It might seem to you, albeit by pure coincidence twice in a row here, that I lean heavily in the direction of photographing at the beach. Often very specifically women at the beach. This photograph made just yesterday, and in keeping with my oeuvre of just shooting whatever is around me anyway. So Michelle was just hanging with us on what started as a cloudless hot sunny day, and then the afternoon front rolled in and it was time to take a picture. Of a woman on the beach. One of my great motives for being a photographer in the first place to be quite honest. Not high minded enough? Please. Isn’t “attraction” what we all think about the most? Hasn’t attraction, love, sensuality inspired more art than anything?

Most of the women I photograph are with other men. Much safer that way. Michelle and Bryan live practically next door. So we know each other’s biz. Bad idea? Not really. I like the family thing. That’s even why I like Burn, and Magnum and well all the peer groups that are in fact versions of family. Michelle has her hands full. She must maintain her relationship with Bry AND sort of make sure that I well, stay out of trouble.

My own instincts have provided me with a lot of adventure, but right now my work and peace seem like the right way to go. Besides Michelle is totally dedicated to protecting me from all kinds of things – mostly me!. And because of this I am for sure in the most productive time of my entire career. Weird. Nobody could TRY for a late career boost. As you can imagine that sort of thing is just fate or luck or …?? Michelle makes sure I stay on track. That does not mean I can’t go out on a date. It does mean that I will think about it more than twice as opposed to my oftentimes less than once back in the day.

Does this mean I don’t have fun? Well go back and look at the riobook saga and see what you think. The upcoming book, designed by Bry, is all about me being myself which is of course where I try to take my students. And a move towards the purest of visual literacy. I have honestly managed to stay in the zone now for a long time. Deep in November and December, but even before and after as well. Michelle and I do the best party dirty dancing performance with Bryan often smiling from the side. So we have the most most fun. My family days all around are surely my best days.

Michelle and I blend right at the point blank center. Her “creativity as a way of life” workshops parallel in thinking the way I do my photo workshops. She ran several of mine. I do enjoy watching somebody get fired up. So does she.
Michelle teaches yoga and eats all the right foods. I think she may have given up on me in yoga class, but she did get me off cigarettes no small feat. Getting me off sugar is harder. Anyway, I did not plan to write a story on Michelle today. I shot the picture of her prior to the storm when we were just hanging.  So I thought just now, hey my main thing I can offer aspiring photographers is how I get my own inspirations. So this is one. However you can make things work, works. Fired up is fired up.
Isn’t that right? Don’t we all need a bit of help? Old adage works. Help somebody. You might just be that person who needs it someday.
Thanks Michelle for keeping an eye out. I will stay a good boy for a bit longer. Got work to do.

251 Responses to “michelle…”

  • Hello Michelle :)

    And THIS is what I call a “caption” worth to be read.. not a description of the pic, as so often..

  • David,

    Absolutely right…we all need a bit of help…

    Pretty nice (and public) words to say about Michelle, too…

    Loving the vibe…


  • great story! I have my “michelles” in my life too (one of them is actually Michela…) who keep me going beyond my limits.

  • Wild, wild, wild cloud! She is your inspiration and you are the inspiration of so many – me included. What a challenge she has though – to keep you from getting yourself into trouble!

    The beach got me started in photography, too – surfing – when I was kid and wanted to take pictures like those in Surfer Magazine.

  • David,

    You seem to be the most active when near the water…the ocean. Just remembering the multiple instagram updates when you were in Miami….the most i’ve seen anywhere.

    Nice words about Michelle. How does the saying go? “behind a good man there is always a good woman”?

  • My inspiration and beacon throughout all my tempests.

  • I REALLY like the photograph. I love the `S`curve of her body, her almost-closed eyes and Madonna smile suggest gentle mystery, the jut of her hip brings our eye to the two surfers, one of which is looking up, countering her downward glance, all in black and the glowering skies making these two faces simply glow..the red surfboard on the right, the building in the left background oh so good. But would we expect less from you, David? Ok….the photo got me.

