“the answer is blowin in the wind…”


yes, Bob Dylan had it right..answers for life tend not to be empirical but rather instinctive gut level decisions based on the moment and circumstance…we TRY to have rules to follow, methods, reason, and sage advice…any of that really work for you? most likely instinctive decisions  seem to play the largest role for most of us…things seem to either go good or bad based as much on the alignment of the moon and stars as on any reasonable “planning”…there is no doubt that man has always tried to “stack the deck” in favor of good outcomes,  and surely this is a noble effort, but i think we all know that fate, whatever that is, has center stage…whatever actually happens can be justified or vilified by any number of philosophies, religions, political beliefs, and/or coins tossed into the fountain…

those of us who rode out hurricane Irene on the coast of North Carolina indeed did have the feeling that we had cast our fate to the wind…yes, we followed all the rules(well, except the “rule” to evacuate)….boarded up our homes, stocked up with food and water , extra candles and flashlights, and then just waited…and waited..and listened ..and felt….and finally became a part of the power of nature…a spectacular and most beautiful power…a power that was actually only destructive for those who had homes built in the known path of hurricanes..those of us who live here take our chances..this cost some their lives, others their homes…

yet all KNEW the worst could happen…intellectually likely to happen in fact…they just hoped and/or prayed it would not happen…Billy and Sandra Stinson are friends on my street and i suppose now ex-neighbors for they surely will not be allowed by town rules to build another vacation home out over the water where they were..their house was totally destroyed by a fast moving wall of water…last year i  photographed Billy and Sandra in their moments of best family joys  in their home and now also  of greatest despair,  but i will not publish this last moment without their permission on Burn , or  in National Geographic where my assignment is indeed right now the Outer Banks..maybe by next spring when my story is due in NatGeo will i seek to publish, for storms are indeed part of the story…but now my role is friend and neighbor more than journalist….the picture i took for  FB and Twitter of Billy and the destroyed house is not the picture to which i refer…

Michelle Madden Smith, above, lives just a few hundred yards from the Stinsons who lost it all…Michelle, who runs my workshop program and my son Bryan’s partner in life, also rode out the storm, but with a happier fate….here shown in 75mph winds in Nags Head….a joyful moment amongst tragic moments for others and part of a 10 picture series i did publish on FB and soon to be part of a new book….in any case, i have ridden out many hurricanes in my life and IF you are not in a vulnerable position from flooding or wind damage, then it is  truly one of the most dramatic living experiences one can have…so, exhilarating for some, and a tragedy for others….

indeed Mr. Dylan, the answer my friend is blowin in the wind, the answer is blowin in the wind…

236 Responses to ““the answer is blowin in the wind…””


  • Bill…

    you don’t need to shoot square with instagram, you can take any pic from your iPhone, import it to the app and crop it right there to square, so you still have the original file if you need it for other purposes.. but it is true that it will keep you behind the screen a bit, like any other social networking thingy.. not having a blog or FB or Google+ or tumblr or whatever else myself (just twitter) helps to limit my time here..

    Still have to read Akaky, and now it’s doubled even!!

  • Panos.. MW..

    your prints are on their way (mw’s white-red package being weighted, Panos’ blue one on the chair..).. slow boat over China, hope they arrive in time!!


  • Eva, thanks so much.

    Justin, man, I could tell you stories about driving in sand. Best short advice is to deflate the tires. I have a few about driving a white Montero on crazy expeditions as well, but those involve mud much more than sand.

  • Akaky, Panos, Michael Kircher, Frostfog…

    Thank you very much for your birthday wishes!! It’s been the weirdest birthday I’ve ever experienced in my life, even stranger than the one I forgot to celebrate!!

  • MW…

    Keep that kid safe from places like photo schools, dpreview, Luminous landscape and photonet.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    EVA…slow boat over China…damnit you are funny:)

    MW…the kid rocks…pure and free spirit…bring it on…!

    PAUL…you are a true BURNIAN…next b-day let’s do it…over ouzo and spanish cakes:)

    I am still reading…

    P.S…what’s up with our Perpignan people…BURN02 ate their tongue…hiiiii

  • a civilian-mass audience

    and I am still missing so many BURNIANS…


    let me finish with AKAKY and I will be back

  • a civilian-mass audience


    I repeat,I beg,I yell,I am angry…


    I am ok…back to reading…

    P.S…what did I tell you…PANOS is doing weather…!!!

  • “u dont need a weatherman ..to know where the wind blows..”
    bobby dylan

  • a civilian-mass audience

    PANOS…one thing I have to say…YOU do deliver !!!

    the answer my friend …is you know where the wind blows !!!

    How many times must a BURNIAN look up,
    before he/she sees the sky?
    How many cameras a BURNIAN must have
    before he/she can take a pic?
    And how many ears must one BURNIAN have,
    before he can hear people cry ?
    And how many deaths will it take till we know,
    that too many people have died from the HEAT?

