righteous (as in bob marley def)….

(interview with Alec Soth , above, coming soon…..stuff you never knew)

I have had writers block for the last three weeks, yet I am not a writer. Which is no doubt  the whole of the problem. I can do ok with pictures on demand. Not so with  pen and paper. Surely it isn’t that I don’t  have much to tell you. I have too much to tell you, yet i need to be brief. I will get right to the point.

For those of you who have been readers here for awhile, you probably figured out a long time ago that this is a pretty humble operation here at Burn. While we are in popular terms a “wildly successful new brand” , we make no money and our staff is still an all voluntary army.  Now mind you we are not even trying to make money. Yea invest in us!  Smiling.  Seriously, all of us value independence and freedom more than money. So we are not looking for bosses. Yet we are looking for support. Sure, uh huh, right dude, who gets money without a boss?

In fact we are ninjalike action heroes because we have  generated some income from thoughtful donors to pay for our $15,000 Burn/Emerging Photographer Fund grant with funds donated through the not for profit Magnum Foundation. Subscription donations help to pay photographers for work published here. These are donors who simply believe in what we are doing.

Yet indeed, we are scrambling to make things work . There are two possible solutions. First , is to accept advertising. While I have zero aversion to advertising and have done ad photography, I think that for Burn right now we might just be able to survive without it and therefore have a really clean slate for just doing what we want to do and with a particular kind of unencumbered cred. This audience will basically make the decision for funding/donations  based on the steps we are making.

So you may ask, what steps?

We want to make more of what we did in the last two weeks. Financially and psychologically supporting an emerging photographer like Egyptian  Laura El Tantawy in Cairo and at the same time commissioning an exclusive for Burn essay by Paolo Pellegrin. Both photographers with unique styles and both looking at Cairo.

Both with equal pay, equal artistic control, and one time use only photo rights..

My stated initial goal of Burn was to combine the iconic with the emerging iconic. We have done it now with original photography from both and an exclusive here.

Next we go to firebrand Bruce Gilden who will be in Haiti during elections  and a soon to be assigned young  Haitian photographer to shoot a parallel story with Bruce.  Followed by Alec Soth (shown above during my interview this week)  and and an emerging photographer chosen by him. Our aesthetic interests will know no bounds and we will actively seek all individual styles of work.

Simultaneous with these projects sponsored by Burn and the readers of Burn will be a special corporate commission presented by BD who sponsored James Nachtwey with his TB essay published on Burn in 2010. BD will now sponsor in Russia both Nachtwey and emerging star of Russian descent,  Alisa Resnik. Frankly we would welcome this type of selected corporate sponsorship for any of the above projects as well. We feel we will get them , but I am willing to bet on it in the meantime with our readers support. BD was happy with Burn as a platform before, and have come back this time with additional support for a talented young photographer.  So this is a model. Again all of this original work both by Nachtwey and by Resnik will be featured first here on Burn with a proper drum roll preceding.

All of the above projects highlight four new emerging photographers as well as the established legends.

I think we have taken a large step forward today without losing any of our identity. We just want to do things here on Burn, and upcoming in print magazine  Burn 02,  that are simply cool.  Serious.  Fun. Imaginative,  and flat out informative as well. If it is  not rewarding to do and we are not giving you something unique, then we fold the tent and go have a beer. Already in our short history I think we have helped a few young photographers, respected a few icons, and made  a lot of new friends along the way.

Now one of the things I have noticed about creating space, funds, and a platform, is that while some receive , some feel left out. This is a conundrum with no real solution except  I can say that I will do my best to pass things around. I cannot support everyone. My honest hope here is only to set an example so that others better equipped to do this sort of thing than I , will take on the responsibility and the effort. I am as accessible as I can be to photographers with ideas. At the same time, I do have my own photography and books to do, so there are times when I disappear into my own shooting as I am about to do in Rio. So all patience is appreciated.

We are struggling in the good old fashioned way. Times when real things happen for the right reasons. Feels like such a time.


