Monthly Archive for May, 2009

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david plummer – maison de la chance

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David Plummer

Maison De La Chance

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In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,

Every spring it blossoms anew:

Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that.

The consul banged the table and said,

“If you’ve got no passport you’re officially dead”:

But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;

Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:

Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

Extracts from W.H. Auden Poem; ‘Refugee Blues’.

La Maison de la Chance, The House of Good Luck, is a nickname given to a women’s refugee shelter in Calais, France. The refuge is a place of safety for trafficked women, vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

The following ID Photos were collected from the refuge between November and December of 2008 having been discarded by their owners before continuing their perilous journey to the U.K & Canada.

When taken, these ID Photos were perhaps unremarkable. Now, given the dangerous journey many trafficked women have undertaken, these photos invite us to meet them, think about them and ourselves whilst facing this issue where women are frequently forced into a situation of extreme dependency.

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David Plummer


Emerging Photographer Fund – Finalists

all i can say is that you rocked my boat……venues for young photographers may be changing drastically and unpredictably, but this new work i have seen over the last few weeks is shaking the ground of possibility for the future…..the clear authorship of these photographers who submitted EPF portfolios to BURN will become apparent to you in the coming weeks….

10 finalists have been chosen out of the over 1,000 entries for the Emerging Photographer Fund grant of $10,000….

one of these finalists will be chosen by a jury of peers as the 2009  EPF grantee….

the funding for the EPF comes from generous donors to BURN and the  Magnum Cultural Foundation , a non-profit wing of Magnum Photos Inc.

the essays of these 10 authors will be revealed  here on BURN, one by one,  in the coming weeks leading up to the announcement of the grant recipient at the Look3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Virginia in June…that comes out to i think 2 essays per week up until announcement day…each essay will be labeled as a FINALIST…i should be able to start publishing the finalists starting May 15, this coming Friday….in other words, each week you will know of two more finalists….

i have chosen a prestigious 5 person jury of peers to select the EPF grantee from the 10 finalists….i will not be on this jury….one juror is  from Magnum..the other 4 were selected from a wide demographic spectrum of our craft and our art….these jurors will be identified at the same moment as the announcement of the 2009  EPF recipient….

there were a solid 200 very competitive portfolios out of the 1000 entries…..these top 200 will be published on BURN throughout the year….these portfolios will be given special attention by me all year in terms of selecting prints for sale in the BURN gallery, career guidance,  recommendations to magazine editors, consideration for funded assignments here, and a general matching of photographer to venue whenever possible….

for those of you who submitted work, i give you my heartfelt thank you…with your permission, your work will be a pillar of what is published on BURN in 2009…my goal here is to launch us into leading edge publishing where the audience IS the magazine and the audience is funded by the magazine….you have proved  to me your collaboration with your  entries, i will  prove my part  by reflecting it right back to you on your BURN….

-david alan harvey



i am hitchhiking to New York today…my friend Medford is picking me up at a designated gas station and off we go for the 9 hour drive up the coast…

i could tell you that i have a book signing for my “Living Proof” at the Powerhouse arena tonight (9pm) during the New York photo fest (Book Soup) and i hope to see you there…that is actually true…(by the way Living Proof now in the MOMA book store…kinda cool i for my guys in the South Bronx)

HOWEVER, the more REAL TRUTH is that i must get to the city just in time to try and save the Kibbutz space…the BURN gallery space…

my old loft space and hopefully now your gallery space….a space for showing your work….a space for selling some of your prints……yes, there will be two sleeping spaces in this loft, but all of my personal effects are gone and the walls will be only for your work…the loft will be so “decorated” as to be clearly a gallery….and the loft can also serve as the BURN HOTEL should you be in New York and need a place to crash…

i always have quite a bit of drama in my life, but never more than now….this movie is full of suspense….and you are in this movie…..i often dream of “no drama”, but somehow that just isn’t going to happen…

thanks quite literally to your generous and timely donations, we might just save the Kibbutz by literally hours….no joke..landlords in New York do not wait….

