Monthly Archive for December, 2014

Let’s Get the Fire Going…




Gabi and Anca

These are my new friends, Gabi and Anca. Gabi is the #ringmaster and has been #bear dancing for ages. His grandfather, who passed in 1997, was a famous bear dancer in the area. Anca, his fiancé, took up bear dancing just this year. This was only the second time she’d been out with the bears. Here, at the end of the night, Anca waited for the others, enveloped in the warmth of the hanging bear skins. Gabi spotted her and snuck a #kiss. :) #love #romania #laloaia #winter #tradition @dianazeynebalhindawi for @burndiary

Door to door

When I was a child, bears would go from door to door, performing for anyone who welcomed them into their homes and could afford to pay them a tip. Nowadays, they only schedule visits to houses that invite them ahead of time. My grandmother said this is because most people no longer have money to tip the bears. Indeed, all but one of the homes we visited were large and appeared to have wealthy owners. This photo however was taken during a performance at the home of two bears — a married couple — that were in the troupe themselves. @dianazeynebalhindawi for @burndiary #Laloaia #village #Romania #winter #newyear #bear #tradition

Jockeys Ridge

Jockeys Ridge #outerbanks #nagshead

Lady bears

Nice to see some lady bears in the mix too. Here they are taking a break by town park in Moinesti. #Romania #winter #beardance @dianazeynebalhindawi for @burndiary


#outerbanks #fog

Bear Parade

Moinesti had its annual Bear Parade today. Bear dances are part of a number of age old traditions specific to this part of #Romania between Christmas and the New Year. These traditions are the reason I am visiting during the cold #winter. They are some of the things I miss most about #Moinesti. To explain a bit, between Christmas and the New Year, bands of bears (locals wearing bear skins) tour the towns, performing traditional songs and dances. Today, #bear groups from all around the region gathered at the train station in Moinesti, to then sing and dance through the streets and lastly on a stage set up by the town park. It wasn’t just “bears” though. There were also “goat” dances, masked creatures, and other folk songs and dances in celebration of winter and the New Year. (For the animal activists: It’s very unlikely that any of these bear skins came from newly hunted bears. They are usually very old, passed down through generations.) @dianazeynebalhindawi for @burndiary


As you will see in the video above, Kathy Ryan, New York Times Magazine, and I are long time friends. We met teaching together at the Eddie Adams Workshop way back at the beginning.  Hmmm, maybe 25 years ago. I have no real sense of time. Anyway Kathy is a gem. Known forever as a picture editor, now turned photographer, now with a published book, and still Director of Photography at the NYTimes Magazine. Kathy became a photographer because of Instagram. Literally.

Instagram was Kathy’s  only platform. Changed her life by allowing her to shoot daily in her own office environment and that’s WHY I am showing her here on Burn now. Not because she is a friend, but because she has done what I tell all those I mentor to do..Shoot in your own backyard. This is quite literally the best example I have seen. I mean the woman is shooting in office cubicles…The least likely place most people would shoot. Many wannabe photographers are in their cubicles dreaming of McCurry’s India and won’t shoot til they get there…Anyway check out Kathy’s new Aperture book Office Romance produced by Chris Boot, the producer of so many great books over the years both at Phaidon and now at Aperture.

Take a page from Kathy’s book. Look at what is right around you. Everything is interesting if you have the right eye.

Happy New Year to all…



Buy Kathy’s book directly at Aperture:




Grama’s corner

Grama’s corner where she works on her #needlepoint. One of her creations hangs above the light fixture. A #Orthodox icon hangs in the middle and a portrait of her some 30 years ago is on the top left. I was mostly raised by my grandparents until I was 7 years old. I remember well when my grandmother looked like that. Photo by @dianazeynebalhindawi for @burndiary

Earl Grey

I think Earl Grey just likes having his picture taken. So I oblige. Christmas over. All quiet. Nothing to be done. Nice.