David Beckham’s Son, 16, Just Shot a Burberry Campaign, and Photographers Are Furious

A couple hours ago I received an email and this link from a dear photographer friend. Like many struggling professional photographers I get it why he is upset.

Back in the days, when we developed a relationship with a client many of them also became our friends and when a potential art buyer would say "I love your work and will call you" or "we will keep you busy here" at least, most of them, meant it and the phone would ring and newer art directors/pho ed would be added to our list. Today the word LOYALTY sounds so foreign and if a new client reaches out to us may even feel like a prank call.

The reality is that the writing has been on our viewfinder for years sending us warnings that proper changes were needed and that the intrinsic way of doing photography, as we knew it, was happening fast and ready to take off aboard the last train.

We can point the fingers to different targets ranging from digital cameras, photoshop, mobile phones, to 911 or to the passive careless way of how poorly we kept running our studio.

When chrome and analogue film ruled if you didn't have the talent and the will to learn proper negotiating skills then you would have never made it. Then to go along with that talent a full liter of patient with a half glass of luck was needed. For plenty of photographers, including myself, the waiting for the film to be processed and to know that the shoot was nailed, at times, was like walking a tight rope while crossing the African Nile.

But my GOSH now you can browse and discover, here and there, art students who are creating perfectly glossy digital images which would have been on the cover of any top magazine or for a national billboard adv in the 90s.

Today everybody is a photographer and sadly, just like before, most of them lack the knowledge of how a photo business should be run and don't know or give much thoughts about © or how little they are been pay for its licensing as long as they get a photo credit line.

And surely it doesn't hurt if the photographer's parents happen to be David & Victoria Beckhams and with millions of followers on SM then shooting a campaign for Burberry or any well known top designer is a cinch.


This is the end for the Washington Post at 1150 15th St. NW to 1301 K St. NW which has been its home since 1950.

Two days ago in the newsroom a large celebration, with a marching band, took place to commemorate the historical occasion.

The two Watergate stars journalist Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were also present for the occasion for a final farewell to their home. So much history & compelling stories were written at 1150 15 St NW. Articles published at the paper brought plenty of powerful men down from their glory days to their knees and also turned regular Joes into household names.

Far away from Washington DC and watching this moment on the news gave me a desire of been also there.

I will never forget the wonderful folks I met in that building & the

great photo breaks I was given as a young photographer at the Post from

86'-88'. At that time the bulk of my freelance newspaper/wired photo

rotation went from the Post to USA Today and Reuters.
I spent many hours at the Post dropping my film, talking to my photo editors or just

hanging around & eating at the cafeteria with some of my peeps.

Not photo or art school would had ever taught me the countless photojournalism or life

experiences that I learned during those early years from the many photo

editors and photo friends. So many reasons to be grateful today.

I was always asking questions and observing while absorbing it all I

could. Then crazy happy running from place A to B and sometimes C for

another photo shoot. With not GPS back then or sense or direction then

or now, for a few days, I got to know DC well until the next week when I

would get lost again.

My GPS was quite simple:
Me: "excuse me Sir/Ma'am is this the way back to downtown DC. You know where the Wash Post is on 15th Street NW?"
Sir/Ma'm: "son you just asked me the same question 10 minutes ago when you drove by... there is somethin' wrong with you."

Manuello Paganelli © 2015


My Face to Face Meeting with the Pope & Fidel

Catholicism has been the main religion in Cuba since Spanish colonization.  When Fidel Castro came to power, he imposed religious restrictions, forbidding Christmas and other religious holidays. After the cold war, though, many of those guidelines were abolished and Cuban citizens were once again able to worship and attend church, albeit under the watchful eye of the government.

In 1998 the beloved Pope John Paul made a historic official visit to Cuba. It was the first time a Pope had ever visited the island. He was greeted with open arms by Castro and the nation… and I, too, was there.   Some notes of mine from that visit:

Jan 21, 1998

The first half of the day was a frenzy as all of us from the press-- photographers, writers, TV & radio reporters -- shuffled from one spot to the next in government-allocated buses, assigned to take us to the Jose Marti Airport for Pope John Paul II’s arrival.

Each stop was similar to the previous one, a security check-point where press passes, camera bags, and tape recorders were hand-searched.  There were metal detectors and body searches, too, and even a lazy, bomb-sniffing dog, who clearly had little to sniff out.  A few news media people raised complaints about the slow and tedious process, but those complaints fell on deaf ears.

Eventually, at the last checkpoint, we were brought to a room filled with hard chairs and were to wait until they were ready to take us to the airport.  By then, like most of the others, I was sweating and searched for an open seat but there were not many left. Then I saw one and dashed to it dead on. It was after I finally sat that I realized that I was sitting next to the respected Cuban photographer, Korda, whom I had met years before.

