Archive for the 'dialogue' Category

Page 5 of 31

well, we needed rain…

well, we needed rain...

at home….


I am totally exhausted. Whipped from traveling. Specifically from the recent Sydney HeadOn photo fest where (Based On A True Story) was featured at ACP, a Burn show was the most popular thing in town, and I did a workshop as well, with some brilliant essays the result. Yet too much. And wrong time zone. However, I do really get a lot out of these photo fests. I can scout out new talent, make real live contact with this audience, and see some terrific shows. Oh yes, for sure the dancing parties in Sydney in my house were almost non stop, so jet lag cannot be blamed for all. I am my own worst enemy.


Burn is just blowing up at these fests. The work from this audience is sought all over the place, all of the time. We cannot keep up unless we can hire a full time curator. You may remember we were featured in a big way at Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan last fall. We will have upcoming a slide show in Arles, France, at Recontres d’Arles. NOW, next week the Burn EPF grant announcement kicks off the big Saturday event at Look3 in Charlottesville, Virginia. BurnBooks will have a book signing as well featuring “Burn 02”, Anton Kusters “Yakuza”, Michael Loyd Young’s new “Changes in Latitude” book, and I will be signing my new work from Rio “(Based On A True Story)”.

But right now, on this spectacular weather holiday weekend, I am at home. Luxuriating. Piddling in the garden, talking to my cats, riding my bike to the beach, reassuring my friends by email that I still love them, and preparing for Look3. For it is for sure Look3 that is my real HOME. Michael “Nick” Nichols and I go way back. Back to Magnum, back to NatGeo and well just close. A true friend. He and his wife Reba, sons Ian and Eli, are sort of part of my own family. We don’t see each other often, but we are close nevertheless. Nick’s original in his back yard showing of slides by the famous and the not so famous was like a family picnic with pictures, and has evolved into Look3.

Yup, Look3 is now a big event, but it is still totally “down home” and I have been looking forward to Look all year. I see my friends both local and international and well it is simply the place I really want to hang. If you want to come and show me work in the most relaxed atmosphere, come to Look3. Buy me a beer and I will do a portfolio review. Of course, I will end up buying YOU a beer and doing a review, but that’s just the way it goes. I do also have a two day official workshop on “How To Publish Your Book” before the festivities begin, so swing by there if you can. I might be able to help you. After that, my work is done, and I will just sit back and watch the shows, look at the exhibitions, and well just have a good time.

This year beloved maestro of ceremonies Vince Musi and Washington Post’s David Griffin are the curators of Look. Bruce Gilden, Alex and Rebecca Norris Webb, David Doubilet, Maggie Steber, Ernesto Bazan, Eugene Richards, Lynsey Addario, Donna Ferrato, Stanley Greene , Medford Taylor (“Bulldust” now on Burn) and a host of other friends are the super stars, but I will spend most of my time with this audience if you show up. I think everyone knows this already.

If you are an emerging photographer, there is just absolutely no better place to be. Editors from New York and Europe are on hand, and well if you have great work, this is the time to get “discovered”. Never that simple of course, but if I were trying to break into the biz, and I had work to show, this is where I would go above all other fests. When I was in my twenties, we never had anything like this. So Nick and crew, and me too, have tried to create something we never had. Like the way I feel about Burn.

Where was Look3 and Burn when I needed them? This is the point.

So come to Virginia. Southern hospitality. Advertised correctly as the fest of “peace, love, and photography”. Not to be too sentimental, but it really is Love3. Good vibes all around, and for sure a great way to get your summer started.

If I know you already, then great reunion to be. If I do not, then I am looking forward to meeting you.



Related links

LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph


(based on a true story) SOLD OUT!

layout and design: Bryan Harvey
concept and producer: Eva-Maria Kunz
coordinator: Diego Orlando
production: Andrea Barbato, Michael Courvoisier, Candy Pilar Godoy


(based on a true story)


David Alan Harvey

Some of my friends have asked why I didn’t talk about my book here. I just cannot do that. The book is the book and I hope somebody likes it. But putting this video here by Bryan is as far as I can go. However, what I can do is I think legit. Published below is a letter from Sam Harris, (Postcards From Home), who managed to get a hold of the first signed copy. So he is, as far as I know, the only person here on Burn to have actually seen the book.

So Sam writes:


BASED ON A TRUE STORY… This book is simply amazing!!! AMAZING!! You have to hold it, feel it, pour over it, get inside it, take it apart, rebuild it, live it, smell it, caress it and then it all makes sense… FRESH, SENSUAL, SEXY, KILLER, DOPE… DAH leads by example, he could just sit back and talk about past glories, but that’s not David’s style… he’s out there doing it, living it. Now, right now… Ideas happen… ‘based on a true story’ is the living proof ; )) This book is an absolute classic. dah’s best yet! And the very best thing about ‘based on a true story’ IS the PHOTOGRAPHY.



Add to Cart     View Cart

for the “making of”, visit:


(more information here)


dakota days….


