dangerous current…



We are now in the process of building a separate page for the Family Drive project. We take off driving around Oct 1 for an online version of the process, but of course I am shooting all the time on it. This body of work has been modified a few times in the last three years and is even a traveling exhibit , large prints/ medium format film, yet evolution of idea and stance and raison d’être are in constant flux…Why? Because I change my mind.

Rather make up my mind. Do what will come most natural. Reflect the feelings I have about family in the broadest sense. This new project will absolutely not be what you might imagine it would be. I just cannot do, will not do, a traditional look at American families as I originally intended. An evolution of an idea is not the end of an idea and I always knew I needed another “moving part”. Not more moving parts, less moving parts, but a different moving part. Simple.

Driving across country to take pictures is a really really old old idea. Everybody’s fantasy , and almost everybody has done it. Including many non-Americans, starting with Robert Frank. Kerouac, Pirsig, Steinbeck, Thompson, Twain, Least Heat Moon, Kuralt, hell American travelers are many. Still the road beckons somehow. Crossing America North is a THING. Hard to explain, but a real thing. I guess it is because it is the WAY the place was “discovered”. Folks went West. Guns blazing. Kick ass. Wagons packed. Mud, blood, and beer, all the way, the American way.

Who among us cannot get caught up in the current election process? I mean, this time it really is a defining election. Oh I doubt the country would really change no matter. I lived in Washington for 15 years, and I know for sure that Washington is Washington and protected by all who reside no matter red nor blue. It really is one big club. Yet still this moment is as defining as I can remember. It will set a tone one way or the other. So my journey will blast right into the heart of it and will be over just as a prez is chosen by “we the people”….

The trip across will NOT be the whole book of course…It is just for others to join here online and see a thinking process. Like my riobook online , intended to be a bit of a workshop or educational experience. Unlike riobook , this will be open and free.

So join us online. Jump in with questions. Show up and buy us lunch (please).

Or, show up first at the Bubble Lounge in New York on September 24th. A Rio blast with all the characters from (based on a true story) live and present  and dancing and well, be there! Not to be missed if you are in New York. Oh yes, a cast of characters present that you might imagine if you were imagining…This is a manifestation of my last online adventure. I try always to turn my fantasies into realities…Oftentimes a real mistake, yet sometimes just right…Find out :)



172 Responses to “dangerous current…”

  • I wish, but the 24th is a workday and my mother is having an operation on her hand, so the dutiful son must drive her to the hospital and then bring her home. Still, the Bubble Lounge sounds mighty tempting. I don’t go to dens of iniquity very often, but then, I don’t go anywhere very often.

  • Did you choose that photo because of “I try always to turn my fantasies into realities” or because of the trip? perhaps both? they are related after all, no?

    Looking forward to “Family drive” project page!
    Very generous as always!

  • “…my last online adventure…”!!!!!

  • “Why? Because I change my mind.”

    Glad to read this sentence. I’ve been doing this a lot lately. Perhaps you can understand.

    I will have to miss the Bubble Lounge. I will be in a cold place, though not as cold as it used to be, maybe hanging out part time with polar bears, depending on the direction of the wind. I am a little worried about it, because right now I do not feel nearly as tough as I used to. Please think of me at least once and tip your glass to the north and make toast on my behalf – in silence. No one needs to hear it.

  • “Because with beauty there are only two
    directions, the one we all know

    with the cathedrals and the night-
    blooming flowers, everything composed
    by dull symmetries, and the other direction

    which is to see beauty in gutter water
    or broken shoes, and which depends
    so on the entirely on the first direction

    that we all know it, too.”
    S.E. Smith

  • My take is that this will be great for David, not so for burn. The Rio fling took a lot of steam out of the regular postings on burn. With fewer essays floating around, lack of singles, the instagram thing on hold etc I can see the rest of burn as pretty dead as a door nail during the trip.
    For those that like to follow others have fun and enjoy

  • I think David has a hard time burying his darlings. Burn,it seems to me, has become more albatross than asset to him.

  • Jim it still is a vehicle of communication and contact for him, so that is a reason for burn to continue. whether it can survive probably will depend on those that assist and the audience

  • Jim, while I do not always agree with your opinions, I do respect them. However, it seems that you have been calling for David to jettison his role in Burn for some time now. Although I have never met DAH, I do get the feeling that no matter how selflessly he gives to Burn – the moment it begins to drag on his creativity/productivity, he will shut it down, or walk away.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjoa3QazVy8&bpctr=1347579319

    here is the link in youtube of the controversial movie…CNN insists is not available anymore but i still see it in youtube..do you?

  • Thanks Panos for the support and thanks to Burn and burnians…And for those who have time to check, some familiar faces of this talented family at the blog. You’ll feel like home :) Hope you enjoy!

  • funniest think is that everyone is after the LEAST gifted filmmaker in the whole world…yet he become super famous/infamous overnight…!!!!??? weird or what? what kinda world we living in ….?

