basic instinct….

Basic instict 2

i feel the bar band drumbeat beat shaking the floor and it flows through my body up from my toes… so i slide in close…physically close, in their space… total strangers …and somehow quickly, inexplicably , become "one" with them….for a few moments i am "transported"…they do not know me..i have not spoken to them…and yet, an instant  "relationship" has been established and  exists in real time and space , but only for a precious minute or less…but, i know something is "happening"…

we have written a lot here about being the "fly on the wall" and not being "noticed" when photographing people…. and then we have also spoken much about  the other extreme… the  making of  long term friendships/relationships associated with any truly extended photo essay involving interaction with people over the long haul…

but what about the intermediate interconnection???    the "fast hookup" , photographically speaking….where circumstances allow us to move quickly into situations that  might have otherwise seemed impossible…this sort of "speed shooting" is most likely to happen at events, fiestas, weddings and parties…places not likely to cause alarm at someone with a camera…generally friendly atmospheres from the get go…

yet there is still a "ballet" for doing this type of shooting….and how to move confidently but politely is the key to moving in fast..

i was in a live music bar with some of my weekend seminar students the other night in Venice Beach…i had spoken with the owner, so my students had clear permission to shoot freely…it was an alcohol enhanced assemblage of the "best and brightest" from the Venice Beach boardwalk scene  where total strangers who can barely talk from over imbibing  want to rattle off their life oh my, everyone wants  to be "famous" here one way or the other…very annoying…nevertheless these folks do not mind being photographed….that is, if you do it the right way…

i held back from shooting right away, just to watch my students work…what struck me was how tentative they tended to be and how quickly they would turn away from what i saw as picture opportunities…they would "lose interest" quickly or just not anticipate that what was going on in front of them, albeit "temporarily boring", was about to turn into a true "photo op"…still they were having fun and doing well and it was great fun to be shooting "side by side" with them….this was all happening after our final slide show and we were not "officially gathered"..

so, rather than go in and coach each student, which i had already been doing for two days , i decided to move in a make a few photographs for myself…just for project intended…right after i made the photograph above,  one of my students, Dallas,  told me she learned more from watching me shoot  than in the entirety of presentations in the classroom…i could not have been "on" for more than a minute or two …fast in, fast out…..

i was not aware of doing anything unusual,but she told me she could not believe how i moved in so close so quickly  to the dancing, beer drinking young women… they seemed to be totally aware of me, yet unusually tolerant as well…later, when talking to my students during our after the shoot let's get a beer and talk it all over meeting , i allowed a few observations….

how did i move so fast??? first, as i mentioned before , i was known by the owner from the day before…i had also earlier befriended the lead singer in the band, so standing almost on stage was not a problem …i made sure that i spoke to and shook hands with  the two or three customers who were front row to the band and in whose way i was standing ..i got their implied " permission"….most importantly,  i think the young women, who i am sure were not averse to being photographed anyway, were particularly accepting of my extreme aggressiveness because i think they could sense i was serious…i was obviously "in the zone" intent on doing something even though they surely could not imagine what that something was!!  this manifested itself in a nice hug (always welcome) by both young women after their dance  who i think realized  that we had all three  been in some kind of unidentified collaboration….but no questions asked…

obviously, i am the type of person/photographer who enjoys close contact, either attained quickly or after weeks of growing relationships…i do not think that is a mantra for  photographers at all…it just happens to be my way….so, i have a question for you…how large a role does "public relations" play in your work???  do you spend lots of time building rapport with your subjects, or do you prefer to be the more dispassionate objective observer???


Basic instinct 1

384 Responses to “basic instinct….”

  • ¨yet there is still a “ballet” for doing this type of shooting….and how to move confidently but politely is the key to moving in fast..¨

    yess, yess.. and avoid all elbows..
    my favorite kind of photographing..

  • CATHY…

    what happened to you??? i was expecting you all weekend and had permission for you to sit in on our programs…anyway, maybe you left comment that i did not see and something may have come up for you….

    anyway, sorry we missed…..


    what Panos neglected to mention was that when i walked up to the police officers in L.A. who had Panos handcuffed, was that they told me i would too be under arrest too if i even said one more word…and all i did was to politely ask “what is the problem??” i just wanted to find out why Panos was under arrest…i actually would have “pushed it” further if i had not needed to be in class…i would have been willing to be arrested just to see what in hell they would charge me with…i know some of you may think Panos is a bit of a wild man , but in this case in particular, he was quiet , polite, and not interfering with anything…i suppose the police are particularly sensitive in the Venice Beach area where there is a lot of crime..every night i have been here , there has been some kind of violent incident..

    i will try to get a post out this afternoon…you all know by now that when i am with students, i am not with you…but now, i am all yours!!!..i was intensely busy all morning editing from Panos’ 850 small prints!!! in the next few weeks i will be doing serious edits for Eric, Patricia, Rafal, Audrey, Erica, Bob, James, Cristina,Marcin, David M., and some others i probably forgot just now…whoever you are , please forgive me and , yes remind me!!

    cheers, david

    Posted by: david alan harvey | November 24, 2008 at 05:53 PM


    man,am i happy see you came back here with us…c’mon man, you belong here!!!

    big hug, david

  • David – I watched you do it and in complete agreement with Dallas. I wasn’t trying to be the fly on the wall and was there in anticipation of you give us the hands-on. It paid off. One of the best 9 minutes I had :). All documented as part of the class “material”.
    Thank you !!!!!

  • DAVID,
    I can’t say I build relationships, but I admire the people who do and have the patience and determination. However as I do a lot of still lives I think I’ve gotten to know most of the stuff that I shoot after a long time. Might sound ridiculous to many here though.. But say, if you take the same walk a hundred times you will know what you shoot very well the 101:th time. Or if you look at an object as many times..
    My newest and big project involves a lot of planning, phone calls and e-mails though. But I won’t really get to “know” like you do David, the places and people I shooth.


  • DAH… right now i ´belong´ to planning a lesson in advertising photography and the tools needed..
    yes… quite.

    ..and there is a pile of negatives on the lounge floor.. piles of files.. of parties and misdemeanors.. all of it shot with a broad grin.. shape-shifting along with the other animals until the bitter end, when they gather in the all night tea tent for the final ´quickening´.

    seeing this post i could not resist, since much of my adult life has been spent accepting those hugs, talking about plant pots and wearing out my knee joints.

    the left one ceases up frequently these days,
    and maybe that´s why i really need to get back to this lesson plan..

    or the negatives.. tempting.. even bought a new loupe today.. it´s magic.. i see photos i cannot even remember taking..

    listened to you on ´listening to the music´.. one thing at a time.. and read back, about how a book is not finished until it´s on your ¨mothers coffee table¨.

  • and on rapport…

    i thin it´s possible to predict a good move just as a bad one.. a smile here and a quick escape there.. never dispassionate.. always looking for recognition, (after the shutter clicks, that is), and if the mood is right – it´s only fair to contribute what we can to the unfolding madness around us.

    when the music is too loud to speak, then every other method of communication becomes essential, and there can be few more exhilarating moments than those found in the company of like minds on a dancefloor.


    i am with you all the way in everything you said…i just like having you here once in awhile….come when you can and when it feels right…

    cheers, david

  • David,
    I wonder, will your ballet be moving you over to Santa Barbara on this west coast journey? I’ve been told there is a cold beer here with your name on it.


  • Its interesting that you bring this up David, i was just in L.A last week and i got to visit a subject of mine who is part of a project on Arab Hip Hop that i have been shooting for a year now ( I was inspired by your book). Its interesting to look back and see how my work with my subjects has changed since i started this journey. At the beginning i was more of an aggressive shooter, you would notice me in a crowd, i wanted to get as much pictures as i could since i felt i was going to loose the chance to get some good ones. But now that my relationship with these artists has developed and we have become quite good friends especially after shooting with them in beirut,bahrain,damascus and L.A this year, i have become a more of a fly on the wall photographer, and its because they are so used to me having my camera always present. Another reason is because i am allowing myself to take my time with this project and not rush it.

  • David – Interesting – you noted the same reticence in our Oaxaca group – I think it is a common characteristic among us newbies. Speaking personally, I’m always afraid I’ll be seen as stalking. Count me among those in desperate need of editing assistance – sent you an email with specifics – If you’d rather I post them here let me know.

  • For me it depends on the situation.

    I prefer to be somewhat invisible when I’m shooting people on the street. Usually I go and talk to them afterward but I like finding my subjects in those moments when they are least guarded – the nuance and vulnerability seem to disappear once they know you are there.

    When I shoot a wedding or other party I also try to make myself not so obvious (which is definitely a challenge!) but people are much freer and not as self-conscious when they’re celebrating, dancing and drinking so it’s easier for me – I don’t have to think about hiding myself and I can be more aggressive.

  • Getting in close and “establishing a connection” with your subjects is definitely important. Just last night, I was at a friend’s house and we started talking about my current “Project X.” I was telling them how apart from taking photographs I was also interviewing the people I was photographing. Although I could just stick with making images, it made a big difference that I struck up a conversation with my subjects first. It made them more relaxed and more agreeable when I asked them to do this or that during the photo session itself. I was no longer a stranger; I was now a long-lost friend. The entire process would take about two hours, but the pictures tell you all the effort was worth it.

  • David
    for me public relation work good i feel confortable and let me be close to the action but any way the pictures does not work the way i want.

  • DAVID,

    I am not surprised by the comment of your student… I enjoyed so much watching you work as well… very instructive for sure… a real ballet… For those who may not having seen you work before, they can get a small glipmse of it on the link underneath…

    As far as I am concerned, I think I have become gradually comfortable getting real close as well… I remember when we first met, I was shooting with a huge lens, shooting only from a distance… when I changed to use one lens only for all my work, just a 35mm equivalent lens, all of a sudden, I needed to get close…real close… Just seems so easy now… Once you realize that you are confortable getting close, this becomes very natural… As long as you look like you are in the zone indeed, doing something that you care about and stay respectful, this seems to work…. The one thing that you do that I am not able to do is to party while at the same time staying on the case, ready to shoot, all senses prepared to capture a moment… somehow, I have to stay focused on what I am doing…I do not yet have the technique so natural that I can play and yet be ready… I always have to think about the light, my flash… You are so fluid yourself… I guess this is also why you are able to capture these incredible moments when you are living the moment while also capturing it… a dexterity that is quite unique….

    I will try to call you as talked to see when we can get together for the edit… I need to do some form of planning (I know this seems like a horrible word!!!)…

    Have fun with Panos. I cannot wait to see his final edit.



  • Hey David,

    I read your post below saying you want to edit some of the work, and mentioned me. Good news:) Anyway, the link to the project is through my name. I believe this is for EPF? The edit Ive wittled down to for the project (now called Little Pieces of Us, formerly HSH) is about 63 shots. I also did an edit combining it with Family Ties and you can see that at

    then again, as Im thinking now, I might submit both but as two seperate projects, emphasis on Little Pieces of Us and with Family ties as a secondary project to fill out where Im going with my shooting.

  • David;
    I feel that in such situations there are always people who are less self conscious than others too, and somehow they naturally stand out.

    I’ve found by being conspicuous and being as open as possible, you don’t look secretive, which in turn helps them feel comfortable. Also your moving in and out to photograph without them minding also comes down to your earlier groundwork. “Public relations” is vital; but that can just be your body language and “openness”

    I absolutely loved shooting the crowd at the last WOMAD festival here, and I always find the girls/women way more receptive to being photographed as they are, than guys… The guys mostly want to pose and look cool. The ladies mostly acknowledge that you are there and then promptly “forget” about you.

    By complete coincidence I was uploading some images from WOMAD to lightstalkers today. The three b&w images were shot around midnight outside in nearly pitch black conditions as the crowd danced to DJ Nickodemus.

    It was very, very cramped, so much that I couldn’t reach into the waist bag to change any gear. It was so dark and cramped I thought I’d work with it; shoot at high iso & slow shutter speeds to make it as grainy, blurry etc as possible.

    Here’s the link in case anyone wants to have a look..


  • To Answer your question without the influence of other comments –
    Public relations does make shots more intimate,but the intimate pr does that, i suppose, not the touch and go kind. I have experienced difficulty in building that relationship and penetrating the I- have- just- met- you -and- you -want- my- shot awareness period. That really interferes with my photography. I find it easier to shoot and get some unaware- of shots of family and friends and acquaintances who are used to my camera being around and for whom the camera doesn’t stand out of the genera background. So I guess, PR wouldnt be the precise expression. I would call it fading out.

    Watch my Eighteen Twentyone( ) , I think this is the closest that I have come to in illustrating what I say above.

  • JEAN…

    yes, i remember talking with you about the timid quality of “newbies”…yes, this is quite common…well, i would certainly prefer timid to overly aggressive..but, as you now know, there is a perfect “happy medium” when you know when to “go in” and when to “stay out”…

    “know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run”

    sure, post your work to be edited here…..


    it is getting late here in California and i must fly back to New York tomorrow…so for those of you who have links for me to view above, please give me until tomorrow night or wednesday morning…i will be in the air all day tomorrow..

    cheers, david

  • DYLAN…

    sorry i will miss you in Santa Barbara on this trip…when i made my plans for shooting in southern California, i totally forgot Thanksgiving on the calendar!!!…so, i am headed back east tomorrow to be with my sons…
    but, back Cali soonest, so keep that cold beer cold!!

    cheers, david

  • My current project ‘Margins’ about marginalized and working poor (see my website is kind of in the middle: most the subjects of the project, junk collectors, shoe shine boys, handkerchief sellers, are opening very, very quickly. They seem to be happy that somebody is caring about them and let you tike their picture immediately (i was remembering the nachtwey quote from hos movie many times: “somehow, these people understand that you are their to tell their story. They understand that you are the voice they otherwise would not have”) On the other hand, to drive the project further, I want to go with them, want to see them being home, etc. Here, I have to build up relationships. Right now, I spend something like twice an hour a day walking around in the neighborhood, looking for junk collectors and small talk with them. I always have my camera visibly with me but hardly take any pictures. Again, they are very open. However, they are always on the move, so it is hard to find them…
    (Wow, my first post. I am reading regularly. but usually i’m to late and a big discussion is going on already and i don’t have the time to read 131 comments first…)
    all the best


  • thanks D A H …

    by the way – ciara leeming hooked up with DAM in israel and had a very interesting time.. as with the rest of her month working there.

    muchos thanks to you passed on from her.

  • I like this kind of post…I think there is allot to learn watching someone work and its exactly what is missing from most workshops…wish I could have been there. David, I have a gallery of images I would love to have you help me edit – for a possible book down the road, for submission to EPF, for my “project” in relation to this site…will send an email to the blog address as well.

    ~ chris


    will do…i remember some nice work when i last looked at your site…

    cheers, david

  • I call it the “Shutter Ballet”. For me it’s all about being interested in the subject and the subject knowing, sometimes wordlessly, that I am harmless. I don’t like to use lenses longer than a 50mm for this kind of thing because people see you that far away and they feel the distance emotionally. I tend to work in the 24-28mm area so that they clearly see me and allow me into their space.

    Sometimes all you need to be granted access is a smile. Other times it’s as simple as “Hi! I love your hat. Don’t mind me … I’m not here.”

    I’d rather be sitting in the subjects lap than peeking at them from across the way. Emotional acceptance is the key and establishing some kind of understanding if not rapport in 15 seconds allows you “inside” while not getting in the way of what was happening that you so wanted to document.

  • Nice topic. And something I struggle with myself (believe it or not I can be quite shy around strangers, though much less so now than I used to be).

    I think a large part of it comes down to trusting yourself. Trusting that you are doing the right thing, and trusting that people will trust you once they see how committed you are and that your intention is good and serious. And sometimes, when people are drinking and having a good time, it’s best to lose that seriousness – while not forgetting how to operate your camera!

  • I am type of subjective observer, nice guy but observer. If I am too close with people I dont want shoot at all. I do not want to destroy this relation with my stupid camera.
    So i think I am opposite of you David.

  • Here they are. I need to edit down by about half – there are a couple of obvious this view or that view in here:

    If it doesn’t like to the right page, go to the main one and look under “rail bridge”

    I need help on both editing (my nemisis) and sequencing. Remembering that this is Sacramento so I’m thinking I should keep one or two “context setters.”

    I’m hoping the last couple of shots fulfill the role of an iconic Jesus (again portrait and landscape to choose from).

    many thanks – happy thanksgiving.


  • for me, since my photography is about intimacy, the language of intimacy and the negotiation of our relationships with others or places or moments, i’m a get close kind of guy…though i photograph people and places i know well, i also photograph people and places i do not know, but this comes after a have a sense of the place, or rather, i’ve developed some kind of “bond” or relationship with that person…i can never take “tourist” pics…in face, i didnt bring my camera on our trip to nyc for just that reason (even though nyc has been a part of my entire life)…with people i meet on the street, it takes time, but i’ve found when you’re open, when they trust you, or rather, when they “perceive” you not as invasive but a part of their dance, i’ve found photographs come, and come quite easily…i actually LOATHE photogs with big lenses, shooting “scrupulously” and discreetly…i find it cowardly, actually….and i rarely rarely ever shoot now when someone isnt aware i’m there…though, yes, i have and do shoot people i dont know or who are not aware im shooting, but generally they do, and i try to get close, not only visually close, but emotionally close to what im seeing or feeling…with this in mind, it’s one of the things im changing for the new project, post bones…for more anonymity, more distance, more environmental relationship…especially before we go to russia, where the work will be intense and close and personal…

    though increasingly people trust less, i’ve always found that when you dont use them, or hunt them, but see the photograph as simply a reflection of a moment, most are open and willing….

    and dancing with a camera is a good fun thing too :)))))))


    will send you version that isnt “corrupted” by friday…


  • hey all / david

    about the close contact, the “eye” contact and the people you are photographing being ok with it… i’ve seen david “on” and working several times now… and it’s definitely a learning experience…

    the first time i saw him work i just didn’t know what was happening, i had never even considered this way of working…

    i would be either wayyyy out from a distance “stealing” photographs or way in staging everything with models, sets, studio….

    it never even occured to me that one could “make eye contact” as it were, in order to make the story one was after. david definitely taught me that lesson.

    (AND this is seemingly in contrast to all the hard work in preparation of being able to be at the right place at the right time… a mixture of hard work, instinct, and sheer luck :)… but mostly hard hard preparation work…)

    in the workshop mexico i had the benefit of (not speaking spanish myself) of teaming op with others who could speak spanish well, who facilitated the “quick” contact with people in the streets or at certain places, something which would be near impossible for me to do myself…

    like the time when i wandered off with Rachel Been and we met two lovely old ladies walking in the street with a wheelbarrow full of wood on their way home… she offered me to help, and we took it from there…

    light was good, i think we stayed and talked to the family (and made pictures) for a good 20 mins. everything came together, the contact, the timing, the lovely people, the great light, the house, and the dog (who kept on humping my leg for some reason :)))

    i’ve shared these images before, but in light of david’s post, here they are again:

    yes it definitely is a fine line of being turned on when the light gets good, being “agressive” (in a positive way) when you see the oppurtuny arise, “working your way in” without disrespect, and staying in long enough, “working the hell out of it”, and stopping before you wear out your welcome. i, for one, have to learn to set aside my natural “shyness” and just get out there… push myself…

    working hard on that one as we speak….


  • ps RACHEL if you’re reading this, do you still have the images of me pushing the wheelbarrow and the sweet lady?

    hugs to you…

  • Photographers are such good flirts :) I would be lost without the art of the ‘fast hookup’ in my tool belt and in my heart. Most people out and about don’t have time for more anyway, so it is helpful to be able to connect fast and intimate, to find the love that must be there, to reveal it, to revel in it, and then to slip away with a matter how earnest and honest and pure, there is a lot of play and fun and dancing with charis/grace/charisma (which comes from ‘chairein, to rejoice’) seems to be the door in..

  • “and the dog (who kept on humping my leg for some reason :)))”

    But it is such a fine leg… sorry couldn’t resist.

  • Well said Erica :)

    I wonder what people would say about some photogs’ way of “getting the shot” (like Gilden, for example)…
    I can recall such moments -it all depends on so many factors- but rarely get what I want when not ‘there, in the middle of it and in the open’…

    Can you recall moments when you weren’t flirting anymore ? Were the images good/better?

    Cheers, T.

  • my current camera is just too big to get as close as I want

  • AKAKY: This is interesting.

    AKAKY IRL: What’s interesting?

    AKAKY: DAH’s most recent post. It’s all about how to get up close to people and take their picture.

    AKAKY IRL: Is that a fact?

    AKAKY: That’s a fact. He uses small lenses and gets in real close and gets those shots you see in the magazines. Stands right next to people and photographs them. Great stuff.

    AKAKY IRL: How come you don’t do that?

    AKAKY: Well, I’m not that kind of person, I guess. I prefer my way of doing it.

    AKAKY IRL: Which is?

    AKAKY: Squatting behind my bush camouflage with a telephoto lens.

    AKAKY IRL: So close up for you is what, fifty, sixty yards away?

    AKAKY: Yeah, more or less.

    AKAKY IRL: I don’t think that’s gonna fly with your buds on that blog, dude. From what you tell me, they not really the camouflage types.

    AKAKY: I get that feeling too.

    AKAKY IRL: As for your bush camouflage, did ever occur to you that maybe it won’t work on a city street?

    AKAKY: I didn’t think it’d be a problem at first, but it was. Too many people noticed and they kept calling the cops. So I adapted the rig so I can use it in the city.

    AKAKY IRL: How did you do that?

    AKAKY: The galoshes.

    AKAKY IRL: What are they for?

    AKAKY: I wear them so the dog piss doesn’t stain my pants. If that doesn’t work I just tell the cops that the camouflage is a fashion statement.

    AKAKY IRL: You really are a wuss, guy, you know that, right? You should take up something where you’re less likely to get hurt, like aerobic bowling or competitive quilting or selling life insurance.

    AKAKY: Yeah, I guess.

  • Tanguy..certainly there are times when I want to make a photograph and the circumstances require more compassion and understanding and respect than open play..

    just in from an hour of hunting / shooting..sometimes the people in streets seem so without life..sometimes you almost have to make a moment come alive because you are there, because a connection can be made, but it is a bit of doing..I literally just knocked on someone’s (parked) car window to do just’s sort of like a childhood ‘will you play with me’ moment..and then connect, relax, wait..shoot!

  • DAVID.

    It seems there was a misunderstanding. :))

    When I spoke to you Friday you said that you would be unavailable over the weekend…that there were 15 people in the class and that I could “come up for a drink.” I took that to mean that I would not be able to sit in on the class, which is what I asked about and would have liked to do.

    I did consider driving up and back (three hours) Saturday just to see you and have a drink but decided against it. After all the drama of the previous night’s arrest, etc… my gut feeling was to stay home. I wrote Panos about it (he said to direct all communications for you thru him) and never heard back. Also posted a brief comment to you on the blog. So that’s what happened. Oh well….that’s life. Glad you had fun.

    You did not recommend I take this workshop since there was no shooting/critique involved but hopefully I will have my chance to take a workshop with you one of these days! Please keep me/all of us posted on upcoming workshops.

    I totally agree with your student and Eric. I was so enthralled watching you photograph in Santa Fe at your casita that I couldn’t stop talking long enough to let you photograph me!

    Sorry to have missed seeing you.

  • Erica…

    It sure does ask a lot from the photog to make a proper image when the sky is grey and cold ;) Then again, respect, smiles and playfulness go a long way! Sure! Especially when you don’t speak the language…

    I can easily see you knocking on a guy’s window to get/add something more to an interesting scene… or to just push the envelope a little, see where it’ll go…

    I guess we all do that, and usually it gets even better… I mean, in a way, photography is about contact: you to your subject, whatever it is – and even if you’re using a camouflage with a telephoto lens ;)

    Akaky, truth be told, I do shitty images with such a lens, probably like Bob B…

  • I’d guess most of us could answer the question about whether we are in-close or fly-on-the wall photogs by simply looking at our most favored lens.

    As for myself, I own a half dozen lenses but since I bought my Canon 40D a year ago October I’ve used my 17-50mm 2.8f lens 99.9999% of the time. Guess that says where I like to place myself–right in the thick of things!

    I like people and they know it. A questioning look, quick smile and raising my camera so folks can see it, is often all that needs to happen for us to enter into the dance. If I want to take a portrait-type shot, I’ll just go up and ask if they’re OK with my taking their picture. In that case I give them my card and say, “Email me and I’ll send you a copy.” Other times I just shoot, often from my lap ’cause I like that perspective. It’s also less obtrusive, especially if I’m in conversation with my subject. But there are the times that I go in close, look through the viewfinder, snap what I want, and scoot away without making any overt contact with the subjects.

    I just follow my intuition as to which approach is called for. The main thing I try to do is treat the people I photograph with respect.

    God, I love doing what I do!!! Can’t believe it took me so long to find my way into photography. It fits this old social worker/visual artist like a glove.


  • CATHY..

    yes, some misunderstandings and a whole lot going on….hmmmm, i honestly do not recall our last conversation on the phone as being suggestive that you should not come for the weekend..i wish i could remember what i said…anyway, too bad, because you were clear to visit and the class was actually better that i thought in terms of shooting and critique…still not the same as a week long shoot, but not bad at all…


    just keep doing whatever you are doing…i hope to have you as one of the key columnist style writers on our upcoming magazine….better keep your day job though…the salaries around here are going to be very low…of course there will be plenty of room for advancement!!


    your experiences are mine as well…i think we have the same sense of allowing our subjects their personal space and WAIT for them to invite us in…of course we do speed up the “invitation process” a bit by making it very attractive for them to do so by either making them feel very much a part of the process or by making them just want to hang…or both….


    yes, that is it….


    i am so sorry i was not in your part of California…wish we could have any case, i look forward to your book….


    we are not really the opposite, but we just arrive at the same conclusion in different ways…for example, i do not want to change the scene or interfere at all…so, i become part of it, only so i can disappear…i can only be in someone’s home and making something natural at the dinner table or in the back yard if i am in fact a guest….so i must be the very best guest..but, there are always moments inside the moments when i am totally forgotten….even if only for split seconds….so, in fact, for just a tiny slice of time i am a “fly on the wall”…the indoor wall..

    cheers, david

  • thank you david for this post. for someone like me who doesn’t have the chance to see you in action this is insight enough


  • another visit in the mountains….

    click below, new link,,_continue,_plus_THE_TORMENTED_ONE….html

    so much energy around the “dark” kids… such a different vibe than the Venice Beach FREAKSHOW…


    well, my friend , you already know what i think of your work…that is, after all, in the forward i wrote..but, what you do not know , is how incredibly grateful i am to have come home tonight after a long day and have your new book “Island” waiting for me…i have seen the pictures many times before, but to finally hold in my hands your exquisite book so full of texture and mood and sentiment was just pure joy to behold..

    when a book is born, life changes for a photographer…a seminal moment without equal…i trust you are feeling this now…you should be very proud…and i am very proud of you and prouder still to have played a very small part in this, your very significant artistic achievement…

    with respect and friendship,


  • 2nd NEW LINK….
    new “DARK KIDS” visit…


    click here:

    love y’all

  • BjA.Patiño…

    i keep trying to get to the Philippines, but somehow i have never made it…i do hope to come to your country one of these days..

    i love your little birthday party essay..

    cheers, david

  • david mc…

    ahh, there is a way, less you are using glass plates.

    i used to have to use an
    F5 beast.. with a wide lens.. arm stretched in the air 2 ft from people..
    there is always a way to get close.. closer.. if needed, that is.

    again.. bringing up wapplingtons ¨living room¨ work which was short medium format..

