Monthly Archive for April, 2011

only the good die young..

I am totally not up to this…Writing obits is not what I do…This will not be my best of anything. Yet, it is all I can do at the moment.

I found out yesterday, at exactly this time by text message  while driving in a blinding rainstorm,  that my friend and next door neighbor Tim Hetherington had been killed in Libya along with colleague Chris Hondros. Mike Brown , who lives just upstairs and featured here with his Libya work was thankfully spared…So, two men who hang with me at home, stop by for a beer from time to time, were caught in the same mortar attack and one of them gone forever.  I did not know Chris Hondros, but was an admirer of his work. I write here only of my friend Tim.

Mostly Tim and I would see each other rushing in and out of the building. On the elevator. Tim with his bike. Fast chats typical in our trade. My last conversation with Tim was to congratulate him for his Oscar nomination. Gave him a hug. Told him he was a winner no matter what the outcome. Tim is a winner. Tragically gone now , but a shining light of integrity in journalism.

However, it is very difficult for me to defend right this minute the business of war photography. Tim is not the first friend I have lost like this. Richard Cross was the first, John Hoagland the second ,  and few  now can even remember their names at all nor  the war they died in or what it was about. Sure seemed important at the time.  Nicaragua, Contras. Anybody know about it? Even I who was there  have to really stop and remember all the details and the politics and the lies and the propaganda and the pure bullshit and a craving press  that led up to those guys feeling like it was their mission and their sense of making a difference to be there with their cameras. Met Nachtwey there and he survived that and many other conflicts and I have heard his speech of justification many times. I listen.

Same with Tim.  Tim Hetherington stopped by to talk to my students in the last loft class, he always came to talk to my students. He had a sense of mission as well. So yes, yes I know the peoples right to know and the documentation for the sake of the oppressed etc etc. I know the speech well. Yet, I also know the realities.  I will bounce back from this anti war photography mood  most likely, but this is how I feel right now. I know that conflicts must be covered, but the repetition of the realities year after year after year  just gets me in the gut.

It is just so so sad, tragic,  sickening that one of the few who really was trying to make a difference and one of the truly most honorable and creative  men I have ever met is gone.

Tim Hetherington, I love you bro. You did what you set out to do. Nobody can ever ask for more.

vladimir vasilev – life in concrete

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Vladimir Vasilev

Life in…concrete

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A concrete city of Bulgaria’s post-communist world –  this is my homeland.

It is real, without any decor. The unfinished transition to a European way of life is a bitter reality that cannot be hidden – it is visible in the mind.

On periodic returns to my native town in the late 2000s, I constantly rediscovered people, and the still slow and painful break with the past and…concrete. Their fate and destiny turned to concrete, a cheaper existence far away from life’s previous harmony. Concrete has transformed them into itself, into its own fellow grays. The reinforced concrete structures have done a good job – they are barriers between the vital biological environment and people, it has broken their contact with nature. Man, like any living creature separated from its natural environment, has changed both physically and spiritually. In these deformed human beings. I tried my best to find the truth.

These images are dedicated to: Anyone living and working in the concrete city of the modern world; the cheerful and carefree children playing in a lifeless environment of stone and debris. They are young and energetic enough to get over everything, to stand the changes and recover. They still do not feel the slow withering embrace of reinforced concrete. But it is a hard mission to restore natural harmony for the future.

This theater is displayed without makeup or decorations.


Vladimir Vasilev, 33,  was born in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. He graduated the college of teaching foreign languages in his hometown. He received basic photography training at age 19. In 1996, he enrolled at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia. Three years later, he stopped his studies in order to devote himself to photography entirely.
He then worked as an assistant photographer and lighting designer in the advertising studio “Karkelanov”, Sofia. In 2001, he left for France where he spent 8 years waiting to be a legal resident, all the while following the path of photography.
He has been working as an independent photographer since 2008.

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Vladimir Vasilev

matteo armellini – simon

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Matteo Armellini

Simon / Story of a Softgunner

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In these years of virtual reality,
 where children have stopped playing war in the courtyard
 and do it in front of the computer instead,
 there are those who don’t want to miss the adrenalin on the skin.
 Weekly, groups of fans of military tactics come in lost places.
 Wearing uniforms and with weapons in hand, they simulate real battles, 
sometimes recreating episodes of real wars.
 Of course they do it with “toy” guns, rifles that shoot plastic pellets.

What drives these people playing war, at a time when we are bombarded 
with pictures of pain and suffering associated with conflicts?

How could it be that one could confuse the images of a game with images of a real war?

This is the world of SOFTAIR.

