ahh, Paris in spring…

Joseph Koudelka gives a winsome Martin Parr a pat on the back after the Paris portraits session

John Gladdy emerges from his Paris hotel executive suite, only to be met by the dreaded Burn paparazzi


Like most photographers, I have a bunch of ideas about half cooked….Only some very few of my many on going projects actually get finished…I write about finishing often on Burn because it is the one single element most holding most photographers back..They just do not finish..I have often described a one in ten “finish rate”, which sounds low, but might actually be high….In any case the above two pictures, along with hundreds of others will fit into my now 4th book in progress tentatively titled:   PHOTOGRAPHERS (I have known)..

You will have to use your imagination on the typography and layout, but you can probably imagine the scrapbook look that would contain all the pictures I have made of my colleagues over the last 40+ years. No not just now as in Paris with the Magnum crowd and a piece of the Burn crowd, but all the way back to my college days, newspaper days, NatGeo days and 15 yrs worth of Magnum days and from seminars and photo fests world wide and all of my students and on and on and on…

Yup, I have pictures of probably everyone reading this text right now…Right? Or pretty damned close to it. Everybody shoots these “extended family ” pictures , but I might just have been doing it longer and over a wider demographic of our photographic community than most…

This is not so unusual , for photographers seems to love taking pictures of each other. I saw it at Look3 and I see it at the Magnum meetings like the one we just had now in Paris.  Photographers will often say “don’t take my picture, I belong on the other side of the camera”,  then give a silly grin into the camera just like everyone else getting their picture made. C’mon let’s face it, we all like being in a “memory picture” …Not a good picture. Not an intentional picture. Just a snapshot for the memory book. Well, this memory book might just be a real book. So unselfconscious and so not “trying” that it might just have an authenticity to it that would give it some lasting value. A little piece of history. And of course I will sell a copy to all the photographers who are in the book! Hot sales figures right there. :)

Of course, the cynical response could be, and will be, “who cares about a bunch of pictures of photographers?”…. a fair question of course…Well, I would sure buy a copy if someone else did it..Assuming it was done in a really interesting way…Just a bit of text, a few identifying captions, and well ..done…

Above are just two of the many I took around the Magnum annual gathering of the tribe. The first is of an unusual moment when Martin Parr arrived at the HCB Foundation cocktail party after photographing dozens of Parisians who had been lined up around the block to have a Parr Portrait as part of a Paris office fundraiser. Who could be more different than Parr? Koudelka, that’s who…Yet this is classic..Two photographers who see the world so so differently, and who might disagree on some issues, yet blend in a family way in the long run of our cooperative..This is the extended family of photography that I have always seen since my youngest days. Here played out on the same time stage with a late night Burn crowd reunion in the room of John Gladdy who decided to show us work at 3:30am after a diet of champagne, red wine, and tequila…All of this is part of my photo mix. What I have seen since starting to shoot this sort of thing during my grad school days.

That old famous line “if you remember the 60’s you were not there” is pretty much true. Same for a lot of these gatherings. I sure would not remember 90% of the stuff I see in my contact sheets. So good thing I made a few snaps to trigger the memories. Good ones, great ones,  to be sure..

Next time you see me, smile..You just might end up in the book…

337 Responses to “ahh, Paris in spring…”

  • Bob: just having a heavy head…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    FROSTFROG…on behalf of US…we love you!!!

    VIVEK…our chocolate BURNIAN:)

    PANOS…tour de France…hmmm…is MR.HARVEY running too?:)

    BOBBY…yes,yes,Viva ZHE-ZHE!


    SAMMY…credit where credit is due!

    FRAMERS…photo of MR.VINK and PAUL?…where? hmmm…I see a glass of wine and beer…hmmm:)))))

    BURNIANS…I am missing many of you…please report to aisle ahhhhhh…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”

    I love the BURNIAN with the pink scarf…he is confident !

    thanks and welcome back MR.HARVEY !:)

  • David, my favourite Magnum meeting photograph is the one where everyone covers their eyes. I had that photo at work on an intro to a talk by someone from Magnum U.K. (many years ago). Left the work, never got to empty my desk but still have the photo in The Magnum Story book.

