Monthly Archive for November, 2010

letter to friends..

bubble gum

Normally comments do not end up on the front page of Burn…however, as we get ready to move into a new year and are looking at a new design to better display the work of our audience photographers, i thought it would be interesting for those of you who do not read comments here to understand the behind the scenes discussions that go on here everyday with this audience…below is my last comment to readers in connection with how we can best use the comment section…the question of course is: do we stay as we are or do we go to a forum format…if interested you might just have to catch up a bit by checking out reader reaction under Viva Freedom..


there is no time line..and we are just having a conversation..i simply asked for some feedback, and it has been quite helpful…we are planning a bit of a redesign (when we can afford it, very expensive) to make things work a bit better and i was thinking perhaps that this would be a good time to try to fix the comments section…everyone can see there is some problem if one is not here everyday to keep up or simply miss constructive  comments in with all of the chit chat..however the solutions do not seem to necessarily be solutions either…and of course part of it is just personal as i so stated in the very beginning…how should i participate or in what way is best for what i feel i have to offer?

were i not publishing Burn , you would not find me on the internet except maybe to buy a camera and use Google for some research before a shoot…i was never a blogger at all and participated in no online community before i started Road Trips…so the ramble scramble of online chat is not something that i naturally gravitate towards…what i do enjoy, and why i started Road Trips, was to see if i could take the work in did mentoring in person and do it online…to see if i could do online what i seemed to be able to do with help mentor the next generation and perhaps find a photographer who had been passed by and show their work….

please remember that Road Trips grew and became Burn ONLY  because i decided to show the WORK OF READERS instead of just my own..Road Trips did not feature any audience/reader work at all…it was only my personal diary…some say they preferred this, like Marcin…but i felt it would really be interesting to see what the audience was doing and so Burn was born…

then i thought , hmmm i wonder if we could actually print a magazine from this audience, and set a good example for all by getting some donations and sponsorships, and  paying photographers online…so this is what we did….

“we” being of course Anton and i primarily and throughout the history of Burn, but also with the help of Kerry Payne on the biz side and now with Diego Orlando, who masterminded the printing, and picture editor Anna Barry and Michelle Smith doing Burn 01 biz and Michael Courvoisier just keeping me in line on every angle.

all along, even with Road Trips, i had to consider how much time i was going to put into my online life and try to balance this with my own photographic work…right now as you can imagine i have two full time jobs….and interestingly enough quite well balanced, at least for the moment…but i am sure you know that i absolutely 100% cannot and will not let my own photography slide..either with shooting or with printing/publishing  and editing…all i really have to offer you as a mentor is that i am now “in it” myself…this is the same for Anton who wants to primarily be a photographer with Burn in second we both feel the same in this regard..neither of us can totally drop everything else we are doing and just do Burn…actually if we did that, the irony would probably be that it would kill Burn…so time management is certainly part of this equation…

part of the fun here i think with both Road Trips and Burn, is that the audience , as like right now, has always been a part of the evolution and always knew the “business plan” because i would write about it over my morning coffee as an announcement to all….so Marcin you may lament the loss of Road Trips, but i think you must agree that i never left…like right now, i mean right now, if you Marcin gave me pictures to view and edit and consider for Burn or for anything, do you think i would do it?? and Thomas i AM waiting right now for ideas from you for an assignment….

so do not cry too much yet…we are all still here and intact and doing the best we can from our laptops set up in coffee shops and airports and sometimes from home…

right now, i mean right now, i am listening to you …as i always have and always will..that is why i did this post…Burn is NOT going to become some big commercial operation as some have suggested…anybody who knows me (and many of you now do) know Burn would never never become something else… we know what Burn is and what it means to you..we only want to make it better for all of us….and if it does not become better or grow in a way that makes sense for all of us, then we will go and do something else…and not for one minute not be very proud of what we did right here with all of you….

cheers, david

viva freedom….


