Too bad I just can’t sit still. Nobody likes more than do I to relax and party and play games and just enjoy life. No matter where I am in the world, images of my  cats sitting on the front porch will pop in my head while I am walking down the Champs-Élysées. I have on several occasions literally turned my car around on the way to the airport and just gone back home and “called in sick” so to speak. Yup, I am a homebody. I never did like the idea of leaving wherever I was at the time. So if home, I hate to leave, and if anywhere else , I hate to leave there too.

A dichotomy? Not really. I tend to make a “home” and a “family” wherever I am. My mother, pictured above in my 1958 family album, always told me that I would always be late coming home as a kid and never never come back even now from wherever when I say I will. Something always keeps me. Yet to be home is my favorite thing. So no wonder I confuse everyone, including myself, when I come up with some idea that is going to take me away. Now is such a time.

For sure the presses only stopped about 4 months ago on my (based on a true story) and anyone in their right mind would be running around doing promo stuff for their recent book. Yet once I am finished with the creative part of anything, I quickly yearn for the next. Need my fix. Just one more time. Please let me have just one more time.

So off we go. Yes “we”. The family that is with me now on my front porch at home. Not my blood family as above, but an integral part of my extended family which includes half the readers here on Burn, my Magnum colleagues, NatGeo friends, my ex wife, ex girlfriends, workshop students, a whole bunch of people I met in a wide variety of ways and of course my loving and super patient blood family. Whew! Yea, it really does get out of hand. Not my fault. My mother in the photograph above, now almost 93, just this week fixed lunch at her home in Colorado for her dentist and his assistants. So, it runs in the family.

In three weeks Candy Pilar Godoy and Lawrence Sumulong and Mr. Tony “Skater” and Panos Skoulidas and I will leave New York City in a 23 foot camper van and in the traditional American way, head west. To Los Angeles. A 4-6week odyssey. Exact route unknown. Exact schedule non-existent. Number of folks who follow either here on Burn or down the highway literally is a number to be guessed. We got the van. I am in the mood. I have a team. So, isn’t that enough to go in search of more for my Off For A Family Drive book to be?

How can I get anything done if I have an entire entourage? Easy. The group with me IS my family. IS my subject. Yes I will be shooting various types of families all across the country for the book and possible film yet having many around me in this case will only help my work. Be a part of the work. Candy for example was my digi assistant in Rio for the online saga we did there and ended up as a muse and cover of the book. So she is on her second project inside a year. Lawrence , twice my student at workshops, is now assisting me in getting my archive up to date for Magnum. Mr. Skater is a pro skateboarder and art dealer and my bodyguard sometimes in Rio and well, just a great old buddy. Panos Skoulidas I met here as a commentator for Burn and is the most unlikely person and yet the most likely person to somehow end up on a cross country jaunt that will have us end up at Venice Beach where his essay still rules.

I always liked those movies where two characters wanted to rob a bank and they needed three more to help with the heist. So they had to go find the others. Each one had a speciality. This is THAT kind of movie. An unlikely cast of characters, yet good vibes all around. And it is ONLY good vibes which provide any kind of environment where I can do my thing. The only thing I really know how to do.

Has the plot been written? What do you think? Will others join? What do you think?

So I am off on this road trip to photograph and interview American families. All kinds. If  a group of any kind “thinks” they are a family, then I think they are a family. Do you know a family that’s interesting? Has a story to tell? Let us know at

For sure Off For A Family Drive will be a moveable feast. It was the first time when I was 14 and shot the original album with my used Leica IIIF as a Christmas gift for my grandparents. It will be this time as well.  To close the circle . To open the door.

Join us here on Burn. We promise to give you a great ride.


103 Responses to “OFF FOR A FAMILY DRIVE…”

  • That sounds like an adventure and a half!
    If I didn’t have a baby on the way I will head out west and meet you all somewhere….
    I know some good people in L.A…..I will contact them and see if they’ll be in town. They might be able to help and who knows, maybe even be great to shoot?!?!? really good people….interesting….
    I will send you an email.

    You mentioned video….always interested in that! I wish there were more submissions here on burn doing video.

    Has the plot been written? nah….plots are boring…

    Will others join? oh, for sure! isn’t that what you prefer?

    Well….wishing you all a safe trip!
    And hopefully see you here in Miami soonest!

  • Yeah I’ll be hanging on all the way. Sounds like another brilliant idea. I KNOW for sure it’ll be amazing. Full circle RoadTrips Burn and back to RoadTrips just hope Panos isn’t arrested again.

  • “Hi ho, the carrion crow, fol-de-rol-de-rid-do..”

    … is the theme song playing in my mind as I envision this road junket. A caravan! A road trip movie! Ocean’s Eleven off to pull a heist in Vegas! The Wild Bunch ride across the border into darkest Gringolandia…Don Davido Q. Harvey and his trusty squire Sancho Panos loading up Rocinante and the donkeys to go tilt at windmills along that great never-ending strip mall connecting vast seas of subdivisions that America has become… with Candy as Dulcinea… or is it supposed to be a replay of the Merry Pranksters with Neil Cassidy and Ken Kesey leading the charge..? A Bob Hope and Bing Crosby “Road Movie,” or maybe Henry Miller’s “Air Conditioned Nightmare,” or a reprise of Robert Frank’s “The Americans”?

    Maybe I woke up with a jaundiced eye this morning, depressed about the American election campaign, yet another broken tooth in my mouth, and the prospect of a tedious translation job that has to get done staring me in the face, but I am definitely in a Jeremiad or Cassandra-like mood, and my initial and honest reaction was that this sounds a bit like Ponce de Leon off in search of the lost Fountain of Youth. Road trips are not always triumphal processions… was your fiasco in North Dakota with Antoine d’Agata and Panos just an anomaly, or maybe a harbinger of things to come?

