payback

sixpack

Photo © #1 Paprica Fotografia, #2, 3, 5 Candy Pilar Godoy, #4 Vinicius Matos, #6 Michelle Madden Smith
#1: subject from photo in book shows up for launch book signing in Rio, #2: magazines given away on soccer field in Cantagalo community in Rio, #3: young boy helps with a wall “pasting” of our book in Cantagalo, #4 and 5: neighborhood square in Tavares Bastos, #6: signing for Usain Bolt in Jamaica

 

PAYBACK

 

My schedule has been a bit crazy lately. Or maybe it always is. I have a really hard time saying “no” to stuff. Especially if it involves wide eyed youngsters who I can see are just craving some words of “wisdom”.

Of course this seems often strange to me, since I am craving words of wisdom myself!!

The recent marathon to Rio to giveaway a magazine version of (based on a true story) and then straight to Jamaica to work with Usain Bolt and 25 young photographers leaves me feeling like I just ran the 100 meter sprint and the mile on top of it. I was a long distance runner in my youth, so that mentality does come in handy for almost everything I do. You can always “kick it” just a little bit more even if you just can’t. Works.

My team of Eva-Maria Kunz, Roberta Tavares, Candy Pilar Godoy, Michelle Madden Smith, and Mike Courvoisier made it all work. Ever since I started Burn it has been the collaborative effort that rules. None of us can do much alone. Finding great collaborators will change your life if you have not already figured that out. I always tell my students, “find ONE person you trust” to help you with your work . To be a second set of eyes. To be an advisor. To kick you in the butt. Works.

Now I only do this post for one reason. As a story about inspiration. And inspiration is THE fuel for doing any damned thing. If you are not inspired, you might as well stay in bed. You need fire in the belly. Forget exotic places, the right camera. Without the “fire”, pasa nada.

Readers here know by now I come up with a lot of crazy ideas. Including the evolution of Burn in so many ways. Some (most) of my ideas do not work. Yet some do. Again, if you can complete one out of ten ideas you have, you are in the upper percentile of people who can FINISH something.

One of my crazy ideas was to giveaway half of the print run of (based on a true story) the magazine version. It was a crazy idea, it still is a crazy idea, and I did it and I “lost” financially and yet for me this was maybe the very coolest most successful thing I ever did. For sure the most rewarding. Sure I always “give” when I am shooting. Bringing back prints to people I have always done. Buying my subjects a cold beer or dinner or whatever I have always done.

Yet I have never been in a position to really really show the people where I was shooting exactly what I did. Most often they never knew. Never saw NatGeo or whatever magazine I was shooting for on a story. Yet this time I brought it back. As a thank you for allowing me to work in the Carioca community. Sure only a gesture or symbolic at best. Yet I could feel the vibe, the look in their eyes, the feeling of doing the right thing. After all (based on a true story) was not just a collaboration of my team but a collaboration with the subjects I photographed.

Segued right behind the Rio giveaway was a few days in Kingston, Jamaica with 25 young photographers aged 13-17 who belong to photo clubs around the island. The Usain Bolt Foundation and Samsung made this happen. These kids were amazing. Smart, focused, ready to learn, shooting well. We pulled an “all nighter” to get the prints made (thanks Mike, Michelle, Candy) for an on the spot exhibition of their work which was then viewed by Jamaica super hero Usain Bolt who also walked away with a signed free copy of (based on a true story)!!

Anyway, life is all one big circle. Yup, what goes around, comes around and a whole bunch of other cliches about paying back paying forward yada yada yada. Well all I can say, and I think my team would say, it is worth it, worth it, and worth it.

We are selling on Burn, and at Magnum, and at PhotoEye and possibly other venues the other half of the (based on a true story) print run…At the lowest price possible. The collector edition, now gone, was what it was and expensive by nature. Yet while I do like appealing to collectors my heart can never be elitist. The success of the collector edition paid for at least part of the giveaway and the sales of the second part of the print run should get us at break even point. Good biz? Nope. Yet the right thing all around.

And besides, “breaking even” if you are leading the life you love, and may help a few others to do so,  is a nice reward. What more to ask for?

So, I implore you to pick up your camera and do “your thing” and at the same time make it another person’s “thing” as well…Make it a two way street. Either with the pictures themselves. Or by passing on any knowledge you have to somebody else.

Give it away. Works.

 

~dah~

 

 

169 Responses to “payback”


  • Inspiring as usual, David. You “live the life” – but you earn it!

    Mike.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    ” If you are not inspired, you might as well stay in bed. You need fire in the belly. Forget exotic places, the right camera. Without the “fire”, pasa nada.”

    DAVID ALAN HARVEY

  • Great to read and see all of this David!
    Always talking the talk and walking the walk.
    Let me pester you and remind you about a wall pasting here in Miami.
    It can coincide with the art walk in the design district for full exposure.

    Always thankful for these bits of inspiration and wisdom!
    And as the saying goes….”keep on trucking”!

  • DAH

    Love how that kid is looking up at you and the kind way you are looking down at him in the bottom left corner photo..gives me chills to feel the connection and imagine one day this kid telling the story in front of a packed audience there to see his work, about the day David Allan Harvey signed his book and what that meant to him and how his life never was the same again.

    Smoke the life

    Kathleen

  • ..oops, that would be Alan, with one L, of course..

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “Always talking the talk and walking the walk.”
    CARLO

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “Smoke the life”

    KATHLEEN FONSECA

  • “Either with the pictures themselves. Or by passing on any knowledge you have to somebody else” Or best of all; both :-)

  • Is there somewhere online where we can see the student work from the Jamaica workshop?

  • ““find ONE person you trust” to help you with your work . To be a second set of eyes. To be an advisor. To kick you in the butt.”

    I was fortunate to find someone like that early on, and it changed everything. He forced me to work harder, think about more than just what was directly in front of me, to be true to the subjects, to treat them with respect and care, to always know that “good enough” was not good enough.

    He knows who he is, and if he is reading this, like I know he does from time to time, I want to say thank you.

    But there is also benefit from getting information from a wide range of people. Over the past several years, I have gotten advice, feedback and motivation from more people than I can count. More than I can ever thank fully. People like DAH, Erica McDonald, Karen Malarkey, Chris Usher and Jaime Carrero have all led me in the right direction in one way or another.

    Payback is what has struck me as wonderful in the photography community. Passing knowledge on to eager novices through mentorships, email and facebook messages, sites like Burn and Lightstalkers, and personal meetings. Amazing. I have been regularly overwhelmed with the generosity of other photographers, and have tried to give back to those who have less experience than my paltry levels. I urge others to continue to do the same.

    Payback indeed. Hopefully I can pay back with interest.

    Sorry, I get a little ramble-ly when the scotch flows.

    DAH, I did resubmit my proposal to you and the others you mentioned on the Burn staff.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “…think about more than just what was directly in front of me, to be true to the subjects, to treat them with respect and care, to always know that “good enough” was not good enough.”
    BRIAN FRANK

  • Brian, the level of help that photographers give to each other is something to behold.

    This may not extend to the movie industry: one of my favourite lines from movies is “Who do you have to sleep with to get off this picture?”.

    Mike.

  • Finally someone with common sense ……… “There’s no such thing as Flickr Pro today because [with so many people taking photographs] there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore.” /……….

