Archive for the 'dialogue' Category

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Yes, three years ago right about now I launched Burn Magazine as an evolution of my Road Trips blog. I as the publisher and curator, and out of a pool of eager helpers, Anton Kusters became the creative director/tech guru. Together Anton and I allowed Burn to evolve in its special way, flying by the seats of our pants. Chris Bickford, Tom Hyde, Erica McDonald, David McGowan ,Eric Espinosa,  and Andrew Sullivan were all on hand at my place in New York to help launch Burn. We were drinking, smoking, laughing and working really hard to make Burn a reality. Sleeping bags all over the floor. Ideas were popping up all over. Everyone contributed. Kelly Lynn James came up with the name Burn. I knew when I read it, that was it. We all did. Anton came up with a logo design I liked. Tom Hyde secured our domain name. Game on.

In the last three years on Burn (and 1 yr. prior on Road Trips)  we have given away $52,500. in grant money (tax exempt donation status through Magnum Foundation), published two limited edition print magazines Burn 01 and 02 featuring legends and emerging photographers alike, paid photographers for original work published here on Burn , and have done it all with reader support. Lean and clean. We thank you for this support.

Any help you can give Burn in 2012 would be most appreciated. If every reader here donated 50 cents a month, we would be functional in the business sense. Right now a very few of you give a whole lot. The $15,000. EPF grant that we have awarded three times and a new one coming in 2012 is supported by a handful of generous donors. Same for the payments to photographers.

My Riobook online workshop which just ran for a month with a buck99 paywall worked. This was not a profitable venture of expenses against income if you just look at it narrowly , but I learned a lot. It can only be described as a rather magical experience for all of us. It was like when we started Burn itself. Audience participation. I did what I do, yet the audience jumped in with opinions, critique, and I answered all questions put to me. Everyone was happy (almost everyone) and I was able to produce the One Night In Rio book, or at least a major part of it (see below a sample of the working wall).

Few knew about this effort , yet I still had a paying audience. With content on the net.  I think there are many ways to educate, inform, and yes entertain. I am just trying to help get some things done right in this now helter skelter world of photography. I refuse to believe that the world of serious photography is either over nor that talented photographers cannot be compensated. I might be wrong, but I will go down swinging and trying new ideas or old ideas done in a new way…Whatever works.

I do not want to be big, I just want to be good. I have had enough success now online to be able to garner nice support for my work and for Burn, yet again it is those who put in such long hours for me like Anton, and Diego, and Michelle who need just a bit of help. Burn  is a labor of love.

Frankly, a labor of love is what I want to buy!! Anytime and every time. A house, a car, a meal , you name it…if it is a handcrafted personal labor of love, I want it!!  So, that is what we do here. Our print magazines, our books , our workshops, will always be small in numbers, always limited one of a kind,  and always done with care…Sure we will make mistakes. Yet, our intent will always be a perfection.

Well, almost. To take the picture above  my good buddy at the Outer Banks  Frank Brown and I had a fun afternoon. You can imagine what led up to this shot. Hey it is Christmastime. Don’t you wish you had been there? I live in a wooden house. Need I say more? All is just fine as it turned out. Popping another cold beer, getting a little crazy, first day back home from RIO (see below) .

I truly wish all of my loyal audience the most joyful holiday please. Forget the commercial stuff. Well at least minimize. Relish your friends and your families. Stop by my place for a cold one. Some of you will. Fire going, under control, and always a nice place to hang.


Shooting here in Rio is almost over. Actually I think it is over. I only have about five days left here and those days are mostly going to be taken up with organization. Yes, there is back end organization which is just as important as the front end. Since ONE NIGHT IN RIO is coming fast, I must be constantly on it. Between now and March when the printing for the book will be done, I will have to be paying close attention to many things. The basic concept, the basic flow, sequencing, final choices, is happening now. On location.

There will be a time to reflect as well, but the raw immediacy of doing it NOW is i think a good thing. For sure making prints now and having them on the wall is a very good thing. There is no way I could think about this as a book or show from just looking at pictures on a computer screen. They are too disconnected that way even if all the “good ones” are on one folder. Not the same as the tactile experience. Even the young people around me who only really know the computer experience are looking at prints on the wall as if prints were some kind of new invention. Everybody likes hard copy.

