when I was about 11 and I really remember it well, the smallest details of those few days around her death, I can still see them vividly. I dont know how that shaped me, I think its impossible to say how different I would be now. And you dont know how this will influence you either. But I think its most important to remember. And the great thing is, you have a way, your photographs, of remembering him and helping his family remember him. Maybe that was your reason for meeting him.

  • Just caught up a bit with the last days of the blog’s exchanges, first time since I left to Asia.

    Eric, adding my most sincere regrets for the loss of such a young life. I am afraid this is so senseless there is no lesson to heed, no evil to beware of, I can’t even think how his parents can cope with such injustice, how to make sense of it all.

    I think some of us are luckier for being born on the better side of things, in places where one can go about one’s day without having to fear being murdered. It is actually something I often am being made aware more acutely when travelling thru Asia and countries where injustice and corruption do so often take hope away, and life too, all too commonly.

    I had prepared a couple shots from the event of yesterday, the festival of Lights, Loy Kratong, here in Thailand. The kratongs are little floats lovingly decorated that people set afloat (sometimes in a dirty puddle, depending on the neighborood), and they are supposed to take away with them all the misfortunes and sins of the year passed. A moment for forgiveness and renewal, so maybe it is still appropriate to report of it from here, and add with this image of a flickering but resilient candle light, a thought for James too:


  • Such a strange world, boxing. Violent and brutal but often, paradoxically, graceful and poetic.

    Unfortunately, it is often made up of people who live lives that are themselves poetically violent. Too often.

    Eric, your photography for the boxing series was so powerful. The deep, bold contrast and strong color showed best the grit and sweat that exemplifies the brutal sport. Yet the grace also shined through. You are a special photographer.

    Sorry to hear that one of your subjects met such an untimely, sad end. With such potential and a great hope for the near future it really is just sad.

    Peace, amigo.

  • To the family and friends may be words are not necessary, just a whisper can be like a tear in the see. It’s not easy, it seems to be impossible but if you just can, don’t remember him with sadness but with his energy and the thirst for life of a young. Eric, the book is the right direction.
    One thing I would have done for my sister was to catch small memories, funny or sad, of things done or happened or just a simple thought of friends.

  • Eric, I am jumping in rather after the fact, but I offer my condolences. Several people I have photographed have died under tragic circumstances. It is difficult to deal with.

    The book sounds like a good idea.

    Take Care,

  • Eric –
    I am so sorry. I am sad for you, for the men and boys at the gym, for James, and for his mother. Tragic.

    Posted by: Kelly Lynn James | November 09, 2008 at 12:25 AM

  • Herve

    Nice pictures! :) More, more!

    David, All

    I just come back from Cambodia and I have to say I fall in love with. This is so amazing country. I have never smile so much as there. People are so friendly and kind, but they have so many mostly economic problems. But they fight for better future. I can’t belive there is so many mine’s victims. I made some B&W films there so I will have something to show I suppose. But not sotries just street photo.
    If someone want to co to Cambodia I recomended as well. You will love this county as I did.

    Ok. I am running, my camrea burn. I hope I will meet Herve today.


  • This blog has lost its way. Perhaps DAH really doesn’t have time to do a blog. There is just too little of him and too much of all this other stuff. :(

  • Eric

    Very sad story. I have no time to read all comments and maybe someone asked before, but what was the reason? Why they killed him?

    David, All

    I see we sink. Ok, that the path of life.

    peace and running


    I am not really sure why James was killed. His father told me that there was no real reason. He told me that James was walking outside, was asked for money and refused. My sense is that there may be more to it than that but I do not know and it probably does not matter as nothing can justify such an act…. I was told however that a suspect got arrested over the past days… Hopefully, who ever did that will end up behind bars with a lot of time to think about his actions… Just hope that they catch the right guy!


  • This is such a tragic story – I’m at a loss at what to say. I can only hope that all those who got/get to see James’ determination to succeed will find inspiration in his incredible achievements reached in so few years.

    Thank you Eric for sharing, and for your work Lord of the Ring.

    Love and peace,

  • Eric,

    I am so sorry to hear that…
    I don’t know how to say…
    Please keep going to take pictures for James and his family.


