(based on a true story) SOLD OUT!

layout and design: Bryan Harvey
concept and producer: Eva-Maria Kunz
coordinator: Diego Orlando
production: Andrea Barbato, Michael Courvoisier, Candy Pilar Godoy


(based on a true story)


David Alan Harvey

Some of my friends have asked why I didn’t talk about my book here. I just cannot do that. The book is the book and I hope somebody likes it. But putting this video here by Bryan is as far as I can go. However, what I can do is I think legit. Published below is a letter from Sam Harris, (Postcards From Home), who managed to get a hold of the first signed copy. So he is, as far as I know, the only person here on Burn to have actually seen the book.

So Sam writes:


BASED ON A TRUE STORY… This book is simply amazing!!! AMAZING!! You have to hold it, feel it, pour over it, get inside it, take it apart, rebuild it, live it, smell it, caress it and then it all makes sense… FRESH, SENSUAL, SEXY, KILLER, DOPE… DAH leads by example, he could just sit back and talk about past glories, but that’s not David’s style… he’s out there doing it, living it. Now, right now… Ideas happen… ‘based on a true story’ is the living proof ; )) This book is an absolute classic. dah’s best yet! And the very best thing about ‘based on a true story’ IS the PHOTOGRAPHY.



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for the “making of”, visit: www.theriobook.com


(more information here)


427 Responses to “(based on a true story) SOLD OUT!”

  • So that’s what an arm and a leg looks like. I was wondering.

  • Gordon,

    It’s all going to a good place!

  • Got some brief glances when I gasped out loud in a quiet coffee shop, reading the part about the favelas :) Beautiful idea, love that you are doing that. It would be great to see some of the reactions you get.


    yes, and i am so looking forward to seeing you….your work looks great on the walls here in Sydney at the Burn Show…

    cheers, david

  • Carlo.. Gordon..

    please send me your codes, we’ll work it out..


    if your country is not listed, or for volume purchases, or if you have any other question or problem or doubt, please just write an email, we will do or best to help!

    Please send email to: eva at burnmagazine dot com

    Thank you!

  • SORRY! Correct email address is: eva at burnmagazine dot org


    i sincerely appreciate you complimenting the uniqueness of the book, but mostly for giving credit to those who worked on it…thank you…for sure this was a collaboration between Eva, and Bryan and Candy for the heart of the creative production….Eva proved to me an unbound book could work…Bryan seized on the idea and came up with something heretofore not seen and Candy dug deep into my drives and actually found some pictures i had missed….she was also the driver of riobook online paywall and the cover girl!! how cool is that?? so it really was a family affair all around…of course this alone does not a good book necessarily make..and for sure the style of this will throw some off as it has you…betting it won’t in the long run…

    yet if you really do have all my other books, and i believe that you do, then you should have this one…for sure the simplest of all my books in reality…perhaps the video gives an impression that you would not feel if you held the book….the box first seen in the film is the mailing box…to be thrown away…we just wanted it to be well designed too…but there are actually fewer moving parts to this than most books..just different moving parts…and for sure there is plenty of photography…you have not seen most of the pictures in it even if you were on riobook….66 full frame pictures…more than i usually have..yes, some are “punctuation marks” and “adjectives” but most are solid pictures i feel…they can be viewed in a way not normally available to you in most books…you could even pull out a page and frame it…we used the paper money is made from to satisfy extra handling stress…

    anyway, i also really believe this book takes me way beyond the others…there is very solid photojournalism in this and yes a personal novella overlay..a puzzle, a drama..so it cannot claim to be a straight report, but i make no claims…would just hope some would sit and “read” it… in time you will see Jim…

    i feel so strongly that you will see it differently one day, and because of your long support of Burn , and your own gift giving to some of the readers here, i will send you a signed comp copy….just because i think you should have it to make your collection most complete….i have not done this for anyone else, and i won’t….i usually disagree with you, think you are often over the top, but have always defended your absolute right to speak..and you say what you think…something i respect above all else….

    cheers, david

  • DAVID (et al):


    As you know, a book is many things and serves a multitude of purposes for many people: friend, companion, inspiration, renegade, bete noir, lifesaver, beacon, pet, nourishment, sorcerer (ensorceling), bedpost, chair leg, cushion, pillow, guillotine, lover, spouse, agency of grace…..