    Without revealing too much or tooting my own horn too loudly, I’ll just say I’ve certainly had my share of road trips. I remember the days, in the 60s and early 70s, when one could literally walk out on the hiway with a backpack and a guitar case (or in my case, often a banjo), stick out one’s thumb, and within minutes be off on a high road to adventure, spiritual revelations, serendipitous meetings, and fabulous scenery that nearly always led eventually to muggles and snuggles and free grits along the way, interesting and unusual, if not bizarre, places to sleep, occasional scary brushes with outlaws or the law or awesome forces of nature, but usually happy and fortuitous endings… sometimes miraculously so.

    There came a time in the mid 1970s when all that changed very suddenly… I got older, the country’s mood changed.. hitch-hiking, which was once an accepted and effective form of “public transportation” became more difficult and more dangerous, and that ongoing party and fellowship of the road broke up into fragments, just as my teeth are doing now.

    Which is not to say of course that there are no longer treasures to be found along the way on a road trip. You mention, and surely realize, that with an entourage like that, you are carrying your own reality with you (and imposing it on wherever you pass through), and instead of really abandoning yourself alone to the winds of the great American landscape, mostly what you will see of America will be a movie unrolling through the windows of your caravan as the kids inside pass the popcorn and crack jokes about the mushy parts.

    And so although I send you off with my best wishes, and will certainly follow your travels with interest, I confess to a certain premonition of at least partial disappointment, or at least anti-climax, in the wake of Rio (and I mean that both personally and photographically), and my recommended readings are two highly apt cautionary tales for a journey such as this, ones that you may already be very familiar with: “El general en su laberinto” (The General in His Labyrinth) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and “White Waters and Black” by Gordon MacCreagh, both of which are road trips that take place in your beloved Latin America and do not necessarily turn out as expected.

    Bien viaje, amigos y amigas!

  • DAH, you talk about frame of mind a lot — going for it, living it, pushing it — but I’d like to know some nitty-gritty about “doing it” — now now readers, don’t go there — by “it” I mean the nuts and bolts of how this works, how does a photographer with a house and a pricey rent in NYC manage to rent an expensive vehicle, hire a staff, pay for gas, food, tolls, film… really, this is as important for emerging photogs, or photogs emerging from assignment work to “living the dream” outside of assignment work as you are now, to know as how to contact and work with editors… maybe this is all financed by 300 copies of (based on a true story) and you are in a sense “set.”

    Alec Soth quite cleverly and brilliantly is producing his $18 newspaper in editions of 2000 and using that, I suspect, to finance his road trips which will prob turn into gallery shows and work for Magnum… you too are lucky enough (i know “lucky” is not the word, the words are talented and hard working) to have the M connection…

    I’m rambling, wheels are turning, how does one hire a van and a posse and make it work? Maybe it’s just an investment and a hope/belief that it will come back to you in spades.


    curiously yrs



    BURN on top of the Sun ( Pyramid I mean )

    Leaving Mexico city now.. In airport..
    Phone off..

    I’m pumped, ready, inspired, motivated!
    To my favorite MENTORS/TEACHERS…
    Thank you Frida Kahlo!
    Thank you David Alan Harvey

    To my friends here, I promise I’ll do my best to make this upcoming trip
    as interesting as it gets!
    Humbled! ( little tear )
    Love you ALL, thank you for the support and the trust you showing me…
    Ok now, I got emotional… 8 days “living” at Frida’s house and now this upcoming trip!!!???
    I’m out of words!
    Ok gotta fly now!

  • David,

    Sincerely looking forward to the adventure! Hopefully I will be able to connect with the yourself and the entourage as Colorado chapter unfolds…there is always extra space at our house on the lake if need be.

    Excited to live vicariously through the travels online…as the photographs spill out from all media channels! in RIO lots to soak up here!

    Talk soon, Best, Jeremy

  • “Yup, I am a homebody.”

    Okay, I’ll bite: am I the only person here who thinks that this statement is a little hard to believe?

  • Looks like you’ll have a substantial digital throng in tow. Good hunting.

    – Paul.

  • This is as close to Rio as I’m ever going to get

    Yes, the idea that I’m never going depresses the hell out of me.

  • Akaky, no need to be depressed.
    I may never get to New York, doesn’t bother me a bit. The thing about travel is that no matter where you go, there you are.

  • DAH – Your first two paragraphs describe my own life – to a tee.

    Your upcoming trip sounds great, but sadly I think there be no chance that you will pass through my neighborhood.

  • As we get older, road trips are more about what we are running from, then where we are heading.

  • On the road again!! ’til LA (fortunately the road ends there). Uhmmm… but what about going to the core of the story, what about going to Hawaii and Alaska to see other families.
    America is not only between Canada and Mexico.
    Nice team inside the camper. Lot of energy!

    DAH: The project about is a self-assignment or is your “revenge” (laughing) about Postcards from America, from Magnum that you did not participate?

    For sure the presses only stopped about 4 months ago on my (based on a true story) and anyone in their right mind would be running around doing promo stuff for their recent book.

    Promotion is an automatic consequence of your momentum. Let it be.


  • @ PANOS: What is that casquette from Dallas Mavericks???? Last year you supported Ginobili and San Antonio, now you’ve changed to the just opposite team???
    Forget about basketball, take a look at Messi freekick goal yesterday. WOW!

    Give him a call if you can do the same in the PlayStation… 1-800-MESSI-FOR-REAL

  • I wonder why I never hear about amazing cross-country trips from Halifax to Vancouver or Ciudad Juarez to Merida? Someone must make them.

  • @ PATRICIO (smiling of course)

    Just shot this for you a minute ago..
    It’s a Barca hat….
    Me? Dallas fan? Lol.. U must be kidding!
    I’m a hardcore LAKERS FAN..
    WESTCOAST for life baby!!!!
    I love Ginobili but the SA Spurs are boring me to death..
    LA baby !!!
    World Peace babyyyy

  • Ha ha ,unless you are referring to this one here..

    Its from the National Greek soccer team
    Big hug bro
    ( sorry for the tech talk…lol)

  • Nonsence jim.. I’ve rarely thought about where I am going.

  • That’s because where we are heading and what we are running from is the same.

