Category Archives: Journalism

The Roots Picnic 2014

A$AP Ferg

Headlined by Snoop Dogg backed by the legendary Roots themselves, the seventh annual Roots Picnic brought artists from across all genres to Philadelphia. Chill Moody, Rudimental, A$AP Ferg, Jhené Aiko and Janelle Monae performed.

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Interview with Signal Hill

From left: Rishi Arora, Tim Cooper, Brian Vasallo, Dave Masters

From left: Rishi Arora, Tim Cooper, Brian Vasallo, Dave Masters

Interview conducted after Signal Hill’s show on Thursday, April 25, 2013 after their show at the North Star Bar, Philadelphia PA.

Tell me how you wrote ‘Corners’. Walk me through that again.

Dave Masters: So, Corners was initially going to be a 45 second interlude. It’s really actually pretty funny, Rishi and I wrote it one day and sent it over to Tim and Brian. Tim actually made the comment and said, ‘dude, I could listen to that riff over and over again for hours.’ And so, when they came out to finish working on the record, Brian was out getting a tattoo and we played through a couple songs, and we were like ‘let’s play riff for Tim and get him excited,’ and then some inspiration was drawn after everyone was in the room and we ended up making a 7 minute song out of what was going to be a 40-second interlude.

Tim Cooper: Which song?

DM: Corners.

TC: Oh yeah, that’s right.

DM: Brian was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to get a tattoo.’ Like…

TC: Like, ‘yo you’re in town for like a day and we have practice and you’re going to get a tattoo?’

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Occupy LA

EDIT: AUGUST 17, 2012

The messages I’ve received have asked me to make clear that the people fighting in these images were not affiliated with Occupy LA, nor did the group wish for them to be there. As a journalist I covered Occupy Philly from the first days at Dilworth Plaza until the night they were evicted. I lived among them and talked to many of the people on a personal basis. Many of these stories and more can be seen at For Occupy LA, I merely wanted to see in what shape the group was still in, and within these images is what I found.

The large African American man was loud and boisterous from the moment I arrived and was presumably in the same mood before then. He was amped up beyond the point of control. I had no way of knowing if he was a part of the group or not. The small Hispanic fellow finally approached and said “why don’t you just shut the fuck up, man?” and then slapped him in the face. The big fellow came at him with a huge right haymaker, and then a strong left, but the swift little man ducked under both. All available bodies jumped on top of the large man, while the smaller one got free and started punching him in the back of the head.

Around this time those who wished to meet and actually have a discussion gathered the people and swiftly made their way away from the park without the company of the two fighters. In the last image, the group in full can be seen outside the Los Angeles Community Action Network Headquarters, which advertise on its website campaigns of: civil and human rights, share the wealth, women’s issues, anti-violence, food access, community events and civic participations. If the group continued on a march from there, I do not know. The police on bikes had not followed, but at the entrance to the parking garage from which I had taken the shot was an undercover police officer keeping a close eye on them.

I realize I’m perpetuating the negative stigma of the movement by showing only these photos and nothing more. But, as I said, I had seen online that they were planning a march and this is what I arrived to. For me, it was just the same old shit I had seen when the movement in Philadelphia had begun to collapse. I didn’t come to this rally for financial gain, I just want to be there and see for myself. But, when I being to feel uncomfortable in an unnecessary situation, there’s no reason for me to stay. This may be shitty journalism, but this “democracy” that Occupy exemplifies is no better.

More pictures after the jump.

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The Hives at the Electric Factory

The Hives performed at the Electric Factory on Wednesday, June 20th. It was about 100 degrees outside and in. I don’t know how the band survived in those frilly suits, but none of them seemed to pass out from heat frustration, including the bald one.

Shot for Philly City Paper.

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Newsy: Four Months as a Philadelphia Inquirer Intern

Over the course of 4 months, I shot nearly 50 assignments for the Philadelphia Inquirer. This book is a collection of the photographs I took during that time.

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Firth Street Fire

On Sunday, I was invited into the home of Tommasine Adams literally hours after a fire ravaged her mother’s home, killing 79-year-old Ardalia Bumpus and 4-year-old Nevaeh Craig. Adams and her family welcomed me in and allowed me to take photos of the gathering of family and friends. This was the first experience I’ve had a journalist where I’m asked to capture the emotion of ailing people. In years past I could have never put a camera to my eye, but this was different. They welcomed me in, told me stories, offered me food, and allowed me the privilege of showing the people of Philadelphia the true meaning of family. I’ve always been afraid that I would exploit the people I shoot, but I was wrong, I am merely the eye for all to see.

Philadelphia Inquirer Story here:

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West Philly Banners

Biked out to West Philly the other day and made these banners for the Philadelphia Neighborhoods Facebook page.

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Mayor Nutter Strikes Ground at Paseo Verde

Mayor Michael Nutter was part of a ceremony to begin the construction of a new apartment complex at 9th and Berks near Temple University. The green project will feature advancements in solar technology and water preservation. In addition to the 200+ apartments, more than 30,000 square feet of space will be designated to commercial space in the complex.

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Stetson Shutterbugs

For an upcoming piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, I had the opportunity to meet Tony Rocco, a professional photographer who now teaches computer education at Stetson Middle School in Kensington. With his love of photography, Rocco has started an after school program that teaches the children not only the basics of photography, but also changes the way they view the world. Giving them both digital and film cameras, he leads the procession of students (and some parents) around different parts of Philadelphia, and introduces them to various speakers and educators. His hope is to raise money to take some of the children down to his native-Columbia, where they might meet fellow young photography students of whom they are engaged in an exchange program, swapping pictures of their varying (and sometimes similar) lives in Philadelphia and Columbia.

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