  • Congratulations – Roberta! (I think – many times I wonder how smart it is(n’t) to put all the time I do into a keeping a blog.) I’ll be following!

  • “Although I have never met DAH, I do get the feeling that no matter how selflessly he gives to Burn – the moment it begins to drag on his creativity/productivity, he will shut it down, or walk away.”

    Burn is adrift. It has been for some time. The old “Road Trips” blog was far more David’s style. Burn has always needed a long term, sustained focus, and David is more interested in doing his own thing (as he should be) then running an enterprise. I’m a DAH fanboy. I’ve always contended, though, that DAH out shooting photos in his own unique way is more “valuable” to photography in general than DAH as publisher of an online magazine. That Burn has shifted from it’s initial emphasis on (sometimes) emerging photographers, to more about DAH, his work and adventures, suggests suggests the latter should have always been the emphasis.


    you are both right on it…my mentoring and teaching has been with me my whole photographic life and the balance between my own work and what i can do for others is always tricky…i always tried to make time for the work of others…..at the same time, if i am motivated to be doing my own work, then there just comes a time of choice…i hate like hell to make it either/or , but if it does come down to that, then Burn will take more of a Road Trips turn…online “enterprise” has never been the goal however…i rejected all kinds of advertising possibilities etc and have just gone with donations etc…mostly we just all work for free…and for fun….

    i am trying to figure out how to turn the reigns of the Burn editorial part over to someone else…i would still see everything, but not literally be calling photogs and asking them “why did you omit picture #3?”….there is a lot of nitty gritty work that goes on here that does take lots and lots of time….my colleague Alec Soth has morphed his original blog into more of a personal production effort and i may do the same….there will always be, as with the original Road Trips, displayed the work of others either emerging or established…and for sure a small book publishing effort for others is underway…that could be a logical and organic evolution….

    it is true that more of my own work is showing up here, but it is totally “watered down” honestly to what i am actually doing….i mean, for some unknown reason, i am on fire!! and only a tiny bit of it shows up here….we still are publishing here at the same rate the work of emerging photogs, yet because i have such intense projects going, they do bleed on to Burn….should not be too much of a dilemma for readers though, since i intend for any “fire” to hopefully be a learning experience for others or more importantly for others to “catch on fire” just a bit……all part of the mentoring bit…

    since Burn is not in any way an “enterprise”, but a hobby, i can surely do whatever makes the most sense…Burn has no debt, no sponsors, no strings of any kind….this is the very good news….Burn may just be sort of like “one picture” in a portfolio…one era….a representation of a part of what i believe in…but it certainly never coulda shoulda woulda been the “whole enchilada”…never thought that at all..

    thanks for thinking boys..see you soon

    cheers david

  • when the reins are handed over then the beginning of the end is on the cards

  • DAVID..
    you are on fire…
    and always have been..
    BuRN baby BuRN……. :)
    Congrats on your blog…
    you are a photo junkie…
    aren’t we all?!?!?!?!

  • Nice blog Roberta!
    Thanks for pointing it out Panos.

    Now I need time to read it ;-)

  • I was kinda hoping the timing would be right, and you could stop by my wedding tomorrow. Nevertheless, let me know if you are coming through Iowa.

  • Dave…evidently we are really excited to join the next online adventure, an odyssey only you would have guts to guide. Oh Rio book! ..Here he goes again..just one more..a little more..please… and then he packs the bag and next thing you know; -Load the van and Hello America! :)

    Carlo, Wendy and Bill..(and Panos again)
    It’s very tremendously intensively rewarding to know you took some time to check it out the blog and more time to come back here and to leave these lovely lines. Thank you so much. My motivation was exactly that:a space where I could find my tribe, photo junkies who can understand another member in this circus, treat, party, smoke room :) Burn plays such a part in all of this
    And Bill , concering blogs ..you are definitely my menthor

  • Hope you stick a map on that page showing your route (as you make it up) … link photos to place on tumblr tags, etc …


    LOVE THE BLOG..great work! sent you an email…..your love of photography exceeds that of most photographers!! i am not kidding….


    wow! getting married tomorrow..or i guess TODAY by the time you read this..or, actually YESTERDAY more likely by the time you read this….

    super congratulations and so sorry i did not get to the church on time….do not know if Iowa will be on the trip….we cannot be everywhere, and we have no plan….that’s the plan anyway….


    aren’t you gonna find us somewhere “out there”? wouldn’t seem right if you didn’t


    well , you might be right…that is for sure what normally happens…but what might transpire is just another page…a Road Trips page….where i can do my thing, yet apart from the front page of Burn…see, the thing is i end up posting stuff on FB and Instagram and Tumblr which is crazy since i have my own venue here….anyway, we will see….talk soonest my friend….

    cheers, abrazos, david

  • Could be, never know, hitch a ride on a tumbleweed blowing out of the coulee …

  • Roberta –

    I appreciate that thought, especially since my blog has been on the dull side since I went into surgery. I am about to go north, where life is really getting interesting, so I hope it picks up a bit. On the down side, internet connections tend to be so slow up there, especially in the small villages of just a few hundred people, that sometimes I just have to give up and not blog at all.