  • yeah yeah. We are all gonna die and we all think we can somehow swerve it…Not really news that.
    have you ever travelled jim?
    have you ever dived the barrier reef?
    Sweated out a fever on the fever coast?
    taken one of those long long trains from one sweaty Indian city to another a thousand miles away?
    got drunk on brahma in a shanty in Rio?
    got in a fight in a bar in Bangkok over the price of peanuts?
    Driven clear through a whole country in one go just to see what the country on the other side looks like?
    Woken up in a place you dont know and headed out in whatever direction takes your fancy to reach another place you dont know?
    Played chess in Havana?
    Ridden an elephant through a jungle?
    or a camel through a desert?

    Jesus Jim, we are all dying, but you do a road trip to make sure you’ve fucking lived before it happens.
    Laughed with friends in new york in wintertime?

  • John Gladdy…

    I think I should copy your words and write them in bright red lipstick on my bathroom mirror. I haven’t done things close to those since I got married…

  • Leaving school a mob of us went on a surfing trip to remote spots in Oz for about 4 months most of us surfed very few traveled………..

  • Jim dangles the bait, and one of our biggest fish in this little pond rises to it…

    Funny how after all this time some of us still get aroused by what Jim says, and try to rebut or even convert him! I mean, even though we are often highly amused by his cleverness and willingness to play the buffoon, most of us are really seriously diametrically opposed to Akaky’s political beliefs, and yet I can’t remember the last time anybody seriously tried to rebut him or, god forbid, convert him into a liberal.. Is this because Akaky is genuinely humorous, whereas Jim is genuinely dour?

    Before any hackles are raised, this is only an observation! I mean no criticism of, for example, John Gladdy’s position, which I think I understand perfectly and have great sympathy for… still, I often think I know where Jim is coming from, although I don’t agree with him at all about this road trip business, going by the one-line zingers he is throwing out. In this case, he’s just indulging in being Jim, and I don’t think there’s a whole lot of thought behind it.

    There’s a youth-versus-age axis that is partly at work, and if many of the readers and contributors to this site are still filled with this conventional form of wanderlust and craving for adventures involving lots of hours spent rolling down asphalt highways, I see that as perfectly natural among the young and even among some of the middle-aged, though it doesn’t interest me personally very much any more. But I can enjoy reading about somebody else’s journey, and seeing someone else’s photos from the trip.

    There are road trips, and then there are road trips.
    I haven’t done quite everything on John Gladdy’s checklist, although if you change the names of a few of his places, I may have come fairly close. I grew up with the rural American folk wisdom that “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Now, I can’t really honestly attest to the veracity of that statement myself, having never actually skinned a cat, but I can tell you with great authority that there’s more than one way to kill and pluck a chicken. I’m willing to accept that the same may be true about cats without needing to demonstrate it myself.

    Which raises what I think is an interesting issue about experience, travel, and photography, topics we are all interested in here to some degree. When I was younger, I not only wanted to go to a lot of places, in a deep psychological sense I “needed” to go a lot of places… partly from curiosity, partly from a need for self-validation, partly to emulate my role models (who I am too embarrassed to ever reveal by name…!), partly for bragging rights (let’s be honest, OK?), but maybe most fundamentally because I had a deeply held and only partially articulated belief that some destiny awaited me beyond the horizon that I could never fulfill by staying where I was.

    By the time I turned 50, I had been fortunate enough to travel a good deal, see some pretty broad swaths of both urban and rural scenery in North and Central America, East and Southeast Asia, Australia, and Western Europe; had lived for 5 years in an isolated cabin in the foothills of the Northern Rockies; could speak 4 languages well enough to do some serious courting in them, and could buy tickets, order meals, ask directions, and fake it in another 5; had lived outside the US for 20 years. Did I go everywhere and do everything on my list? Of course not!

    The need for travel turned into a compulsive habit, and the rewards of the kind of travel I was doing started to diminish… the idea of staying in one place and really digging in became more appealing, and not least among the reasons for that was that as a geography and environmental studies teacher I knew just what kind of impact my travels were having on the world’s atmosphere and fresh water. I honestly felt that I had had more than my share of that kind of travel. I don’t expect the whole world to stop burning gasoline tomorrow or flying around in jets, but at least I can stop, and set an example, if only to myself.

    OK, but, “ ya gonna keep’em down on the farm, after they seen Paree?”
    One of the things I notice a lot these days with ‘amateur photographers’ and ‘serious amateur photographers’ and ‘semi-pro’ photographers (and that pretty much includes almost everybody I see these days) is an apparent need many of them have to take the same photos that somebody else has already taken… whether it’s slot canyons in the SW, or cremation ceremonies on Bali, or orca whales in Puget Sound, or Japanese cosplayer teenagers in Harajuku… many seem driven not to do anything new or personal but to recreate what they’ve seen others do… to claim the experience for themselves. It’s a form of self-validation. Photos aside, ditto for a lot of the commercial tourism that is engulfing the planet. I can’t really blame most of these people, and I can’t feel all that different given my own history, but why do I need to recreate somebody else’s experience?

    Photos are wonderful partly because they can present us with others’ experience that we don’t necessarily need to recreate to satisfy our curiosity about the world. Maybe some of us could leave our share of the gasoline and jet fuel and fresh water to younger people whom travel will benefit far more than us jaded oldsters. I’ll be happy to see your pictures and hear your stories when you return.

    I don’t pretend to have thought this all out very clearly, and I haven’t completely abandoned the idea of personal travel… there are still a few places I would love to go, and may even make an effort to get to.. but millions of well-heeled middle-aged tourists flying around the world season after season and year after year to take more snapshots, or even more art photos, or “good enough for National Geographic” photos, so they can fell self-validated, is a dinosaur life-style that I can’t in good conscience either indulge in or support. And ditto for anyone who thinks they can or should recreate Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.”

  • “And ditto for anyone who thinks they can or should recreate Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.”

    thank you
    thank you
    thank you
    thank you
    thank you
    thank you
    thank you….ad infinitum
    thank you Senior Sidney Atkins

  • What a load of bullshit Sidney…….. it smacks of I’ve been there done that others only copy me?
    Their experiences are new and fresh …….. you seem to be stale and and preaching some quirky save the planet gospel

  • Remember you and your freedom riders became the red tape bureaucrats.

