Smoke Break

Hanging. Supposed to be writing a piece for NatGeo on what goes on beyond this porch in OBX.  Yet this is about as far as I can get into the world of writing. Posting on Burn, which I doubt is considered writing. Chris Bickford and Jennifer Kolb take a smoke break after our pizza and beer. The sun flies through the sky down here. No sooner do I get up, than it is so quickly afternoon. That is just the way it is.

187 Responses to “Smoke Break”

  • John, actually, my question was why you found a particular composition uninteresting and/or banal. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s okay.

    Feeling kinship with Bob right now I’ll add that it’s exchanges like this that really make me glad I can look at a photograph or a scene without immediately comparing it to the work of 20 other friggin photographers. At some point, if the pic is really good, then maybe.

  • Maybe it’s the phase of the moon or something,……. no it is you.

  • I am with John on this just basic photojournalist style photography……….the composition part is made up by a couple of viewers.

  • Gung Hay Fat Choy means “Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year.” Chinese New Year

    (Bong is what u meat right?)

  • tortured soul, difficult to see authentic insensible footwear. i mean like groovy man.

  • Michael. So here’s the thing. Everybody loves that essay. What that means to me is not that you are all wrong, but that there IS something there I do not get. my original point I think. For the record though I am happy not getting it.

  • PAUL

    i am ready to see those two essays…i have a feeling you are on to something


    you have never heard me talk about “composition”…at least NOT as any kind of road map..i am an off road driver….

    everything i do here on Burn is only in the spirit of education….Burn is not a library of all the best pictures that have ever been taken throughout history…if Burn were anything other than an intent to educate and enlighten some, than of course i would not be here at all, but only doing my own work…

    we publish 150-200 essays per year here on Burn…that is way way too many essays if one were showing the very best essays that have been done throughout history, which is of course just a handful…i think one must assume that this audience grows and changes every day and therefore i do have some sense of needing to go back over some kinds of essays for those who are seeing Burn for the first time..and here i try to pace one style of essay with another…this one following Charlotte for example…

    please know John not everyone in this audience is as well grounded in the history of photography as are you ..young photographers not knowing from whence they came can be an instant hyper reaction lament of mine when i teach, yet something i have learned to use as an opportunity instead of just throwing up my hands and screaming at my students “you idiots, why don’t you know EVERYTHING ALREADY!”

    perhaps this 28 year old photographer knows the work of Smith, Loengard, and Lanker, but maybe not…or maybe he is just trying his hand in the game…either way, just because Smith or Lanker may have done this “better” does not seem like a very good reason not to look at what he has to say and perhaps giving him some constructive feedback rather than telling him “hey dude, your work does not match the masters, so fold up your tent and go home”..the fact is there is some nice imagery here and i think certainly worth a look even though yes very much in the classic tradition…is classic “out”?

    this was obviously an amazing event….some would have seen it “better” perhaps…for sure i would not judge Yurian as a photographer based on just this one essay…either for better or worse…like Liste in Brazil….any “visually loaded” event such as this is no way to judge the visual acuity of a photography…lots of powerful visuals right there…yet, with Yurian i felt he did go a bit beyond the most obvious and give us a bit of simple lyricism..

    on something like this one does not want to intrude with “super style” i don’t think…so when one shoots a powerful event like this “straight up”, well yes it is going to look most likely like pretty straightforward photoj…Charlotte has us asking questions, Yurian is simply presenting “facts”..fair enough either way i would submit…

    John, i would certainly not expect you to like every photographer i present here for perusal…and your honest opinion is all that we want…yet, i do feel quite sadly that as time goes on your critique is way more painfully reflective of your current state of mind than of anything presented here by the photographer..YOU is what i want..i want John Gladdy …

    yes, as critic, yet MOSTLY i would like to see John Gladdy photographer..after four years now of going back and forth, we have little to see from you and instead i am seeing bitterness (or so it often seems) replacing what i had hoped would be a brilliant essay…so while Yurian may not have gone as far as perhaps he will go, at least he is doing something right NOW with his talents…i would wish the same for all….

    i good rule of thumb is that if you are bored looking at the work of others, then please show us the way by logging off Burn and logging on to your own work long enough to get it done..edit wisely…be done with it and move on to another….make it sing, and we will follow….i will be the FIRST to buy a round, pop the cork, whatever in your honor…

    by the way, Doug Stanhope has it nailed down…thanks


  • OK David. I put my hands up to this. Very probably guilty as charged, although “painfully refelctive of your current state of mind” does make it sound like im about to drink a litre of clorox and take a dive of the balcony…..which had me giggling….plus I dont have a balcony :)

    In future I will restrain my pen hand until it has doodled at least twenty fluffy clouds and a puppy dog chasing in tail, in the margins. That should sort it out.


