Bill Frakes – Agony, Ecstasy

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Bill Frakes

Agony, Ecstasy

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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.

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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

  • @Charles – I wonder what David asked Bill Frakes to submit? Is the essay tag from Burn? Looking at Bill’s Web site there are a number of essays there, and as prolific as he clearly is, no doubt he has projects in progress. It looks to me like he was asked for a collection of some of his favorite images or something.

    The retrospective idea is terrific.

    Just the links to Bill’s Web sites made this worthwhile for me. There are hundreds and hundreds of images there as good, or — in my opinion even better than those featured.

  • DAH,

    Yes, portfolio.

    Yeah, when I talk to students I stress how long the process is and there’s rarely a quick pay off but years of struggle and even then no guarantees. I always hear an inaudible sigh when I tell them the fact that “Touch Me I’m Sick” is seventeen years worth of work.

    I remember one high school student who wanted me to tell him how he could get in to shoot the big stadium shows (I noticed he had a better camera over his shoulder than I owned at the time!). Well, I said that process can sometimes even be difficult for me, so you should start off small by building a portfolio and style from what you can get access to, which is typically smaller all ages shows, etc. And then start approaching managers, agencies, etc. No he said, that’s not what I envision my photos to be. He wanted to start at the top – he’d taken the pictures before he was even out the door. Good luck I said, I really can’t help you.


    why would you ask Charles what he thinks i asked Bill to submit? laughing…i am right here!

    i asked Bill to submit his favorites….he did…i did take a few out that were perhaps too too Americacentric…but essentially these are Bill’s picks of Bill…if he chose the wrong ones, you better ask him why…. :)

    cheers, david

  • I love these images, never heard of Bill before, great stuff.
    Regarding tech and the young and new it’s never been easy reaching ones goal but tech wise one cannot complain these days. Digital and all it’s advantages like speed in post processing and high iso do make life a little easier in sport photography. If one has doubts go and shoot a football match with film and many may appreciate technology and stop moaning. We may all have one good amazing image in our files but to go out under demand and consistently bring the goods back even when it turns into routine, a job and not an inspiring bit of fun it is to be applauded and that’s why people like Bill are up there.
    I heard yesterday Robert Frank still goes out everyday with his camera, now what could be more original than offering Robert Frank a Burn assignment. Of course he’d probably say no, but if he accepted it would be such a wow factor…anyway sorry just dreaming :)

  • nice mix! golfers had me laughing. the baketball one (27) is so cool.
    emerging or emerged who cares? hes an inspiration for those who emerge, have emerged or shall emerge.
    i like the mix, surprised me a few times. great editing! thanks

  • Glenn, Eva, David:

    I wasn’t aware Kouldelka was no longer working on the streets, although I have seen his relatively late panoramic work. And, except for Larry Towell’s work with the XPan, I really haven’t seen much in the way of panoramic street. I’ve been experimenting with this for about a month, and yesterday covered the Gay Pride festivities in Toronto:

    It’s not Koudelka, but it is “fresh” (as in…cooked Saturday).

    Count me in, too, as someone who’d love to see Koudelka here.

  • Well, didnt know who bill frakes is or koudelka. But i know panos and a guy who doesnt look anything like a frog but named after one. Sometimes in this world you might just have one fan, one who is more apt to inspire you to please them. One who is inspired by you to aspire greatness. Couldnt that be enough?

  • This one kind of made me feel like a shallow person. For some reason, I cannot view it in full screen mode. When I try from Safari, I get a blank, dark-gray, screen. When I try from Firefox, I get the full screen, the first image pops up and then, about two seconds later, the full screen crashes and I am back to standard view.

    The reason this kind of makes me feel shallow is because I really wanted to see the photos big and the one I wanted to see big the most was #5, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. So I thought I must just be another shallow male, never able to leave adolescence behind no matter how old I grow and no matter how much I love my wife.

    Since I couldn’t see any of the pictures big, I took another view of the series at standard size – and then realized there was another picture I wanted to see big even more than I wanted to see the cheerleaders. It was # 9, the one of the fish. I felt much better after that, not shallow at all, because fish go deep, and it takes a deep man to truly appreciate a good fish photo.

    As to the quality of the photos, it is the work of Bill Frakes, so it goes without saying..

    As to the debate of Burn space being occasionally devoted to the iconic photographer vs. the emerging, it appears to me to have been pretty well-hashed out. I go with having a mix. If it is running 10 to one in favor of the emerging photographer, well, hell – point me in the direction of even one other top-ranked publication, online or paper, that consistently features high-quality photography that even comes close to matching that ratio on behalf of the emerging.

    You can’t do it. There is no other. Only Burn.