    The answer my friend…is right here in BURN
    the answer is here in BURN…

    I know,i know…don’t tell MR.DYLAN…shhhh…

  • CARLOS..

    i think you read way way too much into my comment OR perhaps i should have worded more carefully..there was no intention on my part to pit believers and non believers against each other…heaven forbid….nor to be condescending to anyone…i did delete my original comment anyway you may have noticed (or not?) since matters of religion are best left outside of Burn…

    forget all this….the reality of what is happening is that my son Bryan and i are going to lead a sustained community drive to get Billy and Sandra’s house rebuilt …as an historical landmark…it will take some doing because under current environmental laws they will not be able to do it…but i think we can follow environmental guidelines, and still get the house back..this will involve a whole lot of effort on the part of many in the community…but we have vowed to get it going……this is going to be something to believe in…

    cheers, david

  • DAVID,

    at some point when you are back at your home, I would like to Skype with you about the 5-to-9 essay, to get some feedback and to show you it was not blown in the wind, .. however still some work required, I guess…

  • mw…

    Nice set of images :)!
    Laughing…This is a bit like “the glass half full or half empty”…
    The dog lovers edition.

    Good to see a Rednose Pitbull in your gallery :)
    BTW is this the new camera?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Welcome home MR.HARVEY…!!!

    MW…I can’t stop starring at the toes(human)…hiii

    THOMAS…are we there yet…5-9…!!!


  • a civilian-mass audience

    can I say lovely?…hmmm…

    not my way of talking…

    ok…rock on MFS*

  • a civilian-mass audience

    MFS** = MY FRIENDS…just in case…ADMIN is monitoring…aha:)

  • a civilian-mass audience

    EVA…I deflated my tires…

    car did…broommmm,brooommm…I called road service:)


    Come on BURNIANS…I would love some reporting…and many BURNIANS…Wanted!!!

  • I thought maybe “Heat Advisory” had become the new general any damn thing you want to write venue, but I see “blowin in the wind” is still blowin, so I will post this here. I should have done it awhile back, when this Uiñiq was still brand new – but it’s still pretty new. Anyway, this is the cover of my latest Uiñiq magazine:


    Unfortunately, unless I put the link in the regular part of my blog, where I cannot post until September 15, Squarespace will only open up on the thumbnail, not the image itself, but just click on that thumb and if your monitor is big enough, you can see the cover full size.

    I am hard at work on the layout and production of the next Uiñiq and it must be done to draft stage in one week, so I really should not be fooling around on Burn or anywhere else – I should be working hard on Uiñiq, which I will be shortly.

    Eva – thanks for that info – when things calm down, I will give it a try.

    To anyone who doesn’t know what Uiñiq is, it is explained on my blog:


  • (reposting in the right section this time)….

    To ALL-

    Just came back from 4 very inspiring days in Perpignan…. First and foremost, it has been a real pleasure to meet again with many BURN friends I had not seen in a while… Audrey, Laura, Anton, Diego, Laura (El-Tantawy), James, Jenny, Patricio… I am sure I am missing a few… I had some special moments like discovering the handmade book of Audrey about her parents and of course Burn 02… a superb magazine that Diego has put together with David…. As I told him, he has once again raised the bar and seeing the work of some of you together with special exclusive essays of Pellegrin, Gilden etc is a real treat… I am sure many of you will order it on-line… Having my copy signed by Paolo, David, Anton and Diego made it very special indeed….

    Beyond meeting these friends, Perpignan is also the opportunity to be inspired by the work of some of the greatest photographers…. Was able to meet and listen to Yuri Kozyrev who received the highest award for his work of the Arab spring (see link underneath)… Nothing more deserved.. the work of Yuri stands above all others….


    Another highlight for me was to meet and also listen to Barbara Davidson who was presenting her work on victims of crossfire in LA (link again underneath)… great lady and very inspiring work…. Those of you who have not yet seen the work should see the multimedia piece…


    I was able to also listen to Paolo Pellegrin who was presenting his work of the past 10 years to a limited audience in the Canon reserved area… Such a humble and real person… true talent for sure… Listening to him was a privilege….

    Finally, it was great to see you DAVID…. spending that afternoon/evening with you and the BURN crew was a real pleasure… I always come out full of energy after seeing you…. All of us present were very proud to see the special projection of 5 BURN essayists on the large screen on Campo Santos in Perpignan… Burn has gone a long way since that evening in your loft where it all started (gosh, is this already 3 or 4 years ago???)… You, Anton, Diego have every reason to be very proud….

    My message will not be long as I am heading to Cincinnati for almost 2 weeks leaving at 6am tomorrow so I better get some sleep… I might try to see my boxing friends while there…. funny circle, going back to where I worked on this essay for you at the time of Road Trips… I know you will continue to be looking at assignments in the future… I move at the speed of a turtle given my day job but, if you have the patience, I hope I get a chance to take on another one together :):)… Will stay in touch for sure….



  • a civilian-mass audience

    FROSTFROG you are UNIQUE !

    FROSTFROG you are UINIQ !

    BURNIANS…I am visiting this blog…(frequently)and I have to say this:http://wasillaalaskaby300.squarespace.com/

    thank you…
    thank you and whatever wind has blowing you here…thank you!

    ERIC…thank you too for reporting…say hello to family and safe travels!

    Keep reporting…!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Did I tell you…?
    oh,well…I talk to the winds.Yes.I do…and they say that BURN is the place to BE!