  • so did anyone win that contest David?

  • DAVID M…

    oh yes, i almost forgot…i will go check right now…several people had the right “answer”, so i will see who got it first..nobody asked the right “question”

    cheers, david

  • PANOS,

    When will we see the edit that you did with David? Are you happy with where you guys came out? Any key learnings for you?

    Just curious….



  • ANON,

    I just realized going back to previous post that I had by mistake thought you were actually Anton… my apologies…Thanks for sending this link to me… I did send a link but have not heard back. Will keep you posted if I hear anything.



  • What was the correct question? Or did I just ask it? Naw, that would have been too easy.

  • ALL…

    the winner of our last little contest was:


    he guessed correctly (first) that Herve’s picture titled “Even More Strange” was shot in the same location as my Thai Boxer Boy…please notice ceiling lights in both pictures..

    he wins one of my camera bags that i have too many of..Doug, what kind of bag do you want??

    nobody got the right question..or at least what i was thinking about…but, maybe what i was going for here was too obtuse given the simplistic tone of the contest…i was thinking that surely someone would ask a question about the validation by Thailand of sex tourism since that is what Pattaya is all about..anyway, too sleepy to explain further…

    cheers, david

  • Hey Kids!

    Kyunghee’s book available here:

    “Publisher’s Description

    The first photo book of the photographer living in Pusan.
    The extract from the postscript by Magnum’s member David Alan Harvey
    ‘When I see her photographs, I sense a romanticism and a lyricism coming from deep inside. (Omission) Recognition with enlightenment. Familiarity with surprise. Distance with emotion. Kyunghee Lee puts all of this together as well as anyone I have ever seen.’ ”

  • ERIC..

    i was sort of encouraging Panos not to put his edit up ….make it a surprise for the online magazine…i mean, we have all seen his work all along , and it might be anti-climactic to see the edit, then see it again so quickly in it’s final form…actually, i would recommend the same for you also…just hold your hand in tight for awhile…same with Patricia…i could be wrong about this, so do as you please…i just like surprises, that’ all!!

    cheers, david

  • DAVID,

    Makes sense. Will go for the surprise… I actually attended a boxing tournament last Saturday evening so I have many new pictures that I hope you will like and that I have not yet posted :):):).



  • ERIC,
    yes… i’m more than happy with the result of the VENICE EDIT….
    U see… it is the right “FEELING”…. that needed to be captured…
    The transition from the “innocent” day Venice,
    towards the sunset, the darkness, the beginning of the night…
    THE FREAKSHOW…( of my own soul )

    All this time i was subconsciously trying to capture my
    jumping from a table to a table… explaining, thinking out loud,
    comparing, fighting…
    and then… few hours later…
    he “FOUND IT”… not the perfect order yet,
    not the perfect sequence…
    he was “reading” my soul, he was looking DEEP INTO MY SUBCONSCIOUS…. the 850 photos became, 300, then 200, then 100…. then split in two parts… blah blah…
    AN EXORCISM…. !!!???

    it is the FEELING that counts not the MEANING….
    Anyway… there is a lot more work to be done… it is not only the photos…
    it is the right sequence… The right TEXT, at the right place,
    THE LAY OUT… the right publisher…and all those “little details ”
    that only DAVID knows…
    i still have to show U my most recent venice work… though
    so it will be a final edit, soon, including some of what i shoot
    the last weeks but i do not post…
    I was showing & posting links through the day i got the
    Venice Beach assignment… so everyone knows what i do…
    but in the end i want it to be
    a SURPRISE….
    so, yes ERIC, to answer your question,
    the next step SHOULD be the “right” TEXT….
    but, thank god, WE CAPTURED THE FEELING…
    I will never forget the feelings i felt right after that
    unforgettable ( at least for me ) VENICE BEACH EDIT…
    one of the greatest days in my life…
    even if i have the actual book one day in my hands…
    i will still never forget that day,
    that DAVID EDITED my VENICE BEACH…. at the lobby
    of the CADILLAC HOTEL,
    literally only a few feet away from the bikepath…
    few feet away …
    “from the PACIFIC to be SPECIFIC”…

    Oh, i cant talk forever about my last meeting with DAH,
    down at Venice Beach…
    ….. from the dark gates of the JAIL hell, to the 7 heavens after
    the VENICE EDIT…
    All that…

    peace & hugs

  • PANOS,

    I am happy for you man!!! and I will patiently wait for the book and maybe before, the final edit on the on-line magazine… I wish I could have been in a corner of the lobby of the Cadillac Hotel just watching :):):). Some sould searching and exorcism combined seems like fun to witness :):)…



  • LAITH…

    yes, this was my experience too…it sounds like you have discovered “rhythm”..always a good thing…


    i cut by about half…most of these we had edited down in your class folder before i believe…

    anyway, this is what i see tonight:

    keepers 1,2,3,8,9,11,13,16,17,18,19,21,22,24,26,30,31,36,399,40

    you really grew in just a few days….very nice work…it should be up on our special workshop website in just a few days…we are waiting for text from a few students..

    cheers, david

  • Good job Doug. I promise I didn’t cheat off your answer!

  • I am definitely a “newbie” at photographing people as most of what I like to photograph (until recently) is Nature & Underwater. I’ve wanted to incorporate people in my images for some time now. Many times I would see something interesting w/peeps and typically shy away from making those images…..ultimately disappointing myself.

    That’s why I took the Look 3 workshop w/ David…My first shooting workshop. Well, no photos of peeps at all…wasn’t until I saw D work in NYC, watched how people reacted or more often didn’t react that I realized it wasn’t really intruding depending on the approach, and if it was intruding, well no one really cared. The moment I think something broke through was when I was forced in front of the lens, a place aside from self portraiture I am incredibly uncomfortable….well I had to get over it and it actually wasn’t so bad. I think the fear of photographing people was coming from how I felt about being photographed and not wanting to offend people as I did with early experiences of photographing Native Americans. When I want to take a photo of someone who is shy I now hand them my camera and have them take pixx of me first and then they seem to relax.

    So for the last 5 months I have been mainly photographing people in the places I go and the things that I do…. Knots & butterflies in my belly, but as I believe in confronting fears, I have pushed myself into taking the first step and what I have discovered is that people are happy to be the subject of my images, even nude.

    It actually never occurred to me to use a big lens, I use my 20mm & 18mm most of the time. I’m about ½ the size of David so I’m in there and maybe a little less noticeable. I’m a participant in everything I have photographed… dancing with my camera…naked in the Hot Springs… definitely making connections… never dispassionate… rapport established with a smile…and I remember to send photos via email if requested….There are a few people who I have established a relationship with and will meet up again to photograph.

    Whatever I am doing…with or without purpose…I’m excited while doing it. When I look at the pixx, one moment I like it the next not so sure but ….I’m editing and posting it on my site and for what it’s worth, learning something in the process…

    Thanx David!!!

    *Newly Posted:
    ~*~*~ Contact improvisational Dance~*~*~

  • David –

    Many, many thanks. Hope you have a good Thanksgiving with whatever family you choose to spend it with.


  • David

    We are definitely different on the relations with people. We don’t meet yet but I know that. You are open person, I am not. And for me this is the only reason why my photography is still weak. My photography comes close from photography of people, but I am a little asocial person. Contradiction is’nt it?
    I should be landscape’s photographer :)


    Like always, you show many pictures with some special shoots. I am curious how many “good” photos you have. Will be a book now?

    Dear Kyunghee

    Not now, but surely I will buy your book soon. But hell, how I get your signature?


  • Hello all,

    I hope all are well,
    I believe that it is naturally made, it is one moment since I made of ” photos of street “, I never hide, I always make a smile or I ask for the permission, it depends on the context and also on my state of mind, sometimes, I do not dare, and the other times, I photograph without asking of questions and I catch myself myself… For Rose, I asked for the permission to photograph her, some weeks later, I gave her an image and it is her who insisted so that I continue to photograph her… I believe that all the meetings are important, I never know beforehand what it can give, but I have the intuition that there is something…

    Best regards, audrey

  • something which popped up in my mind and what is somehow related to the current topic: what is your favorite focal length?
    I think it would be really interesting to hear…

    for my part, after long time of experimenting with different length (many thanks to Carolyn Drake who generously lent me her lenses) i just ordered an old Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2.8 with Canon Adapter. Let’s hope it’ll be my favorite lens…

  • JEAN…

    i will spend Thanksgiving with my own family…wishing you well and do not let up…


    nice to have you back here….i am anxious to see soonest any new work you may have…


    my favorite lens with film has been always the Leica 35mm 1.4 aspherical…with less than full frame digi, it becomes the 28 or the 20…


    off to airport, so cannot look your link now…back soonest…

    cheers, david

  • Hi David,

    I am sorry, I have again no work on my parents, I have to answer an order till the middle of December, I continue to photograph but no time to develop…

    Have a nice day, audrey

  • Panos,

    Dark Kids no. 3,4,6,7 and possibly 2 but not really but something like it.

    Got Wood didn’t work for me too much….


  • Dear David,

    I’m so touched with your words that I almost cry.
    Words can’t describe how thankful and how happy I am for your inspiring.
    I always have great respect and love for your support and mentor.

    Kyunghee Lee


    Dear Marcin,
    Thank you very much. :)))
    I don’t know when…but…maybe Someday we could meet together…:)))


    Dear Audrey,
    I wished to meet you in Paris.
    I really love your works of parents :)))

    Dear Tanguy,
    Yes, we briefly met at New York workshop.
    I surely remember your name.
    Your name reminds me of the traditional sculpture of Africa.. So i love your name.:)))
    Thank you very much for concern.

    Happy Thanks giving day!


  • Hey David!

    Great post! Great shot! And great teaching! Really these are the kinds of things I love about this blog.

    When I have permission, implied or otherwise, I have no problem working but I am still by nature one of those people that has to fight that inner voice when shooting people without striking up a conversation first. Charo always says I’m too polite, so little by little I’m becoming less so;-)

    This posting is perfectly timed because I just did a workshop here in Barcelona with your friend Philip Blekinsop. The idea was to shoot street photography, which I have never been able to do easily. That is to say with out suffering.

    In any event, the idea was to walk the streets of Barcelona with the camera up at our eye, completely in manual (manual focus also) and shoot people on the street without approaching them first.

    Man did we flounder at the beginning! Everyone had their digital slr’s and no one was used to manually focusing. I too suffered greatly, until on the second day I said to Phil, can I just watch how you would work for ten minutes. Two of us went out with him and we could hardly keep up.

    What an awakening! There was Phil, dressed in his patented vest, white Thai shirt, army green pants and boots with his Leica up against his eye, walking La Rambla at a brisk pace and looking for that play in the foreground, midground and background. He would come right up on people from behind, literally right behind them and then in that moment that they sensed him and felt his presence, he would turn the camera ahead and kept moving. Since he never dropped the camera they were never even sure if he was shooting them or something else.

    In any event, it was a fantastic and liberating experience and eventhough I had more than a few people tell me off, including four Moroccan guys that I pissed off and followed me for five blocks, it helped me to overcome some personal obstacles.

    Of course, I would love some quick feedback from you David if you have the time. This is a departure for me as far as the style goes, but I like it and think this could be the start to an interesting long term project on Barcelona.

    You have two options to see it. One would be in my Photoshelter archive…

    or you can find it on my site:

    Then go to Portfolios and click on “SPAIN: Corridors Barcelona”

  • @David: isn’t it the other way around? if you put a 35mm on the m8 it becomes a 45mm? or do you use a 28mm on your leica? that would be a 35mm then… *confused*
    uh, btw, i send you an email some days ago…

  • David,

    Thank you, that’s a good start to the day.

    Yes, the ceiling was the clue.

    Bag choice? The one I’ve seen you toting is the correct size so something like that.

    Hopefully the ‘good luck’ continues for next week’s Zimbabwe trip….


  • Dear Doug,

    Congratulations on the good luck! :))
    oh, You go to the Zimbabwe next week?
    Take care of yourself and I wish you have nice works!

    best wishes.

    David said his favourite with film was the 35mm lux asph. Even though I think he has an M8, I think he prefers Nikon for digi. And both in the case of Nikon dx and the M8 you have to use wider lenses to get a 35mm equivalent.


  • Claudius,

    Not presuming to speak for David but he seems to say “When using a less than full frame digitial camera I prefer a 28 or 20mm lens” so he goes wider when using a cropped sensor, if its his Nikon then he is bracketing his favourite leica lens.

    For myself its a 24mm or a 85mm, although I might be smitten by a 50mm or 35mm if I had one. Thats for personal work. If I’m shooting posed portraits or commercial images its zoom time.

  • DAH,

    My “part of California” is actually…. in WA state! I live in Seattle.

    Anyway, book is on the way. Hope you like it.

    RE: M8

    My fave lens on this puppy have been the 28 Summicron f/2 (which makes it about a 37 and the Zeiss 18 which becomes a 24.

    The 35 Lux has always been my fave on film Leicas. Imagine that!

  • For anyone shooting film, I have an excellent scanner to recommend. I’ve just been scanning this morning with a new epson v700 and is amazingly simple, fast, and sharp. What’s more it’s really cheap… like $450 after rebate. Shoot film and keep your wide’s wide.


  • Karim,
    You’re just jealous ;) Just kidding, would probably shoot film if I had some good labs around where I live, but I don’t + I like the M8. Sold it once and I don’t think I’ll do that again.

  • Karim

    That depends wether you get a kick out of playing in the dark with chemicals or not!


  • Martin,

    Ok.. we’ve gotta break this habit soon otherwise its gonna be stereo here on out…

  • I like this kind of photos!
    To me public relations are very important, of course for access (as i like theater and ‘events photography’), and, to make long term connections with people.

    I am currently a web-developper in a french society, so if i can help for the magazine, i let you my email :
    I don’t know i you’ve seen the reader, i made it to make blog reading easier…

    The reader have been out of service for a while (free provider ;-)), but it’s now working:
    Don’t forget to wait 2 seconds after selecting a subject.

    So sorry for what happened to you. Sometimes policemen can be really stupid. I hope every is gonna be fine for you.

    DAVID B.
    Good to hear from you! I hope the family is fine!



    Ooops, wrong address for the reader:

  • Sorry…i doesn’t work, my provider is out another time…i need to find one more serious…or if someone wants to have the reader on his own site…


  • NEIL,
    Explain. I’m not native american you know. But if it concerns the gear talk don’t only adress me.


  • DOUG,
    congrats… & also thank U for checking my mountain stuff…

    Yes, now the headache ( book regarding ) is the text, then the layout,
    sequencing the photos & finally shop around for the right
    for text i want to keep it real & use text from comments that i already used in
    this ( our ) blog…
    i WANT this book will be a BABY BORN through this
    blog…. from the comments in here…
    Again my effort was to grasp the “feeling”, the transition.
    from stability to the darkness,
    from light to dark ( through the venice sunset of course )…
    & according to DAH:
    YES WE DID IT… we SUCCEEDED so far…
    so yes, the water is in the right trail so far…
    everything “moves” according to the “plan”…
    couldn’t get any better than that…….
    i’m super happy…

  • but, JEAN…
    Karim insists that through the reader YOU INVENTED,
    I CAN EASILY ISOLATE all the comments been posted under
    my name… is this true… is it that simple ????
    you are a genius… can you please send me a link???
    or email me here:


    I’ve been thinking about how best for us to do the serious edit of my work that you referred to in a recent comment. I wish I could make another trip to NYC so we could do it in person but I’m afraid that’s not in the cards right now. I must say Panos’ description of the “dance” you did while editing his work in the lounge of the Cadillac Hotel in Venice Beach brought back wonderful memories of the hot July night you edited my early self portrait prints here on our porch table in Michigan! A never-to-be-forgotten experience.

    Anyway, I’m wondering if the best way to do this now would be for me to mail you 4×6 prints of the images I’d like to be considered. Then you could not only choose your “keepers” but work with the sequencing as well. And I’d enclose a self addressed envelope so you could easily send them back to me.

    What do you think? If you think this is a good idea, could you please give me the address to which I should mail the prints? I’d also need some idea of when you’d be there to receive them.

    Dear David, your ongoing commitment to this project means the world to me. I’m sure I would have spent no more than a matter of weeks on it if I’d been working alone. And even if the current state of the economy makes it unlikely that publishing houses would take a chance on an unknown photographer like me, I can still work towards publishing my book on Blurb. After all, it’s the work itself that counts, not being a “published author.”

    Have a happy Thanksgiving with your family!


  • Dear Kyunghee Lee,

    So good to get some news from you!
    Glad to know my name stuck with you ;) …even if I don’t know about that traditional African sculpture you talk about. Tell me more, please.

    Your name also stayed with me – with such a bad memory, it’s a good sign! But a person like you is very hard to forget, I assure you! I don’t think you’re easy to forget, nor is your work…

    thanks for talking about that Cadillac hotel editing… I can picture it, it must’ve been great! ;)

    Anyway we can meet once you’re back in NY ?

    Gotta jet to buy that big bird for tomorrow!

    TO ALL,
    (even those who don’t celebrate it),
    … Happy Thanksgiving!
    and may you have a good time with friends & family!

    Cheers, T.

  • @david/martin/neil
    i’m sorry, i got confused… Somehow, i skiped the “film” in your answer, david, and the meaning flipped…
    so far, it seems that (standard) wide angle is quite popular. gives an answer do your post, david…
    (btw: today, it happened: one of the junk guys allowed me to go with him. just for an hour or two but better than nothing… and we have an appointment for the nexst days! (see -> margins if you don;t know what I’m talking about)

  • DAH–

    that’s all i know.


    your work on ‘margins’ really moved me.
    i am excited to see more,
    keep going! :)


    i give thanks for this community.
    i don’t talk sbout my work much yet.
    but i will. and i know you all will
    be a big help to me.
    esp. you DAH. :)
    and for this i am grateful!

    happy give thanks day!! :))



    I’ve just spent time looking at every image posted on your website. I feel like I’ve just returned from a journey around the world. You are a superb photojournalist, one who weds truth with art. Thank you for sharing your work with us.


    Of course it’s possible!!!
    I sent you a mail!

    Thanks for making the ad for my reader! Did you receive my mail?

  • David

    a few new color pictures.

    enjoy your holyday.


  • Marcin beautiful work. Beautiful…. maybe you can caption some so we know a ‘lil bit more?

    I still like think it would be cool to hear your voice as the pictures go from one to the other.

    Keep shooting the films!

    – Ryan

  • Beautiful work Marcin. Beautiful.

    Maybe you could add a ‘lil caption so we have some more info on what we’re looking at?

    I still like the idea of hearing you narrate your photos too!

  • Thanksgiving is almost upon us again, the date on which we look back on the year and give thanks to the Lord for His many blessings to us and our country. I suppose I should be thankful, simply as a matter of courtesy; after all, everyone else is thanking Him and I suppose I should, too; but at the moment I have a cold and what I really want to do is go home and drink Nyquil by the tubful until I pass out. The Lord is from everlasting unto everlasting—I know this because I heard Charlton Heston say so in The Ten Commandments—and He can wait for me to feel better to get His thanks.

    In any case, Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays. When I was a kid, Mom and Pop would pile all of us kids into the car and we’d go to some relative’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. These trips were, almost invariably, marked by parental discord, followed by my father blaming us kids for the quarrel and warning us that we’d better be quiet or we’d get the strap laid across our backsides. Then when we got to wherever we were going, we had to be polite and not run or jump or scream or knock over this particular relative’s collection of fine 18th century fine Dresden china, thereby breaking every single piece of it into pieces so small that they defied repair. But let’s not go there; there was plenty of blame to go around on that particular misadventure (no, it wasn’t my fault, really, I don’t care what my brother says, and yes, my aunt had all of that stuff insured).

    The worst aspect of those Thanksgivings was not having anything to eat while waiting for the turkey to cook for fear we would ruin our appetites, and second, our parents not letting us play outside because they didn’t want us to dirty our clothes. So there we were, five growing and very hungry boys, stuck in a house full of the smells of Thanksgiving dinner, with sideboards groaning under the weight of cookies and cakes and pies of every description and we couldn’t have any of it. We hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch, so there’d be plenty of space for dinner, and so at around three o’clock we were going out of our minds with hunger. Meanwhile, the grown-ups sat at the dining room table stuffing their faces with fruit and cookies as they yammered away about politics, family gossip, and who died that year and how they knew last Thanksgiving that the deceased wasn’t going to survive till next Thanksgiving. After all that, of course, we fell on our dinners with the avidity of a flock of vultures dining on an elephant carcass, only to listen to Mom and Pop complain all the way home that we hadn’t behaved ourselves after hours of the most appalling psychogastronomical torture imaginable. Frankly, as a kid, the one thing I gave thanks for on Thanksgiving was that Thanksgiving only came once a year.

    And then there was biliary colic. Biliary colic is a condition I’d never even heard of until one Thanksgiving a few years ago. Biliary colic occurs when a gallstone lodges in the gall bladder’s bile duct, causing a major back up in the gland. This usually happens when the victim consumes large amounts of fat on an empty stomach, as when my brother and me stuffed a two-pound bag of salted pistachios into our pieholes (we love salted pistachios, but you probably guessed that already) in the ten minutes just before Thanksgiving dinner. I will spare the squeamish reader the gruesome details of how biliary colic manifests itself. I will say that Thanksgiving dinner is rarely as good coming up as it was going down and that this time was no exception to that rule, and that I still think that the trip to the emergency room was unnecessary; but my mother thought I was having a heart attack and she demanded that I go. I spent Thanksgiving night having tests done and sharing a cubicle with a correctional officer who’d nearly lost an ear in an altercation, as he put it, with a shank-wielding inmate. The man bore his wounds with a good deal of equanimity and my male ego, a delicate flower like all male egos, took a truly massive hit having to admit to this guy that I was the victim of a pistachio (though it was a very tough pistachio, for the record; really, it was).

    Last Thanksgiving wasn’t so bad, all in all. I went to my brother’s house for dinner and a good time was had by all and sundry. The food was excellent and afterwards we all gathered in his living room to watch football. About an hour later the tryptophan started to kick in. Tryptophan, for those of you who’ve never heard of it, is an amino acid that occurs in most living things, but is especially prevalent in Thanksgiving turkeys. It is the bird’s revenge for being dinner. Tryptophan causes extreme sleepiness in most people and we were no exceptions. Two brothers fell asleep on the couch and another went into the bedroom and sprawled out amongst the gathered coats, hats, and gloves like a beached whale and promptly went into a coma.

    This, apparently, is a common reaction to tryptophan, an effect well known to the public and public health authorities alike, and one must wonder why the government does not better regulate turkeys. Users of tobacco and alcohol are ceaselessly bombarded with public service advertisements warning them of the dangers of smoking and drinking, state attorneys general cannot wait to sue tobacco and liquor companies for every dime they can get out of them, and yet no one does anything about the menace of tryptophan. I have searched the Internet and medical databases alike looking for a study on the effects of this powerful narcotic on drivers’ reflexes, and all to no avail. Millions of drivers will take to the road this holiday with several pounds of turkey in their digestive tracts, and they will be eating turkey for the rest of the week as well, thousands of accidents will occur from one end of the country to the other, and yet no public health official in this country can say for certain if the mass ingestion of turkey played any role in these tragic events. This ignorance of tryptophan’s role seems to me to be the very height of folly. Given its well-known side effects, how can anyone say that eating turkey and driving is an intelligent thing for any person to do?

    And yet there are no angry parents demanding that the government do its job and order this obviously unsafe product out of the nation’s supermarkets. The sale of tryptophan-laden turkeys goes on and on and no one seems to care one way or the other. That a young child can buy a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise in any deli in the United States without a doctor’s prescription or a parent’s consent is nothing short of criminal, a burning mark of shame on the brow of any nation that calls itself civilized.

    The trade in tryptophan is simply unacceptable by any rational standard and the government must do something to either control or ban such traffic outright. This may cause the traffic to go underground, and there is always the possibility of organized crime penetrating the cold cuts industry or organizing illegal delis in the same way they’ve organized crack houses, but the risk is worth it if we can prevent widespread addiction to tryptophan.

    The most important step the government could take is to systematically educate the public away from its association of turkeys with Thanksgiving and to substitute some other foodstuff with the holiday. A family can just as easily thank the Lord for his blessings with a glazed ham or with a take-out pizza as with a turkey. Parents must take the lead in this matter; your children and a grateful nation will thank you for your brave choice someday. In the meantime, I’ll have the Sicilian slice with the extra cheese and Italian sausage.

    And a Happy Thanksgiving to you all…for the non-US citizens here, enjoy your Thursday

  • HERVE.

    Hope you’re not planning to fly anywhere soon.
    Sounds a bit crazy there.
    Although NOTHING like what’s going on in Mumbai, a place I could easily have been had I not cancelled my annual India trip.

    Hope it ALL works out.



    Superbly seen and shot. I must admit, my favorite is the little boy playing all by himself in the sand. But they’re ALL beautiful! I do love your color work.


  • Herve, please let us know what you are hearing from the people about what is currently happening in Thailand. Is there widespread support of the anti-government movement? Hope you are safe.

    My heart cries out for the people in Mumbai. When will we ever learn that war & killing doesn’t bring lasting change but only death and destruction.


  • Settling down now finally, photographically speaking. I’ve resumed my blog and recently posted three shots from my own “families” project from Iwood in northern Manhattan where I used to live. These images touch on both situations you address, David, on your post here. These images resulted from trust developed over 5 years in which my family and I became established in the community. Because I was well known to all photographed in these pictures, I was virtually invisible. Hope you like them. There are many more to come. The post is here,

    The blog itself is here,

  • Here we go again, so much catching up to do. So much work to look at. I’ll set aside some time this weekend to see what everyone has been up to. Friday I’m going to shoot some video on the streets of central London and mix it up with stills and sound. See what happens. I’m excited.

  • Patricia, my parents are in Thailand at the moment as well. I’m a little concerned. They’re staying with a friend of theirs and are not expected to return to Ireland for several weeks yet so hopefully it’ll settle some before then. Scary situation. What has happened in India this evening is all together more terrifying however.

  • Dear blog friends,

    Decided to not cook this holiday season and instead checked myself and my daughter and her two children into a hotel on the south shore of Maui. It is a total break in tradition of the past 24 years but it is way nice.

