Monthly Archive for March, 2010

sabine mirlesse – going home dust ashes

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Sabine Mirlesse

Going Home – Dust Ashes

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This ongoing project is based on interpretations of origin and return to where one comes from. It is an investigation into the emotional experience of ‘home’ and what that means for different individuals—whether it be a place of nostalgia or of dread— it ultimately relates to the reality of one’s mortality and intimate journey through the self. I believe the passage of time is most apparent in the relationship between a person and the origin-place he or she departs from both physically and emotionally in the natural course of his or her evolution and aging process leaving both family and/or landscape behind.

The natural life cycle of birth and dying is one of return, yet hopefully through exploring this return of our own accord we emotionally transcend our own inevitability and replace it instead with an epiphany of the infinity of the spirit in the face of time. These images seek to express the love, vulnerability, and enduring strength of source. They are a testament to the quiet way in which we excel our origins, in whatever form they came, how we learn to elude them, and yet drink from their wellsprings to become more evolved hearts and souls, and indeed ‘whole beyond confusion’ (“Directive” (Line 62). Robert Frost, 1947).



Sabine Mirlesse holds a BA in Religious Studies and English Literature from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and is currently completing her MFA in Photography from Parsons the New School for Design in New York City. She lives and works in Brooklyn.


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Sabine Mirlesse


closing time…



my imaginary title for this two picture essay is “Closing Time”….taken in Austin, Texas last week…both without me getting out of my seat….some of you probably imagine me running all over the place, but when i am shooting i usually do not move much…i do a lot of photography while sitting down…used the car window frame for a tripod on the car/train shot and i only got up to get the waitress’  name, Amanda,  so i could send her a picture….and i invented a story in my head to connect the two pictures….i started thinking American Graffitti, Paris Texas,  Last Picture Show, Five Easy Pieces..well, sometimes i get carried away…

point is i am always playing….particularly when i am supposed to be working…those who know me will tell you i do a pretty good job of combining work and play..oftentimes confusing the two….sometimes to my detriment, but often at the heart of it…and no doubt one of the reasons i have enjoyed every minute of being a photographer…i think i have taken pictures almost every day of my life since i was 12 or so…with gusto…one of these days i had better get that archive really organized…hmmm

however, the real photographers last week were my students…i do not show much student work here on Burn for fear of being accused of playing favorites with those i mentor…but, when i saw the last student show at the Austin Museum of Art after we had worked so hard on it, i realized that getting in on an essay from the ground up so to speak, definitely has its advantages…not to direct the photographer, but merely to stimulate the photographer…so i plan now to get in earlier with many young photographers and work with them the way most print magazines do with their work and in the same fashion as i do with my students……involvement early on….not as a necessary prerequisite…some essays come in done done…but, for those who would most benefit from an early “have you ever thought about it this way?” nudge……

while i will continue and encourage essays that are totally finished, i will now encourage also relevant ideas….literal or conceptual….ideas that can be developed…i will set up soonest a mechanism for idea submission along with our standard submission guidelines….one of the advantages of this is that out of this i think will develop a strong cadre of photographers who have chosen to publish original work on Burn…at the same time , i will be looking for sponsors to finance this work…

as most of you know we broke ground by getting the Nachtwey TB essay on Burn sponsored by BD..Jim was paid well and Burn was paid for production…i am now doing a new budget with BD to see if we can also get funding for some of you…so study what BD does…send me some ideas with a link to your work…and i think all of you know in general  that if Burn in any way receives sponsorship, the first thing that will happen with the funds is to pay for your photography published…all photographers whose work will appear in the upcoming print edition of Burn will receive royalties based on sales…this will be an on demand collector edition of Burn…

with the IPad coming we should position ourselves to be ready…yes, we need to go to an HTML platform and yes this is all new territory, but fate has put us in an interesting position….i am sure you can see it…sponsors might too….in addition, as president of Magnet, the new Magnum company designed to help reinvent content presentation on the net, i am working closely with Gilles Peress our online guru visionary, and Alex Webb, president of Magnum…while Burn is my baby, Magnum is my patron..and the two are not mutually exclusive..keep an eye on us….

in the meantime, i am going to sit down….reflect a bit….enjoy the evening…watch prints come off the printer … is not closing time around here just yet…


rijasolo – miverina

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Miverina, back to Madagascar

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“If you don’t know where you are going, then look at where you come from”, goes the African proverb.