  • Sure met Marcin last night. We had a wonderful dinner (Marcin, i think they stiffed me about 100 bahts on the bill!), and I am taking him to a fishing village for sunset (if any sun, skies are heavy today) hours, after his wishes…

    Weirdly, things always seem to connect thousands of thoughts and miles away. Yesterday, as i wandered around the region, I caught a funeral in an incredible setting. Very desolate, old discarded industrial harbour site by the sea, was reminded of Koudelka’s forlorn landscapes…

    The people were sending the ashes away of a son and brother, only 31 of age. But where back home, people would ask me to leave, and not take any pictures, people here are always drawn to include the lone and odd person out. And so, instead of frowning upon my presence, which would be understanble, they actually asked me to… Move closer to take better pictures. All the while being excrutiatyingly polite. Mind you, i was in touristy apparel, shorts, fake ray bans, and camera on the neck.

    This is but just one instance why this place, this region altogether never quite leaves your heart, once you experienced the unique kindness of its people. Marcin got a taste of it in cambodia.

    Even the most awkward faux-pas, if unvoluntary, is brushed aside, smiled upon, and forgiven. As sure, enough, i had to make a fool of myself. At the moment they were releasing the ashes into the sea, a draft threw them back all over me! Some introduction to the defunct…

    I feared consternation would set in, major loss of face for evryone, but after a long second of silence, all started to laugh at my misery…

    Well, Ok, I hope in many ways, this stays on topic, even though as i wrote, I am so far away.

    I take the liberty to add again a few pcitures of that moment which came about from death, but allowed profund grace and life, plainly, to step in:




    At this moment you feel closer to me than anyone. Thank you for continuing to post your stories and photos. I found your description of the welcoming nature of the people in Thailand to a complete stranger most heartwarming, especially in the midst of their grief. And what a wonderful response to the ashes of their loved one blowing back in your face! To be able to laugh at such a solemn time is amazing. No wonder you love these people, and they so obviously love you right back.


    Yes, it certainly feels as though Road Trips is winding down. Wonder when David is going to call for EPF entries?


  • ok….
    in the midst of all the sadness about the kid that died,
    i need to inform ALL , how EXTREMELY HAPPY & EXCITED
    i am about SCOTTIE….

    SCOTTIE, IS THE “king of all Vietnam Veterans” or
    the “king of all Homeless in Venice”…
    most of U might remember that he was in the VA Hospital,
    i tried to get access to photograph the way he was treated
    there, but didnt work….
    weeks later, the rumor said that SCOTTIE WAS DEAD…
    i mourned him, i looked at his photos from my archive,i cried,
    i got over it… time heals i thought… move on…

    but , two nights ago, i saw him…

    SCOTTIE IS ALIVE…. so click the link below if U dont believe me…
    Also, tomorrow, with lots of Karim’s help…
    we will create a small movie to integrate the audio part…
    yes, i know that SCOTTIE wont live that long, so
    i interviewed him, Sara and Tony & Jim Morrison also helped me
    with the right questions, creating the right atmosphere…
    We got him Earl Grey Tea, no alcohol anymore,
    no cigarettes… just love , hugs…..

    anyways … TODAY IS A GREAT DAY…

    you dont have to be happy for me… but for SCOTTIE….
    (… tomorrow his movie/interview…) , i promise…
    hey Karim, can U hear me….!!!!
    i just promised everybody….


    happy sunday y’all..
    and remember…
    LIFE GOES ON… like it or not…!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( thank god )


  • ok… i almost forgot…



    and please stay tuned coz tomorrow, a new link with a Scottie movie/ interview will
    be posted,,,

    happy sunday… to ALL…
    i’m very happy today…

  • PANOS, that’s good news. If in the midst of life, we are surrounded by death, then we should all remember that in the midst of death, life goes on.

    “And death shall have no dominion.
    Dead mean naked they shall be one
    With the man in the wind and the west moon;
    When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
    They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
    Though they go mad they shall be sane,
    Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
    Though lovers be lost love shall not;
    And death shall have no dominion.

    And death shall have no dominion.
    Under the windings of the sea
    They lying long shall not die windily;
    Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
    Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
    Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
    And the unicorn evils run them through;
    Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
    And death shall have no dominion.