592 Responses to “righteous (as in bob marley def)….”

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “Children learn to smile from their parents.”
    Shinichi Suzuki

    I believe that you and the lady Mama deserve some credit…!!!
    and for the AUTUMN movie…hmmm…I need my French people…AUDREY,HERVE,MR.VINK…
    oh,well, I can’t wait..

    and because in BURN we do tell it as it is…you might need some help with your film editing skills…
    BUT what do I know…I am just a civilian with the best wine in Grecolandia!

    P.S…tonight wine on me and the door is open for my NZ and Libyan friends. Viva !!!


    Just a brief update as I’ve just returned from the head of Ophthalmology at St. Michaels/Univ. of Toronto….

    Firstly, David, I want to thank you for calling. As always, I enjoyed our conversation on Saturday (I sent you an email on Sunday). I feel good and positive and i’ll be following up with you this week on the other 2 photographers I mentioned. I really appreciate you concern, love and laughter :)

    Secondly, thank you to everyone who has sent me emails/notes/facebookmessages/Burn notes. I haven’t had a chance to write/reply to everyone, and most likely will not have the chance. But I greatly appreciate all the love and support and i’m keeping you all in my thoughts and good energy. :)

    The update: good news: the eye has responded to the meds and after 2 horrific weeks, the eye is clear, without discharge/swelling/pressure/excretion, and i no longer have the pain or migraines. The good news is that, as it did 5 years ago, the eye has responded to the meds and for now, i am slowly getting back to normal. The doctors will not remove the eye. However, the doctors predict that there is a high possibility that at some point in the future my lens (which is torn from the cornea) will completely disintegrate (it has already partially distintegrated, which produced this problem 5 years ago and then 2 weeks ago)….If (and the doctors seem to think ‘when’ is a more likely scenario) the lens disintegrates completely or detaches itself fully, the eye will have to be removed….prognosis, with a mature eye/lens already being torn away and partially disintegrated, the docs place the odds at 80% it will fully disintegrate and an enucleation will have to be performed….


    the doctor said, ‘well, bob, that’s the 1,000,000 question. a week, a month, a year, 5 years, 10 years…we just don’t know…it’s happened 2 times in 5 years, it’s likely it’ll happen sooner rather than later and we must advice you that formally in writing…’ etc etc…

    so how do i feel….

    well….it’s time to finish my freaking photobook….

    for the near future, i’ll not write as much here, but will try to write under essay….and from time to time offer something thoughtful under the discussion…

    but for now, must strengthen my eye, body and spirit….

    dah, you’ll have my landscapes sometime in march…promise…russia and this were a distraction….


  • Gordon,

    Thanks for the link, interesting stuff. Yeah Fuji’s got a very clever campaign supporting this launch… looks like the one and only really important factor, image quality, is going to be great, at least it looks that way from various images that have surfaced (for example, check out all the pics at the link I posted).

  • Bob

    Thanks for the update. All best wishes for you as always from Brooklyn.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    BOBBY…our HOMER…
    “The artist is of no importance. Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said. Shakespeare, Balzac, Homer have all written about the same things, and if they had lived one thousand or two thousand years longer, the publishers wouldn’t have needed anyone since.”
    William Faulkner

    Well…I have to kinda disagree with the above quote…because Artists ARE Important…!!!
    and you MR.BOB BLACK …you are an artist !!!

    P.S … and WE LOVE YOU!

  • ken :))….thanks amigo….will hopefully see u when i come down in the summer…..

    Civi :)))…i love you (and y’all) too :))))>…u sure know how to make a wearied guy happy :)))))…hugs

  • Justin…
    Strange very strange I´ve been out all afternoon and evening and I was climbing into bed and for some reason I knew I had to take a look at Burn…
    Well I feel thoroughly overwhelmed by your offer. I just need to explain a couple of things…
    I posted that rangefinder link so everyone could have a laugh with these true life obsessions some people have with gear. About two years ago I sold my Leica M6 in a stupid fit of “inspiration” I thought I was done with film and I was convinced I would never think about shooting film ever again. Oh I was so wrong! It only took me a month to miss that camera and every time I see an M series camera it hurts. So although I was in no way thinking of getting a rangefinder because as I said I this morning I was skint – ouch didn´t that roll of 35mm Velvia hurt this afternoon…10 Euros! Is that expensive or am I just too poor? I am interested in a rangefinder but only one! But anyway we will keep on with this conversation be E-mail.
    So thanks for now Justin and also thanks to DAH for such a marvellous playground for all us to be together!