Four weeks ago I just had RIO as a working title. I knew of course, and the purpose of this last trip, that the diary approach was what would happen. The more visually literate evolution has evolved from just daily shooting, looking at the wall, thinking things over and well just bursts of energy that turn into ideas, a print goes up , moved over here, the light comes in the window just right, somebody says something that triggers something else and bam you just know hell THAT’S IT!!  the whole book, this whole two years off and on of shooting in Rio will come down to one mythical night. Will it be a complete picture of Rio? No. It is getting narrower by the minute.  It was only about a week ago that I knew it was over. Done. Finished. The book was done. I had it. For better or worse just over.

Stuff I wish I had thought of on the first day, I am just now thinking about. Why couldn’t I have come up with some very obvious things right at the beginning? Why do I have to be at the end for some things to reveal themselves? Just doesn’t seem right, but yet that is the way it is. The way it always is. At least for me.

So a cotton candy day will turn into a mysterious night. No big deal. Not much to it. Pretty simple structure/plot. Just one book. Only one look. Not definitive. But you will know what I was thinking and it will have authorship and it did get done.



Here is just a quick sneak peak at what’s going on over at Rio Book. Honestly it is a rather amazing experience in all directions. This will never happen again. Anybody can see this is a one time event..Come on over and hang.

For those of you who have never been here before, what is happening over here is a $1.99 pay wall website where I am right now finishing up my work on a book, tentatively titled One Night In Rio. This follows a NatGeo assignment completed and also ready for publication.. Why the paywall? To test this model for others for one thing. Yes there is free content all over the web. Most of the content I produce is for free as well. However, some things are unique. We pay for uniqueness every day for everything. For a buck99 I think I am giving a one of a kind experience. Those who are there seem to think so as well. Is it as good as a one week shooting workshop? Probably not, but it is the very best explanation I could ever give for building rapport, working a situation and building out the essay concept. I could never really do this in class as I can here.

Anyway, check us out. We have almost two more weeks of live on the scene several updates per day.

Oh yes, the photo below is by Carla De Conti, a Harvard Univ photo student, who is shooting the behind the scenes pics as below. A lot going on. We hope to see you…

I take a late night shot of Candy trying to get the moon in the picture. Those are the kinds of things I try late night.





I am just getting rolling in RIO.  I have just been here a bit over a week and starting to get into a rhythm. I mean you gotta get a beat going. You can’t just be “working”. Disaster. You have to be living it. That is for work that means something to you. RIO means lots of things. RIO is hedonism, it is war, it is sex, it is fun, it is pain, it is ballet, it is good surf, it is family life, it is about being lost. And more more. Enough grist for the creative mill for sure. Anyway, I am immersed. For three more weeks.

Join me:    yes, you gotta get in for a buck99    For one thing there is some stuff i just could not show gratis on the net anyway. Listen, I don’t pay for info on the net either. This is not information. This is something that many of you can use. And amigos, it is as close to free as we could make it. For sure right now the hottest living it right now blog going. Cheapest demo workshop on the planet. Plus if you meet me in person, you know damned well I will buy the beer!!

Oh yes, almost forgot, this buck99 gets you a 10% discount on the book.

Please know that this is not any kind of crowd funding for myself.  I was on my way here anyway. Already had many weeks of funding earlier from NatGeo (story coming  2012). I am now simply using the tried and true old Magnum model of just GO. Don’t ask for an assignment. Make one. Do it.  And I just wanted to experiment with a pay wall. Perhaps as a model for others in the future. Quien sabe?

The pictures above shot in the last few days. I post several times a day. Answer as many questions as possible. My reporting to this audience IS THE ART of this part of my next book ONE NIGHT IN RIO  scheduled for spring of 2012. That is like right now. Every aspect of this is right now.  Check it out.

The surprise might be that the “making of” could become its own little book. Comments from the audience et al.