  • JOHN

    i would not write if i did not care…

    abrazos, david

  • a civilian-mass audience

    what about now?…Can I sing now?


    you MUST sing now….or , i will…and believe me, that you do not want..

  • While we wait for civi please give a big hand for the warm up act.

  • Hey everyone. No time to read comments now. Hope everyone’s doing good.

    Check out my coverage of the Bing Bar at Sundance. New gallery everyday. I’m wiped and still three days to go. Also other exclusive pics on the Bing Facebook page….

    Back next week….

  • Ohhhhhh to be at sundance……
    And with a few days to go,
    I think the party is just getting started! :)
    Great stuff Charles….

  • David
    De-constructing composition in a formal way, like de-constructing literature or music, is one of the ways we advance our own visual literacy. We seldom conciously are aware of the “rules” when making photographs, while writing, or while making music in a spontaneous way. After the fact, we can however to use this knowledge to give us clues as to why things work or not.

    Yurian is an immensly talented and skilled photographer. Anyone who doubts that should check out his website, which reveals an amazing range, from gritty edgy “invisibles”, to breath-takingly beautiful “lake”.
    His choice to employ a classic style for “Grabarka” is absolutely perfect. I am very moved by this essay. Thanks for bringing it to us.

    BTW, just wondering why all this is posted under smoke break rather than under the essay.

    Cheers all

  • Panos, here ya go…

  • Well Michael, trying to bring a bit more to it than what the other photogs are doing (stand here, flash, flash, flash), which might not be that much but is something (and a paycheck). Keep in mind these are 2am edits and Spin then chooses from that (I would lose the party pics – not my forte – but they want that). My personal edit would be a lot different, and one is quite constrained as to what one can actually do, and I am responsible to the client (again, I make my living with photography). Here’s a more personal edit from last year:

    Anyway, if you are interested you now know where to look and I’ll stop with the links. Now back to work for me…(Cobra Starship tonight)…


    Please don’t stop with the links… Cobra Starship is a bonding experience with my 13 year old….

  • a civilian-mass audience


    especially after watching CHARLESP…photos…!!!
    Devil In The Woodpile’


  • a civilian-mass audience

    and HAPPY NEW YEAR…again..and again…

  • Did I write that? Wow. Sorry. Long weekend. Again, sorry.

  • To elaborate, I’m very sorry about that quip to Charles. It was a terribly lame attempt at a little joke that came out horribly wrong. I’ve sent Charles a separate note and asked David to take it down. Hopefully Charles will accept my apology and keep linking to his work here at burn. I think it’s great that he got such a gig and trust the clients will be appropriately thrilled with the results. Charles has one of the best eyes on the planet for that kind of work and the linked photos are representative of his incredible aesthetic for the subject matter. Once again, apologies to all.

  • No worries Michael. Got your note, reply sent, apology accepted.

    And Cobra Starship rocked last night. Pics soon…


    all is good…no doubt in my mind that this audience, this writing audience, is honestly like a family…we often get irritated with each other, just like families do….we all make mistakes…we read fast , we write fast…i mess up all the time in this regard…

    you two have worked it out in the right way…much appreciated….

    cheers, david

  • David…

    Essays sent via Facebook as usual. Nothing urgent whatsover so remember no hurries, first things first and by that I mean the Rio wall and NatGeo.

  • For all. (and I do mean ALL!) ;^}

    It’s been a long time since I’ve done this, but I offer myself to the Burn Magazine group. Would love to hear thoughts about a few images being considered for a larger project on the District of Columbia. Very nascent. Not sure of ultimate direction yet, but still would be interested in honest feedback.

    Muchas gracias!

  • Michael Kircher…

    1, 7, and 8 are my favorites. But don’t go by my tastes, I tend to like the odd and slightly edgy.

