Monthly Archives: July 2017

Portrait of Paul-2

Paul was a seventeen-year-old who had just graduated from Quartz Hill High School and was planning to attend Antelope Valley College in the fall to study in their Airframe & Powerplant program.

After graduating from community college, Paul hoped to get a job “at Northrop Grumman Corporation or one of the other local airplane manufacturing companies.” He wanted to be an mechanic and “maybe even an engineer,” in which case he would attend either UCLA or or Cal Poly after completing an Associate’s Degree.

In this picture, Paul studies the engine of a restored Cessna 190 historical aircraft. The twin engine Cessna 190 was built in 1947 with  “Shakey Jake” 300 horsepower Jacobs supercharged, just carbureted engines.

All this fascinated Paul because he was originally from Antelope Valley and grew up watching airplanes and the intense quest for innovative aircraft research, technology and manufacturing that transpires in the area.


Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Anton

Anton was originally from Sochi, Russia he came to Los Angeles, California, USA to be an actor, model, personal trainer and nutritionist.

Anton played water polo, specifically the fighter defense position. He played water polo for about five years, but not since he arrived in the United States . He had played at a community level, for fun.

Follow Anton on Instagram @s_e_b_e_l

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Areen

Areen was from Barstow, California, USA. I met her when she and her brother came to visit Beverly Hills. It was not their first time there. Areen was studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology at California State University, San Bernardino .

Areen was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and was 21 years old.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Rocko

Rocko was a member from the Geraghty Loma Gang, also known as the Rockwood Street Rascals, of which he was a affiliate for at least twenty years. He was born in Los Angeles, lived in East LA, and was proud to be of Mexican descent.

Rocko graduated from the Monte Garfield High School (bulldogs) and he hated Roosevelt High School, even though the picture was taken in the Roosevelt territory. When he played football, he was a defensive end. He said “football was fun and I did really good playing football.”

Rocko said life wasn’t too bad in East LA and “it’s up to you what decisions you going to make. Bad or good. Pretty simple. You can’t be in the gray or you going to be in trouble in life.”

The location where I made the photo was Boyle Heights, which was adjacent to the notorious East Los Angeles. Rocko described being from the gang world, “if you’re from there, it’s the real deal because there’s about fifteen notorious, big, prison gangs in a little hole in the wall” neighborhood.

Rocko noted that San Gabriel Valley had maybe three or four gangs and the area of San Gabriel Valley was about “twenty times bigger than East LA.” He also noted that San Fernando Valley had four or five gangs and was about “five times bigger than East Los Angeles”.

Rocko noted that with East LA having fourteen or fifteen gangs, “you need to think about how bad it is. It’s like you’re incarcerated in your own little three or four block span. It’s pretty sad for the rest of your life, all because you chose to be a gang member.”

Rocko believed that each person made their own choices in life. However, he felt that one of the biggest problems an individual faced was due to “a bad character defect” many people demonstrated which he called “people-pleasing.” In the case of many people he knew, “that characteristic and bad decision led people to become a gang member for the rest of their lives.”

Rocko felt that consensus decision making (“people pleasing”) was “a bad characteristic that carries in human beings. It always seems to get you in trouble for one reason or another.”

Rocko seemed to want to talk more about his lifestyle but had to jump on a bus. He left me with some kind words, “…and with that, God bless this young lady and she’s doing a good deed and Hallelujah.”

I don’t think what I’m doing is a good deed, but maybe listening to people stories and putting them to words is…I don’t know. I guess that’s something I have to think about.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Katrina

I met Katarina at the tennis center where her daughter was participating in a summer tennis program. I was fascinated with the pregnant Katarina who worked for the International Olympic Committee and prepared opening ceremonies for the  Olympic Games, Pan American Games and other ceremonies worldwide.

Katarina’s English was excellent because of school, work and travel.  Katarina Studied in Sweden and then in Russia. She spoke five different languages: Russian, Swedish, French, English and German.

