links and kinks


Photograph by Maciej Mosur



well, i got back late to new york from colorado this evening , but still felt compelled tonight to link you to some of your essays…now, the first thing i must say is that we are not finished…this new website is literally UNDER CONSTRUCTION….you will see a suggested home page layout, which i am actually not fond of at all,  and will change or modify drastically….but, i decided to make you a part of this new web "work in progress", so your comments are expected… please accept a few "kinks"  until we  get it all worked out…

the second thing i must say, is that good old fashioned space limitations at this point had me editing down just a bit tighter than i wanted…but, we are going to figure this one out….more importantly, you will only see right now pieces from the so-called "finalist" essays…but, there are  MORE ESSAYS AND SINGLES to come from many of you…two "singles" are shown here ….i have also done some individual critiques for this audience by private e-mail and will do more as soon as feasible…

some of the "sleepers" here may rise in your opinions to the top and vice versa…at some point very soon, i will write my thoughts on "why this ? " for all of the essays presented and will also solicit the opinions  and dialog from my  colleagues in  our craft…and , of course, something tells me that your opinions will be forthcoming soonest!!!

please remember that all of these essays were self-produced , as part of an experiment on this forum, by this  audience,  between july 15 and november 15,  2007…i was curious to see how this audience would do with an unfunded but "realistic" time limit…the Emerging Photographer stipend was initiated by yours truly after a few months of "mixing" and "inventing" with this community…

my goal is to finance photographers in  conjunction with the non- profit Magnum Cultural Foundation…  this initial stipend awarded to Sean Gallagher, with  others to follow, is  intended to support an "emerging"  photographer working on a photographic  essay who might benefit  ….for example, i do not see Gallagher’s essay as "finished" and definitely a "work in progress:..the ultimate intention here is to fund worthy photographers for whom traditional outlets for their work may not exist…. and to have the end result of their photographic work, stimulated by this forum,  appear in print and exhibition….no promises, just a sincere effort….

so, please take a look at these new photo-essayists under  "forum essays" …let’s talk……



Photograph by Partha Pal

243 Responses to “links and kinks”

  • First comment – WOOOOOOOW!!!!

  • I can’t possibly comment on the images right now b/c I love too many of the essays and I want to say something about the website while you’re workikng on it.

    I really feel for you guys right now – I have a liveBooks site and I think you’re getting a first-hand view of the drawbacks. It would be SO SO nice to be able to click on one name at a time instead of search for a buried title slide to find an essay. But, with liveBooks it’s not really possible. So since you’re stuck with that, I would at least somehow keep the thumbnails visible on the side. When they disappear I feel like someone has just taken the rest of the magazine away and I no longer know where I am or what’s coming next.

    ….. still looking at the rest..

    This will be a great site I’m sure of it!


  • LANCE…

    hey amigo…o.k. good thought…something i had not thought of (as you can well imagine!!)…now, i just went back and checked your observation out….now, let me ask you, if you could see the thumbnails at all times, would that not eliminate being able to roll through the whole forum section?? i mean, as it is, you can now scroll through the whole section of three photogs per gallery….or, is it more important to just see one photog at a time with thumbnails all the time??

    i am not married to LiveBooks, but they have been very gracious and i did think i should give them a chance…in any case, i will work more with them to make sure we have every possibility for us….

    going to bed dude…will check on your answer tomorrow!!!

    cheers, david

  • Wow!
    David, congratulations with the great results of your initiative.!

    There is some amazing inspiring stuff, which will keep me thinking about photography for at least a few days..

  • martin (marcin luczkowski)

    Boys And Girls

    Just terrific works!!!
    Eric, Alex, Kyunghee, Aleksander… Cristina!!!!
    And All…
    Great essays!!!
    What I’m doing there?!


  • this is typical lance talking here.. now that i’ve gone through and and i’m ‘familiar’ with it, i like it. but for me, the initial run through felt a little bottomless.. i didn’t really know where in the magazine i was. now that i do, i like how it scrolls and of course the best parts are that the pictures are BIG for a web site and load quickly.. and very clean appearance, all very important.

    i don’t mean any endorsements here, but NeonSky (Laura’s site) navigates very well and is much more ‘scalable’ than livebooks. with all the business i’ve sent their way in the last 18 months i should get a free site from them. but that’s for another day.

    i think the site overall is on it’s way to being very good. it was just that first run-through that i didn’t like.

    but, you have to ask the question of where will yo fit even more essays or singles? you’re running out of room at the top for ‘forum essay 1′ etc. to fit. if you have another stipend down the road but want to keep these showing, it could get tricky with liveBooks’ layout.

  • KYUNGHEE and MARTIN – i want prints of all!!! (i wish)

  • wow david, congratulation…to you and to all the essayst bellissimi…

  • Definite authoring from all essayists, just off the press, I have particularly liked the difference that came from natan’s non populated scapes.

    From both him and Lance, i really appreciate the superb editing work (color for Natan, mono from Lance) that is part of their vision, not just to make a nice print or beautifying the image. Inspiring, and everyone else too of course but somehow, tonight, both of you, with very different work, struck a special chord in me.

    PS: i guess I have to resign myself to never read a title, a text, even a location on any essay, or WS previosuly, posted, David? Is it a complication, using this specific format?

  • I am also feeling Lance’s selection of Kyunghee and Martin… and Martin, you have no need to doubt why you are here (if in fact that is what you are doing, language barrier aside).

    Also, Aleksander’s work speaks to me this rainy morning.

  • pierre yves racine

    Saperlipopette !

  • Well I can not say anthing else that has not already been commented, absolutely beatuiful work. I simply could not find anything I did not like. These folks have great eyes.

  • martin (marcin luczkowski)


    I have doubt always. I can’t think other way. I’m one big DOUBT.


    If you want something you will get it….



  • David – thanks for the edit, looks consistent now ;-) I couldn’t shrink it that much myself though, too hard, even selecting 20 felt like own limbs amputation sometimes… Anybody feels the same while editing down from a larger work?

    Martin: “I have doubt always. I can’t think other way. I’m one big DOUBT.”
    Same here. Is it a polish thing or what?… :-/
    (btw, Mozdzer – excellent choice!)

  • Wow! Great job guys!! Just looking at the selected essays makes me understand and learn quite a lot. And makes me even more happy to be involved in this experience!!

    I like most of the essays (Andrew Sullivan, Katia Roberts, Eric Espinosa, Kevin German…) but I specially like ERICA McDONALD(fabulous portraits, Erica!! love the mood, format and texture), ALEKSANDER NOWAK (just touching… those kind of pictures with a texture full of ‘touch’ and life), JONI KARANKA & CRISTINA FARAMO…

    I still have a big road to walk to arrive to the place I’m looking for….. but will keep walking!!

    Peace ;-)

  • Fabulous stuff you guys! I think there is probably a place for Eric Espinosa over at Oculi for sure and Chris Bickford’s work is just divine! I love Erica McDonald and Bob Blacks people, bravo you two your photos take me inside the world of emotion, where people really are felt if you can follow what I mean!

    Brendan Hoffman and Cristina Faramo have beautiful thoughtful humane documentaries and I just love Marcin’s and Khunghee incredibly emotive work.

    Congratulations everybody, all the work is absolutely terrific there is not a dud amongst them! Be so proud of this work its just streets ahead of anything I have seen for a while!



  • By the way…. looking at the essays a recurrent question came to my mind. Not long ago I talked about that with Aga but would like to know your opinion too…. It is about blur pictures… I do think that some people use this effect too often and, in my opinion, a good and intended blur image can be very artistic but often it remains in a very thin line where sometimes it looks just like an unsuccessful shot… I guess it is a matter of balance and I think now it is too common to take this kind of well-worn pictures…. What do you think? I don’t use to take this kind of pictures although I like some other’s blur photos… but lately there are so many….

  • Hi everyone,

    Looks great. Although I was wondering if there would be any written elements describing, maybe not every shot, but the overall essay?



  • Pretty amazing work, considering these folks are “emerging,” and not hard-boiled pro’s. Professionals, look out!

    As for the website, “not so much.” You’ve got your work cut out for you DAH as you move forward. You’re talking about information management, now… how to get this work in front of people and make it easy and pleasant and engaging to look at, which right now it certainly ain’t — in fact, i find it to be beyond frustrating — how to find a certain person, how to get back that person… can Magnum give YOU another $10G to hire a web designer?

    This is what happens when you do a favor for someone (US!) — you find yourself swamped and juggling criticism.

    Work: AMAZING.
    Website: less than amazing

    but THANK YOU, we feel you.

  • WOW.

    Absolutely Great Work!

    I started looking at it with Sean starting first and immediately noticed that his images when viewed larger or perhaps on the new site looked much clearer to me and even better than I perceived them before.

    I thought about jotting some notes about essays that I liked so I started writing on a piece of paper the names of the photographs and photographers that I liked…about 10% percent into this I gave up…I was writing down everything…basically I loved every essay, every photographer and pretty much every photograph.

    David, I have sent a few e-mails to you that were unanswered…understandable…you can’t possibly serve so many of us with your busy schedule but I just have to say that I have got my answers when looking at the essays.

  • Ohhh David..why do you do this me?? I have to go to my day job and I cant possibly look now….and I want to look so badly! I will be late for work….

  • Went through the essays very quickly… MARCIN, that is beautiful work, just the way I like it. As for the DOUBT, that is often a Slavic thing… But that’s good, it’s all good.

    Seeing what DAH is doing around here I’m sure the website presentation will improve with time. Too much pressure and anticipation from this forum for things to get published ASAP. Yes, would be great to be able to see the photographers name and get to the essay through that shortcut…

    Best to you all,

  • David, what an amazing series of essays… There is such a diverse set of styles and photographers…and this is such an interesting community. I am just at my day work right now so will have not have too much time to comment on all essays but cannot wait to get home tonight and spend quality time looking at all essays…I have to say that just glancing this morning, I really liked the work of Martin, Aleksander and Erica…with Lance and Christina also having great essays… Why do I need to work today? I will reconnect this evening. Thanks David for all your efforts in doing this! Seeing the work of many will make this community an even closer community, you can now see the eyes and feelings of so many…Simply great! Eric

  • KYUNGHEE, do you have a website where we can see more of your work ?

  • and please NO thumbnails… that would spoil all the fun… this is not Digital Railroad archive or Magnum where there are buyers and they are looking through thumbnails… this is about STORY, narrative, photography… I don’t want to know what is next before I get to it…

  • i took my time to go through all the essays many times before saying anything here and i must say i am amazed and moved seeing the works of my friends here. the photographs have really been an eye-opener of sorts for me.
    but before commenting on the works that i personally liked most, i must put in on record that i could not see the essays of of the following photographers:
    1. Alex Reshuan (his story: Guayaquil Ecuador 2007),
    2. Andrew Sullivan (his story: Harlem Jazz), and
    3. Aleksander Nowak (story not known)
    because the photographs simply refused to appear on-screen on repeated attempts. i don’t know whether others faced the same problem.

    now on the +ive side, i take my (virtual) hat off, amongst other, for
    1. Brendan Hoffman (for his moving essay on the drug addicts – story, notes, photographs, i love all)
    2. Marcin Luczkowski (on his Hometown series-i liked your style so much Martin)
    3. Lance Rosenfield (for his story styled “Thirst for Grit”-real gritty photographs)
    4. Katia Roberts (Seattle Homeless Street Kids-your closeness with your subjects could be seen even without written words)
    5. Erica McDonald (New Yorkers-i LOVE those faces).

    CONGRATULATIONS ALL for such unique and moving essays and THANKS for sharing.

    LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST, i must say that i am so so so happy for Partha Pal, who happens to be a personal friend and a close associate, for his photo being selected for this particular post. exceptional photo…PARTHA’DA!!! now you owe me a dinner at your place …what say??? :)

    AND DAVID, thank god i don’t have any question for you at least this time… ;)

    great motivation this blog is becoming day by day…

  • My faves are Espinosa, McDonald, Kyunghee and Nowak. Although my praise if fairly much for everyone! Lots of variety in there and all the essays are quality ones. I’m also dying for feedback on the editing.

    Nice job, David! Even with the technical oddities.

  • MARCIN LUCZKOWSKI – thats a beautiful piece of work. congrats and keep going.


  • It’s a photo essay tour de force for sure.

    I’d prefer neutral grays all round. Colored back round block colors can often adversely affect an image’s color balance wouldn’t you say?

    Even with just grayscale there’s a lot to play with. It would serve monochrome and color work very well and enhance the potential impact of each image. Everything not concerned with photographs should be in shades of gray, I think. However, I do appreciate that the soft pastel shade is in keeping with your homepage.

    In fact, just pure black or white would be best of all but a black backround is suggested to be more energy efficient.

    As regards the work, I’m not sure whether I should be excited or depressed. Many of these fine photographers may well be competitors soonest. On the other hand, I’m always thrilled to see exciting, envelop pushing photo making.

    You’re a good egg, Mr. Harvey.

  • Fuck me what a lot of good work

  • Hi David,
    I received a call from My friend subhrajit that You have chosen one of my photographs in your blog…………I am amazed..enthralled…..that…DAVID has chosen my photographs…..he had evaluated my photographs……This must be and remain the best award and reward for me in this year…I know I have do a lot of work…I don’t want to complain anybody …anything….except myself if I cannot produce good shots.
    Thanks to David to show the right way of photography…….This blog is becoming my best friend, philosopher and guide.
    Hi Subhrajit…….Welcome to my home at anytime………I am ready to share a dinner with you.

    Partha Pal from INDIA

  • I am watching the ESSAYS and I must comment upon it after going through a no of times…..I will come back and put my comments regrading the essays…..
    I know it must be a fascinating experience.

  • i always knew that Partha’da…and am coming asap …let me get a holiday first!!! :)

  • Must admit, the more I return, the more I become curious as to the story behind Martin’s work, the context of the Mosur image and the more I want to see of Partha’s images.


  • (First one techie question, any chance for a more specifically named URL, like something referencing the Magnum Cultural Grant or DAH Emerging or what have you? I think it looks fantastic.)

    Wow! Really great work all around! How do you shoot like that? I love love how we all see so differently.
    Especially to to my eyes, the work of Kevin, Cristina, fantastic! Cristina, really, how do you shoot like that? Kevin, I don’t have words, but I could look over and over..Lance, love that last one, and you really are getting in there, love it.

    Sean, I don’t know if I ever sent you proper congratulations..bravo!

    Andrew, I saw some of your work at David’s loft when Elliot was there, and loved it then as I do now..18 cracks me up. I want to come with you sometime and do my bw squares if you think it makes sense, that is if you wouldn’t mind and you think I’d be a welcomed addition to the groove. maybe you can PM me thru LS?

    Bob my friend, it is so great to see your faces here, and one after another..somehow I had become accustomed to one at a time, but I like the flow.

    Katia, I can see how much you care for your friends, you really use photography as a tool to communicate.

    Eric, love them, I want to come swim..I’m from the inner city of Cleveland..spent most of my childhood in a pool. Actually my first ‘photo essay’ was when I was about 7 or eight and we had our very own pool put in ground, and I shot the whole thing on polaroid!

    Natan, talk about a road trip! You covered a lot of ground in our little window if time. Were you moving, or did you make a special voyage to shoot these? Terribly jealous, I so want to wander and stumble on the unknown, I love your sight.

    Alex, and Marcin, mysterious, I want to see more..
    Kyunghee, so lyrical and playful..
    Aleksander, I am touched..
    Brendan, great, love Ira..

    and everyone else, I am running out of steam, but congrats and thanks for sharing your vision

  • I woke up this morning KNOWING the new site would be up.

    Can’t wait to spend some time looking closely but I am one day behind you David, leaving the “higher ground” of Santa Fe to return to San Diego this afternoon. It’s been great here but sliding thru an intersection yesterday in my car on the icy road was a bit scary…luckily no one around…

    Congrats to all until I can be more specific.

    As far as the site. I would just say “cleaner” if possible.

    Cleaner meaning clearer…It’s a little too confusing to navagate. This would be a good time to combine the different blog chapters as far as I am concerned. Too many places to look for information and no way of knowing where there has been new info posted so each time we log on we have to go thru the entire site. My two cents worth.

  • Dear David,
    Just wonderful, I am floored…!:)
    Great learning experience this blog is.
    One question:
    Were most of the essays edited by you? Wonderful work all over…just stunning.


    i found myself practically yelling “yes, yes, yes” on every frame … an astounding affirmation for everyone involved and the medium in general … exciting, fresh, beyond words which is of course as it should be …

    this has become … important … not an easy thing to do to say the least … i am humbled, i am in awe, i am inspired, thank you :)))

    YES, YES, YES !!!!
    MORE, MORE, MORE !!!!

  • Interesting work indeed.


    In the future, when time permmits, it would be fascinating to understand your editting process with the submissions. Nothing fancy, just a desciption of some of the steps taken by you, from first general edit to finalist essays.




    i must run down to washington this afternoon and spend two days at the annual Natgeo photographers seminar…alec soth and larry fink are the featured outside speakers with a retrospective showing of work by jodi cobb…i will report on all of it…

    this means i am going to be just a little behind in fixing the glitches on the new website…i can do some of it by remote control, but i realistically must expect this will take a few days…

    one of the biggest problems i see is that on the home page there are four galleries listed, when in fact there are five galleries of your work once you open up any one of the individual galleries….we are working on this, as well as coming up with a satisfactory looking home page…

    also trying to set it up so that each photog has her or his own gallery….i do not know if this is going to be possible with LiveBooks, but we will give it a try..

    in any case, we should be able to have everything nice and clean and easy to use by next week (i think!!!)…this whole web biz is new to me and subject to all sorts of opinions , thoughts etc etc by everyone…this is fine and good and i am learning….

    and yes, chris richie, i plan to do exactly as you suggest…..

    cheers, david

  • David and Essayists and blog members/lurkers/ghosts ;))…

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to all the essayists above and all the photographers whose photos we see above (love both the single photographs very much, the 1st is a mad-brilliant and iconic one). I’ve looked at all the essays at least half-a-dozen times (some more) and, I feel slightly bereft with words….

    Let me say, this small thing: I thing they’re all an example of the magnanimity and beauty, the sadness and collision, the unending breadth and depth of photography: in other words, photography is simply another voice to show the extraordinary reach of the human voice and vision: it’s endless hunger to see and understand and speak: to speak out against the rhyming light-ticked darkness…I really cherish, for very different reasons, and I cannot nor shall not isolate any of them or the authors, for it is their vision and the vision in song with the others that make it so gorgeous to see…again, i congratulate all and hunger to see the rest, deeply…

    above all, to David. I want to personally thank you for your generosity. Not this time for your generosity for showing work, but for the generosity of your vision, your reception, the length and width by which you are able to look at and upon and into a variety of visions and ideas and languages and ends in order to embrace all…

    this is a rarity, for most people and most photographers, though they often possess brilliant vision about their own ideas and work and work in which they are in contact, are often, lamentably, myopic and blind when it comes to seeing the work of others, or work that is different from their own. That you, again and again, embrace and swallow and shift work and all the varieties and vegrities of what photography is, to me, the singular meaninful belief i gather from this exercise:

    that you embrace and support the entirety of the photographic voice, in the face of it all, refuse to define or delineate or describe…

    you possess fertile imaginative eyes and those most be, surely, connected to your fertile imaginative heart…

    it takes a talent of disproportionate size to seize and understand the specrtum of work, and not to define by one’s own ideals….

    i feel slightly bereft today, and that is the measuring of something to which it’s not necessary to speak upon, only this:

    inside we are an extraordinary, light-breathing, life-swallowing species and I can not think of a better or more sustained way to live…

    i’ll take a hibernation now for a while….

    hugs for all


  • BOB…

    just as i am running, like you, out the door i read your letter…as usual, by all accounts, you are very much an integral part of the lifeblood of this forum…your summaries of life and photography are unparalleled…

    as i always say, i look forward to the day we “meet”…i do hope that is sooner rather than later….

    running, peace and cheers, david

  • David…dropped you an email.


  • A link to related websites of contributing photographers might be cool idea. And not just the selected few. Expand the web connections.

  • PAUL…

    of course….but, you have not really seen the “selected few” yet!!! there are more to come….some of your singles will be featured soonest….

    cheers, david

  • Bob B:
    I feel slightly bereft with words….

    That’ll be the day! :-))))

    Love to you, Bob, all of us think alike, I believe, as regards David’s contribution that goes way beyond being a published, recognized and Magnum photographer.

  • Ana Yturralde: “Wow! Great job guys!! Just looking at the selected essays makes me understand and learn quite a lot.
    I still have a big road to walk to arrive to the place I’m looking for….. but will keep walking!!”

    I think this is great, but I’m learning a lot from your images too Ana! Please keep walking… lo ayuda me con el camino tambien (hope this makes sense…my spanish is still rough) :)

  • David and all- Finally at home, having time to go over and over all the essays… As always, Bob is right, the most impressive part is to see them all, one after the other, see the different visions… Some of the essays that I only glanced at this morning, look even stronger to me this evening, having time to observe, penetrate into the pictures….The portraits of Erica are really very very special! Also what an amazing picture the single of Maciej Mosur! Overall, kudos to all again and to you David. Bob sums it up like no one “imaginative eyes connected to fertile imaginative heart”….Eric

  • DAVID:

    I think the website looks pretty good, I like the basic set up. I am partial to the color palette of this current website, but maybe that is just because I like your road trip photograph a lot. It would be nice, as others have said, to have each of the essays separate – Possibly a link on your home page that says – ESSAYS FALL 2007, then a link for the photographer and the first page being the essay text. I know you said that part is coming…it’s ironic that everyone has been asking to see the images, now we all want text…


    thanks for your kind words.


