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…”

  • a civilian-mass audience

    AKAKYYYY…here I am…100 for you ;)

  • I’m really enjoying Alex Webb’s “Suffering of Light 30 Yrs of Photographs” highly recommended especially if you don’t own all his books. Now this gentleman has such an original eye for composition and colour it’s amazing you can stare at one image I find so many things going on.

  • Vissaria Skoulida

    Dear Mr.David A.Harvey,

    I am 10 years old and I love Burn.
    Thank you very much.

    Happy Birthday.
    for you and your friends. strawberry and chocolate.

    I love burn.

  • PAUL

    the 16 yr old is coming to Burn as per your suggestion…and as you can see he is in the senior class compared to Vissaria , the youngest photographer to be published here on Burn besides myself!!

    the photograph of Fernanda is from a series of works published assuming you and others would have a reaction for sure, and so she and i have combined “our resources” and collaborated in a moment..the thing i am trying to do with that series is in some way similar to what i am trying to do with Burn in terms of mirroring what i just do anyway…not “trying to make” something..so, i make it real..genuine..authentic…that moment with Fernanda, whatever you see, is what it was..i don’t think that sort of thing can be faked even w pro model and pro photog….i do understand your reaction, yet i also understand your apology …i would have made the same had i written the same…i am sure that Fernanda would smile and understand…she is a first class human being to be sure….

    i have not seen Alex’ new book…but of course am familiar with all of his work…he his certainly a photographer for all to study…i will try to do an interview with him here soonest…he was on Burn last year to answer questions i think..didn’t he and Becky do that here for their Cuba book?

    cheers, david

  • David…

    Yes I remember reading in silence Alex and Rebecca’s answers here on Burn! Can’t wait to ask some questions if they come back.
    BTW will we still be seeing Sally Mann on Burn at Look3 answering questions?

    Between you and Fernanda there seems to be a magical touch and you can tell there’s absolute trust on her behalf.

  • I’m very please to hear the 16 year old will soon be round here and as Mike R and Ross mentioned an extra dimension and some more fuel for our summer night campfire!

  • PAUL

    well, i do not think i will see Sally at Look3…but she and i are going to be seeing other soonest just to hang, so i will see what kind of mood she has for an interview…

  • Civi.. reporting from Lake Garda, on the road to Switzerland, pit stop for a court date the morn.. YIKES.. our boys and one girl made the worst performance EVER.. yikes.. might have a pic or two on the roll though.. AND might have big big news on a personal level, photography related.. can’t tell yet.. crossing fingers and toes, eyes and whatever else crossable there is.. waiting for decent net accessto hop over in the EPF aisle.. AND Italians seem to have woken up, c’mon, you Greeks can too!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    EVA…my greek people are not ready yet :(…and I am angry…
    it might be the ouzo…mixed with water…
    BUT,BUT as long as I live

    I will fight…like YOUR kids…never give up…!!!

    P.S…damnit…even BURN turned white…
    I believe…together we can do miracles…Revolution

  • a civilian-mass audience

    today I feel like…”Grimsvotn”…

    ready to erupt…Revolution…

  • DAVID/ANTON :)))

    First, let me apologize for not chiming in sooner….has been an intense 2 weeks, and 1 more week left of night teaching…let free for the summer to write and finalize the book dummy…so, just a quick follow up:

    David: so happy you have decided to remain at the helm. I know you want be disappointed when I say that ‘i told you so!’…Just as I’ve told you privately, and reminded you last Monday, you do have a responsibility to BURN :)))…you created this, you had the vision and the optimism to create no only an online workshop, an online family, and online photography magazine, but what separates this from the others is that the Magazine has functioned as a school…a portal…an entity in which to both inspire and demand work is done….the EPF is one of the most significant accomplishments…and that was your vision….and so many other wonderful online magazines have followed suit….as you know Visura, that wonderful magazine modeled after the same love of photography and generosity to give back to others, was inspired by what you’ve accomplished, even now to the point where they too try to provide funding for photographers. this is a model that few have really realized. As a photographer, I don’t ‘need’ BURN, but my life would be accountably empty without it…without the conversation and the inspiration….as I told Marina long ago, part of my commitment to BURN is not only my love and friendship and respect for you, but my belief along side yours of helping and giving back….of forwarding the dialog and the belief that we are all connected and they we enrich one another in this connectedness….as Maggie Steber said, you don’t have the right to step aside ;))))….you birthed this, and as all parents, you are now responsible ;)))))…for good and ill….and i cannot imagine writing so much here, or even given Looming without the understanding that this ship is being helmed by you and Anton….life evolves…and you must above all be true to your work and produce that work, including your book on Rio and (I hope) your book “you made me leave”, and as i said here last week to you, i really hope that you accomplish and publish both Rio (YOUR rio, not just the work from your NG project) and ‘you made me leave’, but at this point, for me, what you have contributed as a publisher, and most importantly as an educator and as a leader, is equally as important….much of your work will stand time, no doubt, but i also believe that you shall help more more with what you’ve accomplished here and with your epf…..because you’ve enable people to believe in themselves and in their life as story tellers, even if they never ‘make it’…..and that is the gold in the hay that you have spun….

    if you and anton were to leave, i would too…rather, i would still write, but it would be with a heavy heart….

    as for the YOU MADE ME LEAVE…as i told you, stories that make a difference (written or photographic) are born of the peculiarities of the author, of their inimicable nature…and if there are 3 things that David Alan Harvey loves without abandon, they are: 1)family, 2)photography and 3) women…and i think some of your best, most honest, most inspired work is contained in this series…i know, i’ve seen 3 versions so far, and while some may fluff it off as not ‘hard core’ documentary, i would remind them that the most powerful and most visionary of work comes when the author is carving something from the skin of their own life…and i want that book, i want to see it…and in many ways, i hope it makes it out before ‘off for a family drive’…because you made me leave is really (to me) about family…about the search for family and its meaning…..and it just rocks….

    Anton: big big congrats…you’ve done so much and as you know, when we first started writing long before BURN was a thought, i reminded you that to make sense of a life means to put yourself into the place you desired, simple fit or awkward, and your book is an example of that….from those dark, brooding slow exposure pics in the tokyo bar years ago, to the workshops in mexico to the beautiful, meditative color songs they’ve become….i’m very happy and proud of you…

    as for WHITE…I love the white…my only suggestion is to change the fonts so we can read it easier, quicker…..but all things need time…

    ok, off for the day


  • a civilian-mass audience

    whatever BOBBY said…

    and I do Love you ALLL…ehm…that’s a quick follow up:))))))))))

  • bob

    it has been a long long way indeed… the book is almost there, just printed and now being bound… and every time someone leafs through the dummy, the past three years come back to me

    back then i had no idea what direction i would go… and to be honest now even less…. but i like it that way… and looking back i do feel some little pride that the images along the way became real… friends for life along the way here at burn…

    soon more…


  • Whew!! Where to begin?

    First of all, there are many reasons for my long silence, the most recent of which is that I just got out of the Intensive Care Unit at the local hospital a few days ago. Also explains why I didn’t wish Bob Black a Happy Birthday (I couldn’t forget it, it’s the same as my 2nd ex-wife’s).

    Second, DAVID and ANTON… congratulations on your joint epiphany… shall I call it the “Phoenix” Realization… how the fires of BURN consume you, yet you are continually reborn in the flames?… many, many people are very glad that the two of you will be sticking around for a while yet in some capacity.

    Third, looking forward with much anticipation to the EPF Finalists, the Award itself, and BURN 02.

    Fourth, for technical reasons I don’t begin to understand, I am not yet seeing the infamous new “white background” but still getting the old dark grey background with white text (???). Maybe because I am viewing on my old computer with antediluvian browser… I will take a look on my new computer in a day or two, but if it’s white, I’m sure I will be with Jim Powers on this one… I will hate it. I want to point out that the dark grey background with white text, in fact that exact shade of dark grey, is exactly what I used (and still use) on my own built-from-scratch website that pre-dates BURN and even ROAD TRIPS by several years… it is also the color of matte I use whenever I matte and frame enlargements for people (I do leave a 1/4 inch white margin between photo border and beveled matte edge). Can’t stand photos with all-white mattes and have never understood their popularity.