Katarina was originally from St. Petersburg, Russia but then “lived in Moscow for quite a few years. ” She was visiting Beverly Hills, California, USA and loved Los Angeles, California, USA. She enjoyed being in LA and wished “the best of luck to anyone who is in Los Angeles which includes people who live there or people who came to travel…and…have a great summer.”

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Michael-2

Michael was a licensed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) parachute rigger who inspected and repacked emergency bailout parachutes for pilots, predominantly aerobatic pilots who flew “in very austere conditions and used them in an emergency in case their airplane failed and they needed to save their lives.” Michael provided services through his company TransWorld Aero.

Michael participated in this business for about fifteen years. He initiated his parachute career in the Air Force where he learned this trade. He was a parachute rigger for a team of parachutists who “went out and saved lives for a living and the parachutes were a way for them to get to work, so I worked in servicing the equipment for them.” His parachutes, during his military career, were on the backs of those jumping out of mostly C-130s. Sometimes helicopters as well.

Michael was involved with parachuting for twenty years and made his first parachute drop on his 30th birthday. After he “hit the ground,” he discovered that he wanted to find a means by which he could continue a lifelong involvement. His father was partially his inspiration to start his business in that he told him to “find something you love to do and use that to make a living.”

Michael “really enjoyed” what he did in his very successful business in Rosamond, California, USA.

Michael inspecting the inside of a parachute

Michael preparing to fold a parachute

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Dave-2

Dave was from just north of Houston, Texas, USA and played bass for Sundance Head, which he had been doing for a little over 6 years.

Dave had played bass for at least 25 years and didn’t play any other instruments, nor did he sing. Dave thought maybe he should be singing.

His band generally played original music with a bluesy, country sound, with a bit of soul . His favorite song was Darling Don’t Go because “it was a really strong song.”

I’m generally not into country music, but I have to admit, that their sound was really good.

Posted on:

Round 21 – ABC Wednesday – D

Also posted on:

Wordless Wednesday
August 2


Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Elana

Elena lived in Santa Barbara, California, USA. She was an assistant interior designer who worked for Hélène Aumont, the interior designer.

Elena’s favorite volleyball position was opposite. She played volleyball since high school, having played for Ventura High School for two years. She stopped to participate in running.

Posted on:

21-V by Melody

Also posted on:

Wordless WednesdayAnd now it’s December!!


Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Jon-2

I met Jon at Bennett’s Honey Farm where he was participating in the annual Honey Harvest Festival in Fillmore, California, USA. Jon was a tile contractor for Stoneware Tiles in Northridge, California, USA. He did beekeeping as a hobby. Jon grew up in San Fernando Valley, California and remained there his whole life.

Jon had 25 hives; two in his his backyard, five in Agua Dulce, two in a lavender farm in Grapevine, ten in an avocado field in Somis and 5 in Fillmore. He was re-queening the Fillmore hives because they were Africanized.

Needless to say, Jon did a lot of driving to take care of the bees. He originally thought it would be a great retirement activity but quickly learned it was to take much of his time. Jon planed to reduce his colonies by selling them.

We spoke about ways to reduce colonies and Jon said that another way to reduce the colony is when a colony dies. “There is a lot of that going on these days,” mainly to the varoa mite. “A 20% loss has been the traditional acceptable loss of colonies for 50 plus years. With varoa that loss has been much higher. Due to close monitoring, treatment (formic acid), and luck my losses have been quite acceptable,” said Jon.

We also talked about how to increase colonies numbers. “In Spring you can take a strong colony and make four or five out of them. What you sacrifice is you won’t make honey. But you will make more colonies.”

It’s a way to plan for the future. It’s how people replenish their colonies.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Robert-2

Robert was originally from El Paso, Texas, USA. He joined the military because he wanted the training and experience necessary to become a police officer and was a member of of security services for the United States Air Force. Robert’s favorite work assignment was Patrol.

Robert aspired to join the K-9 unit. He said, “that would be great.” He wasn’t sure what his chances were to be selected for the K-9 unit but he realized that to get there, you had to be a certain rank,  have a good amount of community service under your belt and be as good as you could possibly be at your job. He was working hard at all those things.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.