we, yes WE ,need this space not only for your gallery presentations but as a BURN office … i can edit and do most things from my laptop from anywhere, but this ends up being so so stressful and not sustainable in the long run…

BURN needs a real home….

and while the view from the Kibbutz is fantastic, i do not think anyone would describe this small space as extravagant…this space rents out right now to me for $2000. per month…i would like to tell you that i could afford it out of my back pocket, but i cannot…i am struggling along with everyone else in this global financial downturn…as a matter of fact, if i ever wanted to re-live my poor college days, i am pretty darned close…as a student i always loved the stories of starving struggling artists and i have managed to live out that fantasy!!! but, forget my personal woes….this is about US… we must try to survive in this clime….perhaps even thrive in this clime…we do have SOME things going for us…a very popular venue and all of our collected works…and collected ENERGY!!!

ok, practical stuff is HAPPENING…

Anton and i are now scrambling to make the very best showing of BURN for the Look3 festival….we are going to use video programs, not slide show programs, to create a totally cool hi def minute and a half to two minute “best of BURN” show…we are getting a major donation of time and effort and technology from one of Anton’s friends in Belgium……i am editing for this now….and writing a the way, writing a script for a two minute show is harder than if i had an hour..but i do not….besides, two minutes just perfect….

in addition, Mike Courvoisier and i are building a more traditional but effective slide show of the EPF finalists…the organizers of Look3 have given me a center stage prime time slot at this festival for BURN…15 minutes…BURN SHOW, EPF finalists announcements…..our logo will appear on the brochures…BURN will be hot at Look3..or, rather should be hot if we can make it hot…or not!!!…right this minute if you saw me you would not think that this is a man who can pull off anything anytime soon….i wonder too….hmmmmmm

by the way, it took me literally weeks to finally push the “publish” button here on BURN for donations…i am totally averse to asking anyone ever for money…i just cannot do it….never could…my parents raised me with a different value system to a fault…all these years as a professional photographer, i always had to have someone else actually ask a client for my fee…hence Magnum….my tendency is to give rather than sell…but finally, out of sheer desperation, and being leaned on by everyone on the planet to have a donate button, i did it….simple survival….

to say thank you to all of you who have just contributed to BURN is not enough….i actually do not know what to say or to write….overwhelmed with gratitude sounds trite even though i am…hmmmmm, how about something like , ok friends with this vote of confidence from you , i am really going to bust it….and make it very clear to you that your contribution is an investment for you and for all of us…make it very clear to you that it was worth it…i promise to make it more than worth it for you…damn, now that sounds like some kind of weird campaign promise or something and i do not like that either…well, ok just thank you…(by the way, i am going to have a CPA draft a complete accounting of all funds coming in and will report all of this to donors by the end of the year…make sense??)

now, that is not the end of this dramatic feature movie….as soon as Look3 is over , i am going to make a rough list of what pictures i know that you have for the BURN gallery (we can have another name if you want)….selecting photographs for the gallery will be tricky, but we will have an online version as well….while we are producing the BURN show, please look at your work very carefully..find one or two or three photographs that you think would work on someone’s wall..this is a very different edit than you might do for another purpose…think think…study the market…think think

for my part, i am also in the process of creating some limited edition books, and maybe work on a handmade book or two over several months….profits from these will be in part used to support BURN as well…you may want to be thinking about what you could do in this regard ….i will do a post on limited editions at some point soon….

ok, now i must go….a long long drive ahead….IF you happen to be in New York please come to see me tonight in Dumbo at the Powerhouse Arena, 9-11pm…Book Soup…several authors signing….cold beer at the BURN GALLERY after, so come and check out OUR space…

please enjoy your day…..thank you again…big high fives all around!!!

cheers, david

rodrigo cruz – the promised land

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Rodrigo Cruz

The Promised Land

Every year, thousands of Central Americans from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras illegally enter Mexico via the southern border with the goal of reaching the United States in search of a better life. The journey is long and full of dangers, traveling for days as they cross the country atop the “beast”, as they call the train that takes them to Mexico’s northern border.