    Fifth, PANOS!
    I have played the guitar (and banjo, harmonica, recorder, and several other instruments, but mainly the guitar) since 1963, both acoustic and electric, been in a number of semi-professional bands over the years, have my own style, and would have been a professional musician except I am definitely a morning, not a night person, cannot tolerate cigaret smoke, and am a mediocre singer at best. This is not to brag, only to tell you I know of what I speak on the subject of guitars. I have over the years owned more than a dozen pretty good guitars of my own and played many, many dozens more.. and my strong advice is, don’t buy anything new… because even fairly expensive guitars today are not made from as good materials as even cheap guitars were made from 30 years ago, because any guitar made from decent materials will sound better the more it is played and the older it gets, and because if the neck is going to warp, it’ll probably happen within the first two or three years. In a town like LA there must be many places carrying used instruments on consignment… don’t buy off the net, but play as many guitars as you can with your own hands and the one that feels right, sounds right, to you… and that you can afford, ‘natch… is the one to buy. (I’m assuming you don’t want to spend $6,000 on a really classy instrument… yes, really good guitars cost as much as Leicas). But don’t be fooled by brand fetishism… forget the name on the peghead, just play the thing until you find one that feels and sounds (both are important) right. Good luck!

    OK, everybody, I had a little medical emergency, a brush with mortality, the other day… was found passed out in a pool of blood, vomited up more blood when I became conscious, was taken by firemen medics (BURN, Baby, BURN!) in an ambulance to the emergency room (just like on ER), and spent two days in intensive care. I am out now, still weak and a little shaky, but certainly alive. It was a freak occurence (stomach ulcer and a burst blood vessel) that will probably respond well to treatment, but I was nearly camped out in the desert miles from nowhere when it happened… fortunately (?), it happened in town with friends nearby. (It would have been a very painless way to go). My biggest concern now is the impending sticker shock from this little melodrama. Incidentally, it happened on my 64th birthday. First time I have been hospitalized overnight in my life.

    But, the week before I was in photographic heaven, backstage at the Vancouver Korean Dance Festival where I now have total access and VIP status. In the coming days I will be posting just a few of the more than 700 photos I took. So, whatever happens, I really have no regrets.

    Best wishes to all,

  • Whoa, Sidney, welcome back to the land of the living.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
    Dale Carnegie

    THANK YOU ANTONNNNNNN…!!! I would like my copy …Hot…and signed!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    SIDNEY…my Sir SIDNEY…how can we help…?

    I still have your list,your book list…thank you.

    BURNIANS are here for YOU!

    Im watching the movie/documentary HYPE…
    amazing, watching Charles explains and show his grunge work!
    big hug to Felix
    see u soonest

    so glad you are safe and out of the hospital…heal well and quickly, friend. *m

  • Sydney; Thank goodness everything worked out for you…. Take care ok?

  • SIDNEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    just saw your post above ..thank u about all guitar advice.. i will do as u say..
    feel better, get better..like civi said: anything we can do to help????????????????


    shout out to you… ive been wanting to see if you had email available however it is difficult for me to determine if you have even any time left in your day.

    i just want you to know that i am amazed at our polarity: your infinity of knowledge and recall regarding words and poetry and the finiteness of my command of words and vocabulary…

    know also that your authenticity shines through this digital ink… i truly appreciate who you are and what you do.


    i am glad that you have shown yourself again on BURN.

    i remember mostly your frustrated comments on your eternal project of Empty Spaces and i thought and thought about them… until i woke up one day and thought about a splendid idea about how i might go about it if this project were mine.

    thanks for the inspiration.