  • good stuff Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer

  • @ BRIAN:

    Yes, absolutely true. Just stay in the same line, step by step, looking forward and backward at the same time. Payback “pays” after some time, a few years I would say… but it pays :-)

    Shine. P.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    What makes a photographer professional?

    I don’t know…I see Evolution and Revolution in the field…
    I take snapshots with my camera phone…am I a pro?hmm

    I think that a Photographer has to have:
    skill
    eye
    talent
    vision
    ability to produce quality images (consistently)
    get paid for his work…
    oh,well
    the times are changing …for everyone,doctors,teachers,athletes…

    respect to all pro’s !!!

    my 2 euro cents or 5 drachmas
    civi

  • the beauty of it all the camera phone has enhanced photography’s role as a tool of communication the elitist world is fading

  • Yeah always give back there’s no need for secrets. So very satisfying to help someone, see their eyes light up as they begin to understand. Thank you for teaching me…

  • Now if only we can clear the art galleries of all the clutter

  • Carlo this is what should be promoted a change leave the work in its altered state along with the photos sponsored by the camera manufacturer.

  • Imants

    I agree.

    God, but for something real in photography, what i wouldn´t give!

    KF

  • DAH. EVA. I see you have listed Photo Eye as a venue for the magazine. I’ve been hounding them to the point that I think I can take some (if not all) credit for “brokering” the deal….even today I again traded messages with Melanie. Maybe I have a future as a photographers agent :)

    Maybe my payback will come in the form of a lower shipping cost…that was my initial reason for working on them to place an order…guess I will soon see if my plan worked!

    Either way I look forward to my copy!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    my apologies…”get paid for his work…”

    get paid for HER / HIS work…!!!

    I love YOU ALL…good morning from beautiful,broken Grecolandia …

    what goes around,comes around…the circle of life…enjoy!

  • CATHY SCHOLL

    as i wrote to you earlier, the shipping costs are just not something we have any control over…it costs us quite a bit just to get the magazines from the Italy printing plant to our Texas shipping point..PhotoEye had done a review of our book early on and had listed us as one of their top choices in 2012 and at the same time we appreciate always any help we can get…so thanks Cathy…

    cheers, david

  • BRIAN FRANK

    we have your book dummy and proposal….very nice work….we are looking at many book proposals all the way through June…..one way or another Burn will do something with your latest version of the fight essay….

    cheers, david

  • IMANTS

    for sure the camera phone has made photography an actual common language and now photography is super egalitarian…this is a good thing….at the same time, no matter if everyone on the planet is shooting simultaneous, there will always be a few “poets” who do things with the language that others do not…it would go against every aspect of hum nature to imagine all photography being “equal”…you are assuming by using the word “elitist” that somehow those who are in galleries and in books are not simply “best”…oh sure nobody will ever think judgement is “fair”…i am sure for centuries artists not chosen feel unfairly missed….and for sure there have been some bad calls…on the other hand, as i look at the gallery scene the museum scene and the publishing scene and those rewarded and those not, in the very long run the cream does indeed tend to rise to the top…and yes there is a lot of junk in all of these places as well…yet when the dust settles, as i have watched all of this process for awhile now, artistic justice does seem to prevail….

    cheers, david

  • To say that there’s no such thing as professional photographers anymore is like saying there’s no such thing as carrots. Finding the truth of the matter doesn’t require putting one’s trust in some expert. One can easily go to the marketplace and confirm that both carrots and professional photographers do, indeed, exist. The fact that a billionaire CEO spouts such nonsense says more about American corporations sad disconnect from easily observable reality than it does about photography.

    To David’s point, here’s an apt quote I came across this morning while looking for something else. From John Szarkowski writing about William Eggleston:

    “It could be said – it doubtless has been said – that such pictures often bear a clear resemblance to the Kodachrome slides of the ubiquitous amateur next door. It seems to me that this is true, in the same sense that the belles-lettres of a time generally relate in the texture, reference, and rhythm of their language to the prevailing educated vernacular of that time. In broad outline, Jane Austen’s sentences are presumably similar to those of her seven siblings. Similarly, it should not be surprising if the best photography of today is related in iconography and technique to the contemporary standard of vernacular camera work, which is in fact often rich and surprising. The difference between the two is a matter of intelligence, imagination, intensity, precision, and coherence.”

  • No David I was referringto the sacred cow attitudes of the arts still alive and kicking “……… no elitist was not used in the sense as you seem to assume I used the term

  • With regard to the ‘no such thing as professional photographers anymore’ comment – made by someone with something to sell – the serious photographer (professional or amatuer (lover)) has always relied on the casual photographer to generate the hardware of photography i.e. cameras and film / cards, because the number of photographers serious about their craft simply cannot sustain the industry alone. With digital photography it is possible for the casual photographer to produce photographs of great quality without having much knowledge of photographic techniques at all.

    This can lead to an assumption by the general public that good photography is easy and that that anyone can do it and everyone is now a professional. This assumption is compounded by many serious photographers following the various digital trends (sloping perspective, high contrast, strong vignette etc.) that look just like the effects available on many an iPhone. The boundary between craft and technology has become blurred.

    I’ve recently finished a project using a DSLR and often on being complemented have said that I just pointed the camera and shot. When trying out the new digital Leica in a store I was surprised by how true my throw away line was: I took a photo and looked at the LCD, to see that the photo was underexposed and out of focus. I had forgotton to perform both manually.

    Yes the cream will usually rise to the top but in an age of information overload how does a photographer get noticed?

    Mike.

  • Mike the great thing about the new technology is that we can now access a lot of movies about the youth of today created by them as opposed to interpretations by “40 year olds” as what we had in the past.

    The internet and cheap technology has given access to the young to create and distribute their work,here is the home of popular culture not the monolith galleries that churn out blockbusters of the past.
    As for the boundary between craft and technology has becoming blurred, I don’t see this as a negative as there are plenty of examples in the past, eg the technology of the photograph, the printing press, electricity etc all have impacted on the arts. This has only led to a greater creative drive.

  • “yet when the dust settles, as i have watched all of this process for awhile now, artistic justice does seem to prevail…”. ……. but with the change in the platform a new justice will prevail

  • BRIAN FRANK and MIKE R

    Agree completely on the amazing network and level of help in the photog community if you simply raise your hand and ask…I have been the grateful recipient of such help, when starting back into my interest in the art after years of neglecting it by a chance reading of a Lightstalker post that resulted from a Google search. That post led me to read more, then to participate a bit, then to meet people in real life.

    I may never publish a book, or hang an exhibition (but you never know, now, do you, I suppose) – but I am certainly a richer person for the kindness and generosity of spirit I have experienced from many in the community…

    Good light to all, and those of us in the States, please remember what this weekend holiday is about – and also be safe.

    A.

  • eduardo sepulveda

    Wooohohohooow!

    Extraordinario to see this!

    Vale la pena, vale la pena, vale la pena.

    Lo que das, se devuelve!

  • eduardo sepulveda

    Lakota Circle

    In the Circle, we are all the same.

    Nobody is before you, nobody is behind you.

    Nobody is above you, nobody is beneath you.

    The Circle is sacred because it was made to bring unity.