    Yes, I was actually heading back to los angeles after a year long job in New York. I took three weeks to get back, traveling back roads which was quite nerve wracking at times considering my car has 195,000 miles on it, and not too many people keep spare parts lying around for a 25 year old mercedes benz…..I spent a few days starting my car with a coat hanger..I will say that the few times I did break down, it was in towns I may have driven through otherwise…I got some good shots waiting for the car to be fixed.

    Also, great portraits. They make me feel privileged to have a glimpse into your subjects lives, very personal.


    Your work is fantastic.


    Nice photos. Your essay reminded of Spike Jones’ short documentary Amarillo by Morning, ever seen it?


    That’s really a beautiful photograph.


    Love the diversity your images bring to the essays, you must have originated as a painter? Still watching those Beirut videos, they’re fantastic.

    great job everyone else, I’m running out of time…Natan

  • Thanks so much for this David.
    I really enjoyed looking at all the essays for a few times now.
    There are some amazing stories in there.

    I especially enjoyed the portraits of Erica. As usual, very strong work!
    Also Alexanders work stuck out to me. It’s gritty, but suits the subject perfectly.
    And Brendan’s pictures are just amazing. Very close, very moving.

    Totally inspirational to be able to see more of the work. So thanks everyone for this.


    Will keep walking, will keep moving, will keep learning and will keep fighting for my dream…

    It is so encouraging that you told me that you are also learning a lot from my images…. just for that I will push myself higher! Thank you so much for your words… and stay around. I will learn from you too ;-)

    Ps- your spanish makes sense…. y espero encontrarte en el camino!

    Keep walking!


  • The essays are indeed mesmerizing- nice work!

    Maciej Mosur- I would also love to know the context of your photo above.

  • Going thru the website as-is has been a photographic education. The range of essays even in that selection is considerable. Artistic, contrasty out of focus black and white closeups to the inside of a Ladies prison to a recovering addict in Russia. Its good to get out of our taste comfort zones and see from another angle. Good stuff! I like to see captions and a bit more about the story that can be seen in the images but the photography is stunning.

    An inspiration and a challenge. More! MORE! (please!)

    For my work, I can see the mantra will be LESS! LESS! but better. Economy is a measure of taste?

    The site does the job, but I would like to skip direct to the photographer as I read the commentary on this forum.

  • Hey David – the Arron Siskind Foundation missed their deadline too! Sorry I was such a hard-ass!!

  • I am enjoying all of the essays and hope we will be spending alot of time discussing them in depth.

    One thing I can’t help but notice is that we have seen much of this work before under student work. I may not get this entirely correct but I believe that Andrew, Chris, Kelly Lynn, Cristina (maybe) have produced their essays during workshops taken with David. Eric and Lance are students but I’m not sure about whether the essays were produced during a workshop or not. Sorry if I missed anyone. Great work by all…

    So my questions to any of you who care to comment and of course to David too…are
    1) What you have learned from studing with David that has taken your work to this level…I am supposing that your work has changed since working with David.
    2) If/how David’s help with editing assisted you in having a different “finished product” than you would have had without his “eye”

    and of course anything else you care to say!

  • Everyone has a different experience in David’s workshops. Here’s what I’ll say about my experience: For me in 2006 it was like being an out of shape athlete and then going to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I pushed hard, got inspired, got exhausted, and PUSHED myself more than I would have on my own. I liken it to an athlete and a great coach… there are good coaches and there are great coaches, and the great ones impress upon their ‘students’ to push themselves hard, rather than doing the pushing themselves (ever read ‘Peaceful Warrior’?). And just like chemistry between a coach and athlete is necessary for success, it’s the same in the workshop. For me the chemistry worked. I try to revisit those feelings when I’m out shooting on my own.

    (and to answer – I didn’t shoot my project at a workshop.)

  • I’m wearing the word EDIT on my forehead lately as I’m trying to get ready for some contests and I’m struggling with it. So I want to bring it up here.

    For this story I ‘shotgunned’ about 30 images to poor David and what you see in the gallery is HIS edit. He gets the credit. I would have never put that sequence together and I really like it. How about the others, is what we’re seeing close to what you sent David, or did his edit surprise you like it did me? Just curious.

    While we put so much emphasis an making good pictures, without a strong edit I think they will not stand up at a high level. It’s just as important.

    Oh, and I will say that editing my own work is much harder than editing someone else’s work because I have emotional attachment to all of the pictures.. I was there, I know what was going on, I know how important those moments were, but in order to edit, I must look at the pictures through the eyes of someone who wasn’t there.. this is the hardest part!

    How does one get good at editing? Any advice on things to think about to put together a good edit? Are you just ‘born’ with it?

    Back to Cathy’s question.. yes, we learn editing in David’s workshops, too, and I learned a lot, but I practice editing much less than making pictures so I think that skill tends to drop away faster after the workshop. It did for me, unfortunately.


    i had been reading your last two posts with close attention as i wanted to know what goes on inside these workshops. i also read your piece “At Home with David Alan Harvey – Workshop 2006: A Week of Inspiration and Learning”. this has been a great help.
    i totally agree with you on the fact that editing one’s own work is much more difficult than editing others’ work because of the emotional attachment the photographer has with the photos. to overcome this problem, i try to delay editing my images for at least two weeks after taking the photos (the process may be very crude) so that the finer details regarding this “emotional attachments” and “personal feelings” fade away a lttle from the mind. i am really waiting for david to write on this whole editing thing. but in any case, by seeing your and others’ essays, i tried to understand the reason behind the editing. it’s a learning process and i am happy that i have this opportunity to learn.
    thanks a lot for sharing your experiences.

  • just one thing i forgot to mention in my last post. since i am not a pro, i can afford to follow the process that i mentioned above. of course, i quite understand that for pros, it is totally out of the question.

  • Lance! :))

    Amigo, great question and insight…and i’ll share my own…

    Firstly, though:

    1. Sister Erica and Sister Lisa: thanks for the lovely and kind words, appreciate them mucho :)) (Erica, im happy about the selection shown here too, among the BEST ones from your essay for sure! :) )

    2. Herve: :))))) i love u too: especially the vitality of your thoughts :))) (even, or especially, when we have differing points-of-view: always thought and provocative and, most importantly, nourishing)

    3. Natan: :)).thanks amigo: great roadtrip indeed (ur pics): the silence of that landscape, one upon which i’ve also crossed many times and hope to do the same with my wife and son and im happy-happy you’ve enjoyed Beirut :))

    ok, editing:

    To tackle Lance’s questions (and others above), I’ll share with you my personal (behind the scenes) experience with this exercise (DAH essay) as it should shed some light into my own working ideas and the essay itself and my own thoughts and orientation toward editing…

    first, let me say that I approached David’s call for this (months ago) as an interesting challenge, photographically, spiritually and technically. When the idea originally came up (before the idea of showing the work as an essay, or publishing the work or providing $$ and support), I thought the exercise would be a way for me to tackle an “assignment” and try something very different than my own orientation and working methods as a “young” photographer. In fact, once David announced the idea (a 20 picture essay to be completed within a certain time frame), I decided on my own limitations:

    1. only 2 weeks, no more, absolutely no more.

    2. only 3 rolls of Trix. (there was a reason for the 3 rolls, which isnt important now to go into but that was the number). I dont have a digital camera (well, my son does but i dont) and i shoot only film (with an old 35mm, and a holga, and a lomo and a polaroid) and so I have never shot 100’s or 1,000’s of images in a given period of time. Futhermore, I decided that I wanted to work on the idea as a kind of austerity, a self-imposed constraint: how “deep” or how “detailed” or how “interesting” could i make something by only shooting basically 100 frames of film.

    3. only 2 week time period, no more than 5 days total. again, the austerity thing.

    4. 1 group of immigrants (6 people). 1 reason: they were spending the last two weeks together as one of them was leaving to return.

    I adhered to these self-imposed constraints. Also, the story as i submitted it to David contained 35 photos, 20 original and an additional 15. The “idea” for me was actually a mix of 2 separate and long-term projects that i’ve been working on: 1) faces (what constitutes a face, or a photo of a face and what does this mean, particularly with Asian faces/eyes) and 2) Immigrants & Immigrant Students in Canada. The essay i gave to David contained elements of both projects as i’ve been working on them, even though they are were shot over the 4 1/2 days i spent with the same group (sometimes the group was six, sometimes 2, sometimes 3, sometimes 1, but only the original 6 from the first night). My thought was this:

    given these strict limitations, could i produce a “narrative”: a story: about 1) these students and their emotional experience of leaving, 2) about their emotional experience about identity (asian), 3) about what is a face (photographically, emotionally, spiritually and 4) what is my own role as a photographer in telling a story and photographing people…could i do this through the act of editing a small body of work…

    so, when i developed the negs, i looked at everything and immediately decided not to include any kind of “contextual” photos or more traditional, mid or far-distance shot: i realized that i didnt want any of the more distancing photographs, the ones were i wasn’t close: i didnt want a context (toronto), i didnt want to show conventional interaction, i didnt want to make “pretty” pics (the framing): in other words, i shot those too, but i decided not to include them at all. After, I cut again to shots that were both abstract and (relatively speaking) recognizable. Then I thought: what is the story: i cut again and again and spent a week looking at the scans and thinking what did the pics tell me, what did i hear, what did the students talk about, etc…then, a narrative game (both about them and about me and photography):

    i cut the pics down to 10 (3 of these original 10 I didnt even send to day, like shots of wind and shots of backs, etc, ’cause while i thought they were interesting and 2, better than the other pics i sent, it didnt make sense in the story i wanted to tell David and others). so, i thought, ok:

    but David wants 20 photographs: fuck! i DIDNT LIKE 20….what to do…so, i started adding pics to see what would happen, since he wanted 20: so i though: ok, repetition, motif’s etc…i then made 20 and send the folder (i thought a success: not as a true essay or a true Bob Black essay, but as an exercise, great and fun and challenging)…then david’s request for additonal, and so i send 15, including some of my favorite photographs that i had not included in the original 20….so, 35 for David…

    the story begins with a black photograph: a photo i took of another photographer photographing me and the students (all black but a flash) and moves to a photograph of the city….moves through faces and moments and lots of repetition and ends with, again, 2 dark photos: 2 hands and a black photo and picture of a window…the narrative: well, whatever…

    anyway, the essay as it appears, was edited down to show one idea of the entire essay (variation of faces), and I am happy that David edited it this way (given the limitation of space), as the photos as u see them deal with that in this context: a story of the perception of face and what that does/doesnt convey. I think David’s choice was one of clarity: to offer something for the viewer, given the space, to grab on to and to reflect upon. the pics above look weird to me and I dont actually like some of them (my pics i mean) removed from the context of a story: but that IS EXCITING: is what is so great about how David sees and chooses and re-arranges……

    i tend to work long (long time periods without photographing and then lots of photographs and projects that go for long periods of time): listening and thinking. I like “stories”, and for me, pictures tell many different stories: about the people/things being photographed, about the process of photographing/perceiving, etc…since im also a writer, i tend to “edit” that way: i dont always care if a photograph is “good” or “strong” (and i care less and less if a photograph is “beautiful” in the conventional/technical ideal) but does it contribute to something: an accumulation…

    i always see my own work and the work of others in dialogue and conversation: it’s why i didnt “complement” any specific essay or photographer, ’cause i really like all of them and they sing together (yes, some hit me more deeply but together there is another narrative completely)…

    so, how do i edit: i look at photos, what do i like and then i think: how do they fit with other photos or with the story…..what’s the story…i dont have a problem with emotionally getting rid of photos (as I told David, his edit of my essay is totally cool with me and i actually celebrate that process), and i think David’s edit (or what he showed) shows me even more what i like about the work i sent him and what i hate about it (yes, much about it that i cant stand ;)) )…

    david has a nartural sense of story…for me, an essay never “tells” a story…i did not try to tell a story with my own: i tried to make something that made the viewers (you) ask questions…questions are always more interesting to me than statements (although you’d never know that by how fucking boring and long my posts are)…david, i think, once talked about his books saying: he hope they asked questions (like why is that horse on the porch in that mysterious photo of his from, i think, Cuba) instead of telling something:

    that’s how i edit…the problem for me is this: how to edit a sequence so that what you hoped would happen happens…that is the thing i am still learning….

    i think davids tight edit of my essay asks a clear question: what does a face reveal…and i think his edits of the other stories ask different questions (some tell a specific story, some a memory, some a suggestion, some a song/poem) and i think THAT is the thing about edit: to understand first what to accomplish…and than how…

    so, that is what my experience was here: somehow from 5-7 photos (which i liked alot, from 3 rolls) i arrived at 35 (which i didnt totally like) and then david’s tight edit arrives at another story: and maybe, for me, that’s the lesson:

    it’s not only about the pictures, but the shape of the question being offered…:))

    cant wait to hear others experience :))

    thanks again david: there is lots of “space to breath” in your edit and I am pleased, believe me :))))!!!


  • Liam:

    what’s that mean? ;))))))))))))))

    (imagine what my wife has to deal with ;))


  • Liam, does that say “Bob ‘is GREATER THAN’ succinct”? True dat.

  • @bobblack: come on, you just wanted to give David a headache ;-) I like your idea of the three rolls. There’s a book out there (I have never seen it) that was shot with three rolls and it’s all about a customer of an Irish pub on a single evening. If I recall correctly it’s called The Drum. There’s a certain authenticity to those things that I like… just spending a reduced amount of time in a place and try to cover it in depth even if with imperfections.

    I’ll share my experience as well. As of ends of May I started to shoot a project in medium format in one of the local parks. It’s more portraiture and fine grained ‘straight’ framed stuff. That was the stuff I was going to submit but I never felt it was complete enough. I’ll carry on with it in a couple of weeks. On the meantime I once took out the XA-1 (small basicly point and shoot film camera) with a small flash. I’d been shooting at night with Maciej Dakowicz for quite a while, but the whole flash thing gave it a bit of a twist. At some point in October I was showing some of my prints done with it to a friend (Bartek Nowicki) and he said that I should submit that instead of the park stuff. I missed the first deadline. Before the second deadline I made a list divided in three sections on the shots that I should cover and what I had. It was sort of pre, during and after the worse hours of night in Cardiff. There I realized that I had to shoot some shots to give a bit of a waving pace (ups and downs, something to give more taste to the more shocking shots) and then I went out and shot things like the hands holding each other. It was at first an edit of 36 pictures that I sent to two friends (David Solomons and Bryan Formhalds) for advice on editing and sequencing. David made a very tight edit of 20 shots that was really bang bang bang. I swapped a couple of shots for things that gave more pace, like the forementioned holding hands (I call it strawberry fields… because of the “we’re going down to…” thing). Also added the shot of the hand in the hotpants, that David Solomons deemed as too vulgar, and now heroically closes the sequence edited by David Alan Harvey. I must note that some shots are taken with a different camera without flash. They’re more pacing and mood, and usually less disturbing than the XA1 shots. Not that they all are disturbing, some are just really funny.

    In a way I think that what I shot covers in a way what you can see and get of going out. The sad aftermath and the high before it. All those ambiguous and strange encounters that are revealed by a flash in the dark and so. As ambiguous I mean things like the guy kissing the girls hand like a gentleman, for only revealing -when you enlarge the negative- that he’s licking it.

  • @Lance: eeeeeeeeegodszzzzzzzzzz, is algebra real? ;))))

    @Joni: great story and insight :)

    (byt the way, i LOVE the in the pants shot and i LOVE ur use of Flash in the story: said the same to my wife last night: the use of flash is brilliant in ur sequence!) as for headaches for DAH: it’s to replace the whiskey when we come to town to visit him :)))

  • Lance has it spot on…

    No offence meant Bob, I may type less than you, but everyone who knows me this side, knows I talk a DAMN lot. On New Year’s eve I drove cross country to make an event where, deprived of sleep and wired on Red Bull and diner coffee I launched into a tirade about photography.

    A friend and colleague I have known for a while told me afterwards that he had heard about me going blarney like this before, but now felt that he had MET me!

    Either way, I went through every word of your post… wish I could say the same about those that have had to listen to me.


  • @bob: I had to… well… walk very fast after shooting that one…

  • I love Bob’s world. However, I don’t live in it. I’m not the intellectual that I wish to be, but of course I appreciate him and the likes of him very much. (Bob: we gotta meet up.)

    For this particular project, “Thirst for Grit” I’m calling it, and for the many more pictures I have of this project that I took outside of the July 15 – Sept 15 timeframe, I’ve had more than one storyline in mind while I’m shooting. When it comes to editing, these multiple storylines make me feel scattered. I know what I feel when I’m shooting, what I want to capture, what I hope to convey… but the real challenge comes in narrowing down all those hundreds of pictures into a succinct sequence that is successful. What does ‘successful’ mean? That the conveyance worked; I kept the reader’s attention; I stayed ‘true’ to my vision.

    There is a formula that generally works for daily papers and periodicals: shoot wide, medium, and close (or something like that). Meaning, set the scene, get a portrait, get some detail, etc. (I’m totally not getting this right – Andrew, a little help here?). So when I’m shooting I try to cover my bases, but I think this formula falls apart for more ‘advanced’ essays when ‘authorship’ is more important. Just take a journey through the Magnum website for example.

    I’m totally losing track of what I’m trying to say here. I guess I’m trying to talk about my experience with editing and this specific project. I want to move beyond the formula that I mentioned above, and show some sort of authorship. My current dilemma is that I’m editing for (other) contests where I’m trying to consider the audience (judges) as well. Not easy for me yet.

  • Liam: :))totally, NO OFFENSE taken :))…i thought ur post was brilliant, funny, and well: SUCCINCT! :))….

    Joni: again: that frickin’ flash is brilliant (tongue from the shadows) :))…

    Lance: :))) not an intellectual: just a guy with a big mouth ;)) and hunger for wine/whiskey and good chats/thoughts (hunger for bad ones too :)) )…and i should tell u that my son (marina too) really loved the story: especially that shot of the guy getting the (what is it?) spray of cleaner on his neck…and believe me, none of this photo stuff is easy for me (no matter how full-of-blarney my words):

    to be succinct: tryin’ to stay in the saddle myself ;)

    running (for real now ) :))


    ps. lance, yes, we will: the world’s too small…i’ll let you know when we’ll be in nyc…who knows, maybe sometime in VA for FOP festival: would be terrific…and believe me, i dont sound like an intellectual…(that’s the writing shit) :)

  • “Pacing” is a keyword from Joni (by the way, LOVE your essay – thanks for the insight, I wanted to ask). It’s how you keep a reader in the game.. one emotion leading into the next fluidly, like a ‘wave’ that he mentions.. sometimes it’s with geometry, sometimes it’s with color, always with content. And a really well ‘paced’ essay will do these things without you even noticing. It’s something to strive for and build on. Taking the pictures is really only half of the task.

  • @Lance: yeah, the bitch is in the editing… I mean, when you go somewhere the first ten pictures are easy to take, they just kind of hit you in the eye… getting to twenty is something that you have to stop and think for, and plan… getting a hundred images like The Americans is just mad…

    In the case of my essay I think that David’s edit is fairly different to the one I sent. I’ve got some nice comments on it, so I’ll try to get also something closer to the submitted one online. Also, Lance, I like that first aid shot of yours. Suddenly gives a war scenario twist to the series.

    Btw, the webpage is changing!

  • hey David, along with your own input, if you can get Susan Welchman to make a guest appearance, and maybe someone like Pep Bonet or Chris Anderson, this would be the perfect time.. Any chance of that? Whatya think?

  • j’ai perdu mes lunettes

  • to answer: the spray to the chin was contact lens solution (saline?)… that guy got his face stomped on by a big-ass pissed-off bull.. nearly went into shock. what you don’t see is the other side of his chin hanging down. gross. this was the smallest of the small-town rodeos that i photographed.. they were totally not equipped to handle injuries. but these are cowboys and they have totally differenct expections in their world that i honestly kind of long for. you’re responsible for yourself out there, it’s a bit refreshing actually.

  • Lance,

    Thanks for the excellent answer(s) to my question. I enjoyed reading your “At Home” article when it was first posted on the blog and have re-read it several times. Your comments here could easily be part of the next chapter.

    The athletic coach example was great. Yes, I read “Peaceful Warrior” and saw the film too, which I enjoyed very much.

    I hope some of the other DAH students chime to answer my questions in as well.

    I shoot small town rodeos too so I know exactly what you mean about the “cowboy life.”


  • I’m really enjoying looking at all the work, seeing how different people see differently. It’s torture though as I haven’t had nearly enough time to let it all soak in, just grabbing looks as I can. It’s great to learn a bit about the stories behind the stories too.

  • Cathy,

    I would also be happy to provide some perspective as well. I was a student with David almost 2 years ago…I joined him for a workshop in Sicily with TPW during which we have photographed the Easter Processions….I believe that David is going back regularly now and I certainly recommend it to anyone… Few months after, I had written a brief paragraph on David’s blog on my experience….