    To everyone who has ordered Anton’s book and is still awaiting its arrival: you are in for a treat – it even smells BOOK! When you open the package you will know what I mean. Nice introduction to Anton’s book, David. Your words are obviously considered and thoughtful and present the experience just right. To anyone still considering buying the book, order it now! It really is very special; unlike any other book that I have bought: it feels more like a gift.


  • John Vink! :))

    Je comprend ami, Je comprend! :)))

  • DAVID :))))

    anderson and chien-chi…too fucking hilarious! :))))))))))))))))))…

    and i will forever quote Rene at BURN from now on: ‘who the hell is in charge here?!?!’ ;)))))

    and btw, rene has to always be the best dressed Magnum member….i mean pink scarf/pink pin-point shirt: rules! :))))


  • sorry, i mis-quoted Rene…should have been:

    ‘who’s in charge herre, god damn!’

    guess that’s why i left journalism


    i agree that Zhe is simply a remarkable photographer..or, at least Bees an amazing essay….i was so pleased she won the Inge Morath award…it seems that many either really really like her work or just do not get it…the response from readers here was tepid at best and the EPF jury did not pay too much attention to her…yet , i am with you, she is one to watch…i am very interested to see what she will do next…

    Rene is best dressed older EUROPEAN photographer…..you know damned well Soth could not do that for example..

    cheers, david

  • david :))

    zHE-ZHE is remarkable…all her work…and i had to be careful, because i wanted to write a novel after her epf submission, but decided to keep a simple (and i hope) beautiful comment…she’s also an interesting young woman and deeply thoughtful…we talk almost everyday and i’m so pleased…i’ve introduced her to one of my friends, the extraordinary canadian photographer Jack Burnam…anyway…i was really really pleased about IM Award…she IS one to keep watch…she’s on her way back to china…

    But SOTH does wear a baseball cap like noone else! ;))))…his sartorial dress is brilliant, mid-western americana…just as noone quite wears glasses on the top of the head as gracefully as Harvey…not even Gilden l;))

    gotta fly…:))

  • Looking back at the comments on “Bees” I see that I didn’t express what I felt about it. I remember meaning to, but never quite got up for it. That, and got sidetracked by one of Jim’s more unfortunate comments. Pity, cause that essay exemplifies everything I revere in a photo essay. Sophisticated narrative and use of color – both in its own right and in service of the narrative – excellent composition, compelling story and an overall aura of originality.

  • BOB…

    i have never met Zhe….please give her my regards

    you may remember in Toronto, i actually had to wear Gilden’s glasses..loaned to me in mid presentation!


    your review now is right on

  • I count 3 vests and only two scarves. This group is way cooler than VII! — (hahaha) ;^}

  • DAVID :))

    i will say hi….she adores you :)))….she’s off on a road trip through america and then to china…

    MW :)))

    EXACTLY! :)))

  • This is just question out of pure curiosity and I don’t think I have any intention of trying it out in the near future…

    After meeting Bruce Gilden in Paris and the subsequent essay here on Haiti I’ve been taking an in depth look at his work and of course I bumped into that video of him taking photos in New York… Has anyone on Burn ever tried going out on the street taking photos in such a obvious manner and survived like he does so very well?

  • PAUL

    i would be curious as well…not a technique i would recommend for very many places or for very many photographers…i am very sure Bruce is aware that his gonzo approach to people only works under certain circumstances..Times Square and Haiti being two of them…he would last about 2 seconds with my gang in the South Bronx or in the favelas of Rio…or, i might be completely wrong and Bruce can totally chat it up if he decides…..both Bruce and Martin Parr are similar in their shall we say contact/no contact with people…but it works for them, and they have a whole philosophy built around it…


    who has the other scarf? ahhh, maybe Abbas wears a scarf..for sure you must agree Americans cannot wear scarves…just can’t.

