PEOPLE AND PLACES

PEOPLE AND PLACES

Saturday, February 17, 2018






US will spend $120 million on hypersonic missiles that can strike ANYWHERE in the world at 3,800mph in an effort to keep up with China and Russia


  • Hypersonic missiles can switch direction and do not follow a predictable path 
  • They are designed to beat the anti-missile defence systems currently in use 
  • Could be launched from planes, ships or submarines and carry nuclear payloads
  • US Missile Defense Agency is asking for additional funding in the 2019 budget

Hypersonic missiles that can fly at many times the speed of sound are leading to an arms race between the world's three greatest super-powers.
The weapons, currently being tested by the US, China and Russia, are designed to beat regular anti-missile defence systems and can strike anywhere in the world.
They can switch direction in flight and do not follow a predictable arc like conventional missiles.
Now, the Pentagon has applied for $120 million (£85m) in funding to develop technologies to intercept the next generation munitions.

Hypersonic missiles that can fly at many times the speed of sound are leading to an arms race between the world's three greatest super-powers. This artist's impression, courtesy of the US Air Force, shows the hypersonic X-51A Waverider cruise missile currently under development
Hypersonic missiles that can fly at many times the speed of sound are leading to an arms race between the world's three greatest super-powers. This artist's impression, courtesy of the US Air Force, shows the hypersonic X-51A Waverider cruise missile currently under development
The Pentagon's plans were outlined In the latest proposed US budget released by the Office Of Management And Budget In Washington, DC.
Even as the Pentagon works to ensure that its defenses keep pace with North Korea's fast-growing rocket program, US officials are increasingly turning their attention to the new missile threat.
In its proposed $9.9 billion (£7bn) requested budget for 2019, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is asking the additional money to develop hypersonic missile defences, a big increase from the $75 million (£53) in fiscal 2018.
'China's hypersonic weapons development outpaces ours, we're falling behind,' said Admiral Harry Harris, who heads the US military's Pacific Command.
'We need to continue to pursue that and in a most aggressive way in order to ensure that we have the capabilities to both defend against China's hypersonic weapons and to develop our own offensive hypersonic weapons,' he added.
MDA Director of Operations Gary Pennett told Pentagon reporters this week that the potential deployment by America's rivals of hypersonic weapons would create a 'significant' gap in US sensor and missile interceptor capabilities.
Boeing reveal the X-51A WaveRider: The warp speed of today


 
 
 
 
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These weapons could be launched from planes, ships or submarines and carry either nuclear or conventional payloads.
'The key challenge to US national security and the security of US friends and allies is the emergence of new threats designed to defeat the existing' ballistic missile defense system,' Mr Pennett said.
According to reports, China has developed and last year tested a new type of hypersonic missile called the DF-17.
The DF-17 is a ballistic missile equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), which is said to be capable of achieving speeds of up to 7,680 miles per hour (12,360 kph) – or 10 times the speed of sound.
In tests conducted in November 2017, the missile’s payload flew roughly 870 miles (1,400km) in about 11 minutes with the HGV, though intelligence experts suspect it could one day achieve over 1,500 miles (2,500 km). 
According to reports, China has developed and last year tested a new type of hypersonic missile called the DF-17. Since 2013, China has conducted seven successful test flights of its hypersonic craft (model pictured in a state-TV documentary)
According to reports, China has developed and last year tested a new type of hypersonic missile called the DF-17. Since 2013, China has conducted seven successful test flights of its hypersonic craft (model pictured in a state-TV documentary)
Pictured is an official artist's impression of China's DF-17 hypersonic craft. Hypersonic vehicles travel so rapidly and unpredictably they could provide an almost-immediate threat to nations across the globe
Pictured is an official artist's impression of China's DF-17 hypersonic craft. Hypersonic vehicles travel so rapidly and unpredictably they could provide an almost-immediate threat to nations across the globe


WHAT ARE HYPERSONIC MISSILES AND HOW DO THEY WORK?

