Author Archive for david alan harvey

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Oaxaca, Mexico. A farmer in the Central Valley .This was the opening photograph from my NatGeo piece “Song of Oaxaca” and will be a part of an upcoming book by the same name. Oaxaca is magic, both the place and the people. One of my favorite places to photograph. There are 17 indigenous languages in Oaxaca state. I’ve been shooting off and on in Oaxaca for 20 years or so, mentored photo students in workshops, and will be going back again in the spring. Mexico in general has always drawn me in. I can never quite get enough. #oaxaca #mexico #velvia



November. Really? 80 degrees F is not what we expect this time of year in the outer banks. I’m off soon to shoot in Puerto Rico yet I won’t be going to escape the cold. I would kill myself on a skateboard. None of my friends or family have suggested I try it. Yet I love to watch as I do all board riding art. The breeze blows now warm off the water and dunes. An early sunset belies feelings of summer past.#obx #fujifilm #skateboarding

Elevator going up or down?


We all use our Instagram feeds in different ways. For me it’s simply a daily diary. Sometimes it’s a continuous photo essay if I’m full on into a story and other times it’s just whatever is happening around me in my daily life. Rarely a day goes by when I’m not shooting. So if this feed jumps from retro documentary Maya pictures to this continued experiment with my fiction series on games people play it’s because I’m at home working on my archive and then take a bit of time out to make a new picture. Working in the past and present simultaneous works for me psychologically. I’ve always referenced. So past, present, future is one large tableau in my head. Documentary photography explains clearly and fiction work leaves you hanging wondering suspecting curious and perhaps uncomfortable. So this picture does link with others in the series yet viewers won’t see it all together until it’s a book. I make one piece at a time yet move the pieces around like a painter changes a painting or a writer scribbles then tweaks then edits then throws it all out and starts again. It’s the creative process. Not to be analyzed in a linear way. It’s this process of thinking about pictures and how they can be used in a visually literate way that I try to get those I mentor in workshops etc to think about for their own work. We all have our own way. The visceral and primal nature of photography knows no bounds. Elevator going up or down? #beachgames #fujifilm #475kent

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala


Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. Early morning finds a Maya woman doing daily washing as a fisherman paddles out. Leica M6 Kodachrome. #lakeatitlan #maya #guatemala

Surf casters


Outer Banks NC. Surf casters prefer feeling the water rush around them than fishing from a boat or pier where they would stand a better chance of catching a big fish. I was a little worried for this guy who took a pretty good wave hit here. If his chest waders filled with water he couldn’t move or float. Yet he left the beach with a bucket of red drum. He knew what he was doing. The surge of the sea knows no equal. #obx #nagshead



Outer Banks NC. This time of year is for the surf casting fishermen. 4wd vehicles have permit limited access and turtle and bird nesting areas are protected. The balance between people use and wildlife protection is often controversial here as in many places and in this case controlled by the Nat Park Service. I personally prefer to walk on the beach rather than drive on the beach, but I’m not a fisherman hauling a lot of gear and looking for that perfect spot. I too have a permit, yet rarely use it. Beach driving is fun once in awhile, yet I am already driving a car more than I want anyway. The roiling surf never ceases to fascinate . Night descends. #obx #nagshead

From “Song of Oaxaca”



Oaxaca, Mexico. From “Song of Oaxaca” a book in the making.


12190962_10156171510520022_1591456686920204472_n Chiapas, Mexico. The indigenous Maya culture runs deep in the highlands of Guatemala and into Chiapas. While tourists run all over San Cristobal de las Casas, some of the smaller villages harder to reach see few outsiders. Political turmoil has plagued Chiapas for years and the indigenous communities see themselves as apart from the Mexican government. Like most cultures of the land, it’s not always easy to get ” inside” for photos. Trust must be built. This takes awhile. I slept on the floor of this small house (no hostels) and this mother of four was making tortillas for me yet had allowed no pictures even after two days. Early one morning I saw the passerby coming to my left, I saw a moment coming, and I couldn’t resist shooting and made this one Kodachrome risking possible anger from my host. Fast eye contact. Eye contact at the right split second is always a key for me. She only smiled with this one camera click , and I didn’t shoot any more and just sat down for my breakfast of tortillas, beans, and an egg. I also had a Polaroid and later shot a picture of her family for their wall. This photo later appeared in a NatGeo story on the Maya and in my book Divided Soul (Phaidon). I’m always grateful for hospitality. Most especially in communities of the indigenous where history has created boundaries. In the end, humans are humans regardless of culture. Yet one must respect local traditions first. Then see if you can humbly make a photograph. Good intentions are always felt if sincere. #mexico #maya #chiapas

Happy bday Mom


Happy Birthday Mom  Maryanna Harvey 1919-2013. The single greatest influence on my life. Non judgmental. Inspiration to all she met. Our family glue. Her last words, ” we never have to say goodbye”. I love you forever Mom.


12190119_10156168666065022_7754790385083264111_nOaxaca, Mexico. Retro. I’ve spent many weeks in Oaxaca state and city and will spend more time shooting there very soon. My piece in NatGeo “Song of Oaxaca” will also be the book title. For years I’ve been thinking of this book. Other books jumped in front. Cuba, HipHop, Rio, Haenyeo, Tell It Like It Is.,Trying to get all of what I shoot in a book is a formidable effort. I shoot way more than I can publish. The very nature of book publishing literally means at least a year of work after all the pictures are done and in my case that’s mostly years for each project. Here a band enters a church service. Pretty normal during all Mexican fiestas. I’m mostly an available light photographer but occasionally pop in a small strobe as here. A big part of my work is simply being in position. A gringo standing in front of the church assembled with a camera and flash means I’ve made friends with both the priest and the band. I try to blend as much as possible. Move deftly. Make eye contact. Go to work. Leave with smiles and hugs. A great great way to live life !!#mexico #oaxaca