Oaxaca 2010

this was originally a comment i posted about the value of comments on Burn…i decided to post it here since i think it is important as we start looking at a re-design of Burn for 2011…what does the picture above have to do with it? absolutely nothing…

6:24 am Edit


i need a little feedback please…stick with this one for a minute por favor…and i am listening , so please speak up …

i start with the usual clarification as happens here so often…comments will ALWAYS be open under essays …NEVER was any intent to drop them there…..the comments under essays have been very good for a very long time..whether or not we go back to the one comment per person “rule” set up successfully by Jim Powers will depend on the feedback you give me now…our frustration from me and my Burn colleagues with comments was not about what was being said or how it was being said or by whom was saying it under the pictures presented…we present essays etc to be discussed…that IS the whole point of Burn after all…

we just wanted to move the natural ramble and chat conversations (of which i also have been a part) which evolve quickly on Dialogue to some other place…off the front page ..into another room…a room where you can drink beer and smoke cigarettes (or whatever) and then come back into the auditorium for a respectful showing of work…or, perhaps you can explain why this is not a good idea…i am all ears…

after all this is how i run my loft showings at home and where Burn was born in the first place…so simple really…yes, this is my home and i am your host…..but for heavens sake, has anybody here ever been home with me? did you have a good time? did we look at pictures and have some fun too?


ever seen me shy away from a good time?? those that know me are well aware that i bust ass to make the party…but there is also a RESPECTFUL SHOWING OF WORK both by iconics as Bruce Davidson in my loft this year, followed by respectful showing of the student work, followed by the party…

i just want to set up THAT kind of environment on the net as much as possible…fair enough?? please remember that it is essentially YOUR WORK that i want respected…

now since good things do get said at a scrambled social event,  we do not want to lose that either…so how about if we go to the forum concept? that way we can have multiple threads and  the priceless good things that do get written will be at least on topic and can be researched/searched later…now as it is i might answer a question from Jason in dialogue and actually it could relate to many people later, but they have no idea it was even written…sort of a waste of a resource wouldn’t you say?? whereas if a forum TOPIC:  “How Do I Get a Job After College?” or “Lighting Dark Bars”  just might be useful information for many later on and coming from many of us…

i am sure there is something wrong with the forum concept …i am not sure for i have never used one….many of you could volunteer to manage particular topics that could go on for a long time and be properly archived…and with it we can also have the “bulletin board” “smoking room” or whatever you want to call it…but have all of this one click off the front page…

doesn’t this seem like the fairest way to keep Burn a quality magazine and live up to all that it now stands for in our international photo community and still have a place to arm wrestle a bit?

abrazos, david

no02Illustration by Imants Krumins

hugo teixeira – china zoo

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Hugo Teixeira

China Zoo

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In the essay “Why look at animals?” John Berger establishes a link between the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (and the resulting disappearance of animals from everyday life) and the emergence of zoos. So in China today, a rapidly urbanizing and industrializing country, zoos have become ubiquitous from Beijing to the innumerable smaller cities of the interior. “China Zoo” is an ongoing attempt to document this phenomenon and here features zoos, safari parks and aquariums in Beijing, Badaling, Chengdu, Kunming and Xi’an.  The resulting images tackle the complexity of humankind’s relationship with animals.

The target audience of zoos have always been children who delight in getting to know the original versions of their favorite cartoons and cuddly stuffed animals.  But the adults who accompany them, when faced with the mascots of their childhood, wonder at the disparity between their memories and the creatures before them. The animals are displayed as if in a picture frame. The elements of their natural environment – space, air, water – are reduced to mere puddles, artificial stones and brushstrokes on a simulated background. Far removed from their habitats, the animal becomes sometimes dormant, often times restless, but always far from the ideal we cherished in childhood. Inevitably, we begin to ask ourselves if it is ethical to keep an elephant in a cage.  With so many empty seats under the circus tent, is animal spectacle still a viable business model? Are zoos indispensable in a world where travel and access to information have become so easy?  Is there a place for these so-called “gardens” in today’s world?



