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.

-dah-

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


  • EVA…

    should you get to Madrid anytime soon, i will give you Cristina’s contact information…you will find her a delight to be sure…of course catching her is the problem..she is out there working all the time…maybe her only weakness is a total inability to edit down her own work….everyone who is around her jokes about this…imo anyone would have a problem reducing the number of her pictures for a show or book…she has so many at the top…

    cheers, david

  • DAVD

    If you talk to Steve, I would love to know how he found the cab for that photo. Couldn’t have been luck.

  • FROSTFROG..

    pop in when you can Bill…i will try to drop in on your blog as best i can…always enjoy…your voice is always welcomed here on Burn

    PETE

    yes, i will find out about the McCurry taxi…..

    cheers, david

  • David…

    Thanks a lot, will ask you when I go there.. looking forward to get the books in the meantime.. and being ‘out there to work all the time’ is the only way to have the problem she has, editing down top photographs.. I guess every photographer would love to have this exact problem :)

  • Eva..
    When I met Cristina Garcia Rodero in October she showed us an un-edited essay on Cuba. It was amazing but there must of been well over 100 photos in that slideshow and if I remember correctly it lasted two very long Cuban instrumental songs! After seeing that slideshow I really can´t bring myself to buying any of her previous work as that Cuban essay was just so amazing everything else pales in comparison!

  • When Cristina Garcia Rodero on Fridays would finish teaching art history at a well known Spanish university she would drive off in her car and head to these unheard rural villages, spend the weekend shooting images of the local fiestas and sleep in her car. Head back to Madrid on Sunday afternoon and off to teach art history on Monday morning once again.
    Now that is dedication and very big personal sacrifice…

  • EVA…PAUL

    one must also look very carefully at what Cristina chooses….she is definitely not a street photographer in the sense of trying to turn the everyday into art….Cristina researches very carefully…..she puts her feet on rich ground …this does not take away from the work at all…quite the contrary, because many do this to no avail….the point is that while she may not be able to edit down to a few pictures shot, her very serious brilliant editing comes with what she chooses to shoot in the first place…look carefully

    cheers, david

  • David…
    Have you seen her Cuban essay?

  • David..

    Oh, yes, indeed.. there is a .. roter Faden in German.. red line??.. already there before the actual shooting that ties the work together.. at least from what I can see online.. very very curious to see ‘Transtempo’, photographs from 1974 on from Galicia.. not street street as in going out and shoot, but tied through the cultural and local festivities, gatherings and simple countryside life.. it is fascinating to me, very close to home.. roots..

    Paul, any idea if she plans to do a book about her Cuban work?

  • Eva…
    Cristina is “planning” to publish a book…however she said her problem is finding time to finish the essay. I think she said the Cuban essay had been going on for about 10 years. Cristina put it aside to concentrate on other work she said it was consuming her! But she also did mention it perhaps would never end :).
    Just imagine “Between heaven and earth” mixed with the love and passion for South America like Divided Soul, all shot in BW, full of kids and created with that extra sensibility all you women have.

  • Paul… smiling..’all you woman have’.. not sure if it’s gender related, more a character thing I think.. looking at her work makes me want to go to the darkroom..

    Thodoris.. must catch up with you about the book publishing business.. here another link:

    http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/features/How-to-Distribute-Yo-1976.shtml

    And to both of you, prints will go out tomorrow, promised!!

  • Eva…
    Women don´t have testostorone to trip over :)

  • Eva…
    I was totally wrong when I mentioned her latest work was vastly superior to the earlier stuff. The latest is accessible the sort of essay you could take on bus and enjoy. Looking at the older work at the local library I now realize at least for my viewing I need to slow down. If I don´t pause with each photo I miss out on the subtleties and end up not enjoying it.

  • Paul, looking at her newest book of photograps mainly from Galicia, I was completly shocked. Loved every photo on that book. Wish I had the 40€ it cost.

    Speaking of spanish photographers, the other day I had a brief encounter with Alberto García Alix here in Madrid. I also visited Juan Manuel Catro Prieto’s studio…and played with his 8×10 camera.

  • “Women don´t have testostorone to trip over ”

    You know, just thinking that hurts…

  • jorge…
    Alix has just had an exhibiton over here in Palma de Mallorca and I managed to miss it. Extremely stupid of me!!
    Juan Manuel Catro Prieto must be the only other guy in Spain shooting 8×10 besides me! Well I´ve sort of left that camera for awhile too expensive!! Jorge be careful! You may fall in love with 8×10 contact prints if you haven´t already!

  • Akaky…
    Come on! We all wished we could “trip” over our testosterone!!!!!! :)))

  • Paul:

    Alix is a cool guy, a survivor I must say. When you where talking here about D’Agata’s way of life, he probably pales compared to Alix. Anyway, I met him at my local camera store. He was with his assistant looking for a Hasselblad. So we start talking. Very nice. Of course I asked the obligated question: “do you use digital?”. He said no, he tought it was very boring and besides after taking a picture, he had to “dream” the image for a while after seeing it. He got a point after all. I was imediately driven to his very beaten up Leica M7. He told me hid really trashed his cameras so they did’nt last long.

    Regarding the 8×10, well what can I say. Is a dream, but I’m just to lazy to go that route. Some times I use my 4×5, but too much hassels. I kind of hate tripods after using them for years.
    If you have the chance, go and visit Catr’s studio. That thing must be a block in size.You would’nt believe the size of his darkroom.

  • Paul.. you missed what?? SHEESH!!!

    Googling for Juan Manuel Castro Prieto now.. as for big darkrooms, been in his, impressive:

    http://www.stefan-loeliger.com/page/darkroom.aspx

  • David; If you have the time… Did you get to attend the Don McCullin talk you mentioned?