We said hello and we hugged each other. He is a heavy smoker but out of courtesy for the master I stayed planted. Korda is probably a strange name for many folks in North America but his image of Che Guevara "El Guerrillero Heroico" is a famous photo published across the planet, an image which I acquired from him in 1992 for $50.


After more than two boring hours of sitting in this hot and smoky room we were loaded again into the old buses that took us to our final stop. When the slow moving buses finally made it to the airport we were lead to the left side of where the crowd would be waiting for the arrival of the Pope. There was a scaffold ready for us and we commenced to climb it, and fight for positions to get the right visual angles.  

Before the Papal plane landed, Fidel Castro, surrounded by beefy secret service, made his entrance waving at the crowd and greeting some known people and foreign dignitaries.( I was told that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was present but I didn't see him.) As Castro made his way near where the plane would be taxiing he passed close to where we were standing.


That day he was not wearing his trademark menacing-looking fatigues. Instead he wore a well tailored European suit, with a dark blue tie, which fit his 6'3" framed quite well. As he walked near us,  camera motor drives went into frenzy mode firing multiple frames per second. I kept wondering if anybody told El Comandante how great it was to see him wearing something so GQ.

I couldn't hold my thoughts and cried out, "Comandante usted se ve super bien en ese traje" -" Commander you look super good in that suit." I wasn't expecting any reaction from him and thought that perhaps the noise had muffled my words. But with 71 years under his shoulders Castro was still sharp and before I finished yelling he was turning his head, saw me, and with a smile fired back, "Usted cree asi.... yo tengo que acostumbrarme a usarlo. Estoy feliz que le guste"-"You think so...I need to get used to wearing it. Glad you like it."

The heat was coming on hard and many women in the crowd were cooling themselves off with "Pope John Paul 2"  street-made fans...but no amount of heat was going to deter anyone from being there. The visit of the Holy Father broke the strong chain placed by Castro 40 years earlier, when all open religious activities were forbidden. This past December Christmas had also been restored as an official holiday as a warm and welcoming sign for the Pope's five-day visit.

It was almost 4pm when a distant plane could be heard.  The roar of the jet engine got louder but we couldn't see it ….until a small silvery speck came to our view, which took the shape of the Alitalia jet that landed shortly after.

When the aircraft doors opened and the pontiff's face came into view, the crowd went wild, screaming with full vigor, "Papa Juan Pablo Segundo Cuba te quiere!" -"John Paul the Second Cuba loves you!"

John Paul II descended the stairs and, like Spanish Conquistadors who arrived in America 500 years before, the first thing he did was kiss the ground. A tray of earth was presented to him by some "pioneers" school children, and then more yelling from the crowd "Papa Juan Pablo Segundo Cuba te quiere!"



Fidel gave him a warm greeting and guided the fragile pontiff to the microphone.  The Pope spoke in fluent Spanish for a few minutes and called this occasion "a wonderful and long-awaited day." He spoke a bit longer and held a small prayer.

Most of Havana’s citizens, even non believers, came to see the Pope's arrival, and those who couldn't gain entrance were lined on both sides of the streets cheering and waving Cuban and Papal flags for more than 18 kms. That day, Castro made sure that all workers had the day off for this significant moment. He wanted the Pope to feel the warmth and love of the Cuban people.

The faith and devotion shown by the large sea of crowds was overwhelming and after 40 years of waiting for some solid spirituality the time was finally right. It was madness all across Havana and families traveled on buses, Soviet built Ladas, USA-made cars from the ‘50s, 3 and 4 people on a bicycle, or by moto.

Until this day, the only public official that most of this generation had listened to was Fidel, giving several-hour long political discourses with the ubiquitous revolutionary rhetoric. That day, a different canvas was painted and tears were freely flowing. Cuban eyes glowed with a new hope of better things to come. That morning, on every corner of the city, hands -- old, young , white and black -- were holding hard unto the rosary beads.

"It took me two days to make it to Havana... now I can really go to heaven... for us Cubans seeing the Pope is a miracle" An old Cuban man with a gentle voice said as tears freely escaped his green eyes. His wife was overcome with emotions and just kept noodling in agreement as she too was crying. 

During the next few days the Pope will be traveling across the island and will culminate his trip on Sunday with a mass at the Plaza de la Revolucion where a large image of revolutionary hero Che Guevara will be closely watching while sharing and savoring this moment with posters of the Pope and tall images of Christ. That final day in Cuba the Holy Father will be delivering hope and inspiration to citizens from all parts of this Caribbean Island. 