  • Yes I agree with Imants a new justice will perhaps prevail. When I was 12 years old learning hendrix, Led Zeppelin or whoever’s solo it was damn hard. The only way in the 80’s was by ear and just listening intently to the LP, it was hard, very few of my music friends managed it. These days it’s marvelous it’s so easy to find on the Internet correctly transcribed solos by every group you can name. Democracy! In the end the important thing is people play songs and enjoy themselves. I’ve seen young bands round here who play all the heavy metal stuff perfectly thanks to YouTube and other music sites. That didn’t exist when I was a kid I was lucky I have a great ear but I knew many young kids who didn’t have a good enough ear or technique to transcribe off an LP who finally gave up trying. You had to be slightly obsessed in the old days just to play a damn song. I think it’s great these days the Internet, instagram YouTube. Democracy is nice gives everyone a little chance.

  • And I’m not going to write a long comment with my phone ever again.

  • Can anyone show me sow to use this wonderful technology to submit an essay to Burn. Not EPF.

    Mike.

  • Paul, I think the advent of midi/virtual instruments/digital audio workstation software is the better comparison to digital photography. One no longer needs to learn how to play an instrument, certainly not to play one exceptionally. With the new Abletron Live, you can hum a few bars and the software will notate it and from there you can edit, apply whatever instruments or sound effects. Making music becomes all about one’s aesthetic rather than what is so often hereditary physical skills. Similar to photography where one can make an image look however one wants without the necessity of learning to work precisely with chemicals. Physical barriers are removed and one can put far more energy into the art. Conversely, one can argue, even demonstrate, that there are many cases where dedication to the more esoteric elements of the craft and hereditary or well-honed through practice physical skills add another level of aesthetic that can’t be duplicated by easy access technology. Ultimately, I don’t know if the combination of physical skill and aesthetics trumps technological trickery and aesthetics. I always lean towards yes it does, but can’t really justify that conclusion when I try. Either way takes a lot of hard work and some kind of high level skill.

  • My very good friend and fantastic singer doing a session for the BBC now.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01sp99b

  • If technology helps individuals to express themselves I’m all for it. Does it dumb-down or enable? Probably both; no easy answer.
    It doesn’t have to be one or the other though ..

    http://vimeo.com/66352973

    Mike.

  • ……and once again we are reminded that a beautifully made picture of nothing is still, just a picture of nothing.

  • I know, John; no people. Nevertheless the technique is interesting – to me. I might even watch with the sound on!

  • Mike. the technique is wonderful. I adore platinum prints. but they have to be a vehicle for something, dont they?

  • do you know what? ignore me. I’m sure that millions of people really enjoy pictures of trees. i am just being prickly.

  • Nothing can be great, John. Remember, there is absolutely nothing nutritious about a jelly doughnut, but if you hold one hostage anywhere in the United States, you can expect to find yourself up to your ass in cops in no time flat. It’s all a question of what you value, I think; people tell me that Seinfeld, a show, as we all know, about nothing, was funny, but somehow I kept missing the funny. Go figure.

  • A vehicle for something; otherwise it’s just technique. You have to have something to say. That’s the hard part.

  • Art history suggests that pictures of trees can be as meaningful as anything else. In some eastern traditions, landscape painting was traditionally considered the most prestigious form on the theory that it required more imagination to create a compelling image of a tree. I can see that argument and sympathize. For example, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to look at a picture of a bum in the street who is slowly dying before the averted gaze of the wealthy passer-by and feel a sense of outrage and injustice at the human condition. But communicating that same message through landscape or still life requires a much higher level artistic vision and skill. Of course pictures of trees and the like get a bad name from photo magazines like Outdoor Photographer. Just as well-exposed and expertly manipulated photographs of beautiful models rarely rise to the realm of fine art, an image of the most sublime sunset across the most pristine lake behind the most spectacular mountain range is likely to be valuable only as a tchotchke. Just as with people, the more compelling stories are typically found among those the more plain and less fortunate. Every stand of scrub has a story to tell that’s likely more interesting than a staggeringly beautiful shot of El Capitan. Seeing that story, and visually communicating it is an art that shouldn’t be denigrated.

  • Ah another …….. “lets drag art it back to what is safe and cosy ” attitude

  • I’ll never know. I see the video is going to take 12 minutes of my day to watch. Today, finally, the sun shines bright above and the air is genuinely, for the first time we can see leaves that have left the buds behind. I don’t want to give 12 minutes to a video. In fact, I don’t know why I am sitting in my office in front of my computer screen at all.

    I am out of here.

    Maybe I will take a few pictures of trees.

  • …….make sure you find one with a hanging bum

  • “I adore platinum prints. but they have to be a vehicle for something, dont they?”

    Yes.
    I’ve seen spectacular vintage prints by Steiglitz and others using the old processes. They are lovely indeed. The old processes were what was available to them at the time. I’m sure they’d all be using Epson printers now and printing on the wonderful papers we have available now.

    It seems to me, that folks who get caught up in the old processes are much more interested in the process than the image. It’s a solution looking for a problem. Is it really a better photograph if it is printed using a laborious process? Or is the unique factor only the process? The print becomes a “precious object”, the imagery is secondary. There is room for this mind-set of course, in the fine art world. However the “fine art” world has never been terribly concerned with the value of the image, only with the dollar value of the object or “piece”.

  • Waiting for your tree pictures Frostfrog

  • Oh, I don’t think “art” is some kind of “it” than can be dragged anywhere. Art is many things that can be dragged many places. And I think it was Lao Tze who speculated that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who cannot imagine pictures of trees that are not safe and cozy and those who can. Or was that Descartes? I get so confused. Anyway, I’ve seen a few disturbing trees in my time. This one is one of my favorites. How can one not anthropomorphize?

  • Yep it can be dragged,maligned, loved ,hated disrespected ignored made cheap whatever

  • The only photographer who’s tree prints I can stand are those by Michael Kenna… And only sometimes.

  • John, if you enjoy breathing I think you’ll find trees more interesting than anything else, certainly more important.

  • A tree…
    ZLUUazK2JHAhttp://instagram.com/pZLUUazK2JH

  • Add an “/” at the end of that link.

  • Imants; re the censored images… How dumb can a government agency be to sponsor a reportage/documentary festival and not expect hard hitting images? Just typical government bureaucratic PC nonsense I suppose…. Imagine saying a pic of a pregnant tummy is not “family friendly”!

    I can’t work out how the Andrew Quilty images weren’t “family friendly”. I just showed them to my 10-year old step daughter and she couldn’t work out what wrong with them.

    http://developphoto.tumblr.com/post/51362091966/andrew-quiltys-censored-images-reportage

  • Gordon, I was just joking, but given what you wrote, I felt obligated to take a photograph of trees today. Of course, this being Wasilla there are plenty of incidental trees in all the outdoor photos, including of the Alaska State Trooper in action and the Wild Child tearing up the duck pond my boys named Little Lake, when they were small, but since you are waiting for my tree pictures, I figured I had better take at least one. It is not art. I did not work at it. It is lazy and unworthy of this sophisticated audience. Still, I felt I must honor my obligation to you so I looked at the trees, raised my camera and shot.

    Imants, that was a pretty bizarre thought on your part. Nice tree picture. Maybe that partially explains it. You could hang someone from that tree – even a hard working, rich person. Why single out bums? Hell. I’m a bum. That’s one reason I’m a photographer. I can be a bum and still make a living.

    But our trees up here? They are not hanging trees. Hanging trees don’t do so well this far north. I suppose it would be possible, but even someone mean enough or desperate enough to do it would probably seek an easier, more practical method.