    And death shall have no dominion.
    No more may gulls cry at their ears
    Or waves break loud on the seashores;
    Where blew a flower may a flower no more
    Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
    Though they be mad and dead as nails,
    Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
    Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
    And death shall have no dominion.”
    –Dylan Thomas

  • Eric:
    My condolences go out to you, but especially to James’ family. There’s no rhyme or reason why these things happen. Often in these types of situations problems seem to start with something small, and then spirals out of control to a disastrous finale…..

    “Yes, it certainly feels as though Road Trips is winding down”

    Respectfully; I think it’s more a case of David being so busy over the last few months and not being able to keep up his usual input. I think it’s a testament to this forum & everyone’s belief in David and his ideals that it can keep going in such circumstances….



    In LA,
    we all have dreams…. we are all “ROCKSTARS” BY DAY



    Frank almost made it… Nashville broken dreams….
    But almost, is almost…
    Frank now is a pizza delivery guy…
    he also operates his little business on the side…
    pot delivery…
    he was in the NAVY for a long time, but he didnt last…
    Last year he was in Tijuana for a weekend…
    A bunch oh local cholos didnt like his GRINGO LION HAIR…
    they beat him up to a coma…
    this year is feeling much better…

    people are depressed nowadays…
    they are broke & scared… they dont tip like they used to…
    they stay home, eating pizza,
    smoking drugs….

    i followed Frank everywhere that night…
    i became his shadow…
    we kept VENICE happy that night….
    we made sure nobody’s starving and everybody’s HIGH
    and smiley….

    what else a poor delivery guy can do ???




    HIGHER RESOLUTION… click below



  • Dear Eric,

    Please accept my condolences and also pass them onto the family of James from me. Trying to convey in words what his family and friends must be feeling is impossible, so I shall just pass on my deep sympathies. I heard this news last week, but was in a place with a bad internet connection, so was not able to reply sooner.

    Dear All,

    I have just returned from a trip to Ulaan Baatar, the coldest capital city in the world, located in northern Mongolia, where I was working on small project for a few days that I thought you may like to view. The story in linked to the global financial crisis and its implications on small nations like Mongolia, represented my the economic impacts on the day-to-day life of one family and their close friends. This isn’t quite the average family though. It is a three generation homeless family that live on the streets of the capital, in temperatures reaching minus 20 degrees Centigrade. They and their friends live in sewers and abandoned garages, spending their days collecting bottles and recyclable trash, in order to get enough money to buy food and cheap Russian vodka. Mongolia is completely dependent on Russia and China, hence the recent crisis has caused food and fuel prices to go up making life harder for everybody, none more so than the city’s poor.

    If you’d like to view the story, it’s on my site at http://www.gallagher-photo.com Index>Mongolia

    Dear David,

    I read with interest your thoughts about the evolution of the blog and I think the next step into being a print magazine is completely the way forward. Saying that, I’d hate to see the blog disappear completely. I see this place as my virtual photography ‘bar’ where I drop in from time to time and hang out with people, chew the cud, exchange ideas etc etc. Would be a shame to lose it, but at the same time you, the bar ‘owner’, has his own priorities, both personal and professional, to put first. Whatever you decide, I’m sure all will be with you.

    Best to All,

  • SEAN … hey… glad to hear you ok !!!!

    back to VENICE BEACH…
    ok… you all remember BOB THE HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER… right?
    well… i dont know if you also remember that he was playing
    a little harmonica on Tony’s band…
    They had a fight over a girl… relationship fallen out…
    pride, egos, the usual, whats new… right ???
    Bob, threw a barbeque, to honor his new ROOMMATE…
    a stripper….
    but y’all know Bob by now… He only cares about himself…
    He might throw a party for U…
    but the real motive is that he is hoping to get laid through
    your friends, the people U R going to invite…
    he is a “leech”
    Bob, invited me to the barbeque, for only ONE REASON…
    He knows all the respect that TONY ( Jim Morrison ) has for me..
    Bob wants to get back his status…
    he wants to be back in the band Peacefrog “The Doors”…
    He begged me 10 times to call Tony to let him back…
    because for now, he( Bob) is not even allowed to be in the “VENICE BISTRO” while “THE DOORS” are performing…

    … unfortunately, there is nothing i can do….

    so, here is the LINK… YOU BE THE JUDGE…

    soooooo, again,
    Bob’s STRIPPER roommate, NEW LINK
    Bob, has done ( produced ) one major Hollywood movie in his life…
    the movie:
    “THE FLIGHTPLAN” with JODIE FOSTER… Since then…. nothing, silence…
    only strippers & drugs…

    click below:


  • ALL…..

    just back to NYC tonight from London…well rested and ready to roll…will go to sleep early tonight and back here to talk to you tomorrow..will get totally caught up on all comments etc etc…

    cheers, david

  • Yep, Patricia, i think you are getting it, thais are known to put a good face on things, however dreary the reality. It is just bad form here, to impose one’s emotions on others. It hardly makes them callous, civilized is a more accurate term….

