c’mon baby light my fire…

Brazilian model Fernanda Brandao photographed for my YOU MADE ME LEAVE book project in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


i am supposed to be quitting this Burn bit right now….sort of announced that i would a few weeks back…too much work and i need to devote all my time to my own photography…i am doing three different projects with my own work that need my full attention…this is no time to be thinking of others….damn…everything was set for a high five very honorable goodbye until i went to Amsterdam as a guest of World Press Photo…

ok, so i met some young Burn audience, they told me how much Burn meant to them, uh huh, and then to the Magnum education blast in Toronto where i felt the effect of Burn in a very palpable way from both students and my Magnum colleagues, and then finally the coup de grace  last week a 16 yr old kid with a camera literally skateboarded into my gallery show in Colorado and said out of breath and without shaking hands, “i love Burn”..

so, how do you walk away after that? i mean it was only three or four people who said those things to me, but it is not about how many, but about the glint in their eye…sincere, warm, authentic…while i feel as though i have tried to avoid responsibility for the better part of my life, right here in my moment of total life freedom i have somehow managed to get myself into some sort of position of responsibility…freedom backfired..flipped…where did i go wrong?

and just now, just today, just an hour ago, after a long net session with Anton Kusters, the two of us structuring the way we would play the Emerging Photographer Fund Grant finalists starting tomorrow, we both ended up laughing hysterically…Anton with his own Yakuza book almost hot off the press was with me in thinking we would let Burn go…pass it on to others, or just let it go….and yet the reason we were laughing so hard was because in a moment of artistic and personal clarity, we saw that Burn was not fading for us, but getting ready to take on a new life…

for sure, our ten finalists this year will be our benchmark for now and set a tone for the future….exciting yes, and for sure to be controversial as well…if you have everybody agreeing with you, or have any sort of dogma attached to photography,  in any direction, then  for sure it would be time to go home…light a few fires, and you might just be getting somewhere…

no, we will not keep playing the same song…we will always be looking for fresh vision…and this year all of our candidates have it …fresh, new vision..yes, some purely journalistic, and yes, some purely conceptual…are we the arbiters of a new age of photography? of course not…in this new age, the readers choose…on the other hand, we have taken it upon ourselves to have a birds eye view of who is doing what , where and why…i have young students from all over the world, see so much work coming into Magnum, all of us see thousands of entries here on Burn, and make sure we see what is going on at all the international photo fests and pay attention to all curated shows and most recent publications of all kinds…

do we miss some stuff? sure we do, but we feel we have a reasonable handle on  what is going on as well as anyone and with no attachments commercial or otherwise to lean anyone anywhere for any reason other than to celebrate pure creativity… and we personally see a world where the various worlds of photography blend…something i have tried to do my whole life never being satisfied with labels….for sure we will blend on the pages of Burn all styles and types of photography, both online and in print soonest with BURN02…

our greatest weakness, and yes greatest strength, is that none of us who work on Burn have a full time job with Burn…we all have to do it when we can and if we can…for one way or another, we all do other things…all of us are photographers first…struggling as are all….none of us are business types, and the raw commercialization of Burn becomes less likely day by day….we want to get better, but none of us want to get negatively bigger…so we may do some things which will bring us enough funding to get a new infrastructure web wise etc., to totally display the amazing archive of stories we have for example, but all of us on Burn care more about a clean initiative than about a real biz plan…

we might fantasize a benevolent patron, and all that we do finance here comes from these generous donors (readers here), but Burn will always represent our original core philosophy of celebrating  primarily the work of new young talent with just a few iconic candles on the cake from time to time to keep things credible and referenced….and even during the short life of Burn, we have seen our original emerging crowd turn into the established crowd right before your eyes…again, we will soonest make the archive easier to access , so if you do not remember, you will be able to more easily go in and have a peek…..