The protagonist of this project is 
Simon, aka Sergeant Ramirez, 24th Marines Expeditionary Unit. 
Simon is a young, precarious, man born in the Dominican Republic. Now he lives in Rome in the multi-ethnic neighborhood of San Lorenzo, where
 young people from all over the world live a reality 
made of short-term project contracts and dreams of quick profits.

Softair is a chance at integration. Playing war shares intense emotions with unknown people.
 Despite the fiction, the atmosphere is true and sincere, as are the relationships established between participants.
 Friendship, envy, hate, submission, admiration and loyalty all come to play.

With this long-term project, I am examining in depth 
the concepts of social and sociability, conflicts,
 deviations, and definition of roles, especially in places of male aggregation.


Matteo Armellini was raised in Rome where he currently lives.
 He studied Sociology at La Sapienza University of Rome and Photography and Visual Arts at European Institute of Design. 
In 2008 he started travelling as freelance photographer through Europe, Asia and South America, focusing on social issues and subcultures.
 His pictures have been published in many magazine, such as The Big Issue Australia, The Times, Aftonbladet, Vice International, The Trip, Fotografijos ratas, Freak and Kult Magazine.

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Matteo Armellini

sam harris – postcards from home

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Sam Harris

Postcards from Home (2008 – 2011)

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Postcards from Home revolves around my domestic life and especially focuses on my two daughters Uma & Yali growing up.

After several nomadic years, we migrated to Australia in 2008. It was with the restrictions of our migration process (keeping me from professional photography and travel) that home life became my only consistent opportunity to photograph and the project was born.

As I witness my daughter’s transformation in what feels like the briefest of moments, I’m compelled to preserve something of our time living together.

An early part of Postcards from Home was previously published on Burn Oct 2009.


Born and raised in the suburbs of south London, Sam Harris is a self-taught photographer. In his late teens he made a home darkroom that he practically lived out of for several years, experimenting nightly whilst listening to records. These passions led him to start freelancing in the London music industry of the early 90s, making album sleeve art. Sam went on to also shoot editorial portraits and features for magazines such as The Sunday Times Magazine, Esquire, Dazed & Confused and Raygun.

In 2002 Harris felt the need to re-evaluate his lifestyle and photographic direction. Together with his wife and small daughter he left London and travelled slowly for several years. During this period Sam began the process of turning his camera inward… In 2008 Sam & family settled in the forests of Western Australia. He now teaches photography and records his family life.

Postcards from Home will be exhibited as part of the Sydney ‘Head On’ photo festival at Global gallery, Paddigton May 6 -15th 2011.

Sam will also be giving two talks at the Head On Seminar – Day 1, 14th May. ‘Transition – From London to the Bush’ and ‘Rock N Roll Photography’, along side Tony Mott, Sophie Howarth & Tali Udovitch.

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Sam Harris


Head On Photo Festival

michael kircher – potomac gorge

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Michael Kircher

Potomac Gorge

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“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”  — Thoreau

For me there is no better place to stretch myself as a photographer than in the natural world. Just minutes outside of Washington, DC is the dramatic wildness of the Potomac River Gorge. It is a spectacular bit of nature that beckons to the adventurer, the explorer and also the quiet wanderer.

For five-plus years I’ve been documenting this unique environmental area. No matter the season, no matter the weather. I continue to discover the new and unseen every outing. Clambering over boulders along the aptly named Billy Goat Trail, hanging precariously over a sheer rock cliff, quietly stalking white tail deer, trying to identify a particular bird song; this project has no end.

Yet, like most photographers who take on the environment it is not all about peace, love and happiness. Getting in touch with some atavistic back to nature sense of self is not the only force at work here. Global climate destabilization, environmental degradation, the collapse of major fish populations, battles over dwindling resources, this is happening – right now. And it is not getting better. Unless we conjure up the personal and political will to make major changes this will only get worse. Your children’s children, my nieces’ and nephews’ children, will likely suffer the most.

This is what drives me, and it is compounded by the apparent lack of any real interest or concern for the environment (climate change in particular) by the many representatives in that Romanesque building just down the road.

And so I return season after season, year after year. I explore. I document. I photograph the wildness that must be preserved.

Pretty pictures? Well, the natural world is beautiful. We are drawn to it, naturally. However, if it all just flitters past us in a superficial way, if in this wildness we see nothing deeper, what good will we be doing the next generation?


Michael Kircher is a freelance photographer from the Washington, DC metropolitan area. He is currently at work on various editorial projects. His images have appeared in National Parks and Maryland Life magazines and numerous non-profit publications. For some years now he has been documenting the Potomac River Gorge, an extraordinary landscape of remarkable beauty and biological diversity.

