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…

-dah-

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


  • Paul.. me either (used the pad), so now I wonder how I’ll get off the RAW files.. hope they’re attached to the JPGs.. anyway, the two or three pics that really matter are on film :)

    Michelle.. sometimes somebody standing naked in front of others deserves sympathy.. and sometimes not.. just my opinion..

  • Gil Scott-Heron, RIP…

  • patricia.. ahh would love to..
    :o)

    funny you mention – my in-head calendar has been ticking LOUD of late.. season has started .. fires lit..

    unfortunately, i have plans.. unable to leave norwayland until i have fulfilled them :o)

    hope you have a blast.
    x

  • “the psychotic photographing the psychotic”………..if anything a person with that nature would probably produce great stuff or alternatively not participating at all.

  • TOM HYDE:

    “David, wish, wish I could be at LOOK, especially since I’ve never been, but I’m moving my Mom from Lexington to the left coast the week before. Such a near miss in time and space. Family first :))”

    Lexington which state??? If KY you hopefully will give me a call, glad to assist if possible….

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