flying can be kind of a pain sometimes, but i get in a "zen" kind of mood when i travel and so the whole process is relatively painless for me…besides, i look at the upside…i try to do things when i travel that i cannot possibly do any other time….like expense accounting… making my "to do" lists….like taking stock of my life….but mostly, like reading….that is all i do when i fly besides sleep….read and read….the movie is never good..

the next book i must read is al gore’s new book "The Assault on Reason"….there was a cover story on al in the current issue of "Time" which i read on the flight back from boston this morning….The Last Temptation of Al Gore"….a story all about whether al should run for president again, written by eric pooley who i had shot some pictures with many years ago when i was doing some freelancing for "Time", my first professional magazine work….al gore’s new book is evidently about awareness and action and a democracy that needs an overhaul…i will say no more because i have not  read the book….

al gore is not a close personal friend, but his wife tipper is…..or rather i should say, she is a really close personal friend of jodi cobb and i am often in social scenarios with jodi….tipper is a photographer…she was in my class as a student  at rich clarkson’s workshop program in jackson hole, wyoming just last fall…tipper worked with jodi at the newspaper in nashville way back when…i will do a story on tipper under "family friends" soonest…

anyway, we all remember al gore’s famous gaff about being the "inventor of the internet"….i do not remember the details of that statement , but he did take a lot of good natured "heat" for the comment….however, al gore may not have invented the internet, but he is one of the internet’s strongest supporters…..he feels we have lost touch with each other…that democracy is being hurt because we no longer talk to each other…

both print and television fail us in interpersonal communication…"letters to the editor" is as close as it comes….gore  sees the net as a community builder….interchange…chat…conversation… doubt, one to one chat in the living room #1…..internet exchange of ideas #2….the other media fall way way behind in this regard… is just not their nature….not interactive…

traditional media offer  "presentations and packages" by editors and producers who are trying to figure out what their audience wants…with the net, the "speaker", writer or photographer goes  straight to his or her audience and builds the  audience with "personalized" content….the author’s content…a story…a stream of conscience tale ….if nobody likes this  content they go somewhere else…but if you do have an audience, you have an audience… period     .. built with your content….print magazines at their peak had "voices"….henry luce….melville bell grosvenor


i do not know whether al gore will run for U.S. president or not….he is in such a respected position right now as a sincere alarmist for our fragile environment and as a champion for the net …he claims we may have to fight sooner rather than later for freedom on the net as  we had to fight for a free press….and the man has been a major environmentalist since he was in college..gore  has spent his whole adult life with global warming as his major concern….al gore might just be better off  staying right where he is….

but i think he is right about the community building power of the net….those of you who are still reading now know exactly what i mean…look at us right here…pretty cool right???  how else could we be doing this??  nice for me because it helps me keep my thoughts "organized" and is becoming the same kind of "diary" of life i did as a 14 yr. old photographer….and hopefully, this is nice for you because i try to put myself "in here" only to the extent that it will be useful information for you…mostly to let you know that i have the same problems as you or have had the same problems as you  or certainly will in the future  have the same problems as you ….the only thing i really have to "offer"  is  my current experience in the publishing world… both  magazines and books…. and  my long term friendships with so so  many people in this biz….and mostly  with the shared experiences i live  every time  i teach a workshop….i believe my students will tell you…

if i can keep this audience, we can do some really amazing things….here i am dreaming again, but sometimes my dreams happen…actually, they usually happen!!! once i focus, i am on the case!!

i am not a "plan oriented" person…i act spontaneously , recklessly, passionately…instinctively….for this i pay a price……i scramble with finances always…total disaster…..i must have some kind of organization wired into my hard-drive or i could not possibly have been a professional photographer all this time…but, you would never know it by looking….i mean really really i am a nightmare on this front….

i pay this price…but, i also receive this reward…..freedom….real freedom…feels good….so why not take this special time in my life and move it forward in a meaningful way??….what i want to do is create some production money for you… that a selected few of you would be able to go work on a project of your choice….i would have to go find money….from corporations , from generous funders…this is not anything i have ever done…..but imagine if these donors ended up endorsing some truly creative photography  that would be printed in an annual super quality magazine format where the photographers had all the control..with just a little help from me maybe!!!   and an exhibit of course…..

the sponsors would get terrific press, prestige and a positive long lasting image with a young audience of serious photographers which is exactly who you guys are….there would be no direct product advertising in this annual…but, sophisticated logos front or back or whatever but with a "museum quality" look to it…

we use the net to "community build" and then take that to reality…to print…

another piece of this corporate funding i would want to go for free photo workshops in  developing  countries where the emerging photographers cannot  possibly afford one of the current workshops ….another major piece of good press for our donors…even patch it in with some worthwhile ngo projects and build a workshop around an issue….have part of this mythical magazine use these pictures too…

now anybody can have an idea like this….there must be better ones around…i only have one thing going….a voice, a personal voice… are the ones who have told me that …that is not my claim….those are the claims from the letters i receive from you…i do not edit those letters and i am still waiting for some "hate" mail of some kind….but honestly , the best part of this blog is "inside"….the comments….i can’t believe it sometimes when i read your letters…heartwarming, clarifying, philosophical and often poignant……it is only because of your comments that i even had the, perhaps unrealistic, perhaps doable, ideas laid out above….i sense my audience here….i think you sense it back…

this is definitely a "we" thing…an interesting experiment and  a new kind of collaboration….i certainly cannot do this without you….it would be fun if we even just could pull off one issue….so, let me know what you think…straight up….let’s face it, this seems like an exciting  thing to think about and if nothing comes of it, what have we lost???

all you have to do is be here….all i have to do is make it worthwhile…

64 thoughts on “in flight magazines”

  1. Hi David;
    The idea of corporate funding sounds good, but how do you ensure that they don’t want editorial control of the project?