Anyway, pop on in, I have no clue what will happen next….All I know is that something either crazy, or poignant, or hot WILL happen.


cheers, David



The above collage represents my first week in Rio reporting for  For those of you who do not know, I am in Rio de Janeiro on assignment for my own book. The final chapter of my work here for the last couple of years on and off. While most of us do have an aversion to paying for information on the net, I think this lowest possible fee is for something tangible for many of you.

In fact a very low cost one month “workshop” where I am interacting with this audience while I finish up the shooting and am doing the major thinking about title , layout, and the overall feel for the book. Those of you who are interested in the photo essay and book making will benefit most. If you join us you will receive a 10% discount on the book which debuts in May of 2012.

While I am now self assigned this time in Rio, I was here prior on assignment for NatGeo Magazine which will also be published in 2012. All of the combined work from this NG assignment and my own subsidizing will be ONE NIGHT IN RIO. This now feels like I am in the process of making my best work, albeit will be controversial for some.

Why controversial? First it will not look like things I have done before. Stylistically looser. Second, some of the subject matter will be a bit edgier than my norm. Why change? Because I feel that photographers should never get stuck in their own parameter. Repeating is creative death. Besides RIO just feels loose. It feels like the collage above, which is a layout technique I never would have used for Divided Soul for example. I am NOT saying the above is the layout. I just know the layout will not look like Div Soul either. Maybe a combo. Maybe a tabloid. Thinking thinking.

ONE NIGHT IN RIO is a diary. Not fiction. Yet not a catalog of RIO either. Just one story, just one feeling. A representation of one night out that changed this author forever.  Done 99% with iPhone so far.. Join me for the final build out of  this essay. I have been here now for a week. I have three weeks to go. The work has just begun.

Beach Cowboy

Below an exerpt from:… title for the book is ( i think)  One Night in Rio …building the last chapter now

T-shirt vendor Everton Alves is known only as Cowboy on Copacabana Beach. The gold cow is part of an international street art project where the locally decorated cows are later auctioned off for charity benefit. There are 59 cows spread around Rio. Cowboy also writes songs and sometimes sings to his mostly tourist customers. He lives in Pavao-Pavaozinho, a favela that spills right down the hillside into Copacabana. Everton says “I live two minutes from here”

This is good old fashioned street photography. The kind of photography that can never be repeated and never be predicted. What not to love? I swear this kind of simple totally random spontaneous moment “discovery” of something you were not even looking for , is the secret of life as far as I am concerned. These kinds of surprises keep one young. Eager. Responsive. I do not know where this picture falls in my overall portfolio from Rio. Yet it is a keeper for now. Nothing so damned significant about it. All the journalism about it, is in that graph above.

The pleasure here is aesthetic and personal. I enjoyed meeting and to spend time talking with  Everton . Of course I bought a T-shirt. I needed one, he needed to sell one. I will meet him in the hood. Wanna know how I get where I go? This is how


photographed by Candy Pilar Godoy


Since you cannot be with us today, please join us

YOU are a star there right now. Anyway, behind the scenes today in Rio we are thinking of you. Hope I did not embarrass you. Again


Abrazos, Roberta, David, and Renata


Lance Rosenfield

Three Things ALWAYS With Me

I take a camera everywhere. On assignment of course and to the grocery store too. Everywhere. In my camera bag, in a little waterproof bag that contains my passport etc, are the three items pictured that I would never go anywhere without.

A poker chip. Yes a Harvey family designated set of poker chips for our late night family reunion poker games where I always lose. My son Erin had these made for us.

A golf tee. From my father’s last golf shot. When my brother Gary and sister Patricia went out with my father Alan, we knew it was his last game. On his final drive, I picked up the tee and have held it for the last ten years since his death.

A faux carabiner. Yup for keys etc. I use it for clipping the aforementioned bag to my camera bag. So I don’t lose it. A little gift that became a big gift from my son Bryan that has become the oldest of my good luck talismans for over 25 years.

Superstitious? No , just sentimental. Couldn’t travel without these super precious items.

What does this have to do with my photography?