    It is hard to summarize or capture what I have learned from David… Lance has said some of this already but during this intense week, I saw David really pushing all of the students. Interestingly, David was not influencing the style of the students specifically nor pushing them to photograph in a similar way…What was so amazing with David is that he was really able to rapidly identify what each one of us really had to say/show without always being so clear ourselves and then he pushed us, pushed us and pushed us to take it to the next level, show the emotions, get close to the topic, reveal what we had inside…. He talked a lot about authorship….again, kept telling us to show him what we had inside…
    In one workshop, we had a student, a girl,
    who struggled somewhat during the entire week, shooting architecture, buildings etc which seem fairly generic with no real “passion”, without that “special” something that catches your eye, touches your heart….David was really relentless with her, not “accepting” this from her. This girl was going through some difficult time in her private life and David kept pushing her, pushing… He asked her to stop photographing what she was trying to photograph and do a self-portrait and show with her pictures how she felt inside…This was the very last day, before the very final slide-show….In one day, this lady produced an amazing series of pictures, heart-breaking, really impactful…We all sat that day, in the morning and could not believe it…She somehow did it, revealed what was in her and found her inspiration back….Somehow, David sensed she had this in her and kept pushing…I am sure this lady has been transformed by the workshop and I am pretty sure that her photography will never be the same….

    In my case, the influence has been different, less dramatic in its form than for this lady yet still equally meaningful… First, as an amateur photographer who had almost never shown his pictures to anyone oustide my close family, I simply was very unsure about whether my photos would interest anyone…. David had been an inspiration as a photographer and I was initially pretty stressed to show him the pictures…but somehow, he cliked at the time, and then little by little he really was able to light up a flame in me, flame and passion for photography that is still in me. To have someone like David engage in your work, find interest and encourage you allows you to set yourself free, push yourself, take chances on what to do and photograph….

    The other things you indeed learn is to see how David edits himself…Quite a fascinating process indeed….You can see what catches his eye when looking every morning at the student shots from the day before…how he selects the best shots, sets the order/sequence for the final slide show. Very instructive… Actuallly, very often each one of us could tell when a student had really nailed a shot…. The really really good pictures tend to be identified easily (at least when you see pictures of the other students, less easy for your own obviously).

    Finally, the other influence that David had is that he obviously LOVES photography, so may styles, so many different authors…I remember him saying to one Belgium student who did not know Harry Gruyaert that this was not acceptable as he was a leading photographer from her country…How do you want to become a good classical musician without knowing Beethoven, Mozart etc without having that fundamental culture….Because it is easy to take a camera and shoot a picture, many “photographers” just simply think it is easy, do not see the need to learn their classics…David encouraged us all to look at all the great photographers, study their art, their vision, read books, leverage all these influences to eventually find your own style…. Well, it drives my wife crazy but there is rarely a day that passes by without me opening a photography book now….

    Having said all that, does this mean that I now know how to edit, that I have my own style….Well lots of work still….David’s edit of my pictures was pretty drastically different than what I had submitted so you see, have to stay humble….but the passion to continue to learn is there, the desire to get a great picture and the flame inside is still there….

    Hope this gives you some additional insights on top of what Lance already wrote…By the way, the photos that I have sent for the essay were not taken during a workshop…I took most of these in Cincinnati where I live for my day job….I have always been inspired by intense colors, carribbean light….I would have liked to go South to shoot an essay for David but was stuck all summer here in Cincinnati….I started wondering around in some of the places downtown, in some amusement park, looking for something that would inspire me and, as usual, I was attracted by the colours, kids…I tried to show some of the minority kids in the ghetto or parks from the poorer neighbourhood… No real story here I guess just a few pictures that I felt I could have taken in the Carribbean…. Eric

  • Eric,

    Wow…so glad I checked here once more before shutting down for the night. Great comment and very much appreciated. Between you and Lance I feel like I’m getting a mini workshop with David, although I can’t wait for the day when I get to experience the real thing.

    I read your comment when you posted it back in February, looking again now it’s hard to believe there were NO additional comments…how times have changed. :)

    At the time I recall wondering, although I guess I never asked, if you work for P&G? My husband’s cousin was a VP there as well as at Neutrogena…if so we can discuss further privately.

    Thanks also for the insight into your choice for the essay. You absolutely did find the Caribbean in Cincinnati. Great work.

  • I’m basically lapsing into ‘lurk’ mode at the moment, partly because a heavy work load calls, but mostly because I’m still in awe and wonderment at the range and depth of the photo essays, only beginning to absorb and digest the riches that are there. I want however to echo the sincere congratulations and thanks that many other bloggers have issued, with special notice to Natan Moss and Bob Black for their thoughtful comments directed at specific essayists.

    But mostly at the moment I feel moved to offer really deep appreciations to four outstanding writer/photographers: BOB BLACK for his detailed and illuminating description of his project, its background, his working style, and the whole kit and caboodle, showing us in no uncertain terms where he is coming from… Bob, you talk well on any subject, but now you’re talking PHOTOGRAPHY! And JONI KARANKA has also shared generously his thoughts and working style on the project.

    Most of all, to LANCE and to ERIC ESPINOSA: all us bloggers and lurkers who have never had workshops with David owe you a tremendous THANK YOU for your detailed and revealing expositions of what the workshops are really like. Not quite as good as being there, but maybe the next best thing.

    OK, I’ve said more than enough for a while- I want to hear more from the other essayists!


  • btw David, the site has gone through some real improvements.. kudos so far.

  • Mr Bob there is NO WAY anything you have written is boring!

    Tom Hyde I love what you said about the essays! Its very ‘Harry Met Sally’ but god damn its exactly what I felt when I saw them! (Hehehe- can I have what they’re having?)

    Cathy Scholl the best thing that DAH does for anyone is that he allows one to find a voice and then- AMPLIFIES it!

    These INCREDIBLE human beings ALLOW life!

    I am sure you have heard of JK Rowlings ‘Death Eaters’- Well Mr Bob, Tom and DAH are LIFE BREATHERS!

    BB, Lance, Joni and Eric thanx for sharing all those experiences, y’know for a lonely girl from the nether reaches of the earth (well Matt Newton if you’re reading, not quite as ‘nether’ as you!) you make people feel like they are a part of something special.

    Hope is the most precious thing you can give, thankyou to all the grand photogs that have given this beautiful work, it is the very best of affirmation of life.

    And I for one have come back a couple of times to see it!


    Lisa H.

  • @Lisa: :))))…glad im not battling Harry (or Hermione for that matter): and Im totally ready to breath some life into ya: u comin’ across the ocean this year? :)))…mrs. black has some whiskey (single malt) ready to breath out some life :))))))

    @Sidney: :)))…that’s why i love this place: not only a community led by quite a Helmsman (dah), but an incredibly vibrant and accomplishing example of the power of the web still: this plays rules, not only ’cause of dah’s energy and passion and commitment, but ’cause the rest (contributors and lurkers alike) really lift this ship forward :)))

    @ERIC: dAMN! :)))))…that is a great story and post….Trying to be succinct here, so only this:

    THANK YOU ERIC ESPINOSA for that great story/description/insight: :)))

    running y’all


  • congrats to everyone, all amazing work… also cool to see Partha aound…

    David, about livebooks: the overall look is nice, I have just a little problem with it, the time it takes to see the whole set for a “forum essay” is long (at least from here), it took me a few tries in order to figure out that a few photog where featured and not only one…

  • Good work everyone: congratulations. Eric, Bob, Lance, thanks for the insights.

    I agree that editing your own work is never easy. Often it is hard to separate one’s emotions about a personal photograph from how it will actually be perceived by others.

    Best to all,


  • Cathy, yeap! Your guess is good and I do work for P&G….this is the day job! Keeps me busy for sure…. Let’s see when we can connect. Cheers, Eric

  • Sean Gallagher : congraturations!
    Lance Rossenfield : very impactable images.
    I enjoy printing, too. by my Epson pro 4800.
    Marcin Luczkowski : heart moving works
    Joni Karanka : very realistic
    Bob black: imaginable & powerful images,
    Erica Mcdonald : very strong works
    Katharina : thank you for concerning. my blog is
    Lisa Hogben : thank you.^^
    I ‘ve admired all works of essayists. I love them.
    Especially I appreciate Mr. harvey very much.

  • To Sidney Atkins.
    I’ve sent you e-mail on October 2007,
    But you didnt get it, I think,

    그때 보냈던 메일을 보냅니다. 반갑습니다. ^^


    깜짝 놀랐습니다.

    데이비드 선생님 블로그에서 한글을 … 그것도 제 이름이 나와 있는 것을 보고 얼마나 놀랐는지! ㅎㅎㅎ

    저도 너무 반갑습니다.

    마치 여행중에 놀랄만한 경치를 발견한 듯.
    반갑고 놀랍습니다.

    저는 데이비드 선생님의 한국 매그넘 워크샵에 참여하였습니다. 그때 수상자로 선정되어 2008년 봄즈음 뉴욕의 icp 워크샵에 참여할 티켓과 항공권 숙박권을 받았습니다. 그 인연으로 데이비드선생님을 알게 되었습니다.

    암튼 너무 반가운 나머지 글을 남깁니다.
    영어가 서툴러 한글로 씀을 용서하세요.



  • To Sidney Atkins.
    I’ve sent you e-mail on October 2007,
    But you didnt get it, I think,

    그때 보냈던 메일을 보냅니다. 반갑습니다. ^^


    깜짝 놀랐습니다.

    데이비드 선생님 블로그에서 한글을 … 그것도 제 이름이 나와 있는 것을 보고 얼마나 놀랐는지! ㅎㅎㅎ

    저도 너무 반갑습니다.

    마치 여행중에 놀랄만한 경치를 발견한 듯.
    반갑고 놀랍습니다.

    저는 데이비드 선생님의 한국 매그넘 워크샵에 참여하였습니다. 그때 수상자로 선정되어 2008년 봄즈음 뉴욕의 icp 워크샵에 참여할 티켓과 항공권 숙박권을 받았습니다. 그 인연으로 데이비드선생님을 알게 되었습니다.

    암튼 너무 반가운 나머지 글을 남깁니다.
    영어가 서툴러 한글로 씀을 용서하세요.



  • Kyung-hee :)))

    both my wife and i LOVE ur beautiful essay :)))…i showed it to her 2 days ago and her reaction (she’s also a painter and photographer) was: “wow, those are beautiful photographs! :))

    In May, the Korean photographer Sang Taek-Oh? He will come to Toronto in May and show his work at the gallery that shows my photos and my wifes photos. I will meet and talk with him in May :))…

    u can send me an email by Lightstalkers ;))


  • Hi David,

    I know that a lot of people have said thanks, and I would like to chime in too. I enjoyed the process of doing an assignment, editing and submitting it for you. I would love to have some feedback if you have time.

    It has been instructive on many levels, a nice teaching style you have. I’ve learned from the assignment, from the comments of other participants, from the work you’ve chosen and edited out of the submissions…

    A hearty congratulations to all to Sean Gallagher and all who were chosen. The work is lovely and deserving. I’m impressed and humbled by the talent displayed in these images. Many of the have such dynamism and successfully took risks. Most of all, they all have intriguing content. I’m enjoying the photos and look forward to spending some more time looking at them.

    So, thanks for all you’re doing. I really appreciate it!


  • To Kyung Hee Lee

    이경희씨 에게

    블로그에다 통신을 써주신것 정말 고마워요. 어렵게 하지만, 이전에 재게 보내주신 메일은 받지 못한 것이 맞습니다. 미안합니다.

    경희씨의 사진은 신기한 분위기와 강력한 힘이 담기고 있어요. 그것도 매우 간단한 요소로 만드신 화면들 이예요. 여러 포토엣세이들중에 ‘미술’이라는면으로 이콜레크션의 감정를 훨씬 확장 하고 있어요.

    저도 왜국말로 편지를 쓸때 시간도 힘도 많이 걸려 서틀려서, 이번에 영어로 쓰신 경희씨가 얼마 고생하신지 알겠을 것이지만, 이 블로그에는 영어가 완벽하지 못한 여럿나라 사람들도 많고 (예를들면, 폴란드, 스펜, 멕시코, 독일뜽), 너무걱정마시고, 마음대로 꼭 쓰세요. 앞으로도 많이 기대 할것이예요.

    허면 이만…

    Sidney (씨돈드림)

    To Everybody:

    Not trying to talk behind your backs here! What I tried to tell Kyung Hee in my less-than-perfect Korean above is that yes, I unfortunately did not receive her earlier email to me but I’m glad she is writing now. I said that I think her photos are filled with an atmosphere of mystery and elemental strength, very impressive especially because the ingredients which compose them are so simple. I said that the inclusion of her work really helps to broaden and deepen the ‘art’ quality spectrum of the collection of photo essays.

    I also told her not to be shy about trying to write for this forum in English. I know how hard and time-consuming it is to write in foreign languages, but we have many valued contributors here whose English is far less than perfect, and she should feel perfectly welcome.


  • David,


    Hope I’m not wrong in the date :)

  • professional Bloggers,self admirers,judges,critics,amateur button pushers,9 to 5ers,soccerpeople, sorry to bother you but when you done kissing each others ASS, let us know…now I know why david had to delay things… Now its obvious that HE didnt have enough good material to choose from in the first place…( my photos INCLUDED). Actually the “poor” guy even admitted it in a previous post ..
    Amazing AMATEURISTIC photos though…great level for begginers!
    I will be very surprised if ANY of the pro Blah-blah ers-long letter writers of this forum ever paid a single bill trough photography that they care so much… Lame hypocrits!!!
    of course not everybody … Not alkos or joni or giancarlo and maybe a couple more…
    Natan good work and really honest..
    bob not bad but ,”pretentious”…still ok for an amateur shooting 2 rolls hoping to get lucky…but I’m happy for you , since you are a writer and honest enough to admit you are not a pro…
    People, let me put it this way:
    you would be annoyed too if I would go to your day job office, acting that I know more!!!!
    so before you continue writing( cause I know you will continue)your kiss ass self admiring bullshit…
    Remember this:
    there are actually people out there that “serving” that “tower of song” that Leonard Cohen was talking about..
    and.. SEAN now I see why you deserved it…
    he had the only complete essay… Plus he is an active PRO photographer, not like the “pro” poets( sorry poetry),around…
    The guy(is a real pro)…Enough said…and people , feel free to continue kissing each other’s ass…
    Sorry for the interruption…but I dont like keeping secrets from my dysfunctional family…
    Peace,just for now,..
    All that from the bottom of my heart, because this is how Panos do…
    peace again little bitches!

  • .. and by the way- I can’t remember who( not that it matters)…shot that essay with a lensbabie lens… I really “enjoyed” it..
    people have (look who is talking),some respect…not for me but for that fucking medium called photography …
    do not mess with your photo-Karma,please..great amateur work…but using “lensbabies” shit or Vaseline … is scary
    thank you all,
    especially the weekend “natgeo” wannabes!!!
    War,f**k peace for now

  • hey bah bah black sheep: relax, i don’t think there are any hypocrites around here.. well, but we haven’t seen your pictures yet, so.. and who here is claiming ‘pro’, ‘amateur’, ‘poet’, whatever? i haven’t seen that from anyone so i’m not sure what you’re bent all out of shape for. you’re looking at a group of honest effort projects.. where’s yours? i did take a look at your web-site.. looks like the only ‘pro’ status you claim is to be a newspaper delivery boy.. do you have anything constructive to say about editing or what goes through your mind when you’re working on a project? we’d love to hear it. looking forward to your pics… lance

  • Panos, Is this link below some of your images
    in the portfolio?

    I’m trying to understand what it is that you do
    other than thinking with your mouth in place of your brain.

  • got to jam out to photo LA, but this is starting to get interesting.

  • Hey Panos,

    Thanks for the distinction! :)

    As wrobert put it, this is getting interesting… again… just now that I’m out photographing LA too.

    Save some salvos for later, when I’ll be back reading this blog again.


    PS: for the LA readers — Panos, wrobert, etc. — the Italian Consulate organizes a show by an Italian photographer next week (01/16) in town. If you’re interested let me know and I’ll send you the pointers…

  • Christo or mike or Proxy or alias… I agree with you in everything!
    its just that my mom doesn’t let me talk with proxies, robots or people with fake id’s..sorry, but I’m not allowed to play with you until you stop hiding!!!

    Ok, back to real people:
    LANCE, dont get so upset… Thank you for encouraging me to give my opinions about editing..I will do that later from home…
    Regarding my photos… I already said that I felt honored about the whole game…and I sent random boring stuff,literally whatever was in the camera the last week before the deadline…I just wanted the right to participate and play… and debate…and… But you see I admit this..unlike!!!
    Giancarlo please send me some info for the “Italian” … thing..I want to attend and maybe we can grab a beer or two…wrobert please join..
    I photographed for the Italian consulate 3 years ago at the gallery “track16” in bergamot station in Santa monica… You know! Anyways I will see you soon.

  • people if you interested about me you can also ckexk me out at
    the only real hip hop station in la…
    Big-Boy… You know how we do!!!

    People check my “breakfast” with “50 cent”,and my very latest work with Kanye West…
    That’s what I do when christos is asleep…
    Wake uuppppp!! Ladies and gents…shoot a lot of film… Dont be cheap and write less!!!! Way less!!! You hear?

  • hey panos you are an idiot…you are jealous … We are checking on your work right now.. When we find something wrong…we will trash you… You can’t win…you are all alone and we are too many…either come with us or…and till that day , keep the opinion to yourself…unless you agree with us…
    this is a warning… It won’t be next time…

    “the CIRCLE of TRUST”

  • Hey, Panos, fancy some valium? I have a few pills left.

  • joni in our case I even doubt the power of heroin… But joni…valiums??? Valiums… Its an amateur drug … Go “pro”…
    go “oxycotin”,although, because you sound young, and I could get sued for advertising drugs- chemicals through the web, I would say let’s stick with the “sticky-icky” for now!
    to all the ” hydro-lovers” peace from LA.
    You are my type of guy Joni..
    if you ever find yourself in L.a consider my home yours, my hydro your hydro… my girl your….???!!! Hold on, scratch that last one.
    peace from the warzone!

  • Hah, you sound exactly like a friend of mine in that one. I’ll send him the link to the comment. Actually it was me that said that his girl was mine when we had that sort of exchange.

  • actually photo LA is the 17th Annual International Photographic Art Exposition happening at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, sorry for not making that clear, anyway definatly a lot of stroking going on here, thats fine if you are on the inside, nice to be stroked, right?
    I really think the work is mediocre. I see a lot of similarity in many of the sets, many shots could be the same photog, is that because your shooting digi. It just looks like alot of churned out imagery. I do not see a great deal of variety in the choice of sets,
    David, i was really hoping for a little more diversity, I mean you must have been wading thru a giant pile of shit, me included, if this is it.
    I submitted my lrg frmt photobooth portraits, I guess they suck. there was no story, just an endeavor to try and render my sitters faces in a way that was honest and unsensationalist. I wrote about how I came to the process, but whatever. Its not my work that has a light shining on it, and in a way I kind of like that, I actually never really thought that my images would fit the mold but like Panos I just wanted to participate and really i believe that the forum is a good one.
    But I gotta say man the work is pretty joe lunch sack.
    so quit stroking yourselfs so much, the work is OK at best.

    David, i just met one of your collegues, Jennifer Tripp at the photo expo, she seemed very nice, and said you like to throw alot of parties, good on you, sounds like fun.

    My friend who was the editor at Taschen America, a one named Eric Kroll, well I asked him to give his 2 cents, on the work submitted and picked, what say all of you, would that be out of control or not, btw, Eric is a fucking amazing guy, with an incredible wealth of knowledge in the photog world. quite an amazing guy he is.

    Panos, Giancarlo, I am down for the show, or if you want come to my place some time, hang out, whatever.

  • West Coassst!

    Just kiddin’…but hey WROGBERTANGELL i wish i could write or i express my self the intelligent way you do!…
    Getting to the point without being stupid,offensive and destructive like me…Of course will hang!

    West Coast for ever:

  • Panos, wrobert,

    Patrizia Della Porta’s show is at the Italian Cultural Institute at 6:00pm on Wed the 16th. Here’s their address:

    1023 Hilgard Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90024

    Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Institute. I have already RSVP for you too as the deadline was today.

    See you there at 6:00 but I’ll send you my phone by email this weekend. I’m certainly on for beers afterwards.

    Don’t worry about the Photo LA exhibit, Robert. I remembered it was on this w/e afterwards.



  • Well, strong opinions have to be welcome, I must say I prefer to read someone who put him/herself out, lays it out so there is no mistaking their thoughts, that is a lot more to chew on than just clapping sounds.

    Somehow, the contrarians sound a little more involved than the congratulatory crowd, save a few who made a point to extoll a bit (or a lot!).

    Panos, man, thanks for the laughs, you make me realize it’s been 20 years since I set foot in LA (NY too for that matter). What a difference 400 miles make! :0)

  • Please check this MEDIUM FORMAT hero…please PEOPLE…now please…

  • HERVEEEE! what’s up man…honestly (and you know this),you are Supercool…i always read your shit…you think like a razor…i think like a couch potato…but honestly i was just checking wrobertangell’s medium format…fantastic..please i dont even wanna change the subject for a minute…..people check:MEDIUM FORMAT…im losing my mind here…Loves it

  • Giancarlo you really mean what you say …another “razor”mind right there! awesome!

