going to school….

NYU’s Department of Photography & Imaging announces a new program in photography and human rights in partnership with the Magnum Foundation

The Department of Photography and Imaging in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, has announced a new partnership with the Magnum Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting documentary photography, to create a new certificate program in Photography and Human Rights. The new initiative, comprising four courses offered in two successive summers, is designed to explore strategies to create effective documentary projects linked with issues of human rights.

“We are delighted to be able to partner with the Magnum Foundation to offer this important new program,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts. “The role of photography in the global struggle for basic human rights has never been more important than it is today. Experience demonstrates that one image can make all the difference. This program’s emphasis will be on the relevance of human rights law to documentary work, and how the photographer can develop projects that aid in the attainment of those basic rights.”

The program is aimed at intermediate and advanced students, including experienced professionals, who seek to hone their documentary and media skills in the context of human rights. Students will be taught to utilize a variety of media approaches while emphasizing new digital possibilities to create maximum social impact. Each course is four weeks in length and will be offered over two successive summers, beginning May 18, 2009. Students may choose to take the courses for credit or non credit.

Faculty for the program will include: Magnum photographers Susan Meiselas and Gilles Peress, digital media specialists Catherine Fallon and Elizabeth Kilroy, adjunct professor and human rights specialist Peter Lucas, and program director and associate chair of Photography & Imaging, Fred Ritchin, among others.

Concurrent with the program, the Magnum Foundation will organize lectures and film screenings on issues relating to documentary work and human rights that feature a variety of work, including projects by Magnum photographers.

For more information on this program, please visit http://photo.tisch.nyu.edu or call 212-998-1930. For more information about The Magnum Foundation, please visit http://www.magnumfoundation.org. To enroll in the course, please visit http://www.nyu.edu/summer/2009/summerny/enroll.html.

The Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts is a four-year B.F.A. program centered on the making and understanding of images. Students explore photo-based imagery as personal and cultural expression. Situated within a university, the program offers students both the intensive focus of an arts curriculum and a serious and broad grounding in the liberal arts. The faculty and staff consist of artists, professional photographers, designers, critics, historians, and scholars working from a wide range of perspectives and media.

Launched in 2007, The Magnum Foundation works to bring over half a century of historical and iconic photography to the public and to encourage the work of a new generation of independent photographers.

111 Responses to “going to school….”

  • i wanna go back to school.

  • me too..I already contacted them, out of my budget :(((

  • Yes, it’s outrageously expensive, but also an incredible opportunity. Can anyone suggest funding options, like scholarships, grants, etc.?

  • Great, but that fee is insane. And what are you going to do when you’re finished? the present and future market for photographers isn’t exactly bright…

  • no doubt it’s going to be one of the greatest opportunity for any upcoming photographer…! i wish to know if there is any scholarship option…

  • ALL…

    there is no doubt NYU is a very expensive university…as a student , i could not afford to go…well, just look at the real estate it occupies…and the overhead for running NYU must be off the charts….i will check into the scholarship opportunities…all U.S. universities have ample scholarships particularly for students from abroad…

    i do not even know the cost of this program, but i can imagine…

    while the future for photographers might not look bright to some, others will flourish….”the future for photographers does not look bright now” has been a phrase i have heard my entire career…the future has NEVER looked bright!! yes, i agree, times have changed..they always do…and for those photographers with a real “sense of self” and a whole lot of initiative, books WILL be published, astute photographers WILL succeed and the world of still photography WILL survive….this craft has NEVER been for everyone….

    there is the odd assumption that if you want it, you should have it…and if you want it bad enough, you will have it…or, i should say, if you NEED it bad enough you will have it…we are not really in a “profession”…law and medicine are “professions”..we are in an art/craft like music and painting..there just cannot be guarantees of “employment”….now or ever….the reality is that you must be very very good at very very many different aspects of the craft/art/business….OR you must earn your income at one thing and do your personal photography on your own…that is the very best option for most photographers, most of the time….

    i read all the time young photographers stewing in their own self absorbed misery at the inequities of our trade…for sure, those photographers are doomed….at the same time, other young photographers are out shooting…working..not looking over their shoulder or from side to side or seeing what everybody else is doing…so involved in their work that nothing else matters… they are not the ones spending all their time worrying why “so and so did such and such and i am just as good”..that IS a death sentence right off….

