Tiger Blood

© Stefanie Mueller from her essay in BURN 02


Who has tiger blood? Well, tigers have tiger blood. While drinking the blood of tigers and cobras and rhinos might be considered an aphrodisiac for some, it would seem to me that a bit of exercise, a good night’s sleep, a full moon, some good wine, and candle light might be a better way to go. My feeling is, leave wild animals alone. Reaching in vain for an elusive romantic notion has probably had everyone one of us make a mistake or two. Learning is of course the name of this game of life.

While I mostly feel I have so much to learn, I spend a whole lot of my time as a mentor. Not with huge quantities of knowledge. My only job as a mentor/teacher is to give those who seek it a solid dose of energy. Get ’em fired up. Make them THINK they drank some tiger blood. Drive them just a little bit crazy. Make sure they do their very best work..

If you think it, if you believe it, then you are 90% of the way to having it. Most of my mentoring I do gratis. One of my responsibilities on this planet. Self imposed and as pay back for being lucky. Some of my mentoring I do for a tuition. As altruistic as I tend to be, I too must face earning a living. I do not need much, but my workshops do have a tuition attached. Any astute person, and there are many here on Burn, can certainly over time get on Burn whatever I teach in a workshop.. for free. Send me a link and I am going to give a review, some thoughts,  and hopefully get you going on a project. Audrey Bardou, Panos Skoulidas, and Erica McDonald, all with significant essays published on Burn are just three examples of emerging photographers I mentor with no compensation expected.

Others here have guaranteed my time by taking a week long shooting workshop. In New York, in Thailand, in Mexico. Wherever. Education usually does cost. Books, college fees, etc. If most of us feel that education is one of our most valued commodities, then we should all be willing to consider education as worth the price, assuming the stuff that gets learned is worth it. I always try to make it worth it for those I mentor gratis just as much as to those who compensate.

So I think I will use this same model of give most away, and be compensated for the rest on my work now in RIO. I would like to take  this Burn audience vicariously with me to Rio. Yes as an educational exercise.  As reportage. This 4th trip to Rio in the last 2 years will finish my last chapter for my personal book.  I have already completed my National Geographic assignment.  I am taking you with me with daily updates as i  finish the book. How I how think about a book, and a fast paced walk on the wild side in RIO.

For it is this “behind the scenes” approach I am taking by presenting a subscribing audience with a real time real view of “this is how it is”. A  very personal look  at play that is work, and work that is play . A party, too much fun to be serious? The party, well , yes. But a serious effort? Absolutely. My whole reputation as a photographer will be on the line. The National Geographic piece will most likely be out in late spring of 2012 and my RIO book and exhibition opening in Sydney , Australia at around the same time.

The NatGeo piece will be one thing hopefully of great value for one demographic , and my personal book will be perhaps my very best work. We will see. I am feeling it. Deep down. Anyway the process , both  the physical and  the psychological,  will i think be educational for those who seek it here on Burn. We may also do a super limited  workshop experience. 2-3 students max. Details to follow.

Some of this will be regular programming here on Burn. Yet the deepest behind the scenes will be a daily updated subscriber section. For a month. Those who choose this option will get a serious discount on the book. I must work out the exact numbers formula , but the  one month subscription will be less than a cup of good coffee and the discount on an expensive book will be about 20%.

In other words for example  you invest 2 dollars for the WHOLE MONTH (that is like 6 cents per day)  for  daily how to do it updates …then later get say 20 dollars off the price of the book. Or 10 or 15 , depending on exactly how expensive a book i do..  The exact numbers are now in flux, but I will have it all locked down in about a week.

So you will  see what I am doing in Rio now for a nominal monthly fee, and save serious money if you want the book. A good deal for you and might just help me get the book done. OR don’t subscribe, don’t buy the book , and you will get much of it here anyway. No hard feelings. I am going anyway. This is going down no matter what. But of course I will try to make the behind the scenes so damned compelling, you will go for the subscription !!  Use your imagination.

My case in point, and my next big feature,  is to  see what is up in RIO through my daily picture/text postings and dialogue with you.  I am leaving in about two weeks for a month of free style rocking crazy serious shooting. Gonna be intense. Can you handle it?