    Mike – I have tried twice to look at your picture, but either you have removed it or you have instructed your website not to allow bums like me to view it. That’s what it says when I try: “You may not have permission to view it.”

    Anyway, my pretty much worthless tree picture I took for Gordon can be found at the bottom of this post:

    http://www.logbookwasilla.com/logbookwasilla/2013/5/25/first-hot-saturday-of-the-year-i-just-have-to-blog-it-return.html

  • Paul: I tried your’s too. Didn’t work. Not even with the slash.

  • Ross: Your link worked. That was a nice picture of trees at the top. Otherwise, it is 2:00 AM and I am too tired to read all those words, even though I just wrote more words than that which most people will be too tired to read, too.

    That’s it for me.

    I’m going to bed.

  • Bums make the news all be it page 7 a tree hanging bum should hit page one, with a bit of clever bit of censorship the big time and a lead in the 6 o’clock news. See how it all ties in?

  • And I was woke up just before dawn By an old man crying in the rain
    He was drunk and he was lonely And as he passed by he sang a hymn
    And as I lay there listening, Well, I almost joined him in that song
    But instead I just held my peace And waited ’till that old man moved along

    Then later on that day About a quarter mile out of town
    I found his body hanging in A grove of pines, swaying in the wind

    And as he swang that rope sang Another hymn to Jesus
    And this time, though I don’t know why I somehow felt inclined to sing along

    -Jim White. Still Waters.

    Read more: JIM WHITE – STILL WATERS LYRICS

  • John Gladdy…

    I’m still inspired by that incredible Harry Crews link you posted way back 2011.

  • There’s something about the American south’s landscape and it’s people that’s so different from anywhere else.

  • @ DAH and the whole burn crew:

    After this post I was thinking: What about making a burn book but not precisely with photos and images inside…

    I was thinking of a “literally” book with a some kind of retrospective, collecting past interviews with photographers and editors that you did and posted, like the one above of “Payback”, or with some gallerists NatGeo editors and proeffesional photographers like Nick Nichols that I remember.
    Lot of accurate info and very good pieces of advises for young photographers.

    Just a short book, no more than 125-150 pages. No more than 20 Euros…

    Just an idea…
    Have a nice Sunday. P.

    PS: Love this ad with Steffi Graff (former tennis player) with a Leica in her hands, it fits her very well.

  • Wrong Eyed Jesus is an interesting movie. See here as well.

    I guess Lao Tze was wrong, there actually being three kinds of people when you include those who would censor images of trees because of possible damage to youth. On that note, sorry Bill, I think god censored the link to my disturbing tree photo, or more likely the Australian censors are loose on the internets. It’s also possible someone wasn’t paying attention to permissions. Who knows? Should work now though.

  • MW…

    As trees go that’s not a bad tree. Nice image…

  • Frostfrog, thanks for humouring me. Did you ever find out why the boat was in the little pond?

  • on a completely unrelated note, I find that I have spent a whole bunch of money I cannot really afford on a digital motion picture camera body. And while it will happily pretend to like my canon L glass and even my Leitz R primes..what it really wants is this (in fact it calls to me at night from its case in the cupboard)
    http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/index.php?t=product/canon_4k_wide-angle
    Yes I know its a zoom.(calm down panos)
    I can assure everybody that it almost certainly my birthday at some point in the next year or so, so if anyone wants to be a good egg and surprise me with one as a gift I will be suitably thankful….I may also have a kidney and a slice of (only slightly soiled) liver for sale :::) WATCH THIS SPACE.

  • Thanks Mike. I never saw a tree like that before. That’s a good tree. A bit disturbing, yes, but disturbing in a good way.

    Gordon, I didn’t have the patience to hang around until they stopped screaming about in circles, but, as it was such a nice day and we are at the beginning of the boating season, I am quite certain they just wanted to put it in the water, check out the engine, hear it roar, see how they might need to tune it up and fire off their train horn right on their own property without going through all the bother of hauling it a mile or two away to a good lake.

    It’s really an ocean boat.

    I didn’t write about the frogs. In truth, have been more worried about the frogs than I was about the duck. The ducks lost Little Lake as family raising habitat some time ago, but the frogs still reside there year around. They burrow down into the mud in early fall and freeze until late spring. They have a chemical in them that protects their cells from rupture. They are very small frogs. I suspect that most of them retreated into the shallow grassy waters and are doing okay.

    I hope.

  • I’m somewhat bummed with myself for breaking my self-imposed injunction against commenting on essays. I sincerely hope Ms. Prieto is not the type to take negative criticism too much to heart. Over the years here at burn, I’ve come around to David’s POV on the subject of public criticism. What’s the point? Usually not the one we think it is.

    Anyway, under David’s response to Kathleen, he said this:

    “what great film or book your have ever seen/read that gave a broad view? tell me.”

    Just about all of them, I’d say. I’m having trouble thinking of a great novel or film that gave a narrow view. Perhaps taking a very narrow view is not uncommon in successful photography books, I’m far from being an expert in that area, but the ones I’ve most appreciated are anything but narrow. I don’t, for example, find Bruce Davidson’s East 100th Street narrow. Nor Salgados Otras Americas. And the broad view is one of the things that’s always drawn me to David’s work. When he goes into places with horrible suffering like Nairobi or Rio, he doesn’t flinch from those realities but neither does he limit his work to them. Speaking generally, without the context of the wealthy and the middle class, the suffering of the poor is a lot easier to take, or at least to ignore. Without a context that includes happiness or hope, sadness and despair lose a lot their power to foster empathy. The environment in which people live is crucial to their quality of life. It’s rare that we can understand a person without any knowledge of where they live. I totally trust that more essays fail for being to broad than too narrow, but getting that balance right is probably one thing that separates those at the top of the field from most essays.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Happy MEMORIAL DAY !!!

    Are we into trees now? Please,if you are going to publish more of those hanging trees…
    have the warning sign …near by…

    here in Grecolandia ,we love them…best way to go Upstairs:( after the new cuts and taxes…oime!!!

  • MW

    It´s funny..one thing that was in my minds´eye when writing my responses to Ms. Prieto´s essay was David´s work. I thought, if he can go into a favela and shoot clean kids laughing and goofing off like any other kid in the world, then why does “Safe Heaven” have to be so heavy-handed in the other direction? I know how immigrants live. Immigrants work for me. i AM an immigrant! But i am not a PJ, not an essayist. Not even sure really how i feel about essays. My reaction is narrowly confined to my own experience. i can only say what rings true and what rings hollow. David´s work has always rung true. Safe Heaven not so much.

    Best:

    kathleen

  • Mike – That same resolution is always dangling on the edge of my mind. I mean, what the hell of value can I really add to this critiques? Sometimes, I think the main reason to critique is to try to make like one has wisdom one does not truly possess. As for Ms. Prieto, she is very young with a lot of maturing and learning to do. I’d say she is off to a pretty decent start. Now she has learned to feel the sting of criticism of her heart and mind and to keep on going, which I feel positive she will do. I think it likely she will eclipse you and I.

    Kathleen, I believe I know where you are coming and I understand that place. I get it myself when I see people go into Native communities I am familiar with, where I experience the laughter as well as the tears, and then just make everybody look like they are nothing but grim, hopeless and drunk. It just makes me angry. You are measuring her essay against your own experience and what you see in the essay can not measure up to your life experience. In my own comments, knowing that Ruth Prieto herself is Mexican, is living in the US, sees, feels and thinks about the life around her and so came up with an idea to make a statement about one aspect of that life and then set out to do it, I tried to address my words to whether or not she said what she wanted to say.

