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)….”

  • Michael K

    I saw that that discussion (Chip’s original post, and Damon’s response in Lens – http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/damon-winter/ )…

    Not sure what I think. Part of me interprets the “mask, alter, remove, add” edict as intended to ensure that the photograph is not manipulated (key elements removed, or added, like taking out a person). In my day job, I constantly have to balance the *intent* of rules and regulations with the actual implementation of them – sometimes, the “letter of the rule” is not in symmetry with the intent. But I suppose there is a slippery slope there as well.

    I wonder…if Winter had taken a Holga, and shot the entire series with it on film, would there be the same type of uproar? If not, and if the hipstamatic app essentially just simulates digitally what you’d get with a Holga and film, then I fail to see the reason for the ruckus beyond the “rule interpretted for the rule’s sake”.

    But hey, I’m not a PJ ethiscist, so obviously your actual mileage may vary.

  • This seems to me like a digital version of a unique film type. Nothing to get too worked up over.

  • Any Burnians with first-hand experience with the Olympus E-420? I’m a bit budget-conscious at the moment, and there is about a $100 difference with the Nikon D40 (I’m a small SLR kinda guy).



  • BTW, I recommend the Jolicloud OS for netbooks for those folks using online apps. I’m currently posting from a friend’s laptop with a toasted hard drive using the Jolicloud live CD – so far. I’m pretty impressed :-)

    It’s basically Ubuntu, optimized for the limited screen size of netbooks. You can install alongside Windows and choose to boot into Jolicloud.

  • I had no idea that bob marley was def.

  • Andrew.. to grow and step forward, you (me, just about everyone) need to get out of that comfort zone.. now mind you, I have no idea about where you are and where you want to go or if this workshop would be the right one, and it’s none of my business anyway, but if you don’t try you won’t know.. (that’s what I keep telling myself..)..

  • Ist image…..” One of the most famous pictures of Verdun: a French soldier hit during an attack. But the picture is not true. It is a still, taken from a French movie made in 1927-1928.”….. “The dramatic picture above was extracted from a movie frame,”
    2nd image…….. staged image????..colours aka image treatment


  • Justin, I’ve not used either the Olympus or Nikon models you mention but would recommend you look at the system of each, particularly the lens range, if you intend to keep the camera and build a system.


  • Justin..

    D40. Great noise characteristics.

  • Bob,

    Good idea for assignments. Emerging and iconic photographers. Love that idea!


    yes i do not see the big deal either…photographers employ many things to get a “look”..i.e.i use med format and a normal lens and a wide aperture to have a shallow depth of field “look”…we all do something to give us either texture or a feeling that is indeed a tech choice..so i do not see the difference between employing an app on a cell phone and deciding on b&w film and a long lens or whatever…what is the difference?

  • Justin
    sent you a note via the SLPS board – couldn’t find your email address. Let me know if you don’t get it.

    great idea on the assignments – kind of like back to the good old days, but evolved….I came to Road Trips just after all the assignments got handed out, or however that happened….

    Very true, I know and want to push myself out of the comfort zone…my musing was actually a practical question – with only 15 spots available at such a large event, would I have a chance at all to even make it into the group… :)


    i need iso under 400….


    i taught up in Toronto i guess year before last and i probably will be up there this spring as well….these workshops are pretty much the same as any other workshop with the exception that during that particular week you can choose mentors..of course you can always choose mentors anyway and you will only be with one…but, perhaps the advantage here is that there are group presentations by all of the classes and mentors , so you do see what the others are doing…these Contact/Magnum classes do not have the sort of down home style atmosphere i normally prefer, but has more of a photo fest ambiance …lots of people to meet and greet and learn from…all in all a good time and you do have the total advantage of the Bob Black hospitality….that alone is worth the price of admission!!

  • DAVID,

    Necessity is the mother of invention here: Necessity is the mother of brand choice.

    and if I would like to be mean I could copy and paste some sentence…
    ehhh I will copy and paste a sentence :)))))))

    david alan harvey
    February 14, 2011 at 4:33 am


    all of the Cuba book is Velvia 50…including my one and only vertical street scene(appears in both books)…the more recent work in DivSoul is Velvia 50 and the earlier is Kodachrome.


    i am 100% totally confused by your point…what point are you trying to make? are we once again lost in translation? i am only saying if prefer low iso film…what did you think i was saying?

  • Not sure where I stand on this. We’re talking hard news photojournalism, not books or travel section. I guess people can use whatever their publication allows, but historically, they never sent pj’s out with Holga’s to cover the fire or the train wreck. Never encouraged overly artsy photos with radical dof effect either. Just visual equivalent of 5 w’s. But I guess since there’s little effort at objective reporting these days, it’s pretty much all opinion (usually poorly informed opinion if not outright purchased opinion), why hold the photographers to any kind of professional standards either?