Hugo Teixeira is a photographer and linguist based in Macau. He was born in Lisbon in 1981, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He received a BA in linguistics in 2006 and began working as an itinerant English teacher to fund his projects and travels. He has taught in France, Portugal, the United States and China and photographed numerous places in between.


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Hugo Teixeira


fast food….

hot dog

for Americans tomorrow is a day for a full on meal….no fast food….an actual sit down relaxed meal with your family is what Thanksgiving is all about…..and for me a more enjoyable holiday than Christmas since it is  minus a whole lot of pressure and a whole lot of commercialization….i cannot really think of anything wrong with Thanksgiving (except for when my friend Medford and i accidentally set fire to the turkey)

however,  in the culinary sense Americans are still most famous for their penchant for fast food….take a butchers scraps, press it all together,  put some onions, ketchup, and mustard on it and you have our most significant contribution to international cuisine.. the hot dog….while we are embarrassed that we invented the hot dog, we all want one every now and then …as i did right after i made the snap above in Oaxaca, Mexico….i actually took the picture so i would have an excuse to buy a hot dog in the land of tortillas and black beans..

i always regret or feel guilty  eating one, but i think it is the mustard and onions that gets me…the actual hot dog rarely has much taste (except in New York)…in my world travels , i do not think i have been to any country where i could not get a hot dog somewhere, somehow….fast food for folks with no time to eat…no time to digest….no time to enjoy and savor flavor …no time to talk with your friends….just no time…..

what does a hot dog have to do with your photography? maybe everything with so many of us looking like the guy above…i sense a desperateness among so many photographers…rushing….trying to keep up ….get ahead fast…..websites up, websites down…internet gobbling pictures…no time to actually savor photography….no time to talk about pictures…no afternoons with just one book…just business…fast…gone…just no time…get to it later…uh huh…

just fast photofood….i am getting  indigestion just thinking about it….

what about you?  does photography seem like a relaxed way to live life?  or are you scrambling to keep up? mustard or pickles?

Of interest….

you might just want to  think about the BD competition below….probably most of you have been aware of this, but maybe not…anyway this is a last minute reminder…BD has been doing a masterful job of trying to match both iconic and emerging photographers with world health issues….

i would love to see someone from our audience here get a hold of one of these awards…please give it some thought

the JURORS are as good as they come…..

MARYANNE GOLON who  was for many years Picture Editor of Time Magazine in its very best picture days, respected teacher/mentor,  and an organizer of the Look3 Festival in Charlottesville, Va.

GARY KNIGHT was one of the original founders of VII agency  and editor of the brilliant Rethink-Dispatches

SCOTT THODE is a widely exhibited/published photographer turned editor, first as Director of Photography at Fortune Magazine and now as editor of VII Magazine

Link to the page:


Best Global Health Story
$5,000 cash and $5,000 to be used toward the production of a global health
story for a future exhibition.

Best Global Health Image
$5,000 cash

Best Global Health Multimedia
$5,000 cash

Best Global Health Story
$2,500 cash

Best Global Health Image
$2,500 cash

Best Global Health Multimedia
$2,500 cash

All winners will receive a one-year subscription to PDN and all
professional winners will receive a PDN PhotoServe portfolio ($860 value).

All winners’ work will appear in a traveling global health exhibit
sponsored by BD debuting at LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in
Charlottesville, VA., June 9-11, 2011, and will be placed in the winners’
gallery on

Professionals and Amateurs to be judged separately in the following:
Best Global Health Story
Best Global Health Image
Best Global Health Multimedia

Professional: $35 per image or series
Amateurs: $20 per image or series

* Please note, a series must be related visually, and has a limit of 10

jiwon kim – soaked in time

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Jiwon Kim

Soaked in Time

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With my photographs I create scenes that I had in my imagination with people who I have real relationships with. I have been exploring the limits of instant cameras. Also, I am using instant cameras to break the stereotypes of editorial photography. This project is about time and relationships, and is inspired by “The Little Prince”. People must be in circles of relationships to live. As you spend time with others, you are tamed by them and you are taming them as well. The Fox in “The Little Prince” said that language is the source of misunderstandings, so we must be patient and, day by day, we will be able to understand each other.

