bill frakes – agony, ecstasy

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Bill Frakes

Agony, Ecstasy

play this essay

I am a photojournalist, a storyteller–the world’s greatest vicarious adolescent profession.

The crux of my exploration of athletic competition is the intersection of motion and emotion, the sometimes chance but more often calculated inclusion of art, commerce and athleticism into sport which so heavily influences the functioning of society through participation and observation. Capturing the penultimate moment which will hopefully enlighten and engage the viewer in a way that defines the game.

That said I really just want to make people smile.


Bill Frakes is a Sports Illustrated Staff Photographer based in Florida who has worked in more than 130 countries for a wide variety of editorial and advertising clients.
His advertising clients include Apple, Nike, Manfrotto, CocaCola, Champion, Isleworth, Stryker, IBM, Nikon, Canon, Kodak, and Reebok. He directs music videos and television ads.
Editorially his work has appeared in virtually every major general interest publication in the world. His still photographs and short documentary films have been featured on hundreds of Web sites as well as on most major television networks.
He won the coveted Newspaper Photographer of the Year award in the prestigious Pictures of the Year competition. He was a member of the Miami Herald staff that won the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Hurricane Andrew. He was awarded the Gold Medal by World Press Photo. He has also been honored by the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards for reporting on the disadvantaged and by the Overseas Press club for distinguished foreign reporting. He has received hundreds of national and international awards for his work.
He has taught at the University of Miami, the University of Florida and the University of Kansas as an adjunct professor and lecturer. During the last five years he has lectured at more than 100 universities discussing multimedia and photojournalism.
In 2010 he served on the jury of World Press Photo.

Related links

102 Responses to “bill frakes – agony, ecstasy”

  • The photos are phenomenal, but then you’re hardly an ’emerging’ photographer.

    So I’m no sports fan–what’s the story of the fat golfers in the rain? I just love it.

    And who’s the girl with the fish? And why?

  • Made me think. Even better.

  • Nr. 9, the boy on the ground, that’s it for me.. the ants are also nice :))

  • I love the photos.

    That said, however, I completely agree with “Chairman” above. This is by no means an “emerging” photographer. I am particularly frustrated at the fact that established, veteran photographers like Bill are featured while the those of us who are truly in need of a few props are overlooked.

    To illustrate this point, take a look at Bill’s #6 photo in this slideshow. Compare it to the #8 photo in my sports portfolio: . (For a direct link:

    Both of these shots were taken from the baseline of Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, where the Duke Blue Devils were playing the Wake Forest Deamon Deacons. We, of course, were both on assignment at the same basketball game on the same night. I’d venture to say (at the risk of sounding arrogant) that my photo of the exact same moment is even better than Bill’s. Obviously, this is subjective, and I’m not here to argue quality. My point is that because Bill was on assignment presumably for a large publication like Sports Illustrated, his name is apparently automatically more legitimate to entities like Burn Magazine. Guys like me who have struggled for years working on $100 and $200 assignments – like this game – don’t have the words “Sports Illustrated” attached to our captions, and are therefore overlooked by publications and editors. Thus it isn’t the quality of our work that differentiates us, it’s the byline. This simply doesn’t seem fair.

    To David, curator, I am constantly blown away by the work I see on this site. I am truly glad Burn Magazine exists. I wish, however, that either you would take the time to always give the props to those photographers who don’t have the byline recognition or that you wouldn’t misrepresent the nature of the site by saying that it’s “for emerging photographers.”

    All that said, this work is lovely. Bill does a great job.

  • bdmckeown…

    i am trying to imagine how you could possibly think what you think…either you are not familiar with Burn or just not seeing the way we see it…if so, fair enough…but we clearly upon all evidence exist for the emerging photographers….we give away at least $60,000 per year to emerging photographers with grants and payment here for publication…

    the ratio of publication here is at least 10 to 1 emerging to icons…see for yourself in our archives

    we like to think it adds credibility to these pages overall if occasionally we feature an icon…for example, i think the emerging love seeing their name on the same page as Nachtwey or Sally Mann….this is a brand new thing, but assignments being given are equally split between icons and emerging…why favor the icons for assignments? because i know they can may think that every emerging deserves a break today, but i do not think that nor does any editor who is getting ready to finance a project…BUT we are working working working to make it so that the emerging becomes the icon..that is the whole point …THE WHOLE POINT…the second i see that an emerging can deliver, then they have the job first…so on assignments , right now, it is a 50:50 ratio, but still leaning towards the fun for me to “discover” an established photographer….