    I think she did.

    And now I think I should probably follow the example of Mike’s self-imposed, regularly broken injunction and stop commenting on these essays myself. I should just sit back and enjoy them, maybe say congratulations and leave it at that. It takes too much time and really, what can I add? I will adopt your injuction. I will probably break it, just as you do.

    You and I – we are just weak human beings who love photography.

    You and me too, Kathleen – with the added bonus of loving cats – another love we share with David.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    I love cats too…

  • JOHN !!!
    Wow, that’s a masterpiece of a lens actually…
    My whole theory about zooms gone away ..4 times better glass resolution than HD?
    Great job from canon , love that Red…

  • Yes, Civi! It’s true, you do. I should certainly have stated:

    “another love we share with David and Civi…” And a few others here as well, I strongly suspect.

  • Frostfrog…

    In my opinion I believe you should keeping posting comments about essays. You have a very nice way of expressing your opinions and feelings., ,

  • a civilian-mass audience

    thank you FROSTY …and whatever PAUL just said !!!

    PANOS wrote:
    “JOHN !!!
    Wow, that’s a masterpiece of a lens actually…”

    wow,EVOLUTION !!!
    I can go to sleep now.Goodnight from Beautiful Grecolandia
    I LOVE U ALLLL…more reports,please…

  • Frostfrog:

    You are very kind and generous of spirit. I have thought a lot about Ms. Prieto´s essay and I will say that my big mistake was reading, as John so succinctly put it, “the blah”. If she hadn´t written all that stuff about xenophobia and social change i would have been fine with whatever the photos depicted as long as they were decent photos.

    Immigrants are just like everyone else. The difference is they have moved from one country to another. Some are saints, some are sinners. Some are escaping persecution others prosecution. Some are just along for the ride cuz going to the US is sort of a coming of age thing you just do. They are capable of truly great things, ordinary things or utter scumbag things. Just like all people. They do not sit around their apartments scowling most of the time any more than anyone else does.

    Ms. Prieto had access, exercised artistic license and then attached some reasonable sounding blah. She´s not guilty of anything. That she´s also Mexican was no more of a guarantee of a revealing, enlightening or accurate portrayal than it would be if you as an Alaskan attempted the same project. There is a huge gaping breach between indigenous immigrants stacked ten to an apartment and a young lady who is able to study at ICP for a year. My bad was I took her at her word and held her to a very high standard. I gave her no leeway for age, relative inexperience and/or whatever baggage she may have brought with her into the project. Her stated objective is so urgent, timely and personal that i followed that rainbow to a teaspoonful of gold and then cried foul long and loud like she had deliberately deceived me. Silly me!

    Michael:

    If no one comments on essays than there will be no dialogue, no observations, no reason to be here. I came back because of the dialogue. It´s great to see the energy no matter how we might disagree. You are so astoundingly articulate that i would be saddened more than i could say if you drop out of the essays. Yes, it takes a huge amount of time but i get so much out of everything everyone says under an essay. Even those whose comments are so cryptic (Imants) i´m left wondering WTF? And honestly? I can´t say i have ever had quite the understanding of the word “xenophobia” as i now have. So, haha on me, i think Ms. Prieto accomplished her goal! In a reverse psychology sort of way of course.

    Best
    Kathleen

  • a civilian-mass audience

    We are almost 100…AKAKIEEE…

    we have a Street fighter,KATIEE…we are really going fast !!!Beer anyone?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    PANOS, I think it’s time to come back…Greece needs you!

    ok,no more beers for you though :)))))))))))))

  • a civilian-mass audience

    danmed it…11:29 minutes…you are definitely Greek…hihii,we don’t know when to stop :)))))))))))

    and that’s why, the sky is the limit …and beyond…!!!

  • I’ve always wondered how you all are seeing the post count in the threads…

    Good light, all.

    a.

  • Oh, I think I see. you just go back to the start….

  • Which means…

    YES! WOOHOO! 100!!

    :)

    Had a good long holiday weekend, with the exception of fighting off a summer cold. People on the house and deck Monday for a bit of fiesta and cookout. Life is good.

    Hope everyone is getting ready for summer…LOOK3 is around the corner! Our own Kerry Payne is opening in DC! Lots to do and see….

    A.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    BRAVOOO ANDREWB…100 is yours, now it’s time for your payback

    Your REPORTTTTTTTTTTTT.Thank you!!!

  • CIVI,

    My only other report is that I have recently been taking many many snapshots and not many photographs. Not sure why that is, but it’s rather frustrating.

    Not that snapshots aren’t fun and good – I’m just trying for more and suddenly lacking badly.

    A.

  • Kathleen, you didn’t have any “bad” there. Photography should be an art confident enough in itself to allow for serious criticism like you find in other arts, particularly literature and film. Sometimes I think as is it’s too much of a circle jerk and is treated accordingly by the world at large. As far as letting the statement influence the critique (not just Ms. Prieto’s, but any statement), that is as much a part of the work as any photograph. If a photographer doesn’t want the statement to be a part of the work, he or she shouldn’t have a statement. In this case, my impression is that they are as intimately connected. Often, I get the impression that the artist just came up with a bullshit statement after the fact in order to get published or a show or a good grade or whatever, but with Ms. Prieto’s work, it feels real.

    So big picture I think criticism is great and that photography would benefit from a helluva lot more of it. But in this little world of burn, it seems more likely to hurt people’s feelings than to have much positive benefit and although the management tolerates it, they certainly don’t encourage it. And part of it is that most of us are working photographers rather than serious critics and bring our own baggage to it. Although I never do that consciously, I often suspect I’m guilty of it, at least a little. In this case, I was just having a conversation about M.F.A.’s the other night and brought that to it. And I’ve considered doing a similar project, even done some exploratory work on it, and that probably had some subconscious effect (the parks and beaches around here are also safe havens, for example). Of course at the top end of literary criticism, it’s not at all unusual for a prominent author with expertise in the subject to be assigned the review of a similar material. The danger of that is if we criticize based on how we would have done it rather than on how the author/artist actually did it. And there’s always a good likelihood we will be accused of it, regardless.

    As to speculating about Ms. Prieto’s economic status and how it affects her interaction with her subjects, that’s certainly a valid and interesting area to explore in a review of her work, but as we actually know so little about her, I think it’s kind of wrong to do so here. That said, I understand where you’re coming from. Most Americans have little idea of Mexico’s cultural diversity nor of its advanced arts. I remember that one of the things that really surprised me when I lived and studied in Latin America was how Mexico was perceived as such a cultural heavyweight. Then living in the southwest, reading a lot of history and traveling quite a bit in northern Mexico, I was equally surprised to get some sense of the deep social divisions based on the amount of Mesoamerican blood in one’s veins. Mexican law was always great. No slavery. No Indian reservations. But the customs are another story. Another story that’s not told in that essay, but then here we go again.

  • Mike R: “A vehicle for something; otherwise it’s just technique. You have to have something to say.”