    Well, I know how to say Marcin now (martshin#, he always complains about his english #more than his photography, that’s to say! ahahaha#, but communication between the 2 of us is actually great. I got to meet his wife too.

    He got a lot of Cambodia relapse yesterday, as we visited Bang Saray, the fishing village #only 15kms out of Pattaya, a world away from its glitz though#. Most the fishing boats hired hands are #illegal) khmer boys.

    And yes, I saw the Marcin magic in action, he can indeed sniff up drama where most of us would just walk by…

    Not making it up, see for yourself, I mean: James Nachtwey, take notice! ;-):


    PS: taking him to the neon streets tonight, and tomorrow, busy day, early rise to catch the boats back from night fishing, and thai boxing camp in the afternoon. See, still a bit on topic here….


    so cool you two are shooting in Thailand together!! at one point i thought i might be with you as well, but that was before i actually looked at my calendar…


    welcome back to our online “pub”… there will always be a seat here for you!!!

    i cannot imagine, no matter what we do, there will not be some form of blogging going on here…it may be attached more to the stories you do, but we will see…


    i do not think “Road Trips” is winding down…as a matter of fact , i have spent more time “behind the scenes” working on this site or on EPF than ever before…it is also true, as Ross so accurately points out, that my time the last 6 weeks has been primarily devoted to either shooting on the “family project” or my New York and Mexico workshops…and by sheer bad luck coincidence, my Mexico time was mostly without a net connect…as was my time just now in London…

    if i am at home, or anywhere with internet connection, i am here….in the last two years, there have been several “black holes” where i was very busy either shooting or teaching….i believe i always announce in advance that there will be a “silent mode” if i have either of those responsibilities…

    in any case, I AM NOW AT HOME, with my coffee, perusing your comments, thinking about new online and print designs, choosing the jury for EPF….

    certainly, i have taken the time to review repeatedly the work of both of you…one of my top priorities to produce a book for Patricia…there are two books i am also working on simultaneous, one for Anton and one for Mike, Rafal’s project and David M. not far behind, and i will be editing Panos as i travel to California later this week…

    yes, i have “comment catching up” to do…but, i can do that this morning…

    oh yes, i do have one more responsibility…and i am so so happy…i close the deal on my little beach cottage down on the Carolina shore this morning…

    yes yes you will all be invited down…my door in New York is always open as you know….now, we have a place at the beach!!!!

    y’all come!!!

    cheers, hugs, et al,


  • hey david

    welcome home,

    and enjoy your coffee :))))


  • ERICA….

    may i edit with you after december 1??? i look forward to all the hard work you have done over the last three months or so….


    hey amigo, i am still counting on you for some serious “editor hat” work…i think i mentioned some time ago that for us to move forward into an online magazine and print, that i would need help from several of you here…YOU being one of them!!!

    any chance you could come down to L.A. next week???

    i am not sure where i will be shooting families in California or whether or not i will get up to Washington on this trip, but i am always up for suggestions….my real full name is david alan “serendipity” harvey!!

    cheers, david

  • oh and david…

    perhaps most importantly…

    CONGRATULATIONS on your beach house!!

  • Once again, a very generous-spirited offer from DAH. Thanks a lot!

    I had planned to come to NYC this month but my partner was denied a visit visa so now we’re in Magnificent Mumbai instead. I’m enjoying it a great deal but, I have to admit, that now my freedom to decide where I go and who I go with is being curtailed, I’m feeling a bit ‘pissed off’.

