Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Dressed in full suit and tie on a cool Sunday morning, Art Attly, walked the streets looking for adventure In downtown Los Angeles. When asked how old he was Attly replied, "I'm sixteen and never been kissed but, I'm still hoping for one."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Six year-old, Elinyah Cavitt rests on her Father's casket during his burial services at Rose Hills Memorial Park. Ervin Cavitt, was gunned down outside a party in South LA following a dispute. Police found Cavitt dead on the sidewalk when they arrived on the scene and are still looking for the suspect. Cavitt's father, Jerald "Pee" Cavitt, is a prominent gang intervention worker in the neighborhood. All three of Jerald Cavitt's son's have been killed by gun violence.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

A firefighter monitors a raging fire in Monrovia, Calif., as it burns its way closer to homes in the area.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Tenacious D, composed of lead vocalist Jack Black and lead guitarist and vocalist Kyle Gass are a comedy-rock duo and are pictured at the Santa Monica Pier Carousel. The band has released three albums.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Garment workers apply dye to jeans at Koos Manufacturing plant in L.A.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

A HEALING BOND | Two sisters open their home and hearts, agreeing to care for Arefa, an Afghan child who was sent to Los Angeles for medical care after being severely burned. The experience changes all three lives. When Arefa met doctors shortly after her arrival to L.A. they told the sisters that her head wound was severely infected. The surgery Arefa came for would have to wait. The infection and her malnutrition made it too risky to operate. The sisters needed to help her get her strength back and Arefa soon settled into a routine. During the day, she spent hours at playgrounds, climbing ladders and barreling down slides, smiling. But she grew tense whenever she saw TV images of helicopters and war.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Arefa gained weight and in late July, Dr.John Lorant, a plastic surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children in L.A., decided to operate. Lorant focused first on her forehead, loosening the scars that had kept her eyes from closing fully.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Arefa, in tears, clings to Jami Valentine and begs her not to let the medical team take her to the operating room for yet another round of painful procedures. The sisters found communicating with her difficult because of the language barrier.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Dr. Lorant cut a football-sized layer of skin from Arefa's stomach and placed it atop her head, molding and snipping to create a proper fit. He sewed it on. Hair would never grow on that patch, but the scalp would be covered.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

As the sisters waited for the skin graft to heal, the sisters discovered that Arefa's emotional wounds were as deep as her physical wounds. The little girl was still throwing tantrums, often directed at Jami. She described these outbursts to a psychologist. Arefa has post-traumatic stress, same as a shell-shocked soldier, the therapist said. As a junior high math teacher, Jami, 34, had the summer off. Staci, 37, worked as a lab technician and had to rely on Jami to take Arefa to most of the doctor's visits and comfort her during one of her tantrums. Arefa's relationship with Staci was less strained. She wasn't the one who had to set limits and say no.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Arefa's birthday falls in January, but she asked Jami and Staci if she could celebrate with them in December to honor her seventh year. The sisters hosted a Hello Kitty party at Chuck E. Cheese's in her honor. The sisters were torn. They knew she had to return home, but what were they sending her back to? "We've Americanized her, just being around us, living here as we do," Staci said, not long after giving Arefa a goodbye party at Chuck E. Cheese's. "She is a little girl who found her voice here." She wondered whether Arefa's parents would be able to embrace that.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

When the sisters washed her scalp, Arefa wailed so loudly they worried someone in their apartment building might call the police. Almost every night, the little girl woke up screaming from nightmares. She had no skin on the top of her head for three years. Over time, her skin graft began to heal and Arefa no longer felt pain when she washed her scalp. However. there was the future. The sisters worried constantly about how Arefa would be treated once she went home, growing into womanhood in Afghanistan with such obvious scars. Everywhere Arefa went, people stared at her, but she usually ignored them.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

During a farewell ceremony with their host families, children cry before heading home to Afghanistan. For Arefa, the expected six weeks had stretched into five months. She would not be going home just yet to Kabul with the rest of her group. In October, a Solace official, from the organization who brought the Afghan kids to the United States, offered to send the girl to a family in North Carolina. The sisters said no. "Her going off to some other family, it was alluring," Jami said. "I could be free from the terrible tantrums, getting kicked by someone I was trying to help. But we'd also be losing someone we'd come to love. It would kill us."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Staci and Jami wanted Arefa to be connected to her Afghan culture in the U.S. so they attended Eid services at a mosque along with Nahida Shinwar who acts as a volunteer translator for the Afghan children coming here for treatment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