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Michael Kircher


Big Al – Conversation

Alec Soth photographed in San Antonio , Texas by Panos Skoulidas , April 6, 2011


On Apr 6, 2011, at 3:04 PM, David Alan Harvey wrote: 

many thanks for the transcribe anna…pictures? d


On 4/6/11 2:49 PM, anna maria barry-jester wrote:

Here you go…
There seems to be a little missing in the middle of the interview…I think a sentence cut off between clips you sent me…you should be able to fill it in very easily from the original file….I noted in bold where I think something is missing below.

Here’s the transcript of the Soth interview….this is unedited…this is a FOR REAL CONVERSATION

DAH – Alec Soth Interview

Nat sound (ringing)

DAH: Let me start with the most recent thing that I found out about, and that is Big Al’s printing. The thing that’s always fascinated me about you, other than your photography which of course is how I knew you in the beginning, is your versatility. I mean I knew your work only with Mississippi of course, Sleeping by the Mississippi, before having met you in person. And then very quickly you became a very popular blog person and you’re involved in a lot of stuff- soft industries as I like to call it. And then we’ve got Big Al’s printing. Tell me about this multiplicity of ventures for you, besides your photography.

ALEC SOTH: Well first of all, I mean, I’m talking to you from Minnesota, and I have this sort of midwestern sensibility in which I think everything is always going to come to an end, and I’m gonna fail. And I feel a need for job security. So the most secure thing has been diversifying everything so I don’t have all my eggs in one basket. So that’s where Big Al’s comes in. But I’ll tell you what led up to that is that I was in Alex Majoli’s place in Italy, and he’s got this set up where he’s got a studio, and then there’s this Chesura lab, which is this group of people that use his equipment, but have their own little printing operation as well as all sorts of other stuff that they do. And I thought that was really fantastic, and so I came back home, and I thought, this has always been an issue, where we have all of this stuff, all of this equipment, um, but it just sits there a lot of the time when I’m not using it, so it just seemed like it makes sense. I mean, the people who work for me use it, but why not have them expand that and let other people, charge other people to use it, you know, make a little bit of money. But also there’s this one guy, his name’s Eric, who wanted to do some work with me or whatever, so he can run that thing, it’s not really my business, I’m not that involved with it, a little bit involved with it, but it just made sense. But I’m not like Mr. entrepreneur, you know.

DAH : Well, you’ve definitely diversified, and of course I’m going to copy you on every single thing. Of course I’ve hated every minute of copying you.

ALEC: But that’s what it is, I’m copying Alex. (laughter)

DAH: I know, I know, he’s got an empire there. But it’s a very interesting model for all of us. So you’re main person I guess who was your printer for your shows ended up sort of creating his business through Big Al’s operation.

ALEC: …A little bit, we had a printer that worked up to a certain size, and then we had to outsource a bigger size. and so, at a certain point, it’s just like “I’m going to buy that printer, it doesn’t make any more sense.” But if i’m going to buy the printer we might as well use it, you know, that kind of stuff.
But the thing is, it was being exposed to Majoli’s way of doing things, which isn’t for me, I mean, I’m not gonna have…it’s like a commune out there. You know, they’re all sleeping in rooms above the studio, I don’t want to do that. I just want to pool our resources. I mean, that’s what it’s about, and when you talk about Magnum, that’s what it’s about. It’s pooling resources.

DAH: Right, is that the modus operandi for Little Brown Mushroom as well, is that the same kind of thing?

ALEC: That’s a little bit different. I mean, Little Brown Mushroom is about having fun. So, and, Big Al’s is, well, who knows what it is, it’s about we’ve got some equipment lets use it. Little Brown Mushroom is about having fun, and making cool things. And it’s not about the art world, it’s not about getting caught up in that, it’s not about trying to make money, and if it makes money fine, if not that’s ok, you know, I just want to break even ideally. But it’s about that spirit of when you’re a teenager and you’re just making stuff because you love it. It’s just remembering that feeling you know. When you get caught up in the professionalism of everything, you can forget about it.

DAH: Oh yeah, it ruins everything, right?

ALEC: Well, it’s a danger, and that’s what I would say about the blog. You know, I started the blog as a retreat from the art world, as a place to just talk about issues, and then all of a sudden it turned into another business, and so I dropped it. Little Brown Mushroom hasn’t yet, it’s still, it’s like we’re just having a lot of fun with it.

DAH: Yeah, it looks like it. Yeah, it’s great. Who did the design work, did you do that or did you have a designer do that?

