Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

An abandoned gas station stands along Highway 65 outside the town of Terra Bella. Senior Julia Edelman focused on the abandoned structures of the Central Valley, which has been ravaged by drought and recession.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Julia Edelman

A man fishes in Lake Success, or what is left of it, outside East Porterville in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The snowpack in the Sierra is at an historical low. Dan Okin, 18, made the photograph from what is ordinarily deep underneath the water.


A colorful structure stands outside Exeter, a city that is also being plagued by water issues. Student Jackie Lasersohn focused on color in the valley and in Mexico.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jackie Lasersohn

Donna Johnson, right, has been pivotal in helping the residents of East Porterville get water. Senior Brenna Leaver spent an afternoon with Johnson documenting how she assists her community.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Brenna Leaver

Senior Jackie Lasersohn took the wide view of an Army Corps of Engineer group training on the hillsides above Lake Success .

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jackie Lasersohn

Livia Azevedo combined two colorful subjects for a photograph in Lindsay.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Livia Azevedo

Hannah Dayton used the light to her advantage in photographing blossoms and a row of mailboxes in East Porterville.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Hannah Dayton

Julia Edelman did more than just photograph this sad horse in a field outside Terra Bella. She called animal control when she saw the condition of the animal and others on the ramshackle property.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Julia Edelman

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On the road with young photography students: California’s Central Valley

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On the road with young photography students: California’s Central Valley

By Michael Robinson Chavez, Los Angeles Times

My road trip with students from New York’s Ross School continued as we ventured north of the border, back into Alta California. The focus of the trip was cultural and environmental sustainability. Nowhere I can think of in the U.S. is grappling with the latter as much as the drought-ravaged Central Valley. I spent a good amount of time last year with Los Angeles Times reporter Diana Marcum covering the drought’s effects on people living and working in the valley. I knew taking the students to this seldom-visited part of the Golden State would be eye-opening.

We loaded up the RVs, spent the night in a Walmart parking lot in Oceanside and then continued up Interstate 5 to the town of East Porterville. We stayed in an RV camp outside of Terra Bella, where many homes have simply run out of water, and saw a spectacular full moon rise over a snowless stretch of the Sierra Nevada. The next day the students went to work with me and photographer Ron Haviv. We met up with Donna Johnson, who last year took it upon herself to count how many wells had run dry and how many people were without water. Tulare County has taken the duties over and was conducting a survey while we were in town.

The students were astonished at the scale of the farming that was occurring, and the financial power that the valley has in exporting almonds, pistachios and produce. Equally amazing to them was just how dry and hard hitting this historic drought is.

After documenting the challenges in East Porterville we loaded up again and headed into the Sequoia National Park, where temperatures were in the high 70s, in early March. Snow was only visible on the highest peaks, all more than 8,000 feet above sea level. “Rocky,” who lives in the Three Rivers area, said it looked and felt more like June. The students, however, being from New York, which endured one of its harshest winters in recent memory, were reveling in the warmth.
Next it is on to Oaxaca, Mexico, one of that country’s most culturally rich states and cities. More to come in the next post.

See also: “On the road with young photography students: Ensenada, Mexico

1 Comment

  1. March 23, 2015, 12:08 pm

    Nice job Hanninha! 🙂

    By: Raul Rodrigues

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