I took this picture the day after Christmas . I was playing dominos with my mother, when I noticed the light hitting just right on her wedding day picture. A very small simply framed b&w shot from a random off the street commercial photographer in San Francisco where my parents were married without ceremony as my father went off to war. Not an unusual set of circumstances for a couple of Iowa farm kids who fell in love in high school and took what came their way. I was born in San Francisco two years after this 1942 picture.

For 59 years these two had the most amazing relationship. For real. Alan and Maryanna met at Moville High School. She fell in love with  him because he was tall, handsome AND he had a car she says.  Oh yes, their parents became friends too, lived nearby, had same life. So how many reasons do you need?

My father passed right in this house on Christmas day 2000, family gathered to say goodbye, about a year after my mom and I got into this now 12 year old super competitive dominos marathon. We keep score. In detail. She is 6 games up after all this time. We are a game playing family, with me losing most games most of the time. I travel the world. Lots of adventure. Yet hanging here, with family, is THE  place to be. I have never missed a Christmas at home,  often leaving “important” assignments to do so.

Right after I took this shot, my mom said “Oh David, you had better move that picture out of the light. It might fade”.

I don’t think so mom, I don’t think so.

164 Responses to “Archival…”

  • See.. didn’t know about the car bit.. but was right when I wrote: that was the start of “Off For A Family Drive”.. and still going strong!

  • this photo is too good to add words to it…
    when in greece last month i stumbled upon old torn apart photo albums…
    seeing my mother when she was 16 or my father when he was 21 is a feeling beyond description…
    Nothing stronger than a photograph…
    we usually need 3-5 minutes to listen to a song, 2 hours to watch a movie, half a day to visit a gallery, 45 seconds to have sex, 3 hours to run the bike…but but but ONLY a fraction of a second to look at a photograph.. and that sets photography apart from any other extracurricular activity ;)
    smile people smile..
    its free plus it doaes NOT cost anything either, and above all u dont need to pay anything for it!



    Happy holidays!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Don’t we wish texts coming with the essays could achieve in the simplest manner what this one does, net to the pictures?

    One of your best entries, David, certainly the most touching. Happy New year 2012 and beyond to yourself and your great family!

    PS: when Panos says no need for words, his longest comments follow….?!?!? ;-)

  • Again, terrific photo David.

    This is a wonderful photo of a photo, a tribute to family, a tribute to love, and a tribute to the enduring power and value of a simple formal portrait.

    I will be sending you some portraits in the new year David, along with my thoughts on portraiture.


    December 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm Edit

    We are always left dreaming and wanting to go out and see the world.

    When the most important pictures are the ones that you see when there is no light left in your eyes or the world’s.

    Thanks for this.

    Merry CHRISTmas DAH! To you and yours.
    michael kircher
    December 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm Edit

    “Merry CHRISTmas DAH! To you and yours”

    what an odd placement of CAPS.
    michael kircher
    December 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm Edit

    Very cozy shot, David. Cheers.
    December 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm Edit

    Lovely image, actually I find it quite a profound and extremely telling. Somehow or another we human beings all need a family, it’s our identity it’s the evidence of who we really are. Some begin life with a family others create a family later on in life, it doesn’t matter we all end up keeping or creating something similar.
    It’s interesting that I had always held the significance of family in a pretty vague view, something I had always taken for granted and honestly did not value enough, probably because I grew up in broken family. This was quite true until I came across Roadtrips and apart from all I learnt on photography, the stories you told us about your family taught me to appreciate my own young little family and treasure it with all my heart.


    i have told you before that i would welcome your portraiture…we lean here towards fairly straight docu, but honestly i would love more variety…i long to be a portrait photographer when i grow up (American Family book will be my first attempt) me the way..


    welcome home!!

  • David,

    Very nice image! Welcome home.

    The RIO adventure was great, feels like we took the trip too, albeit without the late nights!