  • as they sold out in a big way ……now that is creepy

  • ……now that is creepy

    hmmmmm… creepy indeed:(

  • BOB … awesome… Thank u for link!!!!

  • YES! time to go again!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Can I sing now?

  • From Gordon Parks to Giles Duley take your pick . . .!
    a punch line from Imants will do the rest. –


  • Interesting thoughts — minus the sniping — Sidney, John, Jim. The project sounds like it will be fun. And although the oft-executed idea or a road trip appears unoriginal and uninteresting in the context of the Harvey circus, I get that David is taking it much deeper with the family drive aspect, which is a grand theme that comes from the heart of the American experience, or at least the second half of the twentieth century American experience. We all need to beware criticizing work unrealized based on superficialities and prejudices. That’s why I generally prefer not to know what artists are working on. Better to be presented with the final product and marvel at how they pulled it off rather than indulge in ridiculous speculation about whether or not they should attempt it. Though I think David’s emerging model of raising modest funds and generating interest with projects like this and Rio is a very good one. That is, if one can pull it off. And maybe the work will span the centuries, starting on one side of the bridge with the concept of the family drive that’s represented in the photo at the top of this post and ending on the side of a new type of family drive made by a different type of family. Personally, I’ve made a couple RV trips with friends between San Diego and Black Rock City in recent years and those reminded me more of the family drives of my youth than my own family’s trips back to grandma’s for thanksgiving where the kids are well-behaved and absorbed in their ipods. Any way, this little adventure is something I am interested in following.

    As to the larger question of people like us and travel, my autobiography is in many ways similar to Sidney’s. When I was younger, I lived to travel. Then at some point, I just about totally lost interest in it and have barely traveled at all for the past twenty years. Well, barely traveled at all in the normal sense. I travel constantly, it’s just the circles keep getting smaller. Even back in the days of exotic world travel I was never a capitol hopper. I’d save up enough money to go live somewhere for at least a year and then explore that place and make little trips around it. Then I began to limit myself to the geographic area where I lived: the pacific northwest, the Sonoran Desert and the like. These days most of my travel is done on bicycle, though I occasionally take a short train ride. And I foresee, or certainly hope for, an old age where I travel around my backyard or the nursing home parking lot with a macro lens and/or a microscope.

    Travel doesn’t need to be about running from anything or attempting to get anywhere. Done right, one will get away from some things and find plenty of others without really trying.

  • Sidney, I think you actually made my point. While David and his entourage may be traveling in the same vehicle, they are not on the same adventure. They can never understand where David has been, and he can never understand where they are, or go where they are heading. Photography is fundamentally changed, the current nostalgic filter trend notwithstanding.

  • Jim…

    Actually I think youre right on…
    “David and his entourage may be traveling in the same vehicle, they are not on the same adventure”

    Although I think David will be the only one who will understand the others as he’s the oldest and probably done it all before except this latest RoadTrip.
    And no I don’t think photography has changed it’s still about getting a good photo…

  • John Gladdy, I’ve done exactly what I’ve wanted to do in my life.

    I’ve been fortune to have lived during a special time in our cultural history, one that I fear is now just that, history. But because of that, I have no good advice, no useful wisdom for those who have to spend their adult lives over the next 40 or 50 years. My experience has nothing to do with what theirs will be. I can understand older people surrounding themselves with younger people. I’m not sure it is a good idea for the younger folks who are engaged in that transaction.

  • As much as I like Kerouac´s Roadtrip there have been other great ones in literature. I seem to remember “Zen and the Art of motorcycling” was some kind of roadtrip and I enjoyed that one a lot more than Kerouac’s.

  • Jim. If that is truly the case then all power to you.

    as to the second part of your second point i think i have to agree with you, although saying that, many people do seem to need to seek out people to act as guru for them. I guess if it helps them get where they need to be
    … does remind me though of one time when I got back from travelling India. A lady asked me “did you find yourself?”…after a pause I told her “I wasnt lost”


    smiling…i have all of your same concerns, yet i am off anyway…i do not dwell on the potential negatives ever on anything….i just do it…….road trips are always fantasies at the beginning and either work out better than one thinks or can turn into nightmares…or, as you point out, don’t live up to “expectations”…of this i am very aware….but of course i am aware of this every time i pick up a camera in the first place…i think my overall “luck” in life at least as far as photography is concerned, that i never really give the expectations of others much of a thought….with my camera in hand whether on assignment or just taking family snaps, which i do almost every day , i am not ever worried if someone else is going to like the picture or not….and i mean this even if being commissioned…early on i figured i would just live and shoot and fly “by my pants”…knowing it is impossible to satisfy everyone, at a very early age i decided just to do it and basically hope for the best…sure , i hope this upcoming trip becomes an adventure for you as well as for us, but i am not going to get up in the morning and “try to please” even this audience….that does not mean that i do not wish for this audience to enjoy the trip but trying too hard please usually leads to not pleasing…you may ask any editor at NatGeo or any magazine if i ever tried to be a “crowd pleaser”…most likely i was always trying to get something published where the editor was saying something like “our readers won’t like this”….and probably the editor was right…but i was so single minded i would try my very best to work that edge between popularity and my own vision of whatever the topic might have been….

    the Dakota “fiasco” was in actuality a wonderful road trip…a disaster from the point of view of Antoine and i both shooting a side by side essay…but the pure road trip aspect was full of laughter, boredom, saying “what do we do now?”, and classic fear and danger….all the stuff that makes a great road trip!! and Antoine , Panos and i all bonded for sure…and one of the 60×40 limited edition prints from a picture i made on that trip will be hanging during Art Basel in Miami this year…so the original “expectations” were not met from an audience being “satisfied” standpoint , yet all three of us took that trip to “another place”…Panos later helped Antoine with his newest film, and i made one of my collector photographs….

    perhaps we will see you on this trip? we are drawing lines on a map now..trying to imagine the best route across…for sure i would love to meet you Sidney, so let’s see what happens….

    cheers, david

  • Remember to kick the tires and clean your windshield once in awhile :) Road trips are always great but this one sounds like an adventure and a half! Winnebago?

