panos skoulidas – heat advisory

A fan against intense heat for a heart patient... no air conditioning in apartment - SA Texas

Or a few minutes in the swimming pool is ok as long as he stays protected by the sun, 110F - SA Texas 2011


Panos Skoulidas

Heat Advisory


The US drought of 2011 will go down in history as one of the most severe natural disasters in decades. Beyond the financial impacts to farmers and ranchers, there is also a more far reaching impact to the overall quality of life to the inhabitants of the affected regions. As temperatures soar to over 100 degrees day after day for months on end, daily tasks become physical dares made between yourself and the heat. Pets, children, even the young and healthy struggle.

Shane Azar is 43. He is not healthy. Diabetic, overweight and recovering from recent open heart surgery, Shane has become a prisoner to the heat. Doctors have advised him to avoid the scorching sun because of potentially fatal reactions with his medications. His world is limited to the bed, a treasured fan, and a 5 minute daily dip in the pool in an effort to preserve his sanity.


218 Responses to “panos skoulidas – heat advisory”

  • Panos, I’m with Bill; heat and drought are definitely linked at least in the south west U.S.A. It’s a big story: limited resources, a population expecting a temperate region lifestyle in a semi-arid region, homes with lawns, golf courses with greens surrounded by desert, big water problems with residents and farmers both wanting the same resource etc. etc. I’d like to see some people who are living within the regions means i.e. exploiting its assets by using solar power, having a cactus garden that needs little watering etc. and the contrast of people who live as conspicuous consumers in a region that can’t support them for much longer. I’m sure that you are on it.


  • ..that you make absolute sense…(kim agrees)

  • uncle P.
    I use birtday present when I was very young.
    I will shot more.back to school in few days.


  • One year when I lived in southern Arizona we had just over 100 100 + degree days in a row. Yep, it sure got old, especially as September turned to October and halloween neared. Is it too humid for swamp coolers in San Antonio?

    If you’re interested in background, check out “Killing the Hidden Waters” by Charles Bowden. I think it was his first book and he often refers to it as an example of what made him so pessimistic about humanity’s future. A good part of it concerns the Texas aquifer. These water-related disasters in the southwest are predictable, predicted actually. Much of the region is going to dry up and blow away. It’s not a question of if, but when. Yet the government policy remains one of encouraging obscene over-consumption of an unreplenishable resource.

    “I’ll tell you where I went wrong. The faucet in the kitchen always becomes the reality we believe, and the periodic droughts, one of which for much of the nineties savaged the West, remain a fantasy. This happens each and every day as the water roars from the faucet and the skies remain dangerously blue.”

    — Bowden

  • Panos…

    I love these two images! Classic Panos work and as Bob says your best work is with those you really care for. I also agree with Bob publish that video you showed me at the beginning of the year, it’s a work of art! So heartbreakingly funny and sad with all the real Panos tenderness. If it gets published on Burn, the servers will constantly be crashing due to traffic :) Oh and please show us your other Texas work, as I’m especially interesting in seeing your ghost town work.

  • MW, I remember reading a while ago (it must have been a photographer) who said that he often got asked by his former neighbours from the south west why he had moved north and he finally said (I paraphrase) that he thought he’d get out before the water ran out. This drew sharp intakes of breath from his audience and incredulity that he would think such a thing. “They would never allow it to run out” was the response. “Who are They”, he replied; noting that there had been no political action to address the problem.

    Panos is onto a big story, one that he can work on over a period of years. The longer he works on it the more important the work will become. The best part of the essay is that he can divide it into separate sub-plots that can be marketed (can earn him money) separately but can be used again as part of the Big Picture. It’s the kind of essay that could win him a grant to produce / finish.

    I know that Magnum photographer Ian Berry is working on a long-term essay with a working title of “Water” with which he explores how some countries have too much and some too little. Water wars are predicted in some parts of the globe.

    Nice Instagrams, Panos.


  • Panos,

    Noor photographer Stanley Greene has just won a Getty award

    In this interview it states “Greene has been working on this project for two and a half year. “It’s all been research, so far,”.

