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)….”

  • Great stuff Kurt……..

  • kurtlengfield…
    Very cool, Burn really is a very special place :)

  • Slow day, so I downloaded that Hipstamatic app and created this little slideshow.

    Kinda scary how easy it is to create marginally interesting looking crapola with a cell phone and a $2 app.

  • About Michael Ackerman.. there’s a video out there, on arte.tv.. saw it when it was screened, loved how he made a book kinda thing for a present, taping the prints glued on sheets together like a harmonica..

    Here are the links, German and French version, but I don’t know if it is the video I saw, Italy is not supported by/does not support arte.tv on the net:



  • And about who influenced who.. funny thing is that both Ackerman and D’Agata have started photography at the same time.. with D’Agata perhaps starting a little bit erlier, but taking a break.. hard to say..

    Katia, absolutely yes about Anders Petersen.. have more books by him than anybody else..

  • mw…
    i love that second image, is that fog/cloud/steam really there or some trick from this app?
    Actually I´d love to see you work that image in your “signature colour style”, sort of like the wheel your names is linked to…

  • DAH

    Ive submitted work again. Hope nothing got lost in translation.



  • eva. Anders petersen….yes. He has it.

  • http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/1956648#store-price

    I opened up the BLURB restriction of previewing only the first 15 pages on my book
    please FEEL FREE to watch the whole thing:

  • john gladdy…
    You may find this stupid but some of your portraits remind me of Anders Petersen’s work. All i’ve said maybe totally wrong as i’ve never seen any of his books just online images.

  • ;)…
    Ancient greeks used to believe in life after death in a unique way…u “survive” only if u leave art behind you..no money, no houses, no material bullshit…only art…
    “ysterofhmia”….thats all im trying to do…stay true to my heritage..i have no choice..
    thank u

  • “Art is the Proper Task of Life”

    Before Nietzsche died his Zarathustra book was read only by 5 people..
    One of them was his sister and his best friend…
    I mean think about it… Is it that important for anyone to see, like, buy your book?
    Not at all..
    zorba once said that the most important thing is what u do with your food..
    Food is energy.. Some transform it into Art and some into “excriments – shit” in the bathroom..
    Your choice, really…

  • ALL..

    hey amigos, i got really good vibes about this current post….the beauty of it is if it fails, it is not a failure but an effort that just did not manifest itself…but hey we had fun, right? and we tried to do the right thing no matter how naive….but i think the authenticity of this effort and the support i have from the photographic community as well in a much much smaller way with the business community that i can maybe put two and two together….simple…i start with photographers rights, since the content starts here, and am equally cognizant of doing good business because that is our engine…the two not only do not need to be mutually exclusive but they both thrive if they are not…anyway, let’s see what happens…the whole thing is almost a game of sorts for me…i do not need or even want any money..i lead a humble non materialistic home life…my travels are out there and more excitement i could not take , but it all comes with the work and not with money….i like the house i live in and do not want to move up….i like my life just as it is…so my efforts here represent a natural course in the way i have always lived, and all the photographers out there know this… they know i am not going to do anything without looking out for their business rights and their artistic rights equally….why else would Roger Ballen come here? Or Nachtwey? Or Pellegrin and the dozens of young photographers who apply every month because Burn is now THE place to be published…hell, i want an essay on Burn..funny….anyway just talking…thinking…full moon out there over the dunes…just righteous…jus def

    cheers, david

  • katia..

    oh yes i am a big Anders Petersen fan…and yes those two came from him….but Ackerman was teacher of d’Agata …and i think there are bad vibes between the two ….Anders of course does not have a bad vibe bone in his body…i spent a week with him when we were teaching concurrently and he is just a joy…actually i have taught with Ackerman and d’Agata as well…biggest ego Ackerman, second biggest ego d’Agata but hardly any and no ego at all Petersen…figures right?

    cheers, david

  • ok,i give up..where is a post by Kurt? cannot find…help me, help me

  • DAH…
    February 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

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

    now that’s MOS DEF!
    wonderful – i love burn –

  • i like the house i live in and do not want to move up…

    Or maybe you’ve just got a much better sense of “up” than most.

    Who was it said they’d rather wallow with the eagles than fly with the pigs? Whoever it was, not a bad mantra.

  • All very true, but if you don’t fly with the pigs you dont get the bacon.

  • Akaky – i grew up eating kosher : )

  • Sam I agree… Even my salt is Kosher especially now that I belong to a Jewish girl;)

  • Speaking of D200…
    My battery just died.. Anyone can send me a spare battery?
    I’ll pay… Or maybe amazon?

  • Man it’s $40 on amazon…
    I’m willing to exchange one of my latest books for a D200 battery! Anyone?


    would the icons and emerging shoot with or without connection to each other? sorry if i’ve missed that in your text… but whilst driving yesterday and mulling it over i thought how cool it would be if the icons also mentored ?? … just thinking out loud…

  • PANOS…

    Mazel Tov!!!

  • Panos…

    email me your address… D200 battery is yours!

  • Mazel Tov…
    Thank u!
    I’ll check it out..
    (and it’s so funny/stupid that 2 years ago I was so violently accused as an anti-semitic etc..)

  • Michael DEAL..
    I will send u address later.. U send me your via email
    And deal is deal.. I’m sending u my latest book..
    I think it makes sense… Biggest hug

  • Panos…

    i’m thinking about trying out blurb, before i start have you got any tips regarding syncing up colour/print quality etc.?