  • O.K… now enough with that “gay” (people please don’t shoot) s**t!

    Lance or i think it was L…
    anyways …”EDITING” talking???
    O.K…pain ,agony,self-doubt… a little magic tip….

    Step 1: Get drunk-high, whatever…then edit…choose 20 photos…
    Step 2:Wait a night (sometimes is 2-4)or two and edit again down…to 5….
    Step 3…repeat previous steps down to 3,then one.

    p.S.: to make this clear…this doesnt apply to my “essay” or should i say “random shit”,here…but
    getting serious….its hard to edit your
    “OWN” stuff…

  • To Kyung Hee Lee:
    to you have an e-mail address ?

  • David A Harvey thank you for bringing back the West Coast together…

    ..we don’t need no welfare…2pac SAID….

    …to buy a Leica…yes we do…yes we do…panos sighs!

  • Panos

    You like talking about ass kissing… so kiss my ass…

    I like you, you seem to be intelligent, I like intransigent people, but don’t waste our time for flaunt (or parade I can’t find word in English). You are not parrot. And you are not among Idiots. (even if you think that)
    Or maybe you always talk with idiots and you can’t do it different way?
    Even if you have right (you do sometimes) you will be incomprehensible when you will speak like idiots do to other idiots.
    Critic should be constructive or it is wasting time

    As you probably know my English is not well, but even if I understood you it is like float water… many words for nothing and some proper.

    So peace Golden Mouth Panos


  • Beautiful work you do marcin…and dont worry , your english is better than mine…
    peace to you too…

  • A few more words Panos,

    I think it is hard to describe what exactly is this forum. From one side it is contact with great photographer, we can change our thoughts with someone who is on center of photographic word. From other side our BolgMaster wish to make some kind of help for young photographers. Both it is great stuff, great opportunity.

    As name of This blog says we are at “home” with David Alan Harvey.
    I miss for discussions I made with my friends at academy of fine art. Discussion all night with vine or vodka. We always change ours thoughts… many argumentative, many word war I made.
    But this must be done with respect, or you will be visible as a “parrot” nobody will listening you. Especially that we are in someone’s home.
    As I say, you are intelligent … don’t waste your energy for “word for nothing”.
    Your tongue is like viper… and you must be snake not parrot.
    I hope i will have more opportunity for word war with you…

    With full respect

    Marcin alias Martin

  • To. Katharina :
    my e-mail :

    To. Sidney Atkins :
    Now I feel easy because of your consideration.
    Actually I’m affraid of speaking and writing English.
    But I keep learning English to understand and communicate other culture and thoughts.
    you’re very thoutfulful and generous,
    thank you.^^

  • martin,

    Thank you for trying to express why this forum exists. We are at home with DAH and he would want us to feel free and be able to express ourselves. That is the point. His home, and he invited us all here.

    I am mostly a reader, I’ve mentioned that before. I’ve taken a workshop with him and visit this site to continue that contact with him and the aspiring photographers from all over the world.

    However, I try to decipher what Panos for example, is trying to say, but I am unable to. I wish he would show more respect to the entire community and David and exhibit more restraint before posting. Or, possibly, start his own blog and invite people from here to participate in his discussions.

    Maybe I’m totally wrong, or just too naive to understand what Panos is saying or trying to say with his language, but I wish that I’d be more motivated to read all the comments from everyone here. Perhaps when not every other one is from the same person. It’s has become a turn off for me. It’s almost difficult to find a post from anyone else.

    David is a remarkable person and even though his gift to us is this blog as a means for expression, please, let’s not blow it and show respect. Write what you want and write what you feel and know that many people are reading it. But also remember, that what you write is a reflection of who you are and you should treat people as you would like to be treated.

    Thank you Martin for bringing this up.

    With full respect also,


  • so many comments!!! :-) i am not abble to read all.. just want to say that galleries looks AMAZING! You all did great job!

  • personally, I have a great deal of respect for the site, for David, for you, the readers, the guy who works in the liqour store around the corner, I respect people, and animals, and life, the earth, etc, but all that back slapping was getting pretty stale.
    please, I put myself into the crossfire, i can be torn to shreds at any second, as the challenge intensifies, so does the danger,
    ( that was silly )…
    for what its worth, I do believe that there are some great works, but what do I know, I am nobody.

  • Hi David

    No anniversary post?

    Last three days I spend with my computer in digital darkroom. And I must say I found my own quick way how to make my digital photography acceptable.
    So… no more complaining ha, ha
    Only hard work.
    But how I will change my love M6 for less loving but more expensive M8?
    D200 is to big.
    Struggle, struggle, struggle…. Ha ha

    All best for all.



    “for what its worth, I do believe that there are some great works, but what do I know, I am nobody.”

    I do not understand… end particularly.


    saturday morning….i just got up….need aspirin and coffee and a bagel or something….three days at natgeo seminar was good and no sleep etc. seeing all my old buddies, great speakers (alec soth, larry fink, debbie flemming caffrey, gene richards and jodi cobb) and all night parties which is why i need the aspirin…i have not read all of your comments yet…but just as soon as i get my second cup of coffee, i will wade into the fray….and , yes, i am going to be one day late for an “anniversary post”….

    back soonest…..

    cheers, david

  • To. Bob black

    I ‘ve admired at your imaginative and powerful works.
    I ‘m motivated from your works.
    I’ll enjoy your homepage.

    I ‘ve visited four times Canada.
    Someday if I went there, I wish to see your and your wife’s photos.

    Thank you very much.^^


    i just read quickly (i will go back again of course) your comments…..i could spend all day writing to each of them, but it looks like all of you are in a healthy discussion and are responding to each other in a very frank way….

    one thing i do want to chat about for just a minute or two….

    and that is the word AMATEUR…my definition of the word would mean someone who photographs for fun and not for profit or as part of their business or income plan…i would assume some would want to stay permanently in that category and there are others who may fantasize moving towards so called “professional” photography…but,there are a lot of bad pictures out there that someone got paid to take….

    first of all, i love “amateur” photography….pure….no “motive”….see something, take a picture, remember, reference, go back to cooking hamburgers on the grill….when i go into anyone’s home i look for the refrigerator door or a bulletin board or wherever people keep their “snapshots”…that and what people have on their bookshelves interest me the most…i could care less about the new car in the driveway or the new giant flat screen tv or any other material possessions or the lack thereof….the snapshots and the books tell me everything about someone..oh yes, the art on the walls too…

    when i meet with a photographer i could care less whether they earn a living as a photographer or not…THEY might care , but i do not…IF, they are interested in perhaps becoming a “professional” photographer, THEN i will try to help…sometimes, many times, i try to be most helpful by recommending that they keep their “day job” and remain glorious amateurs where the joy of photography never fades….there is nothing worse to for me to see than a burned out cynical professional…this is sad….however, someone trying to understand more about tapping into life by using their cameras for introspection or revelation or just better light for a picture of granddaddy just does not seem like anything negative to me….negative for me are roadside bombs, misplaced foreign policy, melting polar ice, political corruption, random school killings, and unexpected death…..amateur photography seems like a radiant beam… of the pleasures in life, not to be belittled or made small because of it’s alleged lack of artistic greatness….who would be this judge anyway??? and some of the “greatest professionals” move forward by moving “backwards” to their “childhood drawings” which must be the purest “art” of all…art drawn from instinct, not “learning”…

    now, i say this after being referenced by some as a “teacher”….i am not a teacher..just some kind of “guide” perhaps and only THIS because yes yes yes , i am going through all of the same shit as everybody else…and mostly when i am learning about a photographer with whom i am “coaching” (or whatever you want to call it) my most immediate suggestion for most, is to have them “unlearn” a whole bunch of things…throw out preconceptions… god relax ….keep the pleasure of photography at the top, and whatever else it takes to keep that pleasure up, those fantasies alive, the raw sensuality flowing, then that is what you do….yes yes yes , we are all dealt a different “hand”…so, what is new??? we go from there….as in poker, some people play a bad hand well and others “fold” with a good one…

    polite discourse does not mean that someone is “kissing my ass”…ridiculous….funny…silly…no amount of “ass kissing” is going to make me favor one photographer over the other….of course, i favor my friends in many ways….i try to listen….i try to be friend when they are down….i help them move…take them to the airport….buy them a beer….or do whatever other favors a friend would do….but, i am not going to bullshit anybody about their photographs….why would i do that?? please note that i do have friends on this forum…ex-students…writers i like etc etc…none of my “friends” received this stipend for example..and, if i am in a position to fund a photo project out of the sheer fate of this forum, then i make the decision clean….yes, of course, it is a subjective decision…there cannot be any “right or wrong” to it…but whatever credibility i might have would be totally lost if i supported work based only on friendship or “ass kissing” (pardon the expression, but i am only “referencing”)…

    now, the other thing is this….on a wistful morning on my family vacation last summer, i thought it would be interesting to see how the readers of this forum saw things…who they were….at the same time, i saw the power of the net to bring like minded people together…at the same time i saw traditional media as not being adequate to support all of the emerging photographers (amateur and professional) that i see “out there” all the time….so i issued a rather informal spur of the moment call for uploads….boom….photographs came rolling in…by just fate and luck and god knows what, i hooked into the non-profit status and low and behold in the most organic informal and non-professional way i found myself in a position to help a photographer and encourage many more and set up a plan to fund soonest several more….felt good…fun….rough around the edges, but what the hell??? why not??? and totally the embodiment of the proverbial “sketchbook”….our “final statement”, our final “sculpture” has not been done yet….we have more stuff to do here…at least i think we do….it is crazy to “judge” what we have done so far….this is just the beginning of possibility…so my philosophy would be to say , “hey, let’s just enjoy this moment and wait and see what happens”….

    nothing is “done”….we are still making this forum…and we can all quit whenever we want…i love the “voices” here….all of them….and some of the “voices” i like i may not like the photographs of the “voice”…for example, there are three writers here who are “gentlemen” writers, always pleasant, always thoughtful, often brilliant (akaky, sidney and herve)…i looked at their pictures….i chose none!!!….i will have some suggestions for all three, but right this minute i would not publish their work….BUT, i still like these guys!!! AND they still write!!! on line friends…BUT, i am still not going to pick their pictures just because they are my on line buddies!!! rafaal, who i met in korea, and who is a friend, and who has a lot to learn, and a new baby etc etc was not chosen as a a final essayist either….i WISH he was, but he is not… now, bob black is also an on line friend (never met the man), and i did choose his work…i found it provocative….surreal…..out of the mainstream….raw….worth thinking about….worth reflection….worth discussion….AND totally matching his words!!!!

    point is this….my favorite movie line from tommy lee jones to harrison ford from the “Fugitive” when harrison ford says, “i did not kill my wife” and tommy lee jones says “I DON’T CARE!!!”….well, I DON’T CARE either….that is , i am always going to make a “straight call”…..amateur or professional..friend or unknown person…i do not care!!!

    what i do care about is in helping “committed photographers” find their “voice”….why would i even “care” about this?? god knows, but it just seems right….feels good….fresh air….new ideas……hmmmmmm, wish i had done that , why didn’t i think of that, wow so so cool that so so did that!!!

    it is really easy in our complex culture that we all live in to assume the worst…get cynical…believe in the worst motives of people…and we have all been “burned” and face daily “pictures” of humanity “gone bad”…BUT, here, in all of our hands, we have our little (or big) cameras and we can say whatever the hell we want to say in whatever way we want to say it….seems pretty cool to me….

    the only thing that i do not understand at times on this forum is one thing….anger….what the hell is to be “angry” about??? disagreement i understand…but ANGER??? however, as we all know, anger is “inside” not object reference…anger is not about the person or thing the individual is angry about, but is about the person who is angry…

    bottom line: hey, we are just talking about pictures…not bombs, not dispair, not death…just should not be “heavy”….photography allows us to think , to express, to inform, to dissect, to play, and to live….amateur, professional does not matter…

    so, as somebody suggested many comments ago, let’s “lighten up”…

    i will try to do the same!!!!

    cheers, david

    p.s. damn, i was going to do a first anniversary new post…maybe this was it!!!

  • Wrobert and all,

    Guess I just missed you at the Magnum prints booth yesterday at photoLA. I was told another DAH blogger had just stopped by. Why wasn’t David’s work represented?

    In general I would say that most of the documentary work shown at photoLA was from deceased photographers such as HCB. The “living” were not well represented there. I did see Alex Webb featured in one of the galleries and Sebastio Salgado’s Africa work was on display. Verso Limited Editions was showing their “Magnum Founders” collection….There is a lot to see but so much of it is fine art or just plain crap pretending to be fine art!
    OR fine art pretending to be documentary…I enjoyed Alison Jackson’s “Bush plays with his Rubik’s cube” It looks like PJ but is not real. She “creates” historic moments such as Marilyn and JFK kissing behind a doorway using lookalikes.

    To tell you the truth…after seeing what all the photo galleries from all over the country are featuring and also viewing about 75 portfolios from Review LA “emerging photographers” across the street I actually have even greater respect for the work being shown here…there is a LOT of garbage out there folks!!!

  • Well said David, and Happy Anniversary.

    And Bob, I think that post pretty much draws level with yours for length… though in both cases, there can never be too much said if it is worth saying.


  • David,

    Thanks for the anniversary comment. It’s a beauty. I was writing at the same time as you and missed it.

    Happy Anniversary to you and to all of us too! I was around not from day one but shortly therafter…back in the days that there were sometimes NO comments after a posting.
    Hard to believe :))

    I was afraid to comment at first because I thought I was reading something meant only for your close friends and students and since I didn’t “know” you it wouldn’t be appropriate to join in.
    Then you asked the first question…”A Question” and from that point on I was hooked. I mention this because the level of “intimacy” of “family” that was present when you started a year ago is still here regardless how many of us are participating.

    Can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

  • It’s all good, David. I am exactly where I thought i’d be. I love taking pictures, it goes way beyond the mere fact of doing just that, as for most of you guys.

    Notwithstanding that I have something to learn , and did already, from you (not as a pupil/teacher, but as a natural sponge to everything that sticks) and the blog, I am in no need of approval or re-assurance or accolade. And all this not because I am not ambitious, but because I have the best of ambitions, that of the amateur as you say so well. This means being responsible to oneself, and oneself only. There, there is no winner, no loser, we are all equals.

    One thing I would tell the friends here who are looking up to David to get a hint, an encouragement to become pros, is that, and it’s very much IMO, it is important to get into it feeling equal to any other photographers, including David.

    Believe in yourself, hard as steel, never mind what david thinks or not thinks, ultimately. Be opened to all influences, advices, but know these will always be at the periphery of who you are, what you want to “say”. there is no one to look up to than yourself. Not out of self-pride, but out of the gift for life that has been bestowed on you.

    It is no shortcoming in your photography that will make you fail, but shortcomings in yourself. From everything I understand about David’s WS, that’s what he jabs, punches, coaches people about. It’s a good analogy. fight back, punch back, shoot for your life, no pupil, no teacher, just shooting. At that very precise moment where we press the shutter, if we really mean what we are doing, we are all equals, from Aget to anyone here, passing by Cartier-Bresson.

    That’s the glory of photography.

  • martin (marcin luczkowski)

    The anniversary comment.

    My mind is not clear, my wife have very difficult surgical operation right now but I want just say;


    You give me a lot while this year. First of all I found here person who I always can talk about struggles, passion, love, life and all what for photographers wand and should talk about.
    Second; I think you not teach, you developing all that what is best in young photographers. And it is more than great. I feel developed like best film done.
    I felt your debtor.

    This is half what I think, but I must running

    Just thank you David for all.

    I hope meet you someday and I wish calling you “friend” someday…


  • CATHY….

    i always “expect” you to be here….by the way, you did not see me at the Magnum deal in l.a. just because i had not prepared a portfolio…i get a lot of things done…i also have a whole lot more things not done!!!


    good advice…yes, never mind what anybody thinks!!! yes listen, but form your own idea..


    please take good care of your wife…we all hope she does well with this surgery…we will talk about pictures later….

    cheers, david

  • I had my doubts about writing in this forum even more after seeing all the finalist work. I am struck by ALEKSANDER, ERICA, MARCIN, ERIC’S work
    But I have seen some bitterness and angry towards………… I dont know really whon or what. So I decided to say something here.
    I think I sent 2 stories and the one I least expected was chosen.
    Of course I am happy about being in the finalist list not only because of my pictures per se, but because Mr Harvey doesn’t know me in any way.
    I’ve never met him , although I had the chance in Perpignan,, I’ve only written once in this forum in reference to one of his student’s work in Thailand.
    He doesnt know how I look, what I think and what I do…..Well he does now :-)
    Like Martin ( whos work I love) I don t know what am I doing there.
    Why he chose this particular story over the other which I though was more powerful.
    His judgment is also a point of view and I am intrigued about it.
    As a mater of fact I feel I was lucky ,that month, having a fire in the floor above my office.
    What I can say in this forum is that, at least from my perspective, DAH’s decision is an honest one. True to himself and not to the amount of ass kissing, because he DOESN’T CARE.
    I know this now. I didnt before. While in Perpignan he was review portfolios and for a second my body had an impulse towards him to show my work. The reasons I didnt were:* I though my work was not good.* I will feel I was adulated him .* There was no purpose on hearing his views ( I either kept doing what I was doing or do what he was going to tell me and loose my individuality,singularity,etc ). Anyways , I am glad I didnt meet him then because I can write these lines now.
    David Alan Harvey has integrity with himself and this forum (and I guess with everybody ) at least referring to photography . I am speaking for myself .

    I just hope that this forum doesnt get stained with rudeness ( and ass kissing) like other forums.

    Happy Anniversary David !

    @Martin all the best to you and your wife.


  • I agree with you Alex. I haven’t met the bloke either, but I’ve written here every so often. Gives me the feel that with the people he chose and left out he just wants to point out at stuff going on in a very personal and honest way. That seems fair to me. And mate, btw, your essay drained all the unexpected oddity points available. I can see how you didn’t expect it either!

  • I think term “teacher” has some associations with downloading ideas into students minds. I think what you described as a guide is the best kind of teacher, it can help accelerate the process of learning our own way—which we have to take the steps to find. My art school professor once said he was loaning us his eyes so that we could learn to see with our own.

    You’ve an unusual way of writing, so open and forthcoming. It’s like reality television. I feel very present when you tell your stories.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about your comment a while back that there are two kinds of photographers of people. Those who are actively participating and those who are non-threatening. It’s nice to have ideas that resonate with me for a while.

  • I’ve seen a number of television documentaries of you David. You have a nice ass: but I wouldn’t want to kiss it!
    Your anniversary post is obviously straight from the heart; as is Herve’s reply. They both speak for many of us.

    Partha Pal from INDIA – nice photograph – good eye.

    Best to all,


  • Yes, I agree with DAH’s view of amateur. Over time, the word has somehow become a dirty word, but the original and literal meaning was someone who does something for the love of it.

    Eliott Erwitt mentioned that most will never make it as professionals–“do it for fun”. His implication is that being an amateur is nevertheless a valid and perhaps even a noble pursuit. It’s the journey itself, not necessarily the destination.

    Erwitt also hinted that the professional work he does is not always what interests him. The wisdom and the lesson here is that amateurs are only constrained by their own imagination and limitations.

    It seems to me that should be obvious to all is , that DAH’s purpose and goal is advising/helping/coaching us all here to become less constrained.

    Furthermore, those who use the term amateur as a derogative word need to be reminded that “professionals” (insert any field) did not start out as professionals, but amateurs.

    Presumably, no one here makes a living as a professional philosopher, yet there’s a lot of philosophy flying back and forth.

    To put it another way: Why Is it rational and logical to be critical of all types of amateur endeavors if he himself is an amateur philosopher?

    Finally, if anyone is interested, I would like to recommend that he/she reads (he online version):

    _The Idea of the University_, by Cardinal John Henry Newman.

    The section that is most pertinent to this discussion is _Discourse 7: Knowledge Viewed in Relation to Professional Skill_.