    I assume your time in Durango is short and sweet. Perhaps we can catch up once you settle in. I’m tied up for the most part with newspaper deadlines until the weekend.

    Congrats on bringing BURN into it’s third year!

    Best, Jeremy


    yes, let’s meet…i have to go to the gallery at some point..maybe tomorrow, friday??

  • DAH,

    Lovely post, thank you for sharing it with us. (BTW, off topic but take a look at this iPhone case. It is too cool not to share, and even has strap lugs! )


    45 seconds to have sex? I need the secret to your stamina! :-)

  • Justin..holding my best for photography…like a boxer in the ring!
    obviously you pay attention amigo!

  • …problem is that “best” is yet to come…not even close..
    or maybe! that IS the best part!

  • Panos, big hugs! Yes, that IS the best part – if not, then what do we have to look forward to?

  • For those who didn’t watch yet..
    Thanks Richard Beaven for posting it
    “this is the secret to working for me” the world of assisting @davidalanharvey according to DAH..

  • Roberta,

    I remember reading it over at RIO. Nice to see it on video. Thanks!

  • Thanks for that, Roberta. David led me to believe he merely followed the whims of his fixers in Rio. That’s what I thought he wrote. :) To see that he is in fact such a hard, merciless and wilful task-master makes me happy he’s not my boss. Haha!

  • JEFF

    i have no idea what i said that would lead you to believe i “merely followed the whims of fixers”….how logically could you even believe that concept? i am a collaborator, but very much have very strong personal points of view on everything…at the same time, i am always ready to learn…..those two thoughts are not in conflict….if i am working with others, i very much want to squeeze everything out of them…to take as much energy and to know all that they know etc…i also very much believe in the symbiotic relationship and try to give back way more than i take…this is why the collaborators i had in Rio and i were able to do what we did…i hope you will see it all very very soon…and i thank YOU for being a collaborator as well..we FELT the audience…a one of a kind experience by all accounts….after all riobook was for you…we all appreciate you being a part of it….

    cheers, david

  • Actually, I browsed through the today – Firstly, I appreciated that it is in order, so one can start at the beginning and follow through the whole story, and hey, it was such a great experience, just by browsing through the pictures and the conversations it all came back again.

    It has lots of inspiration and I am looking forward to my own travels to hopefully catch some light there.

    Ah and DAVID, yesterday I bought a NatGeo Magazine, with the Best Pictures of NatGeo – and it has one of your pictures – about the soap parties in Ibiza. Also with a little background story.

  • David: I don’t know if I should start blushing because I may have hurt your feelings, or if I should roll on the floor in laughter because you didn’t get my lame-ass attempt at humour. I think I should set aside the sarcasm and stick to serious. There was something you wrote about just following your fixers wherever they led you – which I didn’t take seriously – and I was just throwing it back at you.

    But seriously, THE lesson I took from the workshop really does have everything to do with the video Roberta shared above. For months I had the naive idea that the notion of creative immersion – your concept of being filled by life – was somehow reactionary and spontaneous to the moment. In a way, it was just the intersection point you scribbled on your palm. It soon became apparent that the set-up and the tackling of the project from all sides was the part of the equation I hadn’t considered. Preparation, planning and hard work leads up to the moment of passion and creativity. The lesson of the video, the “How-To Manual For Fixers”, is also by extension my lesson from the month, and the lesson for any photographer. Be prepared, in control and then….let it go. It was that first part that was the big reveal for me; having it come so soon in the workshop just made the whole tripping month the joy that it was.

    Seriously, thanks. In the spirit of this week’s dialogue, here is an image of domino players who come prepared to play passionately, much like your mother and you:

  • i wish to give y’all a mitzvah….

  • DAVID,

    Just sent you a phone message. I get off work early on Friday, perhaps I can roll through Durango mid afternoon. Saturday (early) works too.

    We are having some folks out to the house for a New Years celebration dinner, awesome cowboy bar right across the street to ring in the New Year with lots of energy afterwords! The invite is open. otherwise, coffee, beer in Durango sounds great!