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Rodrigo Cruz


marc davidson – my daughter’s question



My Daughter’s Question by Marc Davidson

We buried the remains of a family dog today. It must have reminded our four year old daughter Laurence of last summer when we buried my father’s remains.

Laurence has a vague understanding of death, or “going back to nature” as we have explained it to her; she knows Grandpa Davidson was in a building when a plane crashed and now he is back with nature.

But today was a new kind of question. A why question. A why question we didn’t know how to answer.

“Daddy, why didn’t the pilot watch for your dad?”

This diptych of my father’s remains are  part of a long term project which began with an essay I did for David’s At Home Loft Workshop in September, 2008. David’s hope for us was to start an idea in class that we would continue after the workshop; an idea that would take us to the next level. My idea was Zero Ground, an essay on 9/11 and the identification and burial of my father’s remains who died in the World Trade Center.

The image on the right is my father’s identification card which was recovered from Ground Zero in December 2001. In June 2008, my father’s remains were identified using the latest DNA techniques and the image on the left is my brother Adam, holding a piece of my father’s rib.

And so, Zero Ground has led me to “Shared September”; a project on the effects of 9/11 which I am currently working on and hope to complete for the 10 year anniversary in 2011.


Website: Marc Davidson


yalda pashai-f – in protest


In Protest by Yalda Pashai-F


I am a 20 year old photography student currently studying at Ryerson University in Toronto  where I learn to express my opinions and inner feelings through image-making. Born in Iran, I always believed in freedom and equality. In this spirit, I participated with the protest to close down the School of the Americas funded by the U.S. Army, located in Fort Benning, Georgia. The protesters are composed of various peacemakers and are here dressed as the dead. This particular image is from a series based on this protest.

(editors note:  Yalda is a  student assistant for the Magnum workshops going on now  during the Contact Photography Festival in Toronto….i may also publish some of the best from all 6 workshops running  now.     -david alan harvey)


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Yalda Pashai


lori vrba – safekeeping

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Lori Vrba


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Safekeeping: the act of keeping safe or the state of being kept safe; protection; care; custody.

I’ve spent the last year exploring the desire to protect that which is, or is perceived to be, vulnerable or sacred. As a mother to three young children I am present not only to the maternal urge to lock away the sensuality of a young girl or the exposed emotions of an adolescent boy, but also that they, like all humans, have feelings, secrets, treasures, and relationships that are for safekeeping. Innocence, love, memories… even the earth itself is vulnerable. With this project, I am examining what we want to protect, how we do that and when it is simply impossible. I love exploring this idea with the camera, given that a photograph is, in and of itself, safekeeping: holding a parcel of time.

I work in medium format black and white film, which I process myself.  I print each image in a traditional wet darkroom on 16X20 fibre based paper, which I then tone in tea and selenium.


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Lori Vrba

dima gavrysh – uganda’s forgotten war

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Dima Gavrysh

Uganda’s Forgotten War

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For over two decades a sectarian rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its infamous leader, Joseph Kony, have been waging a war against the Ugandan people and government, burning villages, mutilating civilians, and abducting children. Based in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the LRA has continued to terrorize northern Uganda since the late 1980’s, forcing millions of people to abandon their homes for dire conditions of internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.

The ongoing warfare became one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts and one of the most underreported crises in the world. The LRA has been known for particularly brutal mutilation of the civilians, and an uncounted number of people who survived an encounter with the LRA guerrillas had their limbs, ears, and noses cut off. Terrified by the prospect of being killed, abducted, or tortured, most villagers in northern Uganda prefer the squalid conditions of the IDP camps, and by the present time an entire generation has been born and raised in IDP camps and has never seen their own village. People in the affected area have been helped by Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), who provide health care, rehabilitate and run hospitals, battle epidemics, carry out vaccination campaigns, and offer mental healthcare, easing the existence for the refugees.