Join the happening right now with me real time adventure in RIO and you will find out why


This is not much of a picture to be posting on BURN. It is only a “proof of location” picture. Yup I am at gate D16 in Miami over where everybody gets life power by plugging in their mobile devices. I am one of them. On my way to Rio and only now officially announcing my one month long reportage. My final book chapter for Rio. Two years in the making. Ok now seated on plane and I will have to turn phone off soon.

Go please to:

All should become clear..Next picture on that site upon landing.

See you soonest in Rio

Tiger Blood

© Stefanie Mueller from her essay in BURN 02


Who has tiger blood? Well, tigers have tiger blood. While drinking the blood of tigers and cobras and rhinos might be considered an aphrodisiac for some, it would seem to me that a bit of exercise, a good night’s sleep, a full moon, some good wine, and candle light might be a better way to go. My feeling is, leave wild animals alone. Reaching in vain for an elusive romantic notion has probably had everyone one of us make a mistake or two. Learning is of course the name of this game of life.

While I mostly feel I have so much to learn, I spend a whole lot of my time as a mentor. Not with huge quantities of knowledge. My only job as a mentor/teacher is to give those who seek it a solid dose of energy. Get ’em fired up. Make them THINK they drank some tiger blood. Drive them just a little bit crazy. Make sure they do their very best work..

If you think it, if you believe it, then you are 90% of the way to having it. Most of my mentoring I do gratis. One of my responsibilities on this planet. Self imposed and as pay back for being lucky. Some of my mentoring I do for a tuition. As altruistic as I tend to be, I too must face earning a living. I do not need much, but my workshops do have a tuition attached. Any astute person, and there are many here on Burn, can certainly over time get on Burn whatever I teach in a workshop.. for free. Send me a link and I am going to give a review, some thoughts,  and hopefully get you going on a project. Audrey Bardou, Panos Skoulidas, and Erica McDonald, all with significant essays published on Burn are just three examples of emerging photographers I mentor with no compensation expected.

Others here have guaranteed my time by taking a week long shooting workshop. In New York, in Thailand, in Mexico. Wherever. Education usually does cost. Books, college fees, etc. If most of us feel that education is one of our most valued commodities, then we should all be willing to consider education as worth the price, assuming the stuff that gets learned is worth it. I always try to make it worth it for those I mentor gratis just as much as to those who compensate.

So I think I will use this same model of give most away, and be compensated for the rest on my work now in RIO. I would like to take  this Burn audience vicariously with me to Rio. Yes as an educational exercise.  As reportage. This 4th trip to Rio in the last 2 years will finish my last chapter for my personal book.  I have already completed my National Geographic assignment.  I am taking you with me with daily updates as i  finish the book. How I how think about a book, and a fast paced walk on the wild side in RIO.

For it is this “behind the scenes” approach I am taking by presenting a subscribing audience with a real time real view of “this is how it is”. A  very personal look  at play that is work, and work that is play . A party, too much fun to be serious? The party, well , yes. But a serious effort? Absolutely. My whole reputation as a photographer will be on the line. The National Geographic piece will most likely be out in late spring of 2012 and my RIO book and exhibition opening in Sydney , Australia at around the same time.

The NatGeo piece will be one thing hopefully of great value for one demographic , and my personal book will be perhaps my very best work. We will see. I am feeling it. Deep down. Anyway the process , both  the physical and  the psychological,  will i think be educational for those who seek it here on Burn. We may also do a super limited  workshop experience. 2-3 students max. Details to follow.

Some of this will be regular programming here on Burn. Yet the deepest behind the scenes will be a daily updated subscriber section. For a month. Those who choose this option will get a serious discount on the book. I must work out the exact numbers formula , but the  one month subscription will be less than a cup of good coffee and the discount on an expensive book will be about 20%.

In other words for example  you invest 2 dollars for the WHOLE MONTH (that is like 6 cents per day)  for  daily how to do it updates …then later get say 20 dollars off the price of the book. Or 10 or 15 , depending on exactly how expensive a book i do..  The exact numbers are now in flux, but I will have it all locked down in about a week.