    You know, I generally agree, but sometimes maybe it’s enough to just say “this is beautiful.” Or to grab a line from Wikipedia, the point of landscape art for many is “a kind of secular faith in the spiritual benefits to be gained from the contemplation of natural beauty.” Of course in my serious work I find it interesting how the ways we manage or interact with nature tell us things about our character, but a lot of days I just like to take a walk and look at the pretty trees and flowers. Yesterday proved to be a good day for it. In homage to Panos, it occurred to me to huff some helium and do a voiceover, but don’t really have that much to say.

  • Damn, just can’t figure out how to embed a vimeo. Link here.

  • I feel that the net has done an injustice to photography, it is a visually weak form of presentation giving exaggerated importance to the mundane. The net is ideal for facebook, twitter, email business etc type of communication and great for video/music etc but dies in the presentation of still images, photographic essays fare even worse.

  • IMANTS

    i think everyone feels as do you about the net…i don’t think anyone thinks that presenting work on the net is THE way to view any of the visual arts….yes it may falsely heighten the mundane or worse kill the truly terrific…more likely and more tragically the latter….

    the net is simply for information only….or a preview…lovers of photography must look at hard copy books or see an exhibition….if the internet leads to either of those two things, then it has done its job…its only job…however before you throw out the baby with the bathwater, you may want to remember the old daily newspaper and 99% of print magazines were just as bad if not worse in this regard…

    mass communication is what it is..use it but don’t confuse it…

    cheers, david

  • PATRICIO

    even after the first year of Burn, i was thinking the same thing…if you took all the best of the best comments, we would have quite a book…..

    i think it is just a matter of time..both kinds of time…the time it will take someone to to collect all the comments and just us doing it….a combo of the EPF and looking at books to publish and essays to run here is pretty much a full time job but at some point i think what you ask for will happen….

    so, write great stuff!!

    cheers, david

  • One hoped that the internet could have enhanced photography as it to video and music the single as I stated the image comes the closest.

  • Quite aware of the mass communication aspect at best newspapers taught me to skip most of the pages

  • …….so it is easy to do the same with the results created due to structures imposed upon us by the ciscos, googles, microsofts, apples yahoos, governments etc

  • ahh I forgot the telcos

  • the net is simply for information only….or a preview… sure but imposes a dominance on what follows

  • The worst, or one of the worst things about shooting for web presentation is facturing in thumbnail curb appeal.

  • Michael:

    I read and read again your comment above. There´s so much there i would love (LOVE) to talk about. So much that i also think about. And so much that i have thought of little else but since Ruth´s essay was published. Photo essays on the whole promise great insight but are merely a finite series of focused or random thoughts that attempt to articulate a point of view. The statement accompanying the essay is redundant. A title is all that is necessary, perhaps a brief caption or two if context is required. Otherwise, unless one is truly poetic, why gild the lily with text? The photographer cannot hope to persuade the viewer to his viewpoint with words if the photographs fail in their primary function. And that is by some weird alchemy to convert mute observations into a specific energy that causes them to rise from their flat surface and fill the very air around the viewer informing, revealing, suggesting, emphatically stating, whispering the photographer´s message.

    This is hard. REALLY hard. And it is why photographers (as other artists) work their whole lives and maybe achieve this incredible spiritual connection with the viewer sometimes. The best do so consistently. The rest, not so much, mainly never. Ever.

    That some find Ms. Prieto´s essay amazing while i was horribly disappointed makes me wonder, was it me? What part of my yearning failed to identify with her women? Worse. It was worse than failed to identify. I cannot answer this. Right now i know i want to be free of those pictures, free of those faces. Some photographers deliberately hold back, leave the viewer wanting, insist that the viewer work for the insight, some teasingly suggest substance where there is none. I cannot say which is at work here. But i am very grateful to Ms. Prieto for making me work to peel back yet another of photography´s fascinating layers. I am the better for having seen her work, albeit that the experience has not been entirely pleasant.

    Regarding criticism under essays, no matter Burn management´s encouragement or the lack of it, i never learned so much about photography and photographic thought as what i have learned from your (collectively) writings under the essays. Does it hurt feelings? I am sure sometimes it does. But so does rejection and heaven knows when you put your work out there rejection and/or indifference is a huge part of the experience. Published essays here are already winners. I envy these photographers their hurt feelings, their disappointed, amazed, pissed off interested and invested viewers!!! Good God, it sure beats the dead air and silence that ensures a photograph will never live, never experience that incredible alchemy that lifts it from its page and wafts it into the air like the ghost of moments passed.

    So please, do not stop writing under essays. Burn would just stop burning and hiss a fleeting spark or two into a silent void like a campfire after all have crawled off into their tents for the night.

    Best
    Kathleen

  • a civilian-mass audience

    ANDREWB…keep shooting.I am waiting for your book.

    and to ALL MY BURNIANS…I am waiting for your books,I have received “promises” that the first copy will be mine…hmmm,ok,let’s aee,
    I CAN wait…almost 5 years in BURNLAND,you know me by know

    I CAN WAIT !!! because I believe in you,ALL OF YOU.

    P.S…KATIEE,wow,you are definitely an academian…but my above comment applies to you too.
    (same for AKAKY,BOBBYB,SIDNEY…oime,and the other Academians)

  • a civilian-mass audience

    and EVA,VIVA…I know you are working hard (BURNING CREW) but can you please,send me a weather report…

    I LOVE YOU ALLLLLLLLLLL !!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    MW…don’t you dare stop BURNING…you have been warned…

  • Civilian…

    don´t stop burning, you have been warned…

  • Civi.. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to use the word shit here.. so I won’t use it, but it would describe the weather perfectly.. Northbound tomorrow, so it will be white, no doubt! It’s been a persecution.. get the chicken snorkles and a fire!

  • I finally made it to the William Eggleston show at the Met today. As it was late in the show’s run and pretty much an off time, I mostly had the place to myself and was able to spend some quality time with his work. Eggleston falls outside the interests of typical burn conversation. At a glance, or even a long look, his photographs appear commonplace. His work is not a vehicle for anything. He didn’t really have anything to say. He wasn’t a documentary photographer (although his photography serves to document important things about a place and time). He didn’t take pictures of things (although things are in his pictures). He took pictures of lines and shapes and colors that explored the relationships, the flow, between and among them. The best way to grasp the work is to let your eyes drift out of focus. When the details of the things blur, the movement, the flow of the elements become apparent. But that’s all there is. No cry for social justice in these images. No visual whizz bang pop. A little humor, possibly. Not much. Perhaps some kind of art statement about the value of color photography back when it went largely unrecognized. Can’t say for sure though. Aside from a few quotes on the wall that don’t relate directly to the work, apparently Eggleston wasn’t talking. The books they had for sale contained no words of his. The photos no descriptions. A nice forward by a very good writer, which is imo the way it should be.

    Nice experience that it was, it paled compared to what it would be if I had some quality digital files and could watch it on the computer at home. I was only able to come away with whatever insights I gained because no one was there. Normally a trip to see a show like that at the Met would mean slowly shuffling past the pictures in a long line. Any stop for contemplation causes problems for others. There’s no way to survey a whole wall or corner. On the computer, however, I could watch the work go round and round for hours and would no doubt see much more of what there is to be seen. Could buy a book, I know, but that would be a lesser experience as well. The images on the screen are much larger and vibrant. And just think what it’s no doubt gonna be like. Today you can buy a 60″ wide 4k television for $7000. In ten years it will likely be $400 at Costco with a retina display. You won’t need a warehouse to store 100’s of 40×60 prints. And you can study them as long as you want. That, hopefully, is the future of photography. Time to pry it from the cold, greedy hands of the wealthy. Soon, anyway. Soon.