    I’ve decided to pursue the ideas I need to follow in the Pacific (my backyard so to speak), but am trying to work in with NGOs etc. We are both aiming for the same outcome & I let them use any images & articles for free.This way I feel I’m giving something back rather than taking.

    Everyone seems to think the Pacific is a paradise, but there are huge problems of urbanisation, HIV, TB, political unstability etc. Lots of story ideas. After another trip to Vanuatu am planning to visit the squatter settlements in PNG.

    I am looking at sponsorship from airlines etc. but do they want stories/images showing that all is not sunshine and roses in their region? I have decided to push the humanitarian aspect to them.

    I am using magazine work here in NZ to pay for my personal projects. I enjoy doing the mag work, but sometimes it feels a bit like production writing/photography because the nett amount per article is approximately $400, so have to be pretty prolific!

    Being able to write has made a huge difference between getting published or not.

    I’m 44 & just about to go fulltime & hope these words of are true “Its never too late to be the man you could’ve been”!


  2. David

    I know saying for your post adjusting, it is Chinese I suppose.

    “if you want jump a river and you can’t, try jump a lake.
    If you can’t jump a lake go back to the river and if you think about lake
    You should jump your river.”

    Think about big things and do small but surely it will succeed.

    hmmm… no… think and do big things only.

    The World belongs to winners!!!



  3. All what you wrote David, sounds very good and POSSIBLE… i think it should be something more than DREAM or just a PLAN… it’s should come true.
    Corporate and founders like big names and companys – for sure everybody know value of your pictures and know the “company” ;) named Magnum.
    I am sure Magnum already have some good clients who can assure money for project…
    BUT the most important thing is how to spend in a good way this money… it’s a big responsibility… it has to be really interesting and something new… something really GOOD.. and something what can help other people, not just satisfy our dreams.

    Btw… as i wrote in other post – this blog seems to be one big worshoop :-) which i like a lot!!!

  4. Hi, David,
    I have been reading each and every posts of yours and all the comments in our small community but i was not much active on writing back.. sometime i did not have any word to say.. all what i wanted to say was told … now here i am among some first reader/comment writer for this post …

    Your idea is fantastic … and I think, if you take the initiative, we all CAN do it… patching up with some hardworking NGOs who are working with sensitive issues like HIV, child labors, drugs addiction among the youth,genocides, global warming etc would be a really worth for our society… an image can tell thousands of words, WE all can make great impact with the images together…actually, we should work hard to take responsibility to make a better future and better place for living…we all should be emotionally bonded with whatever we will do.. with our work and within ourselves…let it come from our soul…

    … photography workshop would be a grace for all of us… it would be a big DREAM for me…
    whatever be there, count me in.. i am with you with my heart and soul…
    Regards, Sandip

  5. Sandip… i agree with you… it has to be something what can make great impact… not only make us happy… but i am not sure if there is not too much about “bad” world – drugs, addict, global warming…

    Maybe is better to show how wonderfull is world, that everybody are same (no matter where they were born).. all have same dreams, same happines… people love each other same way all over the world… and we make all the time religious/national/racial/gender ect problems without reasons… people from the west are affraid of people from east… white people are affraid to go to small black village in Africa ect… we see from the magazines and newspapers world diffrent than it is… newspaper give us ready “belief” which are not true most of the time…

    i really don’t know.. but feel i saw to many pictures about drugs and hiv and prostitution ect… and sometimes this pictures repeat stereotype.. if i see 100 pictures with black people with hiv…100 pictures with prostitutes from Indonesia.. i started to belive that world there looks like this…
    And i don’t want to show people same things again… i would preffer to show that in this world love and happines is same like in Europe or usa… that people care for each other, help each other (maybe even more than in my world!)…

  6. Sounds interesting David. Are the projects to be aimed at developing photographers?

    What sort of legwork do you need us to do?

    I agree with you Aga, it does seem there is so much hate, disease and grief in documentary photography sometimes. We need to be aware of how these things affect others, but it is a shame that joy and hope do not get covered quite as well. One of my favourite things about National Geographic is that it is rarely depressing. A whole World Press Photo Annual in a morning however can be (despite the incredible photos).

  7. Neil…I can understand that WPP shows this things, because it’s press competition, and press is dominated by bad news…

    And is probably more hard to show happines, love and all good feelngs in interesting way.. to don’t make pictures “infantile” or “kitschy”

    Neil … good question! – How we can help you David?

  8. David
    This could be an environmental projet from photographers in all corners of the the world. With your focus and contacts you have to people like Al Gore, Magnum, and National Geographic nothing could stop this getting off the ground…

    …and I agree with Aga and Neil, with a twist of positivity about it (if possible) just think of all the corporations that would like to get their names behind something like that. But of course it must remain in control of the photographers in their search for truth.

    Cheers, Paul

  9. good morning all…

    the whole point of this would be to keep the control in the hands of the photographers…without this there would be nothing…..

    the funders would have to “trust” me based on my track record as a photographer and on the content of this blog..the photographers would have to trust me in exactly the same way…

    in my mind, this would include all kinds of photographers doing all kinds of either traditional stories or conceptual essays or personal bodies of work…exceptional photographers who need the structure and the finances to be able to continue their work…

    let’s just pretend that i had enough funding to give “assignments”, “grants” or whatever you want to call it to say 5-10 photographers…maybe one or two of these stipends would go to “established” photographers just to keep the benchmark high and give an overall “credibility”…most of the financing would go to photographers who are just on the verge of making “the next step”….photographers with talent and ideas and having something to “say” either in a journalistic vein or in a more subjective artistic exploration…conflict photographers,environmental photographers, street photographers, or 8×10 landscape photographers….serious work and real exploration would be the mantra regardless of “type” of photographer…

    the free workshops would be a little different and provide an altruistic way for totally hidden talent to emerge….no doubt in my mind that great work would come from this group too….

