Letter from the Editor photo by Frank Overton Brown III
Earl Grey often sits atop the hood of my truck in cool weather. Engine heat gives him a warm spot, and he has the upper perch to rule the property. He hates to come into the house and has, as you can see, a warm winter coat that often allows him to sleep comfortably even in the path of a cold wind from the north. Go figure. He could come in and sleep by the fire if he wanted. It was wood for the fire I was about to gather when my good neighbor Frank, keeper of my cats when I travel, snapped this casually with his phone.
I have been here at home now for a whole month. The longest stretch of time at home for over a year. 2012 brought a lot of excitement, rich rewards, and a whole lot of time on the road. So to just hang out and chill a bit was the vacation of a lifetime. Yet vacation is about to be over as I prepare to leave for Dubai. Never been. So this will be a whole new experience for me in a part of the world I have never visited nor worked.
If you happen to be in Dubai or in the area, please come to see my show opening on February 28th at Gulf Photo Plus Gallery and/or join me for a workshop at GPP 2013. I will stay in Dubai for the entire month of March to do these events and then simply shoot freestyle. To see what comes of it. All of it happening during Art Dubai and the International Horse Fair, which are also of special interest to me.
Before I leave for Dubai, I will meet with most of the Burn team in New York this week. Eva-Maria Kunz and Diego Orlando fly in from Italy, Kaya Berne buses it up from Charlottesville, and Candy Pilar Godoy comes by subway from Manhattan to my loft in Brooklyn. We have a book publishing workshop to do along with the Burn meeting, so a very nice blend indeed. We all work 95% by remote control, by Skype, by text, by email, so it will be nice for a bit of persona a persona.
Among other things we will be discussing how to manage BurnDiary, the building of a BurnStore, and how we will move forward with BurnBooks. We will also be discussing how to best manage the 2013 Emerging Photographer Fund grant we give every year through the Magnum Foundation.
One key discussion will be exactly how much time I devote to Burn, how much to teaching, and how much to creating my own new work. So while I have lots of energy to do it all, I don’t want to spill any wine on the ground. The super crew listed above helps me get it all done.
Thanks to support from this audience, we rocked it in 2012. We especially thank those who supported the EPF through tax exempt contributions to the Magnum Foundation and for those of you who contributed to Burn directly. Because of your support we can carry on at all to show as wide a variety as possible the work of photographers you may not know. Because of your support, our limited edition books have been distributed through BurnBooks right here on this site.
Anton Kusters “Yakuza”, “Burn.01”, “Burn.02”, and my own “(based on a true story)” all made available through our own little distro center here. With our success with these books, we are exploring publishing the works of both iconic photographers and emerging alike. Nothing happens until it happens, but this most likely will happen.
For sure we will stay small, boutique, specializing in limited editions. Building books of superior technical quality, sparing no expense in quality printing and binding, and making these books available at the lowest possible cost for the quality built in.
Our appeal for the photographer is of course that the photographer gets exactly the book they want. No compromises. If we like a book, we will do it. Our track record speaks for itself. All of our books have increased in value to collectors from the original price. We want our books to be investments for those who purchase should they see it that way.
As a consumer, I buy books that I think have an intrinsic value as objects of art. Not simply collections of pictures. I do not think I am alone in this quest at a time when the plethora of images becomes daunting, and discerning buyers want something super special in print. So we will build books that fit this niche market.
In some cases, we may partner with long established publishers for a wider distribution, and we already have our books in specialty book stores. Again, we do not want to be big, just good.
BurnDiary, a concept for uploading some of your work on Burn on a daily basis is coming. We just have to decide this week how to best make this happen in a way that makes sense. No, we will not become a photo sharing site. Yet I do think our readers are interested in showing their daily single photographs, so we will give it a try.
BurnStore is simply a logical thing to have. Everybody asks us all the time why we don’t have one. Again, this store will include things we build and perhaps others that you build. All items reflecting the quality we want inherent in the goods we market already which at the moment are only books and workshops. Both things that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Burn was started with audience participation as its mantra. So we welcome ideas and suggestions as always. One thing I have learned is that there is no shortage of good ideas, yet good ideas that can be practically implemented is something else. Every idea takes another person or two to make it happen. I work for free, but the young people around me need jobs. So any support you give to Burn helps them, helps you to have a potential platform for your work etc etc.
By the way, I hope you have taken a look at our new Archive in the right hand column. Eva and Haik worked very hard to make this happen. Eva had to go back through every single essay and prepare for this. Days and days of work. Haik made it happen technically. A quick skim through this archive gives you a real sense of what we do here. It is also very easy to search.
Ok, I leave my front porch. Goodbye to cats. To beach, to bike rides. Off to New York, and Dubai and well maybe a stop in Europe on the way home.
Many of us have met in person, I hope to meet more of you. My favorite thing is discovering new work, new photographers. So please show me. I am ready when you are.