one month BURNing…

one of the worst ideas i have ever had was starting BURN three days before Christmas!!  what a bad idea….but, when i get passionate about something, it is hard to hold me back….so, thus it was that BURN was launched just as i was getting on an airplane and heading for Colorado to see my mother who has no internet modum…..hmmmm, and i am here to help emerging photographer’s think??  well, please know that i do not always do the right thing…however, here we are and i just want to take a minute to take stock….

first of all, i want to thank the readers here for submitting so much work for publication on BURN…some of you may not realize, but so far,  all of the work published on BURN has come from you….and this morning i was looking at what we have ready to roll and the next weeks and months are going to be exciting indeed….at first, i was really worried about having daily updates on BURN…i could not imagine it…now, i could do two posts per day easy !!  we have lots of content coming in and “the bar” is going to get higher and higher …

the internet audience is indeed a fickle one and an impatient one as well….you have so many choices out there and you want what you want NOW….i get that, but i also ask you to be a little bit patient with BURN…i was getting judged after 6 days, when i could see that to really “get” BURN ,in all of its manifestations, would take 6 months….one sentence is not a paragraph and one paragraph is not a book….i surely would not want to be judged on my first 6 days of anything… essays or relationships or anything!!  but, i will take the criticism because this  is fair enough…i have put myself “out there”, so that is just the way it goes…so expect more flaws, but expect some revelations as well…

i mean, BURN right now is just me editing, writing etc and Anton Kusters managing most of the tech stuff….i have been in about three locations since BURN started and Anton has been in either Belgium or Japan…so, neither of us can possibly get any sleep because of the time zones…and both of us are shooting as well…sitting by a computer editing is not what i envision for life…i am a working photographer and i will stay a working photographer….my number one priority photographically is my next book….and i hope you will see that this is important for me to be a photographer first and an editor second…but, my work is not published here on BURN…..yours is…..and that is the way it will be..

my choices for essays and singles are just that…my choices….choice comes from either something i really really like  OR  photographs that i think will invite discussion….and there is certainly no lack of discussion!!  i like photojournalism….i like conceptual photography….frankly, i like whatever is truly compelling….again, the work published here has come from the pool of submissions from you, or from photographers i have mentored online or in workshops…..i was thinking at first to cast a wider net and i will  do that  too, but things are coming in so fast and the essays are getting so good, that it is a full time job just to view it all….

plus, we will start soonest the “Work in Progress” section for  developing essays…i will take on 5 new photographers for this and work with them a month or so and then select 5 more…i predict many of you will be hanging around “Work in Progress” over all other sections…i will continue to profile  so called iconic photographers as a way of mixing it all up on the same pages…not only Magnum photographers as some would expect, but photographers from all agencies , galleries , etc etc…this is my nature…i do this in my workshops…my student show always follows the show of one of the greats…this honors say an Alessandra Sanguinetti or a Eugene Richards, but gives a special cred to the emerging photographers who will soon become the “greats”….this is my whole point of mentoring….to discover the next great photographer OR to provide a meaningful way of making photography an integral  part of your life…

your ideas and your work are BURN…..i am just a moderator….BURN may be likened to “talk radio”…participation is the message….as you know , i have ideas for funding beyond the Emerging Photographer Fund grant….to give some of you the funding you need to finish your projects and ideally to create from “scratch” content specific for  BURN…it would seem that  a financial recession would not be the ideal time to do this…i think the opposite…sponsors are looking to the net…content is king….for a fraction of what sponsors are spending now, we can give them THE place to be…..and photographers rights are always paramount in my mind and my life philosophy….

if you tap into your passion, if you create something special,  and if that appears here, then indeed the audience will become the producers……we have a chance for the ultimate collaboration…a chance to invent something…joining something can be terrific…inventing something is the ultimate…

your thoughts???

308 Responses to “one month BURNing…”

  • First of all, I would like to thank the American pharmaceutical industry for their production runs of various and sundry antiviral medications, most of which have formed my diet for much of the past week. Antivirals are a wonderful thing, especially when you are breeding viruses like the damn things are going out of style and you really want them to go out into the great big world and get real jobs, especially jobs that do not require anyone to be flat on their back for most of the day wondering why God doesn’t like them anymore. So yes, I am feeling much better now, thank you all very much.

