264 Responses to “madrid..”

  • Back in the sixties or seventies I remmember a feature somewhere that included a cool picture of Burnett with a HUGE afro, and glasses about the diameter of my arm.

  • DAH

    thank you! I was in a fire as a child – profound cinematic stuff especially in the hypnopompic state so I know what you are saying – and the rest of the furry brood is okay?

  • EMCD

    only one cat inside during this nightmare, and she was going crazy as well…actually my first thought when i got downstairs and opened the door and the cat went shooting out, was “damn, i almost killed my cat”

  • PANOS…

    pretty cool to have our Burn in the Magnum store right next to all those classic books…i had not even seen this page until you linked….Magnum has the last Burn books (Erica a few??)…basically we are not going to sell any more past whatever we sell now at Paris Photo… we will keep a small stash for ourselves..already looking towards Burn 02 with guest designer, radical format, totally different in approach

  • David AH, glad you survived the damper! Yes David Burnett is a master storyteller, as is his wife, Iris.

    Gorden, I’ve seen that Photo of David Burnett with Afro. It may be on his blog (or blob as he and Iris call it) – on a motorcycle in Iran with his good friend Oliver Rebbot, who was killed in El Salvador.

  • Here it is

    care of Dirck Halstead at the Digital Journalist (hope it’s back soon).

  • That’s really neat about the Magnum store – and yes – have a few to sell as well.

    poor cat. at least she was low to the ground…

  • David; Have you seen Bill Allard’s new book? I pre-ordered when it was announced on Amazon at the start of the year (for a Nov release). This of course blew my end of year book budget! It arrived last week and is amazing!

  • Yup, we are in MAGNUM bookstore:)))
    I mean YOU are magnum but you gave us huge honor this time by letting us getting published next to the immortals..
    Us? Burnians? In the Magnum bookstore???
    Life time achievements!!!
    What else can you ask??????
    As far as I’m concerned… I can die tomorrow , peacefully.. Job done!

  • David,

    I’ll definitely let you know when the Oaxaca work’s presentable. Just today I got back the last of my proof prints as well as the 8 rolls of Kodachrome I shot while there (why did they stop making that film???!!!). There’s nothing like reliving a great trip through a set of contact sheets and slides.

    I’ll also let you know about the hood “book”. Maybe when we hook-up on the beach or in NYC you can give me your five cents on it. It seems only appropriate given that you’re the one that sicked me on that project.

    Yep, things came full circle with us hooking-up in Mexico. Both times were ones for the history book. I’ll talk to you soon.


  • a civilian-mass audience

    You can ask…for a moussaka and a pita giro…with a glass of agioritiko wine…:)))

    You are my best example…BURNAIAN ladys are …priceless!

    Thanks for the inside…
    I love MR.BURNETT’S blog…but the glasses,oime,the glasses…
    I Envy…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    And you know…if you know…
    I don’t envy…often…:)))

  • “why did they stop making that film?”

    Because of digital. Even Allard stopped using Kodachrome in 2005. Why wait for a yellow box when you can see the photo you just took right now?

  • “Why wait for a yellow box when you can see the photo you just took right now?”

    Deferred gratification? Impulse control? Good things come to those who wait?

  • Haha… like I can talk! ;^}

    I’m as guilty as the rest.

  • Dear David AH/All,

    Have a quick question that I hope some of you may be able to help out with. Am selling some prints soon to raise funds for an NGO involved in environmental education here in China. I want to sign the prints but am wondering what the best way to go about this is. A quick search online brings up a million and one different ways and I can’t quite recall from my time interning at Magnum, what the standard practise was.

    Any ideas/experience? David, any advice?


  • Deferred gratification? Impulse control? Good things come to those who wait?

    Remember, Michael, in America instant gratification takes too long ;-)

  • Sean, I have a friend who absolutely believes in black ink on a dark area of the front of the photo. DAH signed on the back. I find it very difficult to even see a signature signed dark ink on a dark portion of the photo and on the back gets covered up when framed. I like when the signature is around the border of the print that can be left showing when framed. Your signature and number of print if limited, looks great with dark pencil or ink in a corner at the bottom. Left or right corner no preference. On a painting I like it directly on the painting in a corner. But the important thing to me is that when framed it is very evident who the artist is and whether it is a numbered print.

  • Lee…Thanks very much for your thoughts. Your friend actually signs the image (photograph) itself? That’s a new one for me. Front of back is the question really, as well as whether to use pencil or pen. Am veering towards the back with a pen.