    as i now view so many entrants for the EPF, i can clearly see who is in which category…there is some brilliant work being done..the ones doing the finest work may see the sunniest skies….

    cheers, david

  • DAVID,
    I chose the photographer path and I don’t how far it’ll take me. I’ve got nothing against photography schools or educations, but you really don’t get a lot from going there. Yeah, it may look nice in your CV and you might learn a thing or two, but when you’re done you won’t get jobs or paid because of it. It’s not like studying to become an engineer for example. For those who want to do it and have the funding or money – do it! But don’t expect too much of it when you’re done.
    The irony is that it’s probably only a handful of Magnum photographers who have studied photography and look have far many of you have come anyway. One of my favourite quotes “You don’t study photography – you do photography.” /Elliot Erwitt.


    of course, Elliott is right….at least right in what he is trying to say in its most simplistic sense…you cannot teach someone how to take a picture…photographers should take pictures , instead of talking about them…nobody would disagree with this…

    i am a self taught photographer…by the time i went to grad school i already had my own philosophy down and i did not “learn photography” from the professors….the self taught part was just out of simple necessity….the “not learn” part in grad school was simply a function of who was teaching…later on, i did attend a workshop where i also did not “learn photography” but i did “learn” how to USE my photography…there is always a teacher out there who will spark you….few and far between, but there are some…and the good ones tend to be practicing photographers , who are teaching part time…institutional bureaucracy kills some professors and they lose sight of what is really happening “out there”…

    i think the NYU program specializing in human rights issues with Susan and Gilles would just have to be terrific….look at their books , their work and their lifetime commitment to human rights …not to mention their teaching experience at Harvard, Bard and other institutions….i would think this to be a class which would go way way beyond “learning photography”…it seems to be this would be about photography as a function of problem solving and enlightenment….a way to “put a brick in the wall”….solve the worlds problems?? i doubt it…sensitize some people who need it, most certainly….

    were i a human right activist who was also a photographer looking to apply my passions, i would see this as an investment rather than an expense….i look at quality education as being a smarter way to invest than in all of the equipment so many spend way way too much on…after all, it is what you have to say that is most important…

    just as you pick and choose where and how to shoot, and an equal amount of time choosing your best photographs, you have to do the same thing if you are thinking about education programs..there are good ones and bad…it is not about the institution, it is about the very simple fact of who is teaching what…

    you say, “don’t expect too much from it when you are done”…there are a whole bunch of folks out there who would disagree with you on that one…..that depends on you of course…depends on the kind of person you are…your mentors are not going to “hold your hand”…..but, please do not let cynicism become your friend…cynicism is your enemy…beware…

    Martin, i know you are not being critical of this particular program….you are just questioning all that is going on now in the business and how best to place your time and funds….i totally understand this…it is a very tough time…one of the first things i try to find out from any photographer when they are interested in any education program is whether they really need it or not…if they do not, i tell them to get out on the road and “just do it”…i am sure Susan and Gilles would agree…good education depends on terrific students who are totally in concert with their mentors…anything other than that would be a waste of everyone’s time…

    cheers, david

  • as i now view so many entrants for the EPF, i can clearly see who is in which category…

    Not sure I understand, David. Do you mean you can see which photographers are the, to sum up, “worrying” type from the pictures/essay they sent? Or just referring to finest vs less fine work categories?

  • Martin, I think it’s made rather clear in the naming of the program that students would not enroll in this course to get jobs, get paid, or even to put it on their CV. It’s not a course in documentary photography, or photojournalism, etc… it’s distinctly about the intersection of photography and human rights. I’d be willing to bet that human rights get’s equal, if not more emphasis than photography, and as such this program would be unique among the many out there that focus overwhelmingly on photographic craft… I think that anyone who enrolls would do so because they genuinely want to explore new avenues and means of addressing human rights in today’s changing media landscape, not to get paid, although I’m sure means of getting funding for human-rights related projects will be addressed in the course. Sacrifice will likely be the key (I photograph weddings for 6 months of the year to allow myself freedom the rest of the time).

