Author Archive for burn magazine

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yurian quintanas nobel – happy nothing

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Yurian Quintanas Nobel

Happy Nothing

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The desert represents decay and death. There is a scarcity of water and shade, extreme temperatures, and a lack of resources for humans to survive on. At the same time there is a long tradition of the desert as a place of healing, both physically and spiritually. With the Californian desert as a background, “Happy Nothing” delves into the lives of its inhabitants and its secrets. Here is where ex-convicts, war veterans, retirees and people that for some reason have decided to stay outside of society live. In these towns there is no running water, the houses are in ruins, the streets unpaved, no street lighting, there are no supermarkets or entertainment infrastructures, but despite living in these conditions, they call it the Paradise.

Consumerism, competitiveness and success are symbols of happiness in the First World, but is it real happiness? Are we happier the more material goods we have? Or perhaps happiness is measured by the amount of time we have to appreciate the world around us?



Yurian Quintanas Nobel was born in Amsterdam in 1983. He is currently living in Catalunya Yurian. His personal photographic projects focus on documenting people and their environment. After studying a specialization course in photojournalism at IDEP (Barcelona), he had the opportunity to assist recognized photographers from National Geographic including Tino Soriano and Annie Griffiths Belt.

In the last years Yurian has won awards and fellowships including: the 1st prize of the Vanguardia Magazine, (2007), the scholarship of the “XIII International Meetings Gijon photojournalism” (2009), and an honorable mention in the “Travel Photographer of the Year” (2011).


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Kuukpik River

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This morning about 6:00 AM, Jonah Nukapigak put out a net on the Kuukpik River for the first time this season. He had hoped to catch a good number of the big whitefish called anaaqliq so he could prepare them for the whale feast tomorrow . He went back this evening with his nephew Isaiah came along to help. There was only one fish and the net was filled with silt, so he pulled it. He will put it back out in July. Once the season is underway, he will typically catch 30 to 40 a day. The Kuukpik is also known as the Coleville River.#kuukpik #colevilleriver #nuiqsut #arctic #alaska

Freezer in the Earth

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To anyone who may have wondered where one finds a freezer big enough to store a whale in, this is where: in the earth, which here is permafrost, frozen all the time. Each crew digs its own hole deep into the frost, widened out a bit at the bottom. Bruce Nukapigak descended into the ice cellar via a ladder and then began to tie boxes of frozen bowhead maktak and meet which is pulled to the surface by other crewmembers on top. In recent years in some villages, a new problem has arisen: ice sellers have begin to milk in the summertime. Some have been ruined altogether. Then they have to find other places where the permafrost still appears to be more stable and dig new holes. I have taken many pictures this afternoon, but there is no wireless available on the Nalukataq grounds and I have been too busy to post and write even if there had been. It is already time for me to go back for the evening events – the blanket toss and the Eskimo dance. These will not conclude until early tomorrow morning sometime so I don’t think I will post any more today. I will post a couple more of today’s images tomorrow. This is @billhess for @burndiary in Nuiqsut, Alaska. #bowhead #nalukataq #icecellar#maktak #nuiqsut #alaska #arctic

The Flag

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Right at midnight, the crew hung the flag over the village baseball field, which then became the place of Nalukataq. The EMN crew was started by the late Edward Maniksaq Sr and his late wife Ruth in 1957. Family members believe the lower flag may have been sewn in that same year by Ruth. It has flown over many whales and those whales have fed many Arctic Slope Iñupiat, for whom the whale remains the most important and cherished part of their diet, the heart and soul of their culture. A picture of the late Edward and Ruth standing in front of a bowhead adorns the back of the dark jacket just under the “N.” #nalukataq #flag#bowheadwhale #whaling #iñupiat #nalukataq #arctic#nuiqsut #alaska