  • Bob…
    Hoping to see that landscape essay soon!! But first of all rest as much as possible and take good care of you and your family.

  • Marcin…
    Yes of course Leicas are more expensive than second-hand Nikons and Canons. BUT they don´t loose much in value, so if you pay 800 Euros it isn´t difficult to get those 800 back and sometimes who knows a little more or less. They are usually “good investments”.
    So you are searching for a good cheap second-hand camera… Try and get a Pentax MX or ME super you should be able to find one going for around 150 Euros with 50mm lens. Both the 50mm 1,4 and 50mm 1,7 are great lenses.

  • Paul; Before going digital I used to import my Velvia and Provia from the US (40-50 rolls per time). Used to cost me about NZ$9 per roll; compared with up to NZ$29 in our shops. And that was about 5-years ago! Ouch indeed! :-)

  • Ross…
    Don´t quote me exactly with this but if my memory isn´t fading I remember paying 190 USA Dollars for my 4×5 Velvia Quickload film. Just can´t remember if that was two boxes of film or only one!

  • Bob B…

    You’re a strong man.

    Much respect!

    (ALL..i had a car accident today but im fine..insured and everything…no worries..all parties involved alive..car wrecked…)

    MichaelK…check your mailbox soon…going to post office tomorrow!

  • AndrewB…. u r next…
    love u all…
    i feel so happy..im alive…only bad thing is that my passenger ended up in the emergency but..but…but…only bruises so far…nothing broken..phew…..

    you wont regret it…i promise (rare)

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9LXxLn4dbA

    i dedicate this to a picture i took inside my head and i will never fotget


  • this one for BOBUS (FEEL better)


    DEER TICK (baltimore blues)

  • …And MikeK… it was already charged…now THATS LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vzAHFU0Ydw

    Leonard Cohen Live on German TV, 1979 – 3 – Famous Blue Raincoat

  • Bob

    Best wishes and warm vibes. Keep be strong.

  • Egypt is important even after CNN leaves you know…

    I do not have CNN! ;-)

    If I may, I think what happens in Lybia, and the “deer in the headlights” response from the world (UN, but facebook too, so little there compared to Egypt, yet citizens are being mowed down by warplanes) is more important than Egypt, which pretty much was a script gone right.

  • Bob, I’m very sorry to hear about your eye, had no idea it was so serious. Here’s wishing you the best, whatever that may prove to be.

  • Herve…
    Totally agree with your point of view.

  • Paul,

    My M6 lose a half of the value I get it after 5 years. I am not a doctor, I use it.

    And m6 is very enpensive. It is a lot of films I could put in or paper or E6 process, a lot of canvas or other materials. I love to get second M6 or superb R6 or some contax but they not fallen from sky with rain. I prefer put something into bodies I have than buy next gear.
    Simultaneously I take a lot of pictures of my every day life in really badly conditions, when I have hands is plaster or in heat or in dust. Need separate camera for that.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    If you are in Greece today…be prepared…general strike…
    my apologies for the tourists…But we have to do…what we have to do
    we got a message to do it …like in Egypt…hmmm…
    I used to love domino…not anymore …(

    and to My Libyan friends…be strong…we are so close and we can’t help…
    “Love and kindness are the very basis of society. If we lose these feelings, society will face tremendous difficulties; the survival of humanity will be endangered.”
    Dalai Lama

    We can’t lose these feelings…hmmm…easy for me to say…
    LOVE you ALLL

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Go MARCIN…so you do take pictures !!!

    and PANOS…
    “On the occasion of every accident that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use”
    Epictetus (Greek philosopher)
    you are Greek…you can figure out the meaning…
    Best wishes!