    I remember the first time I met DAH at a workshop in Santa Fe. We were at the same table for the orientation dinner and the subject of how you engage a subject came up. I remember distinctly looking at the man to my right and saying, “I hold the camera to my face, look around at the subject and wink.” Harvey said, that wasn’t something he and the guy to my right would get away with.

    With the Whirling Dervishes (Sufis) I have “embedded” with this group for 5-1/2 years and have become invisible to them when I shoot. They are so comfortable with me now and trust me to not publish photos that make them look icky that they totally forget I am there. I have always had an ability to get in and get close. Many people working along side me in workshops or whatever have commented that I seem to be fearless in approaching people.

    What it comes down to is that you have to be present with them; show them respect and ask permission–whether it is a wink or a raised eyebrow with an indication to the camera–and then let them forget you are there. Harvey has that ability. I totally do not agree with the technique of hiding in the bushes and taking photos with a long lens (sorry Akaky). That doesn’t mean I don’t use a long lens it just means I don’t sneak shots with a long lens.

    Working on the Sufi book. It is raking me over the coals. My marriage and the subsequent breaking up of that marriage happened in the presence, and some would say due to the influence of, of the Sufis. So photos I haven’t looked at in a while have a whole other meaning in retrospect.

    Ok. Have a technical question for you. I have posted the query to Flickr but as of yet no resolution. I posted a new essay on Flickr on Bachelor #1 (Hero of Campbell Lane) and when you see the photos in a collection the color and light and vibrancy of the photos are obvious. However, when you view as a slideshow it looks so washed out. Any ideas?

    I have been “lurking” and keeping tabs on the blog; with the book and the essay it has taken a back seat as far as comments but I am keeping up and looking at your work. Love this community and can’t wait to see how it evolves.


  • Cathy, Patricia, thanks for your concern. Well, I travel on the cheap, so I am not too concerned with the airport closures, still in Cambodia as you recall. Just to remind you that the turmoil is done by people who once cried for more democarcy and now find it does not give them a big piece enough of the cake, so would settle for much less of it, ironically calling themselves ALLIANCE for DEMOCRACY.

    Of course, behind all that is simply positionning by the powers that be (and can!) as the old monarch is nearing the end of his reign.

    So after all, it seems once more I could have the Angkor temples all by myself, Cambodia being most often reached via Bangkok flights….

    David was correct, if not by 100%. The place in my shot is slightly off from the boxing ring he captured, People can be foirgiven for not seeing…the lights! :-)

    Do you know i was hired as a wedding photographer while visiting Angkor. Many wedding aprties come here for the proverbial wedding shots, from all around the country, and as their hired photographer ran out of film, one party asked me to the rescue, and e-mail result later. No kidding!

    To be on topic, case of the shootee asking the shooter in the zone, not vice-versa, and that’s pretty much run of the mill before, no need to call and make arrangements beforehand!

    And well, to be even more on topic, if contrarian, here’s a shot that tells the story, and not one person is closer than 20ft. A real feat in South East Asia where it’s simply near impossible not to get close!!!

    When i saw the scene, i was reminded of Renoir meeting Poussin, with grassy soil courtesy of Monet, then click:

    PS: Marcin, not sure what they call high speed internet here, will have to wait to see yourt last uploads.

  • Patricia, Karim

    I have added captions to photos. But this are just single pictures, I think there will be no big story.
    This pictures are from five films (two films from bangkok are piece of crap), the rest about twenty films I should precess soon. So we’ll see.


    You are lucky man. I will wait for more photos.
    Damn, I should be with you there… :(

    Peace (for souls in Bombay)


    I also like your colour work here and would hve wished to see even more. I particularly like pictures 5, 6, 7 and 10 with 6 for me being your special picture…
    Please develop these other rolls so that we see more :):):):!!!!



  • Eric

    Today will be five more films.
    But I am mostly disappointed, as usual :)
    I should work more there.
    Will see.


    from cold and dreary toronto, Marina and I just wanted to wish you all the best today, lots of light and love and food (healthy) and wine/water, whatever….we all have so much to be thankful of, just thinking of Mumbai is simply a reminder of that…

    Panos: i am so proud of you and i am so happy that you and david sat down and did that work…shit, i feel your pain and relish in your hypnotic euphoria…this week, i had to write grant applications (marina too) and last night was sifting through my work of the last 6 years, just thinking of how to put that work into a book….a delerium that spirals like something from Dante, so i understand that fever and i am just so proud of you amigo…hard to believe the Panos now and Panos 1 year ago to this day, huh? ;)))…love from us 3…

    Herve: glad to here your still ok and changing careers (wedding photographer) in Thailand…yea, that pic is cool, like manet/poussin by way of late bunel ;))…enjoy…

    Marcin: love the color pics…dont surrender that…

    Patricia: thankful indeed…and the Mumbai incident just breaks my heart…i hate to say it, but the older i become, the more weighted and bleak the world appears…we are a wretched mess of a species and i often feel ashamed at what we are…how to remedy this…less and less, i know….

    Akaky: ok, dad, here’s a film i’ve meant to send you for a long time….It’s a film about YOU!!!Akaky Akakievich!!!!

    by Yuri Norstein, the extraordinary Russian Filmmaker/animator…the quality here sucks, but if you can find the film: GET IT!!!


  • HE’S WORKED ON THIS FILM FOR 10 YEARS….it’s extraordinary…

    OK KAY



    ps. to celebrate Marina and her GOLD MEDAL

    Marina was just awarded a gold and bronze medal by B/W Magazine :)))))…read here

  • Congrats Marina!!! I am thrilled for you! Also glad to have you back in here fully Bob. I have been missing reading your long posts :):)!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!


  • BRAVA TO MARINA!!!!! You and your exquisite work SO deserve these international awards. Can’t wait to see them in B&W Magazine. It is such a fine publication!

    Happy thanksgiving (American) to you, Bob and Dima. And have a wonderful visit with Bob’s mother…


  • Happy thanksgiving to all … i too give thanks for this virtual place and with a sip from the wine glass i look across table and with lopsided grin and a twinkle in my eye, I ask Akaky, have you seen the Sarah Palin turkey video? Or is that Tina Fey, no, no, it’s the real surreal. Pass the sweet potatoes please, and happy holidays :)))

  • ALL

    I know that the tragedy in Mumbai is on everyone’s minds and in our hearts today. I’d like to share a powerful composite that was created and posted today on PBase by my brother Rajan who lives in India:

    For those of us who celebrate this day as Thanksgiving and for all who celebrate every day with thanks, may we be grateful for life in all its manifestations. What is happening to our brothers and sisters in Mumbai shows us the preciousness of every moment.

    love & peace

  • OH, MY GOD…!
    thank you Tom Hyde…!


  • Nice work Marcin, But I actually prefer WITHOUT captions. More and more as I move on I find captions to be somewhat superfluous. Could be a good topic for discussion.

  • ALL….

    sorry to have been away today….i was scrambling on the phone to make sure my friends Laura El Tantawy and Erin Wigger were safe in India…they had planned on shooting in Mumbai, but i was not sure of their exact location, so i just wanted to make sure they were safe…when i finally got Laura on the phone i did not care that she was a little confused about why i woke her up at 5am her time…the sleepy voice was all i wanted to hear….

    my congratulations to Marina Black on the B&W Magazine award….i have been a big fan of her work all along…

    best Thanksgiving wishes to all of my friends here who celebrate this holiday…one of the best American holidays because it only involves getting together with family…no real commercial element…just the “gathering” is all there is….and this is all there needs to be….

    cheers, hugs, et al, david

  • Marina, well done. I’m going to try and find a copy of the magazine today.

  • Congratulations Marina, I am your big fan too.


    thanks so much for that…Marina (the smarter and more quiet of the Black Family PHotography Cooperative) really appreciates it, a lot :))))…and I am just so happy and proud of her :)))))…

    ERIC and all: Ok, a little bit of the Old Bob black Post ;))))….as I mentioned, Marina and I just finished (actually she still has to finish another today) writing and submitting for Grant applications…both of us have big hopes for photography projects this year, but as always we’re paycheck-to-paycheck, so we submitted for some grants…one of the things that Bones has forced me to do is finally re-examine my work, and while it began as a stand alone body of work (an assignment) specifically for David, much of it fits into the basic working idea of what i’ve been trying in anonymity to do over the last couple of years…as David acutely recognized part of the work always has to do with Faces and Seeing (blindness), which would be me…anyway, so, i’ll leave below the Artist Statement for the Grant Project I’ve applied for…which is centered around my long-Term Project Faces (which along with Ordinary Things (family/friends), Disappearing Cities (Toronto, Russia, Lisbon) and Bones/Memories (of which my project last year for David’s EPF is a part)….so, anyway, here is what i wrote…

    cheers all
    hugs, especially for those in Mumbai…




    “What we see is not made up of what we are seeing but rather from what we are.”–Fernando Pessoa

    Faces gather time along their edges, sprockets of light pitched around thumb-bowed shadow, the way milk rims the lip and bottom-dip of a glass, the way bone sedimentizes sentiment pitched from the age and voice of the earth, the way glass and stone color from exposure. We speak of time, we speak of faces, we seldom speak of how they cauterize and coalesce into some odd unknowing. How is it that we distinguish one face from all the others? How is it that we speak of others and ourselves through an algebra of memory, speak of the faces that we have seen or known distinguished into certainty. What else is there in our knowing, at the heart of the well of our remembrance? How is it that we can ever photograph a face, for is it not the deceit (we believe we know another and ourselves by passing through the threshold of the face) that engines our operative waking? Is it not the very illusion under which we, photographers and non-photographers alike, negotiate and arrive each day we awaken and categorize neatly the arrangement of those surrounding us? How else, initially (and over recollected time) do we begin to work out an understanding of someone, let alone ourselves, then by quickly drinking up the constellation of the meaning and unmeaning in a face. Recall someone: face or action, which do you see initially? Can a person’s behaviour and character and life remain face-less? To the contrary, can we not picture and construct a face without action? Then what about the blind, what is etched upon their skull and lithe memorial imagery? You should know that I am blind in one eye and have struggled with un-seeing since I was a child. At at early age, and often to my horror, I learned that each face, while navigable, is not attainable. In fact, I have spent the better part of my life trying to decipher what is it, what exactly that we see when we look into a mirror: how is it that this chimera, this insolvable jigsaw is possibly “I”. When I became a photographer this became an ethical question: if I could not understand this revenant shell as me (my face yes, but surely not the “I” that is “me”), how then to photograph someone else, let alone their face? I have not yet solved this quandary. For several years now, I have been working on a long project about faces, a personal journey apart from my other work in pursuit of that reconciliation. The project is embarrassingly Narcissistic. You should know the truth about this project. Every other project I work on, every roll of film that I expose, involves taking a few photographs of the subjects’ faces, stripped of their context, their environment, stripped of all the surrounding earth-gravel and light-dust that we normally associate with photography, even at the risk of subverting the intent of the original projection on which I am at work. I often (only after people are comfortable) take a few extreme, close-up photographs, trying to get as close to people as I can, as if digging into a mirror. Soon, the disorienting calculus sets in: closeness, infinitely halved. Long exposures, focused, out-of-focus, short exposures, variable depths of field, all jostling in an effort to see how much can be removed in order to still retain the face of the “I’ or the “You”. And, I should add that I always photograph myself at least once each time before I unspool the film from my camera and often at the last frame. It is a diary of failure: how far away, how licked-over-distance in the print of a smudge of space: breath between a barracks of lens and light. These 6 photographs are a water-drop nub from this series, which is hopelessly large and seemingly endless. On good days, I think it’s the rhyme around which the rest of my photography and projects revolve and are resolved. On poor days, I feel that again I have failed to understand or properly photograph those faces around me. Failure is nothing new to any of us and that principle is the nexus around which these simple images, this project, should be fingered. In some sense, they are different from most of my work: less and more. I continue to photograph even when I have not yet understood how to begin.

    Bereft. Beating. Brook.

    Fall upon me.

  • MARCIN :))))



  • Totally off topic but has anyone else heard of the new Nikon D3x?
    I’ve just received a copy of Nikon Pro Magazine and there it is; 24.5 megapixels. The strange thing is there’s no mention of it in internet land. Everyone’s probably signed up to Non-disclosure Agreements.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Mike R.

  • good words bob.. like it.

    as an aside.. it´s mentioned that it takes 2000 expressions to result in a new facial line.. and in that way we all wear our souls around our eyes before too long..

    so.. smile.. and wear your smile lines with pride

  • BOB, loads of congrats to Marina. Is she in this month’s issue or next month’s?

  • Belated Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
    Patricia thank you, you’ve been always a generous support :)
    ERic, David, Paul, Marcin, thank you so much, i wish i can give you big hugs :)


    if you can, please put all of your Thai photographs into one link , so we can see all at once…is that possible??? i saw one link, but am not sure if i may have missed another…i can comment, if you want, after i have seen everything you did on this trip…

    cheers, david

  • Just heard from my very good friend this morning–she left Mumbai the day before all this killing started. I have been watching the news to see if I could catch anything since it started. What a relief. Lots to be thankful for today. I just read that they found the hostages dead. The healing of this world starts with us and spreads. Let us never forget that.


  • Hey David,
    have been back to BKK for a few days..not so easy to keep a “clear” head, but finally we did the first shooting tonight.

  • Hi David

    Tomorrow I should have all color films from leica. Then scanning.
    I have some pics on my news site, but if you want you can wait until sunday for all.
    I do not think I will have some overall story.


    ps. I am not sure, I was out of topic, but did you buy a house on the beach?

  • And apropos absolutely nothing at all:

    While rushing into a Wal-Mart early this morning, a maddened horde of bargain hunting shoppers nearly trampled a Florida woman to death as they swept into the store for the annual Black Friday sales. The victim, a heavy smoker who did not move out of the way quickly enough out of the way of the stampede, will recover from her injuries shortly, according to a spokesman for the local hospital. This is the sort of thing one must expect on Black Friday; after the mass ingestion of carbohydrates on Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans must go to malls, supermarkets, swap meets, and other hubs of commercial activity today in order to exercise both themselves and the economy, this being good both for their individual health in particular and that of the economy as a whole. Many people have decried the growing trend towards trampling on Black Friday, reminding us all in their jeremiads about the meaning of the day before and how this aggressive attitude is not at all in the spirit of the holiday, but this, I think, is an outworn attitude, much like the demand for some form of religiosity in Christmas, and one completely at odds with the ongoing needs and mores of a modern 21st century commercial society.

    In my humble opinion, not enough women are trampled going into Wal-Mart; the management should encourage mass trampling, with door prizes and possibly cash bounties given to the most energetic tramplers. Such trampling will encourage the weak-willed to stay at home and do their shopping online, while the stores cater to those shoppers best adapted to today’s Darwinian economic existence. And trampling could prove a cash bonanza in these recessionary times. What with the widespread popularity of professional wrestling, for instance, it is easy to see the commercial and broadcast possibilities in professional trampling. Reality show producers will jump at the chance to take an in-depth look into the private lives of women tramplers, giving an evermore voyeuristic public a close up look into the lifes and loves of women who will knock you on your fat ass in a heartbeat just to get the last fifty pound box of laundry detergent in the store. The giant megastore chains like Wal-Mart could organize entire leagues of professional trampling teams, with a Super Bowl of trampling held every year. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that millions of Americans would tune in to see tag team trampling in the aisles of their local supermarket. I know I would, but then again, I am easily entertained.


    I was saddened to hear that two persons from your neighborhood in Crown Heights were among those killed in Mumbai. Apparently Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, were being held hostage in the Nariman House, home to the Hasidic Jewish group Chabad-Lubavitch. To read more about them, go to

    I vividly recall walking behind an Hasidic family on our way to eat lunch in your neighborhood on the last day of your second Loft Workshop in October. As they say, there are only six degrees of separation between us all.



    I’m chiming in a bit late, but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your ‘contrarian’ photo from Angkor Wat, an overview of a wedding party with a few odd Western tourists standing around… and the iconic buildings looming in the background. Very much my kind of photo! Yes, you often play the role of ‘contrarian’ here, which is one reason I so value your presence on the forum. Getting in close and intimate, and how one goes about it, was the theme this post started with, and that is surely important for photographers. Many people have offered great ideas, techniques, and commentary on this, no need for me to add my own repetitions, except to say I resonate with much of what everyone has said. I’ve tried most of the methods suggested. My final word has to be, how I get close (or not) just depends on the circumstances… and is a little different in each case. But I’d like to put in a word of support for also ‘stepping back’ and trying to take in the whole… without sacrificing telling and interesting detail. And I think you have succeeded with this picture. I’ll have a lot more to say about this in one of my infamous ‘long riffs’ (Hiya, Bob B!) coming soon to a blog forum near you.


    Thanksgiving, turkeys, Americana, Sarah Palin… this is as good a time as any to make a dark confession: I share some common ground with Gov. Sarah. First, we are both graduates of the same university, the U. of Idaho in Moscow, which we both attended after going to but never finishing at a number of other schools. I have her beat by a few years, however, graduating in 1979 (I first entered college in NYC in the fall of 1964 so it took me only 15 years to get a bachelor’s degree. I don’t necessarily recommend this educational plan to my younger acquaintances, but it had its good points). Second (vegetarians should stop reading at this point), I too have ‘field dressed’ and butchered a number of moose in my time. Not only moose… deer, elk, caribou, and bear. (But in my case, I didn’t shoot any of them myself… “I was only following orders…”) And finally, I have cut the throat, bled the carcass, stripped the feathers, gutted, and dressed many, many, many turkeys, as well as chickens, ducks, and geese. For several years in Idaho in the mid 70’s my only cash income was working part-time for a local and very small-time farmer-butcher-orchardist-taxidermist at $2 an hour, mostly in an unheated shed in fall and winter, starting a 6 AM. The qualifications for the job were: 1) the ability to show up at 6; 2) a strong stomach; and 3) not to cut one’s own hands off with the very sharp knives. Mostly we cut up fowl, probably 80% chickens, for local farmers, but hunters brought us some of the big game, and often paid for the butchering by giving us the skins and part of the meat… they were mostly interested in the trophy heads, which my boss, a rather mediocre taxidermist, would mount for them. But the real source of big game was road kill… which in Idaho legally belongs to the state. The game warden (there was only one for all of North Idaho in those days) brought us the road kills that were still fresh enough to be salvaged, we kept the skins and half the meat as payment, and the rest was used to feed prisoners in the county and state jails. Incidentally, for those of you who have never tried it, elk is the finest red meat you will ever taste… after eating elk for a while, you will turn your nose up at the coarse, semi-rancid, overly greasy taste of most beef.

    Domestic turkeys are big, soft, stupid, and fairly docile creatures, in contrast to wild turkeys which are much smarter and taste completely different. Killing domestic turkeys really did seem like ‘butchery’ since there was little resistance. Geese, on the other hand, are ornery, mean, and very strong, and killing them is a battle that sometimes leads to real malice. For me the greatest qualms of conscience came with ducks. Domestic white ducks were not so bad, but sometimes we’d get mallards. They’d been bred and raised domestically, and so were ‘fair game’ (sic) so to speak… but they looked like wild mallard ducks. And they were beautiful. I adamantly refused to kill them with my own hands, to the bemusement and irritation of my fellow workers (I will offer this as part of my defense at my war crimes trial).

    So where are the pictures, you may legitimately ask? In those days I was so poor I didn’t own a camera, nor could I have afforded to buy or develop slide film. When I got my first SLR several years later, I was already out of the business. It has been a long time since I have butchered a bird, and I have never, ever killed an animal for ‘sport’ (well, maybe a fish or two long, long ago by accident). I am not a vegetarian… when I do eat meat, I know exactly where it is coming from…

    Bon apetit!


  • All

    About what was heppen in Mumbai.
    Do only I have feeling that we will repetition from the beginning of the XX century? I am less and less sure that we learned something and we are not stand in the same point(in the global view).

  • Marcin thank you for the captions… gorgeous work man. Really nice.


    In the past few days I’ve prepared and made prints of 85 photos I’d like to mail to you for a serious edit. Can you please give me your mailing address either here or by email? My email addy is

    It sounds like you’ll be in Brooklyn the next week or two. I’d love to send them to you before you and our blog friends get too engrossed in planning for the online magazine.

    Does this way of doing an edit sound like a good idea to you? Wish I could be there too but that’s just not feasible right now.


  • With regards to this post I think there’s three simple secrets with regards to collecting images like yours David….

    One, have an ethic that you can stand firmly behind if you’re going to record public life. i have what i describe as the ‘pool-match’ ethic. I ‘try’ never to collect, and i ‘do’ never publish an image of a person that i would not feel proud to confess to if one day i came by chance to be playing pool with them in a pub. I always had this ethic, but it wasn’t until i was in a local bar and this actually happened to me that i appreciated that this was actually my ethic. i think having an ethic can give you a feeling of entitlement to confidently collect images of public spaces..

    Second, deliberate grace (my made-up term maybe) i think there is a certain grace in being deliberate in what you do, whether it’s crossing the street or raising your camera, framing an image, collecting the image, bringing the camera back down to your side, and walking on to collect another image somewhere else, maybe only a footstep away.

    i’m convinced people love deliberate people around them, maybe it resonates something that makes them think everything is ok….i really don’t know, but i do know that you can deliberately collect an image of someone that is standing right in front of you without them taking offence, but even if you’re standing across the road from them and you have even an ounce of anxious emotion inside of you, in the seconds that it takes for you to raise your camera the entire block of people will be looking at you as if you are about to mug them!

    Third, be deliberate, but also be efficient, when i see an image i want to collect i figure out exactly where my envelope of critical focus should be, pre-focus somewhere else if possible, and then raise the camera to collect the image, i think i know how a PGA putter must feel.

    Anyway. This is all about candid photography. I recently took my first step at applying my ideas towards a real message while Rajasthan a few weeks ago. I would be grateful for any feedback I might collect on this edit.

    Thank you in advance,


  • SLOW relations – over an extended period of time. BUT, sometimes this is simply not possible like the past few days here in Mumbai under siege by terrorists.

    Conflict coverage is NOT my domain, but caught up in it I thought best try cover it -particularly as the majority of local TV coverage has been so sensationalist. It has been an eye-opener on this front alone. Now I have a small story in still photos and a video to edit which I’ve not done before.

    Peace to all,

  • PS My deepest condolences to all those who have suffered in Mumbai and lost loved ones over these past few days – particularly to the released hostages.


  • Normally if I take pictures of people they know me. Quite often I’ll take rubbish pictures very close in so they get used to me. Then when I’m taking good pictures they ignore me. Saying all this street photography is not my thing and my main lens is a 200-400.

    David if you have time could you look at

    I’m half way through trying to get pictures of the rarest cat in the world hopefully next time I’ll get more camera trap shots and actually see a free ranging Amur leopard.

    Joe I liked the photography but found it hard to read the captions while viewing the slide show and the about these pictures page seemed blank.


  • “i keep trying to get to the Philippines, but somehow i have never made it…i do hope to come to your country one of these days..”

    that day will come. and so will the other one: when i go there and try to look you up :-)

    “i love your little birthday party essay..”

    thanks david! i wasn’t planning on being “on” then. i just had my camera with me so snap, snap. on the other hand, last night i attended an office christmas party (i know, i know, it’s only november, but here in the philippines the yuletide season begins when we hit what we call the “-ber” months) and i wanted to shoot seriously. came up with nothing at all.

    sometimes the photos just come, don’t they?

    take care,


  • Barev Dzez to all…

    I come here alot, for some time now, but just to read. But I’d like to comment this time. I adore photography and all the good that can flow from it, and so I’ve been a camera fan for a few years. I am now a Peace Corps Volunteer living in Armenia, with an Armenian family teaching Health (among many other unexpected jobs). I know the appeal to all photographers to be in new places, far flung cultures, etc. Perhaps now I can say this with confidence…I think it is personally beneficial to develop relationships with your subjects not only for the intimacy that shows up in your work, but for the raw awareness of how other people really live. I know not everyone can live with other families inside other cultures, or get to this kind of level, but it should certainly be welcomed if you ever get the chance. Mr. Harvey, thank you for being so open and dedicated to your craft and sharing your soul with the world.



    Now come on, Marcin, you know very well all these dogs were coming from the front….The waterfront! :-)))))

    Mumbai is all over the news here too. It is probably better that a pakistanese link be found, as this city has seen too many progroms where innocent were slaughtered (whole families) by the hundreds just for being muslims.

    Just arrived in Pnom penh today. Another festival of photography is taking place here as well. Just saw a movie by and about Depardon. Mostly I am going to wander around the city. It is in a frenzy of construction and is changing definitely to become another crazy asian metropolis. You can feel the energy just entering the city, wishing to get off the bus to start snapping, and “get the feel” of it all.

    definitely a different feel than 2 years ago. Coming of age, especially with its younger generation, eager to be cool and happening. Much poverty still….Contrasts. OK, let the camera do the talk, I am staying a week at least.

    Last thursday in Siem Reap, kids from the Anjali foundation, tutored by photographers from the festival were showing their work done all around town, all between 9 and 13. A wonderful evening it was, Thanksgiving you wish yourself every year.

    the Friday pix gang saw an early evening pix, with the Battambang circus, but here’s a shot taken a bit later, and well, here’s a contest again. prize will be a cambodian artefact, very traditional around here (not a signed pix, promised!). there is a Magnum photographer in this picture. Guess where and who, and you win the prize:

    David, magnum family members can’t play, sorry… ;-)

  • Joe,

    I like camels…why not?

    Camels: 2,7,13,26,32

    Man getting straight edge razor shave: 6
    (sends shivers down my back)

    Read your statement and disgree a bit with number three in that it seems to limit the actual number of photos you might take. But that’s me and maybe I misunderstand your point.

    Looks like you were in a very interesting spot. Some of the photos had lovely colour and light. Keep it going…


  • Herve :))

    looks like Parr sitting on a chair being photographed ;))))…

    i wanna see your shot of the Pekinese Pups riding the chariot :)))

    love love that Manet/Poussin Angkor W shot…I completely agree with Sidney’s thoughts…


  • And as we get ready to celebrate the Christmas season, let us look back fondly on a much less expensive holiday. This, for example, is just part of how I spent my Halloween:

    Have some candy and enjoy!

  • Hello All!

    Attention! Shameless plug coming!!…

    It’s the last 24 hrs of public voting for our multimedia project “Living With The Dead” in the Every Human Has Rights Media Awards. If you haven’t already, we would be very grateful of your vote!!

    To view the piece and vote:

    I also encourage you to sign the International Declaration of Human Rights. Most important!!…



  • Bummer.. I just posted an update on what’s been happening here and I got this message:

    We’re sorry, your comment has not been published because TypePad’s antispam filter has flagged it as potential comment spam. It has been held for review by the blog’s author.

    Go back to basic instinct…..

