last day

today is the deadline for uploads to this site for our collaborative experiment ……michael courvoisier, who is handling all of the organization of your work will now be joining me in Bangkok as the tech manager for the workshop here….however, we will be able to start seriously looking at your entries soonest….as you know, the $5000. stipend for one of you will be announced and awarded by december 15, 2007….we should have our new web design also in place by the time i want to publish your work…i do look forward to seeing what so many of you have put together….

my own recent essay has manifested itself in an unusual way…  i have a heavy heart today for my friend Uptown (see "work in progress")….i think we can never become detached from our work….objectivity is supposed to be the mantra, but i am not sure that is ever really possible…what do you think??? are we ever really totally objective or does human nature prevail and we sometimes get "too close"???

124 Responses to “last day”

  • I don’t believe in objective photojournalism or photography. By chosing the lens, the angle you photograph, and the approach to the subject you’re already given you’re opinion about it.
    If I don’t get “too close” I normally don’t get the same results. I prefer to “get close” to people until I can almost understand how they think, even if I don’t agree with it. Unfortunatly most of times there’s no time/money for that, but I’d like to think that in my own projects I’ll always work this way.
    The main problem is editing after getting “too close”, because there are always some photos that only have emotional value and are hard to let go. This takes a lot of time of my workflow.
    Also when I’m “too close” to a subject after finishing it I feel somehow depressed or hanged over for some days, and I’m unable to shoot. Those are the days of editing and photoshoping :)

    My two cents…

  • Hi David, and also Michael.

    This is more for Michael. I couldnt quite understand your e-mail that you sent on the 13th. For that reason, to be safe, I re-uploaded 20 photos just now. If you have the ones I uploaded before then just omit the ones I put up now. If not, use them:)

    Thanks Michael.


    really cool process. Happy to participate and finally start shooting stories, however well or not. But it was a fun process and a good shift in approach. I owe it to you. Thanks.

  • Interesting about attachment. I get attached to photos like Sofia, though noit that much:) Havent yet had the chance to get in so close to a subject that it would effect me in such a way as Uptown’s story has had an effect on you. Yes but without such an outcome. Hopefully he pulls through, and hopefully he turns himself around. Be of good mind David, but be prepared for the worst just in case.

  • I understand what you say, I recently showed two stories to a friend of mine, after reviewing them he told me that he could feel that I was not engaged the same on the second story, he could feel it… That was quite amazing to hear this as he was totally right… I can make better pictures when I feel closer to the people I am shooting… On the other hand he told me to stay detached, not to care about the people I shoot… I don’t know, it seems to me that you have to enter their privacy (socially not paparrazingly) in order to understand them, the way they act, the way they move… Thus I feel more comfortable to shoot and render the best of their own, they are the stars of the show and I think that this is totally normal for a human being to “love” the people you wander with, even for a very short period of time…

  • Objectivity me arse. No such thing. At least not in my case.

  • I’m not sure about “too close.” But I don’t think it’s possible to be completely objective. We are humans. We feel. Empathy makes true objectivity next to impossible. (Just assuming none of us are sociopaths in here!)

    Yoichi Okamoto once told me–I was lucky enough to assist him once (Long time ago. I was a newbie little dork at the time)–that to be a good photographer you must be able to cry. Being so moved by a beautiful scene or a painful, emotional moment that you find youself on the verge of tears is in fact a good thing for a photographer. I never forgot that.

  • David: i as well as my friend w robert angell have work ready in a folder to submit however are unable to do so. Any suggestions. All i can say is that i worked really hard on this project as well as anyone else. Putting all of myself in the moment %110 heart mind body and soul. Would break my heart to be eliminated from participation just because i didn’t understand how to send my files properly. I’m certain that I’m missing some key information. if anyone could be so kind as to enlighten me to the process i would be eternally grateful as this forum means the world to me. I have to work today and time is of the essence. Please respond immediately..

    David- sorry for your friend this unfortunately goes with the territory of being a photographer. Lets face it how many of us would have any interaction with our subjects if it wasn’t for our cameras ? Our cameras i believe are our introduction into the unknown realms of reality in which we all so diligently try to record in an honest or objective way. Is objectivity possible in the truest sense of the word ? i don’t think so. although we can come to a more authentic place of understanding in a human way by steering our vessel in the realm of objective ideologies.

    P.S. please encourage your assistant Michael to answer my e-mail questions as i must participate with everyone else; please..

    truly; robert

  • Today:

    god-bless poor Mr. Michael: he’ll need an Ark…it’ll be like the Great Deluge….

    yo, someone get that man (both) a drink! ;))


  • I;ve left a comment under Work in Progress addressing your last question ;)))


  • robert:

    you guys can load via ftp. the address is:


    login: davidalanharvey-blog

    password: upload

    use one of the ftp file transfer programs. i have a mac and use the program Cyber Duck:

    just download the program: it is very very simplE!!!!!….

    ive got a busy busy day today, but if you have a problem, you can send the files to me at my private email and i will upload for you….but, try first yourself: you should learn FTP it is the way to do things now and many agencies/galleries/competitions etc require….

    let me know


  • You beat me to it Bob. I’ll have time late tonight too if for some reason Bob is unavailable. I’ve uploaded mine and a client I needed to get stuff to for tomorrow has given me till Monday. So after I get back from school meeting tonight I too can help.
    Email is

    Google Fetch or Transport FTP and you’ll be all set.
    May your day be lucky.

  • David
    It is so hard to be objective about something you care about.Taking a photograph is making a connection. Looking for the soul you are giving a piece of your own. My “career” was as a nurse. I think the same”problem” existed there. Leaving work “behind” when I went home was sometimes impossible. From “No Man Is an Island”–“each man’s joy is joy to me, each man’s grief is my own.” However, when you have a job to do, you just have to do it. Getting close to people means a lot of painful good-byes–but also the joy of being a part of their lives in some way.
    I am disappointed in myself that I have not put together something I feel like I want to send for the group project–even with the extension in time. However, I am shooting more and trying to “find my way.” This site has helped me in that. Thank you,David,for giving this challenge and making this site available. I look forward to seeing everyone’s work–and hope that if you do this again, I will have something I can contribute
    and share. I would like to get a copy of your new book–not only for the photographs, but I am interested in reading “The Struggle.” Also, thank you for your very nice comment. Your kind words make me want to “do better.”

  • I am guessing that the file size needs to be about a meg or so? Right? I should have noted it but I did not, and now I can’t find it. What sizes have people sent in? I should have asked this before today….so 10 in ches at the longest by 72 dpi? Maybe?

  • David
    It is so hard to be objective about something you care about.Taking a photograph is making a connection. Looking for the soul you are giving a piece of your own. My “career” was as a nurse. I think the same”problem” existed there. Leaving work “behind” when I went home was sometimes impossible. From “No Man Is an Island”–“each man’s joy is joy to me, each man’s grief is my own.” However, when you have a job to do, you just have to do it. Getting close to people means a lot of painful good-byes–but also the joy of being a part of their lives in some way.
    I am disappointed in myself that I have not put together something I feel like I want to send for the group project–even with the extension in time. However, I am shooting more and trying to “find my way.” This site has helped me in that. Thank you,David,for giving this challenge and making this site available. I look forward to seeing everyone’s work–and hope that if you do this again, I will have something I can contribute
    and share. I would like to get a copy of your new book–not only for the photographs, but I am interested in reading “The Struggle.” Also, thank you for your very nice comment. Your kind words make me want to “do better.”