    That said, as a very recent graduate of NYU’s BFA program I can profess to the passion and expertise of several of the professors in the human rights course, whom I worked closely with during my time there, as well as the outrageous price tag attached to anything associated with NYU, a burden I will bear for the next 20 years in the form of monthly payments. Unfortunately the VERY small photo department, where I graduated from, has to work through NYU’s larger channels, and I presume this means charging the typical NYU summer semester fees, which are steep. Luckily I was able to fund a good deal of my NYU education through scholarships, and I’m sure this new course will eventually secure scholarship’s too, it may just take some time.

  • I actually went to NYU, though not for photography..if I weren’t still paying off this tuition, I’d do this program and take on the debt. Whether or not it ‘paid off’, it would be an incredibly valuable experience. Still, the course Human Rights 1 is over $5,000, and if you aren’t a NYU student, you can’t apply for scholarship through them, so to commit to the whole program would be a serious investment.

    About money, I am finding that there are assignments to be had..if you are open. I still am a bit torn about if it is the right path for me to take on random work..I think of what Bruce d just said about how he is grateful he walked away from fashion..but at the moment I am enjoying assignments and learning from them too. I’ve always been an idealist/purist, but I am trying to bend a little.

    DAH, do you have an opinion on that? ie sticking to one’s guns and only shooting what is near and dear..

  • David, I am also a self taught photographer that learned photography as a craft. The only degree I could ever possibly receive in photography would have to be an honorary one, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon! :-)

  • DAH mentions that we, as photographers, usually spend far too much on equipment and that money may be better spent, for some, on a course such as this. I just checked B+H – a Leica M8.2 body is just shy of $6000.00. If Leica ever make a full-frame M9 the M8.2 will be available for peanuts. Just attempting to give some perspective.

    It sounds like a wonderful opportunity, a mind-expanding experience. As Robert Sukrachand notes: this is a new course and will probably attract scholarships in time. Maybe even an EPF grant!


  • Sorry yall. Got interrupted after the first word (“Networking”) and then had to run out of the house. Literally.
    Does not matter. Things got kind of said.


  • Robert M. Johnson:


    i havent had time yet to tell u, but i LOVE ur old school, street school pics. love love the stuff alot…timeless and reminds me of my childhood…anyway: i’ll give u an honorary degree: from the University of Life, Black Family campus ;))))


  • David, I am now re-reading “The Wizard Of OZ” and as such I will accept your degree of life with honor! :-)

  • I think part of the problem here in NZ with polytechnic photography diploma courses (not so much in the universities) is that they see it as a way of getting funding. Bums on seats, equals more tuition fees and govt funds.

    So instead of having two or three excellent training facilities there are dozens, which also means they take everybody, which also “dilutes” the talent pool. The big problem is that the hundreds who graduate each year seem to think that they are guaranteed a job after leaving!

    The other problem I see is that a lot of the tutors are photographers who haven’t “made it” in the real world of photography and teach diploma courses to make ends meet. That’s not to say they are all bad, (don’t want to tar everyone with the same brush), but I have heard of quite a few who just go through the motions.

    I’ve often met graduates (esp from polytech courses) who have no idea about the real world of photography after finishing these 12 month courses. Many seem dispirited because they can’t get a job and have no idea how to freelance.

    I don’t equate this with the above course of course; I’m just interested if the same phenomenon happens elsewhere.

    It certainly puts into perspective how much work David is doing for all of us for free! As an aside, and to show how mean some photographers can be; I was talking to a young lady on the weekend who is a member of our local camera club. I don’t often attend, but when I do have noticed how keen she is, and how much her work has improved.

    Well, she asked the members for some technical help and was told “We are not a teaching club!” How mean is that!!! Anyway I thought about how hard it was to learn the basics by yourself, so offered a few hours one to one tuition to help her out.

    I’m certainly no David Harvey, but if I can help her in the way David’s helping us then hopefully the good karma will spread! Maybe one day that same lady will be in the position to help someone else and will do the same etc.

    Cheers everyone

  • Another bit of context. When I was on-fire with desire to be a full-time photographer (I always have-been but, unfortunately, I have had to pretend to be something else for SOoo-many years) I would have probably given up a couple of fingers for a resource such as Burn. Welcome to the classroom, young people; drink it all in – for free.