    Then i read the story. And i blinked. Close relationships are generally complicated. Achieving and maintaining balance can create its own masterpiece. Or else an utter disaster. I get your appreciation for the lovely Michelle. I really get it. But dirty dancing in full view of the grinning Bry` (Bry`?)? Michelle is totally (really? totally?) dedicated to protecting you from all kinds of things, mostly you? And she has such a healing effect on your vices that you think twice (twice? say it ain`t so, David!) about going on a date? I agree that “fired up is fired up” and whatever gets your creative juices flowing is not to be casually diss`d. But just wondering how honest you`re being with yourself. Cuz this sounds a powerful lot like love. Yeah, that kind of love. If i`m completely off-base or outta line please forgive me. I live in a REALLY love-obsessed culture here where if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, hint, it`s not a cow.

    As far as this “Isn’t “attraction” what we all think about the most?” Um, actually? No. Really. Am i the only one?


  • Ahh, that’s our Kathleen, calls ’em as she sees ’em.

    Kathleen, speaking strictly for myself, but as a guy David’s age, I fall in love with women other than my wife all the time. Damn, but I adore women. It’s clear David does as well.

    We have to get older, we hopefully get wiser, but we don’t have to grow up.

    My favourite red-head http://www.pbase.com/glafleur/image/133707197

  • a civilian-mass audience

    All of the above(double KATHLEEN’S):)…

    ohh,MICHELLE…my belle!!!

    of,course…I can’t relate with the “stay on track” idea but hey,I can relate with this statement:

    “…However you can make things work, works. Fired up is fired up…”

    VIVAAA, BRAVOOO,spread the news…MICHELLE is here …fired up is fired up!!!
    I will be back…;)

  • Gordon

    First, that photo does not do Martha justice. This one however is gorgeous. (and so many really nice photos on your website too, congrats!):


    Ok, so yeah, you fall in love with women other then your wife all the time..but I’ll bet it has nothing to do with your age. And everything to do with you being a hot-blooded guy. 20 years old, 60 years old, hot-diggetty, bring it on! What i read in David’s post seems a bit more than just a covert surge of knuckle-biting lust. But whatever, maybe this is totally a sisterly or platonic affection..or maybe, maybe, it’s this (wicked grin):


    CIVILIAN here is “Civilian” (courtesy of Wye Oak) for you con todo amor:

  • i didn’t mean to import that video..crap don’t know how that happened..hmm..well, it’s a REALLY good song!

  • Paul

    nice video to watch at midnight..lucky author..all those dedicated hands lending their skills to this person’s written word..just beautiful..


    oh for sure i do love Michelle…she has worked as a producer on my ad shoots, in workshops and in all kinds of family planning and always been one of my fav “models” …i love Michelle like a daughter, like a best friend or like well just love…..she and my son Bryan have been together for 10 years and to see them together is magic (he has the red surfboard in the shot)….this is the love…and it does not get any better ….


    i had no idea you were a surfer boy….one of the big books coming will be SURFERS WORLD to be published by Burn in either 2013 or 14…..a serious surfing book…already lined up Martin Parr to shoot some of it along with pro in water surfing guys, a few poets, and well everybody loves surfing…it is beyond sport…there is some surf in Alaska…you ever since it? check it out…

  • Bryan is your SON?! OMG..slaps self upside the head..NOW it all makes sense. Without that bit to the puzzle it just plain didn’t. THAT nails this photo right to the wall. I liked it before and i love it now.

    BTW..do you still have your loft? It’s an important question. No, i don’t want to borrow it. Nada like that. But there’s something i’ve been sitting on way too long and you need to see it.