  • all one ever has to fucking say, in those 4 pics above….btw, the child is WE’s son, not that it matters…..

    though its always mattered to me….

    will chime in later in the weekend on the most recent essay…some of the commentary left me heartbroke, not because the ‘criticism’ was interesting, but that because the failings attributed to the photographer and the project seem much more about the critics than the work itself…

    will try to hammer out all that later….

    overwhelmed at the moment with my own shapeshifting life….

  • check that 5 pics above…then again, i could post pics from WE all night and never end….he may have nothing to say, but his pics sure broke open, for me, all that was say-less (beautifully, mysteriously, insanely) about the world….just as looking in a class of gold whiskey through smoke as the music plays on….

  • Bob; If I’d have been shown Eggleston’s work 4 or 5 years ago I probably would have said something like “and that’s photography?”. Now; because of the influences of the Burn essays and many of your (and others) links; I’ve had my eyes opened to so many new styles of work. One of my next “must haves” is Eggleston’s “Stranded in Canton”…. :-)

  • I didn’t mean that Eggleston not taking pictures of things and not having anything to say is a bad thing. I like his work. I see the dynamism in his compositions that appear to most people as static. I like abstract art and appreciate the challenge it is to photograph things without photographing things or sadly mimicking abstract paintings. Of course not saying anything through one’s images is impossible, but the challenge and necessary effort are usually interesting and Eggleston manages it quite well in a unique way. And of course one can’t control what things other people see be it banality or some powerful statement about The Gothic South. And, thankfully, he doesn’t explain it much. Probably because there’s not much of anything to explain in words, being as it is, you know, abstract. If it were just a well-defined concept stuffed in some rectangular frames I doubt anyone would be talking much about it.

  • Stranded in Canton is the only work by WE I can’t stand, maybe because it’s a movie.
    When it comes down to colour photographers Pinhassov, Dah, Eggleston and sometimes Alex Webb are my gods of inspiration. For some WE is an acquired taste, I found his images easy to fall in love with.
    My humble tribute to WE…http://instagram.com/p/Z-zFpvq2GM/

  • Here’s an example of one important thing that’s going on with Eggleston. More or less works with all of them.

  • MW…

    maybe because I’m on the street taking photos but I just don’t your previous post.

  • MW…

    maybe because I’m on the street taking photos but I just don’t your previous post. It’s got something to do with the golden rule?

  • Four years ago, I pulled up to the drive-through window of a brand new coffee shop in Wasilla. Naturally, I took a few pictures. The coffee shop, the woman who runs it and her brilliant husband who designed and built it for her then became a regular part of my life. They made many appearances on my blog, along with their baristas, customers and young son, so some of you are familiar with them.

    Early this morning, I put up a post on the burial of this man who, thanks to coffee, became a good friend:

    http://www.logbookwasilla.com/logbookwasilla/2013/5/31/scots-funeral-the-sun-shone-warm-and-bright.html

    Next week, I plan to cover another funeral for a great Ahtna Athabascan woman, Katie John, sometimes called the Rosa Parks of Alaska because of the stand she took against the State after rangers forced her to take down her Copper River subsistence fishwheel. She fought all the way to the Supreme Court, won, and then had to fight again. I put up a short post this evening, right behind the one linked above, but will do a bigger retrospective early next week.

  • Paul, my point is that Eggleston’s photos are practically textbook examples of dynamic symmetry in composition. As I said, I spent some quality time at the Met exhibition, paid very close attention to the 14 Pictures, and saw that each image has an underlying pattern that makes it flow. For the most part, Eggleston was not making photographs of the objects in his pictures. He was not making some kind of documentary about the south. He was concocting interesting compositions from lines, shapes and colors he was able to divine from the world around him. He was making abstract art, much more akin to Jackson Pollock than Robert Frank. The apparent subject was secondary, if that.

    I know it’s really kewl to be all “fuck the rules, man,” but when it comes to composition I don’t think “rules” is the right word. There are principles of composition and color that humans are hard wired to appreciate. William Eggleston might as well be Exhibit 1a.

    You like quotes:

    “I’ve always assumed that the abstract qualities of [my] photographs are obvious. For instance, I can turn them upside down and they’re still interesting to me as pictures. If you turn a picture that’s not well organized upside down, it won’t work.”

    “I am afraid that there are more people than I can imagine who can go no further than appreciating a picture that is a rectangle with an object in the middle of it, which they can identify.” — WE

  • MW…

    I think it’s a bit of everything. I don’t honestly think it was all colour and symmetry, I’m sure he was inspired by his surroundings also. However he did study art at college. Have a look at his book on Paris, it’s pretty cheap compared to his other books and in that one I promise you will certainly only see colour, art and everything you’ve stated above.

  • ahhh..preaching to the choir:

    “Whatever it is about pictures, photographs, it’s just about impossible to follow up with words. They don’t have anything to do with each other.”

    “A picture is what it is and I’ve never noticed that it helps to talk about them, or answer specific questions about them, much less volunteer information in words. It wouldn’t make any sense to explain them. Kind of diminishes them. People always want to know when something was taken, where it was taken, and, God knows, why it was taken. It gets really ridiculous. I mean, they’re right there, whatever they are.”

    WE-

  • “Whatever it is about pictures, photographs, it’s just about impossible to follow up with words. They don’t have anything to do with each other.”

    I understand this philosophy and for many people and there photographs it is true, but it is not only the way to look at photography or to use photography. So often, people discover something that works for them and then decide that is the only it should be. No. I have stated this before, but to me, photography and words blend very well together when they intertwine to to bring multi-dimension to the same story. As I have stated before, kind of like a baroque fugue.

    There are many ways to tell a story. You can tell it with words. You can tell tell it with pantomine. You can tell it with paintings, sculpture and photographs. You can weave different media together and then they become one. With photos and words, it is not necessarily a matter of following up. It can be matter of bringing the two together to bring multiple dimension to one story.

  • Hi FrostFrog:

    How i feel about words is simply personal. Everyone has their own way of doing things. And i know you like to tell stories with words and pictures. I just happen to feel words are quite often overused, redundant and diminishing to a photograph. People expect text when they look at a photograph because they are used to captions, stories, articles and advertising copy. But with photography as art? Why trivialize the viewing experience with words? Imagine Robert Frank´s “The Americans” with text? eeks.

    Having said that, photographers have incorportated text into their art to great effect. Biographical narratives are extremely personal statements that have been utilized by Robert Frank and Larry Clark for example. Duane Michals used text on his photos quite often and even created a photograph using only text scrawled on a blank piece of photo paper. But text and photos are a challenge to use together to artistic benefit. And unless one knows well what one is about one can easily make a fine mess of things by walking and chewing gum at the same time.

    Best

    kath´

  • JEFF

    Loved your comment under Valentina´s essay and so am bringing my input here, lest i selfishly mar the beauty of your words and thoughts with my own blah where it least belongs.