    right at a time when so many photographers are dedicating their lives to photographic excellence is at the same time when the traditional media are able to provide less and less and less funding for new work…the people i know in the traditional media are, by and large, truly terrific individuals with integrity and talent….the move away from traditional media is not their is just a function of technology…

    obviously everything is moving to the net, but very few of the new venues have much content and almost no personal voice as per described..

    incidentally, my role in this is just to keep working and writing and publishing as per always…i cannot stop what i am doing now…i would have to build a sophisticated “board” of individuals who endorse this concept…and some kind of “non-profit”repository so that the whole thing would make sense to potential funders..

    i am sure there is some aspect of this i have not thought of at all….maybe i will be “blown out of the water” before i even begin….but, so what?? who looses by just throwing some ideas around??

    i do now look forward to more of your thoughts…

    i need to brew up another pot of coffee!!!

    cheers, david

  10. It sounds interesting david,

    Im about to go to sleep but I wanna sleep on your suggestion because its a really good one. It would be a truly interesting thing and I think very doable. We can all do something locally, there are always projects right under our noses and I think that this place is full of talent, passion, which is at this moment scattered. But who better to focus this talent and energy than you?

  11. Mike Halminski

    Very ambitious project, David.
    As you know, I consider myself mainly as an environmental photographer. If I can take a picture that makes a difference, even in the smallest way, I will gladly do it for no monetary compensation. It’s enough reward that an image will affect someone in a positive way.

    Recently I’ve been shooting an environmentally sensitive area on a barrier island that was slated for condominiums. A non-profit Land Trust came in, negotiated with the developer, and ended up buying the property to save it…all 120 acres of it. The process took a few years, but now it remains a haven for plants and animals…some of which are rare.

    Your bloggers are probably not familiar with it, since it’s a local issue, but the same thing goes on world-wide. It’s just a matter of getting the stories out to the masses. That’s where you can help with your shooting and publishing experience.

    It saddens me to see that mankind has not been ideal stewards of our planet. There is so much environmental destruction for money. I like hearing about the little success stories though, because in the end they all add up and do make a difference.

    When you mentioned corporate donors, I thought of the Gates Foundation. They recently gave our local high school some funding for a science project to encourage students to study and raise oysters behind the school…something I played a small part in by supplying brood stock for spawning. So far they’ve been successful…but then that’s another story.

    By the way, it seems that your career is turning a corner so to speak. I think it will have a profound effect.


  12. Andrew Sullivan

    This idea is totally doable. Considering the amount of money corporations pour into the sponsorship of professional golf tournaments for example, the funding required for this project would be tiny in comparison.

    I volunteer to help you in any way I can, David, as I feel I might be in a unique position to accomplish something with this. Here in Stamford where I shoot for the daily newspaper, we have so many international corporate headquarters, I could easily generate a list of corporate contacts I have personally interacted with on assignment over the past nine years. I regularly shoot CEOs and other high-level executives, and could easily get ideas from them about this project.

    My fiancee works for UBS, one of the world’s largest banks, as a graphic designer. She interacts every day with people responsible for funding projects to make UBS look good.

    We also have the HQs of AmeriCares and Save the Children here. One of my best friends used to be Bono’s right hand man at

    I just hope everyone who I believe will help actually will. This is a great idea.

    Once again, David, you’ve managed to really inspire me. Thank you.


  13. on Al Gore: Watching “an inconvenient truth” and then THIS (!!!) is somewhat disturbing. Makes one think about the “absolute truths” out there…

    on the rest: Very curious to know about any developments. Why wouldn’t magnum itself embrace such a project? Grants, assignments, workshops… It all comes down to an “academy” if you think about it, adapted to the very specific nature of your agency. It would definitely be an opportunity to see magnum making a real difference.

  14. Eric Espinosa

    David, this is a terrific idea and many of your aspiring photographer friends would I am sure be happy to join you on such an exciting project. The idea of a free workshop in third world countries for totally hidden talent to emerge could also be really exciting. It reminded me of a project that I saw in France a few years back…in a very tough neighbourhood of Paris where nothing was happening except drugs dealing, in a community where all social and family bonds were broken, a photographer (unfortunately I cannot recall his name) started a project to give cameras to young kids of the ghetto so that they could take pictures of their community, of their friends, families and eventually all pictures were developed into very large posters that were displayed all over this poor neighbourhood….Results of this were truly special…First, many of these kids had a great untapped talent…Beyond this, it re-created bonds within this community. people started to look at posters, talk, exchange, etc….I do not know what happened long after this story was over but certainly, for a while, it changed the face of this neighbourhood…. Reason I share this is that who would have thought that this poor subburb would ever attract any attention from the media/ press except for occasional riots…. Someone had a dream like you had David and made it happen and the lifes of many were changed as a result of it. Photography has that power of bringing people together…It forces us to develop a vision, to share it with others…It sometomes create that special bond. Please David, make this dream happen!!… and if I ever could be associated or helping you on that journey, this would be a privilege. Eric (PS: by the way, looking at the stack of magazines/ books you shot, I recognized one of my all time favourite book: “Under a grudging sun” from Alex…This book is very special to me. It was my first photographic book. The picture page 63 of this little girl in Gonaives on Election day stays to date one of the pictures that touches me the most…Can’t explain why but it is after seeing that picture that I really decided that I wanted to get into photography….)