Children have suffered disproportionately in this conflict, and they are one of the most striking symbols of the violence in the region. Over 20,000 children have been abducted by the LRA during the conflict, for use as soldiers, porters, and sex slaves. An unknown number has been killed. As a result, every night tens of thousands of children stream into towns and centers of larger IDP camps to seek shelter for the night. Various humanitarian organizations set up shelters, such as the Noah’s Ark shelter in the town of Gulu, that provide a safe place for the so called “night commuters” to spend the night. As the darkness falls, slender shapes wrapped in blankets fill the floor of plastic tents that serve as communal bedrooms. Before the sun rises in the morning, children gather their belongings and return home, surviving another night.

A fragile truce was established between the Ugandan government and the LRA in 2006, and the 1.6 million people from approximately 200 camps began drifting toward home. The reports of various human rights violations, including killings, mutilations, abductions, and sexual violence are still not uncommon; however, as peace talks progressed in 2007 and LRA fighters left northern Uganda, people continued to return to their villages or smaller camps.


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Dima Gavrysh


michal daniel – in your face

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Michal Daniel

In Your Face

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Rules. “Don’t stare, don’t point,” said mom. 
”Ask permission before making pictures,” say others.

That’s not for me. I want to get as close a look as I can, right in your face if possible, without you paying me any mind. If I can make a picture while you’re doing what you’re doing, unguarded, even though I’m right there in your face, that’s my goal.

But working with a visible camera impacts the scene. Not only can it irritate people, overt camera use also alters the entire existing dynamic, often destroying the very moment one wishes to record, before it is recorded. So my intention is to record the moments, while leaving everyone be, without them feeling observed.

Hard to do. Few succeeded like Walker Evans did, his camera hidden under his overcoat, lens peeking through a button hole. But even Evans kept his distance and could not get in people’s faces without his intent being noticed.

In 2001, after a quarter of a century of trying to be invisible with a standard camera, I finally found the perfect photographic tool which I use to this day: a plastic digital camera that fits on a digital organizer. The camera and organizer are now obsolete and the camera’s highest resolution — 640×480 pixels – is today the lowest resolution on the market.

640× is where I put my keepers.

“Don’t mind me, just organizing here,” is what I exude in the process of picture making.

The Eyemodule2 — or “eyemod” as I call it and its output — is small, silent, and doesn’t resemble a camera. It’s just a bump on my PDA. When I use it, I look like I have a reason to be holding it, staring down at it, in the palm of my hand — a reason having nothing to do with photography. I behave as if completely absorbed with digital organizing, paying no attention to the people I photograph. To them, I simply seem like any other self-absorbed pedestrian.

I do love the digital Brownie “personality” of this camera, its color palette, tight dynamic range, near pinhole depth of field and the softness of its cheap lens. When enlarged to wall size, the eyemod prints start to resemble watercolor paintings. But all that is secondary. Most importantly, the tool helps me achieve my primary goal: recording people’s unguarded public selves, from the nearest proximity possible, while unnoticed, and leaving them to continue, undisturbed.

In the introduction to Walker Evans’ book Many Are Called, James Agee wrote of our guards: “Only in certain waking moments of suspension, of quiet, of solitude, are these guards down, and these moments are only rarely to be seen by the person himself, or by any other human being.”

This is my collection of some of these unguarded moments.


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Michal Daniel



bevis fusha – crying communist



Crying Communist by Bevis Fusha


It has been some time now that numerous believers of Communism, from the former dictatorial regime, practice an annual ritual. Every October 16th, they gather and pay respects to the grave of former Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha. The grave itself is located in the city’s cemetery, together with common people’s graves. It has suffered vandalism continuously and now has been reconstructed with a cement block on top to protect it. The majority of the people who come to pay respects are members of the Communist party, former officers and officials, retired individuals. All of these individuals have a longing for the Communism era. The majority of these people show some psychological imbalance, which is seen in their humanizing of this historical figure that Enver Hoxha left behind. They speak openly and with passion about their belief that those times under his leadership were golden times and the best period for socialist Albania. None of them like the fierce capitalism that has prospered in Albania the last 15 years.


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Bevis Fusha


michael francis mcelroy – bullshit


Bullshit by Michael Francis McElroy


From a series of portraits in Tuscarawas County, Ohio


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Michal Francis McElroy