    And as you also know, as we’ve spoken about, and as I’ve written here and elsewhere, books at critical junctions of my own life and toss out their rescuing arms and literally saved my life. That is, indeed, probably even more truthful now over the last 6 months as I’ve struggled and managed to brave the change of my own life with humor and wild-eyed optimism and quiet and reflection and an unabiding love through the forest of all that loss. I’ve kepy my cameras and films and prints in their bidners and boxes for the last 5 1/2 months and instead spent a great deal of time being spoken to by books…trying to abacus their experience as counting beads of my own….

    In a sense, I see (based on a true story) in the same exact vein. Of course, I’m thrilled by it’s refusal to be categorized as just another photonarrative thingie. I love its sense of bursting and shell-breaking metamorphosis. I love that it is tactile as it is visual, like all great books really are. In many ways, I had secretly hoped that your book about _______ (rio/brazil/candy/sisters T/light/favella/sex/love/hate/sadness/isolation/collision) would not be another lovely abeit predictable book of snaps, no matter how lovely those snaps maybe. I’m happy that you have made not really a photography book but something more akin to a maze, an urn, a jigsaw into which it is clear that so much has errupted in you over the last 9 months, and maybe more specifically the last 3 1/2 years. It is a less a book, specifically about Rio, than it seems the clockwork of your own life and the life that has emerged post the birth of Road Trips/BURN.

    Clearly the design and handiwork is a puzzle and I love that it works against easy interpretation and more toward the corporal, the bodywork of thinks. In a sense this jigsaw of a book is a metaphor, but a metaphor for many many different things. The way the pages slip in and out of one another, the way they collide and reimainge each image through its intersection and juxtaposition with both similar pictures (in time and place) and against pictures of different time and place. It is a metaphor for your relationship with women, a metaphor for your ‘romance’ with Candy and the Sisters T, a metaphoro for your relationship with photogrpahy and Rio specifically but also its clearly a metaphor for Rio itself and all its wilding and heart-thumping complexity: the promixity of life and death, of the poverty and squalor and violence of Favella and the liquid spread of the caipirinha and the sexd up sun, both with are joined together in the most ripe samba there is: the brazilian sense of life that comes not from the oppressiveness of death but from the emancipation of death, a trait that in a culture I have yet to find but in Brazilian, and with brazilian friends: their sense of joy, not joy in the simple way, but in the more trusting and authentic and unmediated way.

    But this jigsaw, to me, may very well be Candy’s story, her relationship to both the city and the work she does in the favella’s and all that separation and connection entails for her and her kids/students and the twining of those 2 very disparate places: the beach and favella, the same intermixing of blood and blackbeans and rice, of dance and of fucking, of the sad sirens and helicopters that irridate the night with the same sound as the day is clicked loud by the shouts and soccerballs kicked. That mad dance and it seems to me is contained in not only the pictures but more importantly its construction. as Daniel Sada writes: the in out in out in out of life…the same thrusting between bodies….or of breath….

    as someone who has made his own books by hand, i celebrate the risk you’ve done to make something that is clearly a vessel of love. It isn’t perfect. Its full of suffocating colors and collages and collapses. It seems intensely designed and forces the viewer to cramp up in its intense space, with little room to breathe, but it is just that clausterphobia and madness that, to me, best bespeaks what the book has accomplished. something that sits more interestingly and inspiringly past the stupid simplicity of photographs…but toward both an awakening (for you) and letting go….i’m proud that you’ve turned the very inspiration you’ve given to others here for years into something for yourself, for in many ways the books seems both a book of a young guy (contraty to what Martin Parr things about old men making books) and an acceptance off that limitation too….