    Also, while I enjoy the work of the emerging photographers, it is not that fact alone that keeps drawing me back. It is because this is a sight that features consistently high-quality photography, well presented and displayed. It inspires me. It motivates me, whether the photographer is emerging or iconic.

  • IMANTSAttacking regular posters only shows up your own inadequacies herve

    1)So what?
    2)As if you cared… :-)))

  • Bill images are outstanding. Really enjoy the serie. Powerful!

    Below a sport video of another great photographer (he has emerged long time ago… but inspire me a lot to emerge myself) :-)

    Hope to see him someday here, in burn, as Bruce G. and James N. did it once.

    Ok, sunday’s gone.

    PS @ PANOS: Doing the same as you, watching Copa America.
    Argentina is the home team and we only got an awful 1-1 against Bolivia… from now on, I think I will support some Major League Soccer team.

  • U made me smile :@ Gracie and Bill!!!

  • @Patricio:
    Yes, Venezuela great defense but BRAZIL: ICONIC!!!
    Go MESSI/ ARGENTINA !!! And also go BRAZIL..
    btw.. Women Soccer world cup..
    I loved the Brazilian MARTA and FABIANA…
    go Brazil ladies! U da Best!

  • Jealousy (unfortunately) seems to be part and parcel of every human endeavour; especially where “success” is concerned.

    So what if you haven’t got the latest and greatest equipment; can’t afford to travel etc; Use what resources you do have, and make them work. The old “necessity is the mother of invention” can be a real asset! The “woulda, coulda, if only” mentality will never work. Bring on more of the icons I say… :-)

  • Herve, I guess Ben can learn from your attitude and take up your mantle when dealing with editors etc and post in the same vein as your posting ………
    ” 1)So what?
    2)As if you cared… :-)))”

    Man I would love to be next to you in a lifeboat especially when I drop my guard then they will be able to call me fish bait

  • Just catching up on this thread after an afternoon of interesting light, I notice some took my use of the word “genre” as a negative. I didn’t mean it that way. Pretty much everything falls into some kind of genre or other and any particular piece of genre work can be excellent, even great. But I think more often the great work manages to transcend the genre. To give my most recent relevant example, I was thumbing through framed prints for sale at a New York museum gift shop last weekend and came upon a piece by Charles. My first thought was, wow, that’s a great photo; then I realized it was a rock and roll pic, a genre for which I have little interest. For me, that is a perfect example of a photograph transcending its genre. Then of course I realized it was the work of someone I virtually know. That was kind of cool. But the point is, Charles’s photo isn’t limited by its genre. It speaks on a universal level.

  • MW,
    i totally AGREE..
    if u r talking about CHARLES PETERSON , Yes..!
    Charles is a Master with capital M!

  • This is a great collection of images. I especially like the Davis Tournament photo (09) and the Harness Racing photo (12). Frakes has such a wide range of images, and he often seems to capture humorous or sentimental little moments at the big events he covers too. The joy for photography really comes across.

  • Jeez I just can’t go away without missing something. Been away for the weekend off grid.
    Amazing photography. And I hate pro sports.

  • DAH
    We had Kalvar? *runs to check archives* I missed that. He is good. Still give nods towards showing Paul Trevor and/or Tom Wood, neither of whom have anything at all hardly online these days but do have serious quality work. Richard I am fond of, on many levels. A unique eye, and a total good egg.

    I am not sure how “many” were critical or even how “many” were both young emerging photogs and critical. Go back and read through. There weren’t too many at all. As a young and not even emerging yet photographer, I certainly wasn’t critical of this essay, just one image which when viewed on my iphone did nothing for me. But I said they were generally great photos. No? But, I do get your point. Still, I do wonder how much of your point was positioning for yourself. Very convenient of you to line up a row of straw dogs off the back of one commentator who thought this series questionable.

  • Oi I ain’t no straw dog……… I am a straw hound big difference there !!!!!!!!!!

  • I’m an almost-fish-killer, I can call people straw dogs whenever I wish.

    (This evening is possibly the most absurd I have ever been either online or in person. Certainly online.)

  • Farmers intent sorta like a straw cow?

  • Maybe I shall change my ways and become a scientific research dog

  • I’m certainly more a straw cow than sacred one, Imants. ;-)

  • And Imants, if you must be Pavlov’s dog, can I at least be Schrodinger’s cat?

  • Trying to read the jazz chart for Mingus’ Goodbye Porkpie Hat at 5.46am is like trying to hold down a coherent conversation about astrophysics and not being Stephen Hawking.

    I digress. In every sense.

  • Gracie – I would like to meet this friend of yours who is named after a frog. For a moment, I thought it might be me, but then I remembered – I really am a frog.

    I’m also a duck – a duck in human disguise – which can get kind of confusing, sometimes, because some ducks eat frogs – and I would never eat myself.

    But then… I eat duck stew, too.