    Secondly, I would like to thank the American media for turning President Obama’s historic inauguration into the aural version of root canal work, minus that nice pina colada tasting anesthetic the dentist gives you nowadays. Most of the commentators and bloviating pundits did their best to sound like lousy sportscasters and the vast majority of them succeeded, pounding the historic significance of the day into my poor ill skull over and over again until I wanted to scream with agony. In my desperate search for relief, I finally alighted on C-Span, where the proceedings came to the commentary addled viewer both live and in living color, a cultural reference only the people over forty here will actually understand, and sans the constant blather of people in love with the sound of their own voices.

    As I sat watching the steady stream of people march past our new President, I wondered just why it is that we the people need to subject our new presidents to a seemingly endless parade of cacophonous kitsch, and I also wish to report that the growing Hispanization of this our Great Republic will yield one great positive result…well, two, after lots of great looking babes in tight dresses and high heels—the music in inaugural parades will improve exponentially with the large scale addition of mariachi bands to the mix, although, the truth be told, adding a squadron of drunken chimpanzees with shotguns, kazoos, cowbells, and broken beer bottles to the parade route would improve the musical quality of your average high school marching band just as well and probably much faster to boot. The shotguns would also do wonders for removing the musically untalented from the gene pool, but I suspect that counts as an unintended consequence.

  • AKAKY…

    now THAT i want to post on the front page…can i ???? forget photography…you have IT my man….

    cheers, david


    i just do not understand a lot of tech stuff..that is why Mike and Anton have jobs!! but for example, on my tiny iPhone screen it even works just fine…?????

    cheers, david

  • ERICA…

    i hate to sound like your father, but have you seen a doctor??

    cheers, david

  • David ,
    I’m with you…
    The iPhone does everything
    PERFECT except from phonecalls..
    god damn it..
    I can’t believe U convinced me to buy one..
    ( ok.. kiddin!!!)

  • David,

    I also really appreciate what has been going on here. I am really impressed as most people are (from what I have read or heard).

    I don’t have much time to read everything here, but it is thanks to what I have learnt by reading Road Trips or Burn. It may seem paradoxical but it is not… I am now daily committing myself to photohraphy and it’s such a great experience… So I just wanted to thank you !!

  • Patricia,

    Funny that you said this. I have done the same. I also thought that it might be interesting for some to read the progression and the feedback received throughout the project. Will keep this for potential use….


  • I rely on my iPhone to access this website all the time! I just hate to type out long responses with it… And I can’t FTP with it… yet. There must be an app out there! or one being made.

  • Hey Eric, who knows? Maybe we’re compiling a book of “words on works in progress”!


  • David,

    No, Burn isn’t blocked in China at all. The old Road Trips went though a spell of being blocked, but then became unblocked again. So it looks like the Chinese have no problem with you at the moment…or maybe that was Panos!

    Hope you manage to catch RenYue. As I said, a useful contact perhaps. I know her University has held lectures linked to the Alexia Foundation which is quite a big grant/funding organization in the US. There’s quite a wall between the chinese photographer community and western photographer community, mainly due to the obvious language and cultural barriers. I think China is relatively untapped in terms of finding ’emerging’ photographers. Would be great to find some on Burn eventually. Maybe RenYue could act as a ‘feeder-cell’ in China, suggesting potential Chinese photographers who would otherwise have no chance to get their work see by a western audience. Just a thought.


  • JASON…

    what in the hell is an app??

  • Screw Obama I think Akaky should have the job. Drunken Chimpanzee’s!!!!!! That’d get my vote……:))))

  • DAVID!

    Speaking of phones…. Are you getting my messages? or Emails?

  • PETE…

    yes, yes amigo…i am just swamped…i will try to find some time today to do your edit as per promised…

    cheers, david

  • NIELS…

    thank you for coming here and i encourage you to write and submit work…BURN only lives because of audience participation….welcome….

    cheers, david


    i hope we will meet again in France this summer…Arles? Perpignan??

    cheers, david

  • I actually have submitted an essay, hope you will find the time to have a look at it.



  • NIELS…

    of course, that is my job!!

  • yes, doctors, herbalists, acupuncturists…lifelong cross to bear as it were :) not so bad as they used to be..daily exercise helps a lot, but I hurt my knee 2 months ago (at the gym, go figure) so I have to wait to return and so they are bad again..feeling stronger today

  • Sending head-healing energy your way, dear Erica.