  15. tome…

    you are absolutely correct…

    well, i am one of the designated people at magnum to help design an education program…we will start during our 60th anniversary month of june to have a day of portfolio reviews where we might take in 50 photographers who would show their work to five different magnum photographers.. each of the five magnum members would see everyone’s work….details soonest…

    what i would be doing here could be in concert with any overall magnum programs…magnum is a group of individuals….alec soth and i both have blogs which are very different , but very complimentary as well…. and symbiotic also with the magnum blog….none takes away from the other….quite the contrary…

    the assembled knowledge of the magnum crowd is quite staggering even to me….what you have mentioned is exactly what we have in mind…

    just be patient…we are a socialist democracy…it works, but sometimes it takes a little time…if we are going to do it we are going to do it right and with the right motives and with an attitude that “giving” works…

    ciao, david

  16. Hello David,
    Two weeks ago I googled you just to see pictures and I found this really inspiring blog. I felt in some way as Sandip, just reading and not knowing exactly what to say…
    But in this particular subject I felt I had to say something somehow (to write in English is a such a nightmare to me!)
    I traveled last year to Paris, and one of the most amazing things for me was to see how photography was present everywhere in the city. There were so many images, so many stories, from every coin of the planet, and displayed in libraries, museums, parks… everywhere!…
    I’m from Venezuela, and for me the difference is huge… Photography here has not that presence in the people… in the cities… in society… and there is so much things to say!… stories to tell… culture to know about. In fact, I think I really started to know my own country through photography…
    I think that any initiative aimed to make photography more present in countries like mine, can make a big difference. Grants for photographers… for solid projects… workshops… and support to make this images to be seen, not only in magazines or museums, but in any alternative way…
    I thing that in this days that photography is changing so much, this kind of initiatives could be not only a way to support young photographers, but to make established photographers and raising photographers to work together to build something new…
    A lot of larousse… I have a headache…

  17. Edgard Marques

    Wow! It seems i took the train at the very right moment… These debates are becoming more interesting everyday. Well, just hope having works good enough to present when things go 10.000 feet high. And i’m sure they will. Cheers, David, you’re inspiring.

  18. carlos manuel…

    sorry to give you a headache, but i understand you very well…it is a message i have heard many see things going on in other places and nothing is going on where you live…unfortunately, i have never been to Venezuela, but i do plan a trip soonest..

    historically, France has been a leader in photography…government cultural funding has supported so much and two of the most successful photo festivals in the world are in France….Arles and Perpignan…my agency is tied strongly to France…

    i think most of us have felt “isolated” one way or another at some point in our photographic lives…however, there is more information and ways to stay connected now than ever before..

    honestly, i think “isolation” is something that can be used to your advantage…because ultimately only you can figure it all out anyway….the stimulation from “outside” is surely a positive force, but still we are all really alone…

    one of the real beauties of still photography is that it is not really expensive to take a picture…making a movie or publishing a book or mounting an exhibition does require some funding…but, just taking a good picture costs very little….and then two and three etc etc…

    please take your youth and your energy in a positive direction..just DO something…any little story or collection of pictures done from the heart can lift you up….worry about who you will show it to later….we can figure that one out…

    in the meantime, i will try to figure out how to provide you with energy to help you move forward…in the meantime, you should also work as hard as you can and as best you can so that when the opportunity does come your way to show work or to participate in a workshop program, you will be ready….this really only requires you to focus on something in your own back yard…go look at maya goded’s early black & white work on the magnum website…she photographed close to home with little film and with no support…it was all in the eye and in the heart…

    i do hope we meet in Venezuela soonest….

    saludos, david

  19. Can you imagine a world wide project passing the same camera from one hand to another?….from one country to another and eventually back to you?…a “traveling camera” charged with all that energy? exhbition eventually with prints from 20 different countries taken with same camera?… yes I know…I’m completely “loco”…just brainstorming a little bit David….please don’t laugh…just looking for something “unique” to do…

    un abrazo.
    Carlos Rubin

  20. carlos…not loco…pretty interesting idea…i fedex a camera to you…you take a picture…you fedex the camera to someone else, and so on and so on…everybody has some kind of time and frame limit…we stick in one 8 gig card which would have the whole world on it!! fedex sponsors the show!!! maybe we are both loco!!! david

  21. As a photographer in a stagnate Michigan economy, with nothing but personal shooting time on his hands, I’m down with the evolution of this project in any way I can contribute.

  22. I continue to love this idea David. I *really* like Carlos’ idea about getting FedEx (or other mail carrier) to sponsor a camera that travels the world. I’d like to offer my time to help you (and the others) start this (completely voluntary — nothing expected in return but the satisfaction of helping out). I realize you will pick your own folks to do the planning for you, but please know that I’m “in” to do anything administrative or otherwise to help out. As you know, I have a corporate job, but I have free time when I can work on this. I started a business about six years ago (raised funding, built a team…), and I’m itching to help with something entreprenurial and meaningful this time — something that benefits others. Your virtual, nonprofit educational photography seminar for kids/people who cannot afford the big seminars is simply incredible. It’s cool that the photographers will “run” this and that it’s not meant to create fortune for anyone. I’m willing to help with the fundraising and grant sponsorship search that will give everyone the freedom to do their thing in an impactful way… I’ll be in NYC on June 13 through the weekend for your opening. In the meantime, I’ll send you some thoughts. No matter how you do it, your project will definitely happen and make an impact. Of that I’m sure. Best, Alysia

  23. alysia…

    well, guess what?? i will take you up on that one!! you possess skills that i do not have …but, i do know “good people’ when i meet them…like minded people, who get along and are on a “mission” that benefits others are hard to stop….i will meet with you at your convenience….

    many thanks, david

  24. Fantastic! What’s the best way to reach you? by email? Mine’s I just sent you a long email to an address I got from the blog… I hope it didn’t post somewhere on this site b/c it was LONG with a lot of random info others wouldn’t find interesting. If it did, apologies to you and your blogging audience! If you’re in the country, maybe we can talk this week. Otherwise, over email works for now. Just need your email address. Cheers, Alysia

  25. David…Alysia…I’m really excited about this!
    The idea of someone like Fede Ex makes a lot of sense to make this project a reality…it means a lot of good will to them to be the carrier of such a big and important contemporary document.

    Also another sponsor like Nikon or Canon is a “natural” for this kind of project….there’s no advertising budget in the world that can pay the amount of awareness that Nikon or Canon will achieve providing the “traveling camera”…For them is not only the “good will” but also a promise of endurance and quality of their product into a worldwide assigment.