So you will  see what I am doing in Rio now for a nominal monthly fee, and save serious money if you want the book. A good deal for you and might just help me get the book done. OR don’t subscribe, don’t buy the book , and you will get much of it here anyway. No hard feelings. I am going anyway. This is going down no matter what. But of course I will try to make the behind the scenes so damned compelling, you will go for the subscription !!  Use your imagination.

My case in point, and my next big feature,  is to  see what is up in RIO through my daily picture/text postings and dialogue with you.  I am leaving in about two weeks for a month of free style rocking crazy serious shooting. Gonna be intense. Can you handle it?

Better drink some tiger blood first!! Smiling…




Everyone is trying to figure out ways for photographers to earn a living in the digi age. At Magnum we are working on this , as a member photographer I am doing the same. The main thing is to have original content. The model above , if it works, could be then used with many photographers. The readers in effect vote on content. In general, Burn in 2012 will have all content you will not have seen prior. We will pay for this of course. Hopefully with your donations which do keep us going already with EPF and original commissions as we did for Burn 02 with Paolo Pellegrin and Bruce Gilden. This is the model we want to use for everyone. This is our goal.

So our whole point, both with live “broadcasts” and with online and in print is original content. Seen first here. Perhaps a part of the new upcoming Magnum system of individual photographer “channels”. Stay tuned, more information later.

It is most likely to your personal advantage to give our small crew here at Burn your support. After all , we are only here to discover you. To find new work , from new photographers, and to light a candle as well to some icons who may lead the way for you. You will spend your earning on photography one way or another, and I can honestly say you will be doing yourself more good keeping the flames at Burn on blue hot level…We are photographers at Burn.  Not businessmen. Yes we need funds to keep going. Why wouldn’t we? We are not rich photographers. Burn struggles every month to survive. Mostly we want to be able to create fine objects. Fine books. Fine workshops. Give you good spirit.We want to stand for the high end of photographic pursuit and we intend to earn it.

You can easily see we have no advertising and our only sponsors are generous donors. We only owe you.

I am guessing that Burn 02 (available below) will be sold out or close to it by Christmas. I believe last year that 01 was gone by mid January. My friends at the traditional publishers of photo books tell me that Burn is rocking the boat. The few copies  of 01 we did hold back are now selling for double the original price. We did not hold back any for that reason, because this has been a total surprise. We expect 02 to be a collector item as well. Limited edition anything is always of best value.

Anyway, check us out. Hang out. All of you just being here helps us. Give us your ideas. Give us your pictures. No wait, SELL US your exclusive essay!! Photographer’s rights are my mainstay philosophy. Our whole constitution at Magnum is about photographer rights.

So  yes help out my staff with a bit of support if you possibly can. If you are a committed photographer this will come back to you in a very real way. Or if you simply enjoy looking at leading edge photography , then it will come back to you in a real way as well. Our donation button is in the right hand column. Buying 02 is another way to help all of US. Thank you.




USA, Canada, MexicoAdd to Cart Rest of WorldAdd to Cart (For volume puchases (over 10 copies), please contact
Diego Orlando directly at




from the Burn archive

December 17, 2008

who is this??


the man is a teddy bear….a family man…he would much rather talk about his teenage daughter Nina and French wife Sophie than about photography…honesty is his best policy…. you never never have to worry about what he “really thinks”…i live in Brooklyn…..but, Bruce Gilden is Brooklyn….

many think Bruce “attacks”…i do not know this for sure, but i am imagining Bruce has had a least one of his subjects “attack back”…but, Bruce and i are as much on the “same page” as anyone i know in Magnum …we surely have opposite personalities and ways of working, yet we have exactly the same “code” for life regarding fairness, transparency, and family….