    And, it’s reminded me, as if I needed reminding after 3-4 years in Africa, of how lucky so many of us are to have been born where we were born… lands of opportunity and freedom… and what a long walk to any kind of freedom it is for the majority of our kind…


  • ANTON….

    missing our Puerto Escondido time and still thinking of your pictures spread out all over the floor with the waves crashing in the background..my kind of edit!!

    i should be able to catch up with your emails today and see how the layout is going….

    cheers, david

  • JENNY…

    i have not seen your Africa work for about two years i think…please post some of it here if you have a chance…

    as always, wishing you well…

    cheers, david

  • david

    yes… mike’s room at puerto escondido was absolutely THE place to hang out…

    thanks for looking at my mails… i did send a few over the last week… aside from the book, mainly trying to pin a date with you to come over to NY (or wherever) to get the EPF annual + online mag going…

    gotta run now, will be back in a couple of hours…



  • Eric,

    So sorry to read what’s happened…

    Your picture of James is wonderful and it’s a moving testimony to this guy.

    I think it’s also here to remind us that the power of photography (perhaps its greatest power), is to remind us of the people or moments lost.


  • David,

    All things are possible, are they not? ;-)

    Any possibility we could talk on the phone this week?


  • DAVID,

    Welcome back and congratulations on the new house. Soon you will be a “born again” surfer :):).

    Separately, I wish I could witness the edit you will be doing of Panos’s work while in California. The man has been shooting so much over the past weeks or months that it seems like the two of you have some work ahead!!!!

    For myself, after this tragic event with James, I had to kick me to get back into a mood to shoot for my essay but I have re-started. If anything, the loss of James now gives me a sense or urgency to move on and create something tangible… In that context, I actually had a very productive shoot at the end of last week with many new shots that I will hopefully show you when we get together hopefully before Christmas (if that works)… and again, thanks for having shown that story of James…I know that his friends have been looking at it and have much appreciated your geisture.



  • David,
    So happy for you regarding the beach house. Sounds wonderful. And also happy that Road Trips is not ending; I did not think it would. Turns and new directions on the road are what keep a “trip” interesting.

    I am not “giving up” photography although I am in a very busy phase of iife caring for my mother. I may try to do some more images of her, but I was not feeling good about the way it was going. I am going to start a project photographing the “pet therapy” project at the local hospital. I plan to photograph one or two dogs through the training period over a period of several weeks or longer as well as the dogs work with patients in the various departments of the hospital. The hospital plans to use these in a display, and I also may try to take it further–of course a book would be a dream result.
    Release forms will be the standard ones provided by the hospital. I would like to be able to present some of the images on this site for suggestions. I have set up an account with zenfolio.com where images are password protected. I hope to be able to present images that capture the amazing connection that can develop between the animals and patients. Any suggestions about ways to go about this project that would give the hospital what they can use but go beyond the obvious would be appreciated. Do you think it would be a mistake to shoot it digital and medium format black and white film as well? I remember your teaching in the workshop–keeping the equipment to a minimum–maintaining focus. It seems a tricky balance to think ahead–to pre-visualize–and yet be open to new possibilities.
    Any suggestions would be welcome. I start “shooting” tonight. There will be a group training session of the dogs. I think it will be easier to get close when working with the patients one on one.
    Thank you. Rosemary


    yes, a phone call would be perfect this week…tuesday afternoon i will be busy,but in the morning or wednesday almost anytime seems fine at the moment…i travel on thursday to California, but could chat that evening in your time zone…


    i was sure you would be getting back to work soonest….i am planning on seeing you before Christmas…let’s chat by phone early next week if that works for you…

    i am already a “born again surfer” albeit a not so skilled one…kite boarding has caught my attention in the last few years and the Cape Hatteras winds make it THE sport for the Outer Banks…my old boss and Director of Photography at Natgeo , Bob Gilka, used to say that freelance photographers had no business skiing, mountain biking or surfing…and of course i loved all three!!


    please post your photographs on how dogs work with patients…i am very curious…

    i do think it would be difficult to work with medium format film and digi simultaneous…is there a reason you want to go in that direction?? i am working now with medium format film , and believe me, it takes ALL of my attention…unless you have a real reason to go with the medium format film, i think you would make your life so much easier just to go digital..also spontaneity will be easier, better, with the digital…you have to really really want that film look and be making large prints to get the advantage of the medium format…i do want that look, and maybe you do too, but i feel you should just do one or the other…

    cheers, david

  • David, sounds good, emailed you my number … how ’bout 11 a.m. your time Wednesday morning. I’ll be around :))



    Welcome home! For four days anyway ;=)

    Thanks for your assurance that Road Trips will continue to exist in one form or another. I knew you’d be returning to the blog on Nov. 16 as you’d said, what I was talking about “winding down” was the involvement of the community as a whole. Sometimes it seemed as though I was the only one in the room and it was getting pretty lonely.