  • DAVID,

    ehhh, yes my mistake again.


    when can we meet? you are the best…hey i loved the pictures of you at your painting exhibition…where did i see them? i have no idea…

  • MW…

    well , yes you do make a good point in that sense…hmmmm, well Damon said that he thought that because the soldiers themselves were using cell phones to document their own lives that he thought that he would do same thing for THIS PARTICULAR COVERAGE was appropriate…i buy that…and by the way, PJ’s do control the “look” all the time with super long lenses, super wide lenses, camera remote traps, and all kinds of tech stuff to tell the “truth”…i guess this is one of those fine lines in the sand…sometimes i get frustrated with the righteousness of PJ’s on the one hand with stuff like this, but then they gang bang stories, leave when they are “over” for the news magazines etc etc…there are many lines one can cross, using a cell phone app seems like the least of them

  • DAVID,

    Your patience to my mistakes is unbelievable.
    Meeting, yes, yes, when I will be reach we can meet in london. cheep fly tikets for me. Maybe will be some occasion for you. Magnum meeting or so.
    I would like to visit NY but nobody let me in.

  • and paintings… there is no photography on my site anymore, only paintings, meybe there you see them?

  • ALL:

    I’ve posted details on my website of a new book featuring new work. A selection of 8 of the 23 images appears under the new gallery “Black fen they call it…”.

    Info on book here: http://www.justinpartyka.com/#/fenwomen—new-book

    Cheers to all,

    Justin P

  • Marcin…
    who need iso under 400?
    Landscape photographers :)

  • Paul

    Sould be above not under.
    simple words simple mistakes.
    Maybe I should not write too much.
    But hey, I naver claimed I speak English :)))

  • Marcin…
    I´m sorry I also jumped too fast! Busy processing some digital images.
    BTW my G10 can´t shoot anything decent above 100 iso!! :))))))

  • Michael Ackerman, interview about his last book ‘Half Life':



    never mind – above, below, right, left .. things I mixup even my own language from time to time ;-)

  • Imants, Mike R, Michael Kircher, Marcin, & Andrew B.:

    Thank you for your input – choosing that first dSLR ain’t easy ;-)

    Andrew B.: Thank you so much for your message – very good info. Sent a reply to your e-mail address.

  • of interest to some of you who may be in the stock photography biz…definitely something to think about….for all of you , EVERYTHING that you have as a photographer is your archive..all other chit chat on a variety of subjects pales by comparison…your archive is your legacy and perhaps your income….so one way or another you must focus on its care and feeding..



    assuming you knew/know “def” was/is for “definition” in my parlance and his interpretation of “righteous”…and oh yes, double entendre, Bob Marley is definitely def too …the most def of anyone out there by far…

  • eva–

    thank you for posting the link to the Ackerman interview.
    i’m even more captivated by this man and his work now.

  • Justin…
    A friend of mine bought a d40 when it first came out, he loves it. He´s always buying and selling cameras but the D40 seems to be the one camera that he´s never sold.


    i do not want to go back into the d’Agata discussion again really, but who do you think was the mentor of the other?

  • @Justin- I have anolder Nikon D200 DSLRs collecting dust on my shelf. Email if you want it, no charge, just pay it forward.

  • David…
    I haven´t seen the video Eva has linked yet, but from what I´ve learnt round here on Burn I´ve got a feeling D´Agata doesn´t follow anyone, only his own voice.

  • DAH–

    i think of them more as parallel beings.
    i would add anders petersen to that mix as well.
    adore all three.

  • What do you do if your Doc tells you to start walking with one crutch because your foot won´t get any worse or any better at the moment?… I then keep on seeing Michael Kircher´s brilliant I-phone images on his blog and I complain to Eva I want a GF1 and she reminds me like all intelligent women (and BTW a highly talented photographer) I´ve got enough cameras… Well I go out at last for a walk with my camera.

  • Kurt, thank you for your offer – I’m humbled by your generosity. I’ve sent an e-mail to the address on your website.


  • d40 with a zeiss…and u have it all..
    Paul, loved your photos and thanks for redirecting me to MichaelK’s blog… superb…:)))))))))))

  • marcin luczkowski
    February 17, 2011 at 8:06 am
    I prefer olympus.
    watch out for Zeus (especially when angry!:(

  • Panos…
    Been influenced/inspired by your book, went out and left my inner critic at home and tried my very best to be free with the camera!

  • http://panajournal.blogspot.com/2008/06/wallard-and-panos-with-canon.html

    David McGowan strikes again…yes i look like a traitor, but the canon wasnt mine…actually i cant recall who gave it to me for that group shot which i never saw btw:(

  • 99 bottles of beer on the wall…


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