Bruce is now working on a project on foreclosures in the U.S….a hardball look at one of the primary reasons for the financial collapse in America and the folks who “lost it all”…his new Magnum in Motion digs in deep and gives us a vision of a side of this country that most ignore…when Bruce went to Florida for the opening series on foreclosures, he showed us a certain kind of sympathy that i just do not recall in his previous work…

my first impression of Bruce came with his book on “Coney Island”…then “Haiti”, then “Go”….i thought Bruce harsh , but irresistibly fascinating…and funny…i can never take my eyes off of Bruce’s pictures even though i might feel a bit guilty for “intruding”, even as the viewer….if Bruce appears somewhat cynical with his work , when you know him personally , he is more “realist” than cynic….there is a difference…..the man’s work reveals a part of his personality, but not all…there is a straight up kindness in Bruce Gilden..and nobody but nobody has a better sense of humor…

please keep your eye out for Bruce’s continued work with foreclosures….anybody can smell a book in the making…

i am only hoping that i do not become one of his subjects…..

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December 15, 2008


nothing happens until it happens , but things are happening…cracking, buzzing, and yes burning bright…we will launch soonest a working model of BURN magazine (or journal or??)….the house will not be finished…we still need to  get in the wiring and plumbing and it will be a long time before all the furniture is chosen and the interior is decorated and we all feel “at home”…but, at least you will have a sense of it….and you will have a “place at the table”….

i must right now thank Anton Kusters for his tireless efforts working on design and function…the boy flew all the way from Brussels to spend four days here sleeping on my floor… the next sleeping bag was Tom Hyde and tossing and turning on the sofa was Chris Bickford…my place looked like a homeless shelter rather than a home for a  wellspring of  ideas…reminiscent of my grad school days or some version of a camping out road trip….

all i can say is that i was totally humbled by all of the hard work from Tom Hyde(flew from Seattle), Eric Espinosa  (flew from Cincinnati), Erica McDonald, Andrew Sullivan, David McGowan, and Andrew Owen from Look3..and i will never forget Kelly Lynn James who gets total credit for suggesting BURN as a title…many  thanks to all of you who wrote, phoned in, and sent constructive emails..but, it ain’t over yet….

today and tomorrow i must attend our Magnum board meeting…our winter interim gathering of the tribe…who would have ever thought i would be on any “board”, but well life has its twists…i might be able to get an interesting post out of it , but in the meantime all of you will have time to chew on this…..

oh yes, if you are in New York, we have our annual Magnum book signing at Aperture tonight…please join us…

back soonest…..


moonlight ramble…

Diego (Creative Director of Burn 02) and i are sitting on my front porch…sipping  a tequila, enjoying the total quiet…Burn of course comes up even though we have both agreed not to talk about Burn…but we have a question…for you..our question to all of you is this, and it is a serious question as we often think about in our comment section, which is always the topic of conversation when it comes to change…

anyway, the question is this: why are the numbers of comments often in direct inverse proportion to the quality of the essay? exceptions of course….yet think about it…go back and look…do some quick research…not a challenge, just a real interesting thing to think about…probably a simple answer…now, sure we all to give and take a bit on my tastes etc etc..but what i am talking about are stories over time of all tastes…

by the way, this magazine would be dead as a doornail if i actually set out to consciously please this audience…the more time goes on, the less i am interested in any kind of outside support…all the more reason for me not to try to over please….yes of course i want you to be happy…but that is another concept…whomever wants to be here will just be here….no advertising, no weird pressure… the bullet: i think in the very near future i can pull the top pro talents together to create a serious tour de force and still have Burn be an all important first step for an i really want to get there photographer….seems needed doesn’t it??

yes, as usual i have crazy ideas…but as you also know i make at least some of them come true…when i was a kid , i always wanted my imagination to be real….and so thus i have lived… i have an idea, actually easy to do, that if i laid it out right now, some might just steal it….maybe nobody can steal it…all of my ideas for Burn have always been transparent….and i am sure this will be too…just need to sit on it for a few days….anyway, all to good end is always my motive….i do not need any more stuff…my porch good enough forever….i just want to work to make cool things happen….squeeze the most out of talent and knock viewers between the eyes or spawn a subtle visual sensibility….

ok, back to the porch…


burn.02 launch party with special guest bruce davidson…

At Home with David Alan Harvey workshop students and staff with today’s guest,
photographer James Estrin (in red) creator of the NYTimes LENS blog.