Better drink some tiger blood first!! Smiling…




Everyone is trying to figure out ways for photographers to earn a living in the digi age. At Magnum we are working on this , as a member photographer I am doing the same. The main thing is to have original content. The model above , if it works, could be then used with many photographers. The readers in effect vote on content. In general, Burn in 2012 will have all content you will not have seen prior. We will pay for this of course. Hopefully with your donations which do keep us going already with EPF and original commissions as we did for Burn 02 with Paolo Pellegrin and Bruce Gilden. This is the model we want to use for everyone. This is our goal.

So our whole point, both with live “broadcasts” and with online and in print is original content. Seen first here. Perhaps a part of the new upcoming Magnum system of individual photographer “channels”. Stay tuned, more information later.

It is most likely to your personal advantage to give our small crew here at Burn your support. After all , we are only here to discover you. To find new work , from new photographers, and to light a candle as well to some icons who may lead the way for you. You will spend your earning on photography one way or another, and I can honestly say you will be doing yourself more good keeping the flames at Burn on blue hot level…We are photographers at Burn.  Not businessmen. Yes we need funds to keep going. Why wouldn’t we? We are not rich photographers. Burn struggles every month to survive. Mostly we want to be able to create fine objects. Fine books. Fine workshops. Give you good spirit.We want to stand for the high end of photographic pursuit and we intend to earn it.

You can easily see we have no advertising and our only sponsors are generous donors. We only owe you.

I am guessing that Burn 02 (available below) will be sold out or close to it by Christmas. I believe last year that 01 was gone by mid January. My friends at the traditional publishers of photo books tell me that Burn is rocking the boat. The few copies  of 01 we did hold back are now selling for double the original price. We did not hold back any for that reason, because this has been a total surprise. We expect 02 to be a collector item as well. Limited edition anything is always of best value.

Anyway, check us out. Hang out. All of you just being here helps us. Give us your ideas. Give us your pictures. No wait, SELL US your exclusive essay!! Photographer’s rights are my mainstay philosophy. Our whole constitution at Magnum is about photographer rights.

So  yes help out my staff with a bit of support if you possibly can. If you are a committed photographer this will come back to you in a very real way. Or if you simply enjoy looking at leading edge photography , then it will come back to you in a real way as well. Our donation button is in the right hand column. Buying 02 is another way to help all of US. Thank you.




USA, Canada, MexicoAdd to Cart Rest of WorldAdd to Cart (For volume puchases (over 10 copies), please contact
Diego Orlando directly at diego@burnmagazine.org)




475 Responses to “Tiger Blood”

  • PANOS. Have you posted the prints out yet???


    Fat lot of good it does him now.

  • In the beginning of this month me and Ioanna participated in a small but very tight festival in Santorini (!) organized by the great guys who run the lovely Atlantis books

    Just posted some pictures on my blog…

    Fat lot of good it does him now.

    Kinda good news,bad news.
    Good news. You’re in Magnum. Bad news. We can’t tell you

    I’m sure someone with more insight into Magnum can provide a more informed point
    but the whole idea of representing these images seems a little opportunistic to me.

    Does this send a signal that Magnum might be opening the doors to representing specific bodies of work,
    that fit their vision, by photographers not necessarily represented by Magnum?

  • Well it has been a crazy few days for OWS. I had been shooting the day of the raid at Zuccotti, returned home sort of late, got to bed around midnight when word went out that the raid had started. I was out of bed and back by 1:15 I think, but park was closed already with no access for blocks. it was a long night on the streets as I am sure most of you know by now, but a vivid memory for many. The police force was over the top in my opinion, including toward journalists and the whole thing of freezing accredited press people out of the park was too much. I stayed and photographed till everyone reconvened in Foley sq. but had to sleep and missed Duarte square. Then back again that afternoon. The next day was quiet, post eviction – but then yesterday morn at 7 am there was the blocking of the NYSE and that proved to be a powerful, exhilarating but also high in arrests and a fair shake of police force. Then the rally in Foley which was so mainstream and organized, leading into the crowded but peaceful walk across brooklyn bridge – NYPD estimates 32,500 protesters marched. So needless to say I am tired, my body is sore (was shoved, stomped, grabbed by police but am fine or will be after a massage and rest). And I managed to not get arrested. The shooting conditions can be really tough but hopefully I have a meaningful essay.

    I just don’t know if I should stop, or what is on the horizon. Essay wise – with the mainstream addition at Foley it does seem like I can stop if I want to as my essay will be reflective of the ‘early days’ of whatever the movement morphs into. And my second, tighter piece is definitely done because it focused around the camps and tent life.