“Miverina” means “to come back”. These images speak of my return to the country of my roots, Madagascar, back over on the other side of the world. It was bound to happen one day, after 20 years of absence… I was bound to feel the desire to go back one day, like an obsession to rediscover what I had forgotten, and confront my imagination with a country – a real living nation. I felt the desire to reinvent an identity after all those years of diasporic existence. These images are the result of my wanderings and meetings on “Grande Ile”. I have tried to show something of my intimate relationship with this country, the Malagasies, their daily life, and the rhythms of their existence. Yet these images also speak of distance. They show violence in my incapacity to be totally assimilated to this Ancestral Land, and violence in the idea of being a resolute foreigner in my native country. Photography is my pretext for learning again and understanding what it is to “be Malagasy”.



I’m 36 years old, and I began to photograph in 2001. In 2004 I started a personal project titled “Miverina” in which I show my intimate relationship with my country of origin, Madagascar. In 2007, I trained in photojournalism at Ecole des Métiers de l’Information (Paris) and I’m co-creator of the collective “Riva Press” with four photojournalists based in Paris. The project “Miverina” has already been exhibited (with another editing) in France and Madagascar. I live and work between France and Madagascar.


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rene august whitfield – surviving estonia

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Rene August Whitfield

Surviving Estonia

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I have lived together with my wife for the last 10 years, in Denmark.

Every year she goes back to her roots in Estonia.

I have been witness to the happiness and the sorrow that unfolds around her family: an ordinary family struggling to survive every day.

These images tell me a story about loss, and of how to deal with it… and about the youngest generation in a family touched by hardship: my wife’s family.



I was born in Denmark in 1972. By trade I have been a stone cutter for ten years, but was diagnosed with spinal degeneration in my neck two years ago. Currently I work as a volunteer, helping homeless, drug addicts and alcoholics in Copenhagen. In my early youth, I had a brief stint at art college in London, but didn’t finish. Moving back to Denmark, I did the wrong thing, and was sentenced one year in jail for armed robbery.

In 2003, I set up my own business as a nude photographer, relatively successfully, but after 2 years I had had enough of it; the initial rush of being surrounded by beautiful women quickly faded away. I changed focus, and wanted to tell stories with my photography. Currently I’m considering an education as a photojournalist – meaning I’ll be at the grand age of 43 when I’m let out into the world :-)

I live in Copenhagen with my wife and my teenage son. For me, photography is a way to constantly refocus on the things that matter.


Danish girl photographer of the year 2003

Cover photo on ”American Photo” magazine (Dec.2003)


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René August Whitfield


marco bottelli – angels

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Marco Bottelli


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The project “Angels” was born on the day i saw that dead bird.

It lay in the middle of the street, its wings stuck to the ground, white feathers covering what remained of its body. From a distance it almost looked like an angel.

“Angels” is a non-rational search for angels in our daily life. It has nothing to do with religion, but rather with my inner necessity to find something undefined, something spiritual, as shown through impulses of light on places and bodies which lost their original shape, and became a bridge between what we can touch and see and what we might feel.

This project has been realized between 2005 and 2008 in several places, mainly using a Holga and other old cameras, not in perfect working order, thereby reducing my control and letting the situation play an important part in creating the image. I would like the people who see this work to try to “feel” it. Up to now the project has never been published.



I studied photography at the “Instituto Italiano di Fotografia” in Milan, Italy. I completed my education as an assistant in an advertising photography studio. Since 2003, I have worked in the Balkans, Africa, South America and Pakistan with the support of NGOs who run projects in these areas.