Burn.02 Launch Party with Special Guest Magnum Photographer Bruce Davidson

Saturday, 8 October
Doors locked at 9pm sharp for respectful showing of work from Bruce Davidson and our workshop students…
get here early or you won’t be let in until the show is over.
Fiesta to follow, please bring your preferred beverage…
475 Kent Avenue #607 –  Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Featuring the work of:

There is lots going on this weekend in Burnland. For those of you in the New York area, please come and see work from Bruce Davidson and my class from last week as per described above.

If you are closer to San Antonio, Texas, then check out the burn.ed GARDEN at the SMARTart Project Space. The brainchild of Burn Curator-on-the-Texas scene, Panos Skoulidas and mostly Kim. Many Burn commentators have submitted prints to this totally renegade and totally endorsed exhibition from our Burn family…yeah, family sounds corny I guess, but I would not know how else to describe. Panos has worked very hard to assemble prints from many of our readers here.

I want to thank Jim Estrin (in red shirt above), MaryAnne Golon, Steve Fine, Chris Bradley, David Griffin, Alice Gabriner, Danny Wilcox Frazier, Michael Loyd Young, Kerry Payne, Franco Pagetti, Peter Turnley, Christopher Anderson, Bruce Gilden, and Bruce Davidson…all who came to my class to present to my 12 students and a few assembled guests. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This gathering is also a celebration and New York official launch of Burn.02. Come and check it out. Yes, purchase one for the good guys. Check us out carefully, and you will see we are simply trying to do the right thing. To help get something going in our biz for the next generation. Not mine. I am fine. This is for you. Pay back/pay forward. Do it when the time comes.

workshop show and fiesta

from a work in progress photo essay being shot this week by Carolyn Beller titled Sweltering Summer

from a photo essay being shot this week on the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters. Photographed by Tracie Williams

from a photo essay being shot this week by Milli Apelgren titled Bedford Avenue

girls just wanna have fun…

Miss Favela bar scene in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Isabela Eseverri  – One light off camera

Rooftop party in Manhattan, NY. Photo by Madeleine Stevens – One light on camera


We  just did a one day small strobe lighting class in my loft in NY where I will be spending the next two weeks guiding photographers into  taking their personal next step. Both Madeleine and Isabela were out in the Saturday night scene practicing as seen above what they had learned from us during the day. I encourage photographers to “get personal” so even a one day tech class like this one becomes after all an exploration in doing work that is somehow a mirror of individual predilections.

The students who are here for a week, will take this process much further and show their work on this Friday evening at the loft in front of a cast of the best and brightest in photoland and let off by shows by both Chris Anderson and Bruce Gilden.

I will post work from time to time this week from this essay class. Stay tuned. You will see some very nice work shot right now by these very serious photographers.





Every time i get ready to quit Burn, something happens which keeps me in the game for another 5 minutes…I am sure you can imagine I often have to ask myself “is all this really worth it?”…a pretty typical thought for all of us , most of the time, regarding wherever any of us are putting our psychic energy…so, I really came into Burn 02 thinking , ok this is it…done..finish with flourish

Then I actually held 02 in my hands.  Hmm, THIS is something…THIS is it…and I honestly can say that I could easily (well not easily) rock out at least 10 issues before my feet even hit the floor from a content standpoint…I am in touch with just that many photographers and have so many of the iconics and emerging ready to throw their best efforts into this pot…so that’s nice…at this point in my life, that’s just nice..…i like that….a peer group after many many years can love you or hate you….