    please know my ONLY joy in editing Burn is in discovering you….

    however, i must say that in general icons are icons because they got it the old fashioned way- they earned it….be careful in truly analyzing yourself against the best…if you play that game, better be able to lay it on the table so to speak..or you end up as one of the thousands of disenchanted photographers playing the blame game and going nowhere….just be careful is all i am saying…i have seen so so so many take this path to no end…just do your best work and let the chips fall and do not look back or from side to side, but just straight ahead…

    again please go back through the archive and see for yourself the ratio of so called “famous photographers” and the mostly will see quickly at least a 10:1 ratio emerging/established….my personal coaching/mentoring is of course totally for the emerging..that is where i spend half my life…so believe me the effort and heart here is toward the emerging…frankly surprised you see it the way you do…but i am never beyond reproach..and always interested in and pay attention to honest critique..thank you..

    oh yes, i didn’t get through everything, but i did love the Hollie and Doug piece….and very good sports!

    cheers, david

  • The woman holding the fish is the King Mackerel Queen from the Deep Sea Fishing tournament in Gulfport, Mississippi. For the 50th year of Sports Illustrated the magazine sent photographers and writers to each and every state to cover a unique event.

    The golfers are playing in a tournament held on Yale University’s course. It’s not a tourney about golf only, but about weight.

    And Harry, you made me smile. Thank you.

  • Ben it boils down to people skills/management, your statement to David sure is not the way to approach a photographic site curator ………do your homework before you hit the keys

  • oh cmon folks ..not again…not again the same debate about pros or amateurs or the in betweens…etc..
    Got good photos? u get published!
    NOT SO GOOD? U get not…as far as my Burn experience goes so far…
    pretty simple stuff really…
    great job Bill btw!
    congrats for being here!
    (spwaking of sports..watching Copa America..Colombia just won 1-0 over Costa it..Mighty Brazil tomorrow …..!!!!!!)

  • ………do your homework before you hit the keys
    Ben, im afraid i agree..
    (nothin personal of course;)

  • #27
    makes me want to get back in the game….
    love your use of lines and shapes in your photos….
    my other fav is venus…..
    do you know barbara jo?

  • bdmckeown –

    I really feel a need to say something here….

    You said:

    “Obviously, this is subjective, and I’m not here to argue quality. My point is that because Bill was on assignment presumably for a large publication like Sports Illustrated, his name is apparently automatically more legitimate to entities like Burn Magazine”

    I would argue that if you had presented a body of work of the same quality of Bill’s, I am sure that DAH would have been more then happy to showcase your work.

    You also said:

    “Guys like me who have struggled for years working on $100 and $200 assignments – like this game – don’t have the words “Sports Illustrated” attached to our captions, and are therefore overlooked by publications and editors. Thus it isn’t the quality of our work that differentiates us, it’s the byline. This simply doesn’t seem fair.”

    That is whiney crap and NOTHING about this business is “fair.” If you consistently produce exceptional images and present those images to publications that you want to work for, you will be noticed. I would venture that the true issue is what THEIR opinion of what “quality” work is compared to YOURS.

    That said, there are some fine images in your sports section on your website. There are also some images that say “ho hum.” I am sure you have heard the saying that your portfolio is only as good as the weakest image in it. It is true.

    One last point… NO editor wants to hear how “you have struggled.” All they want to see is the work and that you will bust your balls to get the shot. Period.

    Another reason that everyone should be careful about what they write online. If you where a sports editor reading your comments, what would you think? And there is a good chance that since Bill is featured here that there are editors looking at this post.

    Finally, for what it is worth… I do like your image better. But as your said, it is subjective.

  • Bill Frakes is a great sports photographer! I’ve followed his stuff for some time, and can’t get enough.

    But…as I’ve said too many times already, photographers like Bill Frakes don’t NEED exposure on Burn. A whole lot of truly emerging photographers do. I guess some folks may be drawn to Burn because photos from photographic “stars” are sometimes posted here, but I can see their stuff anywhere. I’d much rather see photographers who I haven’t seen before. (Jim drops the mic on the mat and shuffles off muttering to himself).