  • DQ

    yours is a great question…and honestly you might have asked me this question my whole life…you would have asked me this when i did Tell It Like It Is when i was 22 or Divided Soul or anything i have ever done…even when on say assignments for NatGeo , i would almost always go back on my own and do other words, i have self financed a bit of any project i was interested in…and trust me, i have no money….but i WILL always work and work and make something out of it….

    i do not have a solid formula answer for you….i just figure it out…and i am broke most of the time…i have never been endowed with resources, but i was always able to manage to get things financed….in my early years, a grant got me rolling on my Tidewater series after i did Tell It, and that led to color shooting and that led to an assignment from i realized early on that good work , just doing good work, would somehow lead to something else…it always did in my early years, and it always does now….you have to realize that editors and grant givers, and anyone giving support is looking for good work…there really is not as much out there as you may think…very little really special….as an editor here i can tell you that there is not that much special out there….so for example if i see someone with a special essay, i am going to pay for it…i want it…and so the same with various funders for me over the years…

    for this specific trip i have applied for a couple of grants…i have not gotten these grants as yet…i won’t know if i will or won’t until i am already on the trip….i am going anyway…gambling that the investment will pay off…yes the Rio work did pay for itself….break even, but break even is all i ever ask for…all of the Magnum photographers do this…we just go…and have confidence we can market the work somehow…through library sales, distribution, etc…we never know exactly how, but we do it no matter….unless you have that attitude, you will never get out the door..

    we considered the paywall as we did in Rio, but i think we will not do that this time…that worked, but we had a small audience….we will go for the larger audience and run it as a separate page right here on Burn or with a Tumblr link…also we may set up a similar thing here with the donation/rewards system that works so well at Kickstarter etc…and similar to other projects at Magnum…Soth’s newspaper idea is terrific and we may borrow a page out of his idea book as well….

    since a book, Off For A Family Drive, most likely my most important work, will be the eventual result and the trip itself become a moving icon of production and education i think we will have sufficient donations to at least buy our gas etc….the voluntary donations would of course lead to prints, postcards, the book itself, and we might even offer a three or four day ride with us for one person as a moving reality based workshop….even without even ever mentioning this before, some have asked about it…

    anyway, one way or another, we are going….for the “planner” types this sounds crazy..but that is not me…for me the excitement is not knowing exactly how we can do this….how can it even be a real road trip if we KNOW?…

    after all, it is the unknown that IS the adventure….

    hey, come and find us…you never know where a simple meeting can lead….

    cheers, david

  • “I am not ever worried if someone else is going to like the picture or not”

    I think this has to be one of the biggest hurdles for all young photographers to assume and I include myself in this assessment. Really tough one for me and only just beginning to break this stupid vice…

  • John !!??
    Guru??? Laughing…. Mentors and fake Indian yogis-gurus is two different worlds..
    Personally speaking I learned so much next to two magnum photogs in Dakota and fulfilled a DEEAM of a lifetime to become an ACTOR on newest Antoine’s film..
    Was Antoine my guru?? Lol again.. Nah he was my director…
    I was just the Angelina Jolie..
    Laughing .. All , lighten up… Nobody tries to cure cancer here..
    I see the punches under the belt: the little sheep following the Indian guru hoping for salvation or the afterlife.. Lol..
    Ill answer back with your lovely ironic words..
    Nahhhh I’m not lost… All I’m trying is to do some good work, stay out of the couch, and bond with my “American” side.. I’m Greek you know but also American..
    What “kind” of American would I be if I wouldn’t try to “learn”/find out, explore my “new” country?
    Especially on election month ?
    Please lighten up, let’s leave the poor Indian snake charmers alone ..
    Nobody looking for salvation ( personally speaking ) nobody creating a cult nor a church, por favor, relaxanto!!!!!
    All I want to do is to be a Hollywood star, someday I will have my name on Hollywood boulevard written with gold….
    Laughing genuinely ( no irony here )…
    Again, nice Sunday morning, off to walk Lola!
    staying away from churches, drugs and alcohol.. Trying to be healthy for the trip that will help me “meet” American families and that will bring me CLOSER to understanding home.. my new home..
    I don’t know , I might be wrong but I’m not lost either, not looking for Gurus,
    I respect my Mentors and yes although my resume says: self taught , yeah right…
    I gotta give it to my mentors regardless the names, Morrison , Kahlo, DAH, Nietzsche , Kazantzakis, Homer ( not Simpson ) and couple more ( Zorba of course one of my greatest mentors of all times )…
    Ok Lola cannot wait for me typing , nor she is interested why I’m going to shoot photos instead of curing cancer.. She simply don’t care .. All she wants is, to pee, poop and then go for our two hour ROADTRIP around the River…
    And as JayZ said: Lola is IMPATIENT AND ALSO she hates waiting…
    And Lola could care less about my new acting carreer :))))
    All she needs is food on her table, that little selfish doggie…
    .. but I love her and she is also in my Mentor’s list, but
    GURU???? ahhh thanks bro u made my day just like Messi did yesterday ,
    thanks to
    PATRICIO’s information
    ( barking in background )..
    Ok, gotta go now.. Lola hates to wait:)


    brilliant!! thank you… join us!!!

    hugs, david

  • PAUL

    yes, that is right….THE hurdle…


    geez Jim, we are just going out to take some portraits of American families…don’t feel like i am running away from anything nor towards something…trying to “find myself”? oh no, gave up on that a long time ago!!

    and,yes of course, those who are with me, collaborating with me, will each have their own perspectives, their own personal road trip…that’s the point.

    cheers, david

  • JIM wrote:
    “While David and his entourage may be traveling in the same vehicle, they are not on the same adventure. They can never understand where David has been, and he can never understand where they are, or go where they are heading”

    Absolutely true.. There 5 billion human beings that live on same earth and we all see EVERYTHING different.. From colors to feelings.. And that’s the beauty…
    And speaking of soccer / sports / movies , everyone plays IN the “movie” but everyone has a different role.. I always wanted to be the good time I’ll ask my agent in Hollywood to get me a role as a nun, a priest or a politician;) I’m tired always playing the villain..
    That was my ONLY complain at Antoine’s movie: do I have to be the bad guy again????
    He said YES, and I obliged.. What u wanted me to do? Say no and then how I’m gonna pay my mortgage
    up in Hollywood Hills???