  • after going through the “first anniversary new post” (is it or is it not, but really, i don’t care), i am happy that certain “points” have been made abundantly clear. may be i am quite new here and may be i can’t claim some of the “rights” just for being attached to it from day 1, but i think there couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate the anniversary (our anniversary, that is) than this straight talk from david. i loved it because of its simplicity and honesty of purpose. we must remember that our common bond (here in this blog) is photography and photography ONLY. and we must also remember that our common aim is improvement, no matter what comes in the way. at least that is why i am here. of course the fact that a photographer like david is here at all moments for suggestions has a big humbling-effect upon me but i don’t think this ‘honeymoon feeling’ would have stayed even this long for me had i not felt that there’s something to learn about photography here in this forum (not only from the big man but also from every other photographer here) which can help me in my own struggle in the days to come.
    so that is it…

    as always, straight from the heart…


  • ALEX….

    i plan to write a story soon on all of the essays, but i must say right now that i was totally intrigued by the mystery and the sadness and the dark power of your “after the fire” photographs…for sure, they do not come through as well as they could on a computer screen….but, deep rich prints would be amazing i think….there is no doubt that you surely spent very little time taking these pictures compared to your other work, but that does not matter..yours was a true “essay” and perhaps i only wish you had two or three more…maybe you do….


    your raw bar night life work left me with the feeling of your participation and yet the real invisible…surely, if you keep on track with this “casual” non-mannered approach, you should be able to have a book sometime soon…i do not know what you do on a day to day basis, but your project is worth pursuing in the same almost weegee like flash and run style…my only recommendation would be to keep doing it the way you are doing it…if you for whatever reason decided to change your style of being so so loose, it would ruin everything….please keep me updated on any new work….


    thank you for your comment although i never thought i would be compared to “reality” television!!! although my friends who do hang out here with me at home often tell me they feel like they are on a reality tv show, so maybe you are on to something here!!! stop by sometime and check us out….but, please do not bring any tv crews with you….


    yes, yes…we are all “amateur” philosophers here and always we have spent a lot more time dissecting thought process than we have talked about “composition”….but, if photographic pursuits are all linked into our “inner being” then why would we not philosophize??? and rhapsodize?? and throw in a little psychology 101 too!!! i will read your suggested piece by Cardinal Newman now….

    cheers, david

  • David,

    I wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t philosophize, I actually think we should. “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

    To clarify, I was trying to point out the inconsistancy of anyone who argues against “amateurism” while they are, at the same time, being an amateur (philosopher).

  • David

    My wife is ok now, and i always good care about Her. She is my life and air.

    Martin :)

  • JAY…

    my intent was to totally agree with you…sorry, if it came off any other way…


    yes, you have always made that very clear martin about your wife….all of us will be pleased with this good news…

    cheers, david

  • happiest anniversary, what a wonderful thing to be a part of, strangely now integrated into my day, thoughts, and rhythm with all you others known and unknown. here’s to another year of inspiration and wonder.

  • Hi David,

    Ha ha, well…think of a co-operative version of the Amazing Race rather than American Idol. Thanks for the offer. I’d love to dig out of my snow bank in the great white North to meet you one day!

    All the best,

  • Martin, what I was really trying to say in that last comment was that I am not really sure if I am qualified to weigh in on the selected works. ” I am nobody ” maybe that sounds contradictory, not really sure, but what I mean is that i am no editor, w/ university degrees and all sorts of academic titles, I have a cerificate of achievement, the lowest rung on the academic ladder, so I just really don’t want to rock the boat to hard, or seem pompous or whatever, but I stick by what i have said. I think the work is OK at best but with a few exceptions where magic is happening.
    for me, I just found all the “your so great” and “wow” and “beautiful” and “jolly good show old chap” starting to really get lame.
    funny though, as I was writing yesterday, I really thought about how trivial my comment was, it really occoured to me there are much more serious topics to be concerned with, as David had said.
    As for photo LA, I was in awe! original Evans, Atget, …to see and touch the original prints by artist, I was blown away. I loved it. so many master wrks present.
    Sorry we did not meet Cathy, that may have been interesting. anyway, i am back there Sunday.
    original prints by Atget…holy shit…still tripping on that.

  • wrobert did you see this there…

    The original Bill Epperidge photo…what is left of it after the fire is on display at Monroe Gallery.

  • Humans will always be fascinating creatures. So very complex that it’s confusing and often slippery to grasp proper meaning.

    That describes me; I don’t know about the rest of ya ;-)

  • “I’m not so interested in all the in-between pictures that help explain the story. I’m more interested in taking a single image that transcends the moment and evokes all kinds of emotional responses” -Mary Ellen Mark

  • CATHY….

    i am sure mary ellen totally believes that statement…and certainly now, she really concentrates on the single image…i am not sure what she means by “transcending the moment”…i am happy HCB did not transcend any moments…

    but go look at her “Faulkland Road”….a terrific book and totally sequenced with many “in-between” photographic non-transcended moments which “help explain the story”…surely part of it’s greatness….

    what you should remember about essays is that some explain and some do not…some are “stories” and some are cohesive sequences or collections of emotions or textures or both..


    i know what you mean, but i think you just cannot dwell on it too much…sometimes you can figure things out by just working hard on something which would be “trivial” by artistic standards (like a hobby) but yield untold emotional stability…

    probably i will never “grasp proper meaning”…i am not even sure what proper meaning is, so it is really hard to grasp it… actually, maybe i do not even want to!!

    almost everything outside of gravity and food in your mouth and a roof over your head is PERCEPTION….you really can “perceive” your own special world…

    my motto is: let everyone else do their own thing…then, go do your thing with all your heart…then, praise everyone else…

    cheers, david


    i liked very much your sequential portraits….very provocative….i will display soonest….

    cheers, david

  • Ah Yes…Happy Birthday, David


    When I get older losing my hair
    many years from now
    will you still be sending me a valentine
    birthday greeting, bottle of wine
    If I’d been out till quarter to three
    would you lock the door
    Will you still need me
    Will you still feed me
    When I’m sixty-four

    You’ll be older too
    And if you say the word
    I could stay with you

    I could be handy mending a fuse
    when your light have gone
    You can knit a sweater by the fireside
    Sunday mornings, go for a ride
    Doing the garden, digging the weeds
    Who could ask for more
    Will you still need me
    Will you still feed me
    When I’m sixty-four

    Every summer we can rent a cottage on the
    Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear
    We shall scrimp and save
    Grandchildren on your knee
    Vera, Chuck, and Dave

    Send me a postcard, drop me a line
    stating point of view
    indicate precisely what you mean to say
    yours sincerely wasting away
    Give me your answer fill in a form
    mine forever more
    Will you still need me
    Will you still feed me
    When I’m sixty-four

  • I think I missed that Cathy, but I will check tomorow.

  • HERVE….

    i was always hoping they would all be around to sing that song this year…..

    cheers, david

  • Panos—keep stirring the pot! I’ve learned to appreciate it.

    Just sat here and read through all the comments—thanks Bob, Eric, and Lance for your detailed accounts of the editing process. I’m feeling more and more that editing shouldn’t be left to the shooter (if it can be avoided) but should be passed on to a trustworthy partner with a fresh eye who understands the vision.

    The initial rush of seeing all the work has been replaced with finding that a few stick in my head as being memorable stories or images. Keep in mind that any criticisms I have are still (presumably) coming from maybe a tier or two down, as I’m working my way toward better authorship and storytelling. Often I am in the camp with the cynics, but I wouldn’t change the collective process and effort put forth here.

    Marcin’s work moved me from the beginning and it hasn’t lost any impact. I look forward to seeing more from him.

    Bob, for some reason I was expecting a departure from the style of what I’ve seen on LS, but I was pleased to see that you didn’t—you told a great story without compromising your artistic guns.

    Joni—I didn’t want to like your stuff but I just can’t help it. ;)

    Lance, Christina, Eric, Erica, and Brenda—you all have images that stand out in my mind as powerful captures that work beautifully in your stories. For me there is a drop-off here though—I think there’s pretty good stuff throughout, but my feeling is that some of these stories could have been edited down even further, and some really just have a couple of good singles.

    For example, and maybe this is more of a comment for David rather that Katia, but I think I would get more out of Katia’s work seeing a single image from this series rather than the whole story. I think when I see the same kid in more than one shot, I get too much information and kind of loose interest. The compositions aren’t really that striking to me—not that they always have to be, but it helps when the subjects aren’t that interesting. I know kids like this, and find the whole homeless kids with ipods a bit passé. Katia, I don’t mean to single you out, because I feel this way about a few of these series’. But here’s my point—I would be a lot more interested in Katia as a photographer if all I saw was the shot of the guy kissing his friend—overall the rest of the series, as a story, is kind of lost on me.

    And David, I’m curious about this—originally we had a month to shoot that was extended to two—and when I look at the work posted so far, some looks like it could have been shot in a single day and others look like they worked it out in a week or so—interestingly Bob set strict parameters—then maybe some did take advantage of the full two months. I know personally I didn’t really benefit from having more time. What was the purpose of the extension? Did it just enable more photographers to come on board? Maybe a better question is how did most people approach the time frame for shooting?

    Still looking forward to that critique from you David.

  • hi david, and everyone else in this online community. a little introduction on my part– i’m bj from the philippines. i’ve been teaching english literature for 14 years, and just last year decided to drop all that and be a freelance photographer. at first it was a scary move. the anxiety was mostly financial in nature. i mean i gave up the security of a decently-paying job for practically nothing. but beyond the money, what i got in return for the move was so liberating: the freedom to focus on photography. when i was a teaching i was already shooting, but it was an on and off endeavor, fitting only between the seams of back-to-back semesters. i was able to build up a photo bank but what i’ve been realizing lately is that that collection wasn’t substantial. by substance i mean a deliberately planned and constructed “story” or “narrative” or, well, “meaning.” the latest lesson i got was from the outcome of your (david) offer of a grant. yes, i sent in my photos, and judging from the fact that not one of you has heard of me previous to this post means i fell by the wayside. when you remarked in a previous post that many of us simply didn’t know how to edit my first thought was, uh-oh guilty me. and now looking at the finalists’ photos i couldn’t help but realize that 1) these guys are really good, and 2) a coherent story goes a long way. now that i have more time on my hands, i hope to make use of it to follow through on a story when i shoot.

    i actually have lots of questions for you but what i’d like to ask right now is this: are you ever coming to the philippines? you’ve been taking your classes almost everywhere and i wonder if you could make a detour here. of course, i’d like to study under you

    again, congratulations on the unfolding great outcome of your project, and more congratulations for bringing together through this blog a rich group of people


  • @David Alan Harvey: man! I’ve never got such a comment in my life! I usually just keep on shooting, so the material should just accumulate. Last night I only shot three frames, I think, but I must have about fifty rolls worth of pictures for the whole thing.

    @David McGowan: I shot mine during the whole time allowed. Some of the images just don’t happen all the time.

    On involvement of the photographer, a friend of mine uploaded a couple of shots of me shooting:

    I think they’re funny :-P

  • To Bob Black: Bob, I sent you a message through LS. I hope you get it.

  • Joni,

    Don’t you sometimes run into trouble when shooting such pictures? People are getting so paranoid about photographs these days. Their greatest fear is that you put the pictures on the internet. Well, in some cases it might be understandable. But most of the time it is not. People don’t seem to have realized that 1) even if there is a new tape/picture “scandal” popping up every week, it always involves celebrities; for people simply just don’t care about non-celebrities; and 2) if you don’t put the name of the photographed persons (which would be difficult with photographs of strangers) next to the pictures, they will be lost in the depths of the internet ocean, with virtually zero likelihood that someone ever sees the pictures without being given the link.

    I once had problems shooting far more innocent pictures… Although in fact not that innocent in the view of the average paranoid right-thinking citizen intoxicated with the various pedophilia stories that make the headlines of TV news. Yes, I was questioned by police officers because I was shooting pictures of children in some kind of amusement park. Shortly before, I had already been asked not to shoot pictures of people by some organization staff (who clearly did not have the authority to forbid anyone to take pictures). Clearly, in the mind of many people, shooting pictures of children equates to being a pedophile, even if the pictures are taken in a context where you would think it is natural for the “average” person to take pictures. As though I had an X-ray camera… I had to argue with these 2 policemen, telling them that I was not aware of any law forbidding to take pictures in public places and that I felt like I was in a non-democratic country. Finally, they asked for my passport, and because I was not carrying it with me, wanted to drive me home so that I could show it to them. [btw this story happened in Germany but if you go to France I highly recommend that you follow Ogilvy’s advice “don’t leave home without them” – not without your amex card though but without your ID, for checking ID has become the French national sport. Have you ever counted how many times you were asked for your ID at CDG airport? Amazing]

    Anyway, after 5 more minutes of discussions, I realized that I could as well show them some of the pictures I had just shot, since I was using a digital camera. I did and when the policeman saw the pictures, he let me go. “Thank you sir, auf Wiedersehen!”

    Quite a traumatic experience in fact. I can hardly imagine how it could be in not-so-democratic countries. But maybe people are also less paranoid. I would be curious to know if any of you already experienced such problems, in which context and where. If there are any German people here, I would also be curious to know what the law says in Germany with regard to photographs. I wrote to a local newspaper but they apparently were not interested.

  • I think the German law for taking pictures on the public street is something like: you need to keep at least 5 meters distance between you and the subject and unless a consent is given you can not publish them. That, of course, doesn’t stop hundreds of street phogogs from shooting and publishing but if a person saw their picture published they could challenge it in court of law. Also, people have more recourse when they see you taking pictures on the street and they call the police on you.

  • @david ukaleq (I see myself misstyping this often): yes, that’s a pain in the ass. Most of the trouble I get at night in is quite playful at the end of the day, but sometimes not. That wrestle was unexpected but more fun than anything else. You’ll find that child scare very common in the UK as well (recently in a park they molested a couple taking pictures of their own child). In a similar fair three friends of mine ended up all at the police station for taking pictures there. Of course nothing happened to them, but they were taken away mostly because some parents were getting extremely paranoid. The thing I hate the most is that I take that in a guilty way, so it sort of sinks in my conscience, and at the end of the day the camera ends up pointing away from children even if they are there.

  • Just reading the last comments I was wondering what can happen if Joni’s work is good enough for publishing a book…. What would happen? he has no written permission from the people on his pictures so… does it mean that he could have trouble after publishing? That is something I always think as in Spain people are very concern about the rights of image….

  • And going back to David’s words: “what you should remember about essays is that some explain and some do not…some are “stories” and some are cohesive sequences or collections of emotions or textures or both..”

    These words just helped me a lot. Really. I think I was confused about what an essay means. And now I can see how wrong I was when I edited my essays. I knew I was sending too many pictures but thought there was a need of story like when you read a novel. I did not realize that an essay can be just a melody of emotions or textures…

    Opening my eyes to this makes me really happy as now it fits a lot more with my idea of photography… So next time (and very soon) I will edit with my heart just feeling the melody with the mood of what I want to tell (if it makes sense)

    Thanks!!! :-)


    the deadline for the shooting was extended quite simply because the stipend came to being right as the original deadline was about to close….

    you are right…most photographers seemed to shoot their stories in a very short period of time…i think this is understandable…everyone was shooting just for the experiment of it…i had 100+ uploads even before the stipend, which is quite a bit of work submitted just on good faith…very few photographers have much extra time to shoot on good faith…they need to earn a living…that is why i did come up with the stipend concept in the first place..

    the point will soon be to provide funding either BEFORE anyone shoots or as an incentive to finish a project…like an assignment….i was just trying to get things rolling for this one…to see what would happen or could happen….

    i was quite surprised you eliminated one photographer from your critique, andrew sullivan, who i felt had one of the tightest essays on the mood of jazz in harlem…

    overall, i thought there was a lot of good work considering the relatively short shooting time, particularly since everyone was shooting for this forum for “free”…

    our toe is just barely in the water….

    most stipends are based on at least a year of work from iconic photographers who may have been funded from magazines in the first place….

    my whole intent, as i have said many many times, is to fund emerging photographers…it took this “one time” gratis shoot just to see if there was a viable audience out there who could literally fund themselves by just being here on this forum..

    enough interest is being generated by our “experiment” to fund at least two more photographers immediately…the next time around i may work this whole thing differently….perhaps have portfolio submissions and then “assign” a photographer to go to work….

    i am now appointing a board or a jury of peers to help come up with ideas for this…we will be thinking of ways to manage the Emerging Photographer Fund…

    i have been working hard to this end….i will post this afternoon or tomorrow some of the results of this effort….

    now, go look at andrew sullivan one more time!!! not because i think his style is more appropriate than anyone else’s, it is just closer to what you do…..

    Bj A. PATINO….

    i have always wanted to visit the Philippines and have never been…both my southeast asia interest and my spanish interest could have met in these islands and i am surprised at myself for never figuring out a way to go…

    so, yes, i would love to come and do a workshop…when james nachtwey and i were just doing our workshop in bangkok we both talked about doing something in Manila at some point soon…

    i will try to make this happen perhaps later this year…


    my rule for myself is really simple….i do not photograph children at all anywhere without a parent or guardian with me or nearby and with full permission….

    in some cultures this is quite easy…in others, not so easy…when in doubt, DO NOT PHOTOGRAPH CHILDREN!!!

    the story of john trotter, staff photographer for the Sacramento Bee (California), is a frightening story…on assignment for his newspaper to shoot a routine picture illustrating the nice springtime weather, john went to a children’s playground…he photographed some kids on a swing…a child’s mother saw john shooting from a distance and started screaming…two men heard the screams and came running….they beat john trotter quite literally almost to death…they held him on the ground and kicked his head repeatedly…fortunately john survived , but has permanent or at least long recovery brain damage…

    once in Cuba, i was traveling with my own son…he made friends with a Cuban boy…this boy was the son of a friend of mine who was working as an assistant for me…we had spent several days together…one night, right in front of the house where the boy lived, and with my son and i standing out front of the house where we had been invited for dinner, i shot some pictures of the boy who was just wearing his go to school shorts on this hot summer night as all of the kids in Cuba do….i shot a photograph of this boy in front of his home and with his father within 10 feet of me appreciating the fact that i was shooting a picture of his son(this picture is in both my Cuba book and Divided Soul)…within 15 minutes i had the Cuban police on high alert…i heard later than even the Havana police had been notified (i was far from Havana)….it took an hour of explanation to the local police that all was ok…even the boy’s father had to answer a lot of questions…not fun…as it turned out, a passerby had looked at the scene, mis-interpreted my intent, and called the local authorities…


    i do not have a good answer for this….i never used to worry about these things, but now i do…i suppose it is a good idea these days to have model releases….i rarely do, but i am sure it is a good idea!! like most of us, i just cannot imagine having someone sign a piece of paper while shooting out on the street…but, in many countries this is really necessary… France, for example, is very difficult, where i did get releases, but i just had to have someone help me do it…

    for all of us, shooting in the street is getting more and more difficult….

    cheers, david

  • Hi David:
    I am Julio Muñoz, your best student from Trinidad the “Cuba’s Colonial Treasure”. Recently I have received the visit of your friends Carmen and AJ.
    Your idea about photography workshop in Trinidad de Cuba is still working, my photos at
    Annalien, Rosita’s niece who you publish her photo in your article about Trinidad October 99 is living now in New Jersey.
    Trinidad as beautiful as always, waiting for your return.
    Greetings from Rosita (she still no burn me in fire), photos about the family at
    Best regards:
    Julio Muñoz

  • JULIO….

    what an amazing and wonderful surprise to hear from you!!!! and what a coincidence too…you must not have read the comment just above by me about photographing the boy in Trinidad (Cuba), because you did not refer to it (or, maybe you can’t!!)…but, you were there!!! remember??? you got me out of trouble!!! thanks again!!

    please have annalien call me or write me or something…yes, carmen and a.j. speak so well of you and your hospitality…as we all do!!

    please give my love to the whole family…is rosita’s father still living?? and how about the dog in my picture (i do not remember his name)???

    abrazos for you and your lovely rosita…please please no “candella” for you!!

    saludos, david

  • David:

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! :)))…it’s been an enriching and rewarding and nourishing and important 10 months and, for now: i’ll try to be succinct! :)


    i’m off now to take my son to a basketball game, i’ll read all comments after David’s Anniversary Letter tuesday.

    hugs y’all



  • David:
    I saw your comment now, yes, a was there. What a coincidence !!!. I didn’t see it because I am not connected online.Was Victor and Sandra’s son. The problem was that a person with bad intention and wish to be a hero call the police and say “a tourist is taking photos about a naked boy”. Victor and me take you out from the “situation”. When the situation was clear the police and the parent of the boy complain the man for give wrong information. Sandra almost hit the man on the face.
    It is great for us remember the adventures we had together here, I am sure you miss Trinidad
    Thanks God, every body is still alive. Rosita’s father loss a leg for smoke too much (circulation problem). The dog’s name is Brandy, still alive, now I have a horse too.Check my web site.
    Rosita still no “candela” for me.
    Best regards:
    Julio Muñoz

  • Yeah David, I do like Andrew’s work a lot, and I see some similarities in the way we approach composition, etc. I wasn’t really trying to lump too many essays in this or that category, so by the time I wrote my post I may have overlooked some that I like. Actually Andrew’s work does hold together as a complete essay very well.

    (I did discover how tedious it is to go back and find a single person’s essay though!)

    Maybe my point can be made better this way—take the two beautiful singles, for example. If you put 10 shots around Partha’s photo about life around the pier, bridge, river, diving, whatever, to me this shot might lose some of it’s impact, if more common compositions or too much information are weighing it down. No doubt Partha could put together a strong 10 piece essay, that’s not my point.

    My point is that some of the essays posted feel like they should fall into the single shot category, or maybe the 3 – 5 shot category, because they get a little mundane.

    I’m easily swayed by logic, and like I said, I’m a couple of tiers down from this group, so lay it on me!

  • I know this discussion has moved far beyond this point, but I’ve finally had a chance to spend some time with the essays on the site. I really love how much they all seem to come from such a personal place, just oozing with that all-important “authorship” quality. Great work by all, though I’m particularly moved by Lance’s pictures (great job telling the story), Marcin’s (very ephemeral), Chris Bickford’s (love the colors), Kevin German’s (very moving), Eric Espinosa’s (great human connection), Erica’s portraits (giving weight to the idea that a photo can steal someone’s soul), Andrew Sullivan’s (the second to last shot of the empty Cotton Club is genius), and Katia’s (amazing ability to connect with subjects). I’m thrilled to be amongst this crowd.