  • Mike R
    The photo I saw was of him at a phone booth talking on the phone, cameras hanging all over him if memory serves me. Beruit I think.

  • Classified: “Irrelevant”
    For American iPhone Photographers only:

    If you’re banking with “Chase Bank”, now u can deposit your check just by photographing it..
    Make a picture and automatically deposits in your account..
    (drawback: the check has to be less than $1000… But (lol), I never met a photog so far that got a check for more than $1K.. So we are good to go;)

    Can u believe this? Chase bank has a new feature for iPhones : you can photograph a check and automatically deposit the check in your account without going to ATM !!?? Amazing… So nobody knows where u deposited the check from!

  • SEAN ..

    serious collector’s generally (well, always in my experience) prefer signature en verso..signed on the back with either pencil or light archival signing ink…some may also want the signature on the front as Lee suggests for display purposes but frankly i do not think the very best artists do this, nor do the more up market collectors want this, nor do museum collectors want a signature on the front..only a signature en verso smack in the middle of the print gives it authenticity…a signature on the front could be trimmed off and another author could fake it and sign…this is the alleged rationale anyway….

    right now from where i sit i am looking at a Davidson from East 100th St , a Nachtwey from Inferno, an Erwitt from his retro, a Hurn from his archive,a Korda of Che, and a Halsman of Georgia O’Keefe….only the Alberto Korda picture of Che is signed on the front and personalized to me….3 of the 6 are from editions…if you are making serious editions, just sign en verso..then if someone buys your print and for whatever reason wants it signed on the front then you can surely do it…

    a signature on the front is a bit like doing a book with your author picture on the jacket… lose points….don’t do it!!

    cheers, david

  • Sorry for the above advertisement but I’m very excited
    every time I hear about a new iPhone APP..!
    That’s my California nature. Sorry again:)

  • David AH…That’s perfect. Just what I needed. These won’t be serious editions (hopefully plan my first of these in the new year) but wanted to put a signature on the back at least. I know where to put it now! Much appreciated, Sean.

  • DAH I disagree .. Sean do it..
    Go “front”.. Leave the “back” as an exit only..
    Big hug

  • So stoked that Magnum link was posted on here, I was afraid I was too late to get my copy…..

  • PANOS..

    there are always exceptions…for you , i suggest signing on the front in blood…yours preferably, but could be the sangre of whomever is in the picture…this should create an automatic “limited special edition”….this will of course drive serious collectors away in droves, but should increase the “street value” tenfold…and for your book jacket, put your own face on the cover….you know how it is particularly in L.A. …what was uncool becomes super cool and anything done badly enough becomes a “rage”..

    i will be out soon to help you manage all of this….i feel a slight headache coming on… :)

    cheers, david

  • Has someone closed the flue prematurely again?

  • I hear you (about the headache)..
    Everyone that mentions my name or get to meet me gets a headache eventually..
    (or a mild migraine at the very least)

  • Interesting answer to signing. I will remember it. But I still like the name and number on the front. And I guess someone could cut it off but that would be STEALING!

  • SEAN,

    I always sign on the back not – not the front. I sign and put the number of the edition, ie. 1/10. You often read a print is “signed on verso in pencil”, but I’ve found that depends on the paper. The fuji crystal archive I use for my prints has a surface on the back that a pencil will not write on very well. I use the professional version of the paper without the Fuji logo printed on the back. I sign with a water soluble pen – Staedtler non-permanent Lumocolor in black.

    Now, because prints are often mounted and framed after collectors have purchased, I always provide a certificate of authenticity, which includes the number of the print from my archive, the title of the image if it has one (mine is usually a very brief descriptive name, ie. carrots and cat, in parenthesis), and the location and year the image was taken.

    The certificate also includes the print type and size, and the month and year printed.

    I then have in type the edition number. Then below that I sign the certificate and number it in pen as per the reverse of the print.

    I encourage collectors to have this certificate attached to the rear of the frame or mounted print. That way the information is always with the print to authenticate it.

    When I produce these certificates, I always include in the Word .doc file name the name of the collector to help keep track of who has bought what. So far, I only have 22 collectors prints out in the world (including two given away to people I have photographed), but already I am thinking I need to create some kind of data base or system to keep track and easily find the information.

    I have an exhibition in London opening in a week’s time, and any day now the gallery will need a list of the edition numbers sold from the prints they are showing, so they know how many they have available to sell. And this changes every time as the selection of prints exhibited is different for each exhibition, and the available edition numbers obviously change with each print sale.