Aircraft and missiles are said to be hypersonic once they exceed speeds of Mach 5 and above, or five times the speed of sound.
This occurs at 1,715 metres per second (3,836mph / 6,174kmh).
The latest class of hypersonic missiles would be smaller, guided and designed to carry conventional explosives for time-sensitive, rapid response in theatre operations. 
There are two kinds of approaches to solving the hypersonic challenge in missiles: 'scramjet' and 'boost glide.' 
The air-breathing scramjet relies on high speed for its power.
As it accelerates, more air and fuel is pushed into the engine, allowing it to accelerate even more - to hypersonic speeds.
The boost glide model rides a reentry vehicle to extremely high altitudes, where it skips across the Earth's upper atmosphere.
Traditional ballistic missiles already travel at hypersonic speeds.
Built to carry nuclear and conventional warheads, these weapons are capable of reaching outer space in the course of their flights, but they can't manoeuvre.The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence this week stated China 'has tested a hypersonic glide vehicle.'

Russia too is believed to be developing its own hypersonic weapon called the Zircon. 
The Zircon cruise missile travels between 3,800mph (6,115kph) and 4,600mph (7,400kph) - five to six times the speed of sound - and puts Russia 'half a decade' ahead of the US'.
This makes it faster than any anti-missile system, including those that are expected to appear in the next two decades. 
According to Russian news agency Tass, it is to go into serial production this year.
Though the Pentagon is warning about hypersonics, the United States has been developing the technology for years.
The Air Force says its X-51A Waverider cruise missile, tested in 2012, could travel at speeds faster than Mach 6 (4,603mph / 7,408kph).
That's more than one mile a second, and future iterations are expected to go much faster.
Russia's Zircon missile is capable of travelling twice as fast as the Royal Navy's Sea Ceptor missile (pictured), which would be responsible for shooting it down were it to attack British troops or mainland UK
Russia's Zircon missile is capable of travelling twice as fast as the Royal Navy's Sea Ceptor missile (pictured), which would be responsible for shooting it down were it to attack British troops or mainland UK
It would also be more than capable of evading US defences. This image shows a ground-based interceptor missile taking off from Vandenberg Air Force base, California last year in a test against an ICBM
It would also be more than capable of evading US defences. This image shows a ground-based interceptor missile taking off from Vandenberg Air Force base, California last year in a test against an ICBM
Part of the reason China has been able to advance its hypersonic missile programs is that it is not subject to anti-missile treaties signed between the United States and Russia.
The 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty banned short- and intermediate-range ground-launched missiles.
'Over 90 per cent of China's ground-based missiles would be excluded by INF if they were now in it,' Mr Harris said.
Still, by far the lion's share of the MDA's budget continues to go towards improving existing missile-defense systems.
Various sensors and radars can track an incoming missile hurtling towards a target, then blast interceptor rockets toward it to pulverize it with kinetic energy.

Is China rebooting a Cold War doomsday device? State-sponsored tests suggest officials are building a terrifying 'salted' nuclear bomb

  • Salted nuclear bombs use special isotopes to release large amounts of fallout
  • The weapons are designed to deal long-term damage to the environment
  • China recently announced a successful firing of a superheated beam of tantalum
  • The heavy metal is one of few isotopes that can be used in a salted nuclear bomb
China may be bringing back a devastating doomsday device first dreamt up during the Cold War.
State-sponsored experiments at a Chinese research facility have raised concerns the country is building a 'salted' nuclear bomb.
The device, which one weapons expert has labelled 'highly immoral', uses a special isotope to release huge amounts of radioactive fallout.

China may be developing a devastating doomsday device first dreamt up during the Cold War. State-sponsored experiments at a Chinese research facility have raised concerns the country is building a 'salted' nuclear bomb. Pictured is one of China's Dongfeng-41 missiles
China may be developing a devastating doomsday device first dreamt up during the Cold War. State-sponsored experiments at a Chinese research facility have raised concerns the country is building a 'salted' nuclear bomb. Pictured is one of China's Dongfeng-41 missiles
Experts at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Sciences recently announced they had successfully fired superheated beams of a radioactive isotope of tantalum.
The rare metal is one of few isotopes that can be added to warheads to create a salted bomb, with potentially devastating consequences.
The research was carried out at a facility in the city of Lanzhou by experts working with the Institute of Modern Physics.
Scientists behind the project said their work aimed to 'meet a critical strategic demand of China's national defence.' 
They added it had potential military applications, but refused to give further details.
Tantalus is a rare metal used in alloys and electronics, and is named after a villain from Greek mythology. 
If it develops a salted bomb, China could load it into one of its Dongfeng-41 missiles, a long-range device with a range of 7,500 miles (12,000km) - long enough to hit the UK and the United States - expected to enter China's arsenal later this year 
If it develops a salted bomb, China could load it into one of its Dongfeng-41 missiles, a long-range device with a range of 7,500 miles (12,000km) - long enough to hit the UK and the United States - expected to enter China's arsenal later this year 


WHAT ARE SALTED BOMBS?