    But anyway Jim was very Apocalyptic on this last discovery: yes, we are all
    Different , we see the world different.. I’m not Tony the Skater although I wish, I’m not Candy although I wish , I’m not DAH although I wish and they are not panosito although they’d wish..
    Ok NOW LOLA is really upset!

  • DAVID,

    Naturally I will follow your trip with great interest.. but few expectations. Glad you at least took my rumination(s) in the good-humored and basically sympathetic spirit in which it was intended.
    My schedule is unpredictable and my resources limited, but if you pass anywhere near the Seattle area, I will of course make an effort to meet up. Give me an email heads-up in advance if possible:

    OK, way more than enough ‘loads of bullshit’ from me for a while.



    Not easy to be a photog nowadays and that make things “interesting”


    All roads lead to oneself..
    The sun just told me that!!!

  • Not always easy to “come across”/ communicate…

  • this sounds awesome…have a great adventure :) art and travel and chosen family ~ what could be better? wish i could join in this and experience all that you are about to…

    have a kick ass time! can’t wait to see the amazing photographs that will be made…

  • Jim:

    “I’m not sure it is a good idea for the younger folks who are engaged in that transaction.”

    Perhaps it is because I have spent so much time living and working within Native cultures, but I think it is always a good idea for the young to mentor with their elders. It gives them a grounding about where they come from but does not limit their ideas as they move forward into their own, new, time. In fact, based on my own observations, I would say it helps them expand their ideas.

    After having been out of commission and homebound since my return from India in March, followed by my surgery, I am about to go back into the field to begin my own new “road trip” – but actually it is an air trip because no roads lead to the places I plan to go.

  • Hehehehehe….Ellen Disaster is in New York…Find her and take her with you David and if you are still on the road when I get to America next year then I will join you for a while! Then you can experience a Disaster and a Hurricane on your journey! Hehehehe…

    Bon Voyage…


    Hurricane Hoggy

  • “but I think it is always a good idea for the young to mentor with their elders.”

    I don’t know about that. I’ve come to believe that the past is a burden on the young more than an asset, not only irrelevant to their lives, but pulling them backwards like tentacles from some giant octopus. Those of us who spent most of our lives in the 20th century have little of real value to offer those who will have to find a way in the 21st. What worked then is not working now, and we really don’t know why.

    The best thing we could do for the future of photography is wipe out photography’s past. In a generation new photographers, having no reference to our efforts, could then spend their lives creating their own “history of photography” for the 21st. century without the burden being labeled derivative.

    Unrealistic? Of course. Future photographers, for good or bad, will be confronted with all that has been done before, and in an attempt to create something completely new, be reduced to making still more instagram masterpieces of their breakfast.

  • Jim the key will be how the photographs are used not their digital appearance aesthetically, etc

  • Imants, I agree with you. I think it’s likely the only way forward.

  • “I don’t know about that. I’ve come to believe that the past is a burden on the young more than an asset, not only irrelevant to their lives, but pulling them backwards like tentacles from some giant octopus. Those of us who spent most of our lives in the 20th century have little of real value to offer those who will have to find a way in the 21st. What worked then is not working now, and we really don’t know why.

    The best thing we could do for the future of photography is wipe out photography’s past. In a generation new photographers, having no reference to our efforts, could then spend their lives creating their own “history of photography” for the 21st. century without the burden being labeled derivative.”

    “I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work — a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.
    Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
    He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.
    Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.” William Faulkner, Nobel Prize acceptance speech

    “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

    “[This day and age we’re living in
    Gives cause for apprehension
    With speed and new invention
    And things like fourth dimension.

    Yet we get a trifle weary
    With Mr. Einstein’s theory.
    So we must get down to earth at times
    Relax relieve the tension

    And no matter what the progress
    Or what may yet be proved
    The simple facts of life are such
    They cannot be removed.]

    You must remember this
    A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
    The fundamental things apply
    As time goes by.

    And when two lovers woo
    They still say, “I love you.”
    On that you can rely
    No matter what the future brings
    As time goes by.

    Moonlight and love songs
    Never out of date.
    Hearts full of passion
    Jealousy and hate.
    Woman needs man
    And man must have his mate
    That no one can deny.

    It’s still the same old story
    A fight for love and glory
    A case of do or die.
    The world will always welcome lovers
    As time goes by.

    Oh yes, the world will always welcome lovers
    As time goes by.” Herman Hupfeld

    Sorry, Jim. William Faulkner, the Preacher, and Herman Hupfeld all say you’re wrong, and who can stand against the weight of Herman Hupfeld’s negative opinion? No one, I think.

  • Panos, the sun was drunk when he told you that. He gets profound when he hits the tequila more than he should. Still, you can’t blame him for taking a snort now and then. It’s not like he can go on strike for shorter hours.

  • Akaky, it is appropriate that you quoted men from the past to defend ideas from the past. I’m not sure how those ideas illuminate the present, though. Just like Faulkner, his world is dead and buried.

  • Jim,

    “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
    William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun.

    True then, true now.

  • AKAKY , that’s a great great line by WF

  • “after all, it is the unknown that IS the adventure…”

    Absolutely, and true whether you are on a road trip or not.”

    I’m not all that sure that adventure and the unknown are always a good thing. Being a war refugee or dealing with major health or family crisis would probably qualify.

    I’ve spent most of my life “on the edge” with very stressful health, family, and personal issues. ‘Not interested in the edge, I’m trying to get to the center. I don’t need the shit scared out of me to feel alive. I’m lovin’ my life the way it is thanks, don’t care if I ever get more than a hundred miles from my house again. It’s great fun to hear about other people doing it however.

