Skype is NOT sponsoring this story…


SKYPE  is NOT sponsoring this story…

Yet Burn could probably not exist without Skype…No joke…Many of my relationships are virtual , on Skype…Including a very special relationship with Kaya Berne (above),  who attends university classes a few hundred miles from me and yet gets all my e-mail and workshop and some Burn stuff done simply by Skype and text messaging. For example, we just finished selecting some portfolios for my upcoming workshop in Sydney in May. This is after my  RIO opening at the ACP  and the BURN 02  show.

Imants Krumins, who I have never met in person, and I have a Skype only relationship that has led to Imants heading up a special young photographers presentation during the upcoming HeadOn Photo Festival that envelopes all mentioned above and 140 other shows all during the month of May.

Most importantly, my morning coffee is often shared with my mother by Skype since she is all the way out in Colorado.  Diego Orlando and I MUST have Skype to make Burn as did Anton Kusters and I prior in the first two years….and right NOW my entire RIO book is being produced over Skype!! yes, of course, I have real people like Diego Orlando and Eva-Maria Kunz now in Italy and on top of production and I will go to watch the presses roll, but without Skype the whole RIO book production would not exist…even today I will be looking at fonts interplayed with design for the slipcase for the interactive “book” over Skype…the picture above really does say it all…my fireside chats often really are virtual yet with very real results.

Point is, Skype SHOULD sponsor us!!

In all seriousness, YOU should sponsor us. In fact you do. WE are free to create the most interesting things  if you support us. If we are free, then you are free. Come up with a great story idea and we will run it til it stops.  Look at what we do because we have no strings. You make it possible for our Emerging Photographer Fund  to award photographers cash grants. You make it possible for Burn 01 and 02 and upcoming 03 in print. We make these quality books, printed in Italy, and with no production cost spared as limited edition books because you support them.

Snapshot to the future: New Burn books are coming. New workshops based in my New York loft with a variety of teachers. With the assembled talents here, Burn will make stuff. Books. Movies. Whatever. If we do not know how to do it, you do. The work published here also comes from you. So in fact you are supporting you.

I try my best to make all of this so called virtual world “real”. Hence our print agenda and workshops. I also try to get “out there” as much as I can to photo fests, exhibitions, galleries, etc, so I have a pretty good idea of what is going on. My close friends tell me I am often too accessible, yet I can remember as a young photographer so appreciating a moment with someone with a bit more experience than I. Pay back, pay forward.

Many thanks to all of you for your support of ideas, comments, writing, photography, and funding. Oh by the way, you might be thinking we are expanding to expand. Nope. Small boutique forever here on Burn. Promise. Trying not to grow. I do not want a job.

This is a whole new world for me. Making real friends, doing real things, from online resources that would heretofore have seemed “unreal ” for me. What about you? Is the virtual world now your real world? Was Marshall McLuhan even more right than he knew?




104 Responses to “Skype is NOT sponsoring this story…”

  • …and it couldn’t be a more beautiful world here :)
    It is fascinating- feel like I and others are often gauging the levels of virtual living vs real living and the overlap. Oddly, after reading this text (and thinking I needed to learn who this Marshall McLuhan fellow is) I immediately happened upon this:

  • Anybody remember pen friends when in school? I guess that is how I learnt to reach out into the ‘virtual’ world.. but it’s not that different than reading books, and living in that kind of virtual world.. the difference, the new thing, is not really the virtual, but the reality of it.. kinda wicked..

    Nice to see Kaya here, great kid, for real!

  • I’ll never tire of stating my appreciation and gratitude for the existence of BURN. David often expresses the notion that he wished he had had a similar venue in which to ask questions when he was young. Amen! To be able to just type out a query here, and then having it answered – not just by David, but any of the other commentators who have a deep well of experience in photography – is downright fulfilling and educational. It certainly accelerates the learning curve!

    McLuhan was right, we are living in a global village, and this gives me reason for one complaint. As broad as the geographic reach is with Burn, why is it that so few people use it to its maximum utility? If Burn receives 500 submissions a month from emerging photographers, then where are they; why don’t they participate here? To me it is so obvious that David and Burn represent the very basic working model for the photography of the human condition: having a sincere, respectful, participatory and passionate interest in others. If Burn is as widely followed as we are led to believe, then where is everyone…and why aren’t they here?!!!