    But even when it is too slow for me to upload and blog, it will be fast enough for me to read your blog.

  • As you know David stuff that happens beats plans that may happen.
    I finally put the first book I completed (etrouko I “Dreaming backwards”) up for sale just for feelers type of debut, not a biog earner just about all goes into costs maybe the profit is a 4gig SD card. The book is on my site http://www.etrouko.com
    I figured with completing that “etrouko” series of 5 and the dozen or so small square ones the quality and the content is there in the books. Each book is a exhibition within itself………………. I am going to do a show at the local hall near our studio to be in Tasmania. There is nice light and the concertina books (those fold up ones you saw at the workshop) will look the part in the natural light streaming from the large old windows playing with the dark recesses
    I will catch up soon

  • I love this place… I’ll miss the frank discussions, rambling thoughts, flashes of genius if/when it’s done.
    Certainly has the best named space of all time! Viva Burn!

    Glad for your FIRE and forever grateful that you’ve had the urge to share/mentor with us all.

    Roberta, your blog looks great- Can’t wait to dig in, congrats!

    xo M

    RIO photos look GREAT in this months nat geo….
    and i love the fold out…
    what a teacher you are!!
    THANK you!
    best $1.99 i ever spent!

  • It’s Saturday
    time to chill out…
    The sky’s bright and blue and the sun is shining but it isn’t that scorching summer sun…
    And I see images everywhere
    Even through my car window…


    i have not seen the NatGeo piece…but thanks for the report…i assume i will be seeing you soonest when Easy Rider meets the Dirty Dozen and the dah circus ends up in L.A….is that a “yes”?

    cheers, david

  • PAUL

    i love the car window picture…and nice little vignettes in general

    cheers, david

  • David…

    Thank you! I’m feeling very happy with that photo and considering the fact I had contemplated giving up photography just this last week, it just goes to prove when everything goes wrong one must push on.

  • But the question still lingers?……….how much is Paul how much is instagram.
    Nothing wrong with not taking photographs I never bothered for about a decade had no cameras had a great time without being tethered to a box

  • “But the question still lingers?……….how much is Paul how much is instagram.”

    I would venture to say no more of a ratio of Paul:Instagram than Paul:Velvia.

    Nice shot, Paul! Kids and dogs always win in my book, :)

    Imants, I also agree with your statement. I haven’t mean making photos for a few months, and feel no worse for wear. Life has kept me busy and I feel fulfilled, in other ways.


    Wow, killer stuff Harvey, mucho respect for this. You are on fire.

  • “how much is Paul how much is instagram”

    Good grief, I thought we were past such stupid comments. Instagram, iphone, hipstamatic, who gives a fuck. If the image works it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

  • Justin…

    Thank you! I ve been hooked on photography since the age of 15, I grew up at my grandparents house which absolutely always had the latest issue of Nat Geo, Vogue and Harpers Bazar sitting on the lounge table. Before photography I used to draw and paint whenever I finished playing the guitar so the visual arts have always been a big part of my existence. The reason I had been wondering about putting my camera down was simply because I’m not gelling with my new Panasonic GX1, very good camera but there’s just something about it that stops me from seeing properly. Also I’ve realized I need a viewfinder to take photos and I’m incapable of taking anything worth looking at with the damn screen. So after 3 months of fighting and banging my head against the wall I decided to pull out my Canon 1Ds II and suddenly all my frustration just evaporated. I bought it in 2004 so it’s eight years old but from ISO 50 up to ISO 200 it can still kick the lastest cameras in the butt image wise. It’s heavy, huge and extremely expensive but it doesn’t get in the way I’m not thinking about it when I take photos it turns invisible and all I see before my eyes is my subject.

  • Imants…

    I wish I could be so at ease as you are at everything. But photography usualy keeps me close to happiness, keeps me occupied and out mischief. In my case it’s a drug, a compulsive urge.

  • Paul I just don’t see photography as an end game………….

  • Gordon you just are a total dick if you used your brain you will reseal that it refers to giving up photography. I never realized you were such a dumb fuck.

  • should be “you will realise” …………….Doesn’t look like Paul had problem with it

  • Imants…

    Yes with your work it’s just a tool just like a scalpel to a surgeon. In my case the whole act of going out, searching and taking photos is big part of the fun although never as satisfying as the end picture. What I’ve never suffered much from, is the friggin’ gear syndrome so many suffer from…probably because at an early age I had enough money buy a good camera…

  • That is the problem with some cameras the GX1 is in that class neither here nor there and designed as such unfortunately………… works fine if treated like the GF1 with a 20mm lens.

    There are scalpels and there are ergonomically exquisite scalpels, the right tools help.

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