dear photographers/readers/friends…

i started this blog just a few weeks ago and i have learned a lot….first of all, the comments from you have been most welcome and the questions excellent….i will continue to respond as best i can….if i am just a bit late in response it is because i am on a “road trip” and cannot get to an internet cafe or find some wireless connection for my laptop or am just too busy shooting…but, once i start something, i do follow through, so i will ride this horse as long and as hard as i can….

now i only have my friend and assistant marie to help me with this….and we are often not in the same place… your patience is totally appreciated….we do have so so so much to post and i have so many friends in the business i want you to know about and hear from and so much student work to publish….right now, i just cannot do it all…but,

fate has brought me to an interesting point in my life…..i am a magnum photographer …..i want to introduce you to my colleagues even beyond what you may see on the magnum site…and meet photographers from all of the agencies..i have photographed over 40 stories for national geographic so i want you to meet those colleagues and editors as well..and the photo editors from all of the magazines….the publishers for my books are: “cuba” (national geographic); “divided soul” (phaidon) and the upcoming hip hop book with no title yet (powerhouse)…..i will do interviews with these publishers and publishers i do not yet know…..and we will meet the gallerists from around the world who set the tone for the often lucrative collectors print market……

it is time for me to share all of this experience…just feels right….i have been blessed….lucky… feeling has always been to pass on knowledge, which i have done since i was 22 and finished a university of missouri photo workshop where i told myself then ” david, if you succeed in this craft, this business, this art…you must must pass the torch”…it is to this end that i have taught workshops ever since….BUT i can only teach if i am also working, publishing, exhibiting, and to be comptempory….otherwise, what would i have to teach???

i am not difficult to work with….but, i also have always been a bit of a renegade…..i have always done “my own thing” ….but i always tried to keep the newspapers i worked for, the magazines i did stories for, and the ad agencies i occassionally shoot for, mostly happy….not always, but mostly….lots and lots and lots of mistakes i have made……i will tell you about those too….

but, of course, working alone, on your own, always produces the very best work…..photographers must ultimately “stand alone”….so, it is always tricky to do your own best work and be true to the magazine or source of funding…..i have been fortunate in this regard and i want to help emerging photographers learn how to think about being “professional” and being true to one’s self simultaneously…….

i am mostly blessed with terrific family and friends….my real “heartbeat”…many of these friends are well-known photographers, and some of them will be well- known photographers, and some of them could care less!!!….i love them all……my immediate family is my “soul” and they are spiritually with me always and sometimes quite literally also…..

the dream….and it is a new dream: to secure enough funding for one or more of the emerging photographers who cross my path to actually go out on a significant assignment….a commission, a stipend, a grant or whatever you want to call it……publish the work here…..publish in print….i will have soon a new web page for this work…..

ultimately, this site will be a hybrid….part blog, part “magazine” part something we do not even have a name for yet….fate has put me in a unique position…… few others……..organizations do these things, but photographers do not really “know” them…..and they rarely have a “vision”….i do have a vision…..this does not mean it is the only way to see …part of my “vision” is to let others have a “voice” including those with a different point of view from mine….. colleagues will speak, students will speak, gallerists will speak, publishers and editors will speak, book store owners will speak, and anyone else we can learn something from will speak….

please let me know what you think…..i welcome ideas, and i will then choose a route based on my “gut” and instincts… instincts got me to wherever this is, so i think i will just stay “on it”……..

certainly we have potential to be on the most adventurous “road trip” of all…..

peace, david

20 thoughts on “fate and dreams”

  1. david; the blog is a great idea and i can speak for a number of young photographers in europe that we love reading it and wait anxiously to hear more. in particular, as i wrote to someone recently, that in this day and age of over professionalism, technical and technology obsessions about photo equipment and software, and the desperation to abandonment the rigors of the classical photo documentary form for what can pass as ‘art’, (see dwane michael’s comments on art photography), it is a pleasure to read someone who still insists on passion, commitment, being out there with your subjects and the sheer pleasure and joy of working in the world and close to people. (was that even a sentence of a pynchon-esque moment!!). so thank you. we appreciate it and we love that you point us back to the fundamentals; passion, belief in oneself, authorship, and the love of stories. asim

  2. asim…

    well, that is absolutely the best letter any photographer could ever hope to receive….i will work hard not to let you down…please have some patience because it is just me and my laptop and i cannot post as often as i would like….

    i just have so much to post and no time to post it!!!! i will do my best to live up to the responsibility you have now laid on my shoulders…

  3. Dear David,

    It is indeed great to see you take to the internet and I am sure your presence here is much appreciated by everyone from the fraternity. Unlike the western world where resources and acquaintances are easy to acquire, here in India it is only rarely that we get to see and meet great photographers like you and hence it is nothing short of a boon to have you on the internet where we can get to interact. You have, in particular, been my favourite and an inspiration to turn into a photographer.

    Here is something I had scribbled on my blog a few years ago (don’t laugh, I did not know your work well enough then):

    Now, it is your commitment and passion which exude from your work that inspire me more than just the sublime work that your manage to churn out.