    John Stanmeyer

    notes that “What begins next in the story process is actually one of the most important and utterly enjoyable bits in the entire process — Research.

    Photography on very convoluted stories often flows like this: 70 percent research/logistics, 20 percent serendipity…and 10 percent photography.”.

    You have already done a lot of research and I see no reason why you can’t get the same support as these photographers.

    Both links via The Click.


  • Stories like this make me doubly grateful that I live in Canada, home of a fairly moderate climate – at least in the southern parts – and free medicare. The high cost of medical care is often ignored up here, simply because it doesn’t show up in the hospital bills we never receive. But opposite the American system, our problem is the long wait times for operations in particular, and hospitalization in general. It has a little bit to do with the number of Canadian medical students, who, upon graduation, fly to the States for the higher income. What’s interesting is that both systems create hardships for the disappearing middle class. The rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer, is one of the things that angers me the most about North American society.

    Panos, a question: Shane looks as if he is going through one of the worst times of his life; how did you meet him, and engage with him well enough that he would allow you to take these intimate pictures?

  • Mike R,
    Ok let me clear something up and set things straight..
    I’m sure DAH will jump in at some point but yes, Heat or Water or Stanley’s truth that
    Research research and more research is necessary ..
    I just scratched the surface..if so!!!
    couple days ago I got a call from DAH right before he gets into plane to make it to Europe for BURN.02 presentation asking me if up for an ASSIGNMENT ON DEMAND:”HEAT”!!!!??
    DAH said: “ok u got 24 hours , go…let’s see what u can produce under stress..!!?”

    Quick pause and rewind…
    4-5 years ago it all started the exact same way:
    DAH GIVING 10 ASSIGNMENTS to 10 different photogs..
    He assigned VENICE BRACH to me and that’s how it all started..
    Since then I submitted a few ideas and been published numerous times blah blah etc..
    This time was NO SUBMISSION from my part! The HEAT idea was not mine although I’d love to,no no..
    The HEAT idea was DAH’s request..
    DAH assigned this to me and I had a few hours to pull it before I get into the plane to go to LA..

  • Of course the first thing came to my mind is to shoot the DROUGHT..
    but the DROUGHT is a RESULT of HEAT..
    so the ASSIGNMENT was way trickier than I originally thought..
    I was keep thinking of dried lakes and dead animals on the side of the streets and
    newspaper shots like that and couldn’t pull it for hours and hours..
    After hours of desperation , I realized that I’m more of a people’s “person”..
    I need to shoot “REAL” folks, “real” stories, if I wanted to “keep it real”..!
    So then I thought of Shane!
    Human, friendship, love, feelings, fear, hate, friendship..!

  • Jeff :)…
    Great question.. The very reason I ever made it to Texas in the first time around last Xmas was Shane’s HEART SURGERY..
    Shane , also a Diabetic, was a friend of mine since year 2000, living and working in California but moved to San Antonio Texas almost 5 years ago since doctors found holes in his heart ( he was born with this condition ).. His parents sold house and business in LA and moved very close to the MEDICAL CENTER in SA Texas.. Shane literally lives walking distance from all the Major SA Hospitals , like the University Hospital ( the one that successfully operated on him last year- almost a year ago!)
    I came to SA coz when I was in Greece actually shooting- I’ll never forget that one day I got his email saying.. ” I’m going for Major Surgery , OPEN HEART..
    I decided to visit and stay with him around the holidays (last Xmas)and take care of his pets and offer my friendship etc.. Weeks later in Texas, after subconsciously snapping photos daily, I realized that I would like to do a story about his life, his medical challenges, adventures etc..
    And I made a short iPhone movie which I also sent in couple friends here I trust their opinion like Nob, Paul, Ross and couple more friends just to get feedback ..
    DAH. “kinda liked it”- short movie , but he found it too long and disjointed .. Yes I needed to re work the whole short movie and make it tighter and faster.. That project never ended btw, still in progress still editing ( missing serious movie editing software etc..;)…

    Soooo back to Jeff!
    Yes I photographed the surgery hard days and our friendship but that was last year..
    Last winter was challenging for Shane once again! He had to do a second operation (last February) and he is recovering since! Ex bad boy- smoker- biker etc..
    But habits is as hard to beat as INTENSE HEAT..
    and both cost.. His apt is not weather sealed, power leaks etc, super expensive bills even in a relatively cheaper city like SA Texas..
    Anyway , that’s how I got the access..: through FRIEND SHIP!
    And just like our health or friendships is/are a work in progress so is my HEAT research ..
    Just started..