ALEC: It started off, I mean, I don’t know anything about design. You know, I don’t know cmyk from… I’m an RGB, photoshop, that’s all I know. But I wanted to make little things, so I just started making little zines. you know, the kind of thing where you go to Kinkos, you know, staple-bound little things. And then one thing led to another and I met a designer named Hans Sieger, who lives in Wisconsin, and uh, it all kind of came together in my head. Little Golden Books was something I was interested in, do you remember those children books? They were published out of Wisconsin, and it just felt like something that was meant to be. And so here’s this really cool designer, who happens to live there, you know, he does most of his work in New York, really high end, but he lives in Wisconsin. And here’s Little Golden Books, and merging these ideas. And he works unpaid, he just works just for the fun of it too, he’s just into it, and so we collaborate on it, we print it in Wisconsin which is great. It’s a little cottage industry.

DAH: Yeah, well, that really is cool. That’s interesting. You say that you’re, that this was one of the things, Big Al’s, and then just your mentality in general is kind of a midwestern job security thing, which you know, I understand that. And the other thing is just to have fun and a little bit of an escape from the art world. On the other hand, you’ve busted your ass to make it in the art world. So is it just because…you don’t really want to escape the art world do you? I mean, isn’t that your mainstay?

ALEC: Yeah, that’s how i make a living. Um, it’s not that I want to escape the art world, but I have to keep it fresh, and it’s kind of like, uh, to use a music analogy, it’s like. Ok. Maybe I’m not playing arenas now, but I’m playing big venues. And sometimes you have to just go down to the club, and just play, and play some new stuff for a real audience. That’s what I mean, it’s just like keeping it fresh, you know, and also keeping the experimentalism alive so that you can try things. So maybe you can screw up at the little club with 30 people, it’s not that big of a deal.

DAH: Yeah, everybody loves the garage band. The garage band stage of anybody’s career is THE stage.

ALEC: Absolutely, right. Its just keeping some of that alive is all.

DAH: I understand that completely. That’s a pretty good analogy.

ALEC: You know, I want to play arenas, I mean, don’t get me wrong I want the big audience still, I just want to keep it fresh.

DAH: Now, you’re in the art world, you’re selling prints, you played the arenas so to speak. At the same time, you’re doing some editorial work. That certainly isn’t for the money, that editorial work. So is that just part of the fun thing? Or keeping yourself fresh? Or where does that come in? That’s more of the, why would you be in Magnum in the first place since you’re so successful in the art world?

ALEC: (audio missing between clips???) one iota. And if you think about what that collective artist could be, it’s gigantic. The thing is, I started big al’s last week, and I email some people or whatever and it goes around the little blogosphere. But I ask Magnum to put it on their facebook, and to do a tweet about it, and that’s a lot of people. And, we can access just a much larger audience as a group.

DAH: So distribution is still important, it’s just a different kind of distribution. It’s a twitter, facebook fanclub thing. Plus we bring our own audiences in there too.

ALEC: Yeah, absolutely. And bringing our own audiences into that is something that we haven’t really done, or figured out how to do. Um, but we’re working towards it.

DAH: Yeah, well, that’s what you and I are supposed to do. We’re on the committee. I’m a little bit out of the loop. I saw the note from Jonas this morning, but it’s the first time I’ve heard from him, so. There are a lot of reasons for that. I do wish we were a little more coordinated with those kinds of ideas and thinking, cause I think that if we actually really did get you and jonas and chris and I in the same room, even for a short time, we might be able to come up with a bunch of good ideas that could push us forward. Unfortunately we don’t really have the mechanism for that because we’re all out in different places all the time. That’s the bad part about Magnum. The good part is that when we’re together there’s magic often times. But then we go off in separate directions, it’s very hard for us to stay coordinated.

ALEC: For me, I mean, and I talked about this, I don’t know what’s
(rambling about what part of this conversation will be used)

ALEC: This is a real taboo, but it’s something I wanted to talk about…it’s the club element of it. And I hate the word club, but, I think it’s a significant part of what it is for people. You have this brand, you’re attached to this thing, and these other people, and I think so much of the business stuff, which actually doesn’t work, just gets in the way of all that.

ALEC: The retreat was really successful. And it was like, wow.