It didn't take long for Arefa's personality to emerge — a mix of spunk and angst. She spent hours at playgrounds, smiling nonstop. But back at the apartment, whenever the television flashed images of helicopters or men with guns, she grew tense.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Four months after Arefa's surgery, Jami took her to see Dr. Lorant. The skin graft had healed. "You can go home," he said. Arefa beamed. She began tracking her time left. "Eight more sleeps!" she said, when there were eight days until her flight. Then she hugged Jami's leg and wouldn't let go. The sisters were torn. They knew she had to return home, but what were they sending her back to?

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

It was now December, near Christmas. The sun was rising and inside the apartment Arefa's bags were stacked near the front door. She had a plane to catch. Her father was to meet her in Kabul. Arefa wore red and black polka dot pants, a white shirt, a white Hello Kitty cap, and held tightly her cherished hello kitty stuffed animal. "I love you so much, little girl," Jami said. "More than the trees?" Arefa asked. "All the trees." "More than ice cream?" "Yes, all of it." For a few seconds, no one spoke. "Big sad, big sad," Arefa said, looking into Jami's eyes. "Big sad," Jami said. Both of them cried. Once she was gone, the sisters knew they might never hear from Arefa again.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

CORCORAN STATE PRISON | Inmates locked inside the Security Housing Unit, or SHU, at Corcoran State Prison are considered to be some of the most dangerous in California's prison system. Some are separated from the general population because of violent infractions like attacking a guard; others are deemed members of prison gangs. Roughly one-fourth of the prison's 4,386 inmates, are in the SHUs and spend 23 hours a day in their cell. Inmates rarely leave their 11 by 7 foot cells except to be escorted, handcuffed, to the outdoor cages for exercise several times a week. The SHU has been the focus of prison protests and external scrutiny by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the ACLU who have released reports detailing the psychologically damaging prison conditions and physical health problems that solitary confinement causes. A United Nations investigator is also seeking access to the prisons to review conditions in the isolation units. This past fall, a two-month-long hunger strike involved thousands of inmates protesting their "€œinhumane" prison conditions. Corcoran was the first California prison with a separate facility built exclusively to house SHU inmates. Brent Shelton, who is legally blind from a shotgun blast incident, is housed inside a SHU cage during yard time at Corcoran State Prison. Shelton, 41, said "solitary" is the only way to describe it. "You're living in cages," he said. "Dog cages." He's serving a life sentence for armed robbery and was placed in the SHU because of his alleged affiliation with the Mexican Mafia.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

The large metal cages are lined up in two rows under blistering Central Valley sun just outside the prison wells. For maximum-security inmates, this is what counts as outdoor space. Some inmates are placed in cages with cellmates, but most are alone. One passes the time by pacing back and forth. Another does push-ups with the help of two prosthetic legs. Under state law, an inmate enters the SHU by committing a serious or violent offense while in prison. That includes murder, attempted murder, drug trafficking, arson and/or extortion.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Prisoners lie on the ground as guards respond to a security alarm during yard time for the general population at Corcoran State Prison.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Fifty-year-old Charles Moore, left, pictured in an outdoor cell, has spent 10 years in the SHU at Corcoran State Prison. He is pictured during yard time, which SHU prisoners receive a minimum of 10 hours a week. Moore is considered a member of the Black Guerrilla Family gang and is awaiting a transfer to another prison.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

The majority of inmates in Corcoran State Prison facilities 4A and 4B are SHU inmates. The 4A facility has 1,024 beds and includes the Protective Housing Unit and a unit for prison gang members and associates wishing to drop out of their gang. The 4B facility has 1,005 beds and houses validated gang members and associates. It also houses inmates in the Disability Placement Program and the Developmentally Disabled Program.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Richard Heyer, 54, is a Corcoran State Prison inmate and lives in the SHU. Inmates found guilty of specified offenses-including murder, attempted murder, drug trafficking, arson and/or extortion serve indeterminate terms in the SHU. The prison says the maximum term is 60 months.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