    So DAH, yes, I know you are on the road but am just getting my edits together, do let me know if you want to check in about it.

  • John yes i did SEND ALL THE PRINTS OUT….so far only the domestic (inside the US) ones made it (i think CharlesP got a print in Seattle) ..
    i believe that you in London and Eva in Italy should expect the prints ..mid next week (if not earlier)…

  • Seeing as this is burn and we are all friends here I’ll ramble on a little more :) I was just thinking how shooting something like this – so far out of my norm – was really great for me and that I’d recommend doing a 180 to anyone else. I think sometimes it feels as if we should only do what we are best at, but I feel like I have really grown as a photographer in the last two months and that the lessons learned will carry over into the old me even if I don’t pursue this tact – which I may or may not do. I am not saying that all of a sudden I became fantastically adept at this new way of shooting, but the mere act of repeatedly seeing in new ways, of shooting under vastly different situations and in trying day after day to pull something together from this one happening that everyone seems to agree was incredibly difficult to photograph creatively even without the violence, has been a tremendous gift, even if that doesn’t show in the work.

  • emcd,

    Looking forward to one day seeing that essay!
    You are brave and your determination is inspiring.

  • ERICA,

    I for one think it is wonderful that you have thrown yourself into this project of involvement with the OWS encampment and have tried hard to adapt to a whole new way of shooting, and I too am really looking forward to whatever you will show us from your time there.

    Even if in the long run you go back to doing work similar to what you have done up until now, the odds are it will be better, deeper, and broader, and with even more conviction. And, who knows, this may even be a whole new departure for you in terms of style of shooting… too early to tell, of course. But it’s great that you had the space in your life and work and the open-minded attitude that allowed you to plunge into this…

    Your accounts so far, combined with the news I have been seeing and reading, remind me a lot of the Columbia University building occupations back in the spring of 1968 (in which I was a very active participant) and all that went on in and around them… this experience will stay with you from now now and will probably change how you see the world… which will then change your photography as well. So glad you have been one of the people on the front lines sending dispatches to people far away like me.

  • Hi Erica, Occupy Windsor has been the total opposite of OWS…we are the ‘respectful and peaceful’ Occupy. We may also be the last ones standing after the weekend…joking. But I think the movement is worthy of historic coverage, it goes beyond a protest. My experience of about 29 days shooting is: the general assemblies are most interesting in terms of running a protest, it’s interesting to see how young people give protest a crack (I’m 52, most of the people here are around 25 and how they do it is so different from how ‘we’ did it)and most revealing of all, at least in this little city, is the ongoing challenge of assisting the homelessness and mentally ill, those ‘broken’ people who have fallen through our social security net…I pitched a group story about the Occupy Movement to David in October…there are many Burnians covering it…but maybe the time is good now to consider a group essay or at least one iconic work by someone…Doug

  • Carlo – thank you :)

    Sidney – I can see you at Columbia U. – and I do think some of the younger set at OWS here didn’t totally grasp in the early weeks that this could be historically important. In fairness, I think many didn’t and I dragged my feet for the first week it was happening because I was busy and had to make the space in my life/work. Really, I first went because I knew how badly burn’s Katia wished she could be there and could not; so I went with her in my heart. Thank you for the photo process/growth related thoughts.

    Doug – Occupy Windsor – how fantastic. It sounds as if you there have it a bit more together than NYC did with regard to assisting the homeless and mentally ill. We had one group – Picture the Homeless w a presence but the interface between them and the GA was slow to take hold in my opinion.

  • Just came across this video recap of the 17th OWS goings on in NYC – it gives a pretty good idea of what went on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd5egXO6UrY&feature=share

  • I suppose it had to happen sooner or later, and like all such phenomena bound to happen sooner or later—things like root canal with inadequate anesthesia, an IRS audit with an incompetent accountant, or having a pack of starved hyenas devour your intestines while you watch come immediately to mind—most of us here were hoping that this would happen much, much later rather than sooner. Alas, like all such hopes, it was not to be. Yes, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea, let’s go to press: the headline today—THE OCCUPY WALL STREET MOVEMENT HAS COME TO OUR HAPPY LITTLE BURG!!!