  • Yes I do..
    No matter what u give “them”(blurb) they will underexpoze by 1/3 stop..
    It suits me.. But not for everyone.. Keep this in mind…

  • Panos thanks
    maybe a skype sometime ?
    it’s about time…

  • Man, I’m completely floored (in a good way) by the generosity and sharing on Burn today. Kurt graciously offered his D200 to me, Panos is sharing his latest book (in full) with all of us, Michael K. is sending a battery to Panos – who is reciprocating with a hard copy of his book. Not to mention DAH, Anton, and everyone who shares their time and insight here.

    Good vibes all around. Burn is definitely a special place, and I am grateful.

  • i wonder if i should chime in about the Michael/Antoine debate….

    no fucking way, ….

    got personal relationships on that…and just have to say that the question (who taught who) is silly and unfortunate…..michael learned alot from others (as we all do) from Jem Cohen, from Petersen….from Sarah Moon….the thing is that is another (for me) silly photoworld game, ….and i won’t speak about egos….i like michael, respect him….i respect antoine, don’t know him other than via the work….first time i showed my own work in florida, some goof at Miami basel asked me, ‘so, bob, you studied with michael?”…i was like michael who….shit, giacomelli and moriyama were my photo heros…and then I saw Jem Cohen movie ‘smoke’ and saw Michael’s pics, i bought end time city, got depressed for 2 months (didn’t shoot) (this was in 2001)….and here, the whole time, i thought ‘no one is making pics like me! ;))))) (my own stupid ego)…..

    the thing is that style is a language and no one owns language, but the conveyance of thought, idea, rhythm is universal…and since pictures are defined by a box/machine, it is no wonder that so many photographers eventually ‘look’ similar….but michael’s work is very different from antoine’s work even if there is a ‘lexical similarity’…..

    but it does nothing to compare the 2, nor to say who taught who…both were taught by others, but learned from life, both shoot the way they shoot…..


    i know Teru, whose work was inspired by michael (as they’d met in albany and are friends), is the greater of all those angels, i mean for ego-less-ness…..

    and i know photographers the world who continually ape michael and antoine’s work and so be it…who cares…

    make the work that your hear sings and sinches and singes….and the better…

    the reason why i hate that shit is because people pick on appearance rather than look at the beast of the rhythm that drives the work….and that too bad if there’s something between the 2….

    photographs are not that important to fight over who is the greater…

    all vanishes….

    though the little one certainly devastates :))

    running away

    ego in tact ;))))))))


    love that damn book….give me 2 weeks (big medical bill pending) and then it’s mine….would like it signed, is that possible?…or can i order directly through u?…let me know…i’ll be off computer nearly the whole rest of the next 5 days…., if u drop me a line…..that book is like Skoulidas’ version of Case History, Venice Style :)))


  • Sam
    Absolutely it’s about time to skype :

    Bob u get the book when u e-mail me your exact address..

    I’m still homeless , living on Kim’s mercy and SHE LOVES ME..
    and yes I will send u both (Michaelk and bobB a book which I’ll pay from my empty pocket..))
    That’s how BURN WORKS… period

  • Ok , Kim disagrees … She just told me I’m full of shit.. And I’m not homeless ..
    I’m her husband, she insists…
    So… Anyone wants need a free book send me address..
    U only have 24 hours..period

  • I’m such in a good mood that I would even send a free book to my ultimate hater Pete but I know he would get so insulted that I don’t even dare…
    Me? Do not dare? Oxymoron right?
    Well .. Let the “mean” ones boil in the water they boiled..
    And I’m trying to be nice..
    But are they? Trying..? To change?
    Dinosaurs never change.. Someone told them that dying on time is a bliss!
    Sorry but I won’t be in your funeral..
    Coz u will never realize that u r actually dead..
    And that against my “religion”

  • My wife says i’m deaf and I’ve heard def leppard but please can someone explain to me what is this ”def” you keep writing about?

  • definitely definition derived ‘def’.


    love this post harvey – love the implications of wider interest from sloth, penguin and gild-one.. just brilliant stuff..

    panos – good book.. we have volume one and two.. must buy.

    bearly awake.. massive sun flare led to hope of northern lights and late, late night.. overcast night.. no light..

    time to shove more coal in the furnace, get that engine ticking over and crank up the scanner for another day of joy chipping away at my archive..

  • and teaching and teachers?

    inspiration comes from life and love and everything..
    inspiration derived from other photographers can lead to derivative work..

    as a teacher of photography, my best students work quickly grows beyond what is possible to teach and into their own worlds.. i hope to inspire the best much less than they inspire themselves.

  • Paul.. cool, awsome, amazing.. so I learnt yesterday, to me it was just short def of definition.. and now I go and see what ‘cognizant’ means..

  • “Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality . Wake Up and Live!”
    bob marley.

  • Bob.. I see no bad in teaching, as long as it doesn’t mean preaching, and as long as it doesn’t lead to copying.. as simple as that..

  • Speaking of pigs… I’ve always liked Churchill’s quote “Always remember, a cat looks down on man, a dog looks up to man, but a pig will look man right in the eye and see his equal” :-)

  • I think the best teachers are more like guides. They coax you along, accompanied by the occassional kick up the arse when needed. And more importantly; don’t try to make you a clone of themselves.

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