Gallery Gate

Rocks sculptured by erosion, richly tinted mudstone hills and canyons, luminous sand dunes, and lush oases populate Death Valley National Park. Native Americans, most recently the Shoshone, found ways to adapt to the more recent and forbidding desert conditions that exist here now. Thickly clumped stems of arrowweed (Pluchea sericea) form the "corn shocks" of the Devil's Cornfield in Death Valley National Park. A popular nearby area is the Devil's Golf Course, a rocky, salt-encrusted area where "only the devil could play golf." A road sign spells it out for drivers on a lonely stretch in Death Valley National Park: You're well below sea level here. The park is known for extremes: It is North America's driest and hottest spot and it has the lowest elevation on the continent.

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view Death Valley National Park Photos as presented by: National Geographic


Spencer Platt, senior staff photographer at Getty Images, was recently in the Iraqi­-Kurdish city of Erbil photographing events associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The following is an essay detailing his experience in the Khazir displacement camp. Kazem, a 13 day old girl who is sick, takes shelter under a sheet with her family as thousands of Iraqis who have fled recent fighting in the cities of Mosul and Tal Afar try to enter a temporary displacement camp but are blocked by Kurdish soldiers on July 2, 2014 in Khazair, Iraq. An Iraqi boy holds up a sheet to block the sun over his mother and sisters as over 1000 Iraqis who have fled fighting in and around the city of Mosul and Tal Afar wait at a Kurdish checkpoint in the hopes of entering a temporary displacement camp. An Iraqi woman holds her exhausted son as over 1000 Iraqis who have fled fighting in and around the city of Mosul and Tal Afar wait at a Kurdish checkpoint in the hopes of entering a temporary displacement camp on July 1, 2014 in Khazair, Iraq.

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view Spencer Platt in Iraq, uncertain future for those displaced by ISIS as presented by: Denver Post


As the California Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown cutting billions of dollars in government services to help balance the state budget, nowhere are the effects likely to be felt more deeply than in Tulare County. It has become the Golden State’s welfare capital. Nearly a quarter of the population in this Central Valley agricultural region lives in poverty, and one in three residents receives state aid. Unemployment – among the highest in the state – remains on the rise. Local officials fear that residents already pushed into poverty might now tumble into homelessness. For Patricia Dickerson, a mother of five who has been unable to find work since losing her job two years ago, another reduction in her monthly welfare check could mean a shutoff of her electricity. Last week, she clutched a romance novel while waiting in a line at a county welfare office. At home, a stack of letters from the state has gone unread. “My fantasy,” she said, holding up the book. “I don’t like to read bad news right now.” Terry Dickerson, 4, crawls down a hallway on her way to bed. She shares a bed with her mother and sister. Mark Dickerson puts up a sheet over the front windows as daughters Koreena, Terry and Keera play before bedtime.

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view Poverty Makes Tulare County California’s Welfare Capital as presented by: Los Angeles Times



Late yesterday, December 5th, Israeli authorities said that they had finally gained control of a raging four-day wildfire in the Carmel Forest near the city of Haifa, Israel. The fire was the worst in Israel's history, consuming about 10,000 acres of forest and about four million trees. Israeli responders were helped by an international fleet of more than 30 firefighting aircraft and ground personnel from more than 16 countries. At least 42 people were killed and more than 17,000 residents evacuated. Two suspects have now been arrested and stand accused of negligently setting the blaze. Collected here are images from the recent wildfires around Haifa, and those caught up in the disaster. Ultra orthodox Jewish men watch as smoke from a wildfire rises into the sky on December 2, 2010 in Haifa, Israel. A large forest fire in northern Israel has reportedly killed at least 42 people. A house burns as it is engulfed by a wildfire on December 4, 2010 in Ein Hod, Israel. US Evergreen 747 supertanker sprays fire retardant over a burning area in Ein Hod in the Carmel Forest in the outskirts of Haifa on December 5, 2010.