    Panos said something a few months ago, which really rang true. “Cool is uncool, and uncool is the new cool”! If there is a lack of participation by the very readers who wish to learn about the craft of photojournalism, or of documentery photography, or even just street photography, they are not doing Burn any disservice, but they are to themselves. Regular contributors here amount to maybe a few dozen at best, and I get the sense through their collective writings they represent what it takes to get out there, to record the contemporary world and its culture: It’s participation, pure and simple.

    Try being a little uncool for once, you readers who lurk behind your computer screens. See what a little uncool question may lead you to; see where you may go. Here in the global village of Burn, one small step will take you far!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    JEFF…yeap…you are right…we PHOTOPHILOSOPHERS …who are lurking behind the screens,don’t worry…
    we are all uncool here…

    regarding the civilians…no problem …I am MASS AUDIENCE…I got them covered:)))))))))

    BRAVO to BURN…the Universe is working…together we DO miracles…
    We are small and Ferocious…oime…

    P.S…I don’t do skype…I do ouzo shots though:))))))))))))))VIVA!!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “we PHOTOPHILOSOPHERS …who are lurking behind the screens,don’t worry…
    we are all uncool here…”

    free translation of JEFF’S post…by civi;) how cool is that?:)

  • Not to mention our all-day burn planning meeting where I was the only attendant by skype.

  • JEFF

    this has also been a curiosity for me as well…you might imagine that some of these young photographers would engage a bit more….i think the answer Jeff is that many are HERE , who do get a lot out of it, but remain silent….for sure MOST Burn readers are silent…and perhaps ironically , most of the funders are not commentators…so there is this gigantic silent majority out there…yes i know it is this silent group you are trying to dig out…

    yet yes, like you, i would imagine a few more Ericas and a few more Audreys etc who showed work and got involved to the extent that i might give them a good direction…i have done it with many here…or perhaps they would come out of the wood work if i went back to the time when i invited mentoring assignments etc…well, that is how Dark Light of This Nothing, and Death in Venice, Falling Into Place and Blues Booze and BBQ came about….i took on 10 or so photographers….

    i will bet Jeff that if i did that again, some would surface who are now happily silent….after the EPF and Rio i might try to do that again….yet you are quite correct, the burden is on them…and the opportunity is definitely here….

    this is another discussion, but i do not think, after looking at this very seriously the last few year, that the number of serious photographers has increased in proportion to the number of people who now have cameras and who even take pictures all the time…in other words, everybody shoots, but very few more new stars added to the ranks…even here on Burn we see it…somebody does a great story and then, and then, alas where do they go? only one story , ever? for many it is like this…i remain curious and perhaps a bit perplexed by this phenomena.

    cheers, david

  • “i will bet Jeff that if i did that again, some would surface who are now happily silent….after the EPF and Rio i might try to do that again….”

    Yes! yes! yes!

  • Burn we see it…somebody does a great story and then, and then, alas where do they go? only one story , ever? for many it is like this…i remain curious and perhaps a bit perplexed by this phenomena. ,……….David this is something I intended to bring up on the day I come into your workshop

  • Jeff..

    “having a sincere, respectful, participatory and passionate interest in others”

    Yes. And I know that the “little uncool question” has taken me far, on various levels.. photography being only one..

  • “Cool is uncool, and uncool is the new cool”

    Godammit, why couldn’t this have happened when I was in high school!

  • Jeff…

    I agree with everything you’ve mentioned. I must add that being an active member has turned into a way of life and my way of seeing and photographing has changed immensely since I started posting comments round here. It’s damn well worth being uncool!




    i was thinking the same thing…

  • Hmm, can’t skype (because of satellite internet and remote location), and can’t really afford travel right now, so a bit stuck at the moment and at a loss in terms of translating virtual relationships into real ones. But getting off this damn computer and getting out to make shit happen in the real world is a good thing. :)) Even on the new flatter planet, nothing beats a handshake and eye contact. Balance, of course, but I find myself in the virtual less and less and in the real more and more.

    p.s. And I admit, I kinda hate facebook.