“Soaked in Time” sets out to look at the memories and loves of our lives. Time is one of the essential factors of developing and maintaining close relations. We are tamed very slowly to people by time like we are soaked in a drizzle of rain involuntarily.

Using instant cameras with flashlights has allowed me to create unexpected images and also photograph subjects in water with movements made of different textures and colors.

I would like to continue this unfinished story with more people that I have been tamed by, therefore I want to continue in different countries. Sketching images in my head, I am carefully observing the instant camera to control what I want to capture. From now on, I am going to infuse a psychology experiment and relationships with my photography.

I am interested in the power of emotions and empathy of humans. I think that mental health and the way we socialize are very important issues all over the world. Therefore, I intend to work with photography in different kinds of relationships I have made between friends, families, and people I am interested in. Photography can show people very powerful messages without using language, so this project will give you the chance to take a look and think about people around you.



I was born in 1982 in Korea. I started photography as a favorite hobby when I was 17. I have fallen in love with photography over the last 12 years, and studied photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Now I work as an editorial/fashion photographer in Korea.


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Jiwon Kim


dominic bracco II – life and death in the northern pass

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Dominic Bracco II

Life and Death in the Northern Pass

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“There are two ways of thinking about living here; either you go on every day and when it’s your turn to die you die, or you live every day in fear.” – Daniel Gonzalez, 26, a resident of Ciudad Juarez who later moved to El Paso, Texas.

May 4, 2010 1:51 am – EMT workers Adrian and Jorge hardly stop to lower the Delilah Radio Show blaring over their two-way radios from El Paso. “What – what did they say?” Jorge responds, “Two dead by firearm.” Later Adrian and Jorge find a couple murdered minutes earlier idling in their small white pickup.  The woman was far into her pregnancy. Adrian declares them dead. The couple’s heads touched in a last embrace. A single bullet entered the man’s skull and took all three lives (opening picture above)

Sprawled across the tail end of the Rocky Mountains where the starved Rio Bravo pushes mud through a barren desert valley sits Ciudad Juarez, one of most violent cities in the world ­– historically known as El Paso del Norte or The Northern Pass. Over the past three years over 5,000 people have lost their lives in a struggle for power thats roots reach deep into Mexico’s history. Here Mexicans are still fighting the same class war that led them into a revolution in 1911, as droves of unemployed and disillusioned youth turn to crime to move up in a society that’s class lines are firmly drawn.

Mexico’s past is filled with class-based conflicts and violence.  Mexican Independence from Spain in 1810, The Caste War of the Yucatan, The Reform War, The Mexican Revolution, the Zapatista uprising, The Actael Massacre, the Tlatelolco Massacre, and finally the current conflict between cartels and the Mexican government have all been rooted, in sorts, in the frustrations of an underrepresented and impoverished underclass that lacks economic mobility and genuine political voice.  Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican city that has seen the greatest amount of violence, serves as a microcosm for what is happening across the entire country. Despite a robust economy and relatively large middle and upper classes, the city has seen the drug war demolish its infrastructure (material and human) as Juarez continues falling deeper into a recessive pattern of violence, economic hardship, and social injustice. A statistic released five months ago stated that every three hours someone in Ciudad Juarez is executed. Since 2007 more than 5,000 individuals have lost their lives. The violence in Juarez is sporadic and faceless, making it difficult to pinpoint; this is the epicenter of a type of violence that is spreading across Mexico like a plague.

Without law and order the residents of the city have no faith in their government. Thousands of businesses have closed due to high extortion rates and a depressed market with aftershock from the international financial crisis. The combination of poverty, frustration, and unemployment continue; with less jobs, residents turn to crime. As a result of the violence, many individuals, families, and businesses see no future in Juarez, and flee to the United Stated or other parts of Mexico, leaving fewer opportunities for those that stay and struggle to live in the city.