  • P.S. My daughter is a surfer


    puzzles and mosaics are my thing….with life…with my work….aren’t things more interesting if you have to put things together, figure it out, do a bit of homework? fully revealed immediately is never as good as the mystery….Bryan and Michelle have been “characters” for so long in so much of my work , i assumed most readers knew them pretty well by now….

    cheers, david

  • David

    Yes, you are correct. And it WAS a puzzle. Now that you mention it i do remember the name Bryan popping up but not Michelle. Anyway, haha.. i can laugh at myself now..geez..i couldn’t quite get WTF!?! They are both beautiful young people. You are blessed to have them in your life and living so close.

    Cheers back..


    oh yes, this is a joy..and my other son Erin and his wife Sophie also live near…both of my sons make films for a living..mostly tv docs but Erin has been the DP on a French feature film…both have a long list of credits, but both put lifestyle before work style and both chose living by the sea before i did…Sophie is a professor of film at Vassar….so we are ALL intertwined…

    i grew up by the sea, not far from where i am now, but my sons figured out how to do the world travel bit and live at the beach and surf and kite board AND make movies ..i followed their example and was the last one to move here…thanks to fedex and the internet for starters..

    anyway my little essay on where we live, OBX, comes out next month in NatGeo…

    cheers, david

  • David

    You have no idea how intrigued i am to hear of how they have not compromised their love of water-associated lifestyles and have found a way to work and stay close to the sea. Juliette (my daughter) is determined to do the same but she hasn’t worked out just how yet. A lot of people have tried to discourage her and i haven’t known quite what to say. This is so encouraging to me. Thank you for taking the time to tell me about your children and their partners and their success at marrying their work with their lifestyle. You have no idea how much i appreciate it.

    DO YOU HAVE YOUR LOFT? There’s something you need to see but it isn’t finished. And whether you still have the loft or not makes a difference in the outcome.


  • Kathleen…

    I have to agree with you, age has nothing to do with falling in love!
    Viva hot blood!!

  • Jackson Pollock short documentary…


    i still have the loft but i do not live there…i stay there occasionally…it is set up for workshops, making prints, doing book layouts etc…Living Proof and now (based on a true story) born on those walls…if we go full steam into more Burn speciality books then i will most likely keep the loft…if not, it is a luxury i surely cannot afford….you have work to show?? if so great

  • Speaking of Michelle I remember couple years ago that b&w photo from that surfer girl I liked on BICKFORD’s OBX essay… Loved that photo and post it in public excitement…
    Next thing I know I get slapped in the head ( jealousy from my ex ) and I remember David making fun of me for not recognizing Michelle ( there was no derailed face in photo )..
    That was a little an innocent gaffe btw,
    but I need to agree with David and Gordon on their theory about falling “constantly” in love and art inspiration.. Those two goes together… Once u lose the “falling in love” ability then the inspiration channel dries out

  • No details in the face I meant to write be4 the iPhone decides/dictates typing its own words….
    This phone has a life of its own


    yes, yes, and yes…for sure if i do not “fall in love” somehow someway then NOTHING is going to “happen”…and this should be no surprise…nothing moves us as human beings more…it is the MAIN THING…and for some weird reason, and throughout the centuries and civilizations, there has oftentimes been a coverup or a shhhhh about the very thing we all know is the number one motivation….artistic subtleties abound..hell we write poems, we bring flowers, we write books, symphonies and build bridges across rivers, and make fortunes, and even go to war for LOVE!! good thing i didn’t live in the time of Cleopatra…ok, i am going to the hardware store…gotta buy some light bulbs….get my mind off of love for awhile…hmmmmmm

  • LOVE this…..
    and what a wonderful surprise to read about LOVE this morning.. (I’m sure some are rolling their eyes :) )
    the feeling…
    the emotion…..
    the inspiration…..
    and I
    LOVE that K is back….
    your words have always been delicious..

  • DAVID (Alan Harvey):

    Yes there is something but since you like riddles i will let you stew for a bit.