    Whassup with that???? Doesn’t Typepad know this is the DAH blog! No censoring! :)

    Big congrats on the publication! I’m truly happy for all the success in this blog. I’m also interested in seeing books or final edited work from for example Patricia, Panos and especially Katharina.

    Great work! Don’t know how I feel about you encouraging us to vote for your piece. Is this OK and in line with the rules? there’s many readers on this blog..

  • ALL,
    I have a new major project and blog called arne & bruno at

    “arne & bruno is a visual blog by Martin Brink with main focus on documenting the swedish and danish design scene.”

    I will try to update as often as I can, depending on how much I have to shoot. Might not be to everyones taste as it focus mostly on design, but I’ll try to get some portraits in there as well.
    Please have a look or help me link to the site if you can or want to.

    Thanks for reading!


    Alan Pogue
    Amber Shields
    Benjamin Sklar
    Blake Gordon
    Bob Black
    Caleb Miller
    Carey Russell
    Carling Hale
    Carol Watson
    Chriselda Pacheco
    David Lykes Keenan
    Eli Reed/ Magnum
    Erica McDonald
    Erin Grace Trieb
    Faistinus Deraet
    J. Vaclav
    Jamie Ibarra
    Joe Pat Davis
    John Langford
    John Langmore
    John Scarlett
    Juliana Beasley
    Kelly Lynn James
    Kristen Luce
    Lisa Krantz
    Mardi Gras 360
    Martonette Q Borromeo
    Matt Rainwaters
    Matt Wright-Steel
    Miriam Daly
    Nan Blake
    Nathan Regener
    Nicole Fruge
    Noa & Timothy Baron, Robert Hackney, Jr.
    Otis Ike
    Panos Skoulidas
    Paolo Pellegrin/ Magnum
    Peter Yang
    Robert Shultz
    Sarah Sudhoff
    Sarah Wilson
    Skip Hunt
    Todd Williams
    Wynn Myers

  • ALL, i just got this email…. from Casey

    below is the final photographers names that were presented in AUSTIN…
    I SEE PAOLO PELLEGRIN/MAGNUM… I SEE my motherfucking VENICE…. yeahhhhhh



    Thanks to the four hundred or so people that came out to welcome Slideluck Potshow to Austin, Texas! Most seem to agree that it was a fantastic start and it looked as though a good time was had by all.

    We have posted some of my images from the evening on the SLPS Network site:

    We invite you to join the SLPS Austin group as well:

    I also posted a selection of the images on Facebook:

  • …. for anti spam reason i broke down the email in 3 parts,…
    this is an email i got from Casey..

    “…Once again, we would like to thank The Austin Center for Photography once more for making this event possible. We encourage you to get involved with this new non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of photography, past, present and future.

    Thanks for your time and we look forward to the next Austin show in 2009!

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    SLPS Austin

    C a s e y K e l b a u g h
    Slideluck Potshow
    Founder & Director….”


    please send your pictures to me at: Magnum Photos, 151 West 25th, 5th floor, New York 10001…

    i have a feeling you already have a fairly tight edit, but i will scale things down to what seems like a good logical selection to present for a book…we still need to then make a dummy or rough layout which should also include your text…at some point we must meet in person to really do this right, but at least with this edit now we will know where we stand overall….i believe you still plan to shoot on into the spring…is this correct??

    cheers, david

  • LANCE…

    i cannot imagine what is happening with Typepad…i am certainly not censoring anything, nor have i done anything that i can imagine to trigger this response you have received…..this must be some kind of glitch…

    cheers, david

  • ALL…

    congratulations to all of the photographers here who have been selected to be shown in Austin at Slideluck Potshow…Casey is definitely a friend of ours here as is Dave Keenan with the Austin Center for Photography…you guys are getting “out there” in a big way and i am so proud of all of you…

    cheers, david

  • PAUL……

    you have some very strong family pictures…and i hope you plan to do something significant with them….as with almost everyone, you should edit down tight…in some cases , you have two or three pictures of a situation, when one would do…at least for an exhibition or book…on the other hand, maybe now you should just continue to shoot shoot shoot and worry about editing later…your close personal involvement surely makes for a certain kind of photograph that would be otherwise unattainable…all i can say is, keep it up…


    many thanks for your comment and please write again whenever you are moved or have the time…it sounds to me like you are one of the “caring people” of which there are just too few…we are all happy to have you with us here on our forum…

    cheers, david

  • DAVID… no worries, I’ll try to dig up my post later.. unless you can ‘release’ it? I know it’s not you amigo!



    Thanks for your compliment. Do you feel it is unethical for me to talk to this community regarding the public voting for this award? These things are important to me. This project was born through this community, the first images and the first edits of this piece were critiqued here. Our friends here have seen the whole development of this project from still images to the multimedia piece.

    You may have noticed that other entrants work for radio TV and the mass media. I’m sure that they are trying to rally their own vote too! To be honest we are way behind these guys for the sheer fact that they are able to gather more votes due to the size of their readership/listenership etc.

    Do appreciate you comment though and I hope that you signed the declaration none-the-less.

    Congrats to our friends up for the Austin Slideshow!!!!



    I’m sure I’m not the only one here who was grateful that you let us know about this opportunity to vote for your cemetery project. And I voted for it not because I know you but because I so respect this work. I hope whenever such situations arise again, our Road Trips bloggers will let us know.


    All going well, the prints will be mailed off to you on Monday. I’ll be enclosing a SASE so you can return them to me, hopefully, in a much tighter edit and sequenced if possible. When I see what it looks like then, I’ll be better able to fine-tune the text. And when the time comes that we need to work together in person, I’ll get to NYC by hook or by crook! Please know how deeply grateful I am for all you’re doing to help make this happen. And yes, I intend to keep taking photos on into the spring.



    Hope you are OK! Nice work BTW…one shot with the shadow on the wall, excellent…


    Big love and Congrats Marina…sorry I haven’t been in touch, its been a bit silly here lately…But big, big, big congrats…


    We are not a thanksgiving country here but I hope you all had a good day… and congrats to the Slideshow folks, nice to know you are showing all this stuff to the rest of the world.

    The big downer here is that TIME Magazine-Australian, presumably South Pacific edition- is to be no longer. Guess we don’t really rate on a world scale and that a bureau here with local content doesn’t count anymore…

    I feel that this bodes very ill for the print industry here…hopefully though multi-media will arise and replace it…

    Hope no-one here was affected by Mumbai on a personal level…




    Congratulations to all of you.


    Barov es ekel :) – welcome – it’s good to hear from my country. Where are you in Armenia? Haven’t been back in 12 years. Gonna go read your blog now …


  • Bob, Sidney, Patricia, thanks for your kind words and appreciation. It means a lot to me. We all need some sense that we may be doing right by others sometimes, not only just by us.

    Martin Parr in Angkor Wat? That’s an idea, has he been there, already? he’d have had a gas that day with the weddings. But anyway, no, that’s not him. Keep playing, cambo prize to the winner…

    By the way, since we mentionned Pattaya here lately, Martin does have a shot I really love. Needs no words (I actually wrote a full paragraph and just erased it, ahaha!):

  • Harry and Doug, thanks for having a look. It’s always encouraging to get feedback :-)

    Doug, if we’re talking about the same thing, your conclusion is correct, i do ‘just watch’ quite a few constallations rather than capture them, i feel if the time to focus or if a lens barrel trained on the subject while focusing will kill the moment, i let the shot go and take a mental snap and smile, why lose social grace if you’re not going to collect the image you care about?, maybe another will come because you look less opportunistic.

    I’m shooting a project with a konica hexar rf that ironically has introduced the value of purposely throwing things out of focus for a more sinister look, but the reason i bring it up is the wierd sensation i get with the rangefinder over my dslr… it’s that certain feeling of zero-shutter-lag with rangefinders, i suspect the lag with dslr’s is insignificant, but for some reason i realy feel i can raise the camera, collect a shot and move the camera back to my side much more quickly than i can with a dslr.. even if it’s only phsycological in benefit i do find the feeling of no shutter lag crucial to the kind of shots David speaks about with his post.

    Thanks again for the feedback :-)

  • congratulations to all of the photographers from list; Panos, Lance, Bob, Erica, Kelly and Paolo!!!


  • Congratulations all who showed at Slideluck Potshow.

    Panos and Paolo – exalted company Panos!

    Mike R.

  • If anyone if feeling poor and hard done by in the current financial climate this should put thing in perspective.

  • Haik…

    I’m living in Vayots Dzor Marz near Yeghegnadzor in Vayk. Its beautifully rugged, and I’m doing well. You should come home.

  • Félicitations Marina, Bob, Panos, Lance, Erica and Kelly !!!
    I hope that I forget nobody…

  • hey hey all…

    been away for a couple of days, grown a beard (to be shaved off in a minute :-), went to the beach for a job and some think time and just got back… now trying to get to NYC for a couple of days as soon as possible (this year still), hoping it will work out…

    and now catching up here…

    dear friend, great to see you here again… what are your plans for the eoy holidays? mail coming your way “soonest”


    such great news… many many congrats!!!!! bob bro will mail you soon


    i like your images but yes, maybe try and post them in one link… you do the color stuff well man. can’t believe that you were there together with HERVE (shout out to you too!)

    LANCE, PANOS and all other AUSTIN POTSHOW finalists

    congrats to you guys… really proud of all!!!

    by the way, “sugar” was included in the DC POTSHOW… Gina mentioned it was a great success over there… and i’m sure AUSTIN must have been a great success for y’all too!!!!! wow we are all becoming real and getting out there!!! exciting times for sure…

    muchos abrazos to all here, i’m glad to see such good spirits and great images and things becoming “real”


  • Anton

    Coming soon… soming soon….

    I don’t know about the rules and what the other ones are doing. But if it would be a competition in true spirit I would prefer that no one went out fishing for votes. But if the other ones are doing that, I guess you have no choice.


  • BOB,

    Great text that gives us some real insights on the work that you have been sharing with us in the past year as well. I hope that you do get the grant….

    Congrats to all who made the show in Austin… As others have just said, this is becoming very real…. Another example of becoming real, I just received yesterday a message from Charlie (Mahoney) who told me that he is now syndicated with COSMOS agency in France. He sent me the actual newsletter from the agency and that letter was mentioning that 3 new photographers were now part of the agency. Charlie was one but interestingly as well, Sean (Ghallager) was one of the two others… If you go to the link underneath, you can actually see some work from both just posted on the COSMOS site…

    Great to see all of you going out there… Soon the DAH students and bloggers will trust the photo world :):):):)…

    Well done to all!


  • Marina,
    Very beautiful work:)) .. I’m very glad with your winning of gold medal.

    Bob Black, David Lykes Keenan, Erica McDonald, Kelly Lynn James, Lance_Rosenfield, Panos Skoulidas…
    Really proud all of you!



  • Mornin’ still enjoying the fresh ocean air and pumpkin pie :) I was pretty hesitant to take these days off from shooting, seemed like a big opportunity of a stretch of days without commitment had I stayed in NYC alone to shoot, but I admit it sure is nice to be away from the city..

    LANCE / DAH.

    My experience is that typepad will do the anti spam thing if you have too many links in post.I think you can get away with at least 3 or 4..


    Among your images on your blog, I see some that strongly give me the sense of your easy connection and caring..I feel you could keep shooting in color (specifically) and with a good edit have a very special body of work by the time you need to excited to see it..

  • hello david and all
    at first: i have to said “david i really sorry to use your blog for share my work.”

    this link i try to present the faith of thai people whose have the same heart. we are thai.
    the king is our heart.

    if you dont mind please leave the comment for me. is my email. david if you dont maid too.

    i am really appreciate that
    cheers, david and all


    BIG congrats to all of you!!!! It’s so exciting to see the work of our Road Trips gang being recognized and seen in cities far and wide.

    Now, just to keep it real, I submitted my self portraits project to the AUSTIN POTSHOW but didn’t make the cut. That only makes me more in awe of you folks who did. Good on you!


  • Well what I think make different between a new and fresh photographer from an advanced one, is the ability to understand that you need to create a relationship with the subject you are going to photograph.
    To get in touch with a sort of feeling or whatever relation helps you to get a closer looks and to put the feeling of “what is going to happen” in your pictures. When I started to take photos years ago, I used to take photo like “shot and go”, most of the time the subject where taken by the rear side or maybe far away from me, with a long lens.. but now I believe that you really need to get a sort of relation or whatever contact to the subj… and then when it almost forgot you like a fly on the wall… there you are going to have the right moment to take the SHOT…

    hugs Laredo

  • Martin B.

    From the point of view of the organizers I think the most important thing is to raise as much awareness as possible regarding human rights issues and the Declaration itself. This is why the contest was concieved—media organizations have great power in spreading a message, so what better way to do so.

    I am pretty confident that many people that have visited the site to view the pieces—and in turn have a gained new understaning of human rights issues—have done so because they have been told about it by those involved in the competition.

    I think we have about 200 votes (which is less than half of that of some of the radio and print folks), but it IS 200 people who would not have had the opportunity to see these works had I not told them. That can only be a good thing.

    Also all the finalists have been asked to report on the events in association with the 60th anniversary of the Declaration (5th-11th Dec) and publish their work which will of course gather more exposure.

    I take your point, but all in all I think this was a great idea on behalf of the organizers and they are depending on folks spreading the word. Its a great way to raise awareness of these issues.



    Just a quick word about SLPS and your piece.. don’t be in awe because of a Slideluck show!! :) I personally am in awe of your work, hands down. Simply put, it is a very strong stand alone body of work, something to be very proud of, which I’m sure you are. Goes without saying.

    Please don’t think of SLPS as a contest, it’s a show. Which means there is pacing and variety to consider as well as strength of work. For each city the goal is to show about 70% local work, and we had several strong introspective color projects from local photographers to consider (i.e. Dave Keenan, Sarah Sudhoff’s ‘Repository’, and Carling Hale to name a few). There was strong work from Magnum photographers that didn’t go in the show because of the format.

    Now, I’m probably explaining all of this when no one asked me to explain it. But I’m a sensitive guy and I didn’t want any possibility of someone thinking that Slideluck is a big contest, it’s not.

    I hope everyone here gets to experience an awesome Slideluck Potshow in their ‘backyard’.. we had a TON of FUN! …and please continue to submit no matter where the next one is!

    All the best,


  • Congrats Anton, Panos, David, Lance,,, and to all for the Austin potshow… is there a place on the net in which to see the full slideshow… I really wanna see them all….

  • I see those links didn’t work. Again,

    Sarah Sudhoff’s ‘Repository’

    Carling Hale (it’s flickr, so her submitted show isn’t here)

  • Hey Laredo,

    I don’t think there’s a place to see the full show anywhere.. The SLPS crew from NYC handles the final show and I don’t think they post them online unfortunately.. but if I hear otherwise then I will let you know!

  • Here’s what I tried to post yesterday:

    “Ice cream soda pop cherries on top,
    how many boyfriends have you got?
    Is it A, B, C, D,…”

    Getting back in here is like fast rhythm Double Dutch… here I come..

    James, you got my vote amigo!

    I’m again sitting in my favorite coffee shop editing photos and emailing and the light outside is golden and perfect.. so I’m thinking of this community here.. it’s been a while, things got busy! So here’s what’s been happening..

    Slideluck Potshow – Austin! Coordinating the launch in Austin took some doing.. and man it was a BIG success.. We had almost 100 submissions which unfortunately meant we couldn’t show everyone.. actually about half. And we had no idea how many people would show up.. we hoped for 100. So about 400 showed up! We had some local deans in the industry like Eli Reed, Dirck Halstead, Don Winslow… and a lot of young up and comers. The photo world here in Austin has been rather disconnected, but that is changing. We have momentum here now.. The Austin Center for Photography is being born as we speak and as a board member I can tell you we have big plans down here.. stay tuned. Back to SLPS, we brought in the NYC crew of Casey Kelbaugh, Alys Kenny, and Katrina Baldwin and also Kelly hosted Andy Levin who drove in from New Orleans for the event. I need to add that KELLY pulled the weight of about five people in making this a success.. she deserves huge credit.

    Here are some pics from the Austin SLPS by Casey Kelbaugh:

    (removed for filter, see Panos’ link above)

    And on Facebook:

    (removed for filter, see Panos’ link above)

    And on Lightstalkers:

    Personally, I made two separate multimedia pieces for the show, one of which made the cut. This was my first time to tackle making multimedia.. it’s FUN but a lot of work.. and I can only imagine how much experience and talent it takes to make GOOD multimedia. I have a lot of respect for those making strong multimedia like JAMES and SEAN.. something about those Brits!

    In addition to the Slideluck Potshow effort, Austin’s 7th annual East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) took place the same weekend. I’m proud and lucky enough to be part of a new collective here called ‘Texas Toast Photo Show’ and we put together a beautiful exhibit for EAST. The three other photographers are Sarah Wilson, Matt Wright-Steel, and Blake Gordon. We had two kegs, texas toast, and a couple thousand visitors. We put a lot of work into prepping the space and promoting the event.. and special thanks goes to an angel of a designer here in Austin named Kate Iltis, who did all the logo and promo work for us for essentially no cost. You can see a few pics here:

    AND, I turned 36 over the weekend and had a NYTimes assignment which took place over three days. You can see the feature here:

    The article ran in the paper on Turkey Day so if you still have it around the house, take a look (it’s always nicer in print).

    DAVID once said he’s never had to photographed a pair shoes! Well, I can no longer say the same.. I needed the money! :)

    I’m now preparing for a big portfolio review in New Orleans that is happening next weekend.

    This will be my first time for one of these big reviews.. similar to Photo Lucida and Review Santa Fe… I will be talking with editors, gallery curators, and book publishers. Just getting my work out there.. I’m casting my best bait, hoping for a bite or two. PLUS, I love New Orleans!!

    I will be in DC and NYC in January.. DAVID if you’re around it’s time for a cold one amigo.. Same goes with anyone else that will be around!

    Basically, I’m pushing pushing.. shooting, showing, promoting.. and all that goes along with it. This industry is not very giving so you gotta push hard to get anywhere. That’s no secret!

    I miss hanging out here.. I look forward to spending some more time here again!

    With all that has happened in Mumbai, my thoughts and prayers go out to those of you who are there, or have friends and family there.

    Peace and Best to you all,


  • ok….
    enough congratulations….
    back to the cold reality…

    being a single mom… isnt easy or fun…
    … you always have to invent new methods of
    teaching or even approaching a child…
    sometimes the tried, old fashioned techniques can do the trick..
    sometimes not…

    …sometimes, you need to fight back… or actually its more than just fighting back…
    its more of mirroring and teaching, explaining through the “mirror effect” example…

    check this 4 photo link here, from my “Dark Kids”… life..

  • AKAKY: I agree with Patricia and Audrey and everyone else: congratulations to Anton, my boy Bob and Marina, Panos, Paolo, Erica, Kelly, and Lance. This is great news. Isn’t it great news?

    AKAKY IRL: It’s wonderful news. All of you should be very proud of yourselves. This is a great honor, no two ways about it.

    AKAKY: You’re in a cheerful mood today.

    AKAKY IRL: Am I? I hadn’t noticed.

    AKAKY: Well, you congratulated all of those good folks for being in the Austin Potshow. That’s not like you.

    AKAKY IRL: I’m turning over a new leaf. People change, you know. Something positive happened and I just wanted to say congratulations to your friends.

    AKAKY: That’s pretty big of you, I think. You should do it more often.

    AKAKY IRL: Thank you, I will.

    AKAKY: You know, the other thing………wait a minute. ”Something positive happened?”

    AKAKY IRL: Yes sir, that’s what I said and I meant every word of it. Congratulations again, guys.

    AKAKY: So you don’t actually know why you’re congratulating these people in the first place, do you?

    AKAKY IRL: Hell no. I have better things to do with my time than read blogs, for Christ’s sake. I actually have a life, not like some people I could mention. Now that you bring it up, why am I congratulating these guys?

    AKAKY: They’re finalists in the Austin Slideluck Potshow.

    AKAKY IRL: They’re selling marijuana in Texas? You best tell them that that ain’t a good idea, bubba, not a good idea at all. There are people doing 25 years in the joint down there just for having a joint on them.

    AKAKY: You just couldn’t wait to use that joint pun, could you?

    AKAKY IRL: Nope. You don’t get to work puns like that into ordinary conversation every day, you know. You got to grabs your opportunities when they present themselves, you know.

    AKAKY: Christ on a crutch, the Austin slideluck show has nothing to do with marijuana—

    AKAKY IRL: You sure about that? Because the few times I’ve looked at that blog those people all read like they’re stoned out of their gourds to me.

    AKAKY: It’s got nothing to do with marijuana.

    AKAKY IRL: You sure about that?

    AKAKY: I’m positive.

    AKAKY IRL: Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you and your doped up friends if the cops come busting in.

    AKAKY: You’re embarrassing me now, you know that, right?

    AKAKY IRL: Tough shit, pal.

    AKAKY: I want to go home.

    AKAKY IRL: Me too.

  • ohhh AKAKY…
    that was DOPE……!!!
    YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE !!!!!!!!!!!

  • … to answer the question at hand.. i have to get close.. build a relationship! it’s just how i operate.. i don’t know if it’s from growing up in Texas or what.. but i could not do what Gilden does for example.. certainly i wish i could sometimes.. and i don’t operate like HCB nor do i try.. but i get in the zone only when the ‘relationship’ is there.. this could be as simple as quick honest eye contact, a nod of the head, etc.. some form of a quick ‘trust’ .. but much more often than not for me it involves TIME and building a real relationship. this actually has caused problems for me when a project is ‘over’…. dealing with ‘moving on’ is problematic for me.. i’ve talked to David about this.. he deals with it, too.

    anyway, there’s my two cents.. cheers, lance

  • new dream ( new link )
    new dream
    new dream

    21mm DREAM

    21mm portraits in the forest

    Sometimes i dream, sometimes i don’t…

    sometimes i remember the dream,

    sometimes i don’t…!

    all i learned recently is that you dont need to
    have a lot of money to make little kids happy…
    no matter how “dark” they are or appear to be:

    even a 99c store can do the trick…
    tough times…




  • okay, very up in the discussion i talked about my current project margins and how i was working hard to get access into a group of junk collectors. Today, I finished the first part of my project (meaning: i won’t be in Istanbul in the next weeks and will continue the project after returning with other protagonists).

    Editing them is a pain in the ass job. I uploaded a selection of 45 out of 951 pictures, but some more have to go… I uploaded them into the portfolio review system of my website; have a look and give me feedback!
    many, many thanks to all!


    Hell, man, I saw your photo in Thursday’s NY Times and said to myself, “That is one cool shot!”, but dumb me, I didn’t look to see the photo credit. Actually, nowadays I usually do but I guess Mumbai was too much on my mind to think straight that day. Nice going, my friend. We’re getting famous here!!!

    And thanks for your kind words about my project and the Austin Potshow. No, I’m not giving up. Heck, I’ve barely begun!


    Love the sequence of little one learning by looking in the “mirror” his mom held up. I think all you need is 1, 3 & 4 to tell the story. Sure makes me like Freida!

    I Had a Dream is a dear story. For me, the strongest photos are 1, 2, 7 & 8. Good work, my friend!


    You really got me this time! What a wonderfully quirky mind you have!!!



  • hello Claudius.. i took a quick look.. some feedback before i have to go.. 1st edit:

    2 is sweet moment because i read the caption, but doesn’t work for me b/c it doesn’t feel ‘real’
    5 try to get better shot of the action.. a moment like this may be good for final edit
    7 i like the setting but the man totally gets lost in the scene.. keep working it
    11 i want to like it but i feel like i’ve seen pics like this too many times already.. keep working it.. find new angles, more context in the image..
    18 work this more.. empty on the right of the frame.. maybe get lower so umbrella has ‘negative space’ or wait there for some interaction or emotion
    31 almost but he’s hamming for the camera, i like the framing and light
    41 nice portrait

    i hope that helps some.. so hard to do this on the blog.. wish i could move them around.



    you should be quite thankful to Lance for the above critique….i am sure you are….as he says, it is quite difficult to edit online…but, he took the time to really look…

    the only thing i would add is not specific, but general…i think you might have to add another element to this essay…there are so so many stories out there that look something like yours…it is always tempting for young photographers to immediately gravitate to either poverty work or the homeless or some social situation which needs to be noticed and/or “repaired”…and it is in good conscience that photographers do want to “save the world” with their photographs or at least make someone “take notice” as must be your motive here…this is surely the mantra of photojournalism…

    but, i think if you really want this essay to WORK , then you need to do more than just document people in the “margins”…that might not be enough…editors worldwide are in fact almost “de-sensitized” to this type of story..walk in to any editors office and tell them you have a story on either street people or aids and they will immediately groan…they have just seen too much of it..

    now this does not take away from the NEED for awareness at all.. quite the contrary…and do NOT be discouraged…but, you must think of a way to take this to a new level…either aesthetically or editorially…

    your work, to be noticed by the best of the best, must be the best of the best…particularly on this subject matter…

    you must just “kill us” with your work…make it so strong , that even the jaded editors who have seen it all will stop and take notice…make it so so powerful visually and emotionally that you give us no choice but to “wake up”…

    get under our skin..make us uncomfortable…make us cry….you have PICTURES of people in the “margins”…show us PHOTOGRAPHS of people in the margins….

    think great , not good..

    think Salgado, Mark, Richards,Pellegrin…you have the subject matter for sure…

    now show us who you are…for real…not timid…but bold….compassionate, yet hold back nothing…take another go at this…i think you can make this work sing by just immersing yourself in it…i mean really really going in….now, your work looks a little “half hearted”…you are there , but you are not THERE….

    please give this another try…we will be waiting….

    cheers, david

  • @ Lance, @ DAH
    one very short notice: you can move the pictures around (but need a big screen though): click on the picture, it zooms in and than you can drag it around.

    okay, now i will read both your critique three more times and than i will replay to it :-)


    i left that night from the beach , coz i was craving for family…
    for reunions, for love, warmth, acceptance…. family… tired being alone..
    since i left greece 15 years ago, there sometimes especially around the holidays
    that im craving for a family… i do not really have one. i miss my mom & dad…
    alot, especially around THANKS GIVING… & XMAS..



  • @ LANCE
    many, many thanks for your comments and the time you put into it. Personally, I think that nothing helped me and my photography more than feedback and critique!

    Some questions are left, though (and please, everybody is welcome to answer them…) to make me understand better what you meant. ( i have to say: this blog is so great… where else can you get all this help?)