    As for the Magnum / NYU program, I, personally, think that it should come with a health warning: “BE AWARE, PHOTOGRAPHY AND HUMAN-RIGHTS ARE A HEADY COMBINATION – THIS COURSE COULD CHANGE YOU LIFE”.

    Just look at the photographers who are involved: Susan Meiselas and Gilles Peress – both have seen what no-one should see. This should be enough, but the rest of the tutors are no lightweight. This IS high cost tuition but also, I suspect, high value tuition. Magnum does not do Lite. If they are involved, the course will be no picnic and probably over-subscribed.

    Best wishes, good light,


  • The British press Photographers Asociation has just published a book; “Unseen” showing unused photographs from its members archives.

    It does beg the question “why are some photographs “icons” and other, equally-valid photographs .. just.. photographs. In the past, photographers were sometimes the only witness to history (e.g. Ian Berry and Sharpeville”. Today, he would have been jostling for position. So what’s a boy or girl to do? How do you stand out from the crowd today? The answer is, I believe, Time. Spend time with your subject, months or, preferably, years. Nothing captures the human condition like time. Quiet ironic, isn’t it? For a medium that deals in fractions of a second to depend for its power on time passing. This is where magnum excels: when the news machine moves on, Magnum moves in.



  • DAVID,
    All I wanted to say is that in times of recession to put yourself in debt for a 50k USD photographer program isn’t what I would do, or advice anyone to do. However, the program is probably fantastic for those who feel they need it.
    Workshops/classes/schools is as you say very individual. Some benefit, some don’t and some need it, some don’t.
    For now, my time and funds will go in to my personal photography. I’m not questioning anything.


  • lyrics by Robert Smith

    A nightmare of you
    Of death in the pool
    Wakes me up at quarter to three
    I’m lying on the floor of the night before
    With a stranger lying next to me
    A nightmare of you
    Of death in the pool
    I see no further now than this dream
    The trembling hand of the trembling man
    Hold my mouth
    To hold in a scream

    I try to think
    To make it slow
    If only here is where I go
    If this is real
    I have to see
    I turn on fire
    And next to me
    It looks good
    It tastes like nothing on earth
    It looks good
    It tastes like nothing on earth
    Its so smooth it even feels like skin
    It tells me how it feels to be new

    It tells me how it feels to be new
    A thousand voices whisper it true
    It tells me how it feels to be new
    And every voice belongs
    Every voice belongs to you

  • part of my education:


    without a doubt, SASHIN YO SAYONARA (Bye bye photography), is still one of the books in the pantheon that i keep wide-open perched up along the bench mark of my skull’s continuing education: to remind me how much i’ve failed….and to all the books on the the link above, i would add his 71-NY, Karyudo, and Memoirs of a Dog…

    and of course Arkai (especially his Xerox books), ken ohara faces book, my BELOVED BELOVED Ravens by Fukase, Nakamira’s For Language, Giacomelli’s oevre, and the boxes and boxes of my grandmother’s color slides….

  • add to that William Klein’s NY: trance, all of Frank (especially post-Americans), Agee’s words (even though Gerry Badger thinks he needed an editor, what’s martin p think?), Russian artists of the 30’s, and, in a sentence:

    the light beneath the door in the morning, cool as spring shift….

  • ERICA…

    i think everyone has taken assignments that did not reflect their personal objectives…however, paying the rent can suddenly seem like a personal objective…

    the trick i think is do make sure you MOSTLY do work which will add something to your body of work or continuing style or long term project…right now, i would suggest doing exactly what you are doing..bending just a bit to survive….besides, you are quite right, you can always learn something new and interesting with every assignment….the great training ground for being “flexible” is/or was newspaper photography….where you are forced to shoot say 3-5 different unrelated pictures per day…this does get old for sure after a year or so…but, it definitely gives you a couple of extra arrows in your quiver when times are hard and need to know how to operate in a variety of conditions…probably the best pure “survival tactic” is to really really know lighting….the photographer who can work well with lights will always have a job…but, no matter how hard times get, keep your spirits up by shooting at least one personal picture a day….costs nothing….keeps you sane….keeps your mind open…


    i think you have it right…..