Every other day we’ll show you one of our ten finalists for the EPF… and on June 11, at 10am, one of these finalists will be announced at the LOOK3 Festival to receive our $15,000 grant….

three distinctive jurors (who will now go unidentified, so you cannot influence the vote by buying them a drink) will decide on the recipient over the next two weeks of discussion and voting….these jurors will be of course identified on the day of the award…

in the coming days, we will also reveal the “short list” of 200 special  candidates out of the around 1,000 entrants and the even “shorter list” of 30 or so who came very close and are all very good….all of these will be considered very likely for publication on Burn …

i wish we had enough financing to help more than we do…and maybe someday we can have the equivalent of five of these grants or perhaps more assignments….right now, we are doing the best that we can…it is pretty obvious we are a very small rogue operation ….yet hopefully we are at least setting some examples for the larger media companies who in theory could do what we are doing way way better….but to be the small garage band has an appeal second to none really…suits me for sure…i hope it works for all of you as well…


405 Responses to “c’mon baby light my fire…”

  • & I love you and the burn too!
    So glad you are not going anywhere… you are the glue

  • David, Anton, et al., thank you so much for all that you do. I know that this really a labor of love for you, or you wouldn’t be doing it. And I am glad that you are :-)

    David, even while your chosen work has yet to be completed, you still give of yourself to Burn. Perhaps sometimes, the work chooses you… One day, you may look back at your achievements and hold Burn in the same esteem as your books (or even higher).

  • That’s all very well but what’s the story with Fernanda? ;-)

  • David…

    Thanks for opening the next chapter… It is always a terrific ride!

    …as always I am lookin’ forward to it. Jeremy

  • I want to photograph Fernanda!

    Although I look forward to you getting all of your own work together, I must admit it brought me joy to read that you plan to hang with burn for awhile yet. I just did not know what would happen to this experiment without you. I do not think there is anyone to replace you in this role.

    I look forward to seeing the top entrants from this year’s competition.

    I had thought about entering, but changed my mind. I leave it to the young.

  • Not even Jim Morrison could have said it better….. C’mon Baby Light My Fire!!

  • …you know we couldn’t get much higher…

  • come on baby…
    light my fucking fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thanks for all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    ok…I see FERNANDA!!! and I like FERNANDA…can someone tell me in two,three words…
    what is going on?

    Did she light …the fire?…? NEW BOOK from MR.HARVEY…YOU MADE ME LEAVE?
    you made me stay…!!!

    where are my reading glasses?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it”
    Tennessee Williams

    BURN is on FIRE…and we are locked in it…Yioupiiiiiiiiiiiii

  • I’ve said it before; and I’ll say it again… :-) For those of us living out in the photo world backblocks, burn is a real shining beacon. It has allowed me to make contact with so many different photographers all over the world. For that I am so grateful to David, Anton and anyone else who has helped out behind the scenes.

    And David; as for what you want or need to. Just follow your nose to wherever “feels” right. It seems to have stood you in good stead so far! :-) Thank you all; Burn is a pretty damn fine place to hang your hat!

  • DAH,
    you said in your keynote “I’m a family builder”.
    Burn is family.
    I love burn, too.

  • So, Harvey, does this mean you turn into a pillar of salt?

  • marcin luczkowski


    “Burn” is like pretty woman and David consider to say YOU MADE ME LEAVE, but I see he change his mind and continue this love affair for a while ;))


    I have 8 years old boy’s mind and I also say “I love Burn”. I hope it’s count.
    let the light burn forever.

  • Sitting in the middle of more than 130 athletes from 19 nations, competing since yesterday through tomorrow for qualification to the paralympic games.. reading BURN gone light (love it), reading David wondering how it comes he is where he is.. smiling big time.. you get what you deserve, as simple as that.. and that goes for Anton as well.. ok, back to my kids, but not without saying a big THANK YOU to David, Anton and the rest of those who make this place what it is :)

  • Wow someone turned on the lights…
    David, don’t forget that you have at least a few dozen people around the world willing to help out any way they can… only thing you’ve got to do is ask…

  • DAH, Anton and everyone who brings Burn to the table, I think that the comments here say it all: this is a special place and we thank you for it. For the young photographer this must be the best place to show work or to ask for advice. I’m sure that the work of the EPF finalists will be ….. free in spirit i.e. expect the unexpected!