    I did not really get what you mean about picture 2 – that it doesn’t feel real. The picture is set up – an actually like the fact that it is (same thing with picture 31 (Gökhan with Johnnie Walker bottle)

    you edited out all pictures where you can see Hüseyin or Asur selling things on the Highway – I thought that this was an important part to tell the story? Hmh, will have to think about this ;)

    Also, i liked the setup of the pictures 4/8/10 and would keep one of them, not? I think they tell again an important part of the story…

    pictures 20/21: I liked 20 much, much better than 21. The big flaw of 21 is that i was some parts of a second late – it would have been perfect if Erdin would have bin in the big gap between the two groups of people in front of the jewelery shop. but like this he’s already part of the left group isn’t he?

    in general, i tried to have two pictures of each person, in the best case one ‘in action’ and one more portrait style. in the last part, with the group of junk collectors, you edited many second pictures out. probably necessary since 10 (5 men times 2 pictures) is a lot. would the concept work if i would have one of the group pics first 23-27 and then the more portrait style? or should i leave some of the men out? I think i will have to work on that…

    last but not least: WOW! Lance, you really put time and effort into it and i appreciate this very, very much! Thank you many times!

  • @ DAVID
    first of all: many, many thanks to you as well! 1000thx for this blog and you writing it. Even more: taking the time of giving feedback to some medium level work… where you could produce great work in the same time…
    I completely understand what you mean. And both of us (and all the others here as well, i guess) know that this is the hardest part…
    I don’t want to be cliché and i try hard to fight it. In addition a big downside of being here in Turkey and being a foreigner is that i have to fight orientalism as well. i think i am a bit better in this matter than in my story telling capabilities…

    well, what i can say for sure: i want to draw the line (of the project) further. i want to add more characters to the story… however, since i can’t work on it for the next month, there will be some kind of break at this point. I will use the time to think over it.

    And also: I think this “ghetto romantic”/ “homeless”/ “people in need” problem will get more into distance the more i work on the project. so far, i did some general work and then this one group of junk collectors. but i will continue with other sides of the topic… for example, there is that one old man who is picking flowers in the roadside ditch and collecting old flowers people threw away to put them together to new bouquets…

    Actually, i think for me more important than showing these ‘poor’ people is the neighbor-part of the project: I want to get to know more about the people no body is paying attention to but which sharing the streets with me and all the others… will have to think how to conceptualize this…

    okay, here it is really late now. i will have to go to bed now (but only i said another thank you!…)

  • @ ALL
    about the online editing. It is such a pitty that DRR is closed down… we should think of what we can do… are there other possibilities? Image Shelter? and i will ask my friend, the graphic designer who did my homepage (, how complicated it would be to add the features we would need to a software like the one i am using now for the portfolio review…

    A good online editing facility would be so important to a project like this blog…

  • David,

    I really enjoyed this post! Thank you for sharing!

    …as for “public relations” – creating those instantaneous relationships & long term relationships are in part why I picked up a camera for in the first place.

    I also feel those “relationships” can exist with any subject, be it a landscape or object, one has taken the time to look closer, observe, understand and document- the memory is made, the relationship is timeless!

    Hope to catch up soon & I really look forward to seeing the “publication” come to life!

    Cheers, Jeremy

  • Thank you everyone for your kind notes about SLPS Austin. We had a blast! This is a fantastic event. Make one happen in your city if you haven’t already had one (just be ready to work your little butts off to pull the first one together). It was just so great to see so many people in Austin (“the live music capitol of the world”) come out for photography on a cold night.

    That said, it’s Thanksgiving and David… I have to thank you again for this place and the time and effort you spend nurturing photography. I’ve had quite a few people (enthusiasts, photographers, editors) contact me in the past few months who found my work through this forum. Cheers, my friend!

    Now, on topic… the 2 second connection… the 2 minute “hook-up”… the glance that says thank you, goodbye. Mastering these feels so critical. I can feel when I’m on and feel when it’s not happening. Some days I can tell when I walk out the door that it’s not happening. For me it’s as much about MY energy as the energy around me. But when it’s happening, it’s fantastic… and then I just pray the pictures look the way it felt.

    It’s busy here in Austin… the energy is good. Much love from Texas. :)

  • Very inspiring post !!


    Is there a way we can see samples of your work on families ?

    I would really appreciate…


  • PANOS,

    I know what you mean when you mention missing your close family during the holidays… Thanksgiving has been pretty special for the “Espinosa” family here in Cincinnati with my brother and all his kids, my father, mother and my own kids reunited for the first time ever… All have just left so feeling a bit sad but glad at least that we could get together for once… Hope you get a chance to see your family as well sometimes soon like I jut did fortunately…


    I tell you….you are a busy man!!!! Congrats for the NY Times picture and for this Austin show that seems to have been quite special… As an aside, I just mentioned that my father spent a few days here with us. He is also a photographer (passionate amateur who also joined a DAH class…) and we have spent quite some time looking over many of you guys’ website… I have to tell you that what he lisked best was your cowboys story… “Thirst for Grit”. He was mos impressed!. Keep the ball rolling sir! So glad to see that things are shaping up for you!


    I am not sure if you have answered the e-mail I sent you. I just changed computer and my e-mail got really messed up, with many lost messages etc so, you may have answered and I may have missed it totally so, if this is the case, my apologies. I had sent you a mail saying that I cannot get to New York this coming week as I am away all week (leaving tomorrow for business trip) but if there is any time you know you will be in New York from the week after next until Christmas, let me know and I will try to get there for the boxing edit…



  • DAVID,

    Forgot to mention something…Today, I was just looking at some furnitures into a local mall…and on a wall, by chance I saw lots of old editions of “National Geographic”…Just in case, I looked as I wanted for a long time to look at a copy of “your” Cuba National Gepgraphic edition that I had never seen… and it was there…totally unopened (I am sure you could get pissed off but it was being used as decoration :):):)…Anyway, after seeing it, I decided I needed this copy and there was no way I was going to leave it on this wall to collect dust…I convinced the shop owner to let me have it and with great pleasure went back home with this June 1999 edition… Unbelievable copy David! I have rarely ever seen an article with as many pictures from a single photographer… I know that some on the blog have been harsh with the magazine but I am so pleased to have that copy as I am a big fan of your cuba work (of course I have the book as well!!!)… If there was one copy of NG to keep I think I have the one now!!!!





    Thanks for your comment on my work! It is also the ONLY comment I have received on my personal record of the Mumbai “siege”. I don’t know how the events appeared on your side of the world but here on TV, the city appeared as if it were a war zone which it was NOT.

    I was staying 2 minutes from Leopold’s cafe (where 6 people were shot) and 2 minutes from the Taj Mahal Palace hotel which suffered 2 rounds of ‘bombings’ INSIDE (mostly grenades). I know I am lucky to be writing this but so are the other 16 million? people who were not directly involved in this city other than by the level of fear that was jointly stirred up by the terrorists and the press – particularly through the majority of TV coverage which replayed tight moments of action over and over, over and over – sometimes to hair-raising movie-style backing music with animated captions flashing on the screen.

    The moments of ‘action’ were highly localized. And, as horrific as the whole event was for ALL who DIRECTLY experienced it as hostages, ALL those who suffered injuries, ALL those now grieving the loss of loved ones including the police who did their best and paid the highest price for it, and ALL those still trying to track lost friends and relatives (including myself), the portrayal of this event as if Mumbai was a ‘war zone’ were highly exaggerated by many journalists.

    Thanks so much again for your comment. I wish I had called the story something other than the title I chose when I uploaded it because my email address at Lightstalkers when I put it in says I am not a member so I can’t change it at the moment. The events of recent days were not a ‘SIEGE’ of a city but a HIGHLY LOCALIZED and strategic terrorist attack. 10 locations – executed quickly. 2 hotels with hostages shot or held in terror under ‘insane’ conditions over 2.5 days.

    Thanks again for your comment. I really appreciate it.

    Love and peace,


  • @ ERIC
    i am so jealous! i do not even have the book, not available here in turkey. and i am traveling to cuba in february and would love to have a look on dah’s work before…

  • Erica..

    Thanks for the critique. I really appreciate it. I’m not at all close to the level of this community, in quality of photos, but thank you for looking.


    I’ve just visited your “Siege in Mumbai” gallery on Lightstalkers and found it to be a significant document of the tragedy, spontaneous, immediate and moving.

    Did you post a link here too? If so, I missed it. Here is the link to Jenny’s work:

    So glad you’re OK and hope your friends are as well.



    1) LANCE: :)))))))))))))!!! sent you an email…im so so happy and proud of you (marina too)..NYTimes Yo!..:)).to see your name up there in lights…and like, this means Harvey has to get you to photograph his new beach house for the NY Times Magazine :))) should be thrilled and proud and you did yourself good hombre with that series…aint just about paying the bills, but the pics are solid and im so happy/proud to see your name on that Times fold! :))))…i trust this means more TQ for your northern brothers? ;)))

    2) KELLY/LANCE/CASEY: :))) sent y’all a note this morning…mucho mucho gracias for the amazing show y’all did..the pics are gorgeous and gotta tell u i was wicked jealous not to be there in person…but was there in spirit…i am very happy and proud to participate and be a part of the love y’all turbined there in N.america’s 2nd Live Music capital ;))))…hugs

    3) PANOS/ERICA/LANCE/KELLY/DAVE/: Y’ALL CONGRATS :)))…im sure that house rocked tex-mex caliente….

    4) Eric: thanks amigo :))))….we’ll see if any of that writing and picture making did any good to help buy the groceries ;))))

    5) PANOS: will write you later in the week: keep the dark (light?) kids coming :))))))

    6) DAD-AKAKY: did you see the film clips i posted for you?…from the extraordinary russian animation film The Overcoat: yea, about you dad! :)))))…and i like this sunny-side of you too :)))))…but, i like the dreary-bipolar-embittered you too :)))))…all genius…

    7) CLAUDIUS: :))…welcome…well, was going to type something and then i saw David and Lance and Eric all stepped up :))))…they’ve given u some fine words to chew up :))))…just this: how is it that people on the margin are more than just “marginals”?…maybe that’s what i hunger to see…i never tire about seeing/reading stories of people (it’s all we have) but i weary of “stories” (ideas)…show me that it’s more than just living on the margin…or another idea: your involvement in their lives….happy you shared them :))

    8) Jenny: glad u r safe :)))…im still stunned…and actually growing increasingly depressed with age about all this stuff…how the world loves to annhilate itself….stay safe…sending you metta and all of mumbai….

    9) James : i will vote for you :)))))…CAN YOU SEND THE LINK AGAIN..i cant find it :)))

    10) DAVID: sending you the stuff this afternoon…finished edit last night :))))…

    ok, have to go for the next week….

    hugs y’all


    Your blog is wonderful!!! And you, my friend, have a very fine artist’s eye. I’ve just started reading your blog and look forward to checking out your archives as well. By writing and photographing what you see and feel you are serving as a bridge for both Armenians and Americans. Good for you!


  • PAIGE,

    i so agree with Patricia… I love your blog too…
    i love ARMENIA…
    i respect their will to survive…
    WE ALL REMEMBER THE GENOCIDE , the dead, the refugees,
    the bloody mess that the YOUNG TURKS / OTTOMANS
    created… they tried JUST LIKE HITLER to destroy
    the Armenian Soul…

    please shoot shoot shoot & show us more…
    you are brave,… we need people like U..
    your photography is great… u have nothing to fear…
    Show us more… plus u are serving the Truth…
    so , you have nothing to be afraid of…

    welcome….! & tell it like it is

    again, congratulations!…
    i missed the cartoon link though

  • ERIC,
    totally… yes family missing , longing, need… it can get very
    frustrating & toxic… painful… especially around holidays…
    I always remember when i met your family up in c/ville..
    you guys look so good together… “flow” & love…
    hmmm, i think i owe my family a visit … back in grecia…

  • Eric: Thanks for your little piece on Cosmos and your kind note. Sean and I got a kick out of that too.

    LANCE: You are the man. So glad to read that you got a photo published in the NY Times. I see you’re keeping plenty busy, but let’s catch up soon, dawg…you know about the more important matters in life;-)

    Regarding the African immigrant story, it keeps pulling me back in. I’ve had more than a few magazines interested but they’ve all pulled out in the end, which has just driven me nuts. It’s made me wonder if DAH was right and it needs a different perspective. Anyway, now I have interest again and I’ve added some work, so I’d like to tighten the edit. If anyone has the time to look at it, please know that although I don’t post here often, I always check in and really do appreciate your comments.


  • Hello all!!!

    After a long time of reflexion, i decided to leave the blog – forever or for a while, i don’t know. I read David text on Magnum Blog

    “You must have something to “say”. You must be brutally honest with yourself about this.”

    and, even if i knew it a little while ago, i have nothing to say with my photography for the moment. It’s why i never share a picture there – cause they lack of meaning.

    So i’m gonna try to find a meaning to my photographs, then after, build a something more serious – maybe to share with you??? – but for the moment, i prefer, i need to be ‘alone’, to be free of any idea, of any kind of goals or projects, to make my spirit free – to find my photographic way.

    Of course, i learnt a lot with you, David, and everyone there. My photography took a new beginning there.

    So many many many thanks to you all (i don’t give names to forget no one),you’re important in my eyes and in my photographic heart. Thank you very much David for making this place exists.


    – Jean

  • PAIGE,

    While you say you are not close with the people, it seems to me that you are fully accepted by them. Just from the looks and places you have been. Coffee and vodka says it all. Get to know them more, get close, and shoot,shoot,shoot. You are doing a great job in a place that is so different from where you are and I see your passion – show us what you see.

    i picked my 10 favorites into a Lightbox and commented on them:–&ppg=25

    in general: you have some really good pictures in it but sometimes i get lost. also the story could be more coherent. Don’t ask me how to fix this, that is my biggest problem as well. (see some comments up for the critique of DAH on my current project).

    Something i really like in longer essays is if there are shorter 2 to 5 pictures essays about one protagonist within. that you get to know a bit more about one person. shots ‘in action’, details, and portraits – it’s nice to use the different elements than.

    so, that is my very personal opinion. I hope it is helpful for you…
    I like your work. keep me updated! (in the very back of my mind is a projects on migrants as well. maybe we can exchange our ideas one day…)

  • PAIGE…

    i totally forgot to respond to you after looking at your website/blog…you have several quite intriguing unselfconscious photographs and a loose “being there” style…of course, i would like to see more and also see how you handle the essay format..


    i am planning my december schedule now…give me a couple more days, and we will figure out the best time for you to come to new york…i am very excited to edit your boxing work…

    yes, the Çuba story in Natgeo was about as good as any magazine can get i think..and i just happen to see it the other day in someone’s home as well (i do not have a copy myself!!) and in hindsight they did a very nice job with that work…also, the paper was better back then (just 7 years ago i guess) and the spreads were much longer then as well…


    yes, i did buy the beach house!! this could involve a major lifestyle change….please come to visit me when you possibly can…

    cheers, david

  • JEAN…

    yes, i totally understand…and yes yes to be “alone” with your thoughts and dig “inside” so that your voice, and none other, will rise to the surface…we all have something “to say”..but sometimes life around us, in all of its incarnations, can clog the flow of free thinking..all of us at times sometimes forget the “original” ideas we had at some point just because of life’s complexities…please come back when you want and know that this community will be alive and waiting for you…we will be ready when you are….and you will be ready when the time is right…

    cheers, hugs, david

  • Ok. Now I am Jealous!!!!!
    I always say, you are lucky man!!

    I think I have to step by to your beach house someday :)
    with bottle of rum for mojito.

    I am scanning now, I will put link here tomorrow.


    ok, ok…now you are rolling!!! much much better…tight edit…some really nice work with a flair…you’ve got your “legs”…now, run even harder…i do not know what you have for text, but i am sure you have something…you are totally ready to “turn the corner”…i must say this has been fun to see you make this jump…please do not stop now…

    cheers, david

  • David Alan Harvey

    I’m hugely encouraged by your liking what I’m doing.

    I will edit hard at some point, perhaps over Christmas. Right now I’m busy trying to get my archive online and to generate some sales.

    Here’s a twist on the Boyhood material made yesterday (just a minute long);

  • Hey David:

    Are you actually leaving NY or are you maintaining two homes?

  • Hi David,
    this is one of the last photos from the hotels… am out in the streets now…

  • David –

    I’m looking forward to your review of my images…thanks!

  • Hi David and all,
    sorry I missed you out here in Cal, would have like to popped in and said hello, but I checked the blog the day you were heading back to NY.
    I went through some changes, bailed the studio in downtown, they kept try to squeeze as much $ as they could out of me and Aug and Sept were lousy months for work. just thought fuck this, behind on rent, and bills piling up so I thought this might just be the perfect time to liberate myself.
    I have been working on my photographs in the new nieghborhood of Echo Park and will be looking forward to posting them up, just as soon as we bail the shitty AT&T internet link and go to a cable connection.
    anyway, looks like things are getting more interesting for the regulars, hats off to all of you. esp you David for yer stamina.
    at the library now and time is up so best to all and hopefully I can bring something to the table soon.

  • David

    oh and I forgot – I’m here in Guanajuato again, que bonita! been walking the streets photographing la hente…a great place for portraits and great light for sure.

    ~ chris

  • PETE…

    i am just a simple freelance photographer who spends most of his income working on personal projects…i did manage to raise my two sons in good style i suppose and paid for their university educations…i worked very hard to do that…and loved every minute of my responsibility as a dad, and still do…and i am actually quite wealthy…but not in the material sense…you have never heard any complaints from this boy about my lifestyle….but, maintaining two homes is not my fate!!

    i am going to try to live at the beach house on the Carolina shore (both of my sons run their docu film businesses from the beach and live nearby..if they can do it, i can do it!!)…i will also try to keep my space in new york as an office only and will have to go in with a partner to do so…and in these economic hard times, who knows how long i can do that..but, for the most immediate future, i will keep my space in new york as an office and have all of my “stuff” down at the beach….

    well, sorry, that was a long answer to your short question!!

    cheers, david


    damn dude, i was asking Panos how in the world we could find you in L.A…i asked about you several times and realized i just had zero contact info for you…plus, i had not seen you for quite awhile here on our forum and just did not know for sure if you were even in L.A. at all…anyway, i shall return!! sooner rather than later…sorry to hear about your studio, but we can talk about that when we meet…

    cheers, david


    what am i supposed to review?? yes, i am on to your website, but which part?? i am sure you told me once, but please tell me again!!

    cheers, david

  • JEAN, do not leave and don’t let not having anything to say bother you. I never have anything to say and I spend an inordinate amount of time saying it. The way around writer’s block is to keep at it, even if it’s painful. I’ve always found this to be very good advice, not that I ever actually take said advice myself.

    BOB B, yes, I saw the clips. I was very fond of that old coat, yes I was. Did Norshteyn ever finish this film? The last I heard, and I have to admit that the last I heard was a few years ago, he was still trying to arrange the financing necessary to finish it. (did you see the link to a series of Halloween pictures a few pages back? I’m not sure I like them all that much, but AKAKY IRL likes them a lot; he said they are good enough to induce vomiting in homesick near-sighted marsupials, but he tends to be prejudiced, a fact I am sure you’ve noticed by now.)

    PATRICIA, I fear, ma’am, that you are laboring under a misapprehension. I am entirely quirkless; I do not even have enough personality to maintain an interesting vice. I am the human equivalent of cold farina.

  • ALL….

    by the way, i know some of you have been asking about the Emerging Photographer Fund grant for 2009…

    for legal reasons having to do with the non-profit status of this grant, i must have a jury named and a board of advisors chosen in advance of announcing the stipend…this means i cannot do this before demember 15…so barring unforeseen complications , i should be able to announce on or before that date…in any case, you will all have at least a month to prepare your portfolios…this is NOT an announcement, but i think i will give one $10,000 grant and perhaps a smaller one as well…there will still be funding “in the bank”, but i have been advised to not give it all away at once (which is of course my inclination)…

    anyway, things are cooking…stay tuned…

    cheers, david

  • “simple freelance photographer” my ass!

    but your humility is a huge part of the why everyone loves you.

    Jen and I will definitely make a visit. Maybe in the spring.

  • David;
    Just a couple of questions about pursuing a project…. If you have the time, or anyone for that matter!!

    If you are looking at shooting an overseas project (hopefully for a book etc); are you better to make multiple trips over 18-24 months using your “home” work and maybe grants etc to fund the project; or move there and spend 6-12 months shooting the project?

    I’m still doing some planning and looking at different approaches. By doing multiple trips you are able to keep your domestic customers and potentially be able to do more trips (of 4-6 week duration each).

    Or, simply go there to live; but possibly lose your domestic customers and have to start from scratch when you return?

    I know everyone faces these quandaries when pursuing projects so any feedback would be great…. And hopefully helpful to others too….

    Also I’ve attached a link to some WOMAD images taken earlier this year. The B&W images were taken at midnight. It was nearly pitch plack, cramped and frantic I decided to use b&w and use high iso & use long exposures (1 second) to try and make it look how it felt…Blurry, and chaotic….

    Thanks for that.

  • ROSS…

    regarding the WOMAD work, you are much looser than usual here and it is working for you…except i would take out the pictures of the performers…the audience is IT…pictures of performers performing are usually just not THERE most often..i do not know why, but just like all the great pictures of Picasso standing in front of his paintings are much better than the ones of him actually, get the performers MINUS the microphone…THEY need the mike, you do not…maybe backstage or strong portrait or ???

    well, the longer you can stay in one place the there is the very best..on the other hand, almost everything i ever did was under less than perfect circumstances…most of my work does come from multiple trips for financial or other personal reasons…and i think this is true for most of us…so, just get it…whichever way you can..strive for the ideal, but make whatever you can do whichever way you can do it look like you never left town!!

    cheers, david

  • David.

    Thank you for that. To be honest, the WOMAD crowd work is more my usual style… Actually, the performer shots were my first attempt at concert work…

    I’ve thought a lot about your and Bill’s Timor critiques. My problem was that “I” got seduced by the children etc. in the camps. I wasn’t looking for the easy option; I wore my heart on my sleeve too much…. Now I have to find a way to convert my feelings into a different way of seeing… but I don’t want to lose the humanity…

    I appreciate your input, thank you!!!!


    i like this picture..and i am not a Photoshop guy…but, that little electric wire running into the top of this woman’s head drives me crazy…can you get it out???

    cheers, david

  • “…most of my work does come from multiple trips for financial or other personal reasons…” that’s where I’m coming from too!!!

  • ROSS…

    of course you should not lose the humanity…just do not lose your style either..remember, the subject does comes first, but your “message” and your “humanity” will come through better if the strength of your vision is totally “on”…no need to sacrifice one for the other…

    cheers, david

  • BOB: Deadline is up i’m afraid. Thanks for thinking of us though! We will know what’s happening after the 6th.

    Cheers! J

  • J Chance:

    bugger!…i’ve always loved and been a big big fan of your work, be it color dreams a la Wong Kar Wei (your series on HK/Macau) or TB, or the Graveyard Housing project….if there’s a way i can slip in under the radar let me know…it’s been a crazy 2 weeks, and not much time for computer, mostly photo stuff, writing and family….BUT…

    if you ever NEED me to help out (like vote, write a comment) send me an email…i’ll jump right on it :))


    P.S KAT, glad u shared that one with David…and the blue dream one? ;)))))

  • @ ROSS
    i don’t know what your project is about and where it is. but one thing i can tell you from me staying in istanbul (i didn’t come because of a project, though) is that after i spend some time here, i see enough news worthy topics (=easy to sell) to do besides the work i want to concentrate on. and usually, at any place in the world are monthly meetings of foreign journalists, at least in the bigger cities. you can go there and talk with writers about your topics and the chances are quite high that something will happen… (I have some 6 possible things going on right now, mostly for magazines. let’s assume half will be put down by the journalist’s editor – that still makes 3…)

    ps: i think your womad pictures are the best concert pictures i’ve seen…

  • Jean, I’m sure something will present itself to you to photograph. You can always turn the camera on yourself. Or simply make pictures during your everydayness without looking through the finder.

    When I was at ICP during Joan Liftins last class there in 2000 she had us all make pictures without looking through the finder. I found it very difficult. She suggested to us that we’d likely recognize each others images immediately which I didn’t buy at all.

    She was absolutely right. I was astonished. I think we all may have been. Anyway, it took me weeks to do it. I simply could not take the camera away from my face. When finally I did it was a revelation.

    I was walking through a spooky wood at twilight and thought there was someone behind me but I would not allow myself to look around. Rather I held the camera over my shoulder and fired off several frames. I continued to do so as I progressed through the wood until I ran out of slide film.

    I was a couple of days later when I finally managed to pick up the film from the lab. The images were quite frightening. At least to me anyway.

    There was no one behind me but I managed to accidently catch the side of my head while in shade when I was exposing for the highlights from the rising sun. I had long, wild hair then and it made a rather large black shape on the side of the frame which completely freaked me out. Very David Lynch like. The rest of the frame showed the path behind me.

    I presented them to the class, weeks beyond deadline but she knew immediately that I was now a forever changed photographer having had that experience. And she relished saying I told you so, or words to that affect. Everyone felt the uneasiness in those shots.

    I do it all the time now. I think because I have a good idea what the viewfinder is looking at anyway.

    So, if you’re stuck in a photographic rut, Jean, then maybe it’s time to play. Something always comes of it. One way or another.

    As posted above, here’s an example of what can be achieved by not looking through the finder;

    For me it’s about loosening up.

    Maybe try it and see where it might lead you.

    That’s enough yap from me. Time to sleep.

  • Paul:

    WHAT’S A VIEWFINDER? ;))))))))))))))))))))))))….

    (almost never use mine any more, the reason: that would take a long post, and Dima’s waiting for me to take him for a beer…ummm, I mean a burger: man’s night)….but, another bit of advice:

    JEAN: try buying a toy camera, film or digital, doesnt matter and then just walk or run around and shoot whatever catches your eye, or however you feel (up close, far away), dont look through the view finder, but act as if the camera was a ball, or stick and toss it around (ok, now im really giving away bob black secrets ;)) )…for me, view finders are cool and necessary as a way for a photographer to “frame” “compose” or ‘re-see’…i use the view finders for just that, not to compose (i feel that mostly with my eye) but to “fuck up” my eye as it sees the world, and then go from there…i dont believe in “composing for long periods of time”…to compose, yea, but go, see see see before you look through the view finder..

    then run with the camera and just aim randomly..this wont make better photographs, but it will get you to FEEL how liberating shooting can be…shit, even when i put a camera on a tripod, i want my body to feel free and my eye….take a look at Harvey DANCING when he’s shooting (it’s on YouTube)…that’s what i mean….that physcial liberation will kill you with freedom and joy :))))

    LASTLY: paul: i fucking love that opening of the Blue Shoes vid…the upside town camera:

    lust for life! :)))))))


  • I meant Upside Down camera shot ;)))

    and by the way, i dont mean Photographers should go around shooting “randomly”, i mean if you liberate your seeing and how that feels physically to See….’cause camera is or can be an emotional and sensorial extension of the camera…like breathing, brushing teeth, etc….

    i think too many photographs get too TIGHT when they shoot, and i dont mean “what or how” the pic looks like, but how they hold cameras, how they see/look around, all that…

    for me, Maradona (yea, the old fat guy from argentina ) can teach alot about Shooting, for real

    to wit:

  • David –

    Sorry, I sent you an email with the gallery web address to the blog email, but perhaps your not using that anymore. Anyway, for simplicity sake I will post it here and if anyone else wants to put in their two cents too that would be great. Its a project I have been working on about the sport of Cyclocross…which was born across the pond in Europe but hasn’t been that big here in the States until the last 2-3 years…so here it is here:

    gracias a ti

    ~ chris


    you guys are totally right to encourage photographers to get loose…most are just way too “tight” as you suggest…

    however, i must admit i have never taken a picture when i was not looking through the viewfinder…

    somehow, in my mind, that is part of the “intent” of which we have spoken so much..