    MARTIN B..

    i am confused on the different prices i am hearing for this course…Erica said one thing, you said another….is it 5k or 50k??? i think the point on this one was correctly stated by Robert S…this is more for serious human rights specialists, not intended to put anyone out on the street as a working pro photogrqpher…

    my first recommendation to anyone anywhere anytime is as you suggest…if you have something in your head, just go do it…..if this is where you are, then yes a course of any kind would not make sense…most of the better courses are intended to stimulate that first part, the hardest part..the “something in your head”…this is where most get hung up and might need a “stimulator”…

    good on you…i look forward to more of your work…

    cheers, david

  • …….. dont worry David………
    ( personal opinion )…………
    everyone’s acting “poor” ( prior to EPF of course ), looking for grants…etc……
    but, at the same time “they” can afford to maintain a luxurious life in brooklyn,
    or manhattan or LA..or London or whatever…… buying their furs and medium format super expensive gear…
    but to go back to school………. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh .. its sooooooo expensive………
    this is what i call “GAY”…..
    ( not referring to homosexuality of course…)

  • All schools are expensive, life is expensive . I just saw The Pursuit of Happiness, and man, what a remarkable story. Do what it takes, and do what you believe in. They are two different things, but I have to say, Susan Meiselas and Gilles Peress… can you pick two better lecturers/possible mentors. If you want it bad enough, there is always a way. What a course!

  • panos….why would people like u discribe b interested in a course like this?

  • ipod……
    u could b right on this one..

  • i would hope that people who subscribe to the course have an idea of what the course is about in terms of practical experience.. although i wonder with the fee involved if anyone who has worked or shown interest in human rights issues will be able to afford it right now.. the red cross pay is rubbish.

    perhaps before the outlay for the course it would be good to get out there, find an NGO and get some experience.. since this kind of photography really isn´t for everyone.. heartbreaking, disturbing and shocking as the world can be.

    having said that such a small percentage of photography students actually go on to work as photographers that perhaps it doesn´t matter – anything which brings more into the level of understanding of a humanist photographer can only be a good thing.

    however, those who do continue to work as photographers are without a doubt the ones who discovered it long before they found it as a subject in a collage prospectus..

    i think about 50 000 usd and the work that could be done for that, however there is no question that this course would be a superb kick-start into a certain area of photography..
    on costs – when i eventually went to collage i ran up PHAT debts on living, while also working a couple of jobs.. add to that the fact i had to buy film, chemicals and paper and the nameless course i did probably balanced at a similar fee to that which students would pay here to use digital.

  • DAVID,
    Here are the fees.

    “Undergraduate Tuition, Fees and Expenses

    Following is the schedule of fees established by the Board of Trustees of New York University for the year 2007-2008.
    Estimate of Expenses for Full-Time Undergraduate Students 2007-2008

    Tuition: $38,722.00
    Room and Board*: $11,780.00
    Books: $700.00
    Personal expenses: $1,000.00
    Total: $52,202.00
    * Includes up to 14 meals per week.

    Special Fees Applicable to all New York University Students can be found in the NYU Bulletin.”

  • mike r

    thats a great way of putting it – time.. and adding up the fractions of seconds..
    i think you are bang on about spending time with a subject, whatever it is.. the more time spent the less obvious the coverage.. and the less superficial the results.. whatever we spend a great deal of time pouring over will become personal, even if it does not begin as such.

    i´m not a big fan of a hit-and-run approach to any subject and that´s perhaps one of the greatest things to be said through burn.. it is being said through burn..
    seeing the work of everyone who has contributed essays it seems that all have given themselves over a period.. whether snapping at the parents, venice, bones, or surfers.

    perhaps this is just an unspoken thing which photographers know? that to get under the skin of a subject is essential.. compulsive behavior seems as much a part of being a photographer as anything else.. maybe we all have a form of ADD that can paradoxically only be expressed over time :ø)

    i don´t think that is enough though – i would guess a great deal of the more well known photographs come from a place and a person who´s talent for photography is matched by a talent for promotion and a confidence in what they are doing to actually show the photographs.. too many students avoid showing.. sit on whatever they are doing.. play confidence games inside their heads rather than in the outside world. who knows how many amazing stories are stuffed in shoe-boxes under couches and beds, protected from the sunlight by obsessive compulsives who never quite got their head around the act of self-promotion.