  • Despite being slapped on a wrist a few months ago by one of the regulars here, for posting anonymously, i’m baaaaaaaaack…
    There may be a number of sports photographers as good as Bill Frakes but there are few who are better; this guy just delivers week after week, year after year. That takes talent, drive, enthusiasm, professionalism, failure, persistence and a deep love for photography.
    That his work is appearing on Burn is just and proper, in my humble anonymous opinion. Yes, this might be a forum for emerging photographers, but into every classroom must step a master from time to time. Bill might not NEED the exposure, but I bet he’s happy to have it. That’s why (some) photographers shoot — for others to see their pictures — and for others to nod appreciatively, to pay respect… Ben, above, might be somewhat upset, but Ben and others in his position can learn from Bill — keep shooting, be a ruthless editor, get off the baseline and stretch your vision — stay positive and share your work with editors.

    my two cents.

  • JIM

    nobody disagrees with what you say…or with what Ben says…i agree with both of you…my oh my , it is WHY i started Burn and you well know it……all i am saying, and proving, is that i am giving exposure to both but the icons are here only to stimulate the emerging and give cred overall…and besides lets be honest , it is nice to see the best of the best occasionally…i think it stimulates the emerging photogs…no new emerging photog has shown me sports pics better than these by Frakes…….so when i do see them from a new photog , i sure as hell will run them…and trust Anton and Diego and Anna and me..we see hundreds of new photographers…there are not “lots of them deserving to be published” …we must look hard …yes, lots of photographers, but human nature being what it is, only a few cross the line to excellence..the bar always is raised no matter how many are out there…

    yet, and this is important, no emerging story is left out because Bill Frakes is other words Frakes is in addition to, not instead of….

    we cannot publish any more emerging than we is a long process for each one….so as “filler” we show a few of the greats!! smiling…you can seem em anywhere? hmmm, i was pleasantly surprised to see this collection from Frakes for example and i too have known his work a long time…


    we were posting simultaneous…you have said it all better than i….thank you….and yes you are quite right, the icons are enjoying exposure here and upcoming in print just as much as the emerging….anyway, we really try to have a nice balance…

    cheers, david

  • Thanks for the replies, all.

    I love Burn Magazine. David Alan Harvey, et al. do a great job 99% of the time. No arguing there.

  • This for me sums it up:

    “i am giving exposure to both but the icons are here only to stimulate the emerging and give cred overall”

    that is what it did for me….it stimulated me. It makes me want to grab the camera and go out and shoot! right now! if something or someone can do that for anybody that alone speaks volumes.
    From a native Floridian (by residence…not birth) to a fellow Floridian….WOW! I loved every single image here!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Iconic photogs are emerging
    emerging photogs are inspired
    BURN = Blender


    What not to Love
    I said it all…
    or maybe not:)

  • a civilian-mass audience

    oups,wrong aisle…or maybe not?:)

  • I wouldn’t be so harsh on Ben (that’s Ben, I think, reading the answers to him), his reaction is quite natural. Who can throw the stone, here from most of burnians, who have not even achieved the 100th of professional recogniton (or whatever you want to call it that puts oneself on the map with the other “recognized”) of our mentor and friend David. I’d be very surprised if some of you have not wondered/raged why you have the talent to be recognized (fer sure!) but are not, despite riding on Dahley’s comet tail(ahahahah!) since Road Trips….

    This is really good stuff shown here, classic photography that will never go outdated as long as people have eyes. Thanks to David for showing that side of the photographic universe once in a while. I especially appreciate that something happens in the frame and it has been caught, and superbly at that, by Bill. Not that common on BURN, where the quality of a work lies often in the additional, brooding or poetic, impact of an essay, less on the impact of a single scene/moment/photo, one after the other.

  • But…as I’ve said too many times already, photographers like Bill Frakes don’t NEED exposure on Burn.
    oh cmon Jim…especially photogs like Bill SHOULD be up..why?
    coz i never heard the guy be4 and now im happy i do..simple!

  • Despite being slapped on a wrist a few months ago by one of the regulars here, for posting anonymously, i’m baaaaaaaaack…
    it wasnt me!

  • Herve we are not talking about a amble in the park business and no one is being harsh on Ben. The field of photography he has chosen is 90% public relations both in getting the editors attention, sports organisers, sportsmen and all about who you know.

    Playing the “what about me” game just gets one ignored,……………..