    “Once u lose the “falling in love” ability then the inspiration channel dries out”

    This kind of blanket statement and others like it here are so funny to me. It could just as easily be said that all the time, effort, angst and energy put into romantic love depletes the resources available for artistic work. I am not agreeing, just sayin`. Love is a drug..is “the” drug. We`re all addicted to the chemistry of the thing. But what, if you`re not OD`ìng on all that adrenalince then you shrivel into a head of lettuce? Silly, silly, silly. Being “in love” is one way to achieve a state of exalted bliss (and maintaining that bliss is a constant highwire act) but it is not the only way to achieve such a mind state. There`s also drugs. Heh. But seriously, you guys are love-rush junkies. Trust me, being “in love” is not an essential ingredient to the creative process.

    WENDY..ok, see? You love! But you aren`t waxing on about romantic love. You take it where you find it. It`s ALL over. Above, below, around the next corner. That excitement about being “in life”, not just “in love” is every bit as much of a creative battery charger as what you happens when you meet a pair of baby blues across the bar.

    HugZ grrl..it is as wonderful to see your


    thoughts as it ever was.

    ok, shower, lunch with good friends..am outta heah

    CIVILIAN: Make sure you see the song i left you up above!!

    So here`s to getting a hard-on from life godammit..that`s a high nobody can take away with divorce papers.


  • PAUL

    Can`t wait to check out that video a little later on..



    sorry to interrupt but yet Another greek photog fighting for his life…
    (thank you thomas for sending me link )


    (Greek photographer Marios Lolos ,
    President of Press-Photographers Union of Greece
    is undergoing brain surgery after reportedly being beaten by riot police in Athens yesterday. We wish to extend our union branch’s solidarity and best wishes.

    Journalists have every right to gather news without being subjected to intimidation and violence. The targeting of journalists is completely unacceptable and the police officers responsible should be brought to justice.

    The National Union of Journalists London Photographers’ Branch stand shoulder to shoulder with the Press-Photographers Union of Greece and all those who gather news.

    We hope that Mario recovers from his ordeal and his colleagues, reporter Panagiotis Bousios and journalist Makis Synodinos who were also injured, make a full and swift recovery.

    Jess Hurd

    London Photographers’ Branch Chair

    On behalf of the London Photographers’ Branch Committee.)

  • Suicide rate in Greece jumped 40% year-on-year in first five months of 2011



  • Kathleen :)
    great song “Civilian” link :)

  • In keeping with our theme, Here’s Caleb Klauder with a story about love at first sight, although he needs to work on his pick-up line.

  • Kathleen
    Just noticed you have now linked your name to your website! How wonderful to poke through your photos!

  • Speaking of love…

    Paul – this clip filled me with love, longing, and desire… never to be fully sated, I fear.

    David – Alaska does have its hot surfing spots, some them pretty darn hard to get to. Yakutak is one. I have not surfed in 40 years, but I had wanted to go there and give it a try on my 60th birthday, but I did not have the money, I did not have the time. I would to try to get there this summer. If I do, I will see if I can get some pics worthy of your book.

    I must buy the upcoming National Geographic.

    Kathleen – if you can, for about a week starting Monday (I hope) you should follow my blog.

    Panos – The birthplace of Democracy seems to have gone nuts. It sounds grim for Marios Lolos. I hope he recovers.

  • Kathleen – upon seeing Gordon’s alert, I just took a pleasant, lazy-morning drif through your photos, too. When I saw the cat, I thought it was in India and that the cat had been participating in Holi, but it must have been a Costa Rican cat.

    You’re one-up on me there. I never have photographed a Costa Rican cat.

    Hopefully… some day.

    My highest ambition as a photographer is to photograph a cat in every nation of the world.

    So far, I’ve got cats in at least 7 countries, maybe 8 (and about 26 states and every region of Alaska). I’ve still got a ways to go yet.

    It’s all about love.

  • http://instagr.am/p/JFf0t_Brdw/

    ok next beer on me…see u guys soon… gonna go back to work…
    Re-Editing Venice Beach…although the light is great now…im going to shoot….
    stay safe (away from cops and thugs in general all)
    good light to all shooters out there:)

  • The birthplace of Democracy seems to have gone nuts.