  • @ DAH & ANTON: Thanks a lot for the infinite energy that, you guys, put here on Burn!
    @ EPF: Can’t wait to see the finalists stories and a big respect for their works and efforts to become great emerging photographers!

    Hasta la proxima!

  • Mike; And wouldn’t it be cool if the 16-year old (and his peers) who skated in to the exhibition felt comfortable enough to contribute to the dialogue. It’d bring a pretty neat added dimension!

  • so funny..
    looking forward to seeing the epf 10 – good luck to you all..

  • DAVID,

    Nice surprise to see this new Burn “light” layout…. I have to say that I am eagerly waiting to see the new talents/ photographers you have selected for the EPF this year… A nice tradition now for a few years… and I am glad to hear that the ride isn’t over yet…. I know you know that for so many of us this place is where we like to gather, read, discover new work…. whether we write often or not, does not really matter…. we are not very far… always checking…. I wish I could be at Look 3 this year to see mnany of you who I am sure will gather and have a great time… a special place and some very special memories….

    Now having said that, I do agreed with John… what is upo with Fernanda?? Far too may attractive women in the neighborhood…not goo for your heart :):):)… Take care David and as awalys,



  • David and Anton…
    Thanks for staying!
    I was a bit worried last night when I read your post refering to a new dialogue…sort of ‘lost’ my job this week thanks to my injury and I don’t want to lose anything else important in my life right now…:)
    I just hope your personal projects won’t suffer, so if help is needed just please ask…

    Paper is hot but you’re even hotter :))

  • White background is burning my eyes :-D

    PS: Feliz cumpleanos Panos! Big party tonite? Take care, buddy

  • DAH,

    a great surprise this morning, and a big thanks! Yep, we’re on fire babe!

    As I’ve said it here before (and once on Road Trips), I’m always amazed at the amount of time and energy you put in Burn, how you make it work in your busy schedule and aside from your own work… ‘mca’ is right, you are the glue here. And Burn is a truly awesome place you built (with Anton and your gang)!
    Many here -mostly burnians in silence- are the skateboarding kid who just said ‘I love Burn’… I know I am, and you’ve been an inspiration for so so many others out there -through your work, your ethics, your guidance, but also for Burn! You know it, but it’s cool to ‘feel it’…! And I’m sure you’ll eventually find a way to pass this bright burning flame to someone else along the road (once it is standing on its own and is even more of an example for the new world out there!).

    PS: judgment day is -again- supposed to happen today ;) so here’s my final word (as I’ve never said it to you in person when we met) : Thank you David!

    Best, Tanguy.

  • white is alright :o)
    link text colour maybe too pale?

  • Ah well, I was okay with you just letting it go, long the lines of classic romantic notions—better to burn out than to fade away; the fire that burns brightest doesn’t burn longest; the hero exits the stage after the big triumph… But selfish me is happy. As I know you know, I enjoy burn and have a great appreciation for your efforts. And if it starts getting stale, you can blow it up at some future date.

    Just connected with the IPhone to see what Bowen and others are talking about. I’m okay with the white, but the text is a bit difficult to read. Could be darker, I think. And speaking of html 5, I just bought and downloaded an app called Hype for creating it. Easiest web tool I’ve ever used. Incredibly simple to create pages with timeline animations. Made this page in a couple minutes after watching the intro video.