    I’m thinking that when I have time, I need to try and put all of this info into Excel to help me keep track of it all.

    I hope this helps – a bit!



  • A very informative discussion on print signing.

    My concern about ink on the back, smack bang in the middle, is the possible impression coming through and being visible on the front. I guess if a print is mounted and framed, then it wouldn’t show through too much.

    DAH, when you talk of an archival signing ink, does this involve a special pen? Can one use a narrow nip Sharpie, for example?

    Also, can we broaden out the discussion on open versus editioned prints?

    With PhotoShelter, and digital technology generally, it’s easy to think of editioned prints as an exploitative marketing endeavour as there is no real issue of degradation as was the case previously. However, I appreciate editioned prints from the point of view of exclusivity and as an encouragement for a photographer to continue to strive of excellence.

    I’ve just started promoting open edition prints from my PS archive but would love to seriously involve myself in producing and selling editioned prints. The whole business baffles me, quite frankly. On the one hand I want to make my work as available as possible to people who, on taking a liking to an image, purchase an inexpensive print and hang it. On the other hand I’d like to appeal to the serious collector and all that involves.

    Can one do both?

    I’m a calligrapher as well as a photographer, though I’ve kept this skill to myself as a hobbie but I would like to make editioned prints of the utmost quality and produce a handmade certificate of provenance on vellum for each item. If I were to do this, should I stop producing open edition prints altogether?

    And does a photographer need a serious reputation in oder to have any credibility to sell editioned prints? And if not, how does a confused photographer begin to price the work?

    One brilliant street photographer whose work I admire enormously here in the UK sell 8 1/2 x 11 prints in editions at just £35 apiece. That seems low to me.

    What to do?

    In bafflement,
    Paul Treacy

  • LEE…

    yes, that would be stealing…not an unknown concept in the art world….most up market prints will be signed and edition numbers on the back…


    there are special signing pens obtained at any art store….there are also archival stickers than can be signed and affixed to the back of the print in some cases …i always sign verso over a dark area of the not dry mount a print you want to sell seriously….mounting on plexiglass or aluminum is another whole story, but the normal dry mounting process kills your collector sale…

    i have no idea if your calligraphy would add value to the print…i doubt it…the certificate of authenticity does not need this at all…this is just a legal document..

    the discussion of whether to edition or not to edition is a never ending discussion that has no end….HCB did not believe in editions (hence his relatively low prices) and yet many “unknowns” are fanatical about it and have very high print prices…….the art world is a commercial market…so, how you market you and your work has many different twists….there have been totally “unknown” photographers who focused on the art market and created persona just by skillful marketing and selective showings…yes, you may have limited editions or open editions or both…this depends both on the market and on your philosophy about who deserves to have your print on the wall…wealthy collectors or the more average citizen who may also appreciate very fine photography….again, a discussion with no end

    i do both….yet, only recently have i become interested in the collector print sales market…most of my career it was always just something that either happened or did not happen and i did not pay much attention one way or the other…now however, i see that i could drop absolutely every other single source of income and do only print sales or limited edition book will be unlikely that i will wholly follow this path simply because i love getting up in the morning and going out to shoot…but a wise wise marketing person would tell me to stop shooting and start printing….”dah has taken his last picture”..”he will now print by hand from his darkroom only 50 prints per year and selling only 10″…i am exaggerating of course, but you get the idea…

    yes, street photographers in general do not have particularly high print prices…..

    all of this of course depends on whether you make photographs that someone can live with on their wall over time..this eliminates many great photographs….but surely selling prints is the most rewarding of all commercial sales…it means somebody just likes the picture you took….yes, of course , some collectors just buy what their gallerist tells them to buy, but most will actually like the picture for its own sake..

    cheers, david

  • PAUL,

    I always sign the print on the back so that it is in the location of a dark area of the print.

    I never use a Sharpie, it would probably be ok, but water soluable is less likely to contain chemicals that could damage the print over time. The pen I mentioned I buy from London Graphic centre.

    The archival logistics of prints is a whole other but important discussion.

    It is amazing what damage poor mounting and framing can do to prints. I was just on the phone to a art conservator who also does framing work for me sometimes, and he mentioned some b&w prints he recently encountered that have faded after just five years due to poor quality framing materials.