    We seem to stay involved as long as you’re in and out on a fairly regular basis. But when your schedule/internet connection does not allow your participation–as had been the case in recent months–we seem to run out of steam.

    I suspect when Road Trips becomes an online mag it will be less dependent on your daily input and more able to steam ahead on its own. That will be good, especially with your commitment to your own project. After all, isn’t the whole point here to get us ever more involved in our own work? And that goes for you too.
    Blogs and forums always run the risk of becoming ends in themselves. I appreciate that you’re determined not to let that happen here.

    And I offer you my own personal thanks for seeing my book project as a priority. I’m still passionate about the process, so much so that I took and added four new photos in the past two days! Sometimes I wonder if this could become a lifelong project. I now remember Mary Ellen Mark encouraged that very thing.


  • David, I forgot to congratulate you on your new beach house. Sounds like the perfect time & place!


  • David,
    Thank you so much for your quick reply as the project starts tonight. I will go with the digital–for now. I do love that BW medium format film “look”–so perhaps as the project develops, I can see my way into shooting some of the sessions with medium format only. Thank you for suggesting not shooting the two formats simultaneously. If the project continues, it might work to do some portraits with the medium format. The pet therapy program involves mainly dogs, but they also have had some cats as well as a parrot. They now have two rabbits as well as the dogs. Apparently a psychiatrist requested a bird for the program. The parrot turned out to be a problem. For example, sometimes he imitated the sound of a beeper and had hospital personnel in a turmoil trying to figure out whose beeper was going off. This was only one of the problems with the bird in the hospital. The dogs work with rehab patients, pediatrics, oncology, and behavioral health (psychiatry.) It should be an interesting project for me–and I will post. However, I am going to be photographing only the training sessions in the beginning so will probably wait to post until I have some animal/patient interaction. I may not have access to the psychiatric department. Having this place to come keeps me feeling connected to a world that is important to me. I have a daughter living in Manhattan now, so I hope to get to New York in the next few months. Thanks! Rosemary


    we have several thousand daily readers of our blog, including quite a few influential editors etc…so,even when you think things are “quiet”, it may not be quite so….and , of course, the main thing we have on our forum are photographers actually shooting and referencing their shooting from the blog itself…all i have to offer here on the blog is my involvement with the so called “real world” i.e publishing , assignments etc…if i did not “leave” from time to time all of you to do my work and/or teach , then the whole point would be gone..so it is sort of a double edged sword…but guess what Patricia?? i will gamble all that i know (or don’t know) on YOU and the others here like you who are producing work…i see this online experiment to be just like my classes….they look chaotic at some point..even up until the last minute in fact..and THEN..boom!!! the curtain opens and the work will fly!!!

    as to Mary Ellen’s suggestion for you having this as a lifelong project, i do have mixed feelings…i have seen photo projects go both ways…some lifelong projects just never happen…others, the style changes over the years and then when one tries to put it all together it may lack cohesiveness…i think a concerted effort over a reasonable period of time is best….you should not have a “rush to publish” mentality and i would never endorse something to be published which was not “finished”….but, i think your intense effort this year and into the spring might not only be enough , but just flat out great…i expect “greatness” from you and your work…not just “good enough”…

    please remember another thing, Mary Ellen herself has never worked on a lifelong project…she does exactly as i suggest..concerted effort over a reasonable period of time…now, perhaps you do your book and then continue in some other way with it, but i think at some point you will “burn out” on the self portraiture…why not go from here to say “dance” which can be done so beautifully from your perspectives…anyway, let’s keep this discussion alive…and if i see Mary Ellen i will ask her what she sees as the advantage of “lifelong project”…maybe i am mis-understanding the term…

    cheers, david


    That sounds like a wonderful project! A friend of mine in Ontario has been bringing a dog to a local hospital for at least ten ears. She says it is gratifying to see how much the patients love it.