  • So David, what can we do to show our appreciation to Michael for all his hard work?

    I have something I’d like to send him. Can I send through you?


  • Tom, etc..

    Submission Guidelines

    1) Resize all images to be 2,000 pixels on the longest side
    2) Input your copyright and description into the images metadata.
    3) Save as a JPG with a quality of 10 or higher. (Best Quality)
    4) Name all images with your last name then first name and sequential number. (Smith_John_001.jpg)
    5) Put all images into a folder on your desktop with your first and last name on it.
    6) Now you are ready to upload to Digital Railroad you will need an ftp client program.
    Here are 2 free ftp programs you can download and use if you do not have one. (for Mac users) (for PC or Mac users)


    login: davidalanharvey-blog

    password: upload

  • Bob- I searched all over the site yesterday and couldn’t find the guidelines Erica posted above, yet I’ve already uploaded my files. Would it be ok if I re-uploaded my folder with the above guidelines in place? Can you just ignore my previous upload? Sorry to be such a pain!

  • Hi David & all;

    in what manner could one attempt to define objectivity…i do not think it possible as even in science the subjective nature of positivism had to be embraced;

    rather, i think the constructionist epistimology allows for a semblance of an objective style|approach, aka the Bechers, perhaps Shore, maybe some Evans (doubtful, though), if so required; but by definition i think the subjective nature of the self prevails simply, because, perception, by nature, is subjective and tied to the individual in both a physiological, sociological and psychological way…it is the only way in which photography can make sense to me..why I can rationalise spending precious time and resources on it; NO ONE ELSE PERCEIVES THE WORLD AS I DO, i think….and this allows me to reflect some perceived facet of the world back into the world for reflection…

  • Exciting day! I’m so looking forward to everyone’s stories. Michael, I kind of spaced and forgot to add copyright info to a handful of my images. If you have time, please let me know if it’s necessary to resend.

    Best o’ Luck to All!

    David M

  • Uptown and upload, the events of the week’s beginning are playing puns on us.

    The upload, I could do something about it, miraculously, it went without an itch. I do not have a ftp program, I just signed in the http://ftp.dig RR site, and copied my whole essay into the folder “submissions” there. Then e-mail Michael (blogquestion @…) who kindly replied he got my folder. I knew I was doing something right when the 16MB or so of documents took about 10 minutes to upload.

    About Uptown, David, that we can’t do anything is the most frustrating, yet, if there is ever a chance we can send him a word, a card, a call maybe, please do let us know how to write the hospital or any way to get it to him.

    Thru and thanks to you, Uptown is bound to be no stranger to us anymore, and there are enough lines dividing people in this country/world that when someone like you bridges them, we can add our footsteps to it.

  • Hello,

    Not sure if the photos I submitted reached the site or not – hoping they did. Should be twenty there – two sets of ten.

    Checking out the Uptown story now – it is better, more often than not, to be less objective, I think. We see the world as we see it, and we should present it as we see it. A veneer of subjectivity is often nothing more than that – a thin, slightly deceptive veneer. Underneath, in everything we create, is our thinking, our consciousness.


  • Thanks all i’m off now to work an 8 hour shift waiting tables to earn my bread and butter. As soon as my work is finished i will be here
    giving my best to following the directions above me. Sure is nice to know that others care and respond accordingly. Now if i can make this all happen on time. Meaning Davids time which is three hours ahead of me; whew. Also will take a moment today to pray for Uptown to pull through his ordeal and to come out the other side a better man. Get Well Soon UPTOWN !! Wishing you the BEST !!

  • Ok I re-uploaded, again sorry to be complicated!

    David. I’ve been a long-time “silent” reader of this great blog/body of work. Thanks for this opportunity, I look forward to seeing the entries!

  • David,

    This talk of ‘objectivity’ vs. ‘subjectivity’ harks back to some earlier discussions I can remember here. Philosophically and psychologically a very, very deep topic! … and while I don’t think it’s wrong to consider it in that wider context of human experience, communication, and understanding, I think what we’re really talking about here is the down-to-earth problem a photojournalist or any kind of journalist faces all the time. To get close enough to get pictures or stories with emotional impact, we have to have enough rapport and sympathy to get ‘close’ psychologically to the people we’re dealing with. Comes with the territory. The ability to do that I’d call simply ‘humanity.’ But journalism is also a profession, and a very important one in complex societies. Part of the power, justification, and credibility of that profession comes from the fact that the audience believes that what is being presented to it is not only true in a very specific (‘subjective’) sense, but also is representative of something in a larger context. So to some extent it is inevitable that ‘objectivity’ has to be a consideration. In a way it’s an impossible contradiction, but it’s also an inevitable ongoing argument and tension that comes with the territory. How can one do good journalism without passion and involvement? But how can one present something approximating ‘the truth’ without at least a kernel of objectivity? Can you turn your humanity off and on to ‘get the story’ and then walk away from it? Of course not. But there are many forms of understanding, some involving passionate involvement, some involving stepping back and coolly observing from the middle distance, and I think we need them all. I don’t think it’s necessarily a conscious decision where one may fall on this spectrum, and it probably changes from day to day, certainly from story to story.
    There is tragedy in the world… there is also joy. There is hope… and also despair. And ugliness, and beauty. I don’t feel that we’re free to choose to experience one and not the other.
    But objectivity, (maybe ‘detachment’ is a better word?) for all it’s built-in contradictions, also has a place. Think about what photography is… half artistic, individual perception, half photo-mechanical process that is a mirror of exterior reality. We use the term ‘objective lens’ in optics… so the whole vehicle of photography always has this dual nature of subjectivity and objectivity.

    As Herve has said, because of your work, we all got some insight into Uptown’s world, and some sense of him as a human being. Part of you is still living in that world… inevitably, even if you’re physically sitting in some hotel room in Bangkok in relative comfort and safety. And feeling for your friend, whom you may be relatively powerless to help…

    Bon Courage, mon ami…


  • I just spent an hour thinking about this and managed to contradict myself with ever other thought.

  • And you are shooting animals!!! ;-)

    I loved the gallery on the cheetah and the puppied learning to curb their “charge”, Harry.

    About objectivity, lack of it may be a problem on today’s newspaper front page, but since David, you have propped us so much on the subject, how can one possibly diminish the value of subjectivity inherent to authorship?.

    Plus, once the book/article is out, comes in the objectivity and subjectivity of the reader/viewer.

    One thing I have always frowned upon, and the description of an image with the intent to force on the reader what he/she must “think”. What I call editorializing one’s photography. Here again, David, you have come closely to the artist not having to explain itself, but let his craft talk for itself.

    In VIETNAM INC (great book), I thought that a note of dissonance was introduced by Griffith Jones commentary whose seeming objectivity, but actually emotional subjectivity, bloated his photographic message. It tended in my mind, since it was so repeated, to compete with the images, especially as captions. I suppose when published, few dared to talk of the dumbing down of the Pax Americana then, and he felt the need to.