  • Jorge…
    I don´t know Garcia Alix personally…but my best friend taught photography to one of his assistants. As you quite rightly say D´Agata´s life pales compared to a couple of stories I´ve heard about Alix!!
    I´ve also stopped using tripods since I´ve been on crutches I´m now using beer bottles and my wife and friends shoulders!!

  • Eva…
    I know it´s ridiculous and the crutches aren´t of any use as excuse… nothing stops with them. Worse thing is the exhibition was on from October until January… 3 months and I never managed to see it!!

  • Eva…
    Five days a week every afternoon in the bloody baking summer sun I “walked” or hopped across the local town after finishing rehab on my foot and walked round Graciela Iturbide´s exhibition. And that daily pilgrimage lasted 2 months and I´m convinced I´ve seen Graciela´s prints more times than she has!!
    I fell in love with her work and it wasn´t until I saw Cristinas Cuba work that I was blown off my feet again!

  • I have just received a copy of Tobias Zielony’s – Story/No Story, an amazing book… Now I’ve got 4 books to get through and my book buying budget is severely screwed for a long time to come!

    Miguel Rio Branco’s work is amazing, pity his books are so hard to find or priced through the roof.

    I’ve spent the last 3-weeks working from my folks place, and have also been photographing them as much as possible (for the first time really). I was trying to shoot in colour; but there is just so much visual distraction of general household items. So I think it will have to be in B&W. So far I’m pretty pleased with some of the stuff I’ve shot, but time will tell…

    It’s been a pretty muddly start to the year for me(for shooting), but I think I’ve got most of my ducks in a row for a big year of hard-out shooting. The hardest thing is having a ton of different ideas for what I would like to shoot and then whittling them down to what will work, and most of all what can be shot for the smallest financial cost. I suppose that is a type of editing too, editing down your ideas! :-)

  • JORGE PRAT

    yes i think you are right..d’Agata life probably pales in comparison to Alix life…i have never met the man, but have certainly heard the rumors and you can just tell from the work as well…curious, but he really is not known much outside of Spain…very nice exhibition two summers ago in Arles however…

    PAUL

    i have not seen Cristina’s Cuba essay…i can only imagine….

  • Ross.. yes, editing the ideas.. and time time time, and then with some more time, one picture after the other, it will build up its own story (with personal projects I think it is possible), by again, editing.. don’t know Tobias Zielony.. must look.. book budget is all dried up for the moment though..

    Paul.. I didn’t know Graciela Iturbide til I bumped into her exhibit by chance.. when travelling I always look what is up, up and down the road and stop by when I can.. ‘El senor de los pajaros’ is one of her pictures I prefer..

  • Hi David, so nice to see you again. ALix told me he was selling well outside Spain. I think he photographed a time where Spain was in the transition to democracy, and every one wanted to experiment with hard drugs and so on. I think heroin took a lot of his friends. He was lucky or really afraid of death…

  • Eva; I hadn’t heard of him either. Alec Soth recommended the book on his blog as one of the 10 best photo books of 2010. And; it is about teens; so I took a chance and had a splurge! Couldn’t really afford it as I’d just bought one of the Zoom 1H recorders, but what the hell…

  • ok with all this discussion going on about books, i think this is a good time for an overall post..yesterday had lunch with Eileen Gittens , CEO/Founder of Blurb, who had some very interesting thoughts for us…anyway, let me get to work on this one

  • In my humble and usually wrong opinion D´Agata is photographing an experiment and Garcia Alix is trying his best to express his way of life and at the same time survive it.

  • I´m off! Pizza time and a chance to sit down and read “The Crossing: Border Trilogy” on my Kindle…
    Out of curiosity those of you are avid readers is it possible to compare writer´s styles with photographer´s styles? Who would be Cormac McCarthy or Hemingway in photography?

  • Paul, cool question.

    For me, Allard and Hemingway are a good fit. Clean, concise, no pretense.

  • Our illustrious host also fits that style, but I don’t want to come off sounding like a kiss ass! Ha!

  • Frida Kahlo de Rivera (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954; born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón)was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán. Perhaps best known for her self-portraits, Kahlo’s work is remembered for its “pain and passion”, and its intense, vibrant colors. Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.
    Mexican culture and Amerindian cultural tradition figure prominently in her work, which sometimes has been characterized as Naïve art or folk art. Her work also has been described as “surrealist”, and in 1938 one surrealist described Kahlo as a “ribbon around a bomb”
    Kahlo had a stormy but passionate marriage with the prominent Mexican artist Diego Rivera. She suffered lifelong health problems, many of which stemmed from a traffic accident in her teenage years. These issues are reflected in her works, more than half of which are self-portraits of one sort or another. Kahlo suggested, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” She also stated,

    “I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.

  • “I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    FROSTFROGY…
    no worries…you can drop in and out…I will be Here and There…waiting…
    keep the lights on …Up there
    I have the ouzo and the feta cheese ready…
    don’t forget to bring the cat…hmmm…don’t ever make a promise to a civilian:)))
    Viva!!!

    Keep working my BURNIANS…I am busy too…preparing the house …more chickens,rabbits…cause
    “… least one million migrants, many of them from sub-Saharan Africa, are believed to be in Libya, hoping to reach Europe.”
    Love You ALLLLL…

    P.S…don’t get me started …painter…is my middle name:))))))))))))

  • Paul

    RE: Alberto Garcia-Alix. Thanks for mentioning him and his work. I was not aware. As I’m sifting through whatever I can find on the internet (which im finding is not all that much) I am discovering a very interesting person and body of work indeed. Any suggestions on where I could look for a really good overview?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    oups…MASSSS is my middle name…my apologies.
    Back to where…we BURN…simple English
    Back to our regular program!

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