  • I’m Pierrrra and never been in Arles or Perpignan, seems virgin land for me .. we have briefly met this summer at TPW, where I learned about photography from Christopher Anderson. I have started my profession a few years ago and did some freelance work in London and around the world. Now I’m now just about to go to India to follow a student of a guru, he is famous in India but not England where I live. I believe there will be a lot to photograph but I would need some tips to approach the subject from someone like you. Would it be possible?
    Many thanks ;-)

  • Hi, Paul. I just saw your Rome, GA dateline, which is an odd place to be from, and tried to email you through your website, but the contact form isn’t working. My mother was a Harbin from Rome, my father was chaplain at Darlington briefly, and I went to Sewanee (lots of pictures on your site). If you did not have a Irish surname, I would assume we are cousins. ;>) Send me an email merchant[at]speakeasy[dot}net.

  • Piers hi,
    All jokes aside..
    I think this is Cathy’s field..
    I’m sure she has all the right answers..
    Cathyyyy where U at?
    Bonjorno from
    BLOODY LA y’all!
    ( attending online traffic school right now..
    Just forked out $266.. Damn!!!?)

  • Dragged on a little then, did it Akaky? Sometimes it’s an asset to be deaf. I know.

    Good to hear that you are feeling better.


  • David, I’m sure that you will agree that many contributors here are in little need of assistance with regard to photographic technique but that many are in need of help when it comes to making a living from their photography? I’m thinking of how people should approach magazines etc. (i.e. which magazines accept e-mail submissions and which ignore such contact, preferring to see a portfolio). This kind of information will be invaluable to some. Perhaps a few interviews with photo editors?

    Thank you for the heads-up with regard to Srinivas Kuruganti – you mentioned in a reply that you were a fan of his work so I checked out his website and I too was most impressed. I even contacted him by e-mail to ask if he was making a living from his photography and was surprised to hear from him that no, he self finances his work. He has approached a few publications in the past but had not received a reply. If he is contacting publications by e-mail and the publication ignores e-mail then that would explain why! He has just moved from New York to London. Perhaps you could arrange a meeting between him and someone at Magnum London? Intern?

    My apologies for mentioning this in “public Srinivas but I don’t have a private contact point for David. Hope I haven’t written out-of-turn.


    You are too funny! :))

    I have spent a lot of time in India. Where are you going and who is the guru? Be careful using the word guru around here, it could get you in trouble. :))
    What are you planning to photograph? The guru?
    If you would like to discuss this privately feel free to email me at

  • Just lost a message to…

    You are too funny :))

    David can help you with how to approach the subject but if you want to talk about India, feel free to contact me at I’ve spent a lot of time there.
    Who is the guru you are going to see? Are you planning to photograph him/her or something else in India?

  • Yes sir and application. Apple calls programs Applications or Apps for short. you can download them through iTune’s App store. I just discovered there ARE indeed FTP applications for the iPhone. that makes updating the website on the fly easier.

  • Sure David, it would be great ! Or in Brittany if you happen to travel there… I’ll probably have to choose btw Perpignan and Arles… It’s Arles’s 40th birthday this summer so it could be a great edition….

    BTW, I am working on a project of portraits, notably with teenagers. It should run throughout 2009, being either self-assigned and assignments. Can I submit that for the work in progress section ? What happens there with just one picture from Anton is already so exciting…

    Thanks !

  • Mike,

    Check MaryAnne Golon’s interview here :

    Also the archives of a Photo Editor :

    Maybe you have other suggestions !

  • Thank you Pierre, I have just returned to leave a link to the Canon Website! There is also an interview there with Volker Lensch, Photo Editor at Stern. This is the type of advice I was thinking of. First Rule: check the online web pages of magazines that publish work that you empathize with. Buy the magazine and check the masthead to see who edits and contact them only when you are ready and prepared. I was not aware of the photo editor site so thanks again.


  • DAVID.

    FEDEX just came. I felt like a little kid…enjoyed seeing the box with David Alen Harvey/Magnum on it so much I didnt feel the need to go any further :)) You can just send out empty boxes from now on.