  • OBX story to fix? :)) It was that squeak thing wasn’t it?

  • Well; I haven’t really been around Burn for a while. I’ve been reading but not really commentating. But without this sounding like an agony aunt column; here’s a quick summary….

    The last few months have been interesting to say the least and to be honest; life changing. You may remember I mentioned (well before Xmas) the idea of becoming as self-sufficient as possible as a way of getting healthy, losing weight and as a counterpoint to the photography and writing. And; I have been testing to see how it works in with my photography (pretty much seamlessly so far).

    My weight has been an issue for too long and quite frankly; I decided that if I wanted to be above ground, alive and kicking by the time I hit 55 I’d better get my shit together and actually do something about it.

    The idea was to hunt/fish and grow as much food as possible and to leave as much processed food out of my diet as possible. Over three months later I really feel like a new person! Way more motivated, fitter and just plain happier. I’ve continued to surround myself with good friends who are positive people; a massive benefit in itself.

    My friend John (who owns the farm I’m shooting a project on) the other day asked me what prompted the major lifestyle change. And in a roundabout way forced me to think about what stimulated the change.

    Shooting the story on his farm prompted me to do exactly what I had thought about doing many years ago. His non-judgemental encouragement (and that of another good friend) provided the catalyst and the on-going support in an almost subliminal way. In a nutshell (without sounding like a drama queen); they both (if I keep it up; and I will) have probably saved me from an early grave!

    So how does this relate to photography and Skype etc? Well Burn has provided its own “support network” just by the sheer fact of introducing me to a bunch of motivational people who “get” where you come from on those days when you wonder if forsaking the 9-5 life for a photographic one was a wise decision. Email/texts turn into regular Skype meetings and hopefully face to face meetings over a quiet cold one (or two!)…..

    The most interesting point is how much I’ve enjoyed the entire experience; and am fortunate to be living off food that literally is too good to be found in shops. So….. 11kgs lighter and steadily working on the rest! Funny; I never thought my old butchering skills would ever come in handy again….
    Here’s a few links to some pics to summarise the experience. Nothing arty; just a little record!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Happy Birthday ROSSY…I love your “records”…

    Keep shooting your visions MY BURNIANS…silents and not…we know,you are out there…

    MR.HARVEY …thank you for opening the “windows of silence”…rock on amigo!!!

  • @ ROSS:
    Just keep going with the experience and with your diet!

    Why do you have to cut the deer’s head to carry it to the farm?

    Love that green landscape. I’m gonna starting to think going there someday. Between us, NZ is just the opposite earth coordiante of Argentina, I can’t travel further… funny.


  • @ ROSS:
    Oops, sorry, not from Argentina, from France (where I actually live)

    Here is the link to have fun just a few seconds: AntiPodr, (find the other side of hte world)


  • Good for you Ross! Keep it up. I’ve actually gone the opposite way and gained some needed weight. Been working out and making some muscle and went to put on my dress pants for a benefit dinner last night and they were too tight! Felt kinda good in an opposite world kinda way…..

    Like I tell my rock photo students… bend those knees!

  • DAVID,

    This post remind me we have an appointment for skype call a few weeks ago. I apologize. Too much work as usually this days. But I still waiting for this conversation.
    I hope you are well and will try catch you soon

    viva burn

  • I must say I’m really glad that Burn exist. My whole vision of photography change dramatically the moment I discovered the website. I saw the work of some of my favorite photographers here for the first time. Because of Burn I’m constantly challenging myself to improve my photography and I must thank you all for that. I hope that one day I can have the immense privilege of being publish here. Still have a lot of work to do though hahahaha.


    i do know what you mean…when i climb the dune out in front of me or take a simple bike ride, or go shooting , i feel the freedom and the reality…it is all just a matter of balance…as usual….