9th-Grader Genius Built a Clock for His Class and Lands in Jail!

9th-Grader Genius Built a Clock for His Class and Lands in Jail. I love Texas and got plenty of wonderful friends there. But when something stupid happens in Texas then the wrath of the other 49 states and the world is on Texas. For those who missed it Ahmed Mohamed's intellectual curiosity will lead him to assemble just about anything that comes to his mind. He is an inventor and is only 14 yrs old. And like all inventors he is always building, putting and creating what 99% of the world can't do. This time he created a clock and brought it to his school in Irving, Texas to show and talk about it to his teacher and friends. The 9th-grader arrived to his school and went straight to his engineering class where he showed his new invention to his teacher who with a leery look responded "I would advise you not to show any other teachers." Perhaps he failed to explain to Ahmed why he should not do such a thing since a 14 yrs old kid with a mini Einstein brain would not be asking, "why not... is just a cool clock built by me." The school bell rang and Ahmed dashed to his English class. While sitting at his desk his clock made a digital "beep beep.. beep" sound which annoyed his teacher. She traced the noise to where Ahmed was sitting and asked him what is happening. He stood up and walked to the front and show the digital clock to his teacher. If his engineering teacher scratched his head before saying, "..don't show it to anyone else" imaging how this English teacher reacted. Her face wasn't kind and looking into Ahmed's dark eyes she scolded him, "It looks like a bomb." To any inventor who is proud of building an innocuous gadget those harsh words would be an intellectual assault. Then Ahmed, like a dog's owner protecting his best friend, corrected her "It doesn’t look like a bomb to me." To the chagrin of the student the English teacher, which probably doesn't know the difference between a nuclear plant from a milk plant, decide to keep the clock with her and sent Ahmed to his next class. During his sixth period, the sorrowful Mohamed was pulled out of his class by the school principal Dan Cummings. By that time the young wizard was quite worry thinking that by now not only was he in trouble with the principal and some of his teachers but also with his parents. And what kid wants to get Dad or Mum upset. Instead his troubles were just starting for the principal marched him to a room where he was confronted by five adults with suspicious eyes, unfriendly faces wearing badges and guns. The officers searched his belongings and,like a machine gun, questioned the high school student at a fast pace. Ahmed said that the cops kept going back to the same question, “They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’ I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.” Then they would fired back, “It looks like a movie bomb to me.” Perhaps at that point if anybody had offered the policemen cups of coffee and doughnuts the men in blue would have been a bit more relaxed towards the gifted Ahmed. Or maybe even a flashing bright light bulb would hover above their heads screaming some movie sentences, "he is a minor.. a high school student... illegal questioning of a kid without legal representation... no phone calls permitted to call his parents.... his name is Mohamed" But cops are cops and they didn't want to hear anything from him besides, "of course this is a bomb.... can you guys hear the 'tic tac tic tac' I am so dumb that I brought it to my school so you all could see my handy work." Right after that the boy was placed in a cruiser and taken to police headquarters where he was handcuffed, fingerprinted and probably had his mugshot taken. By now the poor kid was probably thinking of moving to a far away place high in the mountains herding goats or lambs... for sure away from any form of civilization and authority specially cops from Irving Texas a name of a town most folks never heard of until he built a darn clock that will probably be the most famous and expensive one found on eBay. Pretty fast Irving Police top brass Larry Boyd and his advisers figured out that this "strange" object created by Ahmed which looks like a clock, tic tac like a clock and has numbers like a clock must be indeed a C L O C K. Boyd said during a press conference, which occurred after a national outcry following his arrest, "We have no evidence to support that there was an intention to create alarm or cause people to be concerned.” With not reason to keep Mohamed any longer he was released in the custody of his dad while all charges were dropped. The ignorance of science and a lack of communication from his teachers lead to this terrible moment. I am certain that father and son walked out of the police precinct quite mortified and flabbergasted not understanding what just have transpired which stung as if they had been frozen in an old black & white moment. Creativity is a gift that very few folks have and often not other person can even grasp the meaning of what has been created. Any person with unique talent must be nurture, encourage and given free wings to soar, observe and create pieces of sciences, works of arts, passionate poetry, powerful writings, moving music or strong touching photographs. Anybody else must sit down without clamping and controlling the free spirit and mind of any creative & constructive mind which will give birth to results that one day could be beneficial for our planet and mankind.

Is very sad when a digital clock made for a 9th grade class can be mistaken for a time bomb. Manuello Paganelli © 2015


@IStandWithAhmed #MacArthurHigh #IrvingPD #IrvingTexas #texas #science #clock #blacklist #IStandWithAhmed http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/16/us/texas-student-ahmed-muslim-clock-bomb/