  • errata:

    1)”is the” description, not “and the”…

    2)His/her, not just his. I hate when I forget the feminine pronouns. The anime in me, I guess…. :-)

  • David, I’m very sorry to hear about your friend, Uptown, who is not only a figure in your photos, but who is also so clearly one of your creative partners (remember the thread about collaborations with subjects and editors?).

    Regarding objectivity, I agree completely that photographers can never become detached and objective, at least not if the photographs are to convey anything meaningful.

    But going to the opposite extreme, what is “too close”? Was Stieglitz “too close” to O’Keefe, so that his emotional proximity adversely affected his portraits of her? Or did it make them even more compelling than Adams’ and others’ photographs of her? I think the latter…:
    Georgia O’Keefe by Stieglitz:

    Georgia O’Keefe by Yousuf Karsh:

    Georgia O’Keefe by Ansel Adams:

    This recent assignment from you has educated me in several ways. One lesson I learned is that my most compelling photographs (my personal bests) come only when I have a connection with my subject (duh), but also that the stronger the bond and the deeper my understanding of the subject, the more I “see”.

  • How about Jim Nachtwey? Obviously, he takes a personal stake in the events, places and people he is covering, but does it amount to any subjectivity inside the image shot beyond making the strongest case possible, that is.

    It seems to me the personal (ie. what I think we call subjective here) in him is in his intent, not in his pictures.

    Isn’t the strength of his images in the very fact he is striving successfully to be a mere medium (the greatest art, of course, because it reaches onto the perenniality of the human experience/suffering, which we can touch directly without the slightest encumbrance or distraction related to who shot it) between that which is happening and us?

  • Oh, the deadline has finally arrived and the tension is palpable now, boys and girls…as for objectivity, does it really exist? Our personal views, by definition, color every aspect of our relationships with other people. I think that a bias honestly acknowledged and dealt with is better than pretending that we are somehow neutral in a given situation, especially when our actions, which almost always speak louder than our words, tell the people that we are dealing with that we are not, in fact, being objective. Having a prejudice towards one side or another and letting people know that you have this prejudice is alway preferable to pretending otherwise and opening yourself up to accusations of hypocrisy.

  • Managed to upload my 24 shots. I wish they were all in a single roll.

    I find it hard to be too close for long and still get interesting shots. There’s some point at which I need to get a bit further away and explore the topic at hand from a new angle. I think that as obviously we are biased on everything we do, the only way to minimally work against the bias is to add shots of all ‘flavours’, not allowing any single story to be told from the image flow. There’s always a bit of good and bad and sad and funny on everything.

  • sorry to be bringing up this issue again, but what do you do once you have accessed the submissions folder, every time I try and drag my folder into the submissions folder, it shoots it back onto the desktop w/ a popup saying submission could not be modified. Can someone shed some light on what to do once the submission folder has popped up in the window. I am stumped.

  • I’m sorry for your friend and for your grief. I once spent the summer in a really rough suburban ghetto and it changed the way I look at the world. As a privileged white girl I was taught that we make our own destiny, but I know better now.

    As far as objectivity goes, I’m not sure I know what that is. As a photographer, I try to detach myself from my finished work so I can continue to improve and show my best work, but I don’t think that means being detached from our subjects. How can we remain objective and sort of mentally turned off if we are trying to make images that will compel the viewer and make a statement? I’m also in the “objectivity never really exists camp.”

    I’ve embraced it. My goal is not to change the world but to let the world change me.

  • WRobert..I don’t know, but maybe try bringing photos in one at a time, not in the folder?

    This close/too close is greatly of interest, but I am out the door now. However, I keep thinking of what Arbus said:

    ”For me the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture, and more complicated.”

  • all right, I give up.
    Paul or BobB, I would like to send over to your email 8 images, if you could forward them to the I will love you forever.

  • If you have no news from Paul and Bob, Wrobert, and since my uploading worked fine, I can try to do it for you, Wrobert (what is the w for?). send to

    It’s already the 16th in Bangkok! Go, go, go…;-)

  • I think it’s funny how the standards for objectivity are so different for photojournalism vs. print journalism. Print journalism rarely if ever relies solely on a reporter taking quotes that come out of a subject’s mouth naturally – that’s the whole point behind the interview, it’s a manufactured situation. I guess a portrait would be the photographic equivalent of an interview, but for the remainder of the time (when we’re just trying to blend in to the background), I think photography is much more objective than print reporting, which must rely on a limited set of emotionally-charged words, can ever hope to be. That’s not to knock print journalism (or radio, for that matter), just that maybe the conception of a photograph as a perfect representation of reality leads to warped expectations on our part.

  • Well, I just tried some friends who are a server provider, and they said that it seemed to go through from there location, but they sent them piece by piece, not sure about that, maybe I could send you the email just to be on the safe side.
    the W is warren, thats me.
    thanks Herve

  • OK wait a minuet, I also sent the shots to Paul Treacy, and he said he has it covered, and I will love you forever, so I seem to have pulled it off at the last second.
    thanks alot Paul.
    But my friend at libertypictures may need some help now, Herve, maybe he could email the shots over to you, I know he is at work right now, but when he gets home I will call him ,to look at these comments. Thanks for helping, very cool of you guys.

  • You’re all set Warren. Love me forever baby!

  • Now I have to make dinner for my crew. Organic turkey burgers.
    Best of luck everyone.

  • Hi David. Objectivity to my work is probably the hardest thing to achieve, if ever possible.. I sometimes try to “forget” the photos I took and after some time, trying to come back to them to get the fresher look. That helps a little to eliminate the ones which “passed” at first time, maybe because of the emotions involved when selecting them straight after taking them.. Ok.. back to reality now..
    To much time spent on post processing equals less time for tasting Real life. That is probably like watching TV in the hotel room instead of doing what needs to be done. ;)

    Hi Michael, I have uploaded photos but I’m not quite sure if all three folders went OK, as I could only see the first one after that. I’m a bit worry. Could You check if everything’s fine please?

    Maciej Mosur

  • Dear David,

    I have uploaded my photo essay. Thank you for this opportunity. I am concerned that they were uploaded, my computer said completed, but I am still worried.Is there any way of confirming the submission.

    yours truly

    Edwin Padilla Villa

  • Hi David and Michael !

    I’ve just submitted my work. Now I can go to bed…

    Please let me know if all worked correctly (I’m not sure the text I’ve uncluded can be read).

    Thanks very much !


  • I don’t know what objectivity is when I look through my lens. There’s only the world as I see it out there, only my feelings reflected in the glass.

    Good luck to everyone with this assignment!