At the same time, oddly I have some buying into my “future”…that’s a new one for me…yes, buying work, actually paying me for work that I have not done yet…no, not commissions/assignments, but prints out of my darkroom… selling and the darkroom is still not done yet..a show and book launch at the Australian Center of Photography booked, done, on for their fall 2012, and I am on my way out the door to go shoot a chapter of this show/book in a few weeks…(simultaneous piece in NatGeo same time) ..yet nobody is this crazy…curators will be nervous, my friends will abandon me, all stuff I love of course, and then I will ride into town with the show…whew..with work that could have been better if I had just been organized!!! smiling…

Point is: my time is going 100% into you/Burn and 100% into me and my work…somehow it is possible …I am on it..somehow doing it..comfortably..learned to zen it…minimal stress….not much sleep , but the minute I fall asleep I wake up with a new idea…yet still I cannot help succumb to temptation and let my mind drift into total selfishness to manifest the hell out of my own work ….and yet just about the time i get ready to drop the hammer on Burn, something happens…

Five minutes ago it happened…dammit,yes, one of dozens of emails i get a day to open a link and look at work and 99% of the time it is hard work to look carefully and rarely a spark and lo and behold tonight i open up our friend Jukka Onnela work and just got blown away..I looked at it for maybe 30 seconds tops…ok maybe two minutes tops tops…fast anyway…and I KNEW right away, that I had to publish his book…no, not right now nothing else is right now, but next year or whenever the time is right….Jukka tells me I am the only one who has seen this particular sequence of work…maybe I have that part wrong…but never mind, not important …so dammit, now i am stuck putting all of my energies into somebody else!! his is brilliant work, you will see, you will see…a powerful  extended version of what he had in 01..

So what exactly is the photo/life lesson here?

Isn’t is obvious? Time worn. Works. Every time. Do what you love passionately and pass the baton to others as often as possible. Makes for a better day. Or rainy night.

Or, looking at it another way:

If you can get to a stage in your work and believe you are playing the piano, then you ARE playing the piano.

Just a state of mind, just a state of mind.


“the answer is blowin in the wind…”


yes, Bob Dylan had it right..answers for life tend not to be empirical but rather instinctive gut level decisions based on the moment and circumstance…we TRY to have rules to follow, methods, reason, and sage advice…any of that really work for you? most likely instinctive decisions  seem to play the largest role for most of us…things seem to either go good or bad based as much on the alignment of the moon and stars as on any reasonable “planning”…there is no doubt that man has always tried to “stack the deck” in favor of good outcomes,  and surely this is a noble effort, but i think we all know that fate, whatever that is, has center stage…whatever actually happens can be justified or vilified by any number of philosophies, religions, political beliefs, and/or coins tossed into the fountain…

those of us who rode out hurricane Irene on the coast of North Carolina indeed did have the feeling that we had cast our fate to the wind…yes, we followed all the rules(well, except the “rule” to evacuate)….boarded up our homes, stocked up with food and water , extra candles and flashlights, and then just waited…and waited..and listened ..and felt….and finally became a part of the power of nature…a spectacular and most beautiful power…a power that was actually only destructive for those who had homes built in the known path of hurricanes..those of us who live here take our chances..this cost some their lives, others their homes…

yet all KNEW the worst could happen…intellectually likely to happen in fact…they just hoped and/or prayed it would not happen…Billy and Sandra Stinson are friends on my street and i suppose now ex-neighbors for they surely will not be allowed by town rules to build another vacation home out over the water where they were..their house was totally destroyed by a fast moving wall of water…last year i  photographed Billy and Sandra in their moments of best family joys  in their home and now also  of greatest despair,  but i will not publish this last moment without their permission on Burn , or  in National Geographic where my assignment is indeed right now the Outer Banks..maybe by next spring when my story is due in NatGeo will i seek to publish, for storms are indeed part of the story…but now my role is friend and neighbor more than journalist….the picture i took for  FB and Twitter of Billy and the destroyed house is not the picture to which i refer…

Michelle Madden Smith, above, lives just a few hundred yards from the Stinsons who lost it all…Michelle, who runs my workshop program and my son Bryan’s partner in life, also rode out the storm, but with a happier fate….here shown in 75mph winds in Nags Head….a joyful moment amongst tragic moments for others and part of a 10 picture series i did publish on FB and soon to be part of a new book….in any case, i have ridden out many hurricanes in my life and IF you are not in a vulnerable position from flooding or wind damage, then it is  truly one of the most dramatic living experiences one can have…so, exhilarating for some, and a tragedy for others….

indeed Mr. Dylan, the answer my friend is blowin in the wind, the answer is blowin in the wind…