In Juarez the war goes beyond the cartels and Mexican authorities, it is a conflict that involves citizens as well. It is impossible to live in the city without being effected. I make photographs of the peripherals of violence while focusing on what is happening to the average citizen of Ciudad Juarez. I spend time with factory workers, the unemployed youth and the average citizen hoping to somehow humanize the situation. I hope that my work will show a human side of a tragedy that is often ignored.



Dominic Bracco II (b. 1986, Texas USA) specializes in documenting the effects of Mexican and North American policies on the border region where he was raised. He has degrees in journalism and Spanish literature from The University of Texas at Arlington. He is a regular contributor to The Washington Post, where he was selected for a six-month internship in 2008, and The Wall Street Journal. He is currently based in Mexico.


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Dominic Bracco II


andrea gjestvang – disappearing ice age

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Andrea Gjestvang

Disappearing Ice Age

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During the last century, adventurers have traveled to Greenland to explore this unknown land of ice and myths. The pictures they brought show brave men, heroes fighting nature. But still, many of us know very little about life on the world’s largest island, where 57,600 inhabitants live on 15 % of the land. The rest is covered with ice. When I first traveled to Greenland in 2008, my curiosity was triggered to take a deeper look into a culture going through dramatic changes. Greenland is one of the areas of the world most strongly affected by climate change. With the melting ice, traditional living conditions are slowly vanishing. This is posing a serious threat to the Inuit’s society, whose culture and livelihood is dependent on nature, especially through hunting and fishing.

Since then, I have spent time on the west coast, in the far north and on the east coast. I always traveled alone, and lived with local families. Drawn towards the more intimate family and community life, I wanted to explore another side of Greenland than the infamous and idealized hunter’s world. I was curious to explore what happens to the individuals and the community when traditions disappear, and people need to reinvent their values and outlook of the future.



Andrea Gjestvang (born 1981) is a Norwegian freelance photographer currently based in Berlin. She divides her time between working around Europe for the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, and pursuing her own projects. “Disappearing Ice Age” was funded through a scholarship by the Freedom of Speech Foundation (NO), and the project has been exhibited in solo shows and festivals in Norway, Italy, Germany and the US among others, as well as published in various magazines. Together with 11 other young photographers, Andrea was selected for Joop Swart Masterclass 2010, which took place in Amsterdam the week of October 28th, 2010. The results of this week can be seen here. Andrea is represented through Moment Agency and is a founder of


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Andrea Gjestvang

Moment Agency


michelle frankfurter – destino

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Michelle Frankfurter


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Drawn to the frontier edginess and melancholy of the region, I began photographing along the U.S. – Mexico border in 2000, shortly after reading Cormac McCarthy’s, The Crossing. The novel begins with a boy finding a wolf caught in a trap on his family’s Arizona ranch. He treks across the Sierra Madres into Mexico to return the wolf to her native land. The story has every narrative element that’s captivated my imagination since I was about ten years old: a cast of characters that includes sinners, saints, and pariahs, an epic journey across a hostile wilderness, a bond between boy and dog, a multitude of dangers, themes of salvation and redemption.

My project, Destino focuses on undocumented Central American migrants traveling through Mexico in an attempt to reach the United Sates. In many ways they resemble the protagonists of adventure novels and epic tales. In an odyssey of wandering, they travel on foot, often relying on a network of freight trains lurching across Mexico. With their small backpacks filled with essential belongings, they leave behind homes and families to exist in a land of nomadic purgatory. Many are in their teens. Spirited as yearlings, they often appear oblivious to the harsh realities that accompany this journey.

In 2009, the worst economic recession in decades made work scarce for undocumented immigrants living within the United States. As in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are currently plagued by drug and gang related violence and a high incidence of domestic abuse. Crippling trade policies have further exacerbated the situation for the poor of these nations. Central American migration, while slowing down has not stopped entirely.