    Cheers, Jeremy

  • JEFF

    i was dipping into comments here, reading way too fast, not getting context etc…but definitely you did NOT hurt my feelings! you have to remember i survive the magnum process and the natgeo, those are often painful of course…big league pain….ain’t no hurt feelings here on Burn amigo….i was just trying to give you an answer…your question COULD hv been serious….and as you know i do attempt to answer all questions thrown at me…my feelings did get hurt when i was about 22 and at grad school at Mizzou…the first time our teacher blasted the work i was horrified..i had never heard critique before…not sure how my reactions come off as hurt here…no intention to sound that way…i will defend various positions from time to time, but all of this discussion here is what it is and i love to totally disagree with someone on point and then go have a beer…as you know that is the Magnum way for one thing..not personal….i do not think hurt feelings are a part of any Magnum photog…at least not toward the work…something like a rejection by a woman might hurt my feelings i guess :) but a question on my work or motives or whatever is all good, all grist for the mill…your comments always welcomed either serious or in humor…

    cheers, david


    cowboy bar , New Years Eve sounds really dangerous…..but can we meet for coffee, daytime??….hmmmm, what’s the name of the bar?

  • Mark Tomalty,

    Cheers for the Stanley Greene interview.
    It’s so him, so real and so very true! Aside from his comment on iphonies, he does make a few important points that aren’t, imho, discussed enough. I do love the guy -his very strong personal views and his ‘old-school’ ways that should be more of an example to shooters around…

    Cheers, T.


    i love Stanley Greene…he is a good friend…he lives (or lived) in my building in new york…and i share most of his values…and i would tell him this to his face…honestly his views on the iPhone make him seem like an old man to me..and he is younger than am i..again, who cares how one one captures an image? for heavens sake…if if cannot be published or the quality is too poor, then sure it makes no sense…but we are talking tech…type of camera used..that should never be a journalistic morality issue..please

    cheers, david

  • David…

    Am I right in thinking or assuming that deep down inside, you knew very well you would manage to create magic in Rio? Thoughts like “maybe” or “we”ll see how it goes” were or are always totally out of the big plan. Is this attitude one of the key ingredients which help the Magnum women and men stand above the crowd?

  • the fact that Stanley, even in jest, spits on those who use an iphone is enough, for me, to say: good riddance…actually found most of his diatribe empty, useless and beyond curmudgeon….stupid, self-inflated and godlike….who needs that shit….as much as i admire and like much of his work, he can look at someone else’s knees…maybe with all that genuflection…i can imagine anyone of any depth taking that interview anything as absurdly funny (good day) and ridiculous and depressive (bad day)….

    buy hey, he knows how to wear a scarf, shades and rings….

    fuck that kind of behavior, just silly and childish and, if i hadn’t met him prior (only once) would say he’s being funny, but he takes himself profoundly serious….

    better to watch the documentary on The Darkness in Me….a wiser wiser man….and no bling…

    part 1…watch the whole thing (4 parts)

  • PAUL

    my last shoot in Rio was the “perfect storm”…that is the PERFECT CREATIVE STORM..which had been building building and building….all elements came together..and not by accident but still a blessing…a sublime blessing even after the work that went into making it happen…and then of course there was SERENDIPITY….the ultimate serendipity…but that cannot exist UNLESS one build builds psychologically and then makes his/her own “luck”…

    the imaginary “one night” did NOT exist before i went this time, even though i had many “pictures” from before……but i went to find my AUTHORSHIP….

    it was always around the corner, but around the corner is not enough…close is not good enough …only DONE is good enough…

    as you know Burn Magazine should be called Authorship Magazine….but you cannot “find” something unless you are LOOKING…you cannot know exactly what you want, but you know you want something and then bam MAGIC…magic that comes from hard work, intuition, karma, etc etc…”plan” is not really part of the plan :)

    but creating a mood and an environment where lightning will indeed strike is the move…the effort…the goal…and yet so so relaxed , so so intense, so so all consuming….the REASON for being a photographer…the beauty…the reward….the honest authorship that eludes most of us most of the time…so to get even a tiny piece is GOLD…

    i recommend the effort to find gold…

    cheers, david

  • but you cannot “find” something unless you are LOOKING…

    Apropos, just came across this quote this morning:

    “You have to know how to look even if you don’t know what you’re looking for.”