    Again, it was not a SUBMISSION of my previous work to BURN.
    it was a straight up assignment from
    DAH and I had very limited time..around 48 hours!

  • Oh
    Btw, Texas really treated me nice , if u think also the BIG AL ( ALEC SOTH portrait ) was also an on demand assignment and not a submission !
    Just for the history!

  • Panos, thanks for the info, you obviously came up with the goods, otherwise it wouldn’t be up here and I think that you got it right by concentrating on the human drama that the heat has created. Still think that you could run with this: I know that you can only show so many dry lakes etc. but the human drama will be the key in my opinion.


  • Mike, absolutely agree.. 100% agree on focus on the “human” side.. Yes indeed we have seen million of dry lakes photos etc…

  • Sorry ALL FOR TYPOS..
    no laptop , I’m on “autofill”, iPhone mode so Bob becomes nob and my mystery becomes misery..
    Again sorry for typos.. iPhone is infamous of how to turn a mistake into a disaster:)

  • Panos if you need a hand with video editing I,m only an email away…just holla!
    The least I can do since you are putting the “BurnED Garden” show!

  • Ok Carlo I’ll email u when I re unite with laptop..
    In Venice for this week! Big hug !

  • i dont know if anyone noticed , i changed the pool photo with another similar..why? i dont know..sadness!?

  • Of course we all noticed, Panos – first thing. I think it was a good change. The original picture makes you laugh – this one really makes a statement about the oppressiveness of the heat.

    Do you surf, Panos?

  • ASSIGNMENT ON DEMAND 24Hours and Panos once again has proved he can bring back the work, with his signature style, feeling and look. Let’s see if editors surfing round here looking for talent stop and open there eyes and see PANOS!!

  • Yep…how can you miss it?!?!
    I don’t know if I like it more than the other one but it still retains it’s sad humor.

    more sad news:

  • Bill, wish I could lie… No surfing..only Internet …;)

  • Panos; and more importantly…. If you hadn’t gone to Texas you would never have met Kim…. ;-)

  • back to charlotte…..miss the sea profoundly….anyway:

    i like the name Nob…Nob Black,sounds kindof pornographic…and works for me :))))


  • Bobus?
    Ok Nob Black! above photo dedicated especially with mucho love to YOU, PAUL and ROSS…

  • Btw.. WENDY , yes our Wendy is here in venice beach !

  • Definitely prefer this one!

  • That’s okay, Panos. Surfing is what got me started in photography – I wanted to take pictures like those I saw in Surfer magazine. I haven’t surfed in decades. I want to again, though – someplace warm, with warm water. But I want to surf here, too, in Alaska. The sport has been growing in popularity, but, as with just about everything in Alaska, the good surf spots are difficult and expensive to reach.

    Maybe it is just another dream that will not happen, but I am not ready to let go of it.

  • Ross;)

    Bill..surfing…surfing…Bryan/Michelle/chris bickford… they know..I don’t know..but I like..very very much!!!

  • ALL

    sorry for not being around much in last days, but my travel schedule was a bit crazy ..Korea, fly back to hurricane at home, to France and Burn 02 launch, and quickly back to U.S. for family wedding…that is the very short version, but i am sure you get the idea if you do not already know..even for me way over the top…heading home tomorrow and have two or three weeks to chill…

    i do not know if this has been discussed above, for i am out of the loop with comments, but the Panos heat wave pictures were a direct assignment from Burn..Panos was commissioned, paid by Burn, to shoot the heat in Texas and this is what he like a newspaper assignment really..something we can afford, and something Panos could do with minimal expense…it worked…i told Panos to shoot one picture or matter…we mutually decided on these two ….he had several more that showed more drought than heat, but we did not quite have enough for an entire essay..job done..simple

    the point is , i think we will do more of this newspaper type local one day shoot assignments…i started thinking , wait we have Burn photographers all over the world, why not cover some things?? just for fun and because we can … and at least a bit of money for the photographer…Panos did the same thing in Greece last year for the riots….and for the portrait of Alec Soth..why Panos? well, because he is on it..ready to move quickly, gets the picture, get it fast and to me fast and ready to go…HE DELIVERS..with minimal fuss….actually no fuss….is he the only one who can deliver?? i sure hope not..