    Bill. totally agreed! but isnt usually how all “good things” start? through some painful birth?
    Ask any mother you meet if giving birth is easy or painless…
    no no no…the pain is “nuts”

    in other words, since i do believe in transformation of energy and poles DO reverse , and negative will be positive yes i do believe that all those SACRIFICES , the yesterday suicide in front of parliament, the today brain surgery of the President of Photo Union and more much more ….will eventually spark a positive
    Remember CHE? he is a symbol of Revolution now but many hated his guts back in the day…Is Greece near any kind of “revolution”.. ? silly me..stupid question..
    Arent we ALL ARE ? in the brink? in the edge?
    Arab Spring, OCCUPY WALL STRRET, the Fall of Europe followed the tragic 2007 economic death of USA of course…The whole world is CHANGING..is it for “better”?
    hmmmm… what does that mean anyways? better! worst!…meaningless personal definitions…
    The world is spinning and moving and changing…
    yes CHANGE IS COMING!!!!!!! Some of us will embrace it and some will fight with nails and teeth…
    Whos gonna win? lol..nobody….as always!

  • the Great Paradox of ALL Wars is that there is never ever a winner (nor loser) , period.
    (it is a paradox because by definition a War requires victory and loss, a winner and a loser. This misconception is a permanent strong propaganda tool used by ALL governments/religious institutions etc)

  • The old man and the sea…

  • PAUL..am “IN LOVE” with Jackson Pollock! Thank you so much for the video you posted above. He said three things that set my creative heart all a-flutter:

    “…Express my feelings, not just illustrate them”,
    “Technique is just a means at arriving at a statement” and
    “a painting has a life of its own. I try to let it live.”

    I really agree with him and think the best art/photography/writing/music achieves all of the above.

    Thank you thank you for posting this!



    The “Civilian” song..yeah, i was blown away. I just plugged“Civilian` in the You Tube search box and voila..it must be Civi`s powerful vibes that directed my hand.

    So sorry for the troubles in Greece. I could hear Civi`s bone-weary sadness in her IMF post in Spring Break the other evening. I so hope Mario(s?) recovers and resumes his work with a vengeance. Here in Costa Rica the La Nacion newspaper has been disclosing politicos who have been weasling out of their tax nut. The head of the Taxation ministry (!!!) resigned the other day and so did his wife who was in charge of PR for the Prez. I wonder/worry about the safety of the journalists doing the invesitgative work. Maybe not in the short-run but down the road…..*sigh*…


    Thank YOU for checking out my website. It`s actually brand spankin` new. Still under construction but glad i finally got the damned thing up there.

    i think Caleb`s pick-up line musta worked out fine for him cuz he really hammered his point home for 3 solid minutes (more? less?). How could the chick resist? Now THIS has always been my fave love-at-first-sight song..AND i had the chance to say so right to Lyle`s face one night in Newark airport.



    Awwww..now who knew you were a feline fan, you ole softie, you! And you wanna shoot a CR kittie, you always have the use of my guest room to do so dig up the money and you can add another notch to your zoom lens! I see your name links to your blog and later this evening i will take a likewise lazy, plessant drift around your postings..and, ok, you sound all mysterious like so I will check out your blog starting Monday.

    best ALL

  • PANOS:

    You said this so well, painfully well;

    “the Great Paradox of ALL Wars is that there is never ever a winner (nor loser) , period.
    (it is a paradox because by definition a War requires victory and loss, a winner and a loser. This misconception is a permanent strong propaganda tool used by ALL governments/religious institutions etc)”

    Guess this was why CR abolished its army. They somehow got “it”.


  • Kathleen…

    Brilliant!! :)

  • PAUL

    Just finished watching “The Old Man and the Sea”..sooooooo beautiful. The artist-animators really understood light and water, wow..we all knoiw the story but whoever can should take the time to watch the video. You won`t be disappointed.

    Paul, you post some good stuff!

    Thanks again..


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