    Incidentally, if anyone is interested, I’ve recently returned from covering the New Hampshire primaries and have posted the work on my site at – I invite you to have a look at political theater, American-style!

  • A few months ago, Erica asked about this over on LS; if I remember this right, she asked about the restrictions we put on ourselves when we go shooting. For me, the restriction against taking pictures of kids I dont know is about as absolute a rule as there is; this is trouble I just do not need in both my photographic and professional life. I deal with kids all the time in my work and the way to stay out of trouble with them is to never be alone with a child, never touch a child, and to never show a preference in dealing with kids. For past twenty or thirty years or so, there has been a sort of pedophilia witch hunt mentality abroad in the US, starting with the McMartin case out in California. Since then, people’s lives have been ruined, people have gone to prison even, on charges so trumped up and phony that they would have been laughed out of court if an adult had made the charge, but where kids are involved, juries are more willing to think, well, maybe there isnt enough evidence to convict here, but it’s safer to lock you up and make sure than to take a risk with the kids. When I first started in my field twenty years ago, at the height of this scare, I had male colleagues who would not deal with children unless there was a female colleague in the room with them, and this was not a private room–this was a large open public space that anyone could walk into at any time. I knew one guy who would not deal with children at all; it’s not that he didnt like kids-he had three of his own–but the risk, as he told me, just wasnt worth it; he’d have someone else, anyone else, even the secretary, deal with kids before he would. Now, I dont want to denigrate what is, for parents, a deeply legitimate concern; there are pedophiles out there, no question about it, and when these guys get caught they should get the book thrown at them, but let’s face reality, there have also been a lot, an awful lot, of bogus charges made over the years for one reason or another, some legitimate, some not, but pedophilia is one of those charges where the accusation itself is enough to destroy your life and no jury saying not guilty will be enough to remove the taint from you in some people’s eyes. So I dont photograph kids I dont know; I’m almost 50, I’ve never been married, I dont need to be hit across the face with a 2×4 to figure out what’ll happen to me if some paranoid parent starts wondering why I carry cameras with me all the time. It’s basically abject fear on my part, I guess; I would prefer to avoid the situation altogether than have to worry about mortgaging my house to pay for lawyers and then find out that even if I did successfully defend myself, my chances of further employment in my field are basically zero; nobody would take a chance in hiring me, just in case the jury got it wrong. So I’d be screwed one way or the other.

    In reading this again, it occurs to me that there are no jokes in it at all and that it is not written in the comic vein I usually employ. My apologies; the comic vein is on vacation on the Isles of Langerhans this week and after it returns from vacation all tanned and rested up, I will avoid this serious tone in the future.

  • David Ukaleq b, Rene, Joni, Ana, David,

    I think now became time when photographer must working in different way than photographers before. Street photography must change, photography must change at all. Now everyone have big or small digital cameras, and everyone want to be Cartier-Bresson or DAH, and will be time soonest when we will paid punishment for our ambition. Because for photographer maybe it is stupid but this is rule- we should have permission for shooting!
    This is half of fun often, but I think that must be done in future. No permission no pictures.

    When I work with people I see that many of them don’t want be photographing without reasonable reasons. Just “no” because “no”. But they have right for it.
    Cartier-Bresson and you David had had luck. Now in Poland it is difficult working on streets. I mean working not shooting from time to time. When I look as a pro on street I have problems almost always. But that is must be, I think.

    I have little question about that. If you read my email you will know with who I work now. I have always agreement but not on paper. You think I should always asking for signed permission for publication?


  • Joni K,

    Why not tell us what happened in the FlickR pictures, it seems that everyone is having a good time, like buddies, who/where are you in there (I see no camera or someoine shooting)? Am I missing something in the pix i did not see?

    We write a lot, then the pictures come on, and unlike 99% of what is done in the publishing work, there is hardly any text or captions to guide us.

    It is definitely my problem with the essays and WS, (apologies for rehashing, since I mentionned that before), How in the hell do we know if it is sequenced or edited right, until David spares us a little of his experience and why he did it the way he did, at least for 2 or 3 essays, since he has experiences and/or read some kind of text or synopsis coming with the essay.

    My opinon is that if he had sequenced the essays, like Marcin’s for example (that is an awfully difficult essay to read without one little wrody prop), in completely different orders, we’d have no clue. From the essay’s author who claimed that david did a great job, why? tell us.

    What I see is rather a selection, probably well ordered by david, but not essays.

    I know there are photobooks out there with not a word, but they are few and far between, not the type of thing the editors David has in mind, want to look into (less the P. is mindboggingly talented). We know they are not after “not-a-word-of-explanation artists”, but promising photographers they can work with. David, kindly correct me, here, I am sure I erred, but until you tell me….

    Just a detail. Look how many, commenting on Sean’s, (validating David’s choice) asked for people to look at his website. Then, the light comes! Indeed.

    As I see the essay on David’s site, it could easily not seem to be about desertification (like: it’s done, forget it, now what’s next), but how to turn a disaster in a tourist attraction bringing revenues to the population of a region.

    Also desertification may or may not have to do with global warming. the sub-saharan desert crept ever more before. Man had something to do with it, but not from carbon dioxide pollution, i think. So, here too, the why things happened is important, I am not saying Sean did not expand on this, but the commentaries went back to “Al Gore”. The specifics of the essay were glossed over. For lack of text?

    back to editing, sequencing and mixing medias: I realized that even more last night when I saw that lightstalkers allowed to put in music behind one’s photo slideshow. I did just that, added up photos (one theme: people gazing or returning my gaze), then music, then I looked and listened. And just the info, the impetus, stimulus, emotion from the music (coould have been words, or poetry, whatever), well, yes, that puts me into REAL, WORKABLE sequencing mode, a thread from the theme and music seemed quite a thing that would help with the theme(1). I ended up deleting all captions, words, since it was just about gazing back. I need to do more editing though.

    (1)especially when you are not a great photographer, and will never be, like me. But you could be an author, and what you say may be unique enough to share with many others. There are so many medias our imagination can use, rely on, to create that message that can come from us only.

    Simply as it is presented, I have no idea why this photo is best in front of this one or behind this other.

    Is this a valid point?

  • some corrections:

    -publishing world, (not work)

    -worded props (not wrody)

    -last sentence was in reference to the road trip essays…simply as presented.

    apologies for the mistakes.

  • What a small world. Julio (from Trinidad), I stayed at your place for a couple of days, two years ago. I was there with my girlfriend and we had a great time. I remember chatting about photography and seeing your photos. Beautiful house you have, and of course gorgeous town Trinidad. Saludos!

    David, you might be a bit disappointed if you are expecting to see a lot of Spain in the Philippines. Much stronger American than Spanish influence, although it is said that it is the most “Latin” of the Asian countries and I agree. I think that the Spanish heritage is not so popular there, probably with a reason(full disclosure: my girlfriend is from there; I have to hear a lot of tongue-in-cheek comments about the Kastilas).

    That said, the country is gorgeous and the people really nice. It would be great for a workshop …

  • Ouch, I’ve just read all your comments and it makes me extremely pessimistic about humanity. Now that I have read your stories of people being beaten, molested, etc. I guess I am lucky not to be in a wheelchair.

    But, please, tell me, why the F*** would it be WRONG to photograph children in ordinary situations? I mean, I can understand that many pictures can trigger ethical debates. Yet, I don’t see the slightest issue in taking pictures of children playing… Likely, there is an evolutionary explanation for that and many human beings, although self-proclaimed very advanced creatures, still behave like wild bears or lions in many ways, and especially when one is approaching their cubs. I mean, what sort of people are willing to lynch you just because they or someone else saw you pointing your camera towards children? And what sort of people are reporting to the police any behaviour they don’t LIKE? To me the answer is quite simple (and sorry if you feel that I am exaggerating): that same sort of people who live in totalitarian regimes and, because they don’t LIKE their neighbours, denounce them to the police, fully aware of what will happen to them. Makes me feel like moving to the East coast of Greenland and living in a small cabin like the heroes of Danish writer Jørn Riel’s stories. I find such behaviours all the more shocking, as people who photograph children, whether they succeed or not, are most of the time trying to convey feelings of grace and humanity. This is in stark contrast with these angry mobs willing to kill their fellow human beings for no reason.


    You’re right, after this story I was also feeling guilty. This is an extremely uncomfortable feeling.


    I was (well having read these stories I am not any more) surprised to hear that you take so many precautions when photographing children, given the number of children pictures I saw in your books. I didn’t think you almost systematically asked the parents or some person responsible for them. What about someone like Alex Webb? There are also so many pictures of children in his books, as well as in other street photographers’…

    René and all,

    I was aware of restrictive rules about publications. For example in France, there is this famous much debated “droit à l’image” and it is even more restrictive for children. But I didn’t know of any law pertaining to the act of photographing itself. This 5-meter rule seems so whimsical. So taking pictures from a remote location with a tele lens is allowed, but openly photographing with a 35 mm is forbidden. Ridiculous. Especially at a time where everyone can photograph everyone unnoticed with one of these cell phone-embedded digital cameras. I think it would be interesting to know EXACTLY what the law says and if there is any juridical precedent. I know that the juridical aspect may not be the most important, for if you end up in a wheel chair, winning your trial may not be a great comfort. But still, our societies have laws, and our individual liberties are supposed to be bounded by these laws and by these laws only, not by what any John Doe or Max Mustermann thinks they should be.

  • @Herve: I shot that pic of the guy lying between the rubbish of the street and then his friend wrestled me to the ground… it was friendly, because I had already bumped into them a few times that night (they were falling around a street)… it was fun, but hell if they were big… about cameras, that’s what I look like when I carry two of them…

  • martin alias marcin


    I don’t know what “wrody prop” means ehhh
    My essay is about my hometown. I’m waiting now but i will write a text about my hometown (if this will be pleased and needed)
    But this will be not in short words, this is a whole story.
    But first photo story.
    You will see that this photos is not enough…


  • @david ukaleq: check out the amount of naked children in The Last Resort by Martin Parr.

  • Akaky not that I don’t understand you worries but isn’t it a terrible world were you can’t be nice to other peoples kids. Photography is one thing but the paranoia basically takes away your ability to be a human. The poor kids not being able to wander around on their own and be kids. Luckily people have that freedom in a lot of the world but not in the UK and from the sound of it the US is worse.

  • marcin alias martin

    David Ukaleq b.

    “why the F*** would it be WRONG to photograph children in ordinary situations?”

    I know what you mean. In poland problem with pedofile is new problem and people when see a man with camera shooting children, they say “pedofile”. frome one side it could be good, but I feel like man is enemy of all children. You know, don’t be nice for children or you will be a pedofile.
    but world is how it is. I think photographer should always be a gest. So no permission no pictures.
    I think it is not good but what we can do?



    ok, now i see what you mean….well, i agree…..i am showing way way too many pictures from almost everyone…i thought that everyone was requesting a look at what was entered and the basic body of material….that has been my only intent so far and, honestly, all that i have had time to do…

    i would edit most of those essays down to about 5 pictures…which is still an essay…and certainly all that could be expected from a relatively short shoot…

    there are three stages for me to editing:

    first rough cut (that is what i am showing all of you)…second cut, much tighter …and then final cut and sequencing…that has NOT happened yet…

    i still have to get so so much more stuff up for everyone to see…you are only seeing a very small tip of the proverbial iceberg….

    even with a hands on workshop with 10 students, i am 24/7 coaching, editing and sequencing for a week with a “live audience”…i just cannot do online what i do “live”..almost impossible..remember , there were 250 uploads, with more than 100 photographers who will at least have a single published here… i can do some version of what i do in a workshop , but it will take some time…and it will never be quite the same as moving pictures around and a discussion with the photographer in the same room….online is great…real life is better!!!


    please read the above text to david mcgowan…basically, i am not done with editing yet!!!

    and my god, almost nobody in our little group gave any information about their work whatsoever…

    next time around, with funding up front, i will insist for everyone’s sake that the photographer write something about their essay, their intent, etc etc….i just assumed photogs would do that, but i will never assume again!!! this made my job twice as difficult at least and still has some essays in total limbo…..

    for example, aleksander nowak…we all love his work….i surely did and at one point had him as the most likely recipient of the stipend…but, he does not like titles…fair enough…he also does not really shoot essays, but a series of singles…also , fair enough…a group of pictures shot in one place over time can be considered an essay…

    BUT, me not knowing this, or the location, or the intent or anything other than they were very cool pictures, made me slide in the direction of a project that had me informed and i could see more funding would lead to a complete story…also, i had to spend way way too much time verifying work…aleksander, as it turned out, also made an honest mistake and some of his work was outside the dates specified….so, none of this was quite as simple as it may have looked…

    aleksander, believe me my friend, i love your work….i hope you do not mind this candid story, but i think it helpful to all…better for me to describe at least part of my process and thinking, then to have everyone thinking totally the wrong thing…that is the nature of doing this on a forum…all part of the educational nature of this outlet…

    as i have also said several times here and everyone seems to miss it, sean gallagher is NOT FINISHED…

    he must get people, emotion etc etc into this work…he was funded not as a reward, but as incentive to go finish!!!!

    and there are two or three others who fall into this same category and they are quite likely to be funded soonest..

    to answer all of the questions about this process is just going to take some time…i work all the time…and i work a lot on this forum….and i have promised many of you time with your individual stories…so, please stay with me on all of this….we will get it all done it the best way possible with the time available…fair enough???

    cheers, david

  • Alex

    Just great pictures from Box essay!!
    I had the same idea last days :)
    Only more if i could say… only more!!!



  • Akaky,

    I have just read your post and I totally understand you. We have had this kind of stories in Europe as well, with people jailed during months, some pushed to suicide, until it finally appeared that all was based on false accusations. And probably some people still believe they were guilty. For people think what they like to think, regardless of any evidence you may produce.

    And well, I understand that people may not want to be photographed but not that they fear for their children because a photographer might be dangerous (at least more dangerous than anyone else). First because, as far as I know (and sorry to get into these naughty details) pedophiles who get turned on with children pictures do not do so with pix of children dressed in Halloween costumes. They do not buy books by Helen Levitt; nor do they buy the last issue of “100 pictures for the freedom of press” filled with children pictures by Sabine Weiss. They are interested in other kinds of pictures which, in general, are not taken in the street.

    Second, any person who would consider abducting children,or causing any harm to them, or even just taking pictures that one might deem dubious (provided that the context allows for making such pictures, which is very rare) would not be stupid enough to openly take pictures at close range, where and when everyone can notice them.

    I think we are dealing with pure irrationality here, with something deeply anchored in the human soul, on which rational thinking seems to have little power. And even if, as you say, there are indeed some pedophiles out there, my guess is that many more children are hit every year by speeding cars, and yet no one looks BMW or Porsche owners with suspicion or disgust.


    i certainly agree with you…there should not be anything wrong, but sometimes it is just another person’s perception of “wrong”…i mean, john trotter did not do anything wrong….period…but, he has brain damage nevertheless…

    now, granted, those were extreme example stories….i have photographed many children many times in all kinds of cultures with absolutely no problem…as a parent myself , i have always been aware of at least just making some kind of contact with parents..sometimes only eye contact, but contact…tacit approval of some sort…not signing papers…i never do that..and i do not ask “may i take a picture of your child?”…but, as in all of my work, i give people assurance with my movements, body language, engagement of some sort, that gives people confidence in my presence…

    i cannot speak for alex webb of course…but, knowing him well as a friend and knowing his style of shooting well, i think very few people are very aware of his presence…he works more like HCB…more or less invisible…not making contact much with the people he photographs….more distant…disparate elements….you do not see alex “hanging out” in quite the way that some of us might….he often shoots when large groups are gathered and their attention is on something else…that is a lot different than sitting on the family kitchen floor which is where i seem to be!! in any case, i will ask alex when i see him next week….


    yes, please…write me (us) a little story…that would be nice…to know a bit more about your intent for “Hometown”…i really “feel” your work…sentimental…personal….moody….so Poland, and i have never been to Poland!!!

    cheers, david

  • “…there is nothing worse to for me to see than a burned out cynical professional…this is sad….DAH, commented…”

    “…would assume some would want to stay permanently in that category and there are others who may fantasize moving towards so called “professional” photography…
    …but,there are a lot of bad pictures out there that someone got paid to take….”

    …a lot of bad pictures….got paid to take…
    ……………………………… paid to take…
    ……………………………… paid to take…

    People this is exactly where my angriness,bitterness and self-destruction coming from…

    This is why i like stirring the pot even if that makes me a “parrot” as Marcin said or “an idiot” as Rafal and Mike and Christo and…said…

    People,this is where the bitterness coming from…this is what i was trying to share,(thank you Joni,David McG,Gi,Wr ..and more for feeling me…though)

    I dont want to discourage anybody from taking the “photo-path” as a personal way to salvation…

    I did it…I married that “illusion”..and now my misery goes like this:
    Half the day im making plans for the future and the rest half of the day im fantasizing a glamorous divorce… Be free again…
    Like a junkie that cant forget about heroin…
    People im thinking to retire from this blog since i really make those blue skies so dark…since someone suggested i should do my own blog (thats silly..i dont have anything to say anyways),but thank you for embracing me… i want to thank everybody for the patience…i will be here …reading and drinking…

    But to sum it up: Working as a pro, many times doing boring photos upon request,just to get paid…that can burn one out…
    go home and throw up…many nights in a row…

    All that from panos
    peace OUT

  • Joni,

    Yes, you’re right about “The last resort”. By the way I like this book very much and, in fact, it is one of the few books by Martin Parr that I really like. But this is precisely the kind of context where I would have been extremely cautious, even before I experienced any problem. You generally don’t see naked kids in the middle of cities although I already saw some bathing in fountains. But then I would keep my camera at a 180 degrees angle.

    I was talking about situations where there is no ambiguity at all, which is the case 99% of the time in urban street photography.


    You perfectly summed up how I feel. A world where smiling to a child turns you into a suspicious person is horrible. The problem extends far beyond photography.

  • David,

    Yes, you’re right, having the law on your side is not of much help if you are severely injured or dead.
    I totally agree that Alex Webb’s kind of photography is very different from yours. And maybe he has an extraordinary ability to be inconspicuous but there are still occasions where it is very hard to remain unnoticed. I mean if you shoot 3 rolls of the same scene…


    i do not suspect that alex goes unnoticed…surely not…but, i do not think he “chats it up” either, or has a beer, or goes to dinner, or helps plant corn with his subjects…it is just not his style…and sometimes total “detachment” can bring you “in”…

    i do know that for me, in some cases, where i do not want to involve myself for whatever reasons, that by just not moving and more or less staying in one place and becoming part of the scene (like a light post!!) then people eventually just forget you…leave you alone….if people do not feel threatened, they will generally let you be….and in the places where alex works, “south of the border”, generally there just is not much of a problem anyway…

    and then there are just some people who just cannot seem to be “at one” with the environment…i had a student in my last class who complained he could not shoot in a particular bar…he said he was thrown pictures….so , i went to that bar to see what problems he was talking about….within 20 minutes i was shooting away comfortably..everyone everything very easy…so, i called the student on his cell phone…i told him to come on over, that everything was “cool”…so, he walks into the bar…pulls out his camera like a weapon….sticks it right in the wrong face at the wrong time and within minutes was told he could not take pictures in the bar!!!

    cheers, david

  • Hi David,

    this is Jose Munoz, Annalien’s husband,and Julio’s cousin. Julio always talks about you. I live in New Jersey, right accross the river. Email me your phone or email to get in touch. My email is

  • David,
    Couple of days late but happy birthday to you as well!!! You should do a post on Alex. I remember that he was on your list of friends on whom you were planning to talk about…Alex has also been a real inspiration to me as a photographer. I told you this before but there are couple of books from him that I really find amazing. I recall you saying before on a previous blog that Alex was not an emotional type photographer….more intellectual…I think I sort of understand what you meant at the time as there is a lot of thinking that goes into the construction of the pictures, a lot of juxtaposition of different scenes within the same picture…but boy, I have to say that his pictures have always had a special place on my book shelf. I would love to know more from you and how you view him as a friend and as a photographer, also curious to know if you feel he has evolved his style over time… The best pictures he has ever taken in my view are the ones in Haiti that he has started with….On the other topic of photographing kids etc, this is interesting…I am myself often drawn to kids, and my pictures are full of them…I have to say that with rare exceptions, I have never had any bad comments… Somehow, I also find a way of being unnoticed or non-threatening (my only comment point with HCB!!!)…will be careful though after reading all the comments made…. Separately, I was excited to have my essay selected (combination of two I sent you). I was encouraged because I really did not have much time this summer, taking couple of hours here and there but has been tough. I am excited because as I mentioned, I am heading to Antigua in March for 10 days, for Easter and there, no excuse…great topic (easter processions) that can complement what we have started in Sicily, great city, lots of colors…I hope I will be able to bring a good essay from there…Maybe for your next round of whatever else you decide to do… Cheers, Eric

  • David,thanks for saying something about my submission.
    Although I generally go for a more straight approach, where the views and subject is clear and discriptive , I found the work of Marcin to have real depth. it was on the second visit that I started to see this. I like your approach, or style. poetry or folk-lore come to mind when i see your work. My mom was Czech, we used to drive from Scotland to Olomouc, in the Land Rover, every summer. kind of brought me back to that for a moment.
    the Cotton Club images too, i like. to me they seem authentic, and revealing. I listen to a lot of jazz, maybe not swing or dance but ( actually listening to alot of Creole Jazz, Yerba Buena, Lu Watters, Turk Murphy, Kid Ory, etc ) i dig that set.
    as for awkward or incongruent situations while shooting pictures, the nice thing about the 4×5 is its so un-stealthy. its a very public camera. there is something honest about using a camera like that. I dont have a field camera, its a calumet 18″ rail, big bulky and in your face, but its a novelty and frequently while trundling along (rubber made tub, majestic tri pod all straped to a luggage cart) I get people requesting a portrait. its sweet.
    anyway, thanks again David, its really a special thing to be a part of this forum.