A display of confiscated "shanks," handmade weapons made out of materials inmates received in prison, at the Corcoran State Prison.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Lt. Anthony Baer, a spokesman for the Corcoran State Prison, said the SHU helps officers keep tabs on gang activity and tamp down violence. "These are inmates who have proven they cannot play well with others," he said. However, most of the inmates at the Corcoran SHU are not there because of a specific infraction. They were "validated" as a member of a prison gang and indefinitely removed from the general population.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

A prison guard shows the artwork of an inmate serving two life sentences after being tried as a minor. The inmate is serving his term in the SHU at Corcoran State Prison. Under state law, an inmate enters the SHU by committing a serious or violent offense while in prison. That includes murder, attempted murder; drug trafficking, arson and/or extortion.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

A step-down program enables an inmate serving an indeterminate SHU term to earn his way back to the general prison population or the sensitive-needs yard. Officials say gangs remain strong at Corcoran State Prison, with the Mexican Mafia being the largest. Several inmates refused to be interviewed, politely waving off reporters or covering their faces. "Talk to our representatives," one said inside the SHU.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Cedric Scott, 48, was deemed a member of the Black Guerrilla Family more than a decade ago and placed in the SHU. He denies having anything to do with the gang and says he only wound up there because his name appeared on another inmate's list. For years, the primary way to return to the general population was to "debrief" meaning telling law enforcement about gang activity. Scott, who is serving a life sentence for murder, said that was impossible. "How can I debrief something when I'm not even briefed?" he said.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Located on 942 acres in Kings County, California, Corcoran State Prison is built on what was once Tulare Lake, home of the Tachi Indians. It was the first California prison with a separate facility built exclusively to house Security Housing Unit (SHU) inmates. Nearly 21% of inmates serving indeterminate SHU terms are validated STG (security threat group) members and associates.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

L.A.'s SHOOTING SEASON | On June 23 at 2:25 a.m., two teenage gunshot victims walked through the front door at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The hospital staff calls it the homeboy ambulance service: Patients brought in with injuries often from gang shootings. While the trauma team assesses the youth Dr. Brant Putnam, a gun shot wound specialist, is racing down from the operating room, where he was performing surgery on another patient. From the entry wound —€” the size of a nickel —€” Dr. Brant Putnam guesses that the bullet is a .45, but it's what he can't see that worries him most. The boy, a teenager most likely, lies naked on Bed 2 in a trauma bay. His brown skin, slick with sweat, is ashen.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

The moment Dr. Brant Putnam saw the entry wound —€” a .45 by his guess —€” he knew he would have little time to save the boy's life. "Let's go to the OR," he said to his team of doctors and nurses after a quick assessment of the injury. The season of shootings has begun on time. Last year, from July through September, this Torrance hospital treated 107 gunshot victims, the highest number in the county.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

An X-ray shows a bullet in the youth's spine. The trauma team knows nothing about him. No name, no age, no family. For now they call him "Zinc," a pseudonym the hospital sometime uses for its john Does. This year, four GSWs (medical shorthand for gunshot wounds) arrived on the first day of summer. One was a suicide and three were assaults. Three died and one would probably be discharged in a few days.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

The trauma team thought they might lose the teenager because of the severity of his gunshot wound. During summer months, the "season of shootings" often begins at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. They average three shooting victims a day.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

At 5:25 a.m., three hours after arrival, Dr. Putnam pronounces the boy in critical condition, expected to live. The team prepares Lee to be moved to the ICU. He will be operated on again in a couple of days. Medicine and technology have come far in recent years in balancing the odds, but when it comes to gun violence, the numbers are overwhelming. "Why guns?" Dr. Putnam asks. "Why so many guns? It once was fistfights. It once was stabbings. Now it's a whole new world out there, and with guns, it's just too much."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

The youth had almost 80% of his blood replaced during surgery. Cloths are used to mop up blood from the youth's surgery.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Putnam, 44, estimates that he has treated about 5,000 GSWs and consulted on nearly 2,000 more over the last 20 years, 10 of them at Harbor-UCLA. The victims he remembers the most are the children and women, the bystanders hit by stray fire, the wounded who spoke to him in the ER but died in the operating room. Dr. Brant Putnam holds the youth's hands to secure his position as he is prepared to go to the ICU. The youth will be moved and treated in the ICU. The hospital still doesn't have any information about him.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Patient "Zinc" is treated in the ICU. At the end of each surgery comes the family consultation. Putnam remembers all the bad news he's ever delivered. He won't have to remember this one. At 5:25 a.m., three hours after arrival, he pronounces the boy in critical condition, expected to live. A little before 6, Putnam goes looking for the family. He still doesn't have any information about the boy.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Lee Benton said he was walking home from a party and thought it would be safer to cut through an alley, where he was shot. In the last five years, two of her cousins have been killed in street shootings. Lee had heard the gun but didn't see the shooter. The bullet, he said, burned through his gut. Lucky to have survived the attack, he lies on his bed at home waiting for his mother, Connie, to clean his wound.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Lee is frail and thin as he looks into a mirror while his mother helps him after a shower.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