I am now in Sydney on the craziest schedule of all time. Literally going from one event to another and a workshop on top of it. Last night we projected the student slide show at the Bondi Beach Pavillion with a preamble warm up power show by Stephen DuPont. Thank you Stephen. During this past week I had Kerry Payne, Imants Krumins, David M. Smith, Andrew Quilty, Sam Harris, and Andrew Johnstone all come to make presentations to those I am mentoring here. All added to the mix and match of seeking styles and authorship by the class. Some of the student work will show up here on Burn.

Rolled into all of this was my (based on a true story) opening and book launch. Of course the most popular show in town is the Burn in Print show with many of you exhibited along with Monteleone, Werning, Frazier, Schiffer, and Nachtwey. So it can be safely said I think that Burn had a presence at the HeadOn fest in Sydney. So much so that last nights party after the student show has left me a bit bleary as I go off now to Australian Centre for Photography and an exhibit walk and then rushed to Semi-Permanent designers conference for a showing of the new book.

Woa, I overbooked for sure. Worse , I have not recovered fully from my one week on the road with Antoine D’Agata in North Dakota (above) which segued right into Sydney which rolls me right into Look3 in Charlottesville. I am taking the summer off.

All of this takes energy. Yet all of it gives energy as well. My recommendation for young photographers is to be sure to pay forward to the next generation. This is not a revelation. We all know this, and most do contribute for sure. For those of us working on Burn, we are seeing more possibilities than we can handle. A nice dilemma I guess, but one must always be careful not to get too many things going at once. I know this intellectually, but have a hard time saying “no” in reality.

Thank you for your patience here on Burn for my absence the last couple of weeks. After all, I do not want to neglect this most loyal audience on the net. All of you have built Burn, and I think all of you know you can be a part of it. My  original concept of bringing the audience into real play has happened. You should see the Burn show at Bondi right now. Or visit my classroom and see bloggers on Burn helping to teach my students. All pretty damned heartwarming. Ok gotta run. Back soonest.


on the road with antoine d’agata….


Most of you seem to like the conversations I have with editors, curators, and photographers. Bill Hunt was our last conversation still up and Jim Estrin from the New York Times Lens Blog will be next. Following will be Susan Meiselas as curator/photographer and champion of the Magnum Foundation supporting photographers with serious projects no matter how affiliated. There will be surprise conversations along the way. As now.

Now I am literally on the road with Antoine D’Agata with whom, in the moment above depicted, am sharing both beer and vodka in our Motel 6 in Bismarck , North Dakota. We are part of Magnum’s Looking For America project. To be a major exhibition and book. Some of our colleagues at this very moment are in Rochester , New York doing Postcards From America which is a project within the larger America project. Yes, I am confused too. But no worries. Trust me, it will all come down in a good way and with our best work all coming together in print and on the wall.

So Antoine and I are headed for a story called (by me) BIG MEN LOOK FOR BIG OIL….In about an hour we will get into our lumbering camper van and head for a town with a lot of rich people who have no place to live. Hence the camper. Williston , N Dakota struck oil. The wild wild west. A bunch of men making a lot of money and sleeping in their cars. Williston was not ready for this boom boom boom.

My story will be sort of an interview with Antoine , who flew from Paris yesterday, and my own pictures from Williston. Or not. We joked last night , towards the end of a bottle of Grey Goose , how funny it would be if we never got out of this Motel 6. Did the story , a story, of a motel on the highway. However, I think we will move on. Curiosity.

Panos Skoulidas, from Burn comment section fame, and who started with Alec Soth and Jim Goldberg and Susan Meiselas on the original Postcards project which started in San Antonio is driving the van, helping me with computer stuff, and shooting video and doing his own record making.

The whole thing is crazy of course. In seven days I have to be in Australia for my Rio opening. Nobody in their right mind would be doing THIS now. Yes, exactly.

Well, come along with us. I will post some stuff here. Panos will too.
Check out the Magnum Tumblr ( for more and well one way or another we will bring you a story. Not sure what story but a story for sure.

Ask Antoine a question. Or any of us. If we do not answer right away, it will be an internet issue. Ok road trip about to happen. In pursuit of THE TRUTH.

Alec Soth may have said it best in an email to me. “North Dakota might not be ready for Antoine and you”.

Stay tuned.

coming soon ….

(based on a true story) is done….well, almost…being hand assembled….now….

book to be launched May 4 in Sydney at the HeadOn photo fest….solo exhibition :  Australian Centre for Photography….

we built this with zero compromises….zero…all out independence….yes, a miracle…thanks Bryan, Erin, Candy, Roberta, Renata, Eva, Diego, Mike, Valeria, Marcela, Kamila, Tonico, Claudia, Andrea, and EBS printing Verona…

a novella set in Rio, but not about Rio… a puzzle, a game??  interactive/analog…map/poster included …stay tuned…

of course the long term, or maybe even short term, goal here at Burn is to do specially crafted or hand crafted books for a variety of authors….the plethora of on demand book companies makes it terrific for everyone to have a book in their hand…i love these on demand books for many reasons…

yet, finally, i think we all honestly miss the special feeling a book used to bring…the specialness of a book in hand…when everyone has something or everyone has virtually the same thing, then it ceases to be special…so, that is why at Burn we will only be interested in books that could not possibly be on demand books….this hit me as i was often handing someone Burn 02 and saying, “here is your book, oh by the way this is not an on demand book, we printed this in Italy”…i do not want to have to say that…

i want it to be obvious that Burn books are physically technically aesthetically impossible to produce on demand….