    Regarding your loving the look of B&W medium format film photos, do you know about Alien Skin Exposure 2 software? It won’t give you the medium format size but can give your digital prints the look of being B&W film prints. I learned about it here on Road Trips and have loved it myself. The URL is



    That was really just an offhand remark about my self portraits becoming a lifelong project. Oh my gawd, I would get SO tired of just looking at myself!!! What has saved me so far has been my African American elders project that has also been underway since June. Working on both of these projects has allowed me to look OUT and IN simultaneously. A good balance…


  • David,

    Congratulations on the beach house. One man versus the global down turn !.
    Down here we call beach houses “Shacks”, so now YOU are now a “Shackie” !

    “Tasmanian shack culture is ingenious, warm, colourful, peripheral, eccentric, often rough, sometimes funny and occasionally brilliant.”

    Not sure who wrote that but I reckon it would apply to the Outer Banks as well.
    I built my shack a few years ago, at the time I thought it a folly. It has been the best thing I have ever done. It is a haven.

    Below are a couple of links to new work.



  • MATHEW (Slasher)….

    i know what you mean by going against the global economic downturn…i mean, nobody buys a house now!! only me..part of this economic crises actually luckily worked for me…i sold my condo in Washington before the crash and was able to get this beach house at lower than “normal” price…but mainly, i just loved this house…perfect location..character to beat the band..cardinals and pine trees…smells right…needs lots of repair (just like me)…until i get it fixed up, you can come on in with sandy feet….

    anyway, i looked at your links…the weathermen story looked fine for about 3 or 4 pictures and then the screen went black…i tried twice..so, i missed about 10 pictures i think…the Himalayan polo looked great, but you know me, i would have taken out a few…but, you have always had a flair for the moment and it shows here….i will try the weatherman link again later….

    cheers, david

  • PANOS…

    where are you?? you do not answer text…hmmmm…you must be in some kind of trouble somewhere….cops or girlfriend???

    well, i am coming to L.A. thursday night…staying Cadillac Hotel over the weekend (Cadillac Hotel???)..yes, that is where they booked me…

    any families in Venice Beach???

    cheers, david


    and a hike through the forest…

    innocence & a bunch of other major feelings involved…
    please click below:




    my little “secret” Venice hangout… where everything happens!!!
    damn, couldnt get any better than that… right in the heart…. of Venice…

    David, i ‘m up in the mountain right now…
    no iPhone reception…i will call U tomorrow to find out what time am i picking U up from the airport… etc…

    i already have about 895 proof photos, plus the new ones…

  • ok,,, back to work…





  • Hi David,

    long time no see…. I added a small new selection on my website:

    NEW: Human Negocations
    ( entire edit is bigger… but so far it’s not public)


    Thanks for having a look. The Weather story is working at this end so I hope you can get it. I
    Always too many images! I’m hearing you. It is a trap to try and put in too many images in order tell a story that really don’t need to be there.


    Hi, I’m running at the mo but am looking forward to seeing you new work tonight when I have time. Just though I would let you know that there is a new book out surrounding Bill Henson’s work and the recent fiasco. I can track one down for you if you are interested.


  • Hey Matt,
    much appreciated ! How are you btw?


    you continue to add brilliant new work to this essay…and, your website overall is spot on…where do you think you will go with this BKK essay?? do you have interviews, quotes, etc etc??? i am trying to imagine how this essay can go “long”…i love the pictures of course, but i do wonder how many of these pictures you can do…there is a certain similarity with many…do you think there are enough different situations to make a book??? i think you might need more pictures like the one of the couple at the table….out of the bedroom and just harsh and cold as is this picture…not sexy..anti-sexy…anyway,think about it…

    cheers, david

  • How are the fires in the mountains, Panos?

  • DAVID,
    I have quite a few ideas …. it ‘s likely we take this project into a “different” direction as I may team up with Lara D who turns out to be such a talented writer….
    Lots of brainstorming ” behind the curtains” between Hongkong and and Beijing lately !
    ( send you an e mail).

  • David;

    It’s nice to see you back! A quick update…

    My whole frustration at the moment is finding the time for personal projects. The freelance lark is a bit of a two edged sword; you work your butt off getting in work/completing jobs which leaves very little time for personal projects.