    To avoid all of these potential problems, I never sell framed prints. I suggest to buyers where they can get the work framed, but the decision is left to them. The print certificates I mentioned also contain a note at the bottom recommending that the print is framed using acid free materials, under uv filtered glazing to archival standards and not displayed in direct sunlight.

    I totally understand being baffled by all of this. I’ve talked to numerous people about the ins and outs of selling prints, and looked at what many other photographers and galleries are doing and it seems that everyone has a slightly different approach to it.

    On your questions about making prints accessible but also appealing to collectors, I’m not sure of the best way to do both, if at all. I get the impression that if you are planning to try and eventually have your work represented by one of the established galleries / dealers then keeping it exclusive from the beginning is important. This is probably even more important for “emerging” photographers who do not have the serious reputation that you mention. You need collectors to take the work seriously, and I feel that them knowing that there are only a limited number of prints available helps to give them confidence.

    There was a very interesting and useful article in the weekend FT magazine (oct 23 – 24) about photography’s place in the art market. It focuses on Annie Leibovitz and how her haphazard approach to print sales and not considering it important, has left her work being not very appealing to collectors.

    £35 is very low. My prints start at £350 for 20 x 16 inch print in an edition of 10.

    Once a photographer makes the decision to sell editioned collectors’ prints then essentially you are trying to produce a desirable object which has appeal – and with that comes the philosophy of the art world. You may not agree with it, but as the FT article points out, if you want to play the game, you have to follow the rules.


  • Gentlemen, thank you. Much to consider.

    I would very much like to roll up my sleeves and get very serious about producing editions. As I get older, I appreciate craftsmanship more and more. Not just making the exposures.

    As regards the calligraphy, I understand that it would not add at all to the value but it would be part of the process for me. The certificate would be a beautiful item in itself. It would be a way for me to maintain a level of quality throughout the process.

    I will shut down the open editions and set up a print sales gallery on my site.

    A very small part just recently in a group show has caused this re-evaluation of what I’m doing.

    It’s going to be a busy weekend.

    Justin, please give us the details of your upcoming show here in London. I’m going to investigate on your site now. Thanks.

    Paul Treacy


    Field Works: Photographs from East Anglia
    by Justin Partyka

    27 November – 18 December 2010

    Private View: Saturday 27 November 2010, 3.30pm – 6.30pm (all welcome)

    Eleven Spitalfields Gallery
    11 Princelet Street
    E1 6QH

    020 7247 1816

    Please see the gallery website for information about “in conversation” event and workshop.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    BURNIANS in the Universe…
    Don’t forget to attend…JUSTIN PARTYKA,
    MR.JOHN VINK…openings
    Who else ?…come on help me out…I need some links

    Just a question…are the drinks on the house…???

    P.S regarding the sign issue…
    I will do it…wherever it feels right…middle maybe,
    But I am a civilian…I don’t sign…:)))

  • Question:
    finishing a paper on Robert Adams – “…was inspired by the elder (Ansel Adams) photographer’s work early on.” On critic wrote in a book about both Ansel and Robert Adams’s work that Robert could not have made his “Fort Collins, Colorado” photograph (a solitary tree at the dark end of a parking lot with the moon overhead) without prior knowledge of Ansel’s Moonrise image… Well if that’s the case, who inspired Ansel to shoot his Moonrise?

    It confounds me to no end – Who, when, and why are some photographers considered iconic, important, or pioneers whereas others are over looked? Perhaps its this day and age with so much technology and publicity for even the most unlikely person that I’m at a loss to understand this…

    some say it’s content, some say it’s technical skill, some say it’s the right combination of both…

  • Congratulations mr. Justin Partyka..
    Enjoy your exhibition:)

  • Just a thought; Is there any “perceived” extra value in a special edition print made from film compared with digital? Also between archival darkroom or printer prints?

    Cheers :-)

  • Jason,

    I don’t know… If you’re an artist of any kind you probably have considered the moon. Considered rendering it in some fashion. Van Gogh’s Starry Night came well before Ansel Adam’s Moonrise. There is nothing new. Some fairly amazing things actually happen concurrently. Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp both “discovered” a comet in 1995… independent of each other! Pretty cool, eh?

    Robert may have been influenced by Ansel… but maybe not. Maybe he just thought it’d be groovy to shoot the moon over that tree. Was DAH thinking of Ansel Adams when he shot that ruin in some Central American country with the moon above it? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

    Then again, maybe that question was rhetorical! Hahah.