  • i lied – a hit and run approach to a plate of food or pair of trainers in the studio is the only way to go :ø)
    get the cooperate cash cows up and running to fund more interesting work.. hit them big and run fast, before your passion dies :ø)

  • martin – i´ll look at the site .. seems affordable depending upon length of course.. compared to what my students pay anyway :ø)

  • Just a point of clarification about above tuition figures – what Martin posted looks like what I was paying *as a full time undergraduate student*, which means 16 credits/semester and 2 semesters per year. That figure from NYU also factors in some ridiculous “average” living expenses which I was able to seriously undercut by living far away from NYU in Queens… I presume a lot of photographers who might be interested in the program are already living in NYC or could at least base themselves there so for the sake of argument let’s just worry about tuition…

    it’s a summer program for 2 consecutive years and you would take 2 classes per summer (i.e. 8 credits per summer). As far as I know, summer courses go for about $1000/credit at NYU = approx. $8000-9000 per summer (in the end around $18000 for the whole 2 yr. course). That’s a lot of money, but QUITE a lot less than the $50,000 that was mentioned before and more than managable when one takes loans and pays in the form of $90/month over a course of years (it’s really not so bad actually).

    **Also, I just spoke to some old professors and the course is going to cost 30% less if you take it for non-credit.** That’s a great option, because unless you’re already enrolled in a BFA/MA photo program and wanted to transfer credits, I can’t see any reason why you’d want credit for this course, which is so clearly about the experience.

    Thanks for the clarification!


  • ROSS…

    yes, what you describe is exactly what i was writing about as my own grad school experience….if the teachers themselves are not “up to it” for whatever reasons, then they will not be giving the students a truly fair shake…for me, it was not the end of the world and i had my mind set anyway, but for those “on the fence” it did not do them much good…for this reason i rarely recommend the institutional/academic approach….this NYU program listed seems quite different however in that it is pretty clear the credentials of the teachers/mentors involved who are quite active NOW in the craft they are laying out to the students…


    yes, pretty expensive…and yes, pretty much the norm for good universities in the U.S….if i am reading everyone right and understanding how this course works, it does look like you could spend a month with Gilles, Susan, Fred Ritchin and the others for $5,000 and no credit…is this correct? if so, and if a photographer were a serious human rights activist photographer, then that does sound like a good investment…. isn’t that about the price of a good camera and two lenses???

    as i said before, if you have all of the ideas in your head and a good project to work on, go go go….and if you know what to do with it afterwards, go go go…..no schooling or mentoring recommended…but, for SOME a month with this select crowd would be a life changing “watershed” experience and worth every single penny…certainly worth more than the camera and two lenses…of course you need a camera…but, not much of a camera..a simple point and shoot is all most need…i see some of my students for workshops coming rolling in with clearly $15,000 worth of gear hanging around their necks and in their overstuffed bags..now, THAT is bad investing!!!

    DAVID B…

    i think there is a big difference between showing your work and self promotion….there are many ways to showcase your work these days without being a “promoter” per se….showing your work clean and simple IS your best promotion….over the years i have watched clearly the obvious “promoters” and the fine “photographers”…very few are good at both…i almost became very frustrated by the former early in my career until i looked at the long game…….the “promoters” tend to step out ahead at the beginning of a career, but the “photographers” win out in the long run…yes, of course , you have to get your work out there and having a sense of the market certainly helps , but the emphasis should always be on what you bring special to the market rather than bringing whatever you think the market wants……

    David, you are going about it just right…you have a long term serious project which you are now trying to get out there….the work is there or almost there…and now you just need the outlet…..the most important part is done…YOU DID IT..ON YOUR OWN….now an equal amount of effort will have to be made in editing and presentation….you are doing just the absolute right thing….you seized upon Burn as a possible way to do this…we are working together in the most natural way…you are not pushy…you are patient….you have figured out i will give you the time when i have it…you are correct in thinking that many many future publishers of your work will see it here..