A 'salted bomb' is a type of nuclear weapon that has been branded 'highly immoral' by some experts.
The device aims to spread deadly radioactive fallout as far as possible rather than maximise explosive force.
The result is lasting environmental damage and vast areas of land left uninhabitable for decades.
Salted bombs take their name from the phrase 'to salt the earth', meaning to render soil unable to host life.
They are able to contaminate a much larger area than a traditional 'dirty' atomic bomb, like those used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
To increase the radioactive destruction of salted bombs, certain radioactive isotopes are added to the device.
Heavy metals like gold, cobalt or tantalum can be used.
Incorporating these metals into an atomic bomb would send high-energy neutrons at the stable element and turn it into a highly radioactive version.
The radioactive isotope would then contaminate huge swathes of land. 
A salted bomb is believed to be of lesser energy than other bombs due to these changes but could cause more long-term damage.
The idea of a salted bomb was first proposed by Hungarian-American physicist Leo Szilard during the Cold War.
Along with Albert Einstein, the scientist was instrumental in the beginning of the Manhattan Project.
No intentionally salted bomb has ever been atmospherically tested but the UK tested a 1 kiloton bomb incorporating a small amount of cobalt as an experimental radiochemical tracer in 1957.It is part of a group of heavy metals that, if added to a nuclear warhead, could theoretically boost the release of radioactive fallout.

So-called 'salted bombs' aim to spread deadly fallout from a weapon as far as possible rather than maximise explosive force.
The weapons aim to cause lasting environmental damage and render vast areas uninhabitable for decades.
The device, which nuclear weapons experts say is 'highly immoral', uses a special isotope to release huge amounts of fallout. China recently announced successful tests with tantalum, one of few isotopes that could be used in a salt bomb. Pictured is a Dongfeng-41 missile
The device, which nuclear weapons experts say is 'highly immoral', uses a special isotope to release huge amounts of fallout. China recently announced successful tests with tantalum, one of few isotopes that could be used in a salt bomb. Pictured is a Dongfeng-41 missile
They take their name from the phrase 'to salt the earth', meaning to render soil unable to host life.
The idea was first proposed during the Cold War by Leo Szilard, a Hungarian-American physicist who was instrumental in the building of the first nuclear bomb. 
No salted bomb has ever been tested, and according to public records none have ever been built.
But some believe the new Chinese Tantalus research could be applied in the creation of one of the devices.
If it develops a salted bomb, China could load it into one of its Dongfeng-41 missiles, a long-range device with a range of 7,500 miles (12,000km) - long enough to hit the UK and the United States - expected to enter China's arsenal later this year. 
No salted bomb has ever been tested, and according to public records none have ever been built. It takes its name from the phrase 'to salt the earth', meaning to render soil unable to host life. Pictured are US engineers working on a nuclear warhead within an ICBM in 2014
No salted bomb has ever been tested, and according to public records none have ever been built. It takes its name from the phrase 'to salt the earth', meaning to render soil unable to host life. Pictured are US engineers working on a nuclear warhead within an ICBM in 2014
The superheated beam could also help China's military to test the durability of its equipment in extreme events by firing it directly at prototypes.
It is highly unlikely the research will lead to a salted bomb, but experts told the South China Morning Post the experiment could have military applications.
Dr Cai Minghui, a researcher at Beijing National Space Science Centre, said: 'In theory, the particle beam of a heavy element such as tantalum can be used as a directed energy weapon.'
Professor Han Dejun, a nuclear scientist at Beijing Normal University, said of the tantalum accelerator experiment: 'The most likely application that I can think of is in nuclear research.
'By generating a powerful beam of tantalum ions we can observe how the metal interacts with other elements and change form in high-speed collisions.
'It simulates what will happen in a real nuclear reaction.'
A third expert from China's Arms Control and Disarmament Association said the likelihood China is stockpiling salted bombs is 'very low'.
'These are highly immoral weapons,' he said. 