DAH: Well, I can see, I mean I couldn’t even be there but I was all over that psychologically from the very beginning because I thought, if I can have the Magnum crowd down here like where I’m sitting right now. I mean, I’ve got dunes, I’ve got water, and I’ve got a great front porch. I’ll just show you (sounds of david picking up computer and walking away). This is where I want to hang out with you guys. I’d like to invite a bunch of you down here, you know (sound of creeky screen door opening), and uh sit on my porch right, and look out at the sand dunes over there.
(sound too faint to hear). I would love it if you guys were sitting down here by the fire, and it would be a great meeting of the minds. The truth is that when I do meet Magnum photographers, like one on one, and on assignment, we really do have a lot of good stuff in common, and I’m sure you found that out on the retreat.

ALEC: The business stuff comes out of it too. I mean, like I said, just going to Majoli’s place, suddenly Al’s opens up 3 weeks later just from that experience. And it’s that kind of pooling of resources, which we don’t even have time for, and that’s how the retreat came about is my frustration that the AGM (??), at least for the younger generation, cause we used to not have to be involved, and now we have to be involved, and it’s just ruined it, where we don’t get to hang out.

DAH: It’s a slug, you never get to go out and just have a beer, and somehow you don’t even end up talking about the business stuff. You end up getting into spreadsheets instead of the business, and there’s a difference. Now listen, I know you have to go, and I think we probably have enough…
…wait, but I have to show you my window, just to see where you don’t want to visit. Let’s see if we can get the exposure right (laughing).

ALEC: I have this feeling that Magnum’s just going to turn into BURN.

DAH; No! I don’t mean…

ALEC: No, I mean it in a good way.

DAH: No, to be honest with you, what I really really want to do is probably quit burn in June, or have it evolve into something else, or have somebody else run it or,

ALEC: I know what you mean, but it’s just that the spirit of it, it’s just like funding Paolo’s thing..No, but it’s just like, that’s the kind of energy that we so badly need.

DAH: I know it, but the thing is what I don’t want to do, and I’m sure that you of all people can totally appreciate this, I don’t want to get so involved in minutia and local politics that it just burns up all of the energy. There’s x amount of stuff that we’ve all gotta do in our lives, we’ve all gotta pay taxes, you need to get your kids off to school, you need to fix the garage door. We’ve already got lots of stuff. And I can’t take on a whole other thing with Magnum beyond a certain point. Anyway, many thanks amigo..

Postcards from America

Little Brown Mushroom

Big Al’s

Alec Soth


william eckersley alexander shields – u.s.80

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William Eckersley and Alexander Shields


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These photographs are from a recently completed body of work, titled U.S.80.

U.S.80 was the first coast-to-coast highway in America, pre-dating even the fabled Route 66. It spans nearly 3,000 miles between Savannah, Georgia and San Diego, California, covering an enormous diversity of the American landscape and culture.

This includes the rural south, scarred by civil war and civil rights, boom towns of Texas enriched with oil surplus, and creeping scarcity as scrubland gives way to the western deserts along the Mexican border. Having been superseded by interstates, this once thriving road now lies neglected through parts of America that are also frequently overlooked.

During three visits between 2008 and 2009, we travelled U.S.80 several times, building a collection of large and medium format photographs that document the road and its environs. We’ve always had a fascination with America and particularly with the travelogue genre of American film and literature. Through this prism, we wanted to explore our interests in forgotten worlds and slightly wild, inhospitable landscapes, as well as the often transient nature of America’s built environment – something that reflects the history of migration in U.S. culture.

The project was recently published as a book with a foreword by the renowned journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow, and exhibited at Cole Contemporary on Little Portland Street during London’s Frieze Art Fair.


Eckersley and Shields have been photographing for the better part of a decade, after initially studying at LCC and St.Martin’s. In that time, Eckersley spent a number of years working as an architecture and interiors photographer for a London design agency, whilst Shields worked as a graphic designer for a news channel in Washington DC. However, it is their collaborations that have produced their most arresting work.

Their first project, Left London, was an historic study of derelict sites and buildings around their home city. It reflected their interest in abandoned spaces and garnered wide critical acclaim. After setting up Stucco Press to publish the work as a 176 page book, Sarah Kent (Time Out’s influential Art Editor) was among consenting voices when she asserted that “never before has vanity publishing led to such a splendid publication”.

The success of the book prompted involvement in two high-profile exhibitions- London Stories at Shoreditch Town Hall and the Photo London 2007 exhibition in Old Billingsgate Market. Work from this project is held by various collectors, including the sportswear company Nike, and Sir Elton John.

U.S.80 was published as a book in September 2010, with a foreword by the renowned journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow, and complimented by an exhibition at Cole Contemporary on Little Portland Street during London’s Frieze Art Fair. Eckersley has a further project, with the working title of Dark City, due for publication in 2011.

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Eckersley and Shields

US 80 The Book