  • CIVI… my dearest CIVI,

    i am not surprised at all that you have gained recognition. much of Burn is you and how you have kept everyone together. always light and fresh, always caring, a beacon on nite shift who has extended beyond the night into the universe.

    keep it up dearest. i have on file still katie-cakes words from way back when… i usually dig her words up when i am at a loss with mine.

  • Nice to see you back Gracie… :-)

    without Civi, would be NO burn..
    Yeah yeah, DAH created, Anton, Haik, BobB,
    And ANNA M B Jester “realized” it.. But CIVI,
    that Motherf&$&$&!g CIVI was/IS THE GLUE that kept us ALL together and under “contro”..
    and my oh my do I “hate control”…
    But CIVI did it right !
    “Saint CIVI and the Sinners”
    that should be the new Burn “album”, LP, CD.. whatever u wanna call it:)
    Big hug

  • And again:
    Big THANKS TO:
    4)BOB BLACK…

    The rest of us???? Happy tourists and shameless self promoters (and a few ugly opportunists) here and there..
    Credit goes to credit due!
    sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings (mine included)…
    but, TRUTH to be told!

  • 5 minutes left… GO BULLS… f$$k the Heat…
    Florida sucks….


    welcome back….it is always good to have your perspectives..please stay this time


    another welcome back…so so pleased to read your well written missives here again, particularly after the medical trauma…i have no clue what i might be able to do from this end, but if there is anything, feel free to call, request by private email, whatever..will do what i can…

    white on black, black on white…a never ending discussion since i was a student…i remember well mounting prints on white board, then a few years later if work was not mounted on black board, then well it just was not worthy of discussion..just too cool for school..then, everyone tired of either black or dark gray and on and on and on..and here we are now at Burn with the same discussion…first off our intent here was just to change for the EPF finalist drum down…and that could indeed be the case…frankly i like a darker background for some photographs and lighter for others…if i were doing a mat for a print in my home , the background mat would change with each picture…for a show they would be all the same and i have seen it both way, with white of course being by far the gallery favorite…but this is a computer screen…different….in any case, we are not married to either a black/gray or white background…maybe taupe is the way to go…i have no idea…anyway, we will keep playing with shades, and tweaking, and come to some conclusion based on what most us prefer…but mostly mostly , just pleased you are back with your opinions…

    cheers, abrazos, david

  • a civilian-mass audience

    you know me…not good with writing…especially emotional stuff cause I Freeze BUT here …
    OUR KATHLEEN FONSECA…wrote it down for me :

    “Kathleen Fonseca
    May 9, 2009 at 1:23 am
    you see? you see? this is what i mean!! HOW did you know? You make me smile through my tears, just your recognition and your understanding..god, if i say you are so special, and if i say that i speak from the bottom of my heart, my gut, my nerve endings, would you believe me? please just nod yes. You don´t have to say anything. Just nod yes and i will know.
    that´s all i can say..i am a lucky, lucky katiecakes..
    sending you all my best through the ether..
    thanks, sis

    yes…as DAH said it…”please stay this time”…and yes, we found SIDNEY…and I am still looking
    for many others…

    Credit when credit due…few years ago,when MR.HARVEY opened his windows for civilians,YOU and KATIE,ANTON,PANOS,DAVIDB,BOBBY…believed in the Mass Audience,the silent readers,…because I am the silent reader,your average Joe,your civilian…damnit,I want to hug you

    and a THANK YOU to ALL,I mean all my BURNIANS…for YOUR support…no names today…
    I am in a middle of a major project…shhh…REVOLUTION

    and PHOTOGRAPHY…let’s go Green,mint like …:)

    I will be back …oime,myGRACIE…i am a happy civi…SIDNEY,I need update

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “One man may hit the mark, another blunder; but heed not these distinctions. Only from the alliance of the one, working with and through the other, are great things born.”
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    that’s the secret of BURN…damnit,PANOS,we greeks talk too much:)))))))))))))))))

  • a civilian-mass audience

    ohhh…and credit to all of YOU…who know civi(I mean there is a real civi)
    and you didn’t kiss and tell…not,that my name can make any difference…BUT it would be a distraction…
    cause BURN…it’s about YOU,THE PHOTOGRAPHERS…and your VISION…

    YOU made me STAY…so,all eyes ON YOU and your projects…it ain’t about civies…hiii

    Come on my Babies,light the fire…HIGH MIND/LOW LIGHT…LOOK1-2-3!!!!!!!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    GRACIE…can I have ouzo with ice-cream…?:)

  • AKAKY: You must be the ugly opportunist here.