    LOVE the bag. I’m wearing a Patagonia fleece as we speak so it’s right up my alley. Khaki goes with my wardrobe, size is great, can use it as a purse even…love what you wrote, what else could a girl want?

    Other than maybe a sprinkling of magic DAH photo dust inside? :))

    Hope to show you the bag on my shoulder next time we cross paths. Along with all the kick-ass photos I take using it.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Muchas Gracias.

  • MIKE R…

    making suggestions any way i can for photographers to earn a living is definitely what i do…one way or another this whole sight should be seen as an aid in this…most photographers want to put the cart before the horse so to speak..they want the contact information before they have anything worthy of presenting…so, i do concentrate here more on the “seeing”, rather than who you need to see….

    however, i am willing to do both….and for those photographers here whose books i have mentored will tell you and for those photographers here for whom i have set up appointments etc will tell you, i have no problem in giving out specifics to those photographers who are actually ready to take their next step…

    the career advice (i hate the word advice) i give is always specific to the photographer…no are no real always depends on the individual…but, there are some general things which i have written about here in the past, but am totally willing to go into again if i presented with the question you wish answered..ask away….

    cheers, david

  • The box said Alan…my typo.

  • Did someone said FEDEX…???,
    ok… Kiddin!
    Cathy, congrats…;-)

  • Peace and love for CATHY,
    today.. and everyday…
    ( I envy your new photocamera bag)
    … Lucky U!!!

  • Anyone here interested in David LaChapelle?

    I saw a great documentary on TV about him last night…called Eye Candy, the crazy life of David La Chapelle. It’s available online too.

    Panos, you would enjoy him, he says “If you like reality, take the bus.” :))

    What I want to share here is what was said about Andy Warhol, David LC’s mentor:
    “Andy was dedicated, kind, endlessly available and inexhaustable. He had no sense of being tired.”

    Who does that remind you of??? DAH???

  • Yes.. Cathy…
    I couldn’t agree more..
    I do love that crazy
    D LaChapelle guy…
    and also yes..
    Nobody I know can compare with
    DAH’s energy..
    DAH once wrote here:”… my kind of person, Sleep Late Wake up Early..”

  • Cathy, I like his photo of Ewan McGregor, Dollhouse Disaster 2. Not sure of the rest of his work, I guess I prefer taking the bus. His work reminds me of a Dutch photographer / artist, Erwin Olaf, you probably heard of him, if not: Perhaps a little little less kitsch than David LC, at least some of his work, have a look for instance at his series ”Hope”.

  • Then again: maybe ”kitsch” is too easy a respone to his work, I’ll have a better look at it.

  • You’re not alone. The documentary used exactly that word…Kitsch.

    I am a fan of his documentary on krumping (a variation on breakdance) called Rize

    Never knew much about him till last night. Had seen a few images here and there. Not really my thing but glad I watched Eye Candy.

    When I googled it today I found the entire documentary online at Logo, a gay TV (?) network

  • I wasn’t familiar with Erwin Olaf. I see why you mentioned him. Thanks.
    He’s got a nice site.

    Erwin’s work reminds me of a bunch of others..(who have maybe been “inspired” by him?)
    Julie Blackmon for one…

  • David also said that you must try and understand the point of view of who’s behind the desk at the magazine, or sthg like that…

  • First of all a big thank you, thanks for make this wonderful place in the internet. With only a month it has become one of my favourite websites, a place for the real Photography, no cameras, no flickr, no megapixels.. only inspiring photographs and essays. It makes me want to be a better photographer.

  • Hi Mike,

    Thanks so much.
    By the way, I did look at the links on the Canon site and yes, there are some things said that one should take note of.

    David, as Mike noted, I have been trying to really push getting a recent project of mine looked at by editors.I sent out CD’s with a statement and I only heard back form one magazine. I wasn’t expecting a lot of them to respond but I thought it was an important story to get out there.
    I’ve had this happen in the past with other projects also and I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong.
    I would really appreciate some advice from you on this.

    Thanks David.


  • sorry but i couldn’t think of a better word than “advice” :)

  • MESSAGE FROM DAVID (via Patricia)

    DAH is on the road with Mike on their way down to his beach cottage to “pound some nails, cut some wood & celebrate my son Bryan’s birthday on Saturday.” It’s a nine-hour drive so David wanted you all to know he will be later than usual posting today’s new selected photo.

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.