    Attacking regular posters only shows up your own inadequacies Herve

  • I’m afraid too much of this is about access and equipment. It’s excellent sports photography, Mr. Frakes has used the access and equipment very well, but I don’t see that he’s managed to transcend the genre. I really like the fish and tits shot, and the last two though.

  • I’m still smiling, which is amazing because I read all the comments. LOL. But I almost always like these discussions on Burn. It’s nice to have a place where people write what they think without being afraid of some sort of payback later. For the rest, there is Flickr. I hope someday (maybe in six months…) to have a series worthy for here. Much appreciation to DAH for making this place, if only to aspire to.

    I love the range of images and emotions. Love “head fake” (and wonder how someone decides to break the “rule” and put two black and white shots with 26 in color). The magnificence of #21 (Marion Jones) is ironic and emotionally conflicted now, but I’m glad you don’t caption it that way. The “moment” stands, in a way, or does it…did it ever? What is sport?

  • Looking at a couple of the comments I’m thinking that there should be more icons up on BURN not less ,
    Maybe Bill Frakes doesn’t need to be on BURN, but I reckon that there more than a few BURNians out there who will appreciate the gentle reminder to how high the bar actually is and the amount of work that’s required when photographing at the highest level day after day, year after year, the same rules apply!
    Having said that , Dave how about throwing a bit of fresh Koudelka our way?…In the way of an exclusive assignment?

  • Fresh Koudelka?? Oh YES, please!!


    a bit of a side track here, and my apology to Bill Frakes for going off in another direction, but the question got asked here and Frakes will relate anyway….my comment below pretty much applies to any artist who has made a mark…they can be prisoners of their own mark…

    i think what you want is fresh slice of “classic Koudelka” which has not happened since he was fresh and classic…i love Joseph’s life work just as much as everyone here…Gypsies and Exiles (favorites) and maybe even Chaos after he stopped shooting people…but i can’t help it, i am always going to love his people pics best, and he just has not done any for at least 20 years…Koudelka is like many artists who do something so so special and then get tied to those images…what Joseph wants to do now is way different from what most expect now or wish now…people want a “new” version of the “oldies but goodies”…..he is doing what several gallerists have told me to do…stop shooting the kinds of pictures that made you known….the value of your original work will rise if you stop making any more of it…i do not think Joseph would actually stop shooting people just to drive print prices up…but i do think he just lost interest in that type of photography least for now he has been doing more landscape photography than street photography which seems odd when you think of the best icons of Joseph..or, maybe you both think of him as a landscape photographer??

    cheers, david

  • Yea things like whatever happened to André Gelpke?

  • David…

    Koudelka’s ‘Gypsies’ was one of my first photography books I bought (got also Exiles and Koudelka).. I just love it.. but that doesn’t mean I want THAT Koudelka back.. what would be most exciting about ‘fresh Koudelka’ is precisely that, not knowing what it would be.. no expectations from my side, no point in that, not just about Koudelka, but about every photographer.. we’re all human beings and evolve (hopefully), I find it most interesting to observe the changes..

  • ………. 27 in bnw could be interesting

  • I checked out Koudelka’s magnum site after reading what you just wrote and was surprised to see he photographed an old, dear friend of mine. I used to spend a lot of time with that cactus and took many photographs of it. Unfortunately, almost all of my Sonoran photos where lost in a move. Not that they were any good, but they had sentimental value.

    I’m a bit surprised at the gallery peoples’ advice, or at least the reasoning behind it. Though now that I think about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if they recommended shooting landscapes if people are more likely to purchase landscapes, which I suspect is true. Even in my very limited gallery experiences, it’s always been my nature shots that sell, not the challenging people shots. And I noticed at the Alex and Rebecca Webb Cuba show, it was the decorative pieces that sold. Even at home, I like the intellectually challenging work on my computer screen but hang abstracts on the walls.

    I know you’re not a big fan of Salgado’s nature work, but I think it’s a fantastic example of combining the best of both worlds. Important, intellectually challenging work that’s incredibly beautiful at the same time. I was blown away by these photos that appeared recently in the NYT.

    Regarding the sports photos, I’m afraid I may have came of harsher than I intended above. I don’t mean to imply that having great access to photogenic people and very expensive long lenses makes anything easy or lessens its value. Reconsidering the pics this morning I think many do transcend the genre, though to me they seem to be the ones aimed at amateur sportspeople rather than the big time programs or professionals. And I’ve been trying to figure out a way to work “fish and tits” into a sentence again, but it’s just not happening.