In the last five years, two of Connie's nephews have been killed in street shootings. Luckily her son had one of the most experienced surgeons in the country operating on him the night he came into the hospital.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Lee's aunt and cousin are happy to see him standing and slowly walking around the house. Dr. Brant Putnam says Lee's youth was a major factor in his survival.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

LORD OF MIRACLES | Worshipers honor the patron saint of Peru, "The Lord of Miracles,"€ through the streets of L.A. during the annual festival. During the annual El Señor de los Milagros religious celebration, the Brotherhood of Carriers take shifts carrying a two-ton makeshift altar bearing a replica of an ancient painting of Christ along a five mile procession through the streets of Los Angeles. Women carrying incense pray alongside hundreds of worshipers late into the night to honor the patron saint of Peru, believed to have healing powers.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Legend has it that in 1651, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, a slave from Angola painted a dark-skinned image of Christ that hung inside a small village church.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Members of the Brotherhood of Carriers take shifts carrying a two-ton makeshift altar bearing a replica of an ancient painting of Christ along a five-mile procession through the streets of Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

The Catholic Church decided to build the Chapel of the Holy Christ of Miracle to protect the painting. In 1687, an 8.7 earthquake struck Lima and leveled the church except for the wall and the painting again. Moved by the powers of the painting, the villagers had a copy made and paraded it through the streets of Lima as a symbol of healing and protection. Out of this, in 1878, the Brotherhood of Carriers and Incense Burners of the Lord of Miracles was created, and so began the tradition of celebrating El Señor de los Milagros or "Lord of Miracles." In fact, the entire month of October is dedicated annually to honor the tradition.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

In 1655, the Callao 7.7 earthquake hit Lima and leveled the church except the wall where the painting hung. A villager stumbled upon the painting, brushed off the debris, and then prayed to the image of Christ, asking for his illness to be cured. According to the legend, the man was cured and it was declared a miracle. News spread and people gathered from far and wide to celebrate at the site where the miracle took place. The gatherings upset local authorities, who ordered the wall torn down. But those trying to tear down the wall were reportedly overpowered by sudden illnesses every time.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Worshipers gather for a group prayer before the annual El Señor de los Milagros religious celebration, where members of the Brotherhood of Carriers take shifts carrying a two-ton makeshift altar bearing a replica of an ancient painting of Christ along a five-mile procession through the streets of Los Angeles. Women carrying incense pray alongside hundreds of worshipers late into the night to honor the patron saint of Peru.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Women carrying incense pray alongside hundreds of worshipers late into the night to honor the patron saint of Peru. "The Lord of Miracles." The patron saint is believed to have healing powers.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

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Barbara Davidson named 2013 POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

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Los Angeles Times staff photographer Barbara Davidson has won the premier 2013 Newspaper Photographer of the Year award in the 71st annual Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition.

Davidson, who was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, previously was named POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 2006.

The year’s announcement was made by POYi director Rick Shaw of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. James Oatway of the Sunday Times in South Africa, and Lacy Atkins of the San Francisco Chronicle were recognized with second and third place awards.

Davidson’s award-winning portfolio, in which judges noted “a strong balance of powerful aesthetic with solid journalistic content, included four pictures stories: “A Healing Bond,” about an Afghan child who was sent to Los Angeles for medical care after being severely burned; “L.A.’s Shooting Season,” about the trauma team at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; “Lord of Miracles,” about L.A. worshipers honoring the patron saint of Peru; and “Corcoran State Prison,” about the facilities’ Security Housing Unit.

Davidson joined the staff of The Times in 2007, after working for the Dallas Morning News, the Washington Times and the Record in Ontario, Canada.

“It’s always a good feeling to have one’s work celebrated by your peers, but more importantly, contest wins give the work a second life, which I think is really great especially when they are social issue stories,” Davidson said.

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