    i want to assign others..but it does bring up something that every editor knows..few can deliver ON DEMAND..i mean, everybody has some fine pictures in their portfolio..yes, everybody….yet few can walk out the door and shoot something really good NOW…or have an idea that works…don’t believe it? try it…but that is pro photography in general..this does NOT MEAN that is the only barometer for a good just means it is a barometer for a certain kind of photographer who wants to earn their living as a photographer….so many fail to see this basic concept ..i bring this up now having seen quite a few portfolios in Perpignan…

    we also have another self assigned piece, turned assignment, coming from Michael Webster…his idea, fast contact with me, i approve, and you will see this soonest…

    Diego Orlando just texted me that all of the copies he brought with him to Perpignan ( i think 75 copies) have been sold…with a line of folks wishing they could have bought one…they were going out of our hands one after the other when i left just hours after the launch at the evening slide show…Diego put i think 15 in the bookstore and they all were gone in an hour…of course , Anton, Diego and i were there to sign, so this is always an incentive..but what got to all of us in a very emotional way was not the rapid sales of BURN02 but the fact that everyone seemed so moved by it..we are happy to have it sell because we have a huge printing bill for it in Italy…smiling..but 02 is not about biz, but just about pride….ok, i will not say any more about it….

    i will do one dialogue post about 02 and i am sure it will be gone…you will see why…no, not that you will like everything in it…but honestly, there is nothing like 02 out there..just isn’t….ask any of the photogs and editors who were at Perpignan..major magazine editors, iconic photogs from every agency and most importantly from all those who are NOT big magazine editors and famous photographers, but from passionate young photographers who feel they at least have a chance at this venue…my goal all along…anyway, i cannot do this post just yet…we need a paypal button which Anton is working on, and we need to get about half of the 1000 print run shipped to the U.S….

    wishing all of you the very best…cool things happening for all of us…and i mean all of us…if you have any passion, guts, talent energy, and drive to do something with your work, you can do it here right now…you absolutely 100% cannot complain there is no place for your work…can we publish everybody? of course not…can we publish the very best work from this audience?..yes we damned will can and we will…

    in any case, many many thanks for all of your support since Road Trips days…what a wild wild ride!!

    cheers, david


    get down here in the warmer waters..come to my house…we have the Gulfstream ..warm…nice waves…no fighting for a spot…everybody gets to ride…and if no waves, then you kite board…and if no wind and no waves, then sit on my front porch and have a beer…work for you??

  • David…

    What I meant was those magazine editors/publishers searching for talent. Of course I didn’t stop to think that perhaps Panos has no interest in working for anyone else but Burn…
    So I apologise if I’ve offended you and Panos :)
    I for one would be extremely happy being published on Burn online and book wise one day and I think most of my photographic goals would be fulfilled…

  • PAUL..

    i think we have a lost in translation moment….?? …nobody is offended….i was just curious what you were thinking….and i surely hope Panos does work for magazines other than Burn..Burn is a catalyst, not an end game for all….i try to help Panos and Anton and Erica and Patricia, and Bob get published in magazines other than Burn…i work on this every day….don’t you remember Panos’ amazing portfolio in the Turkish magazine IZ? Bob and Patricia looking terrific on Visura ..Erica on Lensblog..etc etc etc..

    my point was , and got lost because of its brevity, is that the worst thing that can happen to any photographer is to get published a lot of bad pictures in really famous big time magazines…or, should i say bad edits in famous magazines…you would be amazed at how a really great take can get destroyed by the wrong editing…i know this is not what you are suggesting, i am only adding that one must beware at the beginning of a career not to get too too attracted by the wrong thing..

