Past Tense: California

8 Apr 2019 TALKS

Past Tense: California

Featuring: Veronica Chambers, Teresa Zabala

Presented By

The New York Times

Sunday, April 28th | 3.30PM – 4.30PM

Meet at The Studio, across the Park from Annenberg Space For Photography.

Let us know you are attending, by registering here.

Please note that seating is first come first served.

All talks are free and are open to all.

Past Tense: California is the first project from the archival storytelling project of The New York Times. As we digitize some six million photo prints in our files, dating back more than 100 years, we are using those images to bring the events and characters of the past to life in the present.

Make sure to also check out Past Tense: California Exhibition at Photoville LA.


Veronica Chambers is a journalist and editor who leads the archival storytelling team at The New York Times. She is the editor of a new anthology titled Queen Bey: A Celebration of the Power and Creativity of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Her other books include: Mama’s Girl, a critically acclaimed memoir, and co-wrote Yes, Chef with Marcus Samuelsson and 32 Yolks with Eric Ripert. Born in Panama, and raised in Brooklyn, she speaks, reads and writes Spanish. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @vvchambers.


Teresa Zabala was born in Salinas, California in 1938. She graduated from U.C.L.A. with a degree in Art History, but found herself more enamored of photography and spent a year at the ArtCenter College of Design. Teresa got her first job photographing for the Monterey Herald, and went on to work at Record American (which later became the Boston Herald) before becoming a full time photographer at the San Francisco Examiner and eventually landing at The New York Times covering Washington as a staff photographer. These days, she spends her time traveling for pleasure and photographing as a freelancer.


With Past Tense, a new archival storytelling project ofThe New York Times, we are mining our vast photo library for vivid narratives and compelling characters from the past. To begin, we looked to California. What can we see through the long lens of history, and how did distance shape our coverage across the 20th century?

The images in this project reveal a state where history, memory, hard facts and emotional truth connect and collide. To enhance these photographs’ value as artifacts and research tools, we are presenting these images with some of the “metadata” from the reverse side of each print.

Since 1851, The New York Times has been on the ground reporting stories from around the globe that no one else was telling. How we tell those stories has changed, but our mission to seek the truth and help people understand the world has remained constant.