  4. Dear Dr. Vivek M ……

    thank you for your kind letter and , of course, i was very flattered….

    for most of us who have our work published in magazines and books , we rarely have the opportunity to hear from the viewers of our work….the circulation figures of a magazine are abstract to us…

    intellectually we may know that many people see our work , only here on the internet can we actaully exchange a type of “handshake”…

    i will stay in touch with your blog and i do look forward to seeing your work…

    Best wishes, David

  5. thanks joost…..i might decide to go with “normal” caps and lower case punctuation…..i did it this way because that is how i write to my friends in an e-mail….totally informal….let me think more about this …we are going to do a redesign as soon as i get back to new york…..david

  6. Hi David,

    The capital letters are really unnecessary, unless you’re writing a term paper, just so you get the idea across. sometimes when i’m feeling too lazy to press that shift key, i go with all the lower case.

    anyway, reading your ‘fate and dreams’ section, I began to wonder if I dropped into any of those categories. Since I’m pretty unconventional as most photographers go, I probably fall into the ‘could care less’ category.

    I love this blog. It brings out the real person behind all those beautiful images. It’s great to have you as a friend.

    Hi also to Marie. She must be busier than ever!

    best wishes to all,


  7. This is the 3rd time since yesterday that I’m visiting this blog and I have to pinch myself to believe that this is actually David Alan Harvey writing to the public!!!

    How the internet has made the world so accessible to everyone…

    A celebrity and who’s who like you… talking to us … this is truly amazing!

    Cant wait for you sir to see more from you and for the day when I’ll be able to show you something of the photography that I’ve done


  8. Jorge Prat Altuzarra

    David: thanks for all your generosity. I’ll be looking for this blog, I guess every day, just to learn and learn from you favolous experience and stories.

    Don’t forget to take a fast look at my blog, where I loaded a little photo essay.

  9. lavannya and jorge…..

    i will log on to both of your sites later today or more likely later tomorrow…i have my students still with me here in mexico, so i have very little time…if i look at someone’s i want to be able to have time to really look and not just rush through…

    thanks for your patience…..david

  10. hi mike….

    well,honestly, you fall into no known category!!! but you are everyone’s hero…life at the beach and just selling prints to people who like your work..

    pretty damned enviable position as i see it…

    it is great to have you and denise as friends too…..

    should be down obx soonest…..

    abrazos, david

  11. Hi David,

    I have to visit this blog everyday…you know, here where I live photography is a very lonely theme of conversation if you are not talking “commercial” photography. Some galleries (1 or 2) are starting to sell prints and they are doing this not for the money but to open a market that is valuable and mature in other parts of the world right now and they are just starting to learn that.

    Puerto Rico is a growing art market based mostly on paintings and scupltures. I use to make very good money painting on the side until one day I start doing photography and I felt for the first time what is to have passion for something. But photography is hard to sell here because everybody thinks that prints are a “mass production” product. I hope this will change.

    I have in my house a lot of prints I collect from my friends but between then I have “Jessie in the wind” from Sally Mann and “Coal Miners” from Salgado…I look to this two “babies” every morning before going to work and I feel so proud how I had to make a payment plan, little by little to take this two beautiful works to my house. The funny thing is that my friends laugh at me and say…”Carlos…you’re very, very loco…how do you pay that money for something that is not original” and I say…they’re originals…and then I thing about hit them in the head with the frame or maybe call the bull that hit Raul.

    Well, thanks for this wonderful forum…one day I will have one of your prints i my wall (I’m sure of that)…in the mean time, this blog is making me go out and shoot almost everyday…thanks for that too.

    I wish you create some kind of DVD or something with your tips or one of the workshos you do….that will be great! I’ve been in Santa Fe and I love love it but is something I can’ do every year…$$$$!

    saludos David

    Carlos (the other “cuban” guy)

  12. carlos..

    it sounds to me like you have your head and your heart in exactly the right place….

    i really started this blog for only one reason….and that was to reach emerging photographers just like you….and , of course, to stay in touch with former students…

    i am rushing a little this morning saying goodbye to the students this week… but i did take a look at your website and felt you had some very interesting work….i will go back this afternoon and look even more carefully…

    at magnum we are thinking of producing some dvd’s as you suggested….i think it is just a matter of time….

    in the meantime, just enjoy working and living…..i am sure our paths will cross someday soon….

    abrazos, david

  13. Thanks for looking to my work, I really appreciate that. Sorry for any “disparate” in my english…I don’t write in english very often.

    un abrazo.


  14. Hi, David,

    You have been an inspiration for me since , I started seriously knowing the word “photography”. I found your blog on the net since your first post and started subscribing in a feed reader. I have been reading and knowing about the atmosphere and the environment you belong to being such a great photographer from Magnum. It is indeed a great find to get you here.

    It will be a great help for so small photographers like us to reach to you and to talk to you though your blog ! I don’t know if anybody like your kind of celebrity actually came forward to listen and talk to us. You have started a whole new world of exchanging and sharing thought from which we will be more beneficial.

    Thank you sir, for being a great photographer and a great human being as a whole.

    I will look forward to learn more and more from you.


  15. hello sandip…i just had a little time to look at your work on flickr….that first picture up is very very nice…..but, i think you need some editing help…as do most photographers…you have some truly interesting pictures, but they are mixed with some more “ordinary” pictures…try to resit the temptation to put too much work “on the table”…a few truly good ones is better than showing some that fall below your highest level…anyway, i appreciate you sharing and we will continue the discussion…..ciao, david

  16. Hi David,

    After my first post, and rereading everything, I feel a bit ashamed about my comment about your style….

    I have learned to see it as a conversation, where you and the other readers exchange knowledge in a way I have not seen on the web before. I have learned so much from this site.

    Thank you for sharing!


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