    I want to help on this anyway I can…
    Carlos Rubin

  26. David,
    The B&W work of Maya in Mexico… just great!
    Of course am working on my own projects… also from the heart… working hard…
    and now you has proposed the possibility of these workshops, you’ll have me behind that: “come here”, “come here”, “come here”… that will be part of the job…

    Carlos, since you work a lot with Holga cameras and teach with them… this also can be a good beginning for the traveling camera…

    Un abrazo…

  27. Andrew Sullivan

    David, Carlos, Alysia,

    The photographers on the traveling camera project could upload their images to a website with an interactive map showing the camera’s progress around the world.

    With the community you’ve built on this blog, there could probably be a dry run. One blog posting could rally a bunch of motivated photographers in various spots around the world. Maybe a “Harveybloggers” flickr page could simulate what might be generated.

    Carlos, the traveling camera is a great idea.

    Andrew Sullivan

  28. Thanks Andrew,
    the idea of the map is very nice because it’s something that will make people to come back to the website to keep track of the trayectory of the camera and the ongoing results of the project by the photographers.

    Carlos Rubin

  29. Carlos…another Carlos…que bueno!
    thanks….your english is very good…mine…so, so…but this blog makes me practice a lot. I like very much your work.

    Carlos Rubin

  30. Would it make sense for someone to travel with the camera, manage uploads, see that it’s maintained and functioning and getting in the right hands, etc. as well as documenting a “behind the scenes” look at the project? Would that make a major airline a better sponsor over FedEx? Maybe it’s better to just let the camera go free, I don’t know.

  31. Yeah a “Harvey Bloggers Flickr Page” sounds good. Somewhere we can all interact with pictures, our ‘pics of the day’ from all over the world. Not necessarily to show off our best shots from our portfolios, just snaps and little insights to our daily lives, much like the shots David puts up on this site.

  32. In order to build something meaningful, there has to be some good structure around it. I’ve had a couple photo blogs and have participated in flickr groups before only to be quasi-let down of the ‘power of the internet’. I got rid of any commentary on my photosite to rarify it down to pictures only. I don’t get a ton of hits anymore, but I feel much better about it. I may not be a pro by any stretch from a photographic standpoint, but I can honestly say that I do know the net.

    That said, I think that there is a lot of merit to having a group assignment. There probably wouldn’t be a ton of overhead to get an Adobe PDF magazine up and running for a proof of concept/marketing tool. Just some thoughts.

  33. Yes of course, this must be something meaningful… the Flickr idea is maybe something different…and I understand how things could get out of control with the internet. All David needs is thousands of photographers uploading pics to his blog everyday!

  34. Interesting, amazing, exciting… If you need something from this part of the world, you already have all my energy and help, David!

    “Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

  35. I love the energy and thought process that spins off an idea like this. However if I may, I’d like to raise a few questions (that only the devil would ask!) While not impossible, it would be a fairly big feat for a digital camera to make a world journey without a hitch. I guess it’s a given that images would be backed up along the way, but should all images remain on the card, or does that become too risky? It would be less risky to reformat the card and send the point and shoot on it’s way, but then it seems to loose it’s purpose. That’s the charm of the project, that we’re building a journal that’s gaining energy on a world trek, but isn’t it really like playing tag with photographers, who would rather just be shooting and contributing to a project with their own equipment?

    It’s almost as if going this route, sponsorship should come from the manufacture of the camera—something similar to the way Sony Ericsson sponsored Robert Clark to shoot the United States for two months by camera phone. It ends up sounding a little too commercial though, like it would make a really great 30 second spot that would be good for the camera but not so great for the photography. I could be right or wrong about this.

    Here’s an idea. We resurrect a sturdy, reliable 35mm film camera with a 24mm lens. (They still make film, right?) That’s what gets passed around. Each photographer get’s to shoot one roll, process it, make sure there are no glitches in developing, pass the camera on. Mail a set of prints to David for editing, and have scanned what you want to post. While I love my D200, one last thumbing-of-the-nose at technology sounds so fulfilling!

  36. I see here many good ideas, concerns and suggestions about the “traveling camera” idea and they’re all valid and better yet…we’re all doing a big brainstorming with one purpose on common and that’s team work..something that I really enjoy.

    The way I see it is that great photography is everywhere already…so much talented people documenting big things…thousands of amazing images talking clear and loud about world issues… but, how can you approach something that is so big already in a way that could be fresh?…I think that is important to create a concept.

    I believe that what we have here is a very nice “concept”….maybe a very romantic one….with a lot of difficulties and logistics that still needs answers, but we have a concept that people can follow… where this camera… far from been only an tool or an object, suddenly becomes a explorer…a witness…a messenger…a hero…and eventually…someone you’ll meet personally at the exhibition because it’s gonna be there with the prints of all the photographers…

    I think the people fall in love with this kind of concept because it can raised something to an emotional level….a gymic?…maybe, because at the end of the day is about the photography not the camera….but it’s a powerful one because people will see those images with other eyes…it will be a lot easier just to shoot and send the images to a common website…but the “hard work” of this idea is what make it and adventure and a bold stamentent about the power of photography and its community.