  • Note to admin: seems someone failed to close a tag after the words “these photos” in that last mw post. Sorry bout that. You might want to fix it.

  • relate it to old saggy man tits

  • Dave , Fresh?classic? No way…I’d be much more interested in seeing what he is up to now as a landscape photographer…seeing his panoramic work pulled up my despair for the format.

  • MW…

    i am admin this morning… not see what you mean….all reads fine to me…ahhh, now i see what you mean…hmmm, have no idea how to fix that or even what caused that problem….time to wake up a real admin!

    Frakes pretty much is the the way, i do realize Frakes work is most likely going to appeal to an American crowd since he photographs mostly American sports for an American magazine…figured good July 4 holiday story….

    for whatever reason it seems to be human nature makes some want to qualify a work….the old “if i had…” syndrome…like i told Ben , this is the killer….do not allow yourself to think those thoughts and more important if you do have those thoughts, don’t tell anybody!! editors the world over read a comment like that, and will forever never want to deal with whomever said those “if i had…” words…to fight off the thoughts that IF you had the access or the long lenses, then you must get the access and the long lenses and beat the hell out of whomever is getting those Sports Illustrated assignments…pretty simple really..not just by having one picture that is better than the master, but by being able to produce on demand week after week…to get the Sports Illustrated assignments Frakes gets , you must be better than Frakes consistently, not his equal….if you are his equal, then we already have Frakes! this applies to all kinds of photography of course….and i know you do not pretend towards sports photography, but i think you see what i mean…

    cheers, david


    ok, cool…well, in that case maybe we could see something new that would appeal….

  • Regarding the “if I had” syndrome, did I really come off like that? That line of thinking never crossed my mind.

  • MW…

    no, you did not come off like that…you did mention “access and long lenses” might give our boy Frakes a break, but i was really sort of talking to you and Ben simultaneous…i had combined your two comments in my head…

  • If only I had the inclination to shoot sports…

    I’m kidding, I’m kidding!

    I don’t get the line of thinking that some work is good and other work bad for the genre it is in, or any other reason. I just like good pictures. And these are good pictures. Hell, they’re great pictures (although the golf image does nothing for me personally). They function differently to most photoessays published here, but I see no problem with that. Judge a work in terms of its function as much as anything else.

    On Koudelka – funny, Tom Wood has also switched to shooting more landscapes. Though the big surprise for me was finding he did that even back in the 80s. Seems someone or several like to create narratives about artistic output that don’t necessarily ring true. Or, as Public Enemy would have put it, don’t don’t don’t believe the hype. Just shoot from the heart, and let the images give weight to themselves.

    I’d actually be very interested to see Burn commission either Tom Wood or Paul Trevor, as much of their archive isn’t available online. Get them to do something new and exclusively for Burn. Burn would be the key portal for their work online for a while, I’d wager. Good for Burn, and they are top drawer photographers who would relish an open brief. A great thing for all, in my very humble opinion. Would also be very interested to see the same for Richard Kalvar who seems impossible to find images for beyond his Earthlings set – maybe his recent colour digi work in Italy is available for viewing?

    God, I am tired. Spent much of the last 24 hours catching up on missed sleep.

  • Some great photography here and I have no objection to “icons” being published here. Good photography is good photography.

    The only problem I have with Frake’s “essay” is that it doesn’t really work as an essay for me. More like a work in progress than many of the work in progress’s that have been published. I think it would be stronger for me if he had just concentrated on the “game”, the athletes at play and in motion, or conversely he had done an essay on the sidelines, the off moments and humorous portraits. But as the essay stands it comes off (to me) as a mish mash of assignment pieces. Greatness in most of it – love his ability to make master compositions under fire – but would have loved to see it distilled down to a more singular vision.

    And once again thank you DAH for featuring such diverse work. It all informs and intrigues.