    I must bow out now. I can’t deal with all the inner conflict.

  • Duck dog!the cat’s eaten the frog’n duck stew……. laughing my tits off

  • JEFF…

    nr. 6 and 10! Always been fond of the pano format, played with it a bit, planning of doing more this summer.. one of my favourite pano shooters is Jens Olof Lasthein, have his ‘White Sea Black Sea’ book..

  • Jeff and Eva

    The panoramic format in Australia is so loaded with expectations and over use that it has become pretty trite and common place with more than a few photographers, some very famous, running around producing picture postcard books of the wide, brown land that the image that people get of this country is through a stretched out postcard – why I despaired till JK’s work in Eastern Europe turned me back to landscapes with varying degrees of success




  • GLENN…

    the last one of the second link is my fav.. but had only a quick look, am out of the house, will go back and look when back home at the end of the week..

    I think there’s an overuse of all formats/styles/themes/cameras/whatever that goes in circles, but I also think that the quality work will stay.. perhaps not for the mass, but appealing to everyone and everybody isn’t really it anyway, no?

  • Maybe I shall change my ways and become a scientific research dog
    good one!..i swear i do have a friend that is now turned into , if not a scientific research dog, a guinea pig at least…!;)
    good light ALL

  • MW,

    Yes you nailed it on the proverbial head. One of my prouder moments was a few years back at my Chrysler museum show in Norfolk. One day while I was there one of the older (late 70’s?) women of the board told me that she knew nothing about rock and roll but absolutely loved my photographs. She felt that she now knew what the experience was like.

    So universality is important. Another example was when I was in a group music photography show in Cuba. I didn’t attend but was told by the organizer that while the attendees passed over many of the portraits with merely a glimpse (such as the moody Ockenfel’s Cobain RS cover), crowds hovered around my image of a roiling daytime festival mosh pit. They couldn’t get enough of it, this glimpse into another world experience that most had never had but I’m sure most longed for.


  • It’s always excitinng to look at a great set of photographs by Bill Frakes. I would think that with his schedule and time constrains he wouldn’t need to do this. But knowing him, he has been helping out “emerging” photographers for a long, long time. Although Burn has huge credibility already, simply with David Alan Harvey’s name on it, when photographers like Frakes, Gilden, Anderson start appearing on it’s pages more and more editors, photographers and art directors will start making Burn one of their first stops of the day. Of course what that means is more and more “emerging” photographers will start getting noticed as well.

    I would have loved for a vehicle like this to have been around when I was an emerging photographer. If you have a great set of images, I am sure DAH will have no problem publishing them. What is also missed is the sports images of Bill’s are not just sports action images. They are the result of a journalist who happens to shoot sports and tells a story on the sport he is covering. (Love that photo of Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott, praying by her bed.) That’s a huge reason why he gets the work he does, it’s not just standing on the sidelines with a long lens. And to me that’s what Burn is all about, great photojournalism, no matter who creates it.

  • A real pleasure to see this work! Bill captures life and motion in a nanosecond. I’d like to know how much of this is massive preparation and how much is just incredibly fast reflexes and knowledge of the subject matter

  • Thank you Harvey, Thank you Frakes, Thank you Civi,

    Oh my, you’ve opened a great well of documentary work David.
    There are 1083 entries in POY(I) for Bill’s contributions to
    meaningful photographic work.

    Showing Frakes work is THE message. Now, dig up George Wedding, Bruce Bisbing,
    Gordon Baer, Bill Ballenburg, Michael Bryant, Barry Wong, Harry Benson and
    this guy

    Documentary work at it’s best. Happy Independence Day!

  • I’m loving the mix. The “icons” and the emergents. Keep ’em coming, DAH.


    AKAKY IRL: It’s because they hate you.

    AKAKY: No they don’t. You’re being silly.

    AKAKY IRL: Dude, I am never silly. Ever.

    AKAKY: True enough, I guess. You always were a regular hard ass.

    AKAKY IRL: Thank you. I try. And they do hate you. Otherwise they would have told you, right?

    AKAKY: I suppose so.

    AKAKY IRL: There’s no supposing involved, bubba. They hate you.

    AKAKY: But why would they hate me? I’ve done nothing to any of them, I think.

    AKAKY IRL: Maybe they’re relatives.

    AKAKY: Hardly likely.

    AKAKY IRL: You never know, guy, not with the crew of cretins you’re related to.

    AKAKY: Still not very likely.

    AKAKY IRL: Or maybe they’re Democrats.

    AKAKY: I hadn’t thought of that.