  • David Ukaleq B., Harry, Akaky, Marcin, etc-

    I actually had a very unpleasant encounter that almost turned very ugly while photographing for this essay in late October. I was in the local grocery store in the check-out line and I took several pictures of the checker lady at work. She is someone I know quite well and often talk with on many topics including art and photography, and though I didn’t ask permission I knew she wouldn’t particularly object. I had a 28mm lens and I tried to include not just her but the check-out line and surroundings. This included a silhouette of a guy at the edge of the frame with his back turned. Now, I was ‘street shooting’, moving fast, and I didn’t even notice that this guy’s maybe 5 or 6 year-old daughter was sitting down on the other end of the check-out counter also with her back turned completely and because of the light essentially only a silhouette. When the guy saw me and heard the shutter click, he blew up. I tried to explain what I was doing and who I was shooting but it was already too late for rational polite discourse… he was sure I was shooting his daughter, that she would be recognizable, that I would post it on the Internet… it didn’t help that the week before a guy who really may be a pedophile who lurks around schoolyards shooting little girls with a telephoto and then posts them online, was run out of Washington State by essentially vigilante action and the story was featured heavily in the newspapers and on public radio. I would have been happy to show the guy the digital picture to prove I didn’t intentionally photograph his daughter and delete it if he still had the slightest objection, but I didn’t get the chance. He was on a threatening tirade, and I figured I got off easy by not having my camera smashed at the very least.
    Later, out in the store parking lot, this guy had started to drive off, but he changed his mind and circled back to accost me again and he was still clearly very upset, he didn’t want to hear what I had to say, he was convinced that what I had done was completley illegal (which, as I understand the law, is not true)… and in the midst of his shouting, suddenly a loud ‘BANG!’ went off behind him. His daughter, strapped in the back seat, had been playing with a balloon and it suddenly burst. She was completely unharmed, but when the ‘BANG!’ went off, I was watching this guy’s face, and I saw it go through fear, anxiety, anger, exasperation, fatigue, despair, all in 2 or 3 seconds. At that moment, I felt compassion for him, for his concern as a parent who is bombarded with fears by the mass media and his own imagination. So I abjectly apologized, tried to assure him, let him have his say and once again considered myself lucky to have escaped without bodily injury.
    It would have been easy for him to follow me or find out where I lived- this is a small town, we’re both regulars at the local grocery store… I half expected the police to show up at my apartment, grill me, and go through all the images on my computer. Lucky for me, they didn’t- at least, not yet.
    When I got home and looked thru the pictures, indeed his daughter was unrecognizable. However, the guy himself was possibly recognizable in profile at the edge of the frame. So I deleted the picture, even though it was from a composition, lighting, and content perspective the best I’d taken all day. Who needs the trouble over a picture for what was basically a student exercise?

    I fully agree that there are witch hunts on, and it’s very sad and dispiriting that our society has come to this. But I also saw the fear and irrationality in that guy’s eyes. So I have reluctantly come round the same position as David: No pictures of kids unless I know them, have the parents’ permission, etc. And even more: sometimes, it’s not even the picture that you think you’rre taking that might get you into trouble. As Sam Abell once said to me in a very different context, “You have to be responsible for everything in the frame, whether you put it there or not.”


  • In terms of photography, if parents are the first paranoid group, then girls in the bar are the second. Maybe it’s the conservative nature of the region I live in, but often enough to note it, I’ve had girls at the bar ask me why I’m carrying a camera and no matter what the answer they convey how “creepy” that is (and I don’t exactly have teeth growing out of my forehead!)

    I’ve gotten used to responding in a way that works quite well. I let them know that I’m completely open about my work and have only honest intentions—they’re welcome to see anything I shoot, whether I show them on the back of my camera or get a card in their hands with a link. Questioning turns to curiosity quickly.

    I think the post “Eye Contact” is a good refresher for this topic.

    A favorable reputation goes a long way too. In circles I’ve gone from “why does he have a camera?” to them actually being happy to have me.

  • “aleksander, believe me my friend, i love your work….i hope you do not mind this candid story, but i think it helpful to all…”


    First, I’m so much more than happy and (still ;-)) really positively surprised to hear you like my work that much – honestly, I wouldn’t believe myself even thinking about it earlier… ;-) I absolutely don’t mind you’ve posted the story above – I would just like to explain that “honest mistake” (maybe I don’t understand this phrase right…?) was actually my misinterpretation of your words on this blog, about a possibility of including some material outside the timeframe into the essay… The law is the law, though, so I obey ;-) I’ve explained it to you earlier in an e-mail, but I just feel it is better to tell it here as well.

    By the way, not honouring me with the grant was certainly a good decision. Sounds strange, I know, and it’s not any false modesty that speaks now, really. Its just the way I shoot, when I do it, what part of my life it became; things that you’ve could only assume more or less – they make a donation unnecessary, at this moment at least. The grant wouldn’t help my current photography (…call it essay, call it art, call it life…) It wouldn’t help to finish it, as I’m not planning to do it at all at the moment; it wouldn’t help to make it more complete in any way either – as the inability to choose, to edit, to make it coherent, to set a direction and push forward is caused by my own inner issues, not economical ones. I don’t need money to continue what I’m currently doing (motivation I get from your feedback, guys, is more than enough!!), unless maybe it was high enough for me to quit my job and dedicate fully to photography ;-)

    I don’t know how to finish my post now, no conclusions come to my mind… just scanned my today’s roll, need to get some sleep as mondays are really mad at my job… good night David, good night everybody… sleep well…

  • “His daughter, strapped in the back seat, had been playing with a balloon and it suddenly burst. She was completely unharmed, but when the ‘BANG!’ went off, I was watching this guy’s face, and I saw it go through fear, anxiety, anger, exasperation, fatigue, despair, all in 2 or 3 seconds. At that moment, I felt compassion for him, for his concern as a parent who is bombarded with fears by the mass media and his own imagination.”

    Great, moving story, Sidney… goodnight…
    (its 00:32 in Dublin ;-))

  • Sometimes it just pays to be the biggest goose in the room ,whatI mean is being affable but with intent usually works a hell of more than barging in and blazing away.
    I’ve found that displaying genuine interest in your subject and acknowledgement of their input into what our art means , sometimes that can mean talking ,following and spending time ,but the exchange can just as easily sorted out by a nod over the top of the camera – I reckon thats where the real skill in photography lies!
    BTW for those interested in the photographing kids and street thing ,Sydney Morning Herald photographer Jon Reid had an intersting blog on the subject here
    Battling the Monsoon


    Thanks for your thoughts on “amateurs”, way up above. As an amateur, I’ve come up against some condescending and demeaning attitudes from an occasional professional photographer (not here!), usually not justified by superior talent on the part of the “pro”… But on the other hand, most professionals I’ve met have been gracious, generous with their knowledge, and encouraging. In fact, it seems the more talented and perceptive the photographer, the less threatened he/she is by amateurs.

    Speaking of which… BOB B.: a big, public THANK YOU!! (you know why…)

  • Hey, guys. I’ve been traveling and have not had much time to visit the forum. Congrats to all the winners–really strong and eye-catching work!

  • DAVID: I just read some of the recent posts; so sorry I pestered you during your recovery period from NG meeting.

    Did you indeed get from me finally: two separate essays – 8 or 9 about my family visit and a short one with pictures of the local bar plus a few singles? Did you find the descriptions with the images?



  • Thanks David for answering about text and essay.The word I shall retain is therefore… Unfinished! :-)))

    On the subject of children, depends where. and maybe how. I am not sure about being “pessimistic” about humanity, for not being able to shoot someone, too.

    Children are a tough cookie to shoot for authoring and getting individuality out of them. So, it is important to know what this is we want to bring out in taking children. I do not think they make the greatest accidental subjects if shot in a “street photography” contest. Unlike adults, or even teenagers.

    If it’s to get some kind of expression, the type that only comes from children, why not go to fairs, festivals, children shows. where tons of snap shooters are around it makes little difference you do it too. Even being too forward does not get too much reaction (unless you stay 5 minutes shooting someone’s kid on and on).

    usually, with good body language, and introducing oneself, I have had little problem in these occasions. You can also shoot your family’s little kins, they can provide tons of accidents, moods and happenstance and it’s absolutely safe for you.

    If I wanted to shoot a kindergarten with no one familia with me, I would do it the essayist or NG way. Get to know the people, get them to know you, spend time with your subject, that means days.

    In all other circumtances, good luck to you and me, but if photography was easy, we’d all have books on shelves about any subject that fancies us.

    It’s always hard work, any type, and i think to shoot kids (most especially within our western borders), you need to work on a very precise idea of a subject, and pursue it with all the skills and psychology you can mutter. Just to go out and shoot kids for the sake of shooting kids in itself, is not that interesting. It’s too generic a subject, IMO.

  • sorry again, I need to reread before i send.

    I did not mean kindergarten, but playground, and with no families there that i know.

  • nacho’s right david. there’s not much in the philippines that’s in-your-face spanish anymore. except for remnants both physical (e.g. castillan architecture in a handful of places) and cultural (e.g. our spanish surnames) much of filipino society has been americanized. one thing though that remains very “latino” is the religiosity of many catholics. you should see our fiestas devoted to patron saints. a more peculiar example is zamboanga city, one of our southernmost cities. their lingua franca is chavacano, a combination of spanish vocabulary and filipino grammar. regardless, the philippines won’t disappoint the visitor

    if a philippine workshop is a near-future possibility then i would be the first to sign up! of course, when one thinks “philippines” he also (automatically?) thinks “manila,” the country’s capital, perhaps its most cosmopolitan spot. (manila is actually different from metro manila but i won’t bore you with the details.) what i’m trying to say is, it’s always a good idea to conduct a workshop there (the konrad adenauer asian center for journalism, supported by the world press photo, is based and conducts classes there) but i’d like to make a case for holding it elsewhere. i’m sure manila-based photographers would protest (oy, don’t make it so inaccessible!) but then similar groans would be heard in other places if it were held in manila. i’ve lived in manila all my life but just last year transferred to davao city, in my opinion the most cosmopolitan city in mindanao, a southern island. (btw, mindanao was the veeery loose subject matter of the photos i submitted to you). a lot of photographers here would be extremely happy if you showed up in these parts. anyway, i’m babbling about something that’s so up in the air so…

    about shooting in public and shooting children. in filipino society, shooting children in public is a non-issue. i’ve never heard of a parent or a guardian here complain about such a matter. i don’t have an explanation for this and i don’t think i’m qualified to hazard a guess. but related to this, i also noticed, when i browse photos online by filipino photographers, that a lot of them, when they shoot what they casually refer to as “street photography,” aim their lenses more squarely at children than at adults. for example, in a series of photos by one photographer, he’d have shots of a kid on a park bench filling up the entire frame together with shots of a fruit vendor observed from across the street with a tele. i’m sure you’ll agree that this is another symptom of that fear of taking photos in public spaces. no threat will come from the kid but who knows how the vendor would react. unfortunately, i suffer too suffer from such a fear. never mind the advice i get from people on how to shoot with confidence and discretion (your anecdote about shooting in that bar after only 20 minutes of hanging around is interesting), when it come to actually doing it i’m afraid again. words versus acting them out. one workaround i’ve adopted is going with someone who has actual business in a certain venue. i find it easier to shoot then because in my mind i’m telling everyone i’m shooting, “uhh, i’m with her.” that’s exactly what happened last month when i went up a mountain with my wife who visited a family of indigenous people she had intimately worked with before. while taking photos of them (may i show them to you david? how?) i thought, “uhh, i’m with her.” and i guess that’s the key, it’s how you feel about it internally, how you feel inside about other people. it shows and they respond accordingly.


  • Morning all…It is becoming part of my daily routine to check out the thoughts of all those who participate here. Admittedly, it happens more than once a day when I have the time and more than likely I will be a lurker that occasionally throws in my two cents worth. At this point what I find interesting, is that my short time here is having an effect on my thinking. The essays shown so far are wonderful teasers to keep me coming back for more and the dialouges enrich the experience. If the purpose of this exercise is to further encourage the critical thinking needed to enhance our passions, then this virtual reality will turn out be a great success.
    Looking into the future, I think David will have a larger grin than the one he already wears and our next submissions will surely reflect that our time and eyes have spent time here. Thank you all…

  • I just caught up with the posts regarding photography of children, one of my favorite subjects. I know there is a lot of parental paranoia out there, some of it justified. I am also a very anxious parent. Recently I was at a local sculpture park with my kids, and a woman with a camera slowly approached us and just started taking photos of my kids, without saying anything to me. She approached cautiously (I’m 6’1) and was not the least bit intimidating (I think it helps that she was a woman), so I didn’t intervene, but still felt that she was intruding. Had she first approached me, especially since I was also carrying an SLR, and asked permission to shoot, I would have felt better, and the kids would not have known since they were obliviously playing the whole time.

    What I’ve learned from my experience as a pediatrician, combined with what I’ve learned about portrait photography is that children and their parent(s) need time to feel they can trust you, pretty much like any other photographer-subject relationship in just about any other type of portrait situation. Steve McCurry has said, “If you wait, people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view.”

    What happened to you, David, in Cuba underscores that misunderstandings still happen even to the best of us, even when rapport and trust has been firmly established. But I just wanted to emphasize that those thankfully rare cases do not negate the importance of approaching children and their parents with the same patience and respect that adult subjects often receive.

  • Akay, thanks for the serious post. I went to the Isles of Langerhans once but had to leave early with pancreas problems. Panos, stay with us, your posts are always worth reading.
    With regard to photographing children; I just treat it as any other street shoot with the caveat that I would only photograph if the subject would make a really good photograph i.e. I wouldn’t take a casual child photograph just for the sake of it.
    My style of photographing on the street is to be open, and to never sneak a photograph. I don’t usually engage my subject (I have a slight speech impediment (stammer) that shows itself in situations like when I ask “Excuse me, I’m a photographer and I’d really like ….” or when someone says “What is your name?”) but I don’t hide either. If they see me – and they usually do, I keep photographing. I usually don’t shave before I hit the mean streets and try to look tough. This works very well as people are always stopping me to ask for directions, spare 5 minutes to answer a questionnaire or spare some change for a cup of tea. I must scare the hell out of them. Perhaps it’s the “soft touch” written on my forehead that gives the game away. My (slight) speech problem is really a great help as it keeps me quiet and on the periphery of things. I like it there and I can concentrate on the visual. If I had one wish I wouldn’t choose good speech; I’d choose 20/20 vision. How about you?

    Best to all, Mike.

  • It is a weird world we live in. For the majority of the time when issue of photographing children arises my thoughts wander along with a thought that it should be allowed and open. My thoughts are that pedophilia, statistically, this is a non issue. Of course I have no numbers to back this up so I don’t really say anything, nor do I have any desire to devote time to find out whether it is a huge issue.

    Then, however, as if on a cue, last week I bought a signed Josef Sudek, Prague Panoramic book from an auction. The book is damaged but a bargain compared to the astronomical prices I have seen in the past 4 years. The seller says he has more books and sends me pictures of the covers in an e-mail. Out of 20 titles there are 3 titles that make me uncomfortable with one of the titles named The Child’s Body – perhaps an educational pictorial from the 40’s. I don’t know…but I immediately think WTF!?!

  • ERIC…

    yes, you are correct…i did want to do a story on alex webb…i actually thought he would be down in washington for the natgeo seminar last week, but he must have had an assignment to do..both of us are pretty busy and our schedules do not often any case, i will do my best to hunt that boy down!!!


    i have used a medium or large format camera only a few times in recent years…but, i do find that there is an interpreted “honesty” when using these cameras which absolutely declare “i am going to take a picture”..

    stealth can be interpreted as “sneaky”…still, after thousands of hours hanging on the street with people from all cultures and taking who knows how many pictures of them, i can only think of two times when i was unfairly judged…and i was so unfairly judged that there would be absolutely no way to protect against it…except to just stay home!!

    we must absolutely realize that in today’s paranoid world, and with everyone with a camera all the time, makes it imperative to take extreme care…and someone suggested going back and reading my “Eye Contact” post…i wrote it all right there, from my perspective at least…


    thank you for the story…and sam abell was right from every standpoint…one of the times i was “unfairly judged”, was from someone who was not even in the picture at all!!! way down the street…in the background…never saw the guy at all…

    when i was shooting “Living Proof” , where i used flash for almost every picture, i was always worried about the people not in the picture at all…the flash, of course, tipped everyone within 50 yards that i was shooting…but, in this case, i think the flash was a bit like using the large camera…an honest declaration…everyone KNEW i was shooting and i think this actually helped…a “stealth” presence in my “hood” environment for this project might have been very dangerous..


    all i can say about you is that you are a good man with a good attitude…you represent a classic approach of just “seeing” for it’s own sake…for me, the highest of motives..just keep going..and do not worry about what will happen….something will!!!


    yes, i see your philosophy in your work..i am sure you are the type of man who would rarely , if ever, have any problems working with people..i will publish your work in the next “go around”, hopefully this week….


    i know the feeling…i have posted somewhere before that i am often taken as an “amateur” by professionals because i do not “work or look like a professional”…when i was covering the Pope when he visited Castro in Cuba, the dozens “super pros” covering this event, with all their vests and long lenses and scarves, would not even talk to me because i appeared to be some kind of “amateur” with just one camera and no “stuff”!!

    however, as you also pointed out, the really top pros are usually generous with their time and quite giving….as in all aspects of life, the folks in the “middle” are the ones who will give you the hardest time!!!


    where did you send these images??? i have not seen them….no worries…i will be around this week to take a look…


    thanks for your insights…yes, having worked quite a bit in southeast asia, i have encountered zero problems shooting everyone everywhere all the time..

    please stay in touch with me on the possibility of a Philippines workshop…as soon as i find nachtwey (not easy) i will see if he is interested in doing another “jam session” which worked so so well in Bangkok..i will totally take your advice on location…i just assumed Manila would be best, but i have never been, so i just do not know..


    thank you for your comment…i will post more forum work this week to give you even more to think about…keep lurking!!! or jump into the fray!!


    good writing and good thoughts from all of you…thanks….

    again, i ask your patience on the website…if i could fix it, i would!! but, this is out of my area of expertise at the moment…i think we can make it more attractive this week, but i am just totally at the mercy of others!!! i must say also these are very helpful “others” and not their fault…i am a hard man to pin down…once i sit with the designer, and am not working by remote control, we should be able to have a workable design…

    cheers, david

  • Whew! After reading through all of these comments, I think strict wildlife photography is becoming more and more appealing! ;^}


    yes yes…body language and 20/20 vision are the most important aspects for working with many times i am working in cultures where i do not speak the language, so i totally understand what you mean…


    i think we all know of the problems of both sally mann and jock sturges…sally having many problems for photographing her own children and jock for having nudes of children in France….both of these photographers are totally committed artists, with untold amounts of “proof” that they are exactly as they say they are, and yet both have had serious problems with governmental agencies breathing down their neck..

    cheers, david


    yes, laughing….for sure, no problems with model releases, no problems with “outdated” pictures of polar bears, no problems with angry mothers or boyfriends!!

    and technology has totally changed the landscape for both natural history photographers and sports photographers…the laser remote camera traps and the autofocus stablized long lenses are letting us see wildlife as never before and unique visions of a basketball game…

    also, wildlife photographers have always been at the top of the list for stock sales….for some reason, not totally clear in my mind, the only disadvantage in wildlife photography is that it seems to get “no respect” in the so called “art world” or elite documentary world…but, most of the great wildlife photographers that i know are laughing all the way to the bank!!!

    cheers, david

  • David, exactly!

    Besides that…there is something a little more “romantic” (if I can use that word!) about getting mauled by a grizzly over getting stomped by a paranoid and overly fearful mob!

    Not that I want either of those things to happen, mind you…but ya know what I mean?

    In any case, I still want to straddle both worlds. I find there’s much fascination in both…and of course the third option, melding of the two!

  • I shoot children all the time now that I have a kid and also prior to having a kid. Before I had a child I would shoot kids when they would take over the streets in NYC and that is during lunch break and when school is over around 3pm if one lives near a school. Which I have lived near many times in my 18 years in NYC. Or in the summer on hot days at block parties or things like that. For me children until about the age of 18 embody NYC which is part of the reason I like to shoot them. But I usually do not go directly to a place with the sole purpose just to shoot children here in NYC. I shoot them when I am going about my business walking around, which I do a lot. Going to the subway etc. And I usually only shoot one or two frames of any one situation, because it feels weird to me to shoot over and over the same child or children because I know adults will get upset if they see that and it is kind of weird in a way.