    None of us is quite sure why these people came here in the first place; our happy little burg is not a center of global capitalism by any stretch of the economic imagination. Neither are we a hub of global political power nor do we have any sites of world-shaking historical importance. In short, nothing has ever happened here that would cause anyone to want to occupy us. Given these facts, most of us here assume that the occupiers tried to shut down the Vampire State’s rail network and wound up on the 9:27am train by mistake. Having gotten here, we think they just decided to occupy whatever was nearby, one place being as good as another. At least, that’s what makes the most sense to us.

    At first, no one knew what to make of them; a good many people thought the circus had come to town, while most others paid them no mind at all. The occupiers arrived on the day of the Homecoming Parade and the good folk of our happy little burg have little inclination to listen to the woes of the starving upper classes when there is something as important as high school football going on. But the high school kids, as inclusive a bunch of teens as you’d ever care to meet, God love them, told the occupiers that they could march up Main Street with the rest of the parade. And so it was that the occupying movement came to town, marching behind the flatbed truck with the junior varsity team on it and chanting slogans when they weren’t diving for the candy the JV team and cheerleaders threw to the kids on the sidewalk. The occupiers even tried to shout down the high school’s marching band as they passed the reviewing stand, but that was always going to be an exercise in futility. As is the case with most high school bands, our band does not well, to put the matter politely, and compensates for their lack of any discernible musical ability by playing their instruments very loudly, in the hope that volume will cover a multitude of musical sins. It doesn’t, not by a long shot, but everyone pretends not to notice.

    And this worked, for the most part, our local gendarmerie reporting only one untoward incident during the Homecoming/Occupy Our Happy Little Burg Parade. The incident occurred as the occupiers marched past Don German’s Hair Cut & Hand Gun Emporium. As the occupiers went by, Don German Martinez Rodriguez, the proprietor of the establishment, started shooting at the occupiers with a 9mm Glock automatic pistol. Apparently, the sight of so many Che Guevara tee-shirts angered Don German no end; Don German is a native of Havana and regards the words Fidel Castro, Satan, Communism, and several words referring to the reproductive and excretory organs of the human body not merely as interchangeable cogs in the great machine of the Spanish language but actually the same thing. Given this background, it is not surprising that Don German has no use for the late Mr. Guevara or any of his tee-shirt wearing acolytes either. The occupiers scattered when the shooting started, scattered at slightly less than light speed according to some people who saw them scattering, most of them convinced, no doubt, that their short sojourn outside the comforting cocoon of blue America had led them into the more unsavory parts of Deliverance, and they all looked a bit sheepish when they realized that the spectators were laughing at them. Don German may have wanted to kill large numbers of godless Communists, but his wife, the always formidable Dona Carmen, always makes sure that her husband’s personal Glock is loaded with blanks. This is something of an open secret hereabouts, with no one telling Don German so as not to offend his sensibilities; even the cops know about the blanks, which is why they did not arrest Don German or do anything to stop the faux fusillade. A man waging his own personal crusade against the forces of communistic evil does not want to think that his own wife is sabotaging his efforts in order to keep him from hurting himself and others; some things are too galling for a proud man to think about and this is one of them.

    As the occupiers passed City Hall Park, they veered off in order to get themselves organized, to the extent that a mob of anarchists can call itself organized, and while they were there discussing how to organize themselves someone made the decision to occupy the park and there stage their protest against whatever it is that they are protesting against. I wish I could give a more accurate description of their cause or causes, but most of their demands struck me as a sort of Anarchists for Greater State Control of Damn Near Everything, which causes the same cognitive dissonance in me that watching a fat man about to undergo his fifth quadruple bypass operation celebrate the culinary joys of eating six Big Macs a day with the accompanying supersized order of French fries and a vanilla shake does. It could happen, I suppose; French fries are a good thing, except when the kid at the fryer overcooks them. There are people who enjoy burnt to a crisp fries, but I am not one of them.

    The occupiers reached City Hall Park at about 1:30 in the afternoon and began their drumming almost immediately; percussion seems to be a distinguishing characteristic of this generation of revolutionaries manqué; and they kept up the banging until they realized that there was no one around to listen to the banging. For those of you who do not keep up with these dispatches from our happy little burg, let me repeat a point I’ve made before: the crew of wise yet peculating malfeasants who govern this place do not meet in their chambers at City Hall, as the building itself is a local symbol of just how dumb politicians can be if you give them half a chance. No, our local mob of solons meets and governs, if you can call it that, our town from the much more congenial environs of Gallagher’s restaurant five blocks away. The only city employees who use City Hall on a semi-regular basis are the cops, who use the holding cells in the basement when there isn’t enough space for the local criminal element in the men’s room of Dunkin’ Donuts, the police department’s unofficial headquarters on South Chapel Street. As the local criminal element isn’t very big, the cops don’t need those cells very often.