    BUT, i would definitely not rule it out..i just have not tried it YET…

    what i have done instead (for families) is to make things “hard” for myself by using the medium format camera when i “should” be using a 35 to be “loose”..what this does (in my own twisted mind) is to make things so “difficult” that i cannot be too “good” therefore i am like an amateur “trying” instead of a professional “succeeding” therefore being “loose”…make any sense at all???

    the beauty of all of this is that we all have our own ways and means of “getting down” with ourselves and coming up with an approach that makes sense to us…not conforming…not doing the “right” thing…making sense only to ourselves come hell or high water…isn’t that enough??

    love this discussion…..

    cheers, david


    damn amigo, when you said you wanted an edit, i did not realize the extent of what you meant…you just laid several hours of work on me!!! so so many “similars” , this will require lots and lots of comparing one similar frame to another…i tried dragging and dropping but was unsuccessful…what am i doing wrong??? i cannot see how i could edit this without being able to move things around…

    let me know how this can be properly edited…

    cheers, david

  • One of the gifts of working on this self portrait project is how it’s weaned me from the viewfinder. If you’re taking shots of yourself either using the timer or a cordless shutter release, the viewfinder becomes extraneous. And after awhile you’re no longer shooting blind; you actually know how to place your camera to get what you want. Even so, it can take several tries to catch your best shot. That’s where going digital comes in handy.

    Now I’m so comfortable with non-viewfinder camera work that I use it in other situations too. Don’t get me wrong, I still use the viewfinder; it’s just that I have lots of options. And I like that.

    Regarding intentionality, whether or not I use the viewfinder I always have a pretty good idea of what I’m after.

    Jean, we’ll miss you but I understand about needing to take time off of the blog. I’ve done it myself and it helped me clear my head and get grounded in my own truth again. Just hope you’ll come back. You add a lot.


  • David…
    so sorry about that, I had planned on editing it down a bit more, well allot more really, then had shot last weekend and just dumped everything in before coming down here to GTO, MX, to have new stuff in there…anyhow…I will edit it down right now…


    Call me crazy but…I just joined FACEBOOK yesterday (a little late to the game) and already I see many “faces” from this blog there.

    It has been discussed that we may not be able to communicate in the same way we are now communicating once the blog changes format. WHY DON’T WE JUST HAVE A DAH GROUP ON FACEBOOK AND DO ALL OUR CHATTING THERE?

    Any takers?

  • David…I just did a tighter edit…but now I realize that somehow the lightroom to archive to gallery transfer of images didn’t exactly materialize in the way I thought it did…so I need my hardrives at home…I fly home tomorrow and will have everything ready and in top shape by Wed noon…also I think there is a way for you to be able to move them around…will look into that.

    hast luego

    ~ chris


    many thanks and i will be pleased to take a very close look at your selects…i just need to have it in some manageable form…


    i think the new format here will still allow pretty much what you want….but, perhaps more directed to specific essays published…your comments would be more to the author of the specific essay than to me…of course i will jump in too and there will probably be a “blogable”(invented that word) editor’s page of some sort as well…

    my dear, if you want it, we will make it!!


    yes, i knew you shot a lot “from the hip”…and i still do not see how you can be arranging the elements of a photograph without actually seeing them …yes, yes you would get the “essence”, but it then to me seems like more of an editing exercise than a seeing exercise because the elements would by definition be arranged by “accident”..purposeful to the subject but perhaps not as classically purposeful to the actual photographic aesthetic…on the other hand, if it works for you it works….and i certainly am a fan of your results…if the resulting photograph “feels” right to you and to the viewer, then perhaps it makes no difference if you actually “saw” exactly the juxtapositions or not…as i said earlier, this is a very interesting discussion….as a matter of fact, i am feeling a new post coming on…..too sleepy now to do it, but maybe tomorrow….

    cheers, david

  • Claudius;

    Thank you for the kind comments regarding the WOMAD pics.

    Regarding the project, it is in Timor Leste (East Timor) & while the travel related pieces will be scarce (there is no tourism at the moment), there are plenty of newsworthy stories….

    Thank you, you’ve given me a lot more food for thought…


  • Jean, bon voyage. Hoping you’ll come back when you’re good and ready.

    I’ve been away from the blog a lot myself which switching continents and I don’t get to be here as much as I’d like at all. I’m spending a great deal of my spare time, (is there such a thing?) learning as much as I can about video. And I don’t even have a video camera, just a tiny Flip thing. But one day I will and I want to be ready.

    Hoping you’ll be back.

  • David Alan Harvey

    Just thought of this VIEWFINDERLESS image;
    which is one of my very best, I think, (I know Bob Black likes it) and it is exactly what I was after. I saw it coming but there was no way I would get so low down so quickly and so I had to sort of ASTRO PROJECT myself into the finder while holding the flash to the left and not lose my balance and keel over. It’s full frame too.

    Realizing this shot actually opened the door to the rest of the material in my BOYHOOD project. It immediately opened up a universe of possibilities. I came to the conclusion that a level of awareness of the camera, angle, lens and exposure was all that was needed to get the shot and that the eye didn’t always have to be looking down the barrel. The eyes could remain surveying the scene in 3d stereo and be free to react even faster than when working individually in 2d simultaneously, one down the barrel and one surveying the horizon outside. Wow! I’m tripping myself up here. Hope you get the drift of my muddling.

    I do think, however, that this sort of awareness of what the camera is seeing only comes from years of shooting, of knowing ones equipment so thoroughly. I guess there comes a point in time, in ones experience, when to see clearly doesn’t always require one’s eyes to be directly attached to the front of the head, you know? For me it’s like I can use my eyes via remote control through the viewfinder. However, the most crucial thing here, I’ve just realized, is that the camera MUST be in my hands. It must be directly connected to my body.

    Enough already. This is too weird first thing in the morning. I need to test Eoin’s spelling skills now ahead of class today then walk with him to school. For that I need my eyes attached to the front of my head.

    Back later.

  • ALL:

    I apologize in advance for essentially spamming here, but I’d like to ask you to participate in pressuring the Spanish Government, AFP and the Daily Telegraph to help free a Spanish photographer and a British journalist who were kidnapped recently in Somalia. All you have to do is add your name to the list.

    We are collecting signatures to accompany a text prepared by Pepe Baeza, Sr. Photo Editor at La Vanguardia Magazine in Barcelona, Spain, with the intention of pressuring the liberation of photojournalist Jose Cendón and Colin Freeman, journalist, who were recently kidnapped in Somalia.

    “We, the people who have signed this letter, ask that the Spanish government, the agency AFP and The Daily Telegraph initiate all that they can to liberate José Cendón and Colin Freeman from the Somalian kidnappers.”

    If you are in agreement, please add your name here:

  • DAH
    Thanks for loading up the tank. I’ll keep at it. I also may be in New York late December or early January. If so and you are available, I can bring some prints and maybe we can do a table edit.

    I couldn’t see your selection. I’m not sure how to do that on Photoshelter. In any event, thanks for making the effort.

    Regarding the story, you’re really not going to understand it until you see some text. I know everyone always says that the photo essay should speak for itself, but I think that is debatable. Even the best need text to explain the story. In my opinion, the photos are there to captivate you and make you want to read the story.


  • DAH
    Thanks for loading up the tank. I’ll keep at it. I also may be in New York late December or early January. If so and you are available, I can bring some prints and maybe we can do a table edit.

    I couldn’t see your selection. I’m not sure how to do that on Photoshelter. In any event, thanks for making the effort.

    Regarding the story, you’re really not going to understand it until you see some text. I know everyone always says that the photo essay should speak for itself, but I think that is debatable. Even the best need text to explain the story. In my opinion, the photos are there to captivate you and make you want to read the story.


  • DAH

    PS, in your comments to Pete you sounded like your were channeling the Animals. Ha!

    “I’m just a soul who’s intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”

    I completely agree with you about the text thing… That’s why I commented many times: stronger caption! or something similar. I will have a look into how this photoshelter loightboxes work (or better: ho they DON’T work…)

    @ ALL
    I created a facebook group. it is named ‘David Alan harvey: road trip’
    let’s see how this will be.

  • David, All

    Two links to some photos from thailand and cambodia. No stories just single photos.
    There will be more but not now.

  • Charlie

    Great photos from “Living in the shadow”.

  • Hi David, I am always happy when I see my name on your post :)
    thanks a lot for your time, tell me how can i send you the pics for the editing, here is the link:

    I tried to get the point of view of the kids in the house,
    I should put the captions?

    Let me know

  • Hi Marcin,

    I really like very much your 2 works, I am more enticed by the color, it is just staff, you have some big images…

    Best regards, audrey

  • Claudius, before you do something like that you should check with the man himself, no?


    from your first group i liked: 1,13,16,2,58

    from your second group i liked:1,11,14,16,19,23,25

    overall this work does look like what it was …random pieces while traveling on vacation…in many cases it looks like if you had just stayed in one place a bit longer, or really zoned in for longer, you might have come up with something stronger…

    cheers, david

  • maybe to clear things: my idea of the facebook group is to create a meeting point for those of us being on facebook. just a fanpage… no competition to the blog of course… biggest advantages: to send private messages and to announce events.


    this is a tough one…

    the making of the chocolate in this home for women just is not very sounds fine in the text, is important for their support, but in pictures , the making of the chocolate seems incongruous with the other photographs…

    most of your photographs are of the children..when i saw the picture of the woman on the bed, it seemed like it was from one of your other stories…then i think you just had two pictures of, at no point does this look like a story on a home for women…if you did not tell me this in the headline, then i would not have thought this from the pictures you show here…

    honestly Cristina, your strong point as a photographer lies in your work of sensuality…

    in this arena you are just so so strong…if i were you, i would concentrate on essays of passion and love and sensuality…every time i see you do this, the work is exceptional…

    i am sure you may want to do many things in photography..but, at this point in your life and career, i think you should FIRST do a book on love…

    somehow YOU photographing someone making a cake just does not seem right…

    when i think of you and your best work i remember the love story from Sicily and the love story from Charlottesville..THIS is the CRISTINA FARAMO i remember…you at your very best….a romantic, sensuous love story..yes yes, there are other kinds of love stories, but i am only going by what i have seen you do in the past that has your work at the highest standard…

    now i have a little tiny feeling that you are going to tell me something like “but David, i have already done this romantic story idea..David i want to move on to something else”..

    yes, you have done it in workshops…and many of us here have seen this work…but, you have not done done done it!! you have done two romantic “exercises” but not really stayed on it for a significant period of time and thought about a truly poetic book project…think about this please…

    i only want the best for you Cristina…and you cannot just go do something because i think it is a good idea for you to do must think it is a good idea….

    think all of this over….look hard at your work…come to your own conclusions….i will be here to help you in any way…

    un abbraccio, david

  • Paige :))))…lovely work, and a great feel and almost melancholic weight to the images…personally, especially drawn to Armenia since (if luck and good fortune shall prevail), Marina and i will visit sometime this year or next to Armenia…in the mean time, i cant wait to see what blooms from those beautiful, sad hills or Armenia ….

    CHARLIE: terrific work. I think the new photo of the two men upside down in the water is absolutely BRILLIANT…an iconic image, particularly given the context of the story…i cant tell what is new, going by the copyright date, seems like most of the work is from last year, and yet it seems almost all new to me, dont know why, but it’s rich rich and visually (your strong suit) even more compelling…great to see it :)))…and signed the petition…

    Marcin: love love many of the pics, and i see you got a “John vink” in there too (the picture of the child in the hammock..prefer the color much more and as is always true with a Marcin photo, there is a sad sense of isolation and loneliness to the work which is compelling and speaks to me on a very basic level…it’s probably what im drawn to the most in your work, richly lyrical, always the draw of the lone figure against an often impersonal environment, like a poem…I defer to David’s comments too…would love to see you spent time in these 2 countries, or rather, see how it affects your work back in Poland, the work in which you’re invested :)))…and by the way, the pic from Thailand (#20, with woman on the left) looks like D’agata is sitting there having a drink? ;))…’s always a pleasure to drink up your pics, and i agree with David: i hunger for your work when it’s focused on a specific place (your town, your sculptors, you goth kids, even your Morocco) where you not “traveling” so much from point to point :))))…

    Christina :)))))…i think david’s right (and not because he’s David, cause we dont always see eye-to-eye ;)) ), he’s got it nailed…the pictures that for me speak the most eloquently are the pics that deal with the physical nature of your very rich emotional reaction to people and place. The story (as all your work) contains great photography and great moments, but for me, strong photographs (everywhere everywhere people look) are not the point anymore, but something that speaks to me about the strength of the photographer…you have an uncommon gift for picking out moments of strong physicality and the celebration of that, that is, their physical and emotional life joined…maybe that’s why David see’s your great work connected by Love…I think he is totally onto to something…i also loved your work from Charlottesville alot, and YOUR PRISON work was magnificent…and wasnt’ that story REALLY PHYSICAL!!….this essay also has work that is equal to that (you cant make a bad picture! ;))) ), but what is the goal?…anyway…what do i know…im a sucker for all pictures and love all physical photographers :)))…im so happy you keep showing us work :))))…now, a book called Amore (in it’s entire spectrum of that word) edited by harvey: what a treat for us :)))))))))))))


    yes, important i think conversation. I know David always always looks through the view finder (i’ve seen it in person ;)) ) and I love that Patricia is not able to look through the viewfinder at the moment of shutter release for her shoots. This is what im suggesting :)). for me, i still look, it just depends on the circumstances, what i’m after. Looking through a viewfinder sometimes changes what im seeing, sometimes enhances what im seeing, sometimes lessens/compartmentalizes…for me, the orientation has been to be “instinctual” to the moment, to what i see. I can “easily” compose images in my head, and im constantly “composing” as i walk and see (which often annoys the fuck out of me) and at this point, i can also use the viewfinder in my head, cause i have such an connected relationship to the camera, which really happened once i used a toy a few years ago. It depends on camera (my old slr, i like often to look, cause i can “see” the different depths of field im going after), the old slr i often look, if using a range finder or lomo (which is a variation on a range), i never look, with toys and pin hole, both…the key for me as always been to see first (before the camera) and then to react instincutally…lots of shit stuff, and also some surprises, but also i’ve found, generally, the pics (whether im looking through or not) tend to be the way i’d anticipated or hoped for…for me, it’s just about liberation: the physical sense and the emotional relationship to the world outside the camera and trying to translate that into photographs…trying to stay loose and at the same time ALERT!…that’s the craziness…

    and David: i loved your description of forcing yourself to feel out of sorts, like an amateur by using this big old med format camera. cause, like i cant imagine you shooting without dancing around with that small leica of yours, or small slr, and for me, there in lie the interest and power of those pics I saw at the loft: like Family snaps, that feel of the spontaneous….’cause usually Med Format always look so so composed, so still, so pre-thought…

    ok, gotta run….


  • David

    Thank you for your time and yes this was just turist trip and the pictures are just turist snaps. This is not as bad way of working as it could be if you have a lot of films. For “tourist trip” I had not enought so I have not too many “diray” pictures, details, sketchs, moments. Still calculated.

    will be time when I will go to southeast asia for a two or three months for normal work. Thailand, cambodia, vietnam, laos, burma, indonesia.
    Now I know “how it is”, how realtions are beetwen people, what light there is, What should I do or not. So there is idea for future.

    Right now I have two problems only.
    First, I still can’t decided how should I work. Do I like simple photojournalism “with soul” or do I like some artistic experiments. I just can’t decided. I change my mind one hundred times per day or hour.
    second is not so important but it is, I should not be alone as a photographer for long time. I always close myself if I am alone long time. But simultanously I should be alone when I shooting. When I am alone I am focus and “sensitive”. Like hunter.

    But now I am quite selfconfident photographer. I know what I am doing. The problem is I want too many things in one time. I want to be simply free like Larry Towell and comlicated like we artist always are. In one time.

    That’s why I am little dissapointed. And hungry :)

    besides my pictures are too “nice”… like postcards. without a pounce…

    One more time thanks for your comment.


    ps. what are you doing now? Some free time?

  • Audrey, Bob

    thanks, thanks a lot.

  • PNOM PENH, Dec 3nd:

    I am missing out on a lot of links in this thread, it is just a bit more time consuming to open images here, and sometimes the link won’t even materialize, not to mention the whole electricity out last night in the neighborood where i check mail, near my hotel (which had its own generator, trust the chinese to make do!).

    Maybe I can catch up back in Pattaya, but I am slowly getting in the right gear to shoot, so the enrgy is obviously to be out and about, rather than in and leaning (over a screen).

    Just to write this, download a few pix, and do the same for Mom, and one hour is just about passed.

    Anyway, today, i want to share 2 of my shots taken about 20 months apart, from the same spot. The last one from yesterday. I hope it gives a sense of how things are moving here, development wise. And it’s all over the city like this. yet, plenty of dead space, which I always loved, because it always reminds me of when I was a kid, living in the suburbs in the 50s and 60s, and also of the italian movies from that period (fellini, pasolini, etc…). Plenty happened in opened, seemingly forlorn spaces.. Except that suburbs are never forlorn, they always get built up…

    Anyway, these were shot on the way to the University of Fine Arts, which had been removed from the city to free some prime real estate in the city.

    By the way, i think this is the same moto-taxi guy in the 2 pictures, blue then white shirt looking at me !!!

    I added a 3rd shot, which gives the whole idea of what is to come….CAMKO City….:

  • All:

    This is a quick note regarding the two kidnapped journalists in Somalia. The Telegraph has asked that people refrain from using their names while they are attempting to negotiate their freedom. Unfortunately, on this blog you can not edit, but please keep that in mind in any additional postings.

    Claudius: Thanks for sending me the Photoshelter lightroom. I couldn’t agree with you more. We have the same favorites.

    Bob: Thanks for your generous comments. I’ve struggled with the feet in the water image as I find it as a speed bump no matter where I put it in a sequencing. By it self it is a funny image. Most def.

    Marcin: Thank you.


  • about the viewfinder looking/not looking:

    it takes me a long time to get “in” the moment, to feel the mood…


    who can guess which images in the oaxaca series here were shot while looking through the viewfinder, and which not?

    anyone who answers right will recieve a free hug upon first meet :-)

    and patricia, you recieve TWO :-)



    Cool! I joined the facebook group. Thanks for creating it.


    If you are on Facebook there is now a DAH Road Trip group.


    I’ve just mailed dozens of 4×6 prints to you at the Magnum address. Hope this won’t end up being a hassle for you. THAT you don’t need! I’ve enclosed a stamped self-addressed mailer to make it easy for you to return the prints to me after you’ve completed the edit.

    How I wish I could be there with you to see and participate in the edit dance you do so well! One way to make it more interactive would be if you called me while you worked on it. Don’t know if this would work in terms of both our schedules, but it might be worth a try. It’s up to you. My cell is 313/410-0454 and home 313/886-0967.

    Please be sure to read the handwritten note I enclosed. Hopefully it will make clear what I’m asking you to do with this edit.

    David, there is no way I could ever repay your generosity in terms of time and energy, critical expertise, timely questions and unwavering support. If a book does come out of this project, it will be because of you. Yes, I’ve taken the photos and was the one who gave birth to the idea, but it’s been because you’ve dreamed so big that I’ve dared to do so too. If it does become a book, I hope you’ll honor me by writing the introduction. But, for now, a nice tight edit is all I’m asking ;~)

    grateful hugs


    i will be in new york all week, so i will be on the lookout for your package…if at all practical , i will also call you at some point during the edit…i will have you on telephonic looking over my shoulder mode…

    it will be an honor to write your forward..that is the least i can do to give total respect to what you are doing…from where we started, to where you are now, to where we will be in a few months, has been and will continue to be, a real life creative adventure for both of us…

    cheers, david

  • HERVE…

    are you ever coming home?? what a trip!! still wish i could have met you for part of it…i was even going to try to get to BKK this week to set up the next Nachtwey/Harvey workshop, but the airport is still closed..

    safe travels amigo…

    cheers, david


    thank you for your comment…you told us a lot…i think what you are feeling is quite normal…that is, “normal” for someone with an artistic temperament…you want to do everything…now!! hey, we all do…but, just facing that one little reality (and we all just hate to face reality)is that you need to do one thing at a time…i will say this..once you do FOCUS and actually finish a project all the way through to book, it becomes much much easier to focus again…because seeing the “result of focus” takes away some of the pain and often boredom of focusing..even now as i am totally enjoying my family project and really really into it, i have to constantly tell myself to not get distracted…because i also want to do an essay on Rio de Janero, and i want to take a motorcycle from Capetown to Cairo etc..those are both real projects i have in development stage, but i cannot really even start on either one until i finish family…so yes yes, i must force force myself to stay focused all the time…

    so finish something Marcin..anything..just finish…you will be “born again” if you do…

    hugs, david

  • Hi David, this is Eduardo, good bad-guy from Chile…

    There is much going on this blog and is really strange -unexpected, new- to come back and feel i’m kind of ‘in’ now.

    About question on forum, i think subject is precisely what mainly was for me the ‘next step’. It was tough to hear you and Marie saying at the beginning of workshop this: ‘i don’t see yourself in the photos’… I read these days somewhere that lot of people think that journalism is running from one hot place to another like a tourist… Facing things, i was going there.

    I had only the time to talk with Marie about it , first day was really tough, yeah, but made me go inside, to the mirror as i am beginning to realize your words. I told her that it made think for hours about what i was doing when i started photography and what happened in between.

    As i was making those other b/w pics i met a lot of people, from the guy of the door. That was in gay clubs where it was explicitly forbidden by owners to carry any kind of camera, though i was even invited to join camerino backstage, some special events or their own homes and families. I keep some relationships today, other times it was just the sincere moment of conversation during the night as i had no pics to do and when the other guys where working on stage. I wasn’t just taking my pics, i shared a lot and i learned a lot myself. Things moved from people who at first wanted to keep their identity on reserve, from people anxious to explain themselves. I was at a point one more among them and got the respect of others simply cose i was with them.

    It seems i’m just repeating what you wrote about this bar, or said about ‘living proof’ work once. But the thing is i had completely forgotten that. And in a mysterious weird way – my friend Alvaro says it is just let the other half of the brain work- things were going on that way during workshop.

    That was the party pic at San Felipe. I do genuinely like accordions. I noticed the accordionist, he noticed i was listening. Then a lady of that group of people offered us a ‘mezcalito’. Where are u from? how do you celebrate in Chile? How do u like this? Do you dance at the cemetery there? Would you dance with me?
    It was the same thing at Teotilán del Valle.

    I missed you working at Yahuiche. I really would like to have seen that. But well, i think for me it also works going a bit slower.

  • I too am feeling the distractions and excitments of the multi-prong project I am trying to embark on. I want to get it all done right now but unfortunately I can’t get started without necessary permissions, the lack of which could lead to the project’s demise.

    But for now, “no” is not an option and I continue to try and forge ahead.


    When you have a sec. I sent an email earlier…


    Thank you so much for agreeing to write the Forward for my book, now we just have to see that it gets published! But, as I wrote earlier, even I self publish, I’ll be happy.

    Now I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the US Postal Service will do good and get my package to you before you’re on the road again! Hold that thought.

    Yes, this certainly has been and continues to be an exciting creative adventure. If someone were to have told me on January 1st that by the end of the year I’d be three-quarters of the way through a photographic book project–with a famous Magnum photographer mentoring me no less–I’d have said they were crazy! All I can say is, life has more surprises up her capacious sleeves than we can ever imagine…


  • David

    “so finish something Marcin..anything..just finish…you will be “born again” if you do…”

    Great comment. I think two of the hardest things with any project. Starting and finishing. Yep it would good to master at least one of them !

  • ERICA:
    Left you an email, somewhat time-sensitive, take a look.

    Thx for the email and snaps while I was in SF…I was feeling rather disconnected and the email made me smile.

    Haven’t had much chance to post lately, having a hard time just reading between the new job, travel associated with the new job, and shooting.

    Love the facebook idea – was goign to join, now definitely will.

    Many thoughts on being loose and also on the theme of this post, getting in the groove, so to speak. I greatly empathized with whoever it was who said she knew, sometimes as she was walkign out the door, that it would or would not be there that particular time….I think the secret is to push to get back into that “groove” when it is not there, finding something within oneself to “key” off of, to regain the feeling….

    Anyway, still lurking and trying to learn – hope everyone is truly doing well.

    more soonest

  • david

    BKK workshop is the very good news for me. when you start this project? i really hope i can get that chance.


  • XXX



    BOB: Thanks for caring and big congratulations to Marina!!!

    PATRICIA: Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my Mumbai story.

    Re: David’s shooting style. I saw it once and don’t want to ruin the memory i have of it by seeing it on u-tube: a constant fluid motion at any height and in all dimensions, a melting of the physical form in harmony with ‘that other level’. 100% concentration to that point of ‘disappearing’.

    love and peace,




  • JEAN, Best wishes; hope you come back with good photography! I agree with Paul and others that to shoot without looking through the viewfinder is liberating. I recently bought a canon G10 as it allows Raw capture. The first day out I shot over 80 frames and had a lot of fun!!!
    Next time out I took a Nikon D3 and got backache – no fun.
    I realized that A) the D3 has to go and B) my next “proper” camera will be used in a much looser way. From the hip as well as through the viewfinder.

    Give it a go Jean – good light, no limits. The only limitations are the ones we place on ourselves.

    Mike R.


    what is with the “bad guy” reference to yourself?? i saw no “bad guy” part of you in any way…i saw you suffering at times, but i knew what you were going through…and as much as mentoring is a part of my life , there is an often painful part to it as well..i knew what you wanted but i could not just “give it to you” which would be by natural inclination…

    i hate to give anyone bad news or tell them their photographs are just not working..but , in order to “give” something of real value for the long run, i must be totally honest in the short run..i have seen so many aspiring photographers “hit the wall”…this is not a “pretty picture”…only teaching experience tells me that if the photographer can get past that invisible barrier that confronts all of us when we get up in the morning and IT just is “not happening”that life on the other side of this damned “wall” is a sunny sky…my job is to help you get past the wall…i cannot tell how rewarding it was for me to see you face your fears and come in at the end with some very strong work…

    our web site on the Oaxaca Day of the Dead workshop should be up by the end of next week …this turned out to be a bigger job than any of us thought and Marie is working on it all the time… it will be a pride and joy for all of us when finished…if you have any text that you want to go with your essay, please send it soonest to of the holdups as been students just not sending us their text…

    i continue to wish you well in your new projects in Chile or elsewhere..please consider me someone who will look at any new work you do with the same enthusiasm i did in Oaxaca…

    stay in touch Eduardo…our journey is not over yet…

    saludos, david

  • I am personally touched by how many of you have taken the time to see, think, and respond here about my little blog. I am a photographic toddler, but I thank you all, and hope to expose more of Armenia for which there is just too little out there to see.