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Marco Bottelli


lassal – foreshadow

Lassal - single


Foreshadow by Lassal

I remember I was totally curious about Romania before getting there … The workshop with Antonin Kratochvil was called “The Lost Villages of Transylvania” and during the first days of orientation and introduction by our guides we could see what that meant: a disappearing world. People between anguish and hope – with changes that come too fast for most of them to grasp. There was a foreshadowing in the faces that I met, that reminded me of faces I saw in Berlin after the opening of the wall – I was there when the wall came down in Berlin, and the faces I met ate me up from the inside. Especially the ones from the older generation – whilst the younger ones were partying the elderly had already collected life experience enough to know that this was not going to happen without a greater sacrifice …

In Transylvania I saw this expression again, but differently than in Germany I saw it on younger faces too. I wanted to capture that, I decided. But where could I do that without being noticed? In a train, I told myself … passing all the shut down industries, all the signs that sang the happy-Europe-song … In a train, where I could press the shutter of my old and worn down point & shoot without anybody taking note … or so I thought.


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ellie brown – capsule relationship

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Ellie Brown

Capsule Relationship

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The story started with a Craigslist advertisement. The story ends with a true collaboration on the project. This resulted in a narrative of a truncated relationship based on social norms that both Zach Webber (the creator of the concept) and myself (the photographer) don’t necessarily fit into in our own minds. We wanted to try living this life in a way that is not making fun of those who choose this path, but rather to try it on for size so to speak. There were many unexpected emotional layers that surfaced for both of us during the project, mainly resulting from unexpected real reactions in fictional situations.  Mostly we are proud of how convincing this project was for us as well as the people we encountered along the way.  We didn’t know what to expect going into the project and the outcome was the result of an organic collaboration. In the end, we formed not only a working relationship, but a real romantic relationship within the boundaries of a fictional relationship. This brings into question the power of social scripting and how in trying to look at it critically, we fell into it. Like all relationships, the fictional and real relationship came to a perhaps predictable ending filled with emotional drama. Zach Webber chose to move on from the project and pursue a relationship outside of the work we did. He is no longer affiliated with the project and so all that remains is the documentation and experience of the project. The project was emotionally intense and difficult at times, but a wonderful mirror into how each one of us functions within the script of a relationship. Please read more details here:

below is a copy of the actual advertisement as it appeared on Craigslist:

Seeking partner for conceptual seven-day-long relationship

Reply to:

Date: 2009-03-24, 4:03AM

Okay, here’s my idea: 
I want to participate in a conceptual capsule relationship, which would essentially be an attempt to artificially concentrate a long-term relationship of several years into a period of seven days. During the seven-day span of our relationship, we’d move from the stage of initial flirtation into marriage, child-rearing, and finally divorce. This would involve a lot of play-acting at times, since once we set the relationship in motion, our actions and expressed emotions would be heavily shaped by the constructs of a stereotypical relationship. The goal would be to stick to our imposed guidelines as much as possible, placing ourselves in various situations in order to watch how the scenes play out between the two of us. It’s sort of the relationship equivalent of a haiku: very structured and very short. 
I’d imagine we’d want to talk prior to officially starting our relationship in order to hash out the details, but here’s a basic, day-by-day outline of what I’ve got in mind:

  • Day 1: We arrange to have a ‘chance meeting’ on the street, where we strike up a conversation and exchange numbers.
  • Day 2: We have our first date, we go out to dinner, catch a movie, maybe hold hands afterwards.
  • Day 3: We’re head-over-heels in love! We go on a romantic walk, we cuddle, we share a malted at a diner and stare deeply into one another’s eyes. 
-At some point during the day, I propose to you in a public place. You accept. 
-That night, we separately hold bachelor/bachelorette parties with our own groups of friends.
  • Day 4: Our Wedding Day. That morning we get somebody to pretend to marry us in a private ceremony. Maybe we can tie tin cans to the backs of our bikes and ride away. 
-After our wedding, we embark on our honeymoon. Regional Rail to Atlantic City, right?
  • Day 5: We’re expecting. You put a balloon under your shirt and we go around to baby stores, checking out the merchandise. We sure are excited!
  • Day 6: Having secured a thrift-store stroller and a baby doll, we heavily swaddle our child in blankets and push the little cutie around the city. -Unfortunately, we start to bicker. As the day wears on, this bickering worsens.
  • Day 7: Dramatically, we split up. One of us gains full custody of our child, and the other is deeply resentful. 
-In the final act of our capsule relationship, we bump into one another, once more, in a public place. This time, it’s very awkward. 
At this point, our capsule relationship will have ended, and we will be broken up.

NOTE: A friend of mine had an idea for an alternate ending that would involve you and I aging and gradually growing disenchanted with one another, which would necessitate rearranging some of the above “days” around to allow for a “boring domestic day” in which we’d spend a few hours sitting around the house watching serialized television together and not having too much to say to one another over dinner (spaghetti?) when we ask each other how our days have been. So, you know, all of this is totally up for discussion! 
I think it’d be a lot of fun, and I really hope somebody wants to do this with me. Even if you’re not interested in actually participating yourself, I’d love to get your feedback. And yes, I am willing to send a photo your way if you’re legitimately interested and feel that a photo is something you’ll need to see. 
Please email me with any questions or comments.


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vicky slater – colourblind

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Vicky Slater


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Alain de Botton wrote…..”Portraits can reveal sides of yourself that you are unused to seeing, over which you haven’t extended ownership….they can pick up on features that you don’t identify with and made no claim over….aspects of yourself that you don’t recognize and haven’t yet made friends with. Your character can be read from different angles, in different lights, through different lenses, through different lovers.”

It could explain why I can take a portrait of someone and think they look beautiful whilst they wrinkle up their nose and say it looks nothing like them. It could also explain some of my feelings about these photographs.

When I began this series it was simply an exploration of pinhole photography, something I hadn’t tried before. I soon found myself seduced by the saturated colours and the painterly qualities that pinholes could produce, all the time turning the camera on myself as  I was reluctant to ask someone else to give the amount of time that these pictures require. Obviously not being able to see through the lens, I couldn’t compose these long exposures so never really knew what I was going to get and there are many, many more failures than successes, especially as I am deliberately moving slightly during the exposure, to express a feeling of time and motion. And though I find it interesting how unfamiliar the images are to me, they are a “me” I don’t know…  it’s the colour, the abstractness and sense of passing time that keeps me making more.



Vicky Slater resides in Salisbury, Southern England with her husband and three children. She is passionate about photography, using mainly vintage film cameras and natural light. Whilst she loves all methods from pinholes to polaroids and digital to darkroom, she always finds herself returning to colour film and a medium format camera. Vicky is interested in the passing of time, memory, simple beauty and honesty, and has a headful of projects that she wishes to pursue, given the opportunity. She has had one solo portrait exhibition and contributed to many others. Her work has been published in various books and magazines, is part of many private collections, and has been merited with Fujifilm distinctions awards.


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Vicky Slater


Editor’s note:

Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

panos skoulidas – wandering in greece

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Panos Skoulidas

Wandering in Greece

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…I lived half of my life in Grecolandia…& half in Los Angeles….

Half of my life i was dressed up in sheep-skin and half of my life in plastic…

Half of my life i was riding donkeys and half driving wild mustangs…

Half of my life i was staring mustaches and half staring at platinum blond highlights..