    yet for sure the internet has given me a new reality freedom that i did not have before, so in that sense it really works…we are our own publishers here on the internet, so whatever pain it is with too many hours on the computer, for me it eliminates even more hours being on an airplane going somewhere i didn’t really want to go or doing a job for somebody else’s business….this is my little shop….so i have to sweep the floor and clean the windows….a pain? no, a part of the freedom of having your own shop….anyone can do the same…

    Burn, FB, Twitter all replaced Richmond Newspapers Inc…so yes the net can “get you” but the net can also save you….we would not even know each other Young Tom were it not for the net…isn’t our relationship real? seems real to me..i have watched you take real pictures in real time and published a few of them too….but yes yes, go chop some wood…i have a real fire going now and there is a northeaster blowing out my door AND i am at my computer writing to you…again, as always, about balance…


    i am ready for you this week….looking forward


    can’t figure out how to do the accents on your name…sorry…tell me and i will have it next time….in any case welcome….there are many astute photographers in our audience here who can give you a lot of stimulation with their words and pictures…i will do my best to live up to your compliment…thank you.

    Cheers, david

  • Patricio; We don’t hunt on the farm. This is with a friend and about 2-hours drive from where they live. The head is cut off because it’s another 2-3kgs to carry up the hill (steep ones at that!) Well if you ever get here there’s a bed waiting and a trip around that country will cost you (or anyone down this way) nothing!

    Charles; thanks for the kind words. I just hope my rambling didn’t sound like a bad agony aunt column because that wasn’t the intent…. :-)

  • DAVID,

    Don’t worry about the accent, you’d need to switch you keyboard to french to do it and it would be a lot of trouble just to put an accent on my name :)

  • DAVID and Micaël,

    There are two easy ways to get Micaël’s name right on a US English keyboard:

    1. Just copy and paste it (duh…)
    2. Type “M”,”i”,”c”,”a”, then Option+U, then “e”, then “l.”

    Pretty painless, really.

  • ROSS,

    The life style you are now living reminds me very much of the one I led for about 5 years in Idaho in the mid 70s… not only that, the terrain shown, in the photos of the hunt in particular, is eerily like Idaho. I butchered a lot of wild game in those days… deer, elk, bear, moose, even the occasional cariboo. Didn’t shoot them myself… I worked off and on for a local farmer/orchardman/taxidermist, and in the fall, hunters would bring the carcasses to him for skinning and butchering. We were paid in meat and hides. Fresh vegetables and fruit from the organic garden and the orchard. I lived on less than $100 a month in those days (couldn’t afford film or a restaurant meal) but look back on that very formative period of my life as a Golden Age.

    One big difference between Idaho and New Zealand is that, aside from the two-legged variety, you have few if any large predators, whereas run-ins with bears, mountain lions, lynx, bobcat, and coyotes were common in the Idaho back country. I wonder if there are feral dog packs in New Zealand anywhere that prey on sheep or other herbivores?

  • a civilian-mass audience


  • a civilian-mass audience

    hmm…ok…I need my coffee

    Good morning from beautiful Greece…TOMYOUNG…you are real to me:)))

  • Sydney.. thanks, really!!

    Micaël.. cool.. now I just need to find the vocals with an accent.. uhmm.. yup, got them.. à è ì ò and ù.. now the only one I miss is the e with the accent to the opposite side… é .. there… wow.. will teach me to buy a computer in the States and live in Italy!!! And with Micaël I can do also German… ä ö ü.. cool.. :))

  • Ross..

    Starting my last shooting project back in late October has brought me to the opposite side.. same really, but different.. I’ve never eaten much meat, but Italy being Italy, cold cuts are/were a major part of the meals.. now I am down to none.. living/shooting with vegans has brought me there.. and I feel so much better, no back pain anymore, need less sleep and am much more awake..

  • @ EVA:
    I didn’t get how to do it… how to write like that, please can you explain?

    Grazie 1000

  • “i would imagine a few more Ericas and a few more Audreys etc who showed work and got involved to the extent that i might give them a good direction…i have done it with many here…or perhaps they would come out of the wood work if i went back to the time when i invited mentoring assignments etc…well, that is how Dark Light of This Nothing, and Death in Venice, Falling Into Place and Blues Booze and BBQ came about….i took on 10 or so photographers…” – DAH

    and years after DAH first came up with the idea of challenging us, I can finally share with you a multimedia version of the dark light of this nothing…thank you once again David for asking me what I cared about enough to put my back into.