so let’s see how it goes…we have done well with the only other two publications published by Burn….01 and 02…..if this works, then we will go forward with gusto into the book publishing biz….not an empire… , a specialty shop…..for artists and those who appreciate fine objects….

oh by the way, lest you think we are only building objects for those who can afford them, we will always have, just as in everything i do, a gratis element..for the the gratis spinoff of (based on a true story) we will print a newspaper tabloid version and distribute for free in Rio de Janeiro where the cariocas of every social class welcomed me and allowed me to do my work….without the genuine hospitality of my friends in Rio this book would not exist….and yes yes , there is a NatGeo version of my work coming up in the October issue of the Magazine…

as always , i thank this audience for their support….for some of you it will come back in an amazing way…



(sent while on the way to meet Antoine d’Agata in Williston , North Dakota in search of BIG OIL  …   watch our adventures on the Magnum site….Panos driving our camper….oh my oh my)



It might seem to you, albeit by pure coincidence twice in a row here, that I lean heavily in the direction of photographing at the beach. Often very specifically women at the beach. This photograph made just yesterday, and in keeping with my oeuvre of just shooting whatever is around me anyway. So Michelle was just hanging with us on what started as a cloudless hot sunny day, and then the afternoon front rolled in and it was time to take a picture. Of a woman on the beach. One of my great motives for being a photographer in the first place to be quite honest. Not high minded enough? Please. Isn’t “attraction” what we all think about the most? Hasn’t attraction, love, sensuality inspired more art than anything?

Most of the women I photograph are with other men. Much safer that way. Michelle and Bryan live practically next door. So we know each other’s biz. Bad idea? Not really. I like the family thing. That’s even why I like Burn, and Magnum and well all the peer groups that are in fact versions of family. Michelle has her hands full. She must maintain her relationship with Bry AND sort of make sure that I well, stay out of trouble.

My own instincts have provided me with a lot of adventure, but right now my work and peace seem like the right way to go. Besides Michelle is totally dedicated to protecting me from all kinds of things – mostly me!. And because of this I am for sure in the most productive time of my entire career. Weird. Nobody could TRY for a late career boost. As you can imagine that sort of thing is just fate or luck or …?? Michelle makes sure I stay on track. That does not mean I can’t go out on a date. It does mean that I will think about it more than twice as opposed to my oftentimes less than once back in the day.

Does this mean I don’t have fun? Well go back and look at the riobook saga and see what you think. The upcoming book, designed by Bry, is all about me being myself which is of course where I try to take my students. And a move towards the purest of visual literacy. I have honestly managed to stay in the zone now for a long time. Deep in November and December, but even before and after as well. Michelle and I do the best party dirty dancing performance with Bryan often smiling from the side. So we have the most most fun. My family days all around are surely my best days.

Michelle and I blend right at the point blank center. Her “creativity as a way of life” workshops parallel in thinking the way I do my photo workshops. She ran several of mine. I do enjoy watching somebody get fired up. So does she.
Michelle teaches yoga and eats all the right foods. I think she may have given up on me in yoga class, but she did get me off cigarettes no small feat. Getting me off sugar is harder. Anyway, I did not plan to write a story on Michelle today. I shot the picture of her prior to the storm when we were just hanging.  So I thought just now, hey my main thing I can offer aspiring photographers is how I get my own inspirations. So this is one. However you can make things work, works. Fired up is fired up.
Isn’t that right? Don’t we all need a bit of help? Old adage works. Help somebody. You might just be that person who needs it someday.
Thanks Michelle for keeping an eye out. I will stay a good boy for a bit longer. Got work to do.

spring break…

Lots of chat lately about captions. What they should or should not be. So write one for this picture. Not as a joke . For real. The scene is spring break. South Beach, Miami about three weeks ago. Pretend you are a caption writer for a magazine or newspaper and you are seeing this cold turkey. This is a realistic exercise. In 48 hours I will choose the best caption writer. The winner gets a 100 bucks to write captions for the next story up. You won’t get rich doing this job for Burn. But you might just get a real job out of this fake job.

(based on a true story)



So I took this picture about half an hour ago. In Rio. Well, Renata is in Rio and I am at home alone in Carolina talking to a black cat. Renata is a character in my book about to go to press in Italy which was shot in Rio. My not so secret fantasy night in Rio. (based on a true story). Yes the real title. Go figure. Presses roll in 20 days. Hmmm, maybe I put this in? Blending fact and fiction all the way.

What about you? If you are a documentary photographer, ever think about fiction? In photography fiction and non-fiction tend to be done by different photographers . Writers cross all the time. My work in Rio is all “real” but real only to my immediate surroundings. For this book I did not “go anywhere” to take a picture. Wherever I happened to be, was where I was going.

There will not be one word in this book. Zero text. Almost no title. That is why I want you to read it very very carefully.