  • Now that my second batch is uploaded and confirmed received, it seems like a good moment to pause and reflect briefly on what I sent in. I started as a landscape photographer, way back when, who also enjoyed ‘environmental portraiture’ though I didn’t know it was called that. Later I primarily took photographs to use as a geography teacher and researcher, I guess they were half travel- half social documentary, but usually emphasizing the sense of place and the environments rather than the people in them as individuals. I tried to imbue them with aesthetic qualities, but the primary goal was usually to produce information-dense ‘documents’. This was all on slide film using an SLR. But I lived for two decades in Japan, and that is a big snapshot culture where people habitually take pictures of each other at almost all social events to give as souvenirs and presents, so I started using pocket point-and-shoots in that context, and taking mainly people pictures (but largely of people I already knew) on print film. That was a looser style that I also enjoyed, but I still aspired to well-composed ‘cultural landscapes’. When I moved back to the US ten years ago I decided to get a little more serious and systematic about photography as a possible occupation rather than a hobby. I deliberately tried all kinds of photography I hadn’t done before, took a few workshops with Nat. Geo. photographers, learned to digitally scan, process, and print, and met a few other photographers locally who I could bounce ideas off. When I went thru my archive, it seemed to be mostly travel, landscape and nature, or environmental portraits. I also had a number of good classic portraits, but they were again people I already knew. I felt that where I was weak was in getting close to people who I didn’t already know and engaging them to the point where both they and I would feel comfortable if I took photographs. This was something I really had to work at, but I did and had some good results. But as often as not I would fall back into the landscape view, really my most natural way of seeing, in which people were part of the environment and not the subject as individuals.

    I remember a few months back David on the blog writing about Alex Webb being someone who ‘where others might take one step forward, he takes one step back’ and I realized that what I was deliberately doing in my summer project was taking two, or even three, steps back as an experiment. That was in fact what the project was about for me- could I do that and still make pictures that were interesting? There are people, lots of them, in my first twenty, but with two exceptions, the pictures are really landscapes, the people are figures in the landscape, and the view is deliberately detached. But in late September and October I went the other way, trying to get close to people and make people the main subject, even though they are in ‘environments’ and sense of place is very strong. I was trying for more emotional content, which I felt was largely lacking in the earlier series, and a looser and faster style. Did I succeed? I think so, I hope so. While the two batches show styles that may seem somewhat different, I think there is enough overlap to reveal consistent ‘authorship’. Does one batch or the other more accurately reflect ‘who I am’ as a photographer? I don’t know. But I definitely got to stretch in both, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity and the stimulus to do that stretching.

    Now what I really want is to see everybody else’s work and hear what they think they learned in the process, and forget about my own.


  • hello, is anyone around who can help me?

    i went to:
    to try and upload my photos and i got this:

    ‘530 log-in incorrect’

    under username i put: davidalanharvey-blog

    under password i put: upload

    what am i doing wrong?

    thank you! and i might need some help with the ftp too.
    i’ve never dealt with it before.

    appreciate it..


  • Okay, I had to attempt log in twice. I retyped in case there was an error in the password. Anyway, ’twas fine. When you’ve logged on, you’ll unlikely be able to select a folder to send, rather you should simply drag the folder from you desktop to the submissions folder you’ll see upon login.

    Good luck.

  • always cutting it close… it’s in my nature i guess, just can’t help but work on things right up to the last minute. last minute is usually when things seems to take the longest…

    david thank you for doing this.

    it has inspired me greatly and brought me out into the dark bowels of the subway.

    we all need a reminder occasionally, even if it is an obvious one. because after all the most important thing is the work. that’s it. what i can show you, hand you or beam you, these pieces of acetate/0101010’s photographic sculptures that we have create with our minds, hands and experiences… tears, sweat, and blood. in the end nothing else matters.

    maybe it is an obvious statement, but i look forward to the time when i can sit down with a bottle of whiskey and click (would rather flip, but clicking will do) through the work that has been created by all. i hope to see the work soon.

    i didn’t think i would end up with anything much, especially after the leica took a 6 foot nose dive into concrete, poor mangled leica went down for the count. but i managed with a digital point-n-shoot. a great discovery, it gave me some freedom in it’s discreetness, but i had to overcome many limitations. but dammit if it didn;t work just fine to create something that i am proud to show and be my introduction to you.

    thanks again and good luck to all.
    Jonathan Auch

  • Everyone turning their assignments in at the last minute…can’t figure out how to upload…am I the only one who has recurring nightmares very similar to this? :)

    Can’t find my locker…or don’t know the combination for the lock, just about to give a speech that I’m totally unprepared for, assignment is due and I’m not finished…

    Maybe that’s why I turned in my assignment early. :)

  • Please let me know if you received my folder.
    I did not know how to add descriptions, etc but would be glad to do so via email.

    Thank you and I’m very much looking forward to seeing others work!

    A big warm (((((HUG))))) to you, David and Michael.

    Your generosity is hugely inspiring.


  • just wanted to show some love to Paul Treacy, Bob Black, and Herve for stepping up and really being good sports, for helping with the ftp stuff. most excellent fellows you guys are.
    ( i was really pulling out my hair )
    thanks for helping.

  • Hi David,
    I have been a long time lurker.. (the one who when he started to read the blog made the remark about your writing style..)

    Something in this idea of the ‘collaboration’ triggered me and made me think about authorship, series and sequencing a lot, and I think I made more progress through this project than anything else in the last five years.

    I have reread a lot of the posts of your weblog and tried to make it work in my own photography.

    I think your teaching strategy, specially in this new medium is absolutely briljant.

    If you are interested in a more personal account, to enhance your strategy, drop me an email..

    Thank you, and please keep the writing the way it is!


  • David,

    I don’t think objetivity is supposed to be the mantra. I do think SUBJETIVITY is the only thing that makes a photographer different from another. As Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”.

    In my African photo report I got close, too close…. and now I have “to deal” with a heart full of passion, stories and energy… (such a good deal!). Pictures that would have never been the same if I wasn’t too close…..

    But I know you, and I know you will always be that “too close” photographer. That makes you big!!



  • I read Divided Soul last night (glad to get one of the last remaining copies at amazon uk). Really made me think about the Objectivity/ Subjectivity thing. I used to think good photography had to be about Objectivity…being invisible. But thinking about your story on LUZ, and the image of the woman grieving. Obviously you were sympathizing with her, it comes through in the image, and this helps to give the viewer more of a sense of what she herself feels. (not sure if I’m making sense)? Maybe the invisible camera thing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be seen at all, but that people should be comfortable with the camera there. i.e essential to be part of the scene and the people you photograph?

  • hi michael,

    i resent my pictures as requested earlier in the week. i hope there hasn’t been anymore problems. the folders were taken of the server so i’m guessing they arrived okay. can you let me know though.


    Jason Hobbs

  • Michael Courvoisier

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for all of your patience during this whole submission process. I still have some images without names. If you have sent in images and have not been in contact with me through email please you must email me so that I can confirm with you that all images made it safely. We do not want to leave anyone out. I turned off the submissions a little bit after 3:00 A.M. EST. Again I will not be responding to questions about their submission through this forum as we would like to keep it clear for more meaningful conversation than tech stuff. Thanks for all of your participation and good luck.



  • The question regarding objectivity brings to mind a personal experience from the last few days that also relates to access. Perhaps this is a bit off tangent but …

    I no longer think of myself as traditional journalist … i’ve been exploring many other avenues of photography for the past 18 months … but once played that role (reporter and photographer) in a recent “former life” where I was objective to a fault … i remember my father telling me about the 40-year political reporter whom no one could tell how he voted, even in the newsroom … that was my tenant … at one time I wouldn’t accept a cookie at a meeting and would never express an opinion on an issue, at least not outside my editorial page. It was a tip-toe dance of daily ethical dilemmas and a prison but perhaps a necessary one, especially in a small town, and it did afford access of a sort to a wide range of the community not worried about me taking sides against them on an issue. But i suppose that’s a reporter’s perspective, not a photographer’s, or is it the same?

