Photographers' Blog

Homeless, sick and “thanking God for this wonderful place to live”

Reuters Boston Photographer Brian Snyder spent a very long and claustrophobic day in the tiny dark hotel suite where a homeless nurse, Tarya Seagraves-Quee, and three of her four children have been living in Massachusetts for nearly two months.

A record number of families are now being put up in motels due to high unemployment and the rising number of homes going into foreclosure, costing taxpayers $2 million per month but providing a lifeline for desperate families.

Seagraves-Quee has found refuge in a motel after losing her job in Georgia more than a year ago and going without health-care for about 10 months. She suffers from multiple sclerosis, Aspergers syndrome, anemia and lupus, and now is scared she may have cancer. Two of her children, aged 16 and 6, are autistic. After losing her job, and facing repeated physical abuse from a boyfriend, she spent $700 – almost all her savings — on airline tickets for her family to stay with relatives in Boston.

Being homeless has actually helped Seagraves-Quee get the healthcare she needs.  Everyday she makes phone calls for and fills out applications for public housing in an effort to get out of the shelter/motel.  Some of the towns in the area she contacted are simply not taking any new applicants; in others, the ”wait list” for housing is 10 or even 40 years.

Brian’s audio slideshow on the life of the Tarya Seagraves-Quee and her family follows. It is narrated by Seagraves-Quee, who is also a gospel singer:

Never too old to be a porn star

Audio slideshow produced by Toru Hanai and Kim Kyung-hoon. A full story is listed below.

ICHIKAWA, Japan – He is a typical man of age — a few white hairs cover his round head and he wears dentures.

But 75-year-old Shigeo Tokuda sat on a movie set on Monday wearing just a silk kimono and loin cloth about to have sex on film with a woman who is younger than his daughter.

Last gift for dying dogs

SAPPORO, Japan – Retirement can be a death knell for guide dogs, creatures who spend their lives caring for others, but a home in Japan is giving these canines a new lease on life in their twilight years. The Sapporo Retirement Home for Dogs, in the northern island of Hokkaido, has sheltered more than 200 animals since it opened in 1978, giving them the best possible care until they are either adopted by sighted humans or die.

“This is the last gift we can give these dogs who worked for people all their life,” said the home’s director Keiko Tsuji as she caressed the coat of Rick, a dog who is now paralyzed due to old age and can only feed from a tube. “Most of these dogs only live for 2 or 3 years after their retirement, and I want them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives,” she added.

Japan’s guide dogs must retire at the age of 11 or 12, because that is when their abilities, and physical strength, start to fail, according to the home’s staff. These aged dogs are then taken away from their masters because, after years of guiding, they will continue to perform their duties, putting themselves and their owners at risk.

from Raw Japan:

Geriatric porn star at work


As photographers, we're always looking for quirky and exceptional feature items, so when we got a chance to shoot Japan's oldest porno star on the job, we knew we couldn't miss it.

It took six months to open the door to this underground industry before we got to meet 75-year-old Shigeo Tokuda at work this week.

On our way to the movie set, we were excited about finally getting to cover the story, but what we saw during the filming was far from what we had imagined. This was no sleek movie production with sex gods and goddesses. The movie was filmed in a small, old house just outside Tokyo that was too shabby to be called a movie set. The floor was covered with dust and dead cockroaches.

Be prepared!

“ALWAYS get to the scene as soon as possible”, is a mantra for the Tokyo picture team. It is advice which features prominently in the pocket-sized guide to emergency coverage procedures produced by our boss Michael Caronna - a guide which has also become indispensible in everyday coverage too. 

Japan is one of the world’s most seismically active areas and the Tokyo Pictures team’s emergency earthquake coverage plan is well-developed and paid off recently when we covered a powerful earthquake in Northern Japan. 

The guide suggests a very clear and concise principle: “Have equipment and photographers in place at all times and just go when it happens.”

Ninjas – in text or pictures?

Ninja 1

Japan’s sleepy town of Iga offered an opportunity for me to write my first story for the news wire. Iga is known to many Japanese as one of the traditional home towns of the ninja. I was looking forward to seeing tens of thousands ninja clad enthusiasts, the ninja themed-train and a house with secret escape passages - the home of a real ninja.

 Ninja 3

The hardest part was knowing where to start - that and deciding on what the story’s ‘selling point’ would be in text terms rather than pictures. Would I be able to persuade people to give me both tantelising ninja tidbits and interesting quotes?

I first interviewed the self-proclaimed grandson of a real ninja who told me that his grandfather was always out on the lookout for ways to further his skills had even mastered the art of hypnotism. A museum curator  that the web of myth and mystery surrounding the world of the ninja fired people’s imaginations and for this reason the ninja lives on.

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