    In 1990 I used to live in the LES next to a school so I would always pass by the school yard where the kids would play and I would always snap shots of them. One time though one kid saw me, and then another and then another and then all the kids ran over to the fence because they all just wanted me to take photographs of them, it was fun and a good memory of the neighborhood and the kids that embodied it. I have photos of one kid, then a few, then a few more until this one, which is the last one:

    I miss that neighborhood and for me I can never go home again, I live close enough to that neighborhood now, but it is not the same for me to go there with the express objective to photograph it then it is when I was living in it day to day and had my camera on hand.

    Once I was in the park with my son and I saw a “photographer” type looking man come in the park to shoot the kids playing in the sprinklers. He did not look like a pedophile or anything like that, just like a geeky looking photographer type. But yeah it looked strange to me. First of all in NYC it is a rule and written on many playgrounds that adults are not allowed in the playground area unless accompanied by a child.

  • Funny thing … without knowing who was currently showing i walked into Seattle’s best photo gallery on Saturday to a major showing of Jock Sturges who David just mentioned above … stunning nude portraits of families and children from France … but for me the printmaking by Tyler Boley of Sturges’ work may have stolen the show, unbelievably stunning carbon pigment inkjet prints which looked like selenium toned prints … beautiful. For locals, Sturges will be at Benham Gallery in Seattle this coming Saturday to discuss his work. Hmmm, lots of these coincidences between David, this blog and my life lately ….

  • LARA….

    hmmmm, i did not know that about the playground sign, but would naturally follow that “rule” anyway….since you are a mom with a child, i would imagine you to have all of the access you would want…

    i like your Coney Island work, but am so sorry i missed the show…in any case, i will post your photographs this week on the new site…

    cheers, david

  • I think to document a location one must include children in the shots. They are part of the chain.

  • @Rene: do you have any photographical evidence of that? Maybe you didn’t realize that in the last five or six years adults started to be spontaneously generated across the whole planet.

  • @David Alan Harvey, thank you. I know you are extremely busy and thank you for the thought!!! And thank you for being so responsive on this blog.

  • @Joni – oh crap. Another proof that I’m out of touch…

  • Hi David,
    I have not been posting too much on your blog, but your writing about being an amateur really touched me. This “someone trying to understand more about tapping into life by using their cameras for introspection or revelation” has been on my mind for days.


  • Rene, in both my Inuit and Pine Ridge projects, I photographed a lot of children as well as mothers with babies, and old people. Photographing cultures for me always seems to include a large component of the life cycle.

    That, of course, is not the same as street photography. I think playgrounds and neighborhoods are getting pretty much out of bounds. I got in trouble once in Paris, but then again, I did get a couple surreptitious shots.

    Pretty decisive, huh?!

    Framing to do –

  • Hi David
    Just saw your “pro” post.
    What is it with the scarves?
    Noticed in Perpignan this year, scarves and pouches, why?
    I did a shoot at the Palio di Siena in 2006, all the press/prosports guys with DSLRS and big white lenses and me with two little rangefinders [and a noblex], I think they though I was nuts!
    Results here if you want take a look:

    Keep well!

  • David, I was talking about the stuff entered for the essay projects.

    Michael C did get them; he and I discussed which ones were supposed to be included.


  • FWIW, Alex Webb is in Cuba. Rebecca sent me an email regarding their upcoming workshop at Julia Dean and said they would be in Cuba for three weeks so I imagine they are still there. I will be using up the (cancelled) Nachtwey credit I have had for over a year now towards a workshop with Alex. Certainly a HUGE difference between the two…but I’m sure it will be enjoyable.

    As far as photographing kids…In India I am usually the one who is molested…by packs of kids wanting to be photographed. They beg for it. Most of them in various states of undress. I am the one who must use sensitivity in photographing them or at the very least in editing. I have many shots of (innocent) topless young girls that I just don’t show anyone. I have tried to ask them to cover themselves but it just doesn’t work. Sometimes the attempt to cover themselves makes the shot even more provacative and as much as I would like to protect them from others who have intentions not as good as mine I don’t want to interfere with their culture and/or give them hangups about their bodies. So it’s a fine line…

    I have a friend who named one of his images “naked young boy” or something along those lines just for identification purposes. He didn’t title it as that on his site and the shot itself didn’t show any nudity but evidently somehow it was able to be accessed that way thru a web search (I don’t know how those things work) and he quickly realized that one shot was getting thousands of hits…way more than any other image on his site :(((
    Of course he immediately renamed it.

  • Cathy,
    about your last post… it’s exactly the same here… you pick up your camera and in two seconds you have a wave of Childs screaming “photo, photo, me, me”…
    sometimes you enjoy a lot, because childs are so expressive in their faces and movements that you are always tempted to take them photographs…
    but other times you are not interested in taking photos of them… and it’s difficult to figure out how to find a polite way out without disappointing them
    I haven’t photograph abroad a lot, but I wonder if childs are the same way everywhere…

  • Hi David and others:
    I can see the discussion about ask or no ask permission for take the photos about people(documentary style, street photography). If you ask a permission the subject can stop or change the activities you want to take, so the ideal way should be take the photo without ask a permission.
    I am a photographer but also work as a guide for other photographers and filmmakers. I could see how work many photographers from many countries and different styles ; so there is a very important element that many photographer ignore (or want to ignore): the own personality of the photographer. In my opinion the documentary photography has a very big challenge because no only depend of the skills and knowledge about photography but also depend of the personality of the photographer. The subject should “ accept ” the photographer then be relax so the photographer can start the real shots; all this could be achieve without ask a permission if the photographer look nice to the subject.
    The photographer should do (often quickly) a psychological analysis of the situation for find the way to get close to the subject, be accepted by him and get the shot avoiding he change what is doing. I am talking about using wide lens , no the” shy style ” of using telephoto lens for stay far away.
    Also the “psychological analysis of the situation” can tell you when is absolutely necessary to ask a permission.
    About children is more complicate, it is important get the permission of the parent. Many people are more worried for the text that will have the photo than for the photo itself.
    Other problem is if the photographer use big cameras, vest, long lens, tripod or/and big camera bag the subject will be nervous, refuse the photos or think you are in assignment and ask for money. One of the first things I learn from David was to be like a “ghost”, he uses his small Leica and small ordinary bag (“no stuff”,like he says), and nobody knew what he was doing.
    Sorry for my bad english.
    Julio Muñoz from Trinidad Cuba

  • Julio,

    Interesting points. Especially about doing a “psychological analysis” of the situation.

    Now, whether to go all out and look like a “Big-time professional photographer”: vest, multiple large cameras, long lenses, backwards cap, etc…or whether to maintain “stealth.” That’s a question.

    There have been times when I’ve had the “look” with all the trimmings…and people take a quick note of me and must think “oh, well he’s a photographer, probably works for a magazine or paper…no big deal.” They never bother with me again. And sometimes when I’m dressed in everyday street clothes, carrying one small camera and lens and just popping off shots here and there…that’s when some folks get a little up tight.

    Sometimes it better to look like you’re a “pro.” Knowing when and where is another question, though.

    Also, doesn’t Steve McCurry have a closet full of identical vests? I’m sure he’s expressed his thoughts somewhere about all this.

  • I agree with Julio in that the personality of the photographer plays a role in the ability to get images. But is personality also inextricably linked to the pictures we do get or even try to take? It’s been really interesting to compare the finalists’ essays to what they say here on the forum. I get a sense from reading their comments that their work is really an extension of their personalities. When I saw the work of Martin, Erica, Bob B. and Joni for example, I felt that, of course, it has to be their pictures. And Aleksander’s recent comment above illuminated his work perfectly.

  • Thanks for the reply David.
    Julio, Thanks for the post: you have much experience of watching how different photographers work so your comments are very interesting. So was the comment from DAH of the student attempting to take photographs in a bar.

    Good photographs Julio – Cuba looks like a vibrant country. I have David’s Cuba book and love the light in the tropics – an area I have not-yet visited. The light in England is much more muted, especially in winter! Your English is much better than my Spanish.



  • typepad do not want publish my comment… grrr… i will wirte tomorrow… :(

  • Michael:
    I think you are right about to “be or not to be” (look like a professional). It depend of the situation, I have my “beautiful” vest ready for some occasion that I need every body know I am a professional and people think “oh, well he’s a photographer, probably works for a magazine or paper…no big deal.” But can happen things like the people want to look good in the article and start to be posing for you, or can think “he will earn money with the article so I will refuse he take the photo until he pay me some money”. I use to be guide for photographers and I saw those situation several times, I am in very interesting position: I can enjoy the show between the photographer and the subject.
    I choose to be a “ghost”,”stealth” or “sneaky”. But no a just a “cold ghost” some time is important to be “married” with the situation, become part (and understand)of what in going on. For example in Cuba the santeria is very interesting religion (vudu in some way) is one of the goal to achieve for those photographers that visit the country;in this case I use the technique of “married” , so I drink, dance with them so they think I am one of them so after some minutes they ignore me and can start to take the photos. A very good photographer show me that technique, he like to take photos in the bar at the corner of my house, for get the good photos he use to mix with the people, obviously he should drink too because the people there invite him , so he some times come back to my house little drunk but with the camera happy, do you remember him, David….?
    Also be aware about what thing uses important photographers in photos or documentaries, they often have deals with publicity companies for use things for publicity, but in the real life never use it.
    Happy to know you like my photos, this is the real Cuba, and always is like this, no rain like UK

  • Two great pics and once again thanks to David.
    Advice next time for you David would be clearer rules and full technical information about exif, description etc. And maybe some sort of auto generated reply to let us know that the work got through. I hope you got my work. It’s on my website. Anyway, not up with the best I’ve seen on your site, just nice to know it got through.



  • Well, I must say it’s difficult for me to keep up with the pace of the forum. That’s also the reason why I don’t post more often and I sometimes skip dozens of posts. But this is so interesting to read about your experiences and thoughts.

    As pointed out by David and others, your story is especially interesting because you weren’t even trying to photograph the girl in question.
    This shows the extent of the paranoia of some people. Now, we are getting paranoid ourselves. I was like you, I was wondering if I would not find my apartment visited by the police. But, hey, we have laws and the police too is supposed to comply with them. As far as I know this sort of thing would take a judge’s decision. Its not up to the local policeman. Now, I know that you guys in the US have this great thing called the Patriot Act but, still, I don’t think it would fall within the scope of the Patriot Act.

    About Alex Webb: I think one can guess from his pictures that he does not have a beer with his subjects. Actually some people don’t like this kind of photography because they think it is too distant and cold. As for me, I love it, just as much as I love much more intimate pictures. That said, as long as you are not unnoticed, you have to deal with people’s reactions. And I would be very curious to know if for example he makes eye contact or anything like that. I remember that a few months ago Martin Parr was on this blog and he said that he was shooting as though he had the authority to do so, not making eye contact with anyone, etc. Now, Martin Parr’s kind of photography is again different from both yours and Alex Webb’s. I also asked Costa Manos during a workshop and he told that he almost never asked people and that often he was pretending to shoot something else, constantly moving his camera and keeping shooting. Well, it can certainly work sometimes but not always I think. I tried it a couple of times, but I was never sure if people indeed thought I was photographing something else or if they just didn’t care. If you pretend to be photographing something else but you are not successful, then I think it is worse than anything else. Also, I find it difficult to frame accurately when moving the camera all the time. That said, when I got into trouble with the police, I had been repeatedly shooting a group of children, and that in such a way that everyone could notice me. I was not trying to hide myself, on the contrary. It was in a context where I thought it would not be suspicious to take pictures, as it was a kind of Halloween party and a lot of other people were taking pictures (ok maybe of their own children) and thus I didn’t take any precautions.

    Regarding your story in the bar. I think I am not like your former student because generally I am rather shy and I must force myself to get closer to people. But sometimes shyness makes you act clumsily, and probably I don’t always have the attitude that would be the most appropriate. As Bj. a Patino noticed, it is as how you feel internally that influences your behaviour and therefore how people perceive you. I think someone like you is at the far end of the spectrum. You seem to have an ability to make people feel at ease which is quite extraordinary. And I am not just talking about chatting with people and making friends and so on, but also about making people feel O.K. even if you don’t say anything. For this reason, I would be interested in seeing you (as well as other photogs) in action. I would love to see the NG footage. Although this kind of “ability” is probably partly innate (it is clearly linked to our personality), it can probably be partly learnt also. Just as one can learn to overcome shyness.

    I know what you mean about the “light post”. I tried it and found it to be effective. This is especially true in places where there is a flux of people arriving and leaving. First, as you say, you become part of the “decor”. And if people see that you were already here before them, they will not suspect that you are specifically interested in them. Even if they don’t like that you are here, they are anyway less likely to confront you, simply because you were here before, like the light post!

    I must also add that even if I went into trouble one time, and got a less than pleasant comment another time, there are also many times where I didn’t have any problem at all. But the thing is, even if most of people are nice, it does not make the others less dangerous…


    You are a woman and that makes a BIG difference. In fact I think it is not even comparable. People almost never see women as potential threats…


    Don’t misunderstand me! Maybe you just read too quickly (which is well understandable given the amount of material to read!). What makes me pessimistic about humanity is not the possibility or not to shoot pictures. For example, in the US, it may not be allowed to photograph federal buildings. It does not make me particularly pessimistic though. At least not more than any other stupid rule. What makes me pessimistic is the various stories that one can read above, first and foremost that of John Trotter. What makes me pessimistic is the look on the face of the people who asked me if I was there with my family or alone, when I answered “alone”. At that time I was a dangerous dirty pervert. Not the slightest doubt in their mind. Yes, these disgusting PREJUDICES are DANGEROUS. As a matter of fact they have killed, and are still killing, countless people around the world. I mean, prejudices against photographers are the same as prejudices against anyone else. And when not tamed by civilization they turn into hatred and into the most blind and bloodiest violence.

    “If it’s to get some kind of expression, the type that only comes from children, why not go to fairs, festivals, children shows. where tons of snap shooters are around it makes little difference you do it too.” This is precisely the kind of place where I was, see my comments above.

    I understand what you mean about children lacking individuality in some contexts. Kids tend to behave in a way that we find “fun” or “cute” in many circumstances, but it takes more than that to get interesting shots, and not just sterotypes (and I have to admit that my own pictures are probably more akin to the latter than to the former). But I think one should not be too extreme. Even though kids look more uniform than adults, it does not mean that they have no individuality or nothing worth photographing. I once read an interview of a photographer saying that, in his view, portraits of children don’t have any interest, for children all look alike and don’t express anything specific. To me this statement is plain bullshit. Think about the portraits of McCurry. Are they nothing more than “beautiful colors and costumes”? David has many great children pictures. In a more “street style”, Alex Webb has also many. In fact, almost all photographers I know have great pictures of children even if they are not at the core of their work.

  • I think it says it all:

    If anyone knows of a good English translation or has the guts to make her/his own…


    you have some really nice work!! as a matter of fact i am totally in love with your cow group shot….will post your best soonest…

    cheers, david

  • I shot two stories involving children for the DAH submission. One was a conceptual look at a child’s view and sense of wonder in New York City.

    The child’s view of New York I generally had ‘implied permission’… The body language, the eye contact, the smile, the head nod. When asked, I’d briefly explain the project and parents seemed to understand. I spent 4 hours one day photographing a playground in Brooklyn. I started by sitting on a bench for a long time with my camera out but not shooting. I’d smile and say hi to anyone walking by. I’m Texan – this is normal for me. I started brief conversations with some people sitting near (“how old is your son?” “Do I have a child here? Oh, no. I’m shooting a photo project on how children view New York”). I’d shoot pictures now and then from where I was sitting. I believe (with kids and grown-ups) staying put in one place is often less threatening. They can see I’m not there to shoot THEM or THEIR kid… I’m just there taking pictures. I’m not “after them” and I’m not trying to hide or sneak a picture. After a while, kids (and adults too) are like pigeons in a park… they edge a little closer, they get curious, they ask you to take their picture (o.k., pigeons don’t do this). After about an hour, I had spoken to a couple of parents and had implied permission from a few others around, and by then I was sitting under and climbing all around the playground equipment and goofing around with the kids. New parents and kids who walked up might have thought is was a little weird, but they’d look to the others, see that they were comfortable and decide it must be fine. Also by being so visible and involved, but in one general area, parents could see what I was doing and could choose to let their kids play there or not.

    I should make clear at this point that I’m physically the least threatening person to be found shooting on a playground (female, young looking, physically small). This makes a HUGE difference. And I only shoot with a 28 and a 50 so I have to be close which makes not being noticed usually out of the question. Sadly fear and this hyper alertness/ vigilantism have made it difficult and dangerous for men to shoot in the many of the same situations where I am accepted – at least in the US.

    During the same week of the New York shoot I also had to explain to a Toys R Us security person what I was up too. I did and showed him the pictures on the back of the camera and he said “Thank You” and that was it. Generally, though, I can sense when a situation is off or someone is not comfortable.I don’t like sneaking pictures and I generally don’t want to take any one’s picture who objects.

    Does anyone else think that 95% of it is how YOU feel… the vibe you are giving off in the moment, on the way into the bar…on the day? Whether you are comfortable, open, curious and confident v.s. nervous, overly excited, agitated, doubtful, etc.? This does not necessarily apply to the kids question, but in general? In life too, I think.

  • Well @David I have been yelled at. I can give all the specific stories, but it is not that interesting really, except to say I have been yelled at.

    I got more flak for doing street photography in the late 80s and early 90s in NYC then now though, that is for sure. But I have gotten some in the last 2 years. One by a parent who threatened to call the police about a year a go. It was a digital camera and I deleted the photo, but even after that she continued giving me grief and waited for about 5 mins to see if any police would happen to pass by, but they did not and so she left.

  • David: Matt Kim pointed me towards your blog and I must say that I’m impressed and flabbergasted that someone who should be as busy as you could set aside the time to devote to a project this involving.

    Finalist: Some very interesting sets – very different and if nothing else, then that should be enough to introduce people to new ways of seeing. I was in Bangkok and just looking at some of the student works there made me want to do something different than what I normally do.

    Children: I never really had a problem shooting children – I think it has more to do with how you carry yourself than cultural issues. Having said that, it’s actually illegal to do so in certain parts of Canada without the parents’ permission. I know that’s true in Vancouver and Montreal (and probably other areas as well), but really it all comes down to common sense. If you’re in a playground with a camera and lots of lollipops, then one could misinterpret your intentions. You really do need basic social skills in photography.

  • David: Matt Kim pointed me towards your blog and I must say that I’m impressed and flabbergasted that someone who should be as busy as you could set aside the time to devote to a project this involving.

    Finalist: Some very interesting sets – very different and if nothing else, then that should be enough to introduce people to new ways of seeing. I was in Bangkok and just looking at some of the student works there made me want to do something different than what I normally do.

    Children: I never really had a problem shooting children – I think it has more to do with how you carry yourself than cultural issues. Having said that, it’s actually illegal to do so in certain parts of Canada without the parents’ permission. I know that’s true in Vancouver and Montreal (and probably other areas as well), but really it all comes down to common sense. If you’re in a playground with a camera and lots of lollipops, then one could misinterpret your intentions. You really do need basic social skills in photography.

  • Sorry about that double post…not quite sure what happened :(

  • Those who say it’s easier for a woman to photograph children could be right. I was right in the faces of these girls and they absolutely didn’t notice me.

    Maybe it has something to do with “vibe” as Kelly Lynn says but I have also noticed that people (especially kids) are often so fully involved with what they are doing that they don’t break their concentration to take notice of what anyone else is doing. Or if they notice they don’t care.

  • Long time lurker.. first time poster. DAH, I don’t know how you manage to to find the time & energy to reply to all these comments… and so consistently. Greatly appreciate this forum and the pictures that I discover thru it.

    As far as shooting kids, I do plenty of that.. but usually with my 4 & 7 year olds to provide cover and/or gain access.

    The most trouble I’ve gotten into was while doing a 4-weekend project at the local water-park last summer… let’s just say park management was involved and was ready to revoke my season pass.. but I managed to talk them out of it after offering to have them review my images. The shots that started the whole mess were underwater shots that turned out to be completely out of focus, with nothing at all discernible.. which was probably a good thing coz.. it would have been a bunch of butts and feet dangling over floating tubes, viewed from beneath, entering a waterfall.. sometimes it’s good to miss the shot :)

    Having said that, what I was most worried about during the ‘interrogation’ was having to explain to my kids why we’d have to leave and couldn’t come back..

  • i’ve done that shoot-someone-while-pretending-to-be-shooting-someone/thing else routine. it helps sometimes. but then i got to thinking: i’m shooting person A but i don’t want him to notice so i aim the camera at spot B. i’m concentrating on A so often i don’t even know what’s going on in B. and sometimes there’s a person C there. i guess you see where i’m going. C doesn’t know i’m NOT shooting him but i know i’m not shooting him so i feel “good” about the situation and click away. if i had aimed at A, who’s my intended subject anyway, he might feel what C’s feeling now and i’d feel nervous too and hesitate to take the shot. yet there’s no real difference between the 2 cases. so it seems like an internal thing really

  • Thanks David! Do you need JPEG’s or do you take screenshots?



  • Naveen, I was watching those shots proceed on flickr and was wondering how you could shoot there…I really enjoy your photos.

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