    That, I think, is what brought matters to a head in the occupiers’ encampment. They were prepared to endure the oppression of the fascist police and the moral opprobrium of the employable classes, but not the complete indifference of the denizens of our happy little burg. Clearly, they had to do something to shock the citizenry out of our false consciousness and into a more revolutionary mode of thought. To this great end, the general assembly of the Occupy City Hall movement decided that the first step to raising our collective consciousness would be for the movement to leave City Hall Park and occupy Johnston Field instead. For those of you who neither know nor care, Mr. Hastings P. Johnston was a prominent local businessman and former mayor of our happy little burg, and we can skip the rest of the biographical details; he is important here only in that you should know that our high school football team plays its home games at the field named in Mr. Johnston’s honor in 1955.

    Having successfully covered the distance between City Hall Park and Johnston Field in the time it took me to write the previous paragraph, even if they did go a block out of their way to avoid Don German’s establishment, the noisome mob of occupiers pushed their way past the front gates and into Johnston Field without paying the three dollars admission, unfurled their banners, and marched past the goal posts in the visitors’ end zone and out into the red zone, chanting ‘we are the 99%’ and ‘whose field…our field!’ Some of their number headed directly for the refreshment stands and demanded free food from the cafeteria ladies, whose cooking at the football games is always much better than it ever was in the school cafeteria, but that could be my memory playing tricks on me again.

    This intrusion of the profane into the sacred space of high school football caused the reaction one should expect in all cases where the profane intrudes upon the sacred—there was a long, a very long, moment of stunned silence as the gathered worshippers attempted to process the enormity of the blasphemy the occupiers had committed in front of them, and then a prolonged shriek of outrage and horror that did affright the very air of our happy little burg. A moment later the supporters of both teams poured out of the stands in a great raging tsunami and onto the field, there to beat the crap out of those obnoxious little punks.

    The lead element of the occupiers had just reached the thirty-five yard line when the first wave of our stout yeomen fell upon them. The results were not, by any standard, pretty. The violent among the occupiers—the anarchists, the black masked communists, the nihilists—a cohort used to dealing with the professional repression of the police, tried to resist as they took the full weight of the assault by flag-bearers, parents, children, Republicans, two chapters of the Knights of Columbus, at least one Elk, football players, the high school marching band, with the sousaphone players doing good service that day, cafeteria ladies, and orthodontically perfect cheerleaders with big breasts and pom-poms. Confronted on all sides by symbols of AmeriKKKan imperialism and corporate plutocracy, the occupiers finally cracked and ran for their lives. I heard that some of these poor benighted wretches didn’t stop until they reached the river and then they tried to swim over to the slough of urban despond directly across the river from our happy little burg. It was a good thing that someone had the common sense to call the Coast Guard and have these dopes picked up out of the river; I don’t think the fish care to have the occupiers in their river, fish having better taste than some people I could mention.

    In a related bit of news, there seven occupiers missing in action, or so the occupiers claim, and they claim that the police are holding them incommunicado. This is not true, as our local constabulary couldn’t find incommunicado on a map if their lives depended on it, and in the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that I did see some of the cafeteria ladies dragging some occupiers onto a school bus and then beating them senseless in there. I suspect that these are the same people the occupiers claim the police have stashed incommunicado, although I also suspect that the people involved would rather be in a cell somewhere. I always wondered what the mystery meat in the cafeteria’s meat loaf was when I went to school; the general opinion of the student body at that time was that the gray pulpy stuff under all that ketchup was stray cat, dog, or possibly even rat meat. This generation of high school students will be getting something a little bit different for lunch, I guess.

  • AKAKY IRL: Uh-oh, you’re in trouble now, bubba. You can’t go around making fun of sacred cows without them trying to make hamburger out of you.

    AKAKY: You should have said something while I was writing the damn thing.

    AKAKY IRL: You don’t pay any attention to me.

    AKAKY: I wonder why.

    AKAKY IRL: Me too. I’m usually right.

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  • PANOS!!

    Thanks, that’s great! Never been able to hook up with them to get the printed version..


    so cool….congratulations again!!

  • DAH…thank you! and…smiling…stay tuned..
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