    ― Roberto Bolaño

  • MW

    i love Roberto of course…did not remember his quote, but one way or another many authors have said more or less the same thing…it is indeed the only real true secret to discovering anything…get this, and you will “get” it all…

    hope to see you in new york in a couple of weeks…

    cheers, david

  • David,

    Are you still thinking of doing something after the 15th in the loft as you mentioned over in RIO?


    i will have Rio up on the wall in my apartment in new york from about jan 15 to feb 15…this might get cut short IF i indeed go back for Carnaval….hard to resist…been to last two…but right back to the wall upon return anyway….on my loft wall the book will take its final shape…nothing better than having a coffee or beer while looking at the wall..thinking, moving, just enjoying…..stop in…visitors welcomed..

    cheers, david

  • David.. or Diego, Anton..

    I have a question.. what is the criteria for putting the last two essays one (Akash) in ‘photographic essays’ and the other (Spada) in ‘works in progress’? Thanks!

  • David,

    I would love to stop by and take a peek! I will be in the city from the 18th-23rd.
    I will write you an email.

  • Thanks for that, BobB. Very moving, intense… and totally unpretentious. Stanley Greene on the other hand…

  • Oh, and it’s a good day. So, absurdly funny for me!

  • BOB,

    Thanks for the video clips of the interview with Don McCullin. I have been familiar with his work, of course, for many years, and read his autobiography some time ago, but hearing and seeing him up close has a completely different level of intensity and impact, as Michael Kircher says.

  • Michael/Sidney: :)

    Hey guys, glad you liked the documentary. it is indeed powerful, moving and so insightful. He is one of the greats, and a tough man too, and yet so honest and so humble and so human in the face of all he has endured and seen. I’ve always admired his work deeply (he and PJG and Burrows were some of my hero’s in high school) and also admired that he left the business of journalism and war/disaster reporting and has always been honest about his ‘importance’ and the ‘importance of change’ (that they do not) with regard to picture taking. It’s more about a job then about moral righteousness, etc. But, what I admire the most about him, and the film, is that while about him, it really is about photography as a human vehicle and not a church. When my friend Teru Kuwayama first posted about the Perp interview with Stanley, it was a bad day and I saw it as everything I despised about that very obvious kind of world photgrapher, which is all too common in the photoworld, especially it seems among pj/doc picture takers (like hollywood directors/producers/screenwriters). when I watched it later that first night, it was a good day, had been writing and reading and so, i just laughed at both the pomposity and the hilarity of it all…i LOVE people who have character and don’t give a fuck about the status quo or what others think (and in this sense, i’ve always kind of like his ‘style’ and persona and even though when I met him and spoke with him briefly in nyc, i ealized that it wasn’t a real conversation but a moment when i was a nobody just ‘listening’ to his rap rather than engage in a chat, because character is also about life and who are any of us anyway) and that kind of bravura personality is cool, and yet i find it incredibly insecure, incredibly infantile and well, funny…..then again, i’ve been called insecure before too because our behavior is always filtered through others perceptions, and so, i always just let that float and lay, no big deal, ever….but god damn, if only people bade more attention to the stories of others, the lives of others than their own rings and high-heeled pronuncements….i’m just not interested, no matter how much i like and respect the work stanley’s done, in either that mentality or philosophy or life style….graduated from that when i was 14…, a good day…so laughter, only…

    mw: yes….as i wrote under david’s rio essay, it isn’t about seeing, it isn’t about quenching thirst, but about the thirst itself, the blinking….