    I’m loving this discussion, feels like a little of the old burn mojo. I’m looking forward to what the road trip brings.

  • I had half-promised myself to keep quiet for a while, let others talk, and get some needed work done (aw, c’mon Sidney, who are you kidding?), but this latest exchange prods me to respond once again… apologies to all for my drivel, and feel free to skip what follows!

    While maybe in some senses I wouldn’t say that Jim is necessarily ‘wrong’ about the past being dead and buried and largely irrelevant as any kind of guide for the young who must find their own way in our brave new world of the 21st century (and yet ironically they are burdened by that same past…?)…. I think this is a view that ignores some pretty fundamental truths of both biology and geology, not to mention history…

    We are all biological creatures, even the affluent hyper-wired cyber-spawn human children of the new century, and our features, our needs, and our limitations are largely molded by DNA. The DNA may recombine in new ways, the building blocks remain fundamentally the same. Our cultures are always recycling history, re-interpreting it, turning it into new forms of argument and entertainment, drawing new (and usually spurious!) lessons from it… we wear our history like a wardrobe. All our art forms are constantly recycling and recombining the past. If anything were truly new and original and not in the least derivative, then it would probably also be largely unnoticed or at least unappreciated. Mostly what gives images or sounds or words their power to move other hearts is not ‘originality’ but RESONANCE… they set off echoes of vague half-forgotten memories, they may quote from the past or more subtly evoke the past without directly quoting it, they arouse sympathetic feelings, they bring us together, they REMIND us… the combinations change, the packaging may change, new technical means of creation and dissemination may arise… but we’re basically still tinkling the same old ivories… old Bill Faulkner may be dead and buried, but the ground we’re standing on holds his bones, which one day will metamorphose into the ‘fossil fuel’ to power somebody’s dream-mobile.

    But of course, being constantly aware of the great people and great works of the past, and trying live up to them or exceed them, can be a discouraging burden on the young… there are many classic cases of children of illustrious parents who couldn’t shake off the burden of their legacy… if you were consciously striving to exorcise the ghosts of Homer or Shakespeare or Tolstoy every time you put words on paper, it could drive you to despair or paralysis.

    But erasing the human memory disk? I can only speak from my own experience, but without some guides from the past, I would have been lost, exhausted, and disheartened, and probably dead long ago… if you want to go way, way back in both history and my own personal saga, whoever wrote the ‘Odyssey’ (if indeed it was Homer), Xenophon, and Lucretius all set out bright beacons that helped me steer through very turbulent, confusing, violent, and dangerous times. Their words and thoughts reached across millennia to counsel, comfort, and inspire me.

    We can’t know of course, and certainly can’t control, what the next or subsequent generations will find of value from our own work and experience, what will resonate with them and evoke their passion to live and create. All we can do is honestly try to pass on what seemed to work best for us, knowing that some will fall on deaf ears, that they will change a lot of it, that a lot of what seems important to us will seem ridiculous to them, but a hundred years or a millennium from now, who knows?

  • Maybe instead of my dropping the names of classical writers it would have been more relevant to bring up visual artists from the past who inspired and continue to inspire legions of photographers and filmmakers today… Peter Breughel, Georges de la Tour, Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt, J.M.W. Turner, Edgar Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Edward Hopper are obvious and well-known examples (“Rembrandt lighting” was ubiquitous in early to mid 20th century Hollywood) from the Western tradition…

    One of the most profound visual influences on me personally was and remains an 11th century Song Dynasty Chinese painter named Zhang Ze Duan (of whom little is known except his magnum opus), whose “Qingming shanghe-du” or the “Qingming Festival on the River,” is a hand scroll which depicts rural and urban life and river- and road-bound commerce in loving and exquisite detail from a “bird’s eye view” which he could only have imagined in his mind in those days long before human flight.

    Early photography was heavily influenced by painting and much of it still is… early movie-making was heavily influenced by both stage plays and ‘tableaux,’ and also painting… Picasso was influenced by prehistoric cave paintings… none of these preserved the original forms intact, all developed in new directions, but none would have existed without the antecedents.

    Our earliest stories were tales told around a campfire… first writing altered the whole context of using words, then later printing, then postal systems, and then telecommunications changed many things, made many new things possible, universalized literacy, and opened up worlds undreamt of by earlier creators… something analogous will probably happen in the 21st century with near universal access to photography, editing, and communications tools and (hopefully) ‘visual literacy’… but in the end we and our successors will still be sitting around a campfire telling each other stories.

  • I thought Jim made a good point about using ideas promoted in the past as a guide to how to act in the future so I did a little time traveling and asked some famous minds from the future. Sorry Jim, not much has changed on that score. Most people still think it’s a good thing for young people to learn from those with talent and experience (i.e., teaching is good). Although to be fair, they don’t quite think that way in the Christian People’s Autocratic Republic of Texas, which includes most of the Gulf coast. There, if it’s not in the Christian People’s Department of Divine Communication’s interpretation of the Bible, or somehow involves weaponry, it’s not allowed to be taught.

  • Jim, I kind of doubt you believe what you are writing, but have found a new angle on which to be provocative. But, just in case you do believe your own words, I am sure you learned from those who came before but then lived your life without trying to duplicate their own efforts and that your life would be much emptier and your work less than it is if you did have knowledge of the past to build upon.

    Now, I will shift a little big of attention to myself to all of you who paid attention and encouraged me during the past three, often very hard months. I just reached a milestone:

  • Trench warefare mentality from the stay at home been there done that brigade. yup therevis this belief of all these kids sitting around camfires looking at Rembrants on their iphones

  • Picasso visited the caves pretty late into his life the greater influences were the work of His peers and women he adhored

  • “I don’t know about that. I’ve come to believe that the past is a burden on the young more than an asset”

    So Jim; why keep moaning about the ills of instagram etc (modern ways of visual expression that doesn’t hark back to the past)? Aren’t you shooting your “past is a burden” argument in the foot? Just wondering…..

  • Ross, that’s the point I’ve been trying to make. The young have no buiness listening to me. I’m an anachronism, and they need to find their own way.