    Some of you may have heard of the running battles and arrests of war protesters in Olympia, Washington over the last 10 days. While I missed the pepper spray, flash bang grenades, shotgun beanbags, over 60 arrests (mostly women) and rolling battles through the streets, I did spend one day and night with the core group of demonstrators toward the end of all the chaos.

    The group, Olympia Port Militarization Resistance, allowed me to attend a three-hour meeting after I stood before them as an identified photojournalist and documentary photographer to explain what I was doing … to document a part of local history in the context of one of the largest debates of our time … and that I was not a reporter although I reserved the right to sell the photos to news agencies … after I agreed not to convey anything said outside the room as they strategized … and after I answered their question of what I thought of the Iraq war. I gave them an honest answer (a fairly innocuous “worst U.S. foreign policy blunder of the last 40 years”) … and agreed not to take anyone’s picture who didn’t want it taken (only one person). The tipping point in acceptance perhaps was that some there had seen some of my photos in an obscure magazine …

    Would I have approached this situation in the same way as a “traditional” journalist? Would it have been ethical to express such an opinion or agree to suppress information? Would I have compromised my objectivity? Does it really matter? Can a photojournalist who does not “report” gain access a reporter can’t? What would I have said if they had asked, do i agree with their methods?

    Does objectivity really lie somewhere between complete detachment and making a personal judgement of people or their situation?

    Anyway, so you don’t pick up the sign or the rock or the gun but “objectivity” in the traditional sense seems more and more like a lie to ourselves … an irreconcilable paradox. Traditional tenants of journalism seem to push objectivity to the point of nearly inhuman detachment. I was once criticized by a media veteran for putting down my camera to help save someone’s life! Perhaps this attitude of detachment is changing or maybe it’s just me … i’ve struggled with this for years. When i stop struggling with it is when i will have truly lost my objectivity i think. I guess it comes down to honesty about your intent and method … with your subjects, your editor and your viewers.

    Back to the recent situation … this group was bruised, beaten and battered … mistrustful, paranoid of agent provocateurs and undercover infiltrators. The day before some of these same people backed photojournalist Tony Overman, president of NPPA, up against a fence screaming at him, grabbing for his camera, angry he was taking their picture (i still don’t understand why) to the point where he called 911 in the midst of the chaos. He was okay but pissed.

    So while this access did not really result in amazing photos in a traditional photojournalism sense for me, I did make connections, did get in close and push myself … and i felt honored with the trust that these individuals, many awaiting possible prosecution, placed in me … i told them so … given this trust and connection, i would have to “feel more” if one of these people was seriously hurt or killed while protesting, how could i not. A few pics (I hate fluorescent lighting but hey, there was a black dog, lol) no names :)) …

    In this vein, I’ve read with great interest “Magnum Stories” which i just picked up. Great insights there on this issue of objectivity and alternative approaches to story telling beginning with the introduction. Much to swallow and ponder … an essential book.

    DAVID, how do you find “balance” between objectivity and being human. What set of “rules” do you play under, i.e. do you have some lines which are never crossed, and how are they different from the traditional newspaper photographer?


  • Tom Hyde,

    Great Post! Really lays out the problems in a real-world story, told with honesty and eloquence. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us! Any way we can get a look at some of the pictures you’re taking on this story?


  • Thanks Sidney :)), for what it’s worth go here:

    In addition, i wanted to say in another former life (i have a few of these) i did case work with active military and veterans. In one particular case, i worked with a homeless Vietnam veteran who lived under the bridge in Olympia to get him VA benefits. After his hearing in the federal building in Seattle, the stressors of a formal VA hearing which he didn’t think went well “triggered” him and he trashed an office, throwing me aside at one point. As federal officers scoured the building looking for him, i was visibly upset and the head veterans advocate for the state pulled me aside and said i just couldn’t take these things personally, or get personally involved. I was young, 23 maybe. I told him he was right but i now know he was wrong … at least for me. Because i did care so much, because i was personally involved … i eloquently argued the man’s case and he got 100% permanent disability for PTSD in an incredibly flawed and unjust system. After a decade on the street, he got a home, he got help, he found a little peace and a little justice after the horrible things he did in war for his country broke his mind. It is not WRONG to care, to be human … and i think conviction can be the personal antidote to “caring too much.” I just watched “War Photographer” for the first time and this is what i came away with.

    Perhaps that was a bit strong but i guess i feel strongly that it’s important to feel strongly … i’ve tried the alternative and it sucks, cynicism is death.

    tom :))

  • Hi Michael, Hi David,
    Uploaded on 11/12, hope you got it.
    Thank for giving us this opportunity.

  • about being close..from The Little Prince

    “good morning” said the fox.

    “good morning”
    the little prince responded politely
    altho when he turned around he saw nothing.

    “I am right here” the voice said, “under the apple

    “who are you?” asked the little prince, and added,

    “You are very pretty to look at.”

    “I am a fox”, the fox said.

    “Come and play with me,”
    proposed the little prince, “I am so unhappy.”

    “I cannot play with you,” the fox said,
    “I am not tamed.”

    “I am looking for friends.
    What does that mean—tame?”said the little prince.

    “It is an act too often neglected,”
    said the fox.
    “It means to establish ties.”

    “To establish ties?”

    “Just that,” said the fox.
    “to me, you are still nothing more than
    a little boy who is just like
    a hundred thousand other little boys.
    And I have no need of you.
    And you, on your part, have no need of me.
    To you I am nothing more
    than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes.
    But if you tame me, then we shall need each other.
    To me, you will be unique in all the world.
    To you, I shall be unique in all the world. . .”

    “I am beginning to understand,”
    said the little prince.

    “My life is very monotonous,” said the fox.
    “I hunt chickens; men hunt me.
    All chickens are just alike,
    and all the men are just alike.
    And in consequence, I am a little bored.
    But if you tame me,
    it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life.
    I shall know the sound of a step that will be
    different from all the others.
    Other steps send me hurrying back
    underneath the ground.
    Yours will call me, like music out of my burrow.
    And then look:
    you see the grain-fields down yonder?
    I do not eat bread.
    Wheat is of no use to me.
    The wheat fields have nothing to say to me.
    And that is sad.
    But you have hair that is the color of gold.
    Think how wonderful that will be
    when you have tamed me!
    The grain, which is also golden,
    will bring me back the thought of you.
    And I shall love to listen
    to the wind in the wheat. . .”

    The fox gazed at the little prince,
    for a long time.
    “Please—tame me!” he said.

    “I want to, very much,” the little prince replied.
    “But I have not much time.
    I have friends to discover,
    and a great many things to understand.”

    “One only understands the things that one tames,”
    said the fox.
    ” Men have no more time to understand anything.
    They buy things all ready made at the shops.
    But there is no shop anywhere
    where one can buy friendship,
    and so men have no friends any more.
    If you want a friend, tame me. . .”

    So the little prince tamed the fox.
    And when the hour of his departure drew near—

    “Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”

    “It is your own fault,” said the little prince.
    “I never wished you any sort of harm;
    but you wanted me to tame you. . .”