    “I’m not a fan at all of the “fuzzy” photograph, as in most cases I find it to be a gratuitous cheat for rawness and visceral emotion”

    I have long had a tough time with this issue with my own work. Is it ok, isn´t it ok to embrace one´s blurry photos. I am far from resolved on the issue. Because actually, blur DOES express rawness and visceral emotion quite well. Some more than others. When does it work, when dosen´t it? Intent helps of course but what of the occasional incredible accident? hmmm…

    I have been too long enamored of the work of photographers such as Antoine D’ Ágata, Miroslav Tichy and Japanese street photographers to dismiss blurry photography offhand. Since i am near-sighted, blur is my visual reality if i don´t have glasses on. i am comfortable with it. I find the opposite (great depth of field, digitally sharpened images) to be unnatural because of the great amount of information hitting me all at once. So this issue, like all others has to be worked out on an individual basis.

    As you noted in Clementina´s essay, her use of blur effectively connotes the passing of time. Blur, like text (wink at FrostFrog) and Holga light leaks and…and…and…a host of other devices that are frowned upon by one group or another are all potentially valid. Why qualify your enjoyment of Clementina´s use of blur as an exception to your usual high standard? Why not just love it, that´s all?

    Best
    Kathleen

  • Kathleen…

    It took me a long time to decipher/understand Robert Frank’s “Americans” and it was thanks to many words and thoughts on the work. I agree the essay has no use for words added to the images but sometimes words help understand, especially whilst learning.

  • I certainly agree with Bill that all manner of combinations of words and pictures can work, and I agree with Paul that it’s interesting and sometimes helpful to read what other people think about particular works of photography. But I can’t help noting that none of the top photographers I’ve noticed write their own artist statements. Jack Keroac, for example, wrote the intro to “The Americans.” Here on burn we see the excellent example of Wim Wenders wrote an intro for James Nachtwey (hey, btw, April’s passed, where’s the Wenders work we were promised?). And consider David Alan Harvey’s artist statement for “Based on a True Story.”

    The self-written academic twaddle we read under so many essays not only serves to undermine their possible artistic value but is also a stark indicator that the work is most likely less than first rate. When there’s a wide discrepancy between what the academics say and what the professionals in the field do, I think its most often wise to err on the side of emulating the pros.

  • “I think its most often wise to err on the side of emulating the pros.”

    Mike, I respect your opinion, but I think it wise to err on the side of what the force and drive inside tells you to do.

  • Well Bill, hard to argue with that. Still, there is a lot of pressure to provide some kind of statement for published work. Very few can get away with providing nothing. Finding an insightful writer to provide his or her insights seems to be the way most top pros go. And I’m sure there are plenty of examples of photographers doing a good job of writing their own intros without spelling out exactly what the piece is about. Bob Black springs to mind. But I suspect it’s pretty rare that the force and drive inside of which you speak tells people to write preposterous academese. If it does, then I do think they’d be better off emulating the pros and let the viewer figure it out for themselves or with a hint or two from a good writer.

  • I agree with you there, Mike. What I have noticed, though, in so many top photographic publications, such as Aperture, is that even there, written by other people, the intros are so often mostly hyperbole.

  • Kathleen:

    D’Agata’s technique works perfectly for me, since his visual impairment matches his work style. The same holds for our Mr. Black. How democratic an art-form is photography that literal vision can play second-fiddle to intent?

    I think the fuzzy photo idea can be used when it mates to the “knowing oneself” approach to the art, too. That is, fuzzy, raw thinking can beget fuzzy, raw photos. That can apply to anyone, and is especially appropriate for those who place passion and emotion over reason.

    The third valid approach would be as shown by Quintano, whose essay if I read it right, uses the technique to marry the intent to the work.

    All of those approaches work for me; it’s the essays I see where the technique is used in a short-hand manner to introduce a mystery that would be otherwise non-existent I can’t respond to. For me there is a falseness present that doesn’t ring true, that doesn’t hold me.

    It’s interesting what you say about your nearsightedness, and how it affects your viewing of sharp, high information imagery. I have the opposite problem: my optometrist says my contrast acuity is off the charts. I wonder if how we literally view the world prejudices our responses to it? To answer your final comment – it goes hand-in-hand with the way in which you and I see things differently – my qualification was a way to note the realization that for the first time here, I was able to overcome what would normally have been a lukewarm – even negative – response and acceptance to an essay, and broke through personal aesthetic prejudices. This is the great lesson that is taught here on BURN. If the editors who decide which essays are published can appreciate the full spectrum of photography, then it is something worthwhile emulating.

  • In case you missed it , higher res above, and most important: ALL the Questions you wanted to ask but nobody would give you a CLEAR, STRAIGHT answer !
    Thank you for watching

  • Damnit, Panos. I opened this up, saw it would take 11 minutes 29 seconds of my life to watch it, thought, “what the hell is Panos trying to do, to take away 11 minutes 29 seconds of my life with this little video? I’ll watch 30 seconds of it only.”

    I couldn’t turn away. I watched the whole 11 minutes and 29 seconds. And now it is all clear. I understand why I do what I do, what I have done, where I am going and know what I want to accomplish.

    Thank you, Panos.

  • Humbled …. thank you sir…thank you ALL, and thank you to everyone that had the “courage” to endure “that”… thank u again

  • Panos I will wait for the 30 second installments and gladly put a nickel in the gaming machine slot. I am sure it will compliment any pin ball machine

  • a civilian-mass audience

    PANOS…
    “Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea… and ideas are bulletproof.”
    ― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

    Amazing reports from ALL OF you…

    P.S…I am proud of our Turkish civilians…We are ALL ONE after all ( some of Us, are braver) !!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    HAPPYYYYYYYYYYYY

    BIRTHDAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

    MR.HARVEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY !!!

    From Greece and the Greek family…we wish you to keep BURNING !!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    I know I am early …hihiii… but I might be without internet for the next few days and I just wanted to be sure that I will have a piece of the cake …hihii

  • So THIS is where the birthday wishes are being posted.. I sent you a message on Facebook too :)
    All my best wishes David. Enjoy!

  • I don’t know if I’m a day late or a day early…
    Happy Birthday David

  • I went to the Leica Gallery last night to see “A Gathering of Images,” an exhibition of 62 photographers, most of whom are very well known to regular burn readers. I find as I grow ever more shallow that I am drawn to color images, and often landscapes at that, having trouble focusing on and appreciating many of the black and white photos.

    Color work that stood out for me included photographs by Lynn Butler, Magdalena Solé, Maggie Steber, and this guy who, strangely enough, has a vertical print in the show.

    Among the black and white work I really liked Mary Ellen Mark and, counterintuitively for a host of reasons, Laurence Girard.

    Anyway, lots of great stuff there. Definitely recommend it to anyone who’s in town.

  • If it’s tomorrow, I will likely be out of internet contact. So I’ll say it now, “Happy birthday, David.”

  • Mw…
    I’ve only looked at Magdalena Sole’s website and it’s impressive been stuck their enjoying the amazing colour in her images.
    Thanks!

  • David Foster Wallace animation on Ambition…

  • Did I miss your birthday? Damn…well, happy birthday, however belated it may be, Mr Harvey

  • a civilian-mass audience

    What???

    Where is the Birthday cake??? HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…

    IMF has crossed the waters? Austerity measures in BURNLAND?

    I know, you are in LOOK3 but there is no excuse…I want my cake…

  • On DEVELOP Tube: photo-eye discusses (based on a true story) Magazine by David Alan Harvey from BurnBooks http://vimeo.com/channels/developphoto/68623386

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