  37. first of all, the fedexed camera around the world idea is totally the idea of carlos rubin….i guess i did throw in the fedex part, but this is his baby…and obviously a very interesting concept to all of you…

    my idea of building community was to get sponsorship for selected individual photographer production which would result in an annual book/magazine and exhibition with the photographer/authors having ulitmate control…maybe 5-10 significant stipends…enough money to really do something…all of you could apply, a few of you would be selected….

    the other part, was to take some of this same funding and put it towards free workshops in developing countries where the photographers have no financing to go to a conventional workshop…and that these workshops could also revolve around “issues” which maybe an ngo could help finance..again, book and exhibit as an actual “product” of the workshop..

    the whole point of the above is to provide funding for those who are not now funded…real use of real financing to produce a real publication…

    i do like the fedexed camera around the world idea…very cool and fun…..but, i think in the long run for me, i am more interested in seeing potentially what some of you would do on an individual basis with some funding and some time..i think this work could really become a “classic”…

    the work that would come from the fedexed camera would be a collaborative effort and interesting in that sense, but the final result would , i think, be less truly powerful than the individual works…

    but let’s keep discussing this…that is the whole point of our collaborative experiment anyway….

    carlos rubin , i will jump in and help you in any way with the “traveling camera”….no doubt your idea will work brilliantly and even more easily funded…but it is your idea and you should be the one to spearhead it…but we can use this blog to get it done and done right….

    why not do both ideas??….let’s all keep thinking and all keep talking….

    raising funds is probably way harder than any of us think….but, on the other hand, i think our timing and our intent is just about right…

  38. The idea of the traveling camera and the community to get sponsorship are two separated ideas, that’s clear for me…
    The traveling camera is a short term project… less ambitious… but, I don’t know… I see a certain beauty on this… philosophically talking…
    First, this can be the beginning of things than this community can organize and build together…
    I mean, while the long term project of david leans more on david, the traveling camera leans more in the rest of the community… and I thing one activity feeds the other… the “big picture “ of david is nourished (I love larousse) by a community that can organize and make things real… that can really add value to the big picture…
    By the other hand, is funny to think that a group of persons that know each other virtually, thanks to technology, are going to share their images in such a (traditional?) way… everybody has the camera on his own hands…
    Is like the pipe of peace… is so symbolic…
    Uploading pictures to a web site can be so easier… but no more funny!
    Of course, symbols are not enough to make projects like david’s… that kind of ideas requires a lot of organization… and detailed work… but it could be possible by keeping a community that is constantly in touch and giving ideas…

  39. carlos manuel….

    you are so eloquent!! and right on!!

    the fedex camera around the world does involve more people in this community….and organizationally requires comparatively little compared to the other…

    but basically, these ideas are so totally different from each other that i do not think they compete in the slightest…one is one thing and one is another…

    so , i am not recommending one over the other…i just know the one i personally am more interested in because i can visualize the final result as something with real “content”….in depth seeing over a period of time…

    but, i am also totally behind the traveling camera concept too, but for totally different reasons….for one thing it is just going to produce an interesting group essay…

    i also think it is the easiest one to finance…pretty simple concept easily grasped by the marketing folks at fedex..and just not much money to put out anyway compared to the other idea that would require major funding….

    still you end up with a group essay as opposed to individual essays….from personal experience , i prefer the individual essay…i have participated in the “day in the life” projects, group national geographic books, group magnum books, and will a new group magnum book this year.

    but clearly, the solo books and solo stories are the most rewarding….i guess it comes down to balance…and i can tell from your letters that this is the most amazing balanced, thoughtful group i could ever imagine…

    many thanks for all of your thoughts…

    peace, david

  40. Wow…this is so interesting…a lot of feedbak….I feel alive after coming from a boring meeting with a client that keeps telling me that he wants his logo bigger…bigger…BIGGER!!

    David, thanks for all your support…the beauty of this is that we can have one project…two projects…20 projects….so many intelligent people here…so much energy and creativity!

    I want this idea to become everybody’s idea…we need to give it a lot of shape but it can be done….and I think it should de launch from this group…from this blog…that will bring more awareness to this blog and more people will benefit from what you bring to the table everytime you write.

    I think that this “traveling camera” needs a purpose, a mision, a theme…a reason for this camera to make this journey….I hope that this conversation will continue….and that more peole will bring ideas to this idea.

    Carlos Rubin

  41. I like the travelling camera idea but I tink david’s “personal projects” idea probably has a much better chance of being funded and succeeding. I was wandering David what kinds of personal projects you would be looking for? Any themes in particular? What is your idea as it stands now, and I know its early on.

  42. while i was coming to work place, i was thinking about Carlos’s “travel camera” concept.. it needs a lot of work, working together on a specific theme,and we need to keep a time factor in mind as well….it will be lot of fun and amazing …

    rather David’s personal project would be more intimate and interpersonal… let us keep our finger crossed and go further .. Sandip

  43. Just a thought…
    In the month of photography in France, they offered the possibility to send photos to the organization in Paris by the French Alliance (you know, the school of French). They have kind of internal correspondence or something like that.
    And I was thinking if they could help with the logistics of the traveling camera of Carlos.
    And by this, we could make a first contact with an organization that has classrooms everywhere, and could be a great sponsor for logistics, in David’s further plans like workshops.
    David, as you said before, magnum is very tied to France… could be this an advantage?
    I don’t know, is possible?

  44. michael….

    you are absolutely right….i never really thought that al gore really meant that he “invented” the internet…i always knew it was a misinterpretation or maybe clumsy language on his part…i was looking at the whole thing with a sense of humor anyway…

    thanks for the clarifying link…


  45. the idea of the traveling camera is good because when the concept of connectedness, unity, “one”, is portrayed, people tend to find an emotional tie.. this could be a story of “one”, “the family of man”, with the dots connected by the symbol of the traveling camera.

    the issue/concept/theme being photographed should be consistent obviously. or turn it on its head and show how a street photographer uses the tool vs. how a war photograher uses the tool.. there is a tie.. just thinking here..

    thinking big.. i can picture a documentary film… with the “camera cam” like the one used in “War Photographer”… this camera travels the world and each photographer who ends up with it gets documented and througout the show the stills are highlighted because that is where the power lies.

    there is a great surf film, “singlefin yellow”.. about a kick ass single fin surfboard shaped by one of the greats… the board is passed from one great free surfer to another all over the world.. the common thread is there, the story is there.. the beauty is there.. it works. each surfer and location is different but the common thread of the surfboard clearly illustrates their ties: the spirit of the surf..

    same here with the camera and concept/theme that is photographed.. the spirit of the photograph and the spirit of the message.

    this is powerful.. you have one hungry photographer right here.