  • Hey all…

    I recently emailed DAH about book publishing and he sent back a great response to the questions. We decided that I should repost the questions and his answer here. I had not asked on the blog because I figured it had been discussed before.

    Transcript is below:

    To: David Alan Harvey
    Sent: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 6:49 pm
    Subject: Books


    I thought I would ask you this off of the blog since it has probably been discussed and I just missed it.

    You have been talking recently to Christina and Marcin about book projects. Now I know that books can be very hard to get published and very expensive if you self publish. And we all know how cool it is to have a book. But my biggest question is, in the long run, is it worth it?

    What are the benefits other than self-satisfaction, since from what I have heard, they almost never make money. Is having a book very valuable in getting your name out or attracting more paying work?

    I guess I am just asking for the DAH primer titled “Why publish a book.”

    I remember Allard saying at the Look3 workshop… “Its all about the book.” Why?

    Can you elaborate?




    hi pete…

    well, you should have brought this up on the blog for sure….

    i mentor/produce many books for photographers…this year alone: Mike Young’s “Blues, Blues and BBQ”, Anne Henning’s “Dancing in the Afternoon” , Kyunghee Lee’s “Island” and Anton Kuster’s “Sugar”..

    the reason i am a photographer is because of books….when i had polio as a child my grandmother and mother loaded me up with everything…..reading was my escape from the death and crippling around me…books were my first and actually remain my best education to the world…i have always had books in an exalted position… ..the highest…..when i was a newspaper photographer i hated the temporary nature of newsprint and longed to see fine photographic work where??? only in books…nothing in the daily or weekly or monthly media appealed to me the way the classic photographers were presented in books…so, i love books…you can hug a book…

    money from books??? no…but, who cares?? a book is a photographers only benchmark…..sets you apart…i have been “out there” without a book and my life changed when i published my first…..certainly in Magnum we are all about books…books, books and books…exhibitions too, but books stay…give you a “place at the table”….perhaps even a place in photographic history….

    the financial spinoff from books is however just as real as the lack of it from book sales… a photographer’s print prices are going to go up…all of my great ad jobs come from an art director loving what i have done in one book or another….my books are my only “portfolio” that i show to an art director or gallerist…

    in my photographic life i am only always thinking about the next book…magazine assignments, ad jobs, print sales, stock sales, online exposure etc.. are only a means to an end…and the end is the BOOK!!! what other medium shows our work better than a book??? i can see quite literally nothing else but my work between those hard covers….sure , more people might see my work in an article in Natgeo..but they just see Natgeo…but the “right people”, discriminating photo book buyers, knowledgeable photo curators, buy a book because of the authorship of the photographer….for the photographer’s vision, not the vision of a magazine or newspaper…sure, communicating with millions a la Natgeo has it’s rewards too..but, nothing beats that quality book sitting on my mother’s coffee table….

    i was actually quite surprise by your question pete…i just have always ASSUMED since i was a teenager and moved by “The Decisive Moment” and the “Americans” that a book was every photographer’s goal and dream…in my peer group that is certainly true….but , i am also aware that we all march to different drummers…

    by the way, i have never self published..never had the money to do so…some very respectable photographers, like Sally Mann, got their “break” self publishing, but i just go after the best publisher i can find and present the work…period…

    i hope this helps pete….allard was right…it is for sure all about the book….

    cheers, david


    RIGHT ON! :))))))…

    I became a photographer BECAUSE OF BOOKS!!!..both written and photographic….and PHOTO BOOKS were MY EDUCATION…bresson, frank, moriyama, giacomelli, peterson, jones-griffith, arbus, mann, vienam pics, winogrand, meatyard, evans, anselm kiefer (not a photographer, but his books are extraordinary), beuys books, francesca woodman, smith, richards, shore, calland, siskind, evans, klein, koudelka, lartique, rodchenko, wegee (my first photo book, at 16!), avedon, adams, cunningham, keretsz, klein, mapplethorpe, strand, sherman, wikin…these guys and gals were my photo school, my magnum, my workshop…even before i was a photographer, i spent years and years looking at photogrpahy books, swallowing everything i could find in the library (poor then, poor now)….etc…

    my own ambitions include books, both written books and photographic books and Art books (i made a hand-made book for Marina last year for christmas, one i wanted to show david in nyc and will at some point)…..

    for my own books in the future, i have lots of ideas (i’ll do a book about faces for sure, and a book that’ll include bones and russia and toronto) and who knows…

    i never think, it’ll make money…i only think: when im dead, someone can hug (well put david) that damn thing in their arms and maybe get the same joy i do whenever im hoping a book….

    i am so excited to see Kyung-hee’s, patricia, panos, eric, little-brother anton’s, mikes, rafael and the rest of y’alls books….wherever and whenever they come to life…

    im in no rush to make a book, but i do have several ideas…and cherish the chance, once david finishes his other projects, to talk about books with him …

    long after exhibitions and agency memberships, they’ll be the book…

    i remember showing Marina Divided Soul for the first time in a museum in Montreal….just so much joy to hold a friend’s book and look :)))


  • oh, my post about books just disappeared???…

    i cannot imagine my life without them…books…our sin our soul! :))


    Big thanks for sharing your coorespondence about the importance of books. As you can imagine, it speaks deeply to me, especially now.

    To follow up on this subject, I’ve been wondering how the current economic meltdown will affect our efforts at having our books published. From what I read in the New York Times, many book publishers are responding by cutting back on new projects, especially those involving lesser known authors. To be honest, if I were in the field myself I’d be extremely wary of publishing any books right now but those by my most tried-and-true authors.

    Regarding self publishing, I know in the old days it was prohibitively expensive. But in the internet age, aren’t online publishers like Blurb an affordable option? I know it’s not one’s first option but at least it would give one a book-in-hand to show prospective clients, give to family members, and sell to friends.

    Let me say here, though, that I plan to complete “Falling Into Place” whatever happens with the economy. And I’ll do whatever it takes to try to have it published. I’m just trying to think somewhat realistically about my chances.


  • ALL

    I’ve been looking at the work of Mark Cohen – Grim Street..and in light of the discussion here both of the ‘fast hook up’ and of not looking through the lens, I thought I’d share a link to pics/ an interview.

  • disappearing post..maybe this is somewhere, but will repost in case..


    I have been looking at the work of Mark Cohen – Grim Street, and in light of the conversations here on the ‘fast hook up’ and on not looking through the lens, i thought I’d share links to his images/ interview

  • Patricia,

    I don’t think the online publishers are anywhere as good as a real published book. Besides your layout options are restricted.

    But that being said, I did recently create two books that way.

    The first was a small book I did for my wife Jenny that had the story she wrote for the paper about her being a clown for a day at the circus. Its was her story and my photos.

    The second was a book I did for my father’s birthday that had sort of a retrospective of work I had done in the past 20 years.

    Both turned out pretty nice for what they were meant to be, gifts. Print quality and assembly was nice. But not the quality of a professionally published book.

    I agree that online publishers are great for what I did and for something that you can one-off and revise at a later date as a portfolio of sorts or even as a dummy for a proposed book to prospective publishers.

    They have their uses for the professional photographer, but they are not a substitute for the real thing.

  • Why books?

    “The paper burns, but the words fly free.”


  • disappearing post..maybe this is somewhere, but will repost in case..


    I have been looking at the work of Mark Cohen – Grim Street, and in light of the conversations here on the ‘fast hook up’ and on not looking through the lens, i thought I’d share links to his images/ interview

  • OOPS :)


    Guess I am back to being able to post

  • David

    I know I have to start and finish some strong story. I know that.
    But I still don’t know what it should be. It have to be here, in Wroclaw, but I dont know what yet. I spend many hours walking around and looking for subject I could burn in, but I still not got it.
    All the time I thinking about some social project. I live in bad part of my city. Here is so many homless people, I should work with them, but I said it many times I have awful relations with people, so it is not easy to start for me, and poland is not easy country to start.
    Still waiting for somthing what bring me in.
    I know, I have to do, not try.


  • Just a last message to thank you, David, for your words and understanding, and to you all, Akaky, Paul (love the blue shoes animated frames!), Bob, Patricia, Michael…for your kinds words and advices (i promise i’ll try no viewfinder – going loose…).

    Ok this is really my last message!!!


  • Hello David,

    I added a post in the workshop post and I should really get involved here and post a comment.
    Most of the work I do is in India and originally being from that region does help but I still look like an outsider having lived in the US for so long. There is always a high degree of suspicion as I tried to do stories on ship-breaking or coal mining and I would just spend a day or two wandering around with my camera and trying to talk to as many people as I could even though I was full of nervous energy and afraid that they would ask me to leave ruining my chances of getting some good photos.
    I’ve been quite lucky and formed friendships allowing me to stick around and being invited to peoples homes and inside factories.
    I think you have to show sincerity and kindness and smile at peolle even when they look at you with suspicion.
    Anyways, just thought I would add my comments.



    Damn it, man – you are good. Kamathipura and Dance Bar – the style, the story, _the_color_ – they made me speechless for a while.
    … and looking at “high risk” story – you did earn these people’s trust. Applauds.


  • Thank you Haik!
    Thats very kind of you.


  • David –

    the selects are all set…there are still quite a few but I tried to organize them but similars to make it easier…there is no way to move the images within the gallery for “virtual” editing/organization purposes, it would be great however (Grover + Photoshelter if your listening this could be an interesting feature for working with editors/mentors/clients/publishers/friends). I can however give you download capabilities – the gallery is low res so it would be fast and easy – within a private password gallery in which you could then download and load into your own editing software. If that works better just send me an email, chris at chris hinkle dot com, and I will send you a password for a downloadable gallery.

    This is a bigger project and so I’m not sure your attack in the way of an edit but if it makes more sense to give feedback in likes/dislikes and then shooting more that is fine too. I have lots of racing shots so my focus is shifting to crowd, portraits, and culture in a bit more loose fashion as well.

    the address again is:


    ~ chris


    Sorry to be asking so many questions today but the book publishing thing is very much on my mind. In connection with my earlier post about the economiic situation making it especially hard for emerging photographers to have their books published, today Ireceived email notification of The 5th Annual powerHouse Portfolio Review to be held on Sunday, February 8. Her’s the link

    Is this something I should pursue? They say the spaces fill up quickly so I’d want to register soon if you feel this would be helpful to me. Maybe having you as mentor is all I need to connect with the right people in the puublishing world, but I am totally clueless as to how all this works. What do you think?


  • Patricia

    Sorry to butt in, but I think that is a pretty high fee for a review. Sounds like a money maker for a sagging book industry. Maybe I am wrong. Interested to hear David’s opinion.

  • Thanks for weighing in, Pete, on the powerHouse review & on online-published books. Your views are most helpful. By the way, I may direct specific questions to David but I value ALL opinions here! If anyone else has something to say about this subject, please post it…


  • Bye bye, Jean. Good hunting to you.

  • Re: the pH review..loved it, was very helpful, but you really have to have your work pulled together and know why you are going..not sure about now but there used to be a early / later fee..Patricia, also not sure it is worth a whole trip here just for that..only if it made sense for you all around, is my thought.

  • Hi Erica,

    We don’t know each other but recently you were talking about Anders Petersen on LS, or maybe it was here. I had never really seen much of his work but after your post I started researching him and was so blown away by what he has produced that I decided to buy his book “French Kiss”. It’s such an amazing book. So, thank you for that recommendation/post.



    you have some very impressive work…strong imagery, strong storytelling…you may know me by now, i will always edit someone down very tight…a few less and you would look even more powerful, but overall you have incisive essays…come back here and chat when you can..we would welcome your input…


    i think Pete is right on both counts…you do not need the Powerhouse review..the Blurb books are good, but do not replace the “real thing”…publishing with an established publisher gives you two key elements..DISTRIBUTION and CREDIBILITY…you have already gone past the review stage…i mean MEM has endorsed your work and well, laughing, yes you only need me to reach the “right people”!!

    nobody ever wants to believe this, but meeting the “right people” is easy if you have the right essay…again Patricia, keep your “eyes on the prize”…hard economic times will show cutbacks in the number of titles publishers will do…but, they are not going to close the store, they are just going to cut back…we just have to make sure your book is not one of the ones that gets cut…

    i cannot and will not make promises to you that i cannot keep…and the only promise i can make you is to make sure your book dummy (which could be a Blurb dummy) gets seen by Aperture, Powerhouse, Phaidon etc etc…i cannot guarantee anything, but your work will be seen….the other promise i can make is that i will coach you til you just can’t stand it anymore …i owe you that…

    but, please please do not start getting ahead of yourself..we still have a way to go…this will be a long climb my friend…now, you should just be thinking photographs and only photographs…do not let what you read about the publishing industry get you off track…

    relax…shoot…dream…shoot…re-think…shoot some more…

    hugs, david


    You are great! Thanks for bearing with my premature worries. I do have a tendency to get ahead of myself sometimes. There was something about holding all of those prints in my hands–the ones I mailed to you–that made it all seem SO REAL. And I guess the economy has been very much on my mind for lots of reasons.

    My gawd, man, I had NO IDEA that when you said you’d mentor me on this project that included seeing to it that publishing houses like Aperture, powerHouse & Phaidon would see my work!!! I guess that shows what an innocent I am about all of this.

    And don’t worry. NOTHING stops me from keeping at it, photographically speaking. In the last two days I’d say I’ve taken 120 shots for the project. My friend Pat–remember my buddy who came to your loft slideshow/fiesta?–asked Ed and me to take her cat Tito for four days this week, so I’ve been using the opportunity to add cat pics to “Falling Into Place.” Here are my two favorites so far:

    PASSWORD FOR BOTH: patricia

    This project has become so much a part of my life I have trouble imagining life without it. I’m always trying to come up with new ideas and/or notice photo opportunities when they arise. You may not have realized it ahead of time but you hooked up with a bulldog when it comes to her art. Passion is my middle name!



    There is a whole “world” of portfolio review events out there.
    Review Santa Fe is one of the biggies…I go every year to see the public viewing of entrants portfolios and to hear why they are there…what they hope to get out of it, etc.

    Publishers, galleries, museums and more attend so there are many reasons to go this route. Erica is right, you have to be ready if you want to get a book deal or sign with a gallery but there are some who attend just to get feedback from people who they admire. Between DAH and MEM you may already have all the feedback you need but it does seem there is much to gain thru these events…if you feel like shelling out some cash.

    I would recommend checking out Mary Virginia Swanson’s blog
    She is the “queen” of this world, reviewer par excellence and lists her favorite portfolio review events in the right column of her blog.

  • DAH and PETE.

    Good conversation! Thanks for including us all.


    about the reason for a “book” being the goal…

    i would literally be the happiest person in the world if i could give little Birgit a published “sugar” book as a present, to cherish, to keep, as a memory, a celebration… a little slice of her life through my eyes…

    she is the definitive reason why i am working and pushing so hard to make this book a reality… not for myself, but for her

    i don’t care at all if it doesn’t “sell a success”… or if i don’t make any money at all… but i do care that it gets published by someone other than me who cares about it too… AND that it is being mentored by someone who cares…

    i have faith in her and her images.



  • speak of the devil… just now they delivered the blurp book comp which i will use to show to a publisher… it looks great… feels good in weight, in thickness, in size, the layout makes sense… i’m happy

  • Hi David,

    Thanks so much for your comments.

    I would love to hear more of your suggestions for editing. In particular, would you consider taking a look at a recent story on industrial pollution in India? There are some photos of this on my site but I have a much larger body of photos originally intended for a multimedia presentation.

    I am based in London at the moment but I can upload low res images to a server if you would like to take a look. And, of course it would be great to meet you when I am back for a visit early next year. In fact, we did meet briefly once after my friend Sudharak won the NG All Roads award about 2 years ago.

    I know you have a crazy schedule but I would appreciate any suggestions you might be able to offer in terms of editing or how I can get my work out there.

    Best wishes.


  • Hi Patricia,

    I hope you don’t mind, but i checked out your images. I must say your photo-essay is the first in a while that i’ve been excited to know could be committed to a book.

    It’s such a great story, it’s a great story to motivate photographers to rethink concepts like negative space, camera angles, and creating images with subject matter that is right under our noses.

    I also think it’s got all the makings of a cult following book. It’s got a great vibe to it and it’s got a great message to it, I typically hate self-portrait projects since they always look so narcissistic, but maybe I’ve never seen a self-project that had such a likable star actor ;-)

    Anyway to avoid just being some empty gushing, i looked hard at the first fifteen images and more generally at the ones that follow. Here’s some of the things I thought of when I looked at them, please take these thoughts as just that…. ‘thoughts’ from someone looking at your images for the first time and REALY liking them, but also someone thinking out loud as a photographer as well.

    Best wishes, i look forward to seeing this book in Waterstone’s or Borders and then on my coffee table :-)

    Img (1) I really like how you use negative space and graphics, great tonality; i think the colour temperature is a bit cold here Patricia, but I think it’s coming from the blanket’s colour cast, look at your elbow, I think you could warm this image up a bit to reduce the colour cast and make it a bit more emotionally warm as well. The tonality is just stunning, borderline medium-format looking skin-tones. Upon looking at the rest of your images you have a great command of negative space and you don’t seem to be over-using it.

    Img (2) It’s a palatable image, but I think it’s too one dimensional Patricia, the hand-language doesn’t seem as honest as it should, not enough digits are readable to make it as human as a hand should be, sorry to be harsh, but it looks more like a hook than a hand Patricia. Look at the difference between this hand, and the hand-in-action on image (20). Also this image here (2) does offer some context but it’s without any real narrative, just loads of yummy tones… it’s a clear example of limited dof tone abuse ;-).

    Img (3) I really like this image Patricia, there’s some very nice geometric graphics, with just enough organic ones to forge a relationship between wee-little you with the curved fixtures and the curved sink. This is the first bold and deliberate departure from level horizons in this essay and I love it already, as matter of fact I think it may be crucial to its ethos. As I looked at the rest of your essay the wonky horizons are part of the magic, I’ve not seen them over done yet.

    Img (4) If you’re going to make an image like this work ‘really well’ Patricia, you need to make sure there is a stronger recognition of the object making the shadow, a strong sense of anatomical shapes or other relevant features recognized only by their outline, this image can be improved I’m sure. It also helps if you have the shadow fall on something that is crucial to the story; otherwise it’s just a shadow for the sake of a shadow. This holds true with reflections, the benefit of both shadows and reflections is they fold visual information on top each other essentially giving you two canvases for the price of one.. Painters exploited this technique ages before photographers ever caught on to it. Image (23) is a perfect example of using dual/canvas to your advantage. Having looked at the rest of your images I’m thinking you only seem to be collecting shadows when the dynamic range of your camera struggles with them, if the shadow is really harsh, then it’s well.. maybe too harsh.. there are shadows that happen on cloudy days that are equally as punchy when collected by a camera as the ones that shout out at your naked eye.. think shadows even if they don’t shout, because these are the ones best caught without breaching the dynamic range of your sensor.

    Img (5) Great stand-alone image independent of the story. If it we’re not for the wheels of the wagon I wonder if it really helps the story. Maybe wheels could be a good theme to tease in to the story though.. sorta like Frank’s jukeboxes. Love the comp on this image though.

    Img (6) Fantastic idea for a shot Patricia, but I don’t think you made the best order of it.. It’s all angle and not enough read.. The agile lifeguard and the idle sun-bather are good elements to this image, but I don’t think you framed this in a way that best serves them as features of this image. Looking at some of your other images Patricia I don’t think you always take the best advantage that you are very in-control of your composition, if you can avoid key features in the frame lines from being muddled by each other then you give them more individual gravity, if they have individual gravity they can forge visual relationships with other stand-alone features in the image. just something to think about when you have so much control of your composition.

    Img (7) Nice image, your implied gaze, the sense of place, and the object of the gaze feels very pleasing with this one Patricia.. the ropes do well to make us feel pushed up into this view and the ropes archetypal vibe are helpful for the story. If we like what you look at it’s easier to like you, if we like you we want to know more about you and your story, the more we want, the more we guess and this is where the juice comes from Patricia, in that the story becomes more things than the literal images have to show, it become a bit of a mantra. This image feels very mantra-ish. Upon viewing other images I think I never get tired of your juxtapositions of you and widely dynamic and expansive back-drops (e.g. img 38).. please do more Patricia, the more I see the more pathetic I personally feel for not practicing the carpe diem philosophy that you have so much evidence of… again do more.. this is the soulful tone of your story… that deliberate feeling of ….‘just get on with it already!’

    Img (8) Nice idea for a shot, still feel it could be improved Patricia. There’s not enough critical mass in the far to forge a relationship between the near and the far.. and this next thing may be a totally ‘me’ type of thing, but Patricia, I’d stay away from any literal signals that ‘life’s not easy’, the illusion is already strong before this visual queue introduced this.. for example the camera angles introduced this and the car introduces it. Let the visual queues do this without the text-based ones.. they’re simply too literal. I’ll even be so bold to say I wish img (31) wasn’t included as it’s the under-tone of the whole essay, I started feeling it from the first couple of images of the essay, and to see the feeling spelled out literally with image 31, well it feels at least a bit deflating with regards to the invisible message and at its worst it is a bit patronising to your audience. Just my opinion of course ;-)

    Img (9) I’m not a fan of it. I Like the idea of including your partner, but this image lacks energy, I really don’t like him squinting in the image, it reduces the life that I’m sure he has, but not evidenced in this image. Good call on graphics though. Those lanes create some nice framing attributes. Your partner is a very appealing component to this story, not ‘thee’ story, but important to it’s architecture, since I saw him in the living room shot (img 11)

    Img (10) Love the image, but I cringe at the literal text, it’s the first time I’ve noticed the text with the images. Patricia, my opinion is to give your audience a chance to connect these mental dots themselves, trust that they will. If they don’t make the mapping the first time, that’s good!!, that’s why we return to books that seem cryptic, how many times have you returned to the Americans to figure out why each image was so relevant? This image is one of my favourites in a dark way.

    Img (11) There’s nothing not to like about this image Patricia, I love best the mixed light-temperatures creating two distinct atmospheres with two distinct personality-like struggles. In other images further on I’ve seen other examples of using colour temperatures to create a honey-comb of spaces, subtly explore this more if you can.

    Img (12) Again, great use of negative space, but if you’ve got the chance to create these images Patricia, I would introduce as many clues as you can without cluttering up the image… being really picky I wish there was more separation between the objects in the bottom of the steps letting the each item breath a little more and thus making them stand-out a little bit more. I think the colour temperature is a bit too warm here as well, It looks like the artificial light of the stairwell is over-powering the natural light at the bottom of it.. take advantage of this by cooling the image down and thus making the bottom of the stairs more separated, much in the same way you did with your living room. Img (11)

    Img (13) I like this image when I first read it, and liked it more ‘before’ I read the text. Sorry to keep banging on about text Patricia, but keep in mind the illusion and keep in mind that images can mean all things to all people. There’s loads of song-writers out there that regret the day they told people what their song was about, simply because it smashed the illusion people had before hand. You’ve got loads of visual evidence to let the messages reveal themselves; I hope you lose interest in captions at least for this story.

    Img (14) Nice idea, but this camera angle is getting a bit over-used Patricia. it’s like you get this subject-object, north-south feel from feet pointed and with lines pointed back at you from the ‘object’ part of the equation. If your legs came in to the frame-lines from an angle other than the middle-bottom of the frame the compositional energy would totally change, and I think it might be improve, for example img (18).

    Img (15) I’m feeling very daft with this one as I don’t get enough visual queue that this is part of your story, sorry ;-(

    Again, just a load of thinking out load, take it purely as that from a fan of this story!

  • QUICK NOTE about the pH review..

    there are 2 separate reviews..I was saying that Patricia (and others) may enjoy the general review..depending on your work it can allow you time to sit down with gallery people, magazine editors, etc, some who may be hard to access in person (who only have a drop of policy usually)..this is the event I was talking about

    then there is the review for a book project, for consideration to be published by pH..which is altogether separate..and clearly anyone being mentored by DAH to have a book in the works doesn’t need this one

  • Just finished this; a newer and lovelier Woofers.

    Please forgive my shamelessness.

    Almost too late for Christmas. Almost.

  • Hi David,

    Talking about books. I posted a book to you some time ago. I hope you have received it.


    I selfpublished my first book with the support of two grants and some of my own money. As David said, Distribution is a problem, probably the biggest one. Two other major hurdles for anybody planning to selfpublish are Distribution and Distribution…I learned a lot by doing the book myself and guess what I found to be the most difficult part? BUT if you publish your book yourself you have the Freedom to design the book exactly the way you want it to be. The downside is that you are also responsible for all the mistakes and be assured there will one or two…

    All the best


  • Petteri just out of curiosity, whats the best advice you can give for distribution?

  • David

    Ok. Now I have idea for some story I should start and finish soon. It will be poetic story, so word “strong” it will not work here. I should get some films and I rush to work.

    So, may be I will finish something…eventually.


    I hope you are well


    Thanks to David..i did produce a book. I’ve been trying to be quiet and let others more talented with words than i am ‘speak’, but i have to tell you a book is like a room. You’re in that place and those walls prevent you from leaving. In producing my book, i saw it crumble and fall apart a few times before i attempted to put it back together until it could stand up on its own. It took a long time. David’s input, Alex and Rebecca Webb’s input, all very important, but, it came down to who I am, why i was doing this book, and what am i trying to say, which turned out to be my personal way of seeing the world. From the fierceness of the flamenco and the way i feel about dance to the gentleness of light caressing that rough hair on a horse’s back. the book is the thing.
    You don’t walk by it once it’s in your hands. And, it’s very hard to let go of your book. I self published, but worked out a deal with the printer/publisher so i did all the scans and design. i borrowed money and only did 250 copies. So many glitches, like a page was missing after all 250 copies were printed…
    when it’s done, you’ve really accomplished something. it made me feel shy to have myself out there, but it also helped me be realistic and humble. i’m working on another one; i feel more confident, and i’m going to try to go after those publishers this time because now i know what it entails. Before this, i honestly had no idea about how complicated it is. Thanks to someone on this blog who mentioned where to get Kyunghee Lee’s book; i sent for it and can’t wait to see it. do it. you’ll feel good.

    anne henning

  • Anne –

    Your comments on creating a book are great, especially in regards to why you were doing a book – “which turned out to be my personal way of seeing the world”. I created a little book a few years ago for a female boxer that I was photographing…it was nothing serious but I liked my photos and it was a way to say “thanks” to her for letting me but into her life over and over (she also ended up buying 10 copies so that was nice : ) too). Now I am in the process of shooting a project intended for a book and start to get nervous (especially after just purchasing two more plane tickets for travel in order to see the project to the end) about whether the images are good enough, coherent enough as a whole, whether the concept and subject are strong enough…but in the end its just like you said “my personal way of seeing”. Anyway thanks. You know it would be kind of cool if there was a website/page here or elsewhere that people could check out the books made because of inspiration from this blog and/or David.