It wasn’t curiosity that brought me back…im not here anyways but i’m not there either…

Homer made it back to Penelope..Made it back to Ithaca…

but Homer was a lier in the end..He lied to please the king…

but Kavafis…ahhh Kavafis told the truth…Its all about the travel..not the destination…

it’s the doomed , the holy trip to that imaginary Ithaca…the El Dorado does not exist…

it’s the search for the El Dorado that counts…

When i left from the “sheep” city to find my “el dorado” i made it to the “plastic” city…

Half of my life i was believing in Homer…

Half of my life later i realized that there are no El Dorados..Its just a vast endless ocean ahead..

that leads nowhere but …but im not afraid anymore..i can accept it not scared..

Things dont change..but we do..

Almost a month ago my boat decided to revisit…

Highway 61 Revisited as my good friend Bob Dylan said…

Above (essay) is what i i got connected with Grecolandia in the period of a month…

I’m riding a tired donkey once again…

I left my pirate ship back in venice beach to take a break…

Now im on the fast lane of that Grecolandia Highway 61 , speeding…on a slow donkey..

Reuniting, reconnecting with my family…

whats not to love?

Enjoy…because i dont know how long my “donkey” will last…



Panos Skoulidas bio,


the story of “Till Eulenspiegel”…

…According to the tradition, he was born in Grecolandia around 1300. He travelled through the Holy Roman Empire (Americanlandia , especially Northern US, but also the Low Countries, Bohemia, and Grecolandia. He is presented as a trickster or fool who played practical jokes on his contemporaries, exposing vices at every turn, greed and folly, hypocrisy and foolishness…With Eulenspiegel’s death occurs the entry of the embodied trickster-animus into the medium of things spiritual, the form of existence of pure spirituality so that the soul has seen through itself by way of its own spirituality and knows itself as living spiritual life: Eulenspiegel is still alive.The literal translation of the High German name “Eulenspiegel” gives “owl mirror”, two symbols that identify Till Eulenspiegel in crude popular woodcuts. However, the original Low German is believed to be ul’n Spegel, meaning “wipe the arse”.


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Editor’s note:

Comments are wide open on this essay.. Panos will surely jump in whenever he can..

Many thanks… david alan harvey


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it is getting cold here in Rio…fall has arrived…everyone complaining of the rain…temperature has dropped to a chilling 68F….i am wearing a long sleeved shirt, pants and shoes…beach days are over (pictured above from non-NG shooting)..New Yorkers may scoff, but i am freezing….besides,  my time is up on this National Geographic shoot…..i am coming home next week…

i have written before that i do  some of my best work in the first few days of an assignment and some of the best in the last few days…the first ones from raw energy and beginners luck and the last ones from “damn, i had better get something”…i have pretty much been on the case here in Rio since New Year’s Eve, with a short but busy one week break in january…mentally on it the whole time…and, of course, i shall return…perhaps on assignment , perhaps not…for i am not finished..

i was actually secretly hoping i would not fall in love with Rio….i assumed a romantic relationship, but figured it would be over when it was over….i have several other projects to complete and have no time to get involved with any long term body of work, but alas she has me…real love is of course often painful…despite the beach scenes you may imagine as pictured, there is another whole world here…full of intrigue, passion, hate, sex, death, light, darkness, despair, cruelty and kindness…the gamut of human nature all played out on a stage like no other …

i have been sick , scared, injured, and upset…long days turned into long nights often with no result…many moving parts and often with the gears grinding….it is very hard for me to look at the work…but, i must soon….i am not one of those photographers who come home at night and rush to the computer  to see what i have done…quite the contrary…i hate to look….deep deep down inside i am assuming some good work….but any long term results seem now far far away….on top of it all, i must justify all of this to the editors who commissioned me to be here….i need an Advil…

yet now my home front porch beckons….but, will my cat remember me?  has my electricity been shut off ?  battery run down on my truck?  yes, my “real life” has been on hold…even patient family and friends are fed up with me…no responses to emails….missed events…forgotten birthdays…major responsibilities undone…of course no woman can put up with me…i will spend the next week apologizing to everyone about everything…and so it goes…

is this any way to live? or, is this the only way to live? i know my answer…what is yours?