Combat Photographer - Rick Diaz
From NASA to Viet Nam, from South America to the Middle East, come join PPOC for a night of photojournalism at its best as we listen to Rick's presentation!!!
Experience, passion and dedication to his field... Rick Diaz
Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Hollywood, California. Reared by a single-mom, a Fashion Seamstress who followed the trade coast-to-coast. Always on the move, Rick attended no less than twelve private and public schools.
When turning 17, Rick hoping to travel the world, quit high school and joined the U.S. Air Force which landed him in Texas. Before he could finish basic training he was selected and assigned to the “Kennedy Squadron” a volunteer group of guinea pigs working on the then new “NASA Apollo Space Program.”
His amazing experience with NASA, drove his intense need to travel even harder. He personally met the Chief Rocket Scientist Varner Von Braun, and the Father of Space Medicine, Doctor Hubertus Strughold.
Rick’s first USAF assignment was no less exciting. After attending Still and Motion Picture School at Lowery Air Force Base (AFB), in Denver, he found himself living in England. From where he traveled nearly all of Europe for various agencies and periodicals.
After Europe, he was again assigned to NASA near Houston, working as a Science Photojournalist, meeting nearly all of the famous Astronauts of our times.
After some 18 months he was off to Japan, where he fell in love with the culture and learned to speak a little Japanese. Japan became a wonderful gateway to all the countries of Asia. Then Viet Nam called.
As Chief Combat Photojournalist, Saigon, there he discovered the far darker side of humanity. He equated his first combat assignment as that of waking a new born with a hot branding iron. “The shock of it all resets your view of life; it alters in inexplicable ways how you see life through a camera.”
After Viet Nam, he was assigned to NASA yet again. Documenting the nations Space Shuttle program.
After a short stay in Texas, he was assigned to the Panama Canal Zone (as it was known at the time).
Three years in the ‘Zone’ provided him with a trip visit to each and every country south of US.
Fortunately, being a fluent Spanish speaker made travel in and around South America an easy fit. He applied and was accepted to the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Journalism.
There were many other short and difficult assignments, such as being on the spearhead invasion landing of Grenada. A brief combat incursions in Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan, and in the Middle East.
Rick’s travels have been remarkable in ways most of us could not even imagine. On any occasion he might meet the Queen Mother as she met with the press in London, and yet on several occasions find himself in a foreign jail cell, often isolated and threatened with charges of espionage.
All toll Rick has traveled to 72 countries, and embraced some of the world’s most beautiful images with his image hungry eyes. He has always felt the world simply presented itself and that he simply showed up with his camera gear. He has tasted the most incredible flavors dished up by some of the worlds finest chefs and yes, picked roaches out of the ‘Moosh’ that was fed him as breakfast in a Peruvian dungeon.
Over a 30 year period. Rick has been published in more than 2,000 Newspapers around the world.
Including, one-hundred forty magazines, like Time, Newsweek, LIFE, Readers Digest, Stern and Koko Fan.
His awards and decorations are far too many to list. The Air Force ‘Air Medal’ air combat. The Meritorious Record Highest Flight photographer 88,460 feet. The prestigious “Darryl Winters” award for excellence.
Since 2009, Rick was Cosmologist Stephen Hawking’s personal photographer whenever he was in the US. Sadly, Hawking has recently passed.
Most recently, Rick is working on a motion picture, “The Midas Eye” and a documentary “Firelight” (working title).
Some of his work can be found at http://rocketmanfive4.wixsite.com/rickdiazphotography/
See you there!
Reminder: Parking is limited to the metered spots or pay lots... a three (3) minute walk to the California Center for Digital Arts