  • No, I didn’t mean it in the sense of getting a break, meant it more in the context of style. Or maybe I am dredging up old influences, to some very small extent at least? There was a definite prejudice against long lenses back when I was in j-school and they were perceived by many of the underclassmen as making photography “easy,” which I’m guessing is what prompted me to clarify that I didn’t mean to imply that. No, I don’t look at that work and see easy. But I do see a style and consider the work in that context. Though you’re probably right I should just let that shit go and enjoy these moments. And although I often pooh pooh the jealousy angle, there was very real, very ugly jealousy directed at people with expensive equipment back then, too. I remember one guy who wanted to be a sports photographer. He had all top of the line Nikon gear including the most expensive long lenses. Most people hated him for it. I wasn’t one of them though. I used to hang out with him some while we were photographing soccer games and I still use the tips he gave me when I take snapshots at my son’s games nowadays. BTW, I didn’t want to be a sports photographer back then either, but I did sometimes pretend to be one in order to get close to the field at those soccer games.

    Anyway, back to the “if I had” syndrome, I’ve always figured it’s more of an “If I want” kind of thing. Photo careers (or expertise) don’t fall from the sky. One has to want it. And if one wants it, the only significant obstacle is oneself. What anyone else has is irrelevant. And it’s not like photo gear is out of reach. A world class outfit usually costs significantly less than a cheap new car.

  • I have to admit, I am blown away by the short-sightedness of many of the comments on this thread. Unfortunately it is indicative of the majority of young photographers these days. They might take one great photo or had a few nice clips and now they feel they have earned the justification to get some props or some exposure. Many of the young photographers these days expect things to be handed to them. They complain about what they don’t have (exposure, equipment, etc) instead of using what they do have to their fullest potential. I know and can say this because I am also a young/emerging photographer. I find myself often frustrated and embarrassed by the comments and actions of my peers especially while I am out constantly working, evolving, getting better.

    I know very few masters of their creative craft that are not keenly aware of the work done by those who have come before them. This is true whether you are talking about painters, musicians and photographers. I for one always enjoy hearing the icons talk about who inspired them when they were young.

    As for whether or not Frakes should be featured on Burn, I am all for it. Bill’s work is incredibly inspiring. It makes me think and that makes me better. Yes, I am aware that a focus of Burn is to feature emerging photographers. That being said, all this whining about an industry veteran, a seasoned icon at that, being featured on Burn is just rife with ignorance. Take it for what it is…inspiration. Look at what you like or what you don’t like based on your individual style. Let it make you think and then go out and make some pictures. Whining on the internet is hardly a way to get better.

    David obviously thought that the readership could enjoy and benefit from viewing the work of Bill Frakes (I certainly have), whether you are familiar with his work or are seeing it for the first time.

  • And DAH’s favorite gear these days costs less than a 1992 Corolla with a few dents.

  • BILL :)))))

    well, you made me SMILE LARGELY! :))))…and feel warm and sunny on a sunday morning….and here’s something too (shocking to others?)…i had NO idea who Bill Frakes is!!!…i mean, one or two of the pics looked familiar but i haven’t read SI since i was in highschool and i don’t regularly follow Sport Photography (although confession: I LOVE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY and every year when WPP awards are announced and the exhibition arrives, i go to them first, as sports photography, like ‘comedic novels’ are the most underfated, under-valued of the genres, and yet I find them not only often the most technically well done but also the most ingenious for the story telling (to try to get over/beyond the singular power of the sport subject itself)….

    so, i love this bit…and man, even with big lenses (which i hate), some of these images just made, really made, my morning! …so big big thanks!…


    I also prefer the main subjects (the 2 ballplayers/the moment of the ball) in your image of the game to Bill’s…however, I prefer Bill’s use of the background as subject too to yours…so it depends on what an editor/viewer wants….both a great sports moments….but also, i’m wondering how long you’ve been around here….i’ve been published here, and was one of the epf finalists in year one, and david didn’t know me or my work from shit or shinola (though since we’ve become friends and burn is a big part of my life and my wife’s), so i think you must understand that BURN is about photography, period…and i think the use of iconic photographers contextualizes younger/emerging/unknown photograhers work….i mean as a photographer i have never thought, truthfully, an iconic photographer was better, i just thought that cat has done it….and it is only within the relationship to all photographers/phy that photographers (emerging/unknown) can shine….and though i feel your pain (i too used to snap for a newspaper and was a newspaper writer and now support a family of 2 artists on a teaching salary which is not a lot with a teen son), the case for you to to keep up the work… make photography that is not about a resume or byline but about challening the entire notion of what your work means and others….anyway, for what it is worth, ‘criticism’ of burn and david is usually met (by david) with openness and fairness and grace…so for that, you should be unafraid,’ll rarely find a more open and frank person that david….and i never holds that against anyone….

    welcome aboard…

    and here is what i wrote friday about this same topic, only under Bruce Gilden’s essay:


    a quick note about having Bruce here (paid) and the other Iconic photographers published/being published.

