“BeachGames”. Playa del Carmen. Fact or fiction? I’m at home now going through all that I shot recently in Mexico. Assembling a sequence. Writing a novella with pictures. It’s the same as writing a song or short story. It’s not simply about each single picture, but how they all come together as a photo essay. How to tweak the imagination? I stopped my BeachGames zine over a year ago thinking I was finished. I thought since it was a zine I’d do it fast. Yet after I made a layout/dummy, I saw that even though BG was only going to be about 25 pictures, it was going to be harder than if it was a book of 100. Shorter does not mean easier. Quite the contrary. E.B. White’s ” Elements of Style” always in my head. Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea” and “A Clean Well Lighted Place” always hanging over me. Sofia Cuppola’s ” Lost in Translation” and Nan Goldin’s “Ballad of Sexual Dependency” always benchmarks. While pure documentary has been a big part of my life and work, in recent years I’ve put high value and effort into “fiction” storytelling as the only way to really tell the truth. Yet in the freedom of fiction there can’t be one single note off key. No editors to blame if it’s not right. No gatekeepers. It’s weird. I may wish for “acceptance” as we all do, yet I am not trying to appease anyone. Take it or leave it. Yet I still must get it right. I’m editing in the opposite environment of the shooting. Home alone. No party. Winter. Bliss. Fire in the belly.
Author Archive for david alan harvey
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During the recent electronic music fest in Playa del Carmen, México revelers would dance all night and into the morning. As many of you know, I lived in a small condo with 5 young Mexicans who were spending a couple of weeks here in celebration of their graduation from Activa photo school where we’d all met and become friends. They were my primary focus for continued shooting on my BeachGames zine to be published this fall by BurnBooks. I too am hypnotized by the electronic beats and the “spring break” atmosphere. All perfect for shooting the game. The game everyone plays, yet symbolized on the beach as a stage. I’m missing my Mexican amigos. We bonded. Again, family. Bonding is about intensity not about the amount of time spent together. One of the things I love most about my life in photography is the ability to immerse myself into situations I just wouldn’t be in at all if I were not a photographer. I don’t feel comfortable photographing people I don’t know. Eye contact is the real first handshake. The beat, it’s all about the beat.
Family. My number one favorite photo subject since I was 12. Immediate family the priority as here, yet when I travel I tend to create new “families” or take my immediate family with me. My cinematographer son Bryan here shoots Michelle and Lyla and he started going on assignments with me worldwide when he was about 8. This whole crew will be on the photo workshop scene upcoming in March in Puerto Rico. See link in my IG profile. Michelle runs my workshop program and Bryan has produced two docs on me for NatGeo TV as well as projects like Oprah’s BELIEF series. Happy Birthday Bryan! @bryanharveyfilms . Join my photo workshop in Puerto Rico if intense mentoring is for you. I’ll also be shooting on my BeachGames book as I critique 12 students working on individual photo essays. Portfolio review required and FT call interview. I always select an international eclectic group. I have a hard time leaving this porch to travel, yet it’s easier if I take everybody with me! It’s a family affair. See link in profile.
A rainy night adios in Old San Juan, PR. I return to Puerto Rico in mid March to continue my last shooting this spring for my BeachGames book and to do a workshop. See link in IG profile. I’ve shot in Puerto Rico for one reason or another for many years and love both people and place. So much of my career has been spent shooting in Latin America and I feel as much at home there as I do at home. My Spanish isn’t all that great but locals pretend to understand me with a smile. My books Cuba and Divided Soul were born from my immersion into the Spanish cultural diaspora. For any emerging photographer interested in me as a mentor, this is the workshop to join. Why here? Because I’m shooting too and my students always tell me they learn most when they see how I work first hand. Each student develops her/his own essay of course. I squeeze the most I can out of each student. If you come, come to work. Yes also the most fun of your life. Portfolio review required. Skype interview helpful for all. One work/study position open for a Puerto Rican national. Link in IG profile. Liaryz in this photo is rushing in the rain to meet her boyfriend but turns to say goodbye. We had just met that day and I’d used her as a model for a Fujifilm campaign. We became friends. One of the side benefit rewards of being a photographer is all the truly fascinating people we meet. By digging for pictures we gain and learn so much more. My formal education pales by comparison to my life on the road education. Now the road leads back. I look forward with warm heart to meeting Liaryz again and all my other Puerto Rican friends. The big big warm ❤
This cat has at least 3 names. Everyone calls him something different. He’s “Mr Darcy” to some , “Earl Grey” for others, and in Spanish recently named “Gordo”. Even though he is a he, I tend to talk to both of my male cats as if they were females, calling them sweetheart or darling. For sure I spoil both and treat them regularly to tuna steaks that are intended for the grill. They prefer outside to inside and I observe them as wild animals. They were born in an upstairs bedroom and I was the midwife making sure all 4 found their milk source. Their mother Simone rejected them as adults and she moved down the street occasionally showing up to see if they are still here. She’s never forgiven me for keeping them. She will however share a resplendent gourmet food bowl. I’m just trying to keep peace in the family.
Sometimes I just take pictures from wherever I am sitting having a coffee. I shoot everyday my home environment. After weeks of run and gun I’m not moving.
Less than a week ago I was shooting all night beach party pictures in Mexico. Now I’m in the fog in the quiet forlorn bleak winter beauty of the outer banks NC. Oh yeah 2 days of Rome are within this same week. Whew! So yea I’m into soft non moving shapes that are right around me..yet every bit as emotional as the hot sexy party scene I immersed myself in for 2 weeks for BeachGames. I’ll post tomorrow on IG Stories a selection of pictures from Playa del Carmen. So now I’m at home and time to reflect before I head off to Cuba and then my workshop in Puerto Rico. I’m addicted to home. I’m addicted to the road. Typical Gemini. My recommendation to all those I mentor is to shoot what’s around them. Both physically and psychologically. To speak any language eloquently you must have something to say.