Bowhead Meat and Maktak

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About a week ago, EMN crew members cut bowhead meat and maktak (skin and blubber) into strips and pieces, placed them in these buckets in this cool, unheated room and came back every now and then to stir the mix and let the air in. It is now fermented mikigaq and is ready to be served at the feast. It is tart and tangy and in my opinion, delicious. Back in the 80′s when I was following the crew of the late Jonathan Aiken, Sr., better known by his Iñupiaq name, Kunuk, mikigaq was sometimes brought to camp and I could not stop eating it. Kunuk looked at me, smiled and said “Eskimo Bill!” That felt really good. #mikigaq #bowhead#bowheadwhale #nalukataq #nuiqsut #arctic #alaska

claire harbage – i sometimes dream of devils

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Claire Harbage

I Sometimes Dream of Devils

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The young adults of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico are navigating a thin line between hope and hopelessness. They strive to leave the poverty and inequality that faces their society, yet are constantly exposed to a barrage of wealth with the influx of tourism and American expatriates. For these young people, engaging in formal employment will never allow them access to the lifestyles they see. Often they are consumed by their own ambitions and desires. Some make it out. Others are attracted to overindulgence and escapism, seeking easy money and brotherhood through gangs and cartels.

On good nights in San Miguel de Allende the air is heady with laughter, music, lights, parties. Worries drown in the overwhelming beats of the clubs, flashing strobes, energizing and uplifting drugs.


Some nights the darkness is too deep to escape.

Teeth grind and shatter as the devils haunt their dreams.

The lives that were taken by force return on these nights.


The sweet song of the drug cartels sounded good once.

Money, wealth, power, friends.



The dreamcatcher

the cross

the amulets

even the gun

can’t save you from the dark.


The night is all-consuming.


This essay was photographed from 2012 -2013 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It captures the experiences of a number of different young adults ages 19-28. I prefer not to share their names for their own privacy and safety and so not to implicate all of them in the same deeds and experiences. I see this piece as a document that describes a lifestyle not so far from many American young adults, and yet with much more dangerous choices. I would like people to understand more about the difficult decisions that young people are faced with, while still maintaining hope for the future. There are no captions for added anonymity of people and places.



Claire Harbage (b. 1986) is a visual storyteller. She currently works as a teaching assistant at Maine Media Workshops in the summer and an Adjunct Instructor at Ohio University’s Department of Visual Communication during the year. She recently attended the New York Portfolio review in April 2014. She was awarded a number of fellowships at Ohio University while completing her dual MA in Photography and African Studies for studying the Wolof language of West Africa. The university also funded her field work for upcoming multimedia project Dakar: Rap-city which is still in progress. Claire plays the banjo poorly and wishes she was more musically talented.


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I planned to cook oatmeal after I finished that first coffee I mentioned, but Margie and Lynx still slept, so I decided to go to Abby’s instead – under my own leg power. Enroute, this Cessna passed overhead. My own little Citabria was still whole and in good flying condition the first time I set out to photograph the Cross Island bowhead hunt of the Iñupiat Iñuit of Nuiqsut. The Citabria is not an IFR plane and I had to land south of the Brooks Range to wait out bad weather. By the time I finally reached the coast, the hunters had just struck and killed their last whale. I landed at Prudhoe Bay’s Deadhorse airport, found a fellow willing to sit in the backseat of the tiny Citabria and then flew out over the ocean and found the whalers about 20 miles out, towing the bowhead to the island. I dropped down very low over the boats and the whale and then, each time I would make a pass over, had the fellow in the backseat hold the stick while I took pictures. “Cheated death again!”he muttered after I got him safely back to Deadhorse. I went on to publish a 96-page essay on Nuiqsut in Uiñiq magazine that included the aerials and the aftermath of the hunt, plus a lot of other stuff, but not the Cross Island hunt itself. Last September, 20 years later, I finally returned and covered the hunt start to finish. This is why I had planned to go to Nuiqsut this week – to photograph the Nalukataq – the whale feast. Then that guy rammed me with his big Ford truck and put the whole shoot into question. This is @billhess posting for @burndiary from Wasilla, Alaska. #airplane #wasilla #alaska