    I’m still getting over that magazine crash I mentioned a while back, so I’m afraid commercial work is more important (paying mortgage etc!!). However…. I’ve decided on pursuing an idea that will tide me over before I get back to Timor. I can work on it whilst “staying another day (or two, or three…)” while doing paying jobs. It’s only a short drive from a good friends place, so cheap accommodation too!! I’d like to shoot some pics before saying too much about it though… I don’t want to tempt fate….

    I’m also looking at options to get to Timor for an extended period of time (a few months this time) as the food situation etc is getting worse. Please don’t think I’ve given up on the project because I am moving hell and high water to get there…. It’s just been a bad set of circumstances stopping me from getting there for Xmas. One thing that Timor taught me though; is that it is the type of work I want and will pursue…. No matter what gets in the way….


  • PATTAYA, November 18th

    Picking up Marcin in 20 minutes for the boxing camp. We had a great time this morning, catching the arrival fo the fishing oats and fish loads in the Bang saray jetty. Up at 5h (last I was up that early in Pattaya, i was in a sleazy club-cum-disco, that’s quite a few years ago!), Marcin riding with me thru the early dawn, on the back seat of my moped. Great light, plenty of activity, yes, maybe someday David, you too catch up with me in Thailand. I am sure Marcin will be back,as well!

    Last night was getting really into the zone, the center of Sodom and Gomorha, the infamous “Walking Street” of Pattaya. Well, it’s like anything in Thailand, the good naturedness of it all takes away quite a bit of the sleaze, and it’s not far as wild as it was a decade and more ago, when it went on around the clock.

    yet, I believe a few sights had Marcin (who came along with his charming wife, Alex)…. Well, ventilating a bit…:-)))

    Again, I don’t make things up:

    Marcin getting, ever so slightly in the zone (get Capa-closer, Marcin… she won’t bite!):


    No wonder it got hotter as the night went on:


    But we had not seen anything yet, it got strange:


    and even stranger:


    Mind you, we left these Pattaya denizens to do their worse (or best, pretty synonymous here!!!) well before midnight, with a wake-up time at 5H the next morning. I wonder if Marcin had dreams or nightmares….Forgot to ask! :-)))



    Whoops sorry…



    Congrats David, I wish I had somewhere I could listen to the music of the sea…

    But I am so glad for you, to tune your nose and ears to that overwhelming matriarch of us all… give thanks for that ‘eh!

    So now to work, whats up Captain?


    thanks for keeping us updated on the Thai trip….it has led to a new post….see if you can figure out the location where we both shot…

    cheers, david

  • ROSS…

    welcome to the club…this is the conundrum for all of us…scrambling to make a living and to pour it all back into more work…the best work..the personal work…so, why not?? sure beats having an office job no matter what!!!

    cheers, david

    Good job.. Keep it up..

    DAVID McG,
    I was hanging with Karim yesterday ,
    he had such a terrible headache from
    the smoke.. Anywhere from chino hills
    all the way to Santa monica …
    But I was fine.. I’m still a smoker U know;-)
    Honestly though, it didn’t feel that great..
    We are good today though..
    It’s getting a little better…!

  • ALL,
    as i promised….
    ( Karim, just helped me finish a small,
    podcast/ movie file/ anyway U wanna call it…
    its about SCOTTIE… THE KING..of all Veterans..
    i interviewed him with a little Olympus mic..
    & Karim did his magic…
    its not hard to make a slideshow… but , trust me,
    its hard to make a slideshow that loads fast…
    ( anyways, watch it… its 15 seconds and the
    audio/ interview… its kicking in after the 5th slide…
    so be patient….)

    click below:


    morning y’all

  • TO ALL-

    I have received this week an e-mail from James’s mother. I thought I would share it with all of you who have kindly reacted to James’s tragic loss.

    Hello Eric,
    My name is Tonia Mason and I am the mother of James Perkins.I had e-mailed you last month and believe that I might done it wrong.On behalf of my family and I,we want to thank you for your tribute to James.Your tribute brought much joy and comfort to our lives in this sad time.James only being 19 years old and so full of life being taken from us has been such an terrible lost.I would also like to thank the people who wrote such nice e-mails to you on James` behalf.Once again thank you Eric.

    Tonia Mason

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