    I shout out: GREAT! :)))

    i will be blunt. I want to have my photography shown, exhibited, published, looked at with any other photogrpaher. I want my own work to be seen with the greats of photography and with the unknowns. I want it all to be even. in fact, i HATE this whole thing about ‘emerging’. what does that mean. I never became a photographer thinking, ‘someday i want to be like david harvey or moriyama or frank or giacomelli or ackerman or d’agata or sally mann or witken or marker, etc’ I just wanted to make photographs.

    I think photography is NOT/NEVER about verticality. There is no ‘moving up’ in the world of photography. of course we learn and develop and mature, but all great photography moves me no matter who does it. And i think having iconic photogrpahers here only enhances the work of those ‘unknown’ because it proves that there are no real divisions, that it is all equal, that what matters is the work, not the name.

    I once was lucky and honored to have been asked to exhibit a photograph in a group exhibition in Hong Kong with some of my hero’s: moriyama and araki, as well as with a number of chinese photographers who are no rich and famous (rong rong and danwen) and at the time, i was really really humbled, but also i thought, what better way to show that photography is about communication and expression, not about name and glory. suffice it to say, i’ve never been as happy with my own solo exhibitions then i was that time, with the exception of an exhibition i had with marina and dima and then the BURN exhibition in NYC and Washington. because those exhibitions were about community and celebrating the role of all photogrpahy, all styles and ages and experiences.

    I was not paid for Bones of Time and if I am fortunate enough to have Loomings published (something i’ve made exclusively for david and anton), i don’t care either if i get paid, vis-a-vis bruce/alec/paolo/laura etc. What i care about is that this magazine celebrates photogrpahy…..celebrates each other…

    what great promotion of young/emerging photogrpahers than to be in the same edition as harvey/gilden/anderson/parr/nachtwey/mann/ballen etc…..

    i say BRING IT ON….the known the iconic and the unknow…it is all good….

    i’m with Erica: i think it is BRILLIANT that this magazine that began on Road Trips has turned into a magazine and a publisher of stories and books and other things…and I’m thankful, every fucking day for DAvid’s belief in all of us….

    meaning: david’s belief in all of YOU!….

    raise high the roofbeems…


  • Here’s an idea:

    Maybe there’s room for a “retrospectives” section on BURN. This piece strikes me as neither essay nor really a work in progress (unless we consider it a life’s work) but rather a mini-retrospective. Could be a great place for some icons to show bodies of work from over a period of time. Maybe not necessarily the greatest hits but collection of b-sides.


    we did Kalvar here awhile back


    i would also call the Frakes piece either a portfolio or a mini-retro…i do not know that we need a section for this…any reason why exactly? can’t readers see an essay one day and a portfolio the next and simply see it as a variety of presentation?


    i have no idea who you are (that i know of) , but you are so so right on…

    i am not so sure the “majority of young photographers” are short sighted, but many are…however, i find that once you talk to them and explain to them what came before, then they often change their tune…the learning process for photography today is no longer linear…you can come into the biz through a Flickr group for example and totally bypass what i might see as a classic education in photography…the curators and the editors surely have the history of photography clearly in their background..and i do not mean the old ones , i mean the young ones…

    point is , not all the old folks got it right nor do all the young folks have it wrong…but the only danger point for a career gone awry is the young folks who do have it wrong going totally cynical…the young photographers i know who are moving forward totally have their act together and totally know what is up…it is all those masses over in what i used to call the Lightstalkers hate camp who will just burn themselves up with cynicism….but whomever allows this to happen to themselves was not likely to have made it anyway..i do not see any geniuses of photography allowing this to happen to them….young or old…

    we all know that one great photo that is better than perhaps that of a master, does not a career just means that in a photo contest between the two pictures, one might be “better” than the other…and then?

    we have to remember the arts are not democratic…equality is for civil rights , not for making a mark in the arts…equality of opportunity surely exists all around…but some will rise above…the nature of the arts…and perhaps the nature of all…


    welcome back…i do not know what we would do around here without all of your perspectives….you tie a ribbon around the entire package better than any of us….

    cheers, david

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.