ashe kazanjian – garden



Mary Jane in the garden    by  Ashe Kazanjian

115 Responses to “ashe kazanjian – garden”

  • Giovanni, what is that you do not understand? What do you expect a selected photograph to be? Why does this one not fit into that scheme, for you? Giving these answers perhaps is more usefull than an explanation of the photographer or the curator about what we should see?

    I’ve read Balthus above.. very fitting, goes well with the mixed feelings I have about the artist..

  • flickr? you mean the place where every single picture is “fantastic” art? something similar to here, everything is “great” “amazing” and so on.

  • Ah bennybedlam – when you want to play with the big boys you’d best wear your long pants mate.


    Ashe, I felt the emotion of this image. This little girl seems so very old beyond her years – it’s heartbreakingly sweet. Well done.

  • first off Ben, i love Grumpy Smurf, next time i see you i’m putting you on the phone with my mum and she’ll tell you it’s the only Smurf i own. i honestly can’t believe that would surprise you Ben.

    second, sorry my view is exactly the opposite of yours Ben, but maybe my view is wrong? you shared your view, i shared my own based on your view. By keeping these views in the open-air it makes them easy for people to challenge or offer different views of what ever it is that’s taking shape here or whatever changes might be more appealing to take place here.



  • Ben, I agree that there should be no comments on the featured work, so it actually feels like featured work and not work in progress. Discussions could take place elsewhere or be an edited version of questions and answers sent to the photographer after the image is published. Something like, a) image is uploaded, b) people send comments during 24hours, c) photographer comments on them and they feature along the image or essay. Fast online commenting could go somewhere where all the “this in flickr is better” or the “I just love this photograph” could appear without hampering the feature.

  • Lovely photograph Ashe; it has a timeless quality: it could have been taken at any time during photography’s history. Mary Jane is a wonderful subject for you. Thanks for the link to Ashe’s website Joe.

    After reading that you attended a DAH workshop Ashe, I am interested to know the influence it had on your work. Did you already have the “look” that your photographs display on your website? Has your subject matter altered due to your participation?

    Thank you for the photograph.

    Mike R.

  • nice feel and mood, but the VioleTTe is too much for me.

  • I think the photograph is a fine achievement. Seems to me that the above photograph was not just seen, rather it was felt.

    I feel it.

    She was in my mind as I slept last night. I’m sure she met my youngsters there. I hope they played and laughed together.

    As I look again at this silent picture I wonder what she sounds like. I would so like to hear her giggle.

    Just one time. I would fix it in my memory.

    Little people are so lovely.

  • Joe,

    good words man, this sort of level of writing is missed over at HCSP but its good you have an outlet here, it gives us an opportunity to read your words. I dont know how much I agree with you or Ben about comments, I think though a middle ground where some sort of moderation to get rid of the bickering and leave purely photographic discussion would be a good step. Im sure the featured photographer must feel atleast a bit slighted when instead of discussion about the work there is a flame war going on.

    As far as Mr.Soso, I could point you to several groups on flickr, which are highly moderated and which have a very high level of work. I think you would be very very surprised at what people are doing over there, and how they are using flickr to create loose colectives that feed off each other. Theres lots of stellar work there but you must look for it.

  • Ashe, why is this girl’s face violet? Was it too difficult to set the proper white balance? Why did You do this? I don’t understand.


  • joni i suggested the exact same thing in an email to DAH about an hour ago.

  • kerry it’s -5 in london i am wearing long pants AND thermals.

  • What you mean “the proper white balance” I do not understand.

  • Hm, interesting photo. I’m finding it hard to think of other adjectives immediately, but the image is certainly thought-provoking.

    Prior to reading some of the comments here, I did also think that it would be useful to have a few words from David about why images are selected, but considering this more, I think it’s best kept this way. It’s better for readers to create their own views and opinions on the image rather than be influenced by David, and it’s probably more useful for the readers to leave comments relating to these views, as opposed to the views of the selector. So yes, please keep it this way!

    Ashe – like others here, I’m also curious about the colours in this picture. Were these intentional? Be honest ; )


  • Hm, interesting photo. I’m finding it hard to think of other adjectives immediately, but the image is certainly thought-provoking.

    Prior to reading some of the comments here, I did also think that it would be useful to have a few words from David about why images are selected, but considering this more, I think it’s best kept this way. It’s better for readers to create their own views and opinions on the image rather than be influenced by David, and it’s probably more useful for the readers to leave comments relating to these views, as opposed to the views of the selector. So yes, please keep it this way!

    Ashe – like others here, I’m also curious about the colours in this picture. Were these intentional? Be honest.. ; )


  • Well there’s obvious color shift to magenta, like if the green channel is darkened.