  46. I agree with you Lance.. traveling camera is good idea, but it shouldn’t be story about “everything” it has to be one choosed topic for everybody

    I am hungry too ;)

  47. another thing to think about….

    why is the camera traveling and who does it go to??? in other words, if we took all of the photogs who will get this camera to just take a picture on the theme decided, would the final result not be the same?? or does the camera get sent randomly like a chain letter??

    somebody has to think of a “reason” for the camera to be traveling in terms of the actual pictures which will be taken….

    carlos, where did you go??? come back and give us some details!!!

  48. Hi…I’m with a big “monga” right now (cold) I don’t want to go to work buy I have to….

    I think that this project should have one theme in common, something that affects everybody everywhere right now and maybe the enviromental issue is a good one (I don’t know). I also think that maybe the last person that have the camera should decide where to send it next to make the thing less predictable and to really reach new and unknow places…bib places and little places…

    When 9/11, I bought a picture thru an organization called “Here is New York”….eveybody that was near the twin towers during
    9/11 sent pictures to this organization, they print them out and you can buy them for $20….you never new who was the photographer…maybe was David…Steve McCurry or just Carlos Rubin a tourist in NY during those days. This little detail made de project unpredictable and made people buy the pictures for the right reasons…to help.

    I also remember the impact that I had when I went to ICP in New York with my wife to see an exhibition about 9/11. I remember that they put there a Canon body, full of dust of a photographer that died while working but he managed to take several last pictures that were recovered….That day, for me, that Canon body was a lot more than an object to see..I think that maybe the traveling camera as I say before is a ‘concept” or “gymic” to make this journey more interesting, to bring more awareness to the project, in a way, it’s a “marketing tool” a very symbolic and emotional one…

    If we rationalize why are we doing this….we don’t have to because the results can be achieve without so much hard work, because at the end what we need is the pictures.

    But, the “romantic” and emotional value of a camera traveling camera on its own, around the world with a mission, unifying people with a same purpose, transmiting positive energy from hand to hand, going from famous photographers to unknown….
    makes this project “likeable” to a mass audience….not only to
    a community pf photographers. It will be appealing to media because it has a “soul”,,,the camera becomes somebody…and that…at the end will bring a lot of people to the issue and that should be what we want (enviromental?…the effect of war in families all over the world?….the effect of tecnology in family relations around the world?…This part is hard to me to figure out…just brainstorming…

  49. “monga”… that´s a cool word…
    Here we say “Pacheco”… this was the last name of a man who cultivated flowers in the mountain near Caracas… he came down to the city to sell his flowers every December… so the people associated the arriving of the cold with Pacheco… and now we say “hace Pacheco!” (It`s cold!)…
    Ok… back to the subject… Am thinking about your brainstorming carlos… and am looking to some of the websites and links of the people who write in this blog… trying to find common subjects… this could be a start to find common interests…
    For example, I see a lot of photos of children (most of them in your site)… That could be a subject… or maybe something related with children (the importance of education… I don’t know, childhood is to me a very important theme)… aga has a very interesting essay about being almost a child yet and mother at the same time…
    I also see religion as a common point… is everywhere… and is present in most the sites I visited…
    I saw also a cool subject named “streets athletes of new york” in lance´s site that made me think a lot… some subject like that… people play games in the street in most of places… a lot of street photography…
    to me is important that everybody feel connected with the subject… and seeing all your works I can presume what is important for each one…
    Like “monga” or “Pacheco”… the core of the subject is the same… but will be expressed by everybody in a different manner…

  50. Hola Carlos,
    somebody mentioned the enviromental issue that is very relevant in this moment…I also like the religion theme because we live in a world of many rituals….Here in Puerto Rico we have a couple of “issues” that are very interesting but I don’t know if they are “worldwide issues”. One of them is “depression” (young people living without any motivation and depressed by war and other issues)…also we have the “lost bullet” issue during celebrations (mostly new years’ eve) where every year innocent people die because of this practice…we also have a new generation of young people with a different concept about friendship (no more getting together…instead you have your tech lab in your room and you chat all day…the facebook, you tube… and so on generation)…we have mothers losing her sons because of Irak…We have new concepts about sex where early experimentation in any direction seems more normal every day….ideas please??


  51. i think i like the religion theme…within that theme you could actually have all of those other themes included….you can always, anytime, anywhere make a religion picture…no real access required, or at least very little…and religion really is one of the issues of our time , if not THE issue… the energy issue, the war issue, the single mother issue, the abortion issue, etc etc can all be tied to religion….unlimited possibilities….and unlimited editing nightmare!!!!

    so, with religion you have open access, can be done any time, and is at least one of the most important themes we could tackle…

  52. What I like about religion is that (at least here) religion have become many things in addtion to rituals. Religion have divided many sectors of our society…they have become like political parties…they fight each other to gain more members…they participate actively in politics issues…lot of thems have become very rich people with their own tv channels and other kinds of media…2 weeks ago came to Puerto Rico somebody that call himself Jesus Christ…the guy is puertorrican, have planes, boats and bodyguards and followers all over Latin America…incredible…

    Also caribbean countries like Cuba, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico and Haiti to mention some of them, have a lot of “Santeria” and other interesting rituals…I think it’s a very interesting theme…In Puerto Rico a church does not pay taxes…is that the same in otther Countries?

    Carlos Rubin

  53. :-)
    Mostly I am shooting religious storys (pilgrimares, processions, religious workshoops, ashura, corpus christi ect…now Mormon missionarys) so i love your idea!

  54. I’m onside. Spending time with you here has awakened in me an irrepressible desire to create. My motivations now are focused towards children. Those most precious of creatures.

    I’ve been endeavoring to make photographs of my own youngsters as a way to see into their world as best I can. To capture their pure delight at life’s simple pleasures. To witness their enormous and exquisite imaginings. And in this effort I have come to know myself so much better. The good and the bad but most especially the good.

    I want my boys to be free thinkers. To be able to catch those fleeting thoughts and ideas and spend time with them. To mould them. To live them. As I do. As I try to remember to do.