    so i recommend always always going for a quality assignment/or publication for a smaller magazine rather than a bad assignment for a big magazine ..obviously we all want great assignments from great magazines..but you must be very very careful how you are perceived..

    once you are a journeyman photographer , it is almost impossible to break out of that perception…so, i am just suggesting caution in jumping to an assignment just because it is from a super power publisher….

    one of the most respected photographers here on Burn and who was an EPF finalist some time ago was published in the NYT and everybody congratulated and i was scratching my bald head because they were TERRIBLE pictures in the NYT…not even close to the work of this photographer in i could not figure out the gain..there was no gain..there was a loss…

    i realized that some were more impressed with the fact that this photographer was in the NYT then the fact that the pictures were actually not even close to this photographers talent..and trust me no editor or curator from any other magazine would even have looked twice even though it was the must manage how and where you are published very carefully…

    but look out there? i mean honestly,where would you like to be published? there is work, and then there is YOUR WORK…and the other thing , the reality is , and as it should be, you can only really have one or two or maybe max three real sponsors out there..for example, and to oversimplify to make a point, Nacthwey had Time, Salgado had the New York Times….both published in both places, BUT we also always had one major sponsor…one real home…you would never have seen Nachtwey in Newsweek for example…

    you do not want assignments from everybody…you might think you do, but you do not really…then you get spread too thin…you might want to shoot a story that gets placed with everybody, but usually your source of income is from one major sponsor…UNLESS you can finance yourself and then sell to everyone…unlikely except in rare cases…

    just food for thought

    cheers, david

  • David…

    Yes that is very good food for thought and I must admit I had never looked at it from your very wise point of view.
    On the point about of “few can deliver”… Are there also great photographers who were useless or not interested in “delivering” and had to work their way and only at their rhythm and what inspired them? You once mentioned Koudelka as someone you would never give an assignment…

  • PAUL

    yes, absolutely….Koudelka remains a good example..Anders Peterson another…d’Agata another…again, i was just looking at this from an assignment point of view…

    almost every great photographer is going to work best “only at their rhythm and what is inspiring to them”…so this is not exclusive to the ones i just listed above..

    it is just that some enjoy assignments, get an education from those assignments, perhaps need to earn a living, and are capable of doing them…most of the best invent and propose their commissioned assignments….yet the “capability” is not a mark of greatness nor a subtraction thereof either…just look at the history of painting..same thing…some greats did commissions , some greats did not…most wanted to….i should mention also for your reference that there are some who can ONLY work on assignment as well and will rarely, if ever, launch off on a personal project and yet their work is personalized, stylized , authored….like Bill Allard, maybe Nachtwey…

    going back to Panos, i recognized his work when i first assigned him Venice…first i tried to get him into doing something with Americans and their love of cars..that did not inspire him even though he loved cars…remember at that time he was driving a tow truck and i kept trying to get a handle on him and what he should do…then i said , just shoot what you do, what is around you..Venice emerged..still i did not see him doing assignments, just expressing himself..later, i realized he could also deliver…a pleasant surprise…yet still, and this goes for everyone, Panos must be assigned the right subject, not just any subject…you do give Allard a natural history story, and you do not give Panos a sports story and nobody ever thought to give me a science story….right person on right subject…however that come down is the right way…