    a very rewarding experience for me was with our Patricia yesterday…we have met several times in the course of this past year and we met again in a crowded Manhattan restaurant…in ONE YEAR, after our meeting online here, she has produced a book or material worthy of a book….she is still a few steps away from publication, but she is very very close….SHE DID IT …with some suggestions, editing, etc from me and others, but she flat out did it…i would happily show her work to anybody anytime….and Patricia has more potential “excuses” than all the rest of us put together to NOT do something….she just does it anyway…..she was smart, as are you…..she stayed “on my case” without being demanding…she made sure i spent time with her and yet she listened , learned, tried, and the result is all HER….

    ok, i am now calling you on Skype…just for a few minutes to check in and say hello…once i start on an editing project i do not stop….the EPF has gotten in our way a bit, but with patience from both of us, we will soon be showing David Bowen as a real photographer …not a real “promoter”…

    cheers, david

  • DAH,
    I have got to say I really admire your ethics,spirit,patience and endless nurturing whilst also undertaking your own photographic projects and commitments to magnum,burn and others I am sure and also your home life.
    It really is quite astounding.
    Anybody who gets the benefit of your attention for editing a project will not only learn editing but a whole host of other assets.

    I have based my whole career on location commercial photography, which I have enjoyed but always had niggling doubts about, being a part of burn has helped me reasses and reconfirm that I really want to persue a more documentary approach to my photography. I have already a couple of great stories to follow up, Burn and your attitude has helped me approach these, I hope, in the manner they deserve to be documented.

    Thanks once again for contributing and giving me confidence to branch out into this field.

    Kind regards


  • for those who have both the money and the inclination, i cannot see fault with this program. an opportunity to spend meaningful time with Susan and Gilles, in a close and personal and intimate way far outsizes the other concerns, particularly for those interested in human rights and how to go about it as a working photographer, this could be indeed, a life-expanding opportunity. I also find it ironic that a good stampede of the photographers i’ve met (especially young ones, but the many of the older pros too) obsess over equipment, spend dumptruck loads of spread on their gear, carry them proudly like central committee cards at festivals, openings, gatherings, etc …a funny irony…

    i do however feel a CONTINUAL loss and frustration with academics, photo schools/programs, who over-balance their merit by the extraordinary weight of costs/tuition/charges/fees etc…a good teacher deserves the best salary/fee that allows them the freedom to teach, instruct and inspire in the way they know best WITHOUT procluding students that wish to learn, but do not have the resources to find themselves under their tutelage….that IS what depresses me, immensely, about NYU and Tisch…and some of the photographers i’ve met (during the Magenta proegram exhibitions here in TO): the same is true here with schools (though substantially cheaper than NYU with just as fine an education)…

    above ALL, human rights MUST be about access: to human/civil rights, food, shelter, political autonomy, protection AND EDUCATION….and the first thing I would love to hear is that reconciliation. No way do i fault Magnum crew, i fault NYC primarily:

    $18.000 cannot be justified from the standpoint of educational value, not at all….but maybe, given that Susan and Gilles are there, some of those kids paying this kind of coin will learn from those two the extraordinary importance of helping people, documenting life, and dedicating your life to principles that far far outstrip the mercenary values of higher education, as it has come to beheld….

    i’d take the same money (if i were inclinded) and take a workshop or two and then go get involved, like immediately, with the world around….

    my 2 cents ;))


  • sorry, i dont fault NYC ;)))…i fault NYU…and the ENTIRE INDUSTRY (academic and photographic)…the course as it is laid out (content, discussion, focus and instructors) is brilliant…no, i’d love to hear how possibly $18.000 (of which i am sure Susan/gilles/magnum get a small small fraction: maybe they only get a ‘salary’ and exposure) could be justified is beyond my thinking…..and i put a roof over my head by teaching as well…..what increasingly depresses me is that the idea that more more more means, ummm, more (more schooling, more cost, more equipment, etc), when all it means ism um…more, not better….

    in the end, what allows for the richest experience, for anyone, is how they approach whatever it is they do and that they do it with a concentration and a joy and a dedication that matches the extraordinary elasticity of life….