    “Yes that is so”, said the fox.

    “But now you are going to cry!”
    said the little prince.

    “Yes that is so” said the fox.

    “Then it has done you no good at all!”

    “It has done me good,” said the fox,
    “because of the color of the wheat fields.”

    “Goodbye” said the Prince.

    “Goodbye,” said the fox.

    “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret:
    It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
    what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

    From the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  • david,
    hi, im from pakistan and this is the first time im participating on your blog. well yes you have to get close in order to get a personal side of the story in yr pictures, i also suppose then that there is no pain without gain, im still training myself to look through the view finder at moments like these. its all a minds game, but then again do you actually become mechanical when you are taking these great shots which deal with emotions/ i dont know. have you ever asked natchwey? or some one like larry burrows, there is passion and commitment in his work but the feel for human emotion at times can be very haunting or freightning if not erased. its like the horror of conrads heart of darkness
    regds arif

  • Hi David, hi Michael, I resent my work, I hope everythinghs is ok. Can you let me know though.
    thank you for this opportunity.


  • Thanks a lot Erica. That says it all.
    I love the Little Prince.
    My Little Prince lunchbox is around somewhere…gotta find it!

  • “Our perception of reality is not reality”
    quote by Richard Bandler and John Grinder.
    Thes are two different things, our perception of something, and that something existing outside our perception of it.
    perception is subjective

  • “Our perception of reality is not reality”

    and that may only be the only reality of it all.

    Which may make a moment-let’s say 1/125th ;-)- as important as the whole timelentgh of the whole universe. Or as Buddhism reminds us, there is only “now”, the past is gone, the future does not exist. And “now” allows no time for action except that which is innately pure, imagined(…there’s no Heaven), not thought, not deducted.

    I think photography can come the closest to solving this conundrum of stilling the now, yet relying on a creature (the camera) steeped in the mechanics of time and space. And by gosh, we (from the family snapper to HCB’s ultimate glory) do not do a bad job of it.

  • I like that, Herve, “the family snapper”. Yum!

  • On re-reading that I guess I miss read it as the collective rather than the everyday “family” photographer.

  • ALL….

    i promise to come back and comment to you individually as i often try to do…just scrambling here in bkk for this upcoming workshop with nachtwey…..”off campus” workshops do require more work …and this is a first time/probably one-time event…

    in any case, michael courvoisier, my good friend and tech “save my life everyday” man, will not let any of you down regarding your you can imagine, he is on overload, but mike handles overload better than anyone i know..that is why i am bringing him to bangkok for the nachtwey/harvey ensemble…

    we/he can get a lot of work done on your uploads from here..i have gotten emails from some of you who were a little panicked that for some reason your uploads were not working right….do not worry!!! i am not going to leave anyone out…deadline or no deadline….we will fix whatever needs to be fixed..

    i think you all must know by now that i am totally dedicated to this forum….it is important to me…and it is very rewarding to be able to perhaps move some of you forward in your life and career….the old old axiom about helping others just “feels good” and is “right” and makes life in perfect “balance” , is my axiom to live by….

    any time you do not see me posting is simply because i just cannot for any number of reasons…but, stick around…i will always do my best to give you things to think about that concern all of us in our often perplexing , but ultimately beautiful craft…and , as i have always said, your comments are the very best in photoblogland…it is not me…it is US !!

    cheers, david

  • On being objective: I kept reading the responses here trying to pitch in with something useful but found my self at a loss of words.

    I think photography is a point of view that may or may not come through the way you intended it to be captured. It then, at the editing table will be narrowed down to a more specific point of view until the right story emerges.

  • thanks david and michael for all your patient and support.


    AND ALL:

    just a brief note as im running for Family Day (that would be Sunday) with Marina and Dimka….didnt feel like leaving a lot of words after writing so much under David’s post about Living Proof and Uptown, so only this: about seeing and objectivity/subjectivity:

    from Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet:

    “I am equal in size to whatever I see
    Not hemmed in by the size i am”



  • You know, we’re getting very deep here with Buddhism and Pessoa and Saint-Exupery, and in that spirit I think it’s time for some straight up Marxism to point us towards the bright revolutionary future that is ours if only we choose to accept it…

    “Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
    Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
    She has eyes that folks adore so,
    and a torso even more so.
    Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclo-pidia.
    Oh Lydia The Queen of Tattoo.
    On her back is The Battle of Waterloo.
    Beside it, The Wreck of the Hesperus too.
    And proudly above waves the red, white, and blue.
    You can learn a lot from Lydia!


    When her robe is unfurled she will show you the world,
    if you step up and tell her where.
    For a dime you can see Kankakee or Paree,
    or Washington crossing The Delaware.


    Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
    Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
    When her muscles start relaxin’,
    up the hill comes Andrew Jackson.
    Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclo-pidia.
    Oh Lydia The Queen of them all.
    For two bits she will do a mazurka in jazz,
    with a view of Niagara that nobody has.
    And on a clear day you can see Alcatraz.
    You can learn a lot from Lydia!


    Come along and see Buffalo Bill with his lasso.
    Just a little classic by Mendel Picasso.
    Here is Captain Spaulding exploring the Amazon.
    Here’s Godiva, but with her pajamas on.


    Here is Grover Whelan unveilin’ The Trilon.
    Over on the west coast we have Treasure Isle-on.
    Here’s Nijinsky a-doin’ the rhumba.
    Here’s her social security numba.


    Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclo-pidia.
    Oh Lydia The Champ of them all.
    She once swept an Admiral clear off his feet.
    The ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat.
    And now the old boy’s in command of the fleet,
    for he went and married Lydia!

    I said Lydia…
    (He said Lydia…)
    They said Lydia…
    We said Lydia, la, la!”

  • akaky :)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))!!!!!!!!!

    running to beach with the tune in my head ;))))


  • Who likes taking pictures on Sunday Morning? I had been waiting all week for the clouds to roll in. Sunday morning the streets in down town LA are always so quiet except for the early morning street vendors hustling for poll position.
    Los Angeles is beautiful while it sleeps.

  • Who the hell runs to the beach in Canada in the middle of November?!

  • Akaky: :)))

    I do! :)))..check: make that dima and marina: wicked wind, empty beach, waves like the N.Atlantic: fucking awesome! :))))))

    running ;))


  • Going to a Canadian beach in winter…what does this remind me of?