In Mexico, where racism towards Central Americans is prevalent, these undocumented migrants are vulnerable to a host of dangers: the police who routinely rob and beat them, immigration officials who detain and deport them, and bandits and gang members who prey on them along the train route. Many have been injured or killed falling off moving trains. More recently, Los Zetas, a renegade battalion of a military unit initially deployed to combat drug trafficking, now operating as the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel, has established a kidnapping ring targeting Central American migrants. From these adversities, migrants find respite in a loose system of shelters run by Catholic priests and through the benevolence of sympathetic Mexicans in the towns and villages along the way.



Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Michelle Frankfurter is a documentary photographer who lives in Takoma Park, MD just outside of the District of Columbia. She graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in English. After graduating, she worked for three years as a staff photographer for daily newspapers: The Herald – Journal and Post Standard in Syracuse, New York. Before settling in the Washington, DC area, Frankfurter spent three years living in Nicaragua where she worked as a stringer for the British news agency, Reuters and with the human rights organization Witness For Peace documenting the effects of the contra war on civilians. In 1995, a long-term project on Haiti earned her two World Press Photo awards. She has worked for a number of editorial publications, including The Guardian of London, The Washington Post Magazine, Ms., Time, and Life Magazine. Her personal documentary work has been featured in juried exhibitions at The Washington Project For the Arts, the Arlington Arts Center, Shots Magazine, and the Photo Place Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont. For the past ten years, her personal work has focused on themes of migration and life along the border region between the United States and Mexico.


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Michelle Frankfurter


aga luczakowska & davin ellicson – maramures

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Aga Luczakowska & Davin Ellicson

Maramures – A Transition

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Surrounded by a fortress of mountains and never collectivized by Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the Maramures region of northern Romania has preserved folk culture in a state of almost medieval isolation. Until recently, villagers had not been molded by materialism or Western ways. A critical turning point was reached, however, with Romania’s accession to the European Union in 2007. Youth are choosing money over preserving traditions, and there has been a mass exodus from the villages to Western Europe. A centuries-old way of life is being cast out. Wooden folk architecture is disappearing in record amounts and cement villas are taking their place along with modern conveniences.

We first became transfixed with Maramures when we met the Nemes family as they were finishing a haystack one evening at the end of the summer. Returning to the village of Valeni several times to photograph agrarian life, ancient festivals and traditional religious ceremonies, we joined in and made haystacks with them, helped tether horses to carts and drank warm milk straight from the cow. A sacred connection exists between the people of Maramures and the earth that has not survived in the modern world. While some view peasant life as primitive, we see it as magical. We want to document life in the village at this moment when the pace of change is rapidly increasing.

Our intent is to return together in each of the seasons over the coming year to photograph village youth upon their return from working abroad. Modernity is mixing with 18th century village life in unusual ways. A second part of our project will be to digitize historical photographs of traditional peasant life and rescue them from almost certain obscurity. These found images will be combined with our reportage work of contemporary life to form a comprehensive visual document. By illuminating traditional European folk culture on the brink of extinction, our project engages with pivotal issues of our time and seeks to draw attention to a rich cultural heritage that globalization threatens.



In 2005, Aga graduated from the University of Silesia with a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management and Protection. She studied photography with Gerd Ludwig at The Eddie Adams Workshop in 2007 and with Stanley Greene at Masterclass Focus on Monferrato 2008. In 2006, Aga worked as staff photographer for the Polish daily newspaper “Dziennik Zachodni” and worked in The Polish State Archives digitizing files from 2008-2009. This year Aga moved to Bucharest to devote herself full time again to photography. Recently, she won second place in the Southeast Europe Photo competition sponsored by the EU.

Davin graduated from Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota with a BA in Modern European History in 2001 and received an MA in Documentary Photography from The London College of Communication in 2006. He has photographed in Romania since 2002 and moved to Bucharest in 2008. Davin’s work has appeared in The New York Times and Der Spiegel among others and he won the 2009 Portfolio Award at The Phodar Photography Biennial and honorable mentions in Jen Bekman´s Hey! Hot Shot in 2008 and 2009.


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