    HAPPY LABOR DAY to those who celebrate !!! For the rest of US…Happy Monday

    Be you
    Be safe
    and let your civi…talk to the winds…(nope,no ouzo yet):)))))))))))))))))))))

  • ERIC…

    thanks for your note here…it was so great to see you as well in Perpignan…a nice reunion for all of us…while you are in Ohio, any chance you can get to new york? we have the loft class at the end of this month..it would be great to have you as a special guest..present work to the class?


    yes, any Dialogue post is where anything can happen..but when you have Panos up with a single or whatever, you can imagine anything goes!! anyway, nice to have your comment wherever it may appear…. :)

    cheers, david

  • Frostfrog, “one day a cat stepped out of the woods, ate his ham, moved in and that was that.” – that’s what happened to us; except that Olly came over the wooden fence of our back garden and ate my ham. He’s been here about 9 – 10 years now: must like it. Tom had his stitches out yesterday; he is doing well. My wife and I will be a little bit closer to you as from tomorrow – we are travelling to Canada to see relatives. Full support team in place for “The Boys” – we have family that live next door.


  • just got back to Toronto…to share with y’all…

    Yumi Goto and Oli pin-fat asked me to participate in Her I was there photo project. Oli asked me and then i asked him if we good do it as a family contribution…so, here it is…..my picture is from my book on Russia, Marina’s is from Versts, Dima is from his favorite thing to do…..


    happy labor day



  • ok, well my link isn’t connecting…just returned from south….bags lost, $200 on travels fees spent in excess…9 hrs from buffalo to toronto after spending all day in airports….and now off for a walk…

    so, i wanted to post good news today….but it looks like it must be seen as spam as it has a link….

  • so, try i’ll try it differently…..last year oli pinfat asked me if i wanted to be a part of Yumi Goto’s ongoing project of photographers from around the globe in her I was there project…i agreed if we could do it as a black family contribution instead of just me…

    ..so, here it is…..my picture is from my book on Russia, Marina’s is from Versts, Dima is from his favorite thing to do…..


    happy labor day

  • ok, so it won’t let me post the link??….maybe david will have to unleash it, since wordpress might think it is spam…..

    otherwise, you can see it on my facebook page…

  • DAVID (DAH):

    I have sent you an email, hope you have an opportunity to see it.

    BOB B:

    Look forward to seeing the latest Black family project. Sorry to hear you had such a hellish journey back home, but hope you enjoyed your time in Florida. Let’s be in touch soon.


    Justin P

  • hey Justin:

    i’ve been trying to publish the link here, but for some reason, it doesn’t post??…wordpress probably things it is spam…

  • David,

    First thing welcome back! and happy labor day to ALL!!
    yes, I did read you reworded your statement.
    No need to dwell in the past as they say…what’s important is this community drive you mentioned…that’s truly kind and an admirable thing to do!

    And thanks for the Perpignan report! can’t wait to hold a copy of burn 02!!!!

  • Not photography.. but since we’ve got filmmakers here too:

    MOTHER WIT Human Rights Film Fund

    Deadline: September 30th, 2011


    Civi.. chicken and eggs.. are you behind this???

  • Stephen Mayes and Tim Hetherington on war and sexuality

    Interesting read.. go to the link to the pdf at the end of the posting:


  • Perpignan http://vimeo.com/28656249

    After delays of trial and error here my take on Perpignan.
    Davids’ energy is contagious . . .

    PS.: I didn’t want yet another account, so it’s posted under Sandra’s name . . .


  • Gerhard..

    Thanks! Two things: you are TALL!! and now at least I know what the cover of the bugger looks like!

  • Eva,

    5 foot 10 . . .
    but halfway up the bleachers did the rest. –



    thank you recording the launch of 02 in Perpignan…so terrific to meet you in person…you got the smile man, you got the smile…. :)

  • Talk of getting back to nature and modernity and stuff over in the Trespassers aisle…

    speaking of field dressing: (warning, not a pretty sight!)


  • a civilian-mass audience

    Good morning from Grecolandia!

    MICHAELK…I love the “inside”…yes,this is close and i am thinking…LUNCH time !!!yeahhh!

    MIKER…safe travels! hug TOM…gently:)

    EVA…you are DA WOMAN, my Lady…DA WOMAN!

    GG…thanks my man…you got the smile and the report…!

    and as MR.HARVEY says…if God dropped out of the sky right now and said in a roil of thunder “Civilian, you must stay in only one place the rest of your life..what will it be ?” my answer would be..BURN

    or…the answer my friend …is blowing in the wind…

    P.S…Cacofonix…my arshh…pfff

  • a civilian-mass audience


    and soooo many of YOU…i am looking for your report…

    I am waiting…:)…

  • report

  • British Journal of Photography launches the app.. this # for free:


    And Jason Eskenazi’s ‘Vanishing Point’, didn’t know this project:


  • a civilian-mass audience

    BOBBYB…rock on!!!

    CARLO …safe travels…

    MARCIN…congrats…maybe you can bring a link from your exhibition…!


    print arrived safely in the americas!
    thank you!

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