    a book filled with joy…and asyou know joy, like life, is a fucking sloppy endeavor…not neat at all, but a mess…and yet, that mess just gives us the meat in the meaning in our lives…..my own life a complete mess at the moment, but savoring tooo its kalidescopic puzzle as i twine it together…

    and yet, one last bit: i’m so happy Bryan choose (or whoever) that beautiful blue pull-out thread/binding….not only i love this kind of thing for a book binding, but for those who aren’t familiar with Brazilian Bahia Bands (wish bracelets of cloth)…Lembrança do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia…..this blue binding is a Bahia Band, granting wishes oncethey fall off the wrist….normally i like 3 knots ;))…but i guess i’ll live with two…

    save me a copy…as you know i have no money to speak of at the momnet….though, i guess at this point, that’s good enough…i’ve got the book in my head…

    and congratulations to Bryan and eva and Diego and Andrea and Michael and Candy

    all the best stories are true…


  • Eva,

    Like I said….no worries. You all have a ton of work to do. Don’t trouble yourself with this minor thing.
    Plus….it’s going to the best place I can think of!

  • You win,David. More likely, I win.

    After reading your convincing reply to Jim I wavered from my original
    position and purchased the book.
    Resistance is,in fact, futile.

  • Eva, I’m not worried about the discount, apply it to who is a bit short. O8YEDWL

  • Carlo.. thank you very much.. it goes right back into Burn, thus forward to us all.. that ‘s great.. and every dot counts :)

    Gordon.. thank you too, nice gesture! :)

  • mtomalty…

    I think you win. And David too through that.

    If you like outstanding photography, then this book is for you.
    If you like puzzles, then it is for you.
    If you like a box of prints, then this is for you.
    If you like stories, then it is for you.
    Mystery, or simple, you get it both with it, it is up to each viewer how to look at it.
    Simply flip through full bleed photographs that hardly ever come in this size when buying a photo book. Not ruined by text or crops through the fold, but to hold wholly in your hands.
    Or being seduced by the tale.. from cover to cover and back again.. and then cross wise..
    Or you can build your own story, make your own matches, take your own journey through the duality Rio is made up of.. the people of Rio in relation to David, or in relation to you.. friends and strangers alike, an eye inside and an eye out, and connecting everything, or let it fall apart.
    It is a very sensual fairy tale, told with great respect for the people that ARE the tale.

    I am very curious to hear your thoughts once you get it, hold it, feel it.. and absorb it, or get absorbed.. :)

  • to Bryan Harvey & ALL who worked on this unique book:


    …sitting in a hotel in Vegas, it’s the first thing i saw this morning after the sunrise on the strip… and it’s just brilliant!

  • @ DAH and the rest of the crew:

    Looking for the third time that video of the book.
    Looks terrific!!
    A new way of making books… Great bcause the person who has it, can frame every week a different picture of Rio, and hang it in a wall as they aren’t glued to the book.
    You need to patent this method…
    The presentation looks terrific, now I figure it out when you said that you have worked 25hs per day in the making of.
    Nice to know that a “newspaper” for Cariocas is also coming out as they can’t afford this whole piece of art!

    I see DAH style in every single picture inside the book.
    Emotions, energy, colors, hard and awesome composition, contrasts, I see that you were in the core of the action during that period in Brazil.
    What about the front picture?
    Took (i guess) at 2pm below a killing sun in Copacabama?? Flat colors, steady image (I mean, not much happening, just a girl with an Ice-Cream), I’m a little curious about that particular selection for the cover…
    Maybe you told us in the RIO BOOK blog, and I missed the comment…

    Felicitaciones por este excelente trabajo!