  • Frostfrog, I learned from people who shared a common experience with me. Twenty First century young people can make no sense of my 20th century cultural references.

    And yes, I believe sincerely what I am saying.

  • Even if Jim was stirring the pot I for one tend to see the relevance in what he is stating. As a person who spends time daily in the hand to hand combat zone of so called education of the young it is a very different world now and the changes in their thinking are quite rapid. here is a huge shift and it is greater than that which occurred in the 50’s youth culture and 60’s protest movements.
    These days I just help with content, concepts, reinforce their ideas and they take from me whatever they need which is not much. That is healthy!!!
    This doesn’t mean that they have no respect it is just they are on another path of being.

  • Maybe this is what sites such as burn, VII, etc suffer from as well………….they live in the used by date zone?

  • Jim – I sure as hell hope you learned from people who didn’t share a common experience with you as well, people whose cultural references were very different than your own.

    I suppose, to a degree, this is impossible, because once you learn from someone, be that person living, dead, or ancient, even if your cultural references are different and your interpretations incomprehensible to the other, you have shared a common experience.

  • No more day old newspapers for my cockatoo he shits on a ipad now……….

  • screeching all day “Polly wanna android”

  • Hey! Have fun and be safe and if you come up this way you can photograph a young woman named Leica! And I’ll make you all a killer breakfast.

    My best advice is, after a three week trip to Germany and England this summer, is that whatever you do, don’t bring along a three year old boy! It’ll seep the wanderlust right out of you, what with all the whining and complaining and inability to sit still for even a SECOND! (unless you got a DVD player that is).

    Nah, I love my family (esp Felix), but man they can sometimes drive you nuts…. ;)


  • it is a very different world now and the changes in their thinking are quite rapid. here is a huge shift and it is greater than that which occurred in the 50′s youth culture and 60′s protest movements.

    I know it’s always dangerous to project one’s own experience out to “youth culture” in general, but that said, Imants’ contention that kids are so much different these days, and that, the artistically minded at least, are unlikely to discuss Rembrandt or the like, is not my experience. My experience pretty much consists of my own kids and their friends who grew up in NYC and are now juniors in college and 8th graders in middle school; my nieces and nephews and their friends who are about the same ages and come from small town and rural America; and a group of high school kids who I worked with for several years at a failing school in the south Bronx. The first group has access to the world’s best technology with plenty of role models and teachers who show them how to use it; the second lives in a computer laden environment mostly devoid of creativity; the third have little or know access to computers outside of school or libraries.

    I’m just not seeing any kind of tectonic shift in thinking, certainly nothing approaching the changes that occurred in the 60’s. They just struggle to come to terms with the world, same as it ever was. The technology is in no way revolutionary for them. It is all they have ever known and they have no more care for what it was like before everyone had a cell phone than we cared about grandpa’s stories about how he had to walk to school through four feet of snow and how it was uphill both ways.

    As for the travel, I’m all for it. Although my enthusiasm has changed over the years and I no longer care about exotic world travel as much as I used to, I strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t traveled a lot to do so. I think if I were writing the constitution, I’d make living at least a year abroad a requirement for holding public office. Right now my daughter is going to school in France and my son just got back from spending the summer in Gabon. And if they’re not talking about Rembrandt around the campfire, they’re talking about Godard at the café. Or Houellebecq. Or whoever. Point is, they’re talking about somebody whose work they admire, whether around a campfire or a table, someone whose work challenges and changes them. Same as it ever was.

  • mw I see wider demographic groups both here the Sub Continent and Asia …… it is how they go about communicating not the technology

  • Charles i hope we can reunite in Seattle…cant wait to see big boy Felix and little Leica:)

  • screeching all day “Polly wanna android”
    or Polly Wants a cracker;)

  • Saw this quote from an interview today over at aphotoeditor that seemed to fit into the discussion here:

    “JB: I have some students, and we were looking at some work last week that was really super-digi. Over-saturated, hyper-real, hopped up, textured and degraded. I talked about that, and these are younger students, and they couldn’t see it. That archive that we have in our head, of the cinematic and celluloid look, they don’t have that baseline. Their baseline is digital reality.

    They can’t tell the difference between the super-saturated color look on the screen, and what you see when you walk out your door. Their brains are just different now.”

  • “They can’t tell the difference between the super-saturated color look on the screen, and what you see when you walk out your door. Their brains are just different now.”

    Except that they can tell the difference between what they see on the screen and what they see elsewhere and their brains are no different than other human brains of recent generations. Their aesthetics are, no doubt, different than other generations and those aesthetics will change throughout the course of their young lives. Perhaps they will harden their views at some point in the aging process. Perhaps not. Same as it ever was.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    BURN is the place to be…

    Strikes,no drugs…I am out fighting…
    reporting from beautiful,broken Grecolandia…

    keep the BURNING Spirit UP…I will be back to get your reports…

    Life is a journey,risk and enjoy …BURNing scares are not optional!!!:)))
    your civi

  • a civilian-mass audience

    BURNING scars are optional…hihiii…

    3 chickens down…oups…

  • ALL

    come to the Bubble Lounge on September 24 in New York if you in town…all out Rio blast!! Bubble Lounge has great photo events and many top photogs and editors to be there for this..yes, of course, we sign (based on a true story) and i think Roberta and Renata , the twins from Rio, will be there along with Candy to sign ….this won’t happen again….

    pictures, music, dancing, caipirinhas, what not to like? and send us off across the U.S. with hangovers!!

    cheers, david

  • a civilian-mass audience


    WHAT NOT TO LOVE !!!…wow!

  • I am totally confused as to where one should leave miscellaneous comments now, but will try here.

    Before I left on this trip, I speculated I might come across some polar bears. These aren’t the best polar bear pictures, but still they are polar bears and there is a dog, too, so here they are:

    I also speculated that I might get into some whales. I still might, but I am doubtful. Even though I am doing so much better than I was, I am nowhere near 100 percent and am not certain my surgical wound and subesequent affliction will be up to all the bouncing about in a little whaling boat that a day on the Arctic Ocean can entail.

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