Friday, February 16, 2018







THE OLD AND THE NEW FORTY NINERS images of California's second gold rush and the prospectors who gambled everything to hit the jackpot


Going for gold! Incredible never-before-seen photos inside the race for lawless California to cash in on the gold rush

  • Images from California gold rush of 1848 to 1855 capture the progress of mining technology as well as strides in photography as thousands migrated westward in pursuit of unlocking fortunes in gold
  • An exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada reveals the rare photographs for the first time
  • The Daguerreotype and tintype photos reveal manipulations of color and gold dust to bring the images to life
  • Workers toil in the sun and pose with pickaxes and sieves while photographers match their effort by adding gold coloring on the images as proof of their plentiful bounty
Rare photos shedding new light on the California rush that ignited in January 1848 and sent thousands westward in pursuit of the golden jackpot are being showcased. 

The images document the progress of technology, chronicling prints of Daguerreotype and tintype processes on metal surfaces and later onto glass and paper.
Images of the migration towards the West Coast, which lasted for seven years until 1855, come to life as early photographers added soft brushes of color and manipulations of gold dust upon the discovered treasure.
The collection also features portraits of hopeful migrants chasing the promise of golden dreams as well as the back-breaking toil of workers laboring to actually strike it.
TA young nineteenth-century Argonaut looks at the camera in 1851, defying the conventions of portrait Daguerreotype photography at the time, along with his shovels and sieve, the tools that discovered gold in the 1849 Gold Rush in California
A young nineteenth-century Argonaut looks at the camera in 1851, defying the conventions of portrait Daguerreotype photography at the time, along with his shovels and sieve, the tools that discovered gold in the 1849 Gold Rush in California
Two unidentified miners take a break from work to pose for a tintype portrait, an image printed onto a thin tin plate in 1860
Two unidentified miners take a break from work to pose for a tintype portrait, an image printed onto a thin tin plate in 1860
All in a days work: Sterrett & Company Miners surround a stream in October 1852 in a Daguerreotype portrait where a sieve on the right shines brightly with gold nuggets, the fruit of a hard day's labor
All in a days work: Sterrett & Company Miners surround a stream in October 1852 in a Daguerreotype portrait where a sieve on the right shines brightly with gold nuggets, the fruit of a hard day's labor
An 1854 Daguerreotype portrait is enhanced with color and gold to flaunt the wealth found in the bountiful California hills
An 1854 Daguerreotype portrait is enhanced with color and gold to flaunt the wealth found in the bountiful California hills
The California rush beckoned all kinds of people to the Western shores such as the unidentified man on the left who poses with an array of guns and knives in a 1854 Daguerreotype portrait
Daniel J. Butler captured in a Daguerreotype portrait in 1850 poses with shovel and pickaxe, but most importantly, a giant golden rock in his right hand that was enhanced with golden
The California rush beckoned all kinds of people to the Western shores such as the unidentified man on the left who poses with an array of guns and knives in 1854 as well as miner Daniel J. Butler (right) who poses with a giant golden nugget in hand 
Workers on a hydraulic mining operation in 1854 was captured on a Daguerreotype half plate, documenting the use of high pressure water jets to dislodge hard sediment that would then pass through sluice boxes to extract the gold
Workers on a hydraulic mining operation in 1854 was captured on a Daguerreotype half plate, documenting the use of high pressure water jets to dislodge hard sediment that would then pass through sluice boxes to extract the gold
A woman waits outside a Daguerreotype studio in 1852, where many of the California gold rush images were processed
A woman waits outside a Daguerreotype studio in 1852, where many of the California gold rush images were processed
An 1850 portrait of an unidentified man was printed on a 116 plate
This image was shot by Robert H Vance of an unidentified minor in 1852
The Daguerreotype portrait was the most popular form of photography during the Gold Rush era and was created using a sheet of silver plated copper to a mirror finish as with these two portraits dated 1850 and 1852 respectively
At first glance these four miners seem to be laboring fruitlessly deep in the Californian soils in an Daguerreotype image from 1852, but upon a second glance  image's added gold touches in the sieve on the right and center stairs become evident
At first glance these four miners seem to be laboring fruitlessly deep in the Californian soils in an Daguerreotype image from 1852, but upon a second glance image's added gold touches in the sieve on the right and center stairs become evident
Color applications helped bring the moving images to life, adding texture and color to a man's shirt, and a sprinkle of gold in a sieve held by a man third from the left in the 1853 Daguerreotype image
Color applications helped bring the moving images to life, adding texture and color to a man's shirt, and a sprinkle of gold in a sieve held by a man third from the left in the 1853 Daguerreotype image