  • My Dear Civilian,

    Of course I take pictures… it is my obsessive–compulsive disorder.
    No sense, just reaction.

  • my apologies for the tourists…

    fuck the tourists….

  • a civilian-mass audience

    I will try to follow your advice…
    no luck so far…hmmm…:)))))))))

  • a civilian-mass audience

    can I say that…?
    I just peed my pants and I have to blame JOHNY GLADDY…But I am glad…he is around…:)

    P.S MARCIN…action,reaction…VIVA!
    I will be back

  • Panos.. you’re not supposed to wreck cars!!! Sheesh!

    Bob, best wishes!

  • Eva…i know…never a dull moment in my life…
    plus its time to do a “bus” essay ;)

  • Formula 1 comes to USA again…cars mean shit to “us”..
    but as a greek…my greek soul would never hurt a donkey… but a car??
    ohhh please…fuck all cars!!!!!!!!!!!

  • John, Jim Powers House Boy…. hard to type when your laughing hysterically.

  • Brilliant essay here:


    Who is this Cristina Garcia Rodero, and why is her work so well hidden on the Magnum site? “Heaven and Earth” starts off as almost a direct rip-off of Abbas’ “Soul Hunt”, but then turns direction and slaps the viewer continously. Associations fall out everywhere – I think she’s a polymathic genius!

  • ALL

    there is something you might want to think about with Preston Gannaway…she does this work “on demand” every day at her newspaper…i am sure some days are better than others, but producing great work at 3pm at the corner of Granby and 32nd is no small feat and one of the primary reasons why some photographers are hired and others are not…everybody who is a serious photographer has most likely a great picture or two in their portfolio, but this is never enough to actually be commissioned ….

    it is the rare photographer who can shoot great all the time , every time…i do not know Preston, but i do know her work here and from her site and the job she is hired to do…the “on demand” ability is something we rarely discuss here but is probably the one single thing that separates the pros from the non pros….playing the role of editor here, i can imagine that if i needed a good pictures taken of just about anything RIGHT NOW, then Preston would most likely be a good choice for the job….AND her work also falls into the category of personal vision…so she gets paid for her personal vision…everyone wants this status…few have it….

    editors are rarely impressed by those who have great pictures of inherently dramatic material..they tend to think “well anybody can take a great shot in Rajasthan or of drug addicts or war or of a super model ”…most editors want a photographer who can make anything/the everyday look interesting…

    for those of you contemplating a career in photography, which some of you do, then study Preston and others like her….this is how you get the job….nothing i can tell you illustrates this more than her essay…

    i do not mean this is the only way to carve out a niche in photography…i am only talking about one way to hit it as a working pro…this does not relate to those who choose the art path with galleries etc…that is another world..

    cheers, david

  • JEFF…

    i am pleased you like Cristina Garcia Rodero…she is certainly one of the most talented photographers in the world and specializes in fiestas and ceremonies throughout the world….i helped bring her into the Magnum family a few years ago but she has been well known for 30 years prior…she is currently the only Spanish photographer we have in Magnum…..Cristina just does her thing…if you meet her , you would think she was anything but a photographer..which is how she gets into these amazing situations…keep your eye on Cristina always..she works all the time, and does brilliant work all the time….

    cheers, david

  • John Gladdy…

    Laughing like crazy! You rude bastard! ;^}


    pretty damned funny..terrific..how do we get Jim to see it? by the way, you have way too much time on your hands!!

  • David..

    Talking about Cristina Garcia Rodero, which book would you pick? You got it right with Salgado’s ‘The Americas’, which I got after you mentioned it here.. I trust you’ll be right with her’s as well.. thanks :)

  • DAH, I’ve not commented on Preston’s essay yet; I’ve looked a couple of times but want to see it large i.e. not on a laptop. With regard to her ability to bring back results every time, yes, this is a special skill and one that requires effort. Because the act of taking a photograph is so easy, some imagine that producing top draw results is easy too. Yes, we all get lucky sometimes but staying at the top of your game requires serious effort. Rather like a visual athlete.


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