  • I don’t know how to embed here. someone tell me how?

  • not sure if this will embed or not, but here it is:

  • Erica,

    The only ones I have seen actually embeded are the youtube ones….and not always. Sometimes they work sometimes they don’t.
    I just read the Develop TUBE in your website. Sounds great!

  • ooohhh…skype is awesome! I am learning a new language thanks to skype!

    What Jeff wrote in the beginning of this thread was so nicely put that adding to it does not seem right.

    BUT….I would like to show my personal gratitude for the existence of burn and how inspirational and encouraging it has been for me.
    It’s the whole package….top notch photographic essays, commentators and valuable advise from David in actual entries and also in the comments. It does not get better than this!
    Everytime I come here I learn something new. Be it from links posted or just insightful comments…there is something to learn, digest and think about.
    A Big THANK YOU! David and everyone that works hard to make burn what it is!

  • Patricio…

    if you are on a Mac, press and hold the OPTION key, then press the U key (that will give you the two dots ¨ ), release both and then press (in the case of Micaël) the e key..

    With the accents for à etc., press and hold OPTION, press the key right below the ESC key, release both and press a.. BUT! I’m on a US keyboard, for French it might be different.. just try with the option key and play around..

  • one more embed try, but if this doesn’t work, you can see the new mm for the dark light of this nothing at


  • David, to be sure, through BURN I have met in person some of the most amazing people, all real, and had some of the best experiences of my life. I have also learned an incredible amount in a relatively short time. In many ways, BURN seems an exception to the net norm. It has evolved into a true community that spans both the virtual and real worlds. And that has only happened because of your openness. It is the most amazing thing when you think about it.

    If I sounded a bit cynical that was only a reflection of a little frustration on my part. I miss the squeak of hot sand under my feet and the exhilaration of flying a hull while beating my way up Bogue Sound, or trying to keep up at backgammon at my favorite cafe on my favorite Greek Island, or seeing, in person, the amazing people I have met here. Shit man, it was a little painful looking at RIO on the wall and knowing the energy flowing, over there, while I am here. I am tired of this winter and this rain. At the same time, I’ve put together a major project in my backyard, a partnership with a community, that likely would not have otherwise happened had I been running off “somewhere else” to take photos, and certainly wouldn’t have happened if I was sitting at my computer in my cabin in the woods dreaming of what isn’t, instead of what is, or could be.

    So forgive me my wet blanket. I only meant to express my wariness at the suck of the virtual. It was implied that BURN is the exception. As you have said, don’t tell me, show me. And so I hope to again.

    Running … :))

  • ERICA! That is very, very cool. Book soon?

  • Thanks Erica, it was awesome before, and still awesome.

  • OK Erica, how does one embed?

  • Still not a Skyper, must get with the program

  • Erica..

    loved it the first time around, still love it, and looking forward to drop by the exhibit next week!

    And your ‘Dark Light Of This Nothing’ kicked off so many things for me, you can have no idea.. it’s one of the reasons I spend so much time on Skype right now :)

  • Burn has been a major influence for me as well… thank you David!

    In the end though what matters most is the doing and not the talking… David has an out of this world kind of drive, which allows his to do both… me (and I suspect others too) on the other hand, require much much effort in order to focus my energy into actually bringing to life one of the many project ideas that hit me now and then… the whole online thing can be draining too easily if you don’t pay close attention…

  • Wow that little accent created quite a fuss hahaha.


    I must say that without Burn I would never have seen your work, and I’m really glad that I could see that beautiful essay. I still watch it from time to time. It’s a rush of life. If there was a book, I’d be the first to buy a copy :).

    Skype is a really wonderful tool, I don’t know if the world could survive without it now. XD

  • “Wow that little accent created quite a fuss hahaha.”

    Hopefully, that doesn’t count as your 15 minutes of fame :)

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