  • Justin…Thank you very much for your long reply. It’s interesting to see how you have approached this. I think every photographer seems to have a slightly different approach but it’s good to hear what has worked and what hasn’t for some. After I posted my question about signing, I then started to think more about editions and many more questions popped into my head. This discussion has answered a lot though. Glad I started it! Thanks again for your thoughts and good luck with your exhibition.

    Here’s a link to mine starting on Monday…


  • JASON…

    you asked two questions i believe…one about influences , and the other about who or how decisions are made if someone becomes iconic or this correct?

    well, influences are simply personal…if Robert Adams says he was influenced by Ansel Adams moonrise photograph, then he was…for him to say that he could not have made the moonrise parking lot shot had Ansel not taken the Moonrise Over Hernandez photograph simply has him bowing to historical reference i would imagine…

    icons are made in the first place by the arbiters of photography and art…museum curators, gallery owners, magazine editors, and authors of photographic history…consensus prevails among all of these usually based on historical reference when viewing the work as well as its immediate visual power…for example, if you came up with a great b&w street picture that looked something like Koudelka’s dog shot, any arbiter, curator, editor, would immediately reference the Koudelka black dog in snow photo and yours would be dismissed as “well Koudelka has already done that ..better”..your photo, no matter how cool it might look to you and your friends is now in the artistic trash bin…but, if you do not know the Koudelka dog shot, you might forever be scratching your head…

    i am exaggerating obviously to make a point…your dog photo can still win in the local contest , your dog photo will still be a popular stock sale, your dog photo might get you plenty of pats on the back, but any work you do now will be held up against what has gone before in terms of making you or your dog photo iconic……one of the problems for many young photographers now is that because they come into photography so many different ways, many miss the classical referencing of which Robert Adams speaks…they do not understand where their work “fits” into the overall scheme of things, therefore becoming cynical when their work is rejected or not revered as they think it should be because “well, this looks like a really nice photograph to me and so and so said it was a nice picture”…

    many photographers i hate to say it live in this land of “why isn’t my work loved”…this self pity is a killer and as they flail wildly in criticism of others, only one person dies…them! …i have seen so many wannabe photographers get caught in this trap…avoid this Jason at all costs….

    now, just to play devils advocate here and to run a little test, where do you think the essay you did in new york on the Hasidic life fits in with photo history?? how would a curator or a magazine editor view it?? who would THEY reference?

    for you to go from Jason Houge to JASON HOUGE you will have to do something unique for Jason and unique to a whole bunch of arbiters…no small task…..YET they are all waiting for JASON HOUGE…as Michael Kircher states above , everything has been done before..well, yes of course …but well, no, not exactly …bits and pieces of what others have done will always permeate a body of work, but some specialness can and will set some apart…human nature never allows for the mean level not to be broken…somehow….a few will figure it out, most will not…as i wrote above, this inequality will force many to become bitter and disenchanted and we see so much of that now particularly on the net…

    yet, how can artistic achievement be somehow democratic?

    some will rise above and provide a light for those who seriously seek the highest levels, as Ansel did for Robert..

    cheers, david


    you are working carefully and deliberately as per have stayed locked and loyal to this work and it is paying off for you….i also like the new commissioned work you showed and i hope to do something with it here…i wish i could be in London to see the reception for East Anglia…now i just want to get you to a Tahiti festival or something…smiling

    sincere congratulations…

    cheers, david

  • ROSS…

    for some yes, for others no…again, a market decision….personally i am gambling that my hand made silver prints from negatives and in my own darkroom will be worth more than my digital open edition archival inkjet prints yet i am sure i will sell way more inkjets….by the way, the conversation here seems to suggest that limited edition is the best way to go…not necessarily is just one way to go…an open edition photograph that is beautifully printed and archival and signed by the photographer is indeed an object of great value….even open editions signed have their limits…still rare if signed…….

    reading the Allard book now…i think you should love this book…i have some specific reservations, but this will not take away from your appreciation of it

  • beautifully printed and archival and signed by the photographer is indeed an object of great value ……… a fleeting image on the net is of another great value.
    The last print I sold (2008) I probably didn’t sign

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.”
     Pablo Picasso (Spanish Artist and Painter. 1881-1973)

    Please,don’t forget the damper…:)))


  • David; Yes; I am loving the book!

    Regarding selling prints; it all goes full circle in that you’ve got to be shooting work worthy of selling! :-)

  • @ ALL:
    National Geographic’s Photography Contest 2010 – Great and awesome pictures

    Holliwood: watch this! No FX at all, just mother nature!


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