    Some of their thoughts and ideas can be quite frightening. But that’s fine. They may only be frightening to us “mature” grown-ups.

    Suffice to say, I hope one day to make a book of my work on this. I have made a fine start, me thinks, but there is so much more to do.

    My concern here is that many of us parents just don’t get it with kids. They have so much to teach us. All we need to do is partake. To wallow in the mud with them. To smell, to taste, to feel and to see with them. To listen to their quite astonishing questions. But not to intrude. Just visit. Spend time. This is their domain afterall.

    This is what I’m trying to do with my photographs.

    Thank you David for your brilliance and your dedication to our craft and it’s practitioners. Thank you for helping me to fuel my effort.

  55. Hi everybody…I don’t want to lose the “momentum” that we have with the “Traveling Camera Project”, I’ll love to do it.

    I can’t do it myself alone so I want to write down here what I “think” could be a logical plan (in very simple words) and then I’ll love to have feedback from all of you if we still want to do it.

    1) We have David’s support (that means a lot)

    2) We need to identified a sponsor or a couple of them. For me they should be a Mail Carrier (FedEx. UPS, etc.)a camera manufacturer (Nikon, Canon, Leica) and some “storage” provider like Sand Disk to mention one.

    3) We need to write a proposal to those sponsors about the project. In this stage it doesn’t need to be a comprehensive one, just an introductory letter with our idea objectives and goals (to get their attention to the project)

    4) Living in an island 100 x 35 I’m not the best guy to do that. Well…I can do it but I need at least somebody that knows any person inside Canon, Nikon, UPS or FedEx main offices so our letter gets the right people

    5)That letter can be signed by all of us as an organization or group we can create under the name “The Traveling Camera Project”. That group can live in this Blog if David agrees and I can make a nice logo,letterhead or any other identity if we want to or we need to.

    6)While we do all these, we can all define logistics about the project…theme, trayectory, uploads, exhibition?, purpose etc. etc.

    7)And then, we have to define a “departure day” and “arrival date” (a launching date and project finale)

    8) My questions….
    a)What about the religion theme? I like it
    b) any other suggestion about theme?
    c) Why are we doing this? Maybe this is a group that meet each other thru David’s blog and we decide to send the camera to each other as a way to create a common assignment and share our vision about it…a “symbolic” way to participate together in a commom project?..maybe because we know that we can’t meet in a common place we decided to send our most valuable tool to each other… a colaborative project between very known photographers, unknown photographers and students with one vision in common….
    a project that we can repeat every year with new people coming to the blog and make an even more powerful document about the world we all share?

    My Tech questions…
    1) Does this camera needs to come back to a “headquarter” every 3 trips (for downloads,checks, batteries, etc)
    2) film or digital?
    3) What happens if the camera get lost or broken (the project comes to an end…we have a back up from our sponsor?
    4) Time frame for this project… 1 month…3 months, 6 months…1 year?

    let’s do it…I still like it a lot.

    Alysia….help please…
    Carlos Rubin

  56. Hi Carlos Rubin. Nice to meet you! You may live on a 100×35 island, but you have internet access! That’s pretty cool. This roving camera project is very interesting, but somewhere along the blog I seem to recall it’s a different direction than David’s project. That said, it has some interesting legs (as they say, whoever “they” are). It seems this could be done in a pretty cool way on a site like Zooomr — a sort of mashup media site combining maps (location of photo) with blog and photos… (if you look at Zooomr today, I think they’re transitioning to new servers or something because they’re down now)… It seems a project like this needs some serious structure in order to work. My biggest question (probably asked somewhere up there already) is what difference does it make if the camera travels or if everyone just posts photos from their different region/location? It’s that portion that I can’t seem to wrap my head around because in the end, the product is a photo essay collaboration for which when you look at it you cannot tell if photos were taken with the same camera or not. As someone said above, it’s an experiential piece whereby the end viewer won’t have insight into the experience (of the flying camera)… I’m stumped. If the camera could take photos on its own of its journey (the customs guy, the road to the mailbox, the box opening, the room it sits in until it’s picked up), then we’d see the camera’s story. But that’s not possible (and defeats the artistic expression portion). Otherwise, maybe it’s just as effective and not as difficult to organize this group of DAH bloggers to collaborate on a photo essay (religion is a broad but universal topic) using their own cameras but posting in one mass blog/zooomr collection… The same community could “edit” the photos using some sort of polling and collaborative sorting. It would be a visual blog created by a group… Thoughts? Additional info your project?

    – Alysia

  57. “what difference does it make if the camera travels or if everyone just posts photos from their different region/location?”

    Hi Alysia,
    thanks a lot for your response and suggestions. You’re completely right with your quote above…the difference will be none….the end result will be the same..a photo essay.

    Anyway, to me this idea is valuable because it is a “creative concept” a marketing tool to bring more awareness to the pictures, to make the project “memorable”, different and fun…
    I come from the advertising business and sometimes is nice to create a “story” to stand out, to make something fresh, to get the attention…this is the reason for this…otherwise it does not make any sense…it’s easier to upload the images.

    Maybe I can started it locally, in a smaller scale…I really believe in it…I really like it.

    thanks again for your imput.

  58. I don’t know.. I am not here to abandon David’s original idea at all, I’d be on board with that in a heartbeat of course. But to add to the discussion of is there merit/interest in having a traveling camera.. there’s something ‘romantic’ (for lack of a better word) to have your hands on the same piece of equipment that your fellow photographer did just a week or two before, authoring your own piece to the story. It’s another common thread to the overall story, along with the theme/concept, that gives the project ‘legs’, makes it stand out. I guess it really depends on what the final project will be, a web-site? an online gallery? a book? a movie?

  59. Armando Ribeiro

    Lets do it David…

    There s a lot of good photography/photographers out there with quality and will to push this one forward…

    I’m in!

    Many cheers from London,


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