    [if this were a movie, this is the part where the strange music would play and the screen would go all wavy to denote the dream state. In our fevered dream state, a very tall man enters a pet shop…]

    Customer: Hello, I would like to buy a fish license, please.
    Shopkeeper: A what?
    C: A license for my pet fish, Eric.
    S: How did you know my name was Eric?
    C: No no no, my fish’s name is Eric, Eric the fish. He’s an halibut.
    S: What?
    C: He is…an…halibut.
    S: You’ve got a pet halibut?
    C: Yes. I chose him out of thousands. I didn’t like the others, they were
    all too flat.
    S: You must be a looney.
    C: I am not a looney! Why should I be attired with the epithet looney merely
    because I have a pet halibut? I’ve heard tell that Sir Gerald Nabardo
    has a pet prawn called Simon (you wouldn’t call him a looney); furthermore,
    Dawn Pailthorpe, the lady show-jumper, had a clam, called Stafford, after
    the late Chancellor, Allan Bullock has two pikes, both called Chris, and
    Marcel Proust had an haddock! So, if you’re calling the author of ‘A la
    recherche du temps perdu’ a looney, I shall have to ask you to step outside!
    S: Alright, alright, alright. A license.
    C: Yes.
    S: For a fish.
    C: Yes.
    S: You are a looney.
    C: Look, it’s a bleeding pet, isn’t it? I’ve got a license for me pet dog
    Eric, and I’ve got a license for me pet cat Eric…
    S: You don’t need a license for your cat.
    C: I bleeding well do and I got one. He can’t be called Eric without it–
    S: There’s no such thing as a bloody cat license.
    C: Yes there is!
    S: Isn’t!
    C: Is!
    S: Isn’t!
    C: I bleeding got one, look! What’s that then?
    S: This is a dog license with the word ‘dog’ crossed out and ‘cat’ written
    in in crayon.
    C: The man didn’t have the right form.
    S: What man?
    C: The man from the cat detector van.
    S: The looney detector van, you mean.
    C: Look, it’s people like you what cause unrest.
    S: What cat detector van?
    C: The cat detector van from the Ministry of Housinge.
    S: Housinge?
    C: It was spelt like that on the van (I’m very observant!). I never seen so
    many bleeding aerials. The man said that their equipment could pinpoint
    a purr at four hundred yards! And Eric, being such a happy cat, was a
    piece of cake.
    S: How much did you pay for this?
    C: Sixty quid, and eight for the fruit-bat.
    S: What fruit-bat?
    C: Eric the fruit-bat.
    S: Are all your pets called Eric?
    C: There’s nothing so odd about that: Kemal Ataturk had an entire menagerie
    called Abdul!
    S: No he didn’t!
    C: Did!
    S: Didn’t!
    C: Did, did, did, did, did and did!
    S: Oh, all right.
    C: Spoken like a gentleman, sir. Now, are you going to give me a fish license?
    S: I promise you that there is no such thing: you don’t need one.
    C: In that case, give me a bee license.
    S: A license for your pet bee?
    C: Yes.
    S: Called Eric? Eric the Bee?
    C: No.
    S: No?
    C: No, Eric the Half-Bee. He had an accident.
    S: You’re off your chump.
    C: Look, if you intend by that utilization of an obscure colloquiallism to
    imply that my sanity is not up to scratch, or indeed to deny the
    semi-existence of my little chum Eric the Half-Bee, I shall have to ask
    you to listen to this!
    Take it away, Eric the orchestra leader!…….

    A one… two…. A one.. two.. three..four…

    [piano intro]

    Half a bee, philosophically, must, ipso facto, half not be.
    But half the bee
    has got to be,
    vis a vis
    its entity – do you see?

    But can a bee
    be said to be
    or not to be
    an entire bee
    when half the bee
    is not a bee
    due to some ancient injury?


    La dee dee, 1 2 3,
    Eric the half a bee.
    A B C D E F G,
    Eric the half a bee.

    Is this wretched demi-bee,
    half asleep upon my knee,
    some freak from a menagerie?
    No! It’s Eric the half a bee.

    Fiddle dee dum,
    Fiddle dee dee,
    Eric the half bee.

    Ho ho ho,
    Tee hee hee,
    Eric the half a bee.

    I love this hive employee-ee-ee [with buzzing in background]
    bisected accidentally
    one summer afternoon by me
    I love him carnally.

    He loves him carnally… [together]


    The end

    “Cyril Connelly?”
    No! “Semi-carnally”

    Cyril Connelly [sung softly and slowly]

    […and something like this happens}

  • I wish to apologize to Messrs. Julius Marx and his brothers, and to Mr. John Cleese and Mr. Michael Palin as well, for my wholesale looting of their work to illustrate my not terribly salient points here instead of thinking of something of my own to do so. This was not a good thing for me to do. I also wish to apologize to Mr Harvey for taking up such a large portion of his comments bandwidth with such material. And finally, I wish to apologize to Mr Black, for thinking that anyone who deliberately goes to a Canadian beach in the middle of November is more than a little nuts. I am sure there must be people who enjoy freezing their bahakas off and for whom the concept of wind chill is meaningless, and it was wrong of me to stigmatize such behavior without taking into consideration the point of view of those people. For all of this, I apologize…

  • …you’re still effing nuts, though

  • BOB…

    i think i wrote you in a private email how sorry i am to miss your family opening..if i did not, then i am now….

    .i swear that if i had been anywhere within a couple thousand miles or so i would have made it…

    so so cool that you guys have that going….will not miss this kind of thing next time…take pictures…send me some!!!


    my oh my man, you are on a roll!!! i have not smoked anything that strong since, well, since well, …just since!!!! well….

    love you guys,david

  • david :)))))

    got it :))), wrote back 2 :))…will send u pics by week’s end of the show :))))



  • Ovation – The Ovation Channel is having a week of shows about photographers. It started last night. There is stuff there to learn. There are several series running each night.

    Hope some of you can catch them.

    DAVID – Which email address can you access over there? Any idea when you’re scheduled to be home? I hope I’ll be off crutches by early December.

    Happy Thanksgiving All.


  • Mr Harvey, I don’t have to smoke anything to arrive at this state; I do it by refusing to face reality. This is hard to do sometimes, but it is usually worth the effort.

    You have no doubt noticed, as I have, that we live in a world where people are constantly telling us to face reality. There’s nothing wrong with facing reality per se, I suppose, although it does tend to wear out your shoes and upsets your digestion, but the never-ending demand that we face reality, especially in its more unpleasant aspects, is annoying in the extreme and makes you want to skip reality as the guiding principle by which any reasonable person would choose to organize their life. I think it is reality’s emphasis on the uglier aspects of human existence that has a lot to do with the resentment many people feel when they are told to face reality. No one says face reality, you’ve got you health, or face reality, you’re married to a lovely woman who loves you, or face reality, and this does actually happen on rare occasions, you’ve won the lottery. No, it’s always face reality, you have to do this, that, or the other thing, none of which you really want to do and if you had your choice in the matter you’d tell reality to go pound salt.

    My first experience with facing reality occurred when I was only seven years old. I went home with my report card from the first grade; in those days kids, especially kids attending parochial schools in mostly Irish neighborhoods, got their report cards in school and brought them home for their parents to sign. I suppose we could have altered the cards if we really wanted to or forged our parents’ signatures or simply not tell them about the report card in the first place, but this was a different era, an era when the nuns would knock you into next year if they caught you altering a report card and your parents, unlike parents today, who will sue a school at the drop of a hat if a teacher so much as looks askance at their precious offspring’s antics, thereby damaging Junior’s self-esteem, would stand politely off to one side while the nuns smacked you around and wait their turn to smack you around some as well. Sometimes they’d bring a cop in off the beat to whack you over the head a bit with his billy club, so as to emphasize to the Lilliputian miscreant the idea that report cards are important educational documents that your parents must see and sign because they pay your tuition and are, therefore, not something you can trifle with just because you didn’t want to pay attention in Sister Mary Agnes’ spelling class.