    ok, out of here now for a long while, 2012 big changes, big big changes, so be good,…always looking, can’t be writing much anymore….wrote my peace under birthday and The Rio book….

    hoping sidney will pick up the baton :))

    happy new year and be well all…

    cheers, b

  • ” who cares how one one captures an image? for heavens sake…if if cannot be published or the quality is too poor, then sure it makes no sense…but we are talking tech…type of camera used..that should never be a journalistic morality issue..please”

    It is unclear to me if Stanley is ranting about the iPhone as a camera or the manipulation done by some of the apps. If it is just about the iPhone as a camera, well he is probably being a bit uppity.

    still on the fence about the manipulation when it comes to photojournalism. There are a lot of photojournalists that I respect that sit on both sides of the argument and I see valid points on both sides.

    I have said before, if the image is a good image before and after any app manipulation then I probably have less trouble with it (but still not sold). If the image is crap before and the app makes it look cool and therefore “interesting,” then the success of the image is the result of the software not the photographer.

    I will be interesting to look back on this discussion in 10 years.

    “most of his diatribe empty, useless and beyond curmudgeon….stupid, self-inflated and godlike….who needs that shit….as much as i admire and like much of his work”

    I would agree that his comments were a bit harsh but I guess just saying that you disagree would be too easy… sounds petty (and self-inflated and godlike)

    In other words… “Lighten up Francis”

  • “success of the image is the result of the software not the photographer”……..Pete it doesn’t matter where the success resides.

  • ……after all photography owes a lot to technologies contribution

  • in the old days we had to be “good at something”, being “experts” to survive/get a job etc…
    nowadays we have to be good in everything…
    obviously not likable by those that lose that “privilege of expertise”

  • in other words we have to experiment with any any any “anything”, new or old that blends past and present or maybe opens a new way…we are moving on nd thats fantastic..on and up!
    Stay positive
    and shoot with whatever u got..
    but shoot..
    and let “them” figure how you shot it..
    (message to ALL):
    just shoot!

  • we wanna, (i wanna ) see stories…lots of stories and enjoy photography..come on..start producing…
    happy new 2012 or 4089 in china etc…

  • And Stanley video wise..i have to admit that i had a quick 10 minute talk with him on David’s couch up in the loft in Kibbutz and blah blah thing for sure..he was the SWEETEST Man around..I didnt recognize him to be honest..only after we done talking , Diego , whom also i barely knew at the time he sat next to me telling me:” did u know who just wasted his time talking to you?”..smiling..of course i asked “who?”
    it was Stanley etc etc blah blah..etc
    Nicest makes no justice!
    big hug

  • Bob; Thanks for posting that. I had seen the trailer but as I’m at a mates place (only dial-up) watching the doco will have to wait til tomorrow. Mc Cullin is one of my heroes; and most of all, seems a thoroughly decent man.

    Stanley Greene’s Black Passport still amazes me; the trailer he did for it (it’s on Youtube) is like being smacked fair and square between the eyes with a shovel! Funny; I was just about to sit down and look through it again this afternoon!

    Reading a book on New Years Eve, now that proves I am getting old…. ;-) Gonna look through Black Passport, Zielony’s “Story/No Story” (again!), Daido Moriyama’s “Shinjuku” and Anders Petersen’s “French Kiss”

    Anyway; it’s hosing down rain here; hasn’t stopped for 3-days (a pretty typical NZ summer!),so inside is the place to be… So; Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2012 is kind to each and every one of you… :-)

  • Panos…. Geez! a talk with Greene! Just rub it in a bit more why don’t you! ;-)

  • David; How do you think your “older” Rio work will fit in with the new work? It seemed to me that you were “seeing” differently. Does that mean that more of the newer work will make the cut for the book at the expense of the older work? Just curious… Cheers :-)

  • “Pete it doesn’t matter where the success resides.”

    ah, the song of the truly desperate.

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