A photographer left her Brooklyn, New York home in 2009 and traveled across the country, joining a new wave of gold prospectors hoping to hit the jackpot while the price of gold is at an all-time high.Sarina Finkelstein was not searching for gold, but seeking to document the new gold rush, occurring 160 years after the original California Gold Rush in 1849.
Her shots of the rugged prospecting community show a unique subculture of eccentrics, dreamers, entrepreneurial spirits, veterans and victims of the financial crisis drawn to California by the skyrocketing price of gold.
'These are people who are willing to take a risk and gamble everything by living outside the social norm, united by an all-consuming passion for something they strive to find, the personal sacrifices they make for it and the lifestyles they create for themselves,' she told Slate.
Finkelstein spent four years in 'Nugget Alley,' a community by the edge of a river canyon in the Angeles National Forest taking pictures of its inhabitants. It has since been disbanded.
Finkelstein's photographs have been compiled into a book called 
The New Forty-Niners which was selected as a winner in the book category of the 2014 Photo District News Photo Annual. The shots are currently being exhibited at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco until June 21.

Makeshift town: Bernie McGrath, unofficial Mayor of Nugget Alley, Angeles National Forest, California, 2009 
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Makeshift town: Bernie McGrath, unofficial Mayor of Nugget Alley, Angeles National Forest, California, 2009
Companions: Duane and his dog Moses at Independence, Klamath National Forest, California, 2013 
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Companions: Duane and his dog Moses at Independence, Klamath National Forest, California, 2013
Skyrocketing gold prices: Chalkboard with the price of gold, Columbia Historical Museum, Columbia, California, 2009 
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Skyrocketing gold prices: Chalkboard with the price of gold, Columbia Historical Museum, Columbia, California, 2009
Prospector: Martin, Angeles National Forest, California, 2012 
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Prospector: Martin, Angeles National Forest, California, 2012 
New technology: Dave and Rich with their underwater suction gravel transfer system at Independence, Klamath National Forest, California, 2013 
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New technology: Dave and Rich with their underwater suction gravel transfer system at Independence, Klamath National Forest, California, 2013
Gold subculture: Lydella at Sluice Box, Klamath National Forest, California, 2013 
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Gold subculture: Lydella at Sluice Box, Klamath National Forest, California, 2013
Treasure hunting: Avery in his digging hole by the Scott River, Klamath National Forest, California, 2009 
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Treasure hunting: Avery in his digging hole by the Scott River, Klamath National Forest, California, 2009
Off the grid: Rick's second camp at Brown's Gulch, Angeles National Forest, California, 2010 
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Off the grid: Rick's second camp at Brown's Gulch, Angeles National Forest, California, 2010
Stunning backdrop: The Klamath River, California, 2010 
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Stunning backdrop: The Klamath River, California, 2010
Tools of the trade: Chris's classifiers, Italian Bar, California, 2010 
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Tools of the trade: Chris's classifiers, Italian Bar, California, 2010
Young dreamer: Sparky walking along Nugget Alley, Angeles National Forest, California, 2009 
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Young dreamer: Sparky walking along Nugget Alley, Angeles National Forest, California, 2009
Golden opportunity: Olan at the LDMA claim at Italian Bar on the Stanislaus River, California, 2011 
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Golden opportunity: Olan at the LDMA claim at Italian Bar on the Stanislaus River, California, 2011
Published: Finkelstein's photographs have been compiled into a book called the New Forty-Niners 
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Published: Finkelstein's photographs have been compiled into a book called the New Forty-Niners








































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Snapshots of the Bay Area's most eccentric inhabitants before they disappear as the city continues to gentrify due to the Silicon Valley tech bubble.