Alec Soth


At Abby’s

At Abby's

At Abby’s, I ordered a half pound cheeseburger, onion rings and Pepsi. Scrumptious! Abby makes the best cheeseburger and onion rings in Wasilla. The waitress then asked if I wanted a piece of pie and of course I did, but normally I would say “better not.” Today, after the bike ride, I said “okay but just a small piece.” So she served me half a piece of chocolate cream pie with coffee. It tasted so good I had to have the other half, too. I then decided I had to pedal another 5 miles to make up for it. I stepped to the counter to pay and found Abby visiting with this young couple, Josh and… and… and… Damn! I forgot! They had just showed her some pictures of their pig, which they had got at six weeks old and it was really cute and they really loved it. Once it gets old enough and big enough, they plan to kill it, butcher it and eat it. They won’t feel bad, they said, the pig is being given a lot of love as it lives and because of this it will taste even better. Once I got back on my bike and started to pedal, I realized my leg muscles were growing stiff and a bit sore. Just a short while ago, I was mostly bedridden for three months and I still have always to go, so decided I had better not push it too hard, too fast. I added only another mile and a half to my 15 mile bike ride, not 5 miles. I think that was enough for now. This is Bill Hess, @billhess, posting for @burndiary from Wasilla, Alaska. #abbyshomecooking #pig #wasilla#wasilla #restaurant

1966 Norfolk, Virginia


1966 Norfolk, Virginia. Hot summer. I lived with this family and published a small book Tell It Like It Is. Book sale price at the time $2. Money was to go for aid to poor. The reprinting this fall will also include the 38 contact sheets to make it valuable as a work book for young photographers . I was 22 when I made this work.

School Bus

Burn Magazine

When school got out for summer vacation two or three weeks ago, almost all the Frequent School Buses disappeared. But now they are back – not as many nor as furiously frequent as before. Summer school, I guess, plus various athletic, scholastic and church camps young people get involved in during the summertime. I came upon this frequent School Bus as I walked about this neighborhood. Being a shy but friendly person, I shyly gave a friendly wave as the bus passed me by. As you can see, no one waved back. Some of my regular followers may remember what might have been the last frequent school bus I posted just before summer vacation. High overhead way above the bus a jet flew by and I waved – not at the bus because it was empty of students, but at the jet. And the pilot waved back. You could see the wave through the cockpit window clear as day. Yet, these students could not even wave at me. No, not a single one of them waved. But the pilot did. She smiled, too. This is Bill Hess @billhess posting from Wasilla, Alaska, on the second day of my Burn Diary week.


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Photo by Bill Hess. I did visit Scot’s grave, as Carmen suggested. A short distance away, I found this grave marked by no plaque, no stone, no identification – marked only by grief and love.

Frontline Position

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Photo by Cengiz Yar Jr. @hfwh for @burndiary. Photo: A Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG) fighter stands guard at a frontline position in the war against The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Rojava Syria.

kerry payne stailey – the children (i never had)



‘The Children (I Never Had)’ explores the bloody battle of infertility, of hope and loss, played out monthly by women everywhere in their fruitless quest to become mothers. Our year of reproductive discontent was poetic and confronting and bittersweet, so like the melancholy I carry for the babies I did not. These are the children I imagined would be ours, and the menstrual blood that defied us, every twenty eighth day.


I was not called to be a mother
all the years I might have been.

now there is him
and in his eyes I see them,
the children I never had.

calendars turn
a battle of wills

forgive me, love
my body has won.

so quietly
we grieve
the babies I bleed.



Kerry Payne Stailey is an Australian photographer based in New York City. She is drawn to the healing power of photography – a tool she uses for exploring and acknowledging emotions as guides to the path of happiness. Her long term project “Left Behind” probes the complicated grief facing those left behind when somebody they love dies by suicide.


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Photo by Cengiz Yar Jr. @hfwh for @burndiary. Photo: Fire engulfs a wheat field in northeastern Syria’s Rojava province. With limited resources entering the primarily agrarian economy of Rojava Syria because of the war, crop fires such as this can cripple a community.


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Partially Destroyed Mosque

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Photo by Cengiz Yar Jr. @hfwh for @burndiary. Photo: A Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) fighter walks atop a partially destroyed mosque used as a frontline lookout position in the war against The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Rojava Syria.