    AKAKY IRL: Piss off.

    AKAKY: Why the nasty mood today?

    AKAKY IRL: Vacation’s over, dammit.

    AKAKY: Yeah, I can see how that would be a major league bummer.

    AKAKY IRL: Thank you. Now piss off.

    AKAKY: Okay. Sorry to have disturbed you.

  • Had a fantastic talk and walk and lunch with the lovely Erica McDonald in NYC on Saturday. The reason I mention this is that it wouldn’t have happened without BURN. So I hope it sticks around and I get to meet more of you someday in person.



  • “Hijacked 3…
    Photographers based or born in either Australia or UK are invited to submit 12-18 digital images from a series/body of work for consideration.”


  • Harvey I approve. I’ll be watching…


    nice opener on your website….

  • Akaky..you are NOT just part of BURN..
    you ARE , Burn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • GRACIE :)))))

    thank you…and i miss your poetry…wish BURN and us all were more fortunate to have you here (and your words) more often :))))

    SIDNeY! :)))…welcome back Lazarus…and i’m am really really happy you are still with us….please, get well…and if there is anything i can do/offer, please send me a note…you’re forgiven your momentary lapse of reasoning (equating me, again, 2nd year in a row, with your ex-wife ;)) )….for i’d rather have you here than not :)))))))…hugs, biggest, from family black :)))

    Mike K :)))>..email sent :)))

    gotta fly….:)))


  • have been all the epg finalists noticed or can i keep my hopes…
    David Alan (and burn staff), what you do here for photographer fighting to get a spot in the small photography circle is almost tender. Cheers for that.

  • Bob…

    Muchas gracias, amigo!

  • Late arrival…

    David – glad you and Anton are staying on. Losing the leader of a loosely-knit group like this would be devastating. No matter how capable and hard working the new person would be, the end result would never be the same. Perhaps the initial drive would be gone or diminished, or the respect level for the replacement wouldn’t be there…whatever the case, the site just wouldn’t be the same. I could see potential for a gradual but marked decline. I could be wrong. Glad we can put off that concern…for now at least.

    As I look at the screen, I can’t help but paraphrase Poltergeist, “Run away from the white!”

  • Assisting JIM GOLDBERG in SA

    (here is a small video-shot with an android phone), showing your truly assisting JIM GOLDBERG, while Jim was shooting video- taking interview somewhere on the road from SA to Austin…
    enjoy (sorry for bad sound- it was just a phone btw)

  • Sidney, my neighbor, glad you are well, or at least better. Take care of yourself, okay?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    What are you holding PANOS…beer? are the MAGNUMS on the road? any updates?

    hmmm…and where is my beer? and my BBQ…POMARA:)…and your report JEFF? …
    and my ice-cream?…

    welcome IVAN…there is always HOPE…:)

    cause when there is hope…There is BURN…etcetera,etcetera…

  • @ PANOS: It’s a tought job to be Jim’s assistant… :-)) Seriously, it’s the best way to learn. By the way: Lakers are Out, San Antonio also… hard to see the NBA Finals without your favorite team. Forget basketball, switch to football. Saturday -> Barcelona – Manchester (CHampions league final) :-))))) I LOVE THIS GAME.

    @ DAH: Why you are not in the Magnum bus with Jim, Susan, Alec and Paolo P. Would be great to see Postcards from America by you.


  • a civilian-mass audience

    YEAHHHHHH…PATRICIOM…Viva football…can’t miss this one!!!

    and regarding MR.HARVEY….hmmm…I forgot to sign his permission slip…
    nobody leaves BURN …:)))))))))))

    oime…I better run now

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