    Edit: I have download the picture, and there’s this red channel (masked then darkened background) and the green channel (heavily darkened). It’s all done on purpose, sure, but I just don’t get it.

  • Is not the purpose of burnmagazine to celebrate the language of photography as spoken by its various practitioners? Let’s leave the technical deconstruction to other platforms, shall we?

  • But that’s exactly my question! Why did she changed colors? What is the meaning of that? What did she wanted us to see? What kind of expression is that? What is the purpose of such expression?

    Right now I am the huge question mark. “Technical deconstruction” is made in reply to Marcin Luczkowski’s question.

  • Zeljko

    My reply was in half ironical in half general. because there is not exist something like “proper white balance”. In photography exist needs only.

  • that means that the skin would have normal skin tones, with a well sett WB, not violet ones…

    and the white of the eyes would be white, not something else…

    do you understand? ;)

  • the longer I look the less I like the death eyes…

  • Zeljko, i admire your forensic assessment of this image, CSI is my favourite thing to follow after photography, and i feel like i just met photography’s own David Hodges ;-)

    and before i get into this, i absolutely positively think we, as photographers, need to understand better the mechanics and the dynamics of any image. Personally, i’m glad you think this way Zeljko, and we should all acknowledge your intentions are noble.

    i would say that this image’s colour shift looks loads more pronounced on my PC monitor via I.E. verses my Mac monitor via Safari, i supposed that just means it’s more ‘pronounced’, nothing more to draw from that except if we decide to only enjoy photographs via monitors or only show them via monitors, that this variation will surely exist and should be a bit of a consideration.

    as far as the colour shift, or any post processing for that matter, raising questions about that effort is ‘sssooooo last year Hodges… I mean sooo yesterday Zeljko ;-) just teasing a bit there, but have we not started to re-think intent with regards to result quite a bit lately?

    So, is the question:

    ‘why does this image not better render the temperature of light captured?’,

    or is the question:

    ‘why did the artist attempt to re-render reality in such a cold and surreal way?

    i’ve been frustrated/fascinated by that question in the past too, now i sorta think… (think if i’m wearing my photographers hat), i sorta think, ‘what was the artist’s intent for a target audience and did they succeed?’ but not an audience of photographers, but of pure spectators?

    i don’t need to tell you what that result will get you, go show this image to a couple of your non-photographer friends and ask them if it’s an appealing image.. One might tell you what someone told me: ‘it’s a cold impression for such a warm looking child’, and i could see the image unnerved him a bit. that for me seems like psychological-contrast and in my opinion maybe much more effective than a slider with the name ‘contrast’ above it, but that’s just me.

    something tells me the sooner we kill the concept of a photographer being the judge and jury regarding the merit of an image, the better we will understand our audience.. i mean isn’t this the first thing they teach you in any communication class… Know Your Audience! :-)

  • Most boring critique ever. I wonder how you handle galleries where you cant download things to check channels in photoshop.

  • Oh my! What such a big mistake I made with this photo! She have red skin!

    should I delated this photo, or use a lot of photoshop?
    This is primary shool?

    uggghhhh… ok, I apologize.

  • Joe, with your last paragraph, do you mean we (as photographers) should adapt to the audience?

    Sorry, but English isn’t my first language, just want to make sure to understand what you’re saying.

  • This is all such bullshit! It’s in the eyes….get over it…get your camera and get on with it!

  • Is photography not classed as a technical skill? Why should technical aspects be deemed irrelevant here?

  • Interesting thread, as usual. A little heavy on “personalities”, but I’m sure that will fade.

    I’m replying here because “cold” caught my eye in Joe’s comment, and I wanted to say that I don’t find the image to be cold at all. Surreal, certainly, but electrically so (and not in the “electric blue” sense): the look, and also the colour palette, seems charged with some emotional quality; and that feeling of a charge prevents me from attaching “cold” to any description of it I’d feel comfortable making. It looks like a still from a film, in a way, a frozen moment from something larger (all photographs are frozen, but only a few manage to suggest temporal movement on either side of themselves, before and after), the look hinting at a story much more interesting, in a way, than the photograph itself (and that is a compliment, truly). There is also something reminiscent of Autochromes in the way the colour on the face layers on top of the colours in the rest of the frame, the purple glowing, a little (in my head, but there nonetheless), bleeding out.

    A lost moment from a turn of the century psychological thriller. Or just a kid photographed in the garden of house most of us won’t ever visit. Either way, it is interesting, and the strongest image I’ve seen here to date.