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view Wildfire in Israel as presented by: Boston Big Picture


Platon’s new book, POWER, is a comprehensive historical record of our time and a ‘yearbook’ that captures the personalities and public faces of the world’s most powerful decision makers in a tumultuous political landscape. “Although all of these portraits are of political figures, my portrait project is not political—it’s human,” said Platon, recently speaking about the book. “You put all the pictures together and, I think, it will give us a sense of what it was like to live in these times. You get a sense of the global personality of the power system. It allows us to stand back and to start to analyze what happened, who was in control—that is what this book is about.”

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view Power as presented by: Photo District News


There have always been those who are nomadic. Historically, it was often for necessity, following the needs of food, water and safety. But, there is also the hunger of movement, just for movement sake. It is the necessity to move and travel with few possessions, an endless appetite for new sights, sounds and experiences that drive individuals such as Mike Brodie. Brodie is one such adventurer, and lucky for us, he picked up a camera along the way and captured a rare take of the life of train hopping across America. Starting in 2004, at age seventeen, Brodie left his home in Pensacola, Florida; beginning a period of discovery and travel. He began meeting and sharing his adventures with a whole community of fellow nomads. You can see these photos at M+B Gallery in Los Angeles. The fact that Brodie was never formally trained in photography, and that his original intent was never to sell them or showcase them in a gallery, is the reason why they are so honest and intimate; raw and tough. This is the life on the road with a bunch of kids who could fall off a train and die at any moment, freeze in the cold, starve, get pregnant, or never value stability. It is the same group that may avoid frustration, apathy, and depression because they followed the restlessness inside and gave it a form and called it fun; or maybe just survival. Their tattoos speak volumes, “free rent” and “stay gold”. Their readings include Thompson’s: The Rum Diary, and short stories by Flannery O’Connor. They are definitely seekers, and Brodie makes us want to root for them.

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view Mike Brodie: A Period of Juvenile Properity as presented by: Off To See The Elephant


Here’s a look inside the Shelton Conn., factory responsible for every single Wiffle Ball that has sailed across backyards since the factory opened in 1959. Their product is so iconic that a few years ago, the Mullanys trademarked the bright yellow color of their bats, much the same way Tiffany & Co. protects the particular shade of blue on its jewelry boxes. Wiffle Ball, Inc.’s one and only factory is located in Shelton, Conn. Here, plastic Wiffle Balls before they are heated and molded. The top floor of the two-story cinderblock building is devoted to packing and storage. The ground floor has an old office with five desks. And in the next room lies the heart of the 15-employee operation, where two injection-molding machines hum along to produce thousands of Wiffle Balls every day.

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view The Making of an Iconic Toy as presented by: Wall Street Journal


The Cannery Row landmark, which opened 25 years ago this week, has become one of the state's leading tourist attractions, drawing about 1.8 million visitors yearly. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row on the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Monterey, California. It has an annual attendance of 1.8 million and holds 35,000 plants and animals representing 623 species. The aquarium benefits by a high circulation of ocean water which is obtained through pipes which pump it in from Monterey Bay. Among the aquarium's numerous exhibits, two are of particular note: The centerpiece of the Ocean's Edge Wing is a 10 meter (33-foot) high 1.3 million liter tank for viewing California coastal marine life. In this tank, the aquarium was the first in the world to grow live California Giant Kelp using a wave machine at the top of the tank (water movement is a necessary precondition for keeping Giant Kelp, which absorbs nutrients from surrounding water and requires turbidity), allowing sunlight in through the open tank top, and circulation of raw seawater from the Bay. The second exhibit of note is a 4.5 million liter (1.2 million gallon) tank in the Outer Bay Wing which features one of the world's largest single-paned windows (crafted by a Japanese company, the window is actually five panes seamlessly glued together through a proprietary process). Sealife on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, an 11 lb. lobster over 50 years old, and numerous other native marine species, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. For displaying jellyfish, the MBA uses an aquarium called a Kreisel tank which creates a circular flow to support and suspend the jellies. Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp forest at several levels in the building. The aquarium does not house mammals other than otters.

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view Monterey Bay Aquarium Turns 25 as presented by: Los Angeles Times



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