  • @ ALL:

    1. EPF finishes today.
    Good luck to everyone!!! Can’t wait to see masterpieces of new photographers!
    Hope that Roberta Tavares submitted something…)

    2. Kadir Van Lohuizen will give a workshop prior to the VISA Festival in southern France, in a cute village called Uzès. Not so expensive… (nearly 600 EUR for the whole week).
    Info here -> http://www.noir-ivoire.com/


  • @ PANOS:

    Manchester City with its “petrol-dollars” or “petrol-pounds” or “petrol-euros” sucks!! Can’t imagine how much the goal keeper of the losing team has in his bank account in Monday after the match…

    Angry Patricio

  • I agree with everything Bob just said.

    AKAKY IRL: You didn’t read it all.

    AKAKY: Life is short, dude, what can I tell you?

    AKAKY IRL: That’s true.


    many thanks for your confidence Mark….you know we have printed only 600 of these books as a first edition…we literally stopped the press…some will print more to reduce the cost of each, but not us…we wanted a for real first edition..honestly we are not trying to sell lots of books…and also honestly even if we did not sell any books, we are not in a financial scramble….this is a true labor of love…for sure your investment will be worth it….please enjoy…and take it apart and put it back together your own way…even for me it is a lot of fun to do this…i see something different every time….look at it our way, but invent your own…there has never been anything like this before….even for us it was a very pleasant discovery…

    cheers, david


    yes, the cover is very simple…yet, i have never had any picture that seems to grab so many disparate people….when i shot it , i knew i had something…it is VERY DIFFERENT from much of my previous work for sure, yet fits when you see it in context…when i shot it, i immediately knew i had something special..i made several sets of images blowing out the highlights on purpose…to be the opposite of my normal color pallet…most of my daytime work is shot late and saturated…i wanted DAY…real DAY…too hot…too overexposed….you use also know that Candy (the woman with beach ball) is a central “character” for the book…a muse….there are five key characters…they are weaved throughout…there is a bit of a mystery story…but i cannot tell you all of it…there was no attempt to make this book look like my other books, yet my other work should segue into this without difficulty when put all together….Cuba, Div Soul flow right into (based on a true story)….the new book actually ends up as a reference point for the earlier work….look at it awhile…you will see….

    cheers, david

  • David – I want that book! I need to save up though…
    Who published it? or are they all hand made?

  • Sorry David if this is a bad place for this question…
    I recently went live with a kickstarter photography project – and I’ve just read some very disturbing news that a rapidly growing number of people and places are ignoring all projects on kickstarter due to a lack of control over what is being proposed and people being defrauded. I don’t want that reputation to hurt my chances of being funded… I’m barely a week into it and I’m already concerned I may have to pull the plug and continue elsewhere (Emphas.is)
    What do you guys think?

  • Look forward to it,David.
    Now,the tech-weenie in me wants to know if it’s a safe bet to assume the bulk of the images in the
    book originated from GF-1 files?

    Also,this months Nat Geo has a fairly long feature on Egypt by Alex Majoli that have
    the GF1or GX1 feel

  • Vissaria Skoulida

    This is a fun book. It’s not boring.I wish the books at school will be like this.
    I change the pages and make a new story.
    Thank you Mr.David.


    i left a comment for you somewhere else, i cannot remember where ..yesterday…hope you saw it…listen , i will work this out for you…send me a private email….no worries…relax…you do so much for others…..

    cheers, david


    this book has Leica M9, Nikon D700, GF1 and iPhone!! in a few cases i would defy anyone to tell me which is which..some obvious low light iPhone, but one case where the iPhone and M9 really look alike!! depends on the light of course…cover is GF1…Candy, who is here right now, and did the downloads says most are with Leica and Nikon, next GF1 and only a few iPhone…i am actually going to go through and count..let you know soonest….

  • Yes, that M9 is surprising.
    Just sold mine after 3 months. GX-1’s are just so much more practical,and useable at higher iso’s

  • MARK

    GX1?? i have not used it…should i??

  • Jason…

    The book is published by BURN.. and all hand assembled, one by one.