    ~ chris


    I’ve now read and reread your comment several times–always going back to the image to which you’re referring–and I have to say you have an exceptionally discriminating eye. Your comments about negative spaces, color temperatures, camera angles, framing, visual narrative and written text show your high level of aesthetic, technical and documentary knowledge and experience. My guess is that you chose to remain anonymous because your name would be well known to most of us.

    I feel as though I’ve just received a professional portfolio review without having to pay big bucks or travel to NYC, London or Paris! And I hope you know how appreciative I am to you for taking the time to look so closely at my essay and share your response in such detail.

    I will take all of your suggestions to heart, explore their validity for me, and move on them accordingly. One suggestion I’ve already enacted is to eliminate captions on individual images. Your response to the text resonated with my own discomfort at feeling I had to explain ANY images in words. Sure, each one has a story, but, as you so aptly said, it’s MY story not the viewers’. Let them bring their own stories to my photos. Mystery is an essential component to an essay such as this.

    Thank you so much for this gift. Not only your excellent critique but your positive response to the essay as a whole. Thank god it doesn’t come across as narcissistic. That has been an ongoing concern of mine. Focusing on oneself is tricky business!

    If any more ideas, critiques or suggestions come to mind, please feel free to email me at

    in gratitude & peace


    I had no idea you were so far along with the book, “Sugar”!!! Congratulations, my friend. I adore your essay and can’t wait to own my very own copy of your book. This is truly exciting news!

    love & hugs

  • Its a rollicking, rolling event this blog when it works like this!


    I have been working up a book/exhibition/multimedia idea for sometime- as always interconnected with what I have been doing and the major themes of what I work with, but this one is stretching out into really universal areas I think. (Well as universal as you can get on earth!)

    I guess one of the things that I can add to this discussion on the viability and intrinsic worth of books is that books will always be something tactile and sensuous, they may not be for everybody, but they are such a delight to feel in your hands…

    That said the reason I want to do this particular book for this next body of work that I am now embarking on, is because its to do with the subject matter, its a much more intimate reading of the things that interest me.

    Of course now, what I would like is a publisher to give me loads of money up front but hey thats probably not going to happen and I would like to keep everything creatively independent as well but really my reason’s for doing a book are about the importance of the stories…

    Isn’t that why we all want to do books, because they are important stories to tell? Like Patricia’s story, one of real courage and hope and just a really beautiful person dealing with adversity in such a fantastic way…


    Did you and Marina ever get my best love and wishes for your sucesses? I haven’t heard from you so I guess you are busy?

    DAH and ALL

    I don’t know about you but well Christmas is a big thing in Oz and people tend to be very quirky with their decorations, whose up for a ‘Best Christmas Decorations” photo thingy?

    What do ya reckon DAVID?

  • ANNE, you’re absolutely right. A book project envelops you entirely. Having finally fixed my little effort linked above, I feel now that I can take a bit of a break and enjoy this blog again for a while. Lots of reading to do.

    I’ll start work on my next book next week for the European Publishers Award, as it was once known. What’s it now, Leica Publishers Award? Anyway, I have a couple of projects for that. Edited and ready to be uploaded for printing at Lulu as a dummy.

    Try an online publisher next time. Saves money and heartache. The only design limitations are the book’s dimensions. And the quality, assuming you prep your files right, are astonishing. Period!


  • Should have been IS, not are. Tired.

  • Irrelavent…
    but.. i missed Lisa…
    love U Lisa..

  • … i also missed Paul!….

  • David – loved the post and your comments in Oaxaca about books – I’d always thought in terms of the print – despite the fact that I’m a “book person” – with literally stacks of books around the house.

    Hope to see you in California soon.


  • PAUL,
    Love your dog images! You’re making one of the hardest things – making people laugh! Good luck with the book!


  • Thanks, Martin. Much appreciated.

    Making people laugh is not too difficult for me. Making people buy, is.

    That’s the downside of using a facility like They’ve really gotten good at making photo books but all the marketing is down to me and I hate it. I’m trying to learn to love it. I guess that’s the trick.

    David Alan Harvey, have you seen my little project? 10 years in the making. On and off.


    besides distribution and distribution, the main thing anyone thinking about regarding book publishing is control and control…and two other things to think about are control and control…self publishing automatically gives you this, but even if you are taken in by a reputable publisher you must have control over your layout, sequencing, choice of pictures, cover, type and well just EVERYTHING…this is not always easier with some publishers than with others…but the really good ones assume the photographer is doing a monograph and only assert themselves in a helpful way or may reject a photograph they feel could be libelous (a really rare case, but it happened to me with Living Proof where i had a celebrity with a shotgun and smoking a joint)

    i learned all of the above the hard way of course…i did a couple of books where i did not have full control…for years i could not even look at these books, did not display them and generally hated myself for “bending” just to have a book…it is tempting to roll tell yourself “well, i will get this book out and then do a better one later”…always always do the “better one” NOW…

    no book is way way better than a bad book…

    only because i have since published a couple of books where i did have full control do those older “bad books” have some kind of kitsch appeal to some collectors….for example, HCB did a really bad color book on France…i saw it, but i do not own it..wish i did…what a weird kind of “collectors item”…i think the executors of his estate have destroyed all copies of this book by now…

    all of you should make books that the executors of your estate will not feel compelled to destroy!!!!

    cheers, david

  • PAUL,
    I can’t say how you should sell this book, but I do think it has potential! If you find the right publishers I think they’d be interested.
    Also, there’s lots of small independent publishers that might be interested.
    Or, maybe Lulu is the right place and just try to get attention through blogs and the web.
    I think we have to get away from the traditional thinking. The market has changed..


  • ALL:

    Re books:

    Having been fortunate enough to do several books, it’s now the way I think about photography.

    I urge any of you that are working on longer term projects to learn Adobe Indesign and actually sit down and design some projects as “books.” (whether that’s the end goal or not). It will teach you about how photos flow together (ie sequencing), how two images side by side affect each other, etc etc. I use Indesign to also layout my “commercial” portfolio.

    My recent book, Cypher, I laid out myself over a period of a six months, setting up a style first, and then just playing and playing (at one point the book was 300 pages long!) and then reducing and reducing and shuffling and shuffling. Even if the project never sees the light of day it will teach you loads about how your photos work together. It will also help with your editing – sometimes I had a great picture but knew I needed to find something to complement it and that sent me back to my files. Books are great because one can use and access images that may not necessarily stand on their own. It’s a good way of ordering one’s thinking and figuring out whether something is actually going to work (and/or how) as a book (without bugging your designer friends or spending lots of money on one).

    I don’t bother with typography (I leave that to the pros), just how to place images. It also can teach you a lot about cropping your images, something I was adamantly against until I saw how dynamic they could be when cropped for a book (though I prefer to retain the original format(s). That horizontal pic can sometimes become much more meaningful as a vertical and so on.


    I remember the first trip I took to SE Asia (Vietnam) back in 1996. Everything was so fresh and new and a bit overwhelming. Honestly there’s really only one or two pics from that trip I truly like. But going back and back again and again one becomes more comfortable and can delve a bit deeper (if one wants to). You may also want to stick your pics in a drawer for six months and then come back and edit again, minus your fresh memories and sentimental connections. You may discover pics that have nothing to do with your feelings as a “tourist” and are much stronger. My ten cents.


    Did you get the book (you may not yet if you aren’t in NYC)? I’m curious as to what you think, as it was shot on medium format as well. Breakdancing is not something that one would think of picking up an MF camera for, but like the subject, I needed a challenge, I needed to sweat as the subjects sweated. Sure, it would have been much easier to machine gun digital, but having to change rolls every 12 shots really sharpens the senses. Of course I may have missed a lot as well, but I wanted the work to be different from what I’ve done in the past. Which it is but isn’t. No matter the gear one can’t escape who you are (and why would you want to?). And like you, I wanted to challenge the medium, bring my looseness to a traditionally stiff way of working. I’ll be really curious to see your work.

    Take care,


  • Oh, one more thing about Indesign. After I layout a number of pages, I will then print them out as thumbnails (either two or four spreads per an 8.5X11) and then use those thumbnails to sequence the spreads (spread them out on a large table, the floor, or tack on the wall). It can be a bit daunting at first (where does one start?!) but a pattern will start to emerge. It’s really a fun process.


    Just read your post about control. I totally agree. And that’s where having all your eggs in a row before you approach a pub is so important. Of course, you also have to listen to them, as you may think that you have the best book in the world, and they may say, this is good photography, but how in the hell are we supposed to sell this? I went through this with pH with my Vietnam work – I spent a year designing and redesigning a book. At one point they said yes they’ll do it, but then a short while later changed their minds. I was pissed (esp as I’d spent the interval trying to find a writer) but I also saw that they were right. The work was good, but they had no idea as how to market it – and honestly I didn’t either. I also see now how the book could have been better (with a stronger focus/theme) and may try again someday with somebody else (though I would need to go shoot a lot more). It would also mean rejecting about 75% of the work that I’m so attached to, but so it goes.

    A good publisher should not let you put out a book that is not ready. That would be a lose/lose situation for both you and them. A good publisher should also not tamper with a book that is good and ready. pH have been really good to me with both of my books with them. But I also came to them with the layout and sequencing done (and be realistic – don’t approach a pub as a “new” photographer wanting to do a 400 page oversized opus) and they totally trusted me that it was the right thing. Of course after the fact one always sees things they wish they had done differently (why didn’t that pic make it in?!!) but one could obsess forever and not actually get it out there into the world.


  • Yes sir, heavily armed stoned celebrities are wandering the streets of the big city! And people wonder why I dont go down there more often than I do.


    While just surfing around I came by an article at large swedish photo community. It was about the Scanpix big photo price that went to Lars Tunbjörk. Many of the comments about him getting it were kind of negative and probably came from people who maybe not have dwelved very deeply in to photography. But do they maybe have a point? I can look at it from their perspective, because a couple of years ago I would probably have thought the same. They think highly of beauty and high technical quality, but they miss the content and emotion. Or maybe is it just the eye of the beholder? of course it is, but it’s amazing how easy it is for anybody to be a judge on the internet. Of course this is a good thing, living in a democracy, but at times maybe a bit negative as well.
    David, you have probably written blog posts about the eye of the beholder, but if you haven’t a post about that would be interesting.
    Oh, yes you can see Tunbjörk’s essay here


    that is SUPER DOPE !!!!!!!!

  • TO ALL-

    I am just back after one week in Colorado for my “day” work… Missed a great discussion on the importance of books… The insights from all of you and David have been particularly interested.

    Separately, this is no longer on topic but, as I came back, I found an e-mail from James’s mother, the yound boxer who was killed last month (story that David was very kind to relate on the blog) . I thought I would share it with all of you who have reacted to James’s tragic loss…

    Hello Eric,
    My name is Tonia Mason and I am the mother of James Perkins.I had e-mailed you last month and believe that I might done it wrong.On behalf of my family and I,we want to thank you for your tribute to James.Your tribute brought much joy and comfort to our lives in this sad time.James only being 19 years old and so full of life being taken from us has been such an terrible lost.I would also like to thank the people who wrote such nice e-mails to you on James` behalf.Once again thank you Eric.

    Tonia Mason

    Thanks to all!


  • Thank you, dear Eric, for sharing James’ mother’s message with us. James and all his family remain in our hearts. We are grateful to you and your “Lord of the Rings” essay for bringing him into our lives. I anticipate the day when I will hold your book dedicated to James, with its powerful depiction of life among these young boxers, in my hands.



    i just received CYPHER yesterday…many many thanks, and i will send you a signed Living Proof in return…your book looks just terrific, the medium format really shows…breakers are hard to shoot…you did an amazing job with the trickiest of action subjects…i had some art directors etc over last night and CYPHER was sitting on my coffee table , so you got some good reviews and nobody spilled a beer on it either..

    again, many thanks and congratulations on a fine fine book…

    cheers, david

  • Aaah thanks David. Sounds like it was good timing too!

    Yeah, there’s something about nailing it with medium format that gives you a totally different feeling than with 35. I’ve been out shooting bboys since with digital but it’s just not as satisfying an experience (but a whole lot cheaper!)

    FYI for those of you out there that are curious about these things: I used Mamiya 6 and 7II cameras (with 50, 65, and 75, 80 lenses) and a Hasselblad SWC ,all with flash (Quantum and Vivitar 285) and Neopan 400. I scanned everything myself with an Imacon. There are three 35 shots with a Leica.

    And I looked through the viewfinder not so much (esp with the Superwide)! Talk about dancing with your subject!

    Take care,


  • Here’s a great way to present a portfolio which I’ve used to showcase my book. If any of you would like to do this, I’d be more than happy to help on the technicalities. This is just keeping it real simple.

    It’s a BOOK trailer…


  • Akaky IRL: So, are you doing a book?

    Akaky: What?

    Akaky IRL: Are you doing a book?

    Akaky: No, not that I know of. Why do you ask?

    Akaky IRL: Apparently all your DAH blog friends have book projects.

    Akaky: Really? How do you know that?

    Akaky IRL: I’ve been reading the DAH blog, dumbass. How the hell do you think I know, for crying out loud? I’m not the Amazing Kreskin, you know; that whole mind reading thing is way past me.

    Akaky: I’m sorry, it’s just the idea of your reading the blog at all amazes me. You have to admit, it’s pretty unusual for you.

    Akaky IRL: I had nothing else to do. Keeping up with the Kardashians wasn’t on yet.

    Akaky: Why do you watch that swill, anyway?

    Akaky IRL: I have low tastes. And Kim Kardashian looks like a Hittite fertility goddess.

    Akaky: And you’re too cheap to pay for the Playboy Channel.

    Akaky IRL: That too. All of which brings us back to the original question: why aren’t you doing a book project?

    Akaky: Books are for people with something to say.

    Akaky IRL: Yeah, and? You’ve never let not having anything to say stop you from running off at the mouth before.

    Akaky: I don’t have any good pictures and I would just as soon not have everyone in the world know it.
    Akaky IRL: Well, that makes sense. No one likes being humiliated…well, almost no one. You have to wonder about the car company guys. Begging for money just after you get off the corporate jet is just asking for it.

    Akaky: No argument about that here, guy.

  • CHRIS H…

    i still will have a tough time to edit this work…i think you suggested a password??…or better, please please just cut this down to something that makes more practical sense…you have given me 117 photos!! that is way way more than any editor would view even for a magazine story that was shot over several weeks..most editors look at around 40 or so pictures from the photographer’s edit…and yours is a fairly simple story..actually, i have now looked at this a few times and it feels like about an 8-10 picture story max..a strong story by the way…what do you envision???

    cheers, david


    You crack me up… car executives hehehehe…


    Nice to know you missed me. I am generally here but not always talking (strangely enough I can be quiet sometimes!)


    Lars is a well established art photographer in Sweden and with an international following…his work definitely falls into the Scandinavian school of eliminating what many would describe as”emotion” is all definitely in the “eye of the beholder” and we have discussed this “school” of photography quite a bit several weeks ago..personally , i find much of it quite intriguing and some of it just flat, but i think that about all styles of photography..but all together, there is something there in Lars’ work..the power of it seems to be in its totality rather than in each individual sure seems to fit the culture i think…surely Lars would not have been the same photographer had he been working in Mexico for example..

    cheers, david


    I just looked at the Swedish guys pics and its interesting as I also saw Trent Parke’s latest show yesterday ‘The Christmas Tree Bucket’

    I think they have a similiar kind of concept behind them but well I think Trent’s work is just breathtakingly brilliant…


    What do you think contributes to that fine line between very good and genius? Its the hardest of all things to define but what is it that makes some images sing and others just whisper…

    Or is it just that indefinable magic that some people can just inhabit their images with?

    I would really love to know what you thought about this…

  • DAVID,
    Sorry if I missed that discussion..
    You may be right about that Lars eliminates emotion. What I meant about emotion in my earlier comment was more that I gives me emotions when I see the pics.
    The totality is the power of these images… I don’t personally think so, because I usually just love some singles and think there’s a bit of mediocre images in there, but who am I to decide.. it’s the eye of the beholder I guess..
    I like a lot of Lars work from abroad, but his strongest might come from Sweden.. hard to say.. His work wouldn’t have been the same in Mexico, but on the other hand I’d thought it would be a lot more interesting if your next project was in Sweden and Lars next in Mexico :)

    I like Trent’s work and think it’s more beautiful than Lars’s. However I prefer the content and find Lars’s images more enjoyable. HOWEVER! If I was an aussie I would probably prefer Trent’s work. I think it’s easier to appreciate Tunbjörk’s work if you are from Sweden, because it reminds so much of what you’ve seen and been through yourself.

    My first comment wasn’t meant to be about Lars. More about the eye of the beholder..

  • David –

    Thanks for the feedback…I agree, I mean I had 4x6s printed and I also come down to about 8-10 when I start weeding it out…I guess I envisioned it as a more in depth thing…I’m sitting here in PDX right now trying to take it a little further this weekend and the next weekend is in KC and the final…so maybe I have to go to Belgium? where the sport started to make it truly a large project? next year that is…guess I was hoping to squeeze more out of it in the US…more culture/crowd/emotion, “dirty” non-constructed portraits to go side-by-side with the “clean” portraits of the select riders…I can definitely weed it down to 20-25 photos to help you out…would you have any recommendations on how to expand it or break it down for tomorrow and next weekend…as far as focus that is?

    thanks –



    laughing…yes, yes …i should shoot Sweden!!


    pretty hard to define artistic genius…but, yes the difference between damn good and truly great is that little “undefinable magic”…not just in photography, but in everything!!!


    i sure wish i was with you in person…what seems a bit daunting on line, we could knock out in about half an hour and one cold beer…

    you have truly the best attitude…if you would be kind enough to just get it down to 30 or 40 i can handle it…besides, you really need to force yourself to do that much of an edit anyway….since your story is quite obvious , if i were you i would just go for the gut..graphic edgy pictures is what i want to see here…no need to over-explain…anyone “gets it” right away…

    here is what we can do and this will work on line…you get it down as tight as you can…i will take it down tighter…then, i can compare my selects with your whole wider take…that gives us at least a starting point..make sense??

    cheers, david

  • AKAKY…

    please do not be afraid to come to the city…we will take care of you…nobody has a gun within a hundred yards of my you will be fine…everybody in my building is a leftist artist wimpy democrat…no guns…you might find a joint or two, but that makes everyone smile…c’mon man, make the jump from Connecticut, or wherever you are, to the “real world”….put down those pruning shears and “get down” with the folks who make this country what it is today…and do not worry about language problems either…i can translate…and you should know that i used to live “out there” too…was once a good clay court guy with a Gucci t-shirt..that is, until i saw the light…and haven’t we always said here that it is all about the light??

    cheers, david

  • Always about the light…

    David has always reminded me to work on a project, one that is more than the usual two hour paper assignment. So here is one that took a couple of days.

    Road trip to my birthplace.

    Feedback appreciated…but only if it is about the light…

  • NANCY…

    well, i have mixed feelings about this work…while i was not blown away by single images, i really got into the feeling of it all…the overall experience of looking at these photographs made me feel like i was going home too…so, i guess that means it works…taken together there is a sentimental draw and a consistency of you just not being too self conscious at any point…

    thank you for sharing this experience…

    cheers, david


    You took me “home” too even though I grew up in an area that was nothing like what you showed. Even so, there was a pretty deep tug on the old heartstrings with this essay and its accompanying music. Not that it was overly sentimental, simply that it harkened back to my ancestor’s lives in places such as this. I loved it!


  • ALL/ DAH

    have been feeling unusually blog-silent, though I am reading your words and am very much still actively shooting this Brooklyn has morphed a bit, and though I can see how the two phases marry and I understand my own intention, I am hoping that the two aspects will make sense to you all and other viewing eyes…there are the street ‘studio’ medium format portraits taken against the white backdrop (I think I have edited out the 4×5’s for now) that were made throughout july and august, and there are the 35mm street life images which I am hard at work making now..I see these two very different pieces as complimentary and integral, and I hope they make sense together.

    DAH, not sure how I am going to show you all these, I don’t think I can make little prints that will make any sense, hopefully online will work..I see them integrated, a portrait here, a street shot there..and not as separate entities..but they are different not only in format but in surface, am shooting 3200 for the 35mm, gritty moody..

    Not sure what my question is, I guess I will keep shooting, editing, scanning for now and see where I am come the epf deadline.

    This whole thing about books, I confess, I am love with books, am terrifically old fashioned that way and they have been my primary source of learning about photography all along (beyond personal discovery, meaning I never went to photo school)but I love and revere them so much that I have not seen how I could do one..I think of books as a place amazing amazing works, a permanent record..but for the first time am starting to see how it would be okay to think my brooklyn efforts could translate into a printed memory..but every time I think I have done enough I feel the hole and I feel I haven’t done anything at all.

  • Hello everyone,

    Pnom penh proves to be the perfect embodiment of the “önion layer” concept, whereas what you see is not exactly what it is, and one fact, one “truth” can and must be interpreted only in light of all the others. I always felt an underlying tension in cambodian life, mostly absent in Thailand. One week is way too short to do serious work to attempt to put this in pictures, save the seredenpitous single shot, many weeks would be more like it. One feels conflicts within oneself (as in India), but there is no denying the emotional embrace the place has on you. I think the real difference with other developping countries is that the whole country had to rebuild itself after the Khmer rouge debacle, and by country, i do not mean so much things and places, but the whole psyche of the nation. And this truly happening as of this writing.

    I may very well come back with that intent, staying much longer.

    For now, as I just wrote David, you might want to express regrets at not being able to share with me the acquired taste for one of the local delicacies,when fried that is!, a specialty of Skon, a city a couple hours (no freeway here!) away from Pnom penh… Fried tarentulas:

  • DAH

    Quick greeting from the frozen great white north. Not sure if you got my email from last week but would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks as always David

  • ERICA…

    i have been planning to work with you this month and we can view your prints any way you have them…please call and we can set up a time…


    yes, i did receive your email and am trying to think of a way to respond…i felt like your questions were almost the same as from your first letter, so i really did not know what else to say..but, i read it very quickly , so i will give it another read and see how i can be of help..

    cheers, david

  • HERVE:

    Oh man, I never could bring myself to eat one one of those. I have had deep fried beetles and ants in Thailand and Vietnam. Crispy and excellent with beer!


  • Hi everyone!

    I almost missed a cracker of a thread here — this blog runs in dog years, I’m sure!

    I’ve just arrived home in Australia and am reminded again what a gorgeous place this ‘lucky country’ is…

    DAH…what do you think about an ‘on the road’ workshop Down Under in 09?


    On the subject of CONNECTING…. for me that makes the difference between taking a photo and and preserving a moment. Be it a glance, a smile or a meaningful exchange, it’s all a form of flirting, and isn’t that just plain fun!

    The second I feel that connection between me and my subject, my heart rate jumps, the adrenalin surges and it is surely one of the best natural highs I’ve ever experienced —

    when I look at the best of my own images I’m immediately transported back to that place – the sounds, the smell, the way I felt when I was taking that picture.

    … now, I just need to learn to transmit all that to the OTHER people who view my pictures.


    On the subject of BOOKS, before I became a corporate suit I ran a book store for 6 years…. there’s no better smell in my opinion, than when you first walk into a well stocked bookstore. Well, that and puppies…

    David, your coffee table library is a thing of beauty…. please keep the beer spilling crowd away from it!

    Perhaps I am getting old, but when I look at Amazon’s KINDLE one part of me loves it, and the other is secretly hoping it does not succeed.

    I’m sure many people felt the same way about the DVD a decade ago…



    Big congratulations to you all for your personal victories this past month!

  • ALL :))))))


    I’VE just received in the mail Khung-hee’s remarkable and beautiful book ISLAND:



    Oh, so yesterday a very large golden-tanned envelope arrived upon our door steps, and I couldnt wait (with both nervousness and joy) to open up the package…..

    and out came a white dream!….

    such an extraordinarily beautiful beautiful book, a dream really!!!!…Kyung-Hee Lee’s ISLAND!….

    ….I am so thankful and grateful to have already spend a dozen reads through it….already memorized it….so many of my favorite photographs from this series are there and it has jumped immediately to the place of honor on our coffee table :”)))))…..i love so much the gorgeous design (the Japanese sure know how to make a photography book!!!!), the huge photos, the white space surrounding the pictures and of course her magnificent photographs….

    It opens with one of my favorite of her Dream images….a giant, black poem along the sea of the sky…the body of a Rock! )))….i have always always loved this photo and i think it’s a brilliant way to begin the book!!!…it’s one of my favorite images….the book as if a kafka parable, like Ozymandias”, like Borges story, like haiku… the film 2000, this beautiful, strange monolith is a brilliant way to open this Dream…in truth, the book is not so much a book of photographs but a book of nocturnal dreams, poem-dreams, a meditation on the negotiation of land and sky and sea and wind….of sorrow, on memory….on the wind…of time….. :)))))

    and the book also has a brilliant and poetic coda, written by David…moving and insightful, beautifully and lyrically written, and bang-on about Khung-hee’s work, and a finer written tribute is not possible….a wise and thoughtful tribute to her by a wise and thoughtful writer, and i cann’t imagine another photographer asking for a finer essay about such abstract and yet concrete work as contained in this book…

    it’s a perfect combiination, the 2 of you, in this magnificent book….

    and the DESIGN IS FUCKING AWESOME!!! :)))…those japanese book makers…..

    just only this:

    the whisper of night along the collar of your bones….

    buy it!


  • PAUL.

    Cool concept. Enjoyed the photos and hearing your voice!

  • Bob — and all —
    no need to go to a japanese website to buy Kyunghee’s book –
    you can get one here, from photoeye —

    they had SIGNED copies but not anymore… item is backordered but available!!!



  • HELLO ALL…. remember me? sorry i have been MIA lately. this is my BUSY time for LOOK3 and have been dealing with some family stuff in California. but i have not forgotten you all…

    i will be in austin this weekend for work and will be seeing Kelly and Lance. Kim Reireson came to DC for a visit this weekend. we were going to check out exhibits – but it was so damn cold – we went to a movie instead.

    since i have been gone a little while – someone want to give me the cliff notes on the last 2 postings… ha ha

  • GINA

    You have been missed! I’ve been thinking of you lately and had figured that LOOK3 was probably at a crucial stage of development. So, we understand your absences, but just know we love you ;~)


  • I’ve become inspired by all this talk about making books that I’ve decided to try and make one myself. I am just going to play around with it and make prints on some good paper like Hannemuhle and make a japanese style bound book.
    Just a little experient but could be very rewarding.


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