    for some of the lucky, wealthy few, this will be a great experience….

    were that there were still not so many financial barriers put up, especially by those (like universities, with LARGE ENDOWMENTS) charged with the task of educating and sharing and inspiring…

    ok, off my soap box…


  • :ø)

    good to chat david and PATRICIA.. brilliant news.. always felt much for you pat over our emails and the like.. VERY proud of you i am, as i know david to be also.. and many more here.

    it´s great that you see where i am coming from david.. and i think you are right.
    ;;;the faster they rise the quicker they fall:::you can´t make a good wine quickly.. erm…
    or something like that.

    regarding burn and the kind help you are offering me – i have mentioned it to you before.. i have never asked help from another photographer with my career… have always taken it upon myself to get things done and that´s been fine up to a point..
    now i am realizing that over the past year my theory and philosophy has grown leaps and bounds regarding photography… my work and others..
    true – absolutely – that practicing photography is the way to learn..

    last year i built my first proper website.. it is a bit rubbish.. will be replaced soon.. i have always been useless at self promotion until this past year.
    when i began i made two trips to london.. met some editors who missed me completely and met one or two who saw me right away.. those are the ones i stayed close to.. and PR became irrelevant if i worked it like a job.. 60% planning, 10% traveling, 10% at the lab and 20% photographing.
    while the work was flowing in the main concern for me was to do the work.. developing story ideas has always been going on since i began as a teen.. putting them in magazines is easy.. putting them out there in books has been an unachievable dream until now, when i hope to be able to present all the meanderings my work has taken.

    what i remember most is trying not to think about why people commission me.. try to not push them too hard on getting the commissions and rather do as much of the work myself as can be done.. approach tourist boards for funding.. or event promoters.. find the funds to do a long project and, as you recently stated, use magazine commissions as grants of sorts in order to build the body of work up… live cheap.. going hungry can happen while sitting at the airport to fly for work on expenses… it´s a strange world.

    i find it difficult to express what i have learn´t since contributing to road trips and burn.. it´s there for certain and i know my practice and perception both of my own work and of others has grown..
    as with work though – best not to think on why too much perhaps.. best to just feel the way around and onward.. the best work is ahead.

    i liked what you said about photographers who look straight ahead.. and not side to side at what others are doing.. looking straight ahead there is no competition.. we´re all unique.. looking straight ahead there is never a problem finding the money from somewhere..
    being on burn has encouraged a little side to side looking, however i think that´s a good thing in the form it takes here.. small, encouraging doses.
    so long as the competitive element stays away from burn and the nurturing learning environment continues you have created, along with bobus, anton, young tom, patricia, panos and all the other animals, a resource which is up there with the best on the web for snappers..

    while burn may come in for superficial criticism from time to time, anyone who digs deeper, treats road trips like a book to be read and then contributes with that understanding, will be astonished at the place it puts their head.

    keep on all.. find your thing and stick to it like a very sticky thing sticking to a stick covered in sticky stuff.. and when it begins to work out try not to analyze the ´why´ to the extend that it prevents the ´do´.

  • by the way, BURN is a great EDUCATIONAL tool too…and it IS FREE!…that’s the brilliance of David’s vision:

    rather than exclusive, he’s harnessed his ideas/energy and all of YOU (the writers and the lurkers) to bring to bare on photography, images, ideas, conversations….

    Above all, what i respect about David (and SOMETHING lots of schools and teachers fall wholefully short on): he puts his money and time where his mouth (and camera) are at….

    that’s the heart of a teacher….


  • DAVID,
    I definetely agree about the equipment thing. Often it’s amateurs or bad photographers that feel they need all the expensive gear and 10 lenses in their bag. Thinking, walking, travel, learning, reading would be better spent time and money for most of them.
    If I need something particular for a job I borrow, rent or buy it if I know I’ll need it again in the future. I have a very slim camera bag.


  • morning bob..
    i agree in principle with what you are saying.. after all, i know you to be one who really walks the talk and teaches, helps edit /write and spends time altruistically with photographers.. i too do my best..

    this is relevant to the thread in some way.. i put my views in the comments as ´db´…
    easter holiday from collage.. god bless jesu.. two weeks.

    the fish are jumping..

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