  • Thank you Eva, It’s been a while since I’ve been on Burn and didn’t realize Burn it self had become a physical copy publisher! I have Burn 01 and so yeah, I guess that would make sense!

  • WOW this looks absolutely irresistible…I LOVE it! All I imagine Rio would be and more: life’s bursting from its pages. Big congrats to you and to the team who made this happen, David.

  • David,

    Functions identically to to GF-1 but with easily 1 stop higher iso performance vs. GF
    and 16 Mp vs 12 Mp of GF-1 is visually an improvement for larger prints

  • Off to the student show …………..

  • Eiji…

    If you read this, we got your email, but cannot reply, your email address is bouncing. Please try again using a different one!


  • Jason..

    Burn01, Burn02 and (based on a true story) are all 100% Burn books!

    Burn just works opposite to most online magazines, where they go from print to the internet, abandoning the hard copies.. here it is the internet that goes to print.. the virtual becoming real, something not only to look at, but also to touch, smell and feel..

  • IMANTS! :))))))

    damn, that looks great and those kids look so smart and real and pretentiousless…hand links to more of their work! :))…would love to hear how the Head-on folk and viewers enjoyed their exhibition…many times the young ones are wiser than us old folks…something i learned alot from Dima when he was interested in making stuff…

    is the Asian girl the one whose family is from Vietnam?

    more pics


  • Bob didn’t take many photos a bit busy getting the show running etc to do we are in the process of getting site education stuff together………..
    No it was another Asian girl

  • These kids take lots of photos happy snaps serious stuff, out wacko experiments from an early age so they get their eye in……. even at art school we older folk didn’t have their visual skills let alone conceptual thinking

  • Sorry Bob yea that’s Tiffany on the far right it really is a great work her and her mum in sync age wise but aware of the distant void in between……….. probably the most talked about work. Most we look enjoy and move on her stuff we think about it on the way home.

  • IMANTS :))..

    that’s a shame, would have loved to see more of their work for sure :)))…that’s what i thought (Tiffany, the tall one on the right)…i remember your students better than you young man ;)))…if you can provide a link to Tiffany’s work, send it here…would love to see her stuff…interested for sure…so happy y’all put this together…

    tell the kids they’ve got an admirer :)))

  • Most of the images are not mine to show but I reckon there is a burn show in it, my take is that Harvey guy hanging around skinny dipping for Bondi cigars will take it on.

  • IMANTS :))))

    waiting then

  • Imants,

    I really wish I could see more….but even that glimpse looks impressive.

    And what you said about their visual skills is so true.
    Reading the John Vink interview that Paul posted yesterday he mentions something similar:

    “And with the readers having tremendously increased their capacity to read and understand photography over the last 10 years”

    Sure it’s taken out of context but has a similar sentiment.

  • The layout is truly inspirational and the cover photo of Candy is just sunshine-on-a-stick: I love it. A newspaper version free in the favelas is a noble gesture: congratulations to everyone involved.


  • Hey All,

    Here’s my take on what’s especially brilliant about (based on a true story):

    It takes photo books into the midst of multimedia. The modularity of the exciting visuals allows the viewer to create her or his own juxtapositions and thus to become a more active PARTICIPANT in the interpretation of a dream-like happening, a story with many intriguing possibilities.

    Just two sentences about a powerful idea!

    An incredible step for the continuing relevance of “still” photography. Can’t wait to play with my own interpretations of it, in hand.


  • Brilliant. The soul of the OBX I love. It really is a special place and wrapped up in my childhood memories as well. Funny, last time I was there I got the rental car stuck in the sand at the lighthouse pictured. Let a little air out the tires. Spit me out. Old trick I see :))

    David, so happy to finally see this work. Would love to see the broader edit some day. Do I remember a quiet photo with a woman looking out the window at the pier?

  • Gerhard…

    you nailed it! Exactly.. cool you get that! :)

    Harry, thanks for the link.. two worlds seen by the same eyes, shot simultaneously..

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