  • I’ve done it, but it’s not me, it doesn’t come natural, I don’t enjoy it; to consistently be in the necessary frame of mind would probably result in severe liver damage, and it’s been done quite well by others, so it’s not something I practice much. But were circumstances to call for it, I can probably manage. As for surviving in the South Bronx or East New York, you’d just have to not care, sincerely not care, about your life and even that level of suicidal tendency might not be enough if you get in the wrong person’s face.

  • PAUL – there’s a guy called twocutedogs on Flickr who does that in Japan and has built his style on it. He was at the Magnum bash.

    I’ve tried it, just to try it, and it’s doable. It just doesn’t give me the visuals I want to produce, so I quickly knocked it on the head. I love Bruce’s work, I just don’t want to produce that work myself. But, yeah, it’s feasible. I’ve shot in Liverpool like that, and also in the murder mile and Peckham down south. No problems. You’d think there would be, but you just have to read the situation well and be quick to respond to the people you’re shooting.

    BOB – glad you liked!

    CIVI – yes, it was supposed to be a picture of a glass of wine and a glass of beer, but then those two guys forced their way in to the background….

  • a civilian-mass audience

    hmmm…and where are the LADIES?…

    Paris in Spring… jasmine,patsouli, mimosa…aromas blended…
    can someone “transfer” some ladies …in the circle of friends…?:)

    oime…I am holding an olive branch…”Peace Restored”…:)))

  • I really don’t think I could manage going so gonzo style out on the street, you really are invading that region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs. I get enough bad looks shooting at a respectable distance and I always worry about their reaction.
    What I did notice was how in France despite all the warnings on how I should take great care shooting street images the French were far more open and friendly than the Spanish who seem to be really allergic when it comes to street photography – of course this is only my personal experience…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    FRAMERS…as BRIAN says:

    “I’ll give you a pass…”:)))))))))))))


    I will be back to check you…

  • I would be interested in hearing Jeff Hladun’s view after attending Gilden’s workshop…
    BTW Jeff I did remember to send your regards to Gilden when I met him :))

  • a civilian-mass audience


    if you give these masks to people in Spain…maybe,I say,maybe…they will stop being so allergic…;)


  • a civilian-mass audience


    if you give these masks to people in Spain…maybe,I say,maybe…they will stop being so allergic…;)


  • a civilian-mass audience

    or maybe not…:)

  • a civilian-mass audience

    and if you are looking for a scarf…check the Italians…

    yes,the Italians…right EVA…:)


  • David… I was counting Rene as well.

  • And yes… Don’t think we Americans can pull it off. I do occasionally wear a scarf in the winter for obvious reasons, but even then I’m self conscious when I pull out the camera! ;^}

  • Pardonnez moi… Monsieur Burri!

  • DAH – I added the Magnum General Meeting making of the group photo video to DEVELOP Tube on Vimeo http://vimeo.com/channels/developphoto and also you hunting for the perfect bag :) and the one Bryan made of you for NatGeo. It’s a start – will add albums/organization ‘soon’ so people can find your vids easily- like with everything, it’s a process, moving ahead bit by bit.

  • ERICA…

    you are THE compendium of modern photographic discourse…good on you for all of your fine efforts…

    cheers, david

  • :) can I use that on my calling card? so happy you are pleased. more soon!

  • if somebody want to mount a SLR lens to the iPhone – here is something interesting … :)))


  • I remember watching a Magnum doco that showed a short clip of Parr at work on the streets in the UK. In that film he came across as superbly confident; but also supremely affable and non-threatening.

    He was busy chatting, laughing and joking with his subjects; his overall manner seemed to put people at ease. It also showed me how willing people (strangers) are to be photographed, and that the expected negative responses were mostly in your own head. I learnt a lot in those 10-minutes.

  • PAUL

    i shot @ times square for the DAH loft workshop 09 …. not exactly in your face but i did pop the flash couple of times … got screamed at once i think ….. my excuse was …sorry …. sir / mam am just a tourist ….. http://www.flickr.com/photos/vivek_manek/sets/72157622559163881/show/ ……..

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