    cheers, david

    cheers, david

  • Gotta agree on that sports thing..
    I tried to shoot a charity Lakers game once .. Lol.. I will never forget that game.. Still film era..1999,
    Someone lent me a sigma 28-200f5.6 and an old vivitar and…and..and,
    bottom-line , never got another “assignment” from that little studio ever again…:)
    But shooting my hip hop music heroes sustained my photo-Hapiness for a long time until I realized/learned/INFORMED by David Alan Harvey and the Roadtrips back then (now BURN- for whoever just turned their TV on) that there is something called the Mirror..
    and that worked for me..
    Of course that “mirror” thing, has nothing to do with the above talk (Nachtwey or Koudelka style, assignment able/Interested or not)..
    And then we have the HYBRID- newer style like David Alan Harvey that can do both..
    BOTH? yes BOTH!
    Nat geo “Rio on demand” but at the same time “RIO from the Heart”… That would be my dream.. To be able to do some assignments in a PERSONAL way/voice..
    I agree that when i/we are so eager to be published that we wouldn’t hesitate to let editors gives us the Reputation of the Mediocre .. and then we stuck with it for life..
    Yes true, few bad photos in NYT and you stuck with the bad reputation for ever..
    On the other hand you all know how much I love Nikos Economopoulos for example..
    Last year while I briefly assisted him in his workshop in Istanbul told me two major things that totally sounded DAH to me:
    First he (Nikos) stopped accepting assignments from ANY/ALL major newspapers ( see reasons above- low quality editors- publish low quality work-blah blah), so he decided to stop hurting his own rep..
    And Lesson number 2 was that, not everyone succeeds in
    Everything .. Even the iconics.. Like Nikos..! For example he mentioned an assignment once (not sure if it was self assigned or not) but Nikos found himself in Japan and convinced himself to stay and do the STORY! “I tried tried and tried” Nikos told me.. Nothing , week after week.. He “failed” not only photographically but mainly he failed to immediately recognize that he COULD NOT CONNECT..
    as Nikos insists the reason he stays around middle east only, is not so much getting out of the comfort zone fear etc but mainly because he is wise enough to know that he can do a killer workshop in Istanbul for example but a not so great one in Tokyo or Venice Beach..
    Good to know who we are.. Good to push our limits and good to have a small idea where those limits are , so we can figure out our mirror , see our image and shoot it.. A great photo for me is still deep deep inside nothing but a SELF PORTRAIT..
    Yes I know we all know that it’s “deeper” than simply

  • Message above chopped in copy and paste but it’s ok..

    I agree YES I CARE ABOUT BURN more than all the other publications out there PUT TOGETHER..
    No offense at any level.. but being on IZ/FOTOGRAFEVI for example is not a contradiction..
    I would accept any assignment as long as it “moves” me..
    I would never follow Perry or Obama around…nor that they need me they have “their” people for that.. That’ll make them look good etc..
    But I would love if I had the chance to do the inauguration or even if it’s SPORTS I’m so interested in soccer crowds/fans psychology than simply make sure u got that GOAL.. the
    MONEY SHOT as my fellow wedding photogs love to call it!
    So again yes I’d accept assignment FROM EVERYBODY as long as its assigned/coming from BURN..(smiling!!!)

    P.S: speaking of Roadtrips and DAH…
    If it wasn’t for Venice assignment back in the day given by DAH, I doubt if i would ever be able to believe in myself as much as today ..I’d definitely wouldnt last much longer around that Newspaper World anyways.. Bringing morals/quality down.. I was tired, exhausted, NO DIRECTION .. period..
    Now the skies are clear..
    Now I know a little bit more about who I am..and that’s HUGE!
    thanks Maestro!

  • Speaking of weddings… I’m attending one today, (NOT official photographer, thank god.) but will be shooting. My favorite kind of wedding photography. MY way! (whatever that is.)

  • Panos…

    I agree with your experience with RoadTrips and Burn…
    my sky is just as clear yours and that’s thanks to RoadTrips, everyone and everything on Burn…
    From now on I’m going to be me and I’m so much happier!!
    I’m now hard working on my essay and it’s about me and my eyeball kicks…

  • Paul yes and yes and yes

    Michael K.. Yes , I love weddings as a guest shooter too coz I like people.. And NOT bashing wed photogs or any other hard working community for this matter.. Whatever feeds the kids first ..not kidding..
    Happy memorial weekend y’all !

  • Shooting sports? Oh yeah, that’s one of my ongoing projects.. doing it my way.. so much that when DAH browsed briefly through the pics on the iPhone he told me: you need an action picture, something that shows what this is about.. all I had printed and scanned and packed on the phone was indeed sport, but not ABOUT sport.. did have the action pics.. on the negatives, at home, never thought of printing them.. freedom of choice and being.. bliss!

    Thanks all for these comments and the insight up here.. one reason why Burn is BURN!

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