  • Ha. I miss Flickr’s “edit” button:

    “… a kid [or “child”! I was always told “kid” was terribly slangy, and it does feel wrong attached to a discussion of this] photographed in the garden of *a* house…”

  • Eva, of course that question leads us to a circular reference if you’re in a place like Burn, a place where the entire audience is made up of a highly critical, and at times entirely too cerebral bunch of photographers (guilty as charged)… or if your talking about our friends in life that have no clue that blue in white-balance-speak is cold by connotation.

    so let’s go real-world for a second. I once asked a pretty successful wedding photographer Mark Cleghorn how he felt that his customers often picked images for their albums that he felt were not his best images?, how he felt about the fact that the images that the magazines picked up might not be the same images that his customers selected?

    i’m not going to tell you what he said, because i don’t think it’s fair to put anything like that on the web, but safe to say the customer’s images and the magazine images were not always the same, what does that tell you?

    actually, i’d love to hear Chris Bickford’s ideas on this topic since he clearly pleases all three audiences. Chris, are they mutually exclusive? What’s it like trying to please three masters Chris? Probably a topic for another time actually.

    so is your audience photographers who think ‘wow’, that’s a medium format film capture?, or magazines photo editors that think about ‘clean images’ as David Bowen describes, and of a certain file size and somthing that echos a clean product image?, or is it humans that haven’t a clue why they like something, but they know it haunts them or it warms them, or other things.

    These audiences can each have very very very different tastes don’t you think?

  • I agree that we should be celebrating “the language of photography as spoken by its various practitioners”, but also feel that nothing should be left for “other platforms”, as a rule: everyone has a different way of approaching a language, whether visual or spoken. You can productively critique poetry by looking at the mechanics of a sentence, or of a verse, or even of one word placed next to another; and you can equally productively critique poetry by looking at the feelings and responses the performance of it generates in a listener. You can even, if you really want to, break a poem apart by initially going straight at what you believe the poet was thinking about producing, his intention, when he put the words down on paper. All seem valid, to me, so yes, lets be inclusive.

  • A very absorbing image. I love the way it looks like its a screen grab from a home video or tv. It makes the whole image seem so much more initmate and personal. The child’s expression is fantastic and almost Mona Lisa like in its appearance that makes it so intriguing. Something very different and challenging but full of emotion and i really would like to know a bit more about the methods used either PP or capture which gave the image that uinque feel.


  • What I connect to here is twofold..what I see as a reference/ reflection on to Carroll’s Alice Liddell, and the dreamlike quality, and for that I accept the surface/tone of the image..but on my monitor it almost looks as if it were taken from a tv screen or a still stopped on a monitor rephotographed..maybe that was intentional, to give it a sense of distance or fantasy?

  • funny, Peter C..simultaneous posting echoing a similar thought..I think as an intentional device for this image the method of capture works..but if it is incidental, I think it would detract from the work as it looks like the image is degraded as far as surface goes..

  • I just wanted to come back because this seemed a bit harsh upon reflection. What for me catches my attanetion is almost never technical correctness, such as white balance. I mean its useful to a degree to get the right WB, but its such a trivial detail when set against something more important. This picture isnt a studio photograph, paid to be done correctly. Some of the most boring boring photography is done correctly, WB and all just right.

  • Joe, thank you for your time and effort to share your opinion. I didn’t want to judge the quality of this photograph in any way. I just asked the question, and it’s not technically oriented. I needed to know why is Ashe changed colors in terms of visual message. And your answer is satisfactory. And gave me smiles.

    Knowing that, i will now ask another question, express my opinion, and maybe learn something more.

    Is artist’s attitude more important than his/her work?

    I like photographs that asks questions, but here, my first questions is about colors, and not about child’s melancholic look, which makes her older than she actually is. I would like to ask myself why is that girl looking that way. What is that she’s looking at? Instead, first I had to fight with this surreal appearance. Artist made me do it. So, I conclude that Ashe’s feeling about the girl is more important to her than the image of the girl herself. It seems pretentious to me, that artist wanted us to think about her attitude rather than about the image. It’s probably only me, and the general audience (non-photographers) may find this appropriate regarding artist’s expression, but I am more in documentary photography than anything else, and will never understand such need for manipulation of reality.
    Hear Brooks Jensen of Lenswork talking about “photographs that yell”.

  • Marcin, there is no need that I like what you like, or: you have to like what I like, no problem… ;)

    what do you mean with primary shool?

    you have to delete nothing, somebody told you to delete something?

  • Hi David,

    i have a meeting in London on Wednesday the 14th, but if you’re keen to meet up while you’re across i could fly in on Tuesday.

    if that sounds appealing please fire me off an e-mail to jncolligan at statestreet dot com and we can fix a time and place for a chat. Hopefully we can raise Ben, Hin Chua ( ) and David Solomons ( ); basically some of London’s best talent ;-)


  • Thanks so much for posting this link to Brook’s reflections on photos that yell. I very much respect him as an editor/essayist and resonated greatly with the feelings he was expressing in that podcast.