    AKAKY IRL: Think of it, guy. It’s a definite possibility. Democrats don’t like to be told that the only way they’re getting your flush toilet is by prying it off your dead backside. They like to ease their way into things, like the way they’re replacing regular light bulbs with those annoying dim green thingees. I think it’s time for you started your own lobbying group, dude, something like the National Rifle Association, only with toilets. Modern plumbing is a right worth defending, like thirty minute pizza delivery or free Internet porn. It’s something to look into.

    AKAKY: Internet porn? I don’t think so, pal; that’s a quick way to lose my job.

    AKAKY IRL: You really are pathetic, aren’t you? Your friends should hate you. You’re eminently hateable.

    AKAKY: Thanks. I’ll say something nice about you some day.

    AKAKY: Don’t bother, bubba. I’d probably wind up hating myself.

    [To Bill Frakes: my apologies for the above. I am casting my discontent far and wide on this one. Liked your essay, though, especially the steer wrestler and The Boss as Napoleon. The latter basically sums up what all Yankees fans thought of him.]

  • I love you, Mr Bashmachkin!

  • im down with Akaky IRL though ;)

  • ..ithink (sounds like an apple product, right?)… anyway,
    i think that IRL is the only one in this forum that dares to tell Akaky the truth or “tell it like it is” style..;)

  • I love the images! It’s great to see top-notch work like this from a veteran shooter like Bill…the series conveys a wide gamut of emotions, and Bill’s ability to capture them in such powerful images is inspiring. I especially liked images 11(field goal), 21(100M strip cam), and 26(swimmer). The usage of light and color bring me right into the frame!

  • Charles, I think the pic I saw may have been the mosh pit of which you write. I took a snapshot. You can see it here.

  • DAH, alimrick:

    The question is luck, preparation or reflexes?

    All but one of the images in this portfolio were done on assignment for one publication or another. That changes some of the rules. It means that the images had to be taken on deadline, in the place the event was happening and the time it was scheduled to happen — no feeling the muse, grabbing the camera, and rolling out to take images when I felt inspired. Every movement has to be calculated from the moment I get an assignment to the second I transmit the images.

    It also means that in most of the circumstances I had to be responsible for telling a specific story. That doesn’t mean I have no creative freedom, but for the most part it is straightforward reportage.

    When I am doing this type of work it is generally under controlled circumstances, and by that I mean that there are places I can go and places I can’t. Sometimes I can add light, more often I can’t. And I am just fine with all of that because that’s my job. If it means I have to use a 600mm lens because that’s the only way to reach the action, even when I would rather use something shorter, then that’s how it is. Access is determined by the people hosting the competition, and I have to work with what they offer.

    I do like to work with long lenses, but many times that is the only way I can work. I have access to every piece of equipment I need but that hasn’t always been the case. When I was a young photographer in Miami I sold my car to buy a 300mm f/2.8 so I could take better pictures. I have always been a strong believer in investing in my future, no matter what the initial cost. It has always paid off.

    When I am trusted with an assignment there can be no excuses. I have to deliver every time. Often the events I am photographing have already been seen on TV more than once — i.e., NFL games are on Sunday, but Sports Illustrated publishes on Tuesday. So I have to figure out a different way to do it, with the restrictions I have, and I only have one chance to do it — there are no do overs. There is no instant replay like on TV and in most of my portraits I only have a subject for 10 minutes or less.

    So, luck is very helpful. So are quick reflexes. But the key is preparation. I prepare myself to be in the best place I can, with the best equipment I can find for the situation — and then I let it unfold and capture the action the best way I can, paying attention to detail, substance, nuance and context all while interpreting quickly moving chaos spinning in front of me.

  • BILL

    we could have used that as your primary text..many thanks for explaining your process and your priorities to the audience here…and a super thanks for just stopping in…come see me…

    cheers, david

  • Thanks for inviting me.

    It’s always a pleasure.


  • Great post this morning!
    It makes me like these photographs even more. Thanks for sharing!

    Incredible reading this:

    “When I was a young photographer in Miami I sold my car to buy a 300mm f/2.8 so I could take better pictures. I have always been a strong believer in investing in my future, no matter what the initial cost. It has always paid off.”

    That’s having your goal/vision imbedded in your head…..really knowing what you want is what I mean.

  • Bill is 21 a pan or something else? it bugging me.

  • Harry

    It was done with a slit camera.

  • Got nothing to add, folks; I just wanted to be #100. I am easily amused.

  • So, luck is very helpful. So are quick reflexes. But the key is preparation.
    You “created” your own “luck” Bill…its obvious…you are not lucky , you are simply very good in what you do, from alpha to omega ! (no weak links in your workflow and i agree,,..dont go “cheap” investment wise…it always pays off either way..everytime i tried to go cheap on shoes i ended up hurting my feet…;)

  • I liked all of these, especially number two which is a remarkable example of the perfect moment. I did not understand 15 but that may be my limits. Number 21 captures the feeling of that sport perfectly. Nicely done.

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