  • Michael K,

    1 and 7 artistically.
    2 and 8 for your title of “miserable day”
    Is the title an important criteria here? Or is it just the name of the gallery?
    I would like to mention that I’m viewing these on my iPhone….I’m out of town at the moment.
    I love #7

  • Paul and Carlo…

    Thanks very much! Title is just for gallery. Mostly looking to see what these images do for the different types of photographers and personalities that come and go through Burn. I value the variety of opinions. Helps me to see things, especially my own work, with new eyes.

    Thanks again.

  • Michael; for me it’s the first one that works. But; I’d like to see it just about pushed into the Bob Black realms of darkness and contrast…. Well; maybe not quite as contrasty as that, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

    I would love to be able to borrow a new screw-in set of eyes so I could look at all my work freshly. To be able to see it from the perspective of someone who is viewing it for the first time. Cheers :-)

  • Michael
    Looking at your images I saw 2 bodies of work. Landscapes and then people. Beautiful imagery, but the title is… Well… I guess I just don’t like the word miserable. For the images did not speak to me of misery. Rather quiet or alone, or something… Love the black and white and your landscapes. There was something quiet and moody about them…. The reflection, water and trees… From a distance…..
    Words are always tricky for me.
    Hope this makes sense…

  • hi Michael
    since you asked…
    maybe one or two of these will stay with you as you move further into your project, and as you define what you are seeking…
    some images are quite lovely, yet some are the kind of thing you see when a newspaper photographer comes back from an assignment with art for the weather page. that is, beautiful but too easy.
    daring of you to reveal these for feedback from such random burn readers as myself… you obviously have a strong eye… please keep going. and sharing.

  • dq, wendy and Ross… thanks for the candid comments. Helps a lot.

    wendy, it was basically a miserably cold, wet day. Just the weather. My day was anything but miserable. But I get what you’re saying. Words matter. Thanks.

    Ross, Please let me know when you find those replacement eyes for “1st time” viewing! ;^}

  • a civilian-mass audience

    MICHAELK…Number 1 is mine
    Number 7
    Number 9

    “but don’t go for my taste”as PAUL says…cause I am a civilian;)
    and as WENDY says…”just don’t like the word miserable”…
    what about …”moire”

    “we all make mistakes…we read fast , we write fast…”
    Nope…I don’t read fast …BUT I make mistakes
    and that’s why you love me too…

    I will be out working…I am Greek afterall…:)))

    I will be back!

    P.S FROSTY…I will be home later…and CARLO,THOMAS and others…safe travels…


    Yup, I’m shouting.. you fly straight through the day today, you better do, or I gotta come and kick your butt.. ok?

  • Charles – hey, you are having fun at Sundance. Maybe my niece Shaela Cook is there. She usually is. If by chance you meet her, say hi. I enjoyed the whole look, but especially love the portrait of Neil Young.

    As for the dispute, I will have to back up and see what arguments have taken place and how much venom has been spewed. But it is late and I don’t want to go to bed angry, so I will wait for another day. Whatever, David is right. Burn is a family. Maybe a sometimes dysfunctional family, but a family.

    As for me, I just posted the final mini-story that I shot in Times Square for the Loft Workshop. My posts have been erratic, spread apart, but anyone who has followed knows that I tried and failed to shoot a Mormon Missionaries at Work essay in New York City, and then, trying to keep in the same vein, set out to shoot a street preacher essay, but failed to find any street preachers.

    Then, in the final 20 minutes or so of my shoot, the theme somehow jelled in the mini-story I posted tonight:

    As always, none of the pictures posted appeared in my part of the final night’s slide show. I have posted all this chaos I experienced that week and then at the end I will show the pictures that went into my show – as well as the whole show, with everybody’s work.

    So if you have wandered away, or never bothered to come in the first, please drop in on this post and then stick with me to the end, which will come soon. I promise.

    Now that my coverage of the shooting part is done, I will next take the blog to the final day of the workshop and follow it through to the evening slide show, and then quickly wrap up the series shortly afterward.

  • Thanks Civi! Your tastes do matter! Time for Ouzo?

  • Michael – I apologize for missing your request in my bleary state of mind.

    That’s a hard one. Fortunately, I am still up, proofreading too late:


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