Holden believes in taking site-specific portraits and chooses to capture his striking subjects in either their own home or at their job before they become nothing more than a memory.
'Familiar faces and places are quickly disappearing. Photos I took just two or three months ago show people and buildings that are already gone. It feels like I'm in a race against time,' writes Holden in an interview with Citylab.com.
Troy Holden began his project after being commissioned by the non-profit, North of Marker/ Tenderloin Community Benefit (NOMTLBCD)in 2012.
Holden's work has been on display on June 15th at the San Francisco Museum at the Mint and will be shown until August 17. For more information about the exhibit you can visit the website here.
Little passenger: This young San Franciscan sits on the back of the bus going up one of the city's historic inclines
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Little passenger: This young San Franciscan sits on the back of the bus going up one of the city's historic inclines
Denizen: This old man knows the streets of San Francisco like he knows the back of his hand
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Denizen: This old man knows the streets of San Francisco like he knows the back of his hand
Biggest fan: Photographer Troy Holden loves photographing San Francisco's characters in their natural setting even if they don't like the attention
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Biggest fan: Photographer Troy Holden loves photographing San Francisco's characters in their natural setting even if they don't like the attention
Wise: San Franciscans have both the knowledge and sophistication that comes from living in a big city
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Wise: San Franciscans have both the knowledge and sophistication that comes from living in a big city
Musical: San Francisco is a creative hub for busking musicians whose stage is the busy street
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Musical: San Francisco is a creative hub for busking musicians whose stage is the busy street
City cat: San Francisco's stray cats do their best to keep watch at night
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City cat: San Francisco's stray cats do their best to keep watch at night
Bending over backwards: San Franciscans sometimes need to take a break from their busy lives to stretch
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Bending over backwards: San Franciscans sometimes need to take a break from their busy lives to stretch
Bagging rights: This character proudly walks down the street with a plastic bag covering his face
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Bagging rights: This character proudly walks down the street with a plastic bag covering his face
Winodw: Each photograph peers more and more into the lives of San Francisco residents, and in this case canine citizens
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Winodw: Each photograph peers more and more into the lives of San Francisco residents, and in this case canine citizens
Desire: Troy Holden's photographs display the hopes and dreams defferred of San Francisco's population
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Desire: Troy Holden's photographs display the hopes and dreams defferred of San Francisco's population
Bridging the gap: Troy Holden's work connects his audience to a unique point of view of San Francisco's landscape
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Bridging the gap: Troy Holden's work connects his audience to a unique point of view of San Francisco's landscape
Pigeonholed: Troy Holden's work shows residents in their natural, sometimes constant environments
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Pigeonholed: Troy Holden's work shows residents in their natural, sometimes constant environments
Hills and valleys: San Francisco's architecture is characterized by ups and downs, many of which are reflections of city life as well
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Hills and valleys: San Francisco's architecture is characterized by ups and downs, many of which are reflections of city life as well
Reflective lens: In this snapshot, Troy Holden's reflection can be observed in this older man's spectacles
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Reflective lens: In this snapshot, Troy Holden's reflection can be observed in this older man's spectacles
What are you staring at?: Troy Holden sometimes takes his subjects off guard, photographing them when they least ex[pect it
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What are you staring at?: Troy Holden sometimes takes his subjects off guard, photographing them when they least ex[pect it
Kitsch: San Frnacisco is filled with knick knacks on the street that may be one man's trash and anther's treasure
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Kitsch: San Frnacisco is filled with knick knacks on the street that may be one man's trash and anther's treasure
Timeless: Tory Holden's photos depict the present, but their value knows no decade
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Timeless: Tory Holden's photos depict the present, but their value knows no decade
City never sleeps: In a city that sleeps about as much as New York, sometimes it's time to rest on a mattress regardless of where one found it
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City never sleeps: In a city that sleeps about as much as New York, sometimes it's time to rest on a mattress regardless of where one found it
Waiting: Two boys and wait for a bus to come and take them up San Francisco's hills
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Waiting: Two boys and wait for a bus to come and take them up San Francisco's hills
Dapper or dilapidated?: This man has some San Francisco swagger and a little bit of grunge
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Dapper or dilapidated?: This man has some San Francisco swagger and a little bit of grunge