  • good fun had by all(OK most) ……………


    yes, we will be tweaking out the shades of white and gray…all screens a bit different and the difference is more apparent with white or shades thereof….we are working on it…and of course we intended this just to change for the EPF and then go back to black or green or yellow or red or whatever…

    MW,JIM, my sentiments exactly…not going for longevity…heaven forbid…i am keenly aware of staying on stage too long…searching always for a young team to come in and take over….yes, MW laughing..imagining you and i blowing up this car out on a dark street after the engine quits!…but, as i said in the text, it is not about us..it is about you…i have generally been good my whole career about balancing things…no, i cannot tie my shoes nor know the difference between firewire and usb or use Photoshop but i do seem to luckily have a sense of the symbiotic relationships of life and work….if a few pick up on that and can use that for themselves, then cool…that’s all…

    and also the very very interesting thing which has happened here and that is the very interesting position we are in right now…known, but not owned….hard to get to that point in this world we live in…always my aim as an individual, and my aim also with Burn…we can do whatever…the audience can take it or leave it and we are the same….nice..

    cheers, david

  • Jamie Maxtone-Graham

    Burning white hot.


    well, now that is cool..give your imaginary “son” a big hug from us please….by the way, sorry you could not get to Amsterdam…i would truly love to meet you…hard to imagine i have met so many readers here from all over the world and somehow have not met you my oldest long time loyal funny intelligent reader!! is there any way you can get to Paris end of June? Magnum party etc…you would be my special guest if you can make it….


    yes, i know…you have offered and we will take you up on it at some point…right now both Anton and i have books coming , so our main effort is going to be on those….you know my friend how that is!! we will see what happens…book publishing is a possibility for Burn, but we have to be realistic..or do we? counting on you my friend


    fire burns paper….ashes to ashes, dust to dust….sure, what’s new?

    in the meantime,let’s do something! i just look at one day at a time…starting with today….are there any others?


    i love the portrait of your daughter on Facebook…get it off there, and on here!

    abrazos, david

  • Most love the burning part but what happens after is when the fun starts


    well sure…and nobody has a better handle on that than you….although your last link doesn’t work for me ..technically i mean

  • should be ok now or this one http://www.webenfreude.com/ …..this guy was on fire even stopped the truck so he could make sure that I knew it

  • words later, gotta fly :)))

  • Ross, “Mike; And wouldn’t it be cool if the 16-year old (and his peers) who skated in to the exhibition felt comfortable enough to contribute to the dialogue. It’d bring a pretty neat added dimension!” …. yes Ross, very cool.

  • Sorry to interrupt the BURN love fest. But I came across a very cool posting on the Denver Post.

    The images, “by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs and captions are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.”


    Anyone who loves looking at old photos…. this is great. We see so little color from this time in our history.

  • The world has clearly ended, and we have entered an alternate universe. Cool.

    Mr Harvey, that picture is smokin’, certainly lights my fire.

    Many thanks for all that has taken place here, upwards and onwards. I love burn.

  • Pete…

    Saw that link sometime last year great stuff.

  • Where is that 16 year old Kid with his skateboard :)))?

  • David…
    If all goes well, me and Ioanna will attend the Photo+Art Book Hamburg in September… publishing a book, as you well know, is only half the task… promotion and distribution is the name of the game… I could take my copy of Burn-01 with me to have on display as well…


  • PAUL

    Just noticed that the Post story was from last year. Saw the link to it on NPPA front page. Guess they are not really on top of it… LOL

  • Pete…

    Well it doesn’t matter, this kind of stuff is like good wine, the older the better :)!
    My head honcho “collects” cognac and he once gave me a bottle his father had bought in 1956 in some old Spanish bar… Wow that stuff could knock an elephant out old cold it was sooooooooo strong!! The thing is he has loads of bottle dating throughout the last century, he showed me a bottle from 1915 which I thought was incredibly cool until he pointed to six dusty bottles in his cellar which were real authentic vintage cognac supposedly dated sometime after the French revolution …

  • You guys are doing such an amazing job. Thank you for creating this wonderful platform for all of us to enjoy and get inspired by.
    Grtz from Karachi

  • Karachi…! Wendy be safe:)

  • damn…can i still apply for EPF????? im almost done…laughing…oh well, next year!
    HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE BURN???????????????????
    or as CIVI would say : what NOT to LOVE?

    (PS: Vissaria, i love you)…Vissaria is another Gemini btw…June 13th…, her birthday…luckiest day of the year..good light y’all…)

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