    That being said, I do not feel Ashe’s portrait of Mary Jane in the garden is “yelling” for my attention. If anything, I find it to be a subtle, serious, silent work of art that almost wants to hide from view. Now maybe it’s my monitor. I use a MacBook Pro laptop and the colors I see are not over the top at all. Yes, there is a violet cast, but no more than what one might normally capture at dusk in a garden.

    As is becoming th norm here on Burn, I am learning as much from the discussion as from the selected photograph. Thanks to all…


  • hi folks,

    I really like the portrait. I can’t quite decide if she looks sad or if She’s lost in her own world, I think I like the latter. I wonder where she is? For me this picture does what all really good pictures should do; it doesn’t lay it all on a plate, it allows the viewer to enter into the picture, if that makes sense. There’s room for exploration and interpretation. We can learn about ourselves as well as about the subject and the photographer by looking at it.



  • Jason, exactly..
    The picture is more “open”,
    than “closed”…
    I love it too..

  • Hmmm, yes, agreed about the very very very different tastes. But that’s not really what I was asking. Do you think that you, as a photographer, should adapt to taste? I admit that doing what one is doing because he believes in it, wants to get his point of view through the way HE want and sees it takes a very high level of skill and know-how.. so should one work towards becoming a better photographer or just go with the flow? Or, regarding photography and, in this case, burn, dig deeper, ask questions, look behind, interact, question, or just accept what one is fed?

    Don’t need an answer ;)

  • I agree. I LOVE some of the other work in this series but this is not my favorite.
    Perhaps the violet is what is causing others to like it so much….the painterly look?

  • ironcially i’d like to share with you a personal experience with what you’re asking Eva, i’ll send you an e-mail so i don’t take up so much blog real-estate :-)

  • Hi David,

    i have a meeting in London on Wednesday the 14th, but if you’re keen to meet up while you’re across i could fly in on Tuesday.

    if that sounds appealing please fire me off an e-mail to jncolligan at statestreet dot com and we can fix a time and place for a chat.

    I also chatted with Ben and David Solomons (another person I’d like you to meet) they are both free Tuesday night.


  • At first I thought it wasn’t a special picture, but then I figured out what my first impression really was. It was spooky. How can a child that young look like an old woman with a bad hangover?

  • for the last 3 days i have been gathering, reading the comments, finalizing the last words for bones (not for here), and swallowing all these words here….i am tilting….

    on monday night, i took my 14 year old son to see the Wrestler, as my wife was meeting with a new gallery to talk about her work….i left the theatre re-remembering, as my son and i spoke about the film, about a childhood memory of my own, when my mom was sad and lost and had carted my brothers and me off to Ocean city, one fog-tongued saturday, damp in the late october, a plane’s wing sticking out of the dissolving waves like excalibre, 30 minutes after it had crashed in the fog, my brothers and I in tow behind my mom as she leads us past the plane, along the crooked boardwalks, the open window in the casino spit-filled with loss….and i wondered what my son was thinking about to as he swiveled his head while listening….

    all these comments…my own guilt riding like a bronco now upon my lower spine at also having written so much….and i begin to wonder at all that scattered now, all the digging and excavation, all the twiddle-dee and dipped-down-dumb…

    leaving the theatre with my son, the cold night warmed by his words, i remembered that october fog in ocean city and how much this film now has steeped inside me for 3 days, i made a wrong turn in all that i’ve written….

    i shall not do that again…sometimes conversation becomes food sometimes it becomes just noise…i’ve been noisy and it seems very empty now….the photographs are what i need, those things which have defined my life with a hunger that cannot be satiated and all these words divest me, crack open the divide that separates….i dont want to talk about photographs anymore…let them remain for those who wish, instead, i want to get back to squandering my life in the only way i know how:

    by carving up words of memory
    by carving up photos of memory….

    usually it takes my wife to remind me of how far akilter i row, this time it was a movie and my son’s questions…

    running to pitch and pack upon light

  • A simple vintage style, gives me a feeling of remembrance which Is warm and cozy.

    Tells a story beneath those sad eyes…

    Like the reasons why DAH choose it, BTW Glad to see you are still kicking David!

    Regards and congratulations Ashe I enjoy your work

  • Seems as though the film hit you hard. It hasn’t opened here yet. I can’t wait to see it.
    I loved Mickey (as an actor) from the moment I first saw him on screen. So happy for him.

    BTW, Slumdog Millionaire is also not to be missed.

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