    But I had no worries: I had done well in the first grade and the report card marked me as an up and comer: I read well, played well with others, could do a little math, and could recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the Ten Commandments, and all seven of the Blessed Sacraments without ever looking at the book. Armed with this knowledge I looked forward to taking a year or so off and hanging out in the playground, relaxing and carefully weighing my options before moving on to the next step in my life, confident that my rigorous education would help me surmount any challenge life might throw at me. It was with no little consternation on my part, therefore, that my parents informed me that the job market for first grade graduates in modern American society was a bit small, if not completely invisible to the naked eye, especially if the first grade graduates were six and a half, going on seven and a half years old, and that in any case the second grade beckoned me, the second grade following the first as spring follows winter, night follows day, and the repo man follows my Uncle Jimmy’s Ford Taurus.

    As you may well imagine, this second bit of information did not go down well with me. There I was, a young man of six summers, with only a few short years to make my mark in the world before the inexorable march of time brought me low, as it does to us all, and the parents were telling me that I had to waste that precious time in the second grade, and that the horror stretched into the future apparently ad infinitum, with a third and fourth and fifth grade and who knew how many beyond that awaiting me. The prospect of year after year wasted because of the abomination of compulsory education filled me with a pure and indefatigable loathing for the very concept of the second grade and I determined immediately not to subject myself to this outrage. Life in all its mystery and glory beckoned and I was not going to miss my shot at the brass ring just because some nun wanted me to recite the seven times table flawlessly.

    I tried to explain all of this in a calm and reasonable manner to my father as he tried to pry my fingers out of the chain link fence that surrounded the playground, but he, usually a man much given to rational discourse, ignored the validity of my arguments, which he could not refute, by the way, framed as they were in the purest Aristotelian logic, with one syllogism leading to another and that one to yet another, just as chicken soup follows the common cold. He admitted that my arguments had some small degree of validity to them, but that it made no difference; I had to face reality, which meant going to the second grade, valid arguments or no valid arguments. Looking back at the incident now, of course, I don’t think he thought my arguments valid at all, but he did not wish to say so at the time in order to keep me from biting all the way through the tendons of his left index finger. I let the finger go, something I regretted during the subsequent spanking, but I left two baby molars in the gash and my father had to get a battery of shots as if I were a particularly vicious breed of small mad dog, and I didn’t get so much as a nickel for the two teeth from the tooth fairy either, which I thought a raw deal all around. She, assuming the tooth fairy is a she, is supposed to pay off on baby teeth without regard to how they came out of a kid’s mouth; it wasn’t my fault Pop put his hand that close to my face. He was asking for it.

    Since that time I have had a positive aversion to facing reality, which is understandable given the circumstances, I think, especially reality as defined by the people who most often insist on your facing reality. As I mentioned above, you may have noticed that the people who tell you to face reality the most are invariably people who want you to do something you don’t want to do, and that the something involved usually, but not always, to be fair, benefits them. And who’s to say that reality is such a great idea to begin with? From the historical record I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that reality is pretty much a downer and that all of us would be better off ignoring it altogether and going into the advertising business or the civil service instead, where no one deals with reality in any meaningful way unless they absolutely have to.

  • Is the Ovation channel available online? I used to receive it but cannot in our current apartment.

  • Talking about reality, I am gearing up to fly domestic to Chicago tomorrow, amidst already much delayed schedule this Thanksgiving week, then off at some point to Roissy/Paris, where there will hardly be any public transportation to go home, and the Highways around and into the Capital are clogged with what I hear are 500kms worth of “bouchons”, ie. traffic jams…

  • AKAKY….

    well, my friend, you will certainly never get “please face reality” from me…nobody has ever accused me of “facing reality” total and utter refusal to do such has caused some pain, but has also led me to a truly interesting and rewarding life and the opportunity to meet like minded souls like you…

    people, particularly “friends”, always used to tell me…”david, one of these days you are going to have to face reality”…hmmmmm, yes, one of these days!!!!


    safe travels to you….and give us the paris report when you have time…


    since i am going to see you in a few days , i will answer your question then…that is what the whole workshop is all about….

    travel safe…i look forward to meeting and working with you….

    cheers, david

  • Well David i’m already here somewhere inside the Dream, just arrived and trying not to sleep until it’s dark … looking forward to meeting you. Damn, already raided the minibar, couldn’t resist, off to walk the street :)


  • akaky..u make me laugh…a,,lot

  • akaky, don’t know how much past the second grade you stayed in school but you’re a heck of a writer. good stuff.

  • The Genius of Photography Series on OVTV seems to have about three different threads going during the evening, and it continues all this week. There is a lot of good historical perspective. I especially liked Peter Gallasi talking about pictorialism being a dead end.

    It seems that the more years go by with any discipline/art form, the more of a quandry exists about how to do something fresh, and, for some reason, that’s considered important in the art world. I like the statement by Bresson,
    “Photography is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one’s own originality. It’s a way of life.” Of course, when you’re a pioneer, asserting your originality is not a major consideration, especially when you can compartmentalize and separate your photography from your painting.

    Other high points last night were photographers saying “Gene Smith was the hardest man I knew to get along with,” and Life editor saying, “if you want to give Smith the assignment, go ahead, and good luck.” Then there was the black woman cop telling Meyerowitz he couldn’t take pictures after 9/11.

    To Watch For: Walker Evans “crossing the line from journalism to art” by rearranging elements in the house he was photographing.

    Enough, it’s a good series and worth watching.



  • Damn! that sounds like a pretty good series. Alright, who here in Los Angeles has cable?

  • David…

    I will show you my photos from cuba and I’ll write some my own thoughts about this amazing place, tomorrow morning, because I must scanning my slides first, and I need a long time sleep and rest now. I have no time to read your posts and comments, but I’m sure you have a lot of fun here. Did you come back to cold NY or still traveling around the world ? lucky man…

    Hugs, like BobBlack says…

  • I’m not sure that projects near and dear to our hearts or interest are ever fully objective. After two trips to Kenya working on an AIDS Orphan book, I now find myself in a place where I choose to, and need to keep in contact with those I worked with. All of those involved in this project invited me into their lives, and them into mine. Without forming some relational bonds, the quality of the photographs I captured would never have happened.

  • About eight weeks ago I started a weekly email photo share with members of this community. Every Friday everyone on the email list passes on one photo from the week. I’ve put together the first collection if anyone’s interested:

    Best o’ luck,
    David M

  • @David M: I might join into that, drop me an email

  • Joni – I can’t seem to find your email address on you link, but you can email me at and I’ll ad you to the list.

  • david”:

    u get that hug yet from Vink?….


  • W. Robert,

    I’m in LA and have cable, but I checked and OVTV does not broadcast on cable, digital or not. They’re only on DirectTV!

    So, anyone here in LA and with DirectTV??


  • For those who weren’t able to see the show tonight, two of my favorite parts were Joe Meyerowitz talking about how color changed the way he shot, and Martin Parr talking about almost not getting into Magnum.

    Seems like there must have been some interesting politics for a few years there.

    DAVID, what day is it where you are? Are you getting ready to miss Thanksgiving? Have a happy one in any case.


  • David, I’m so sorry to hear about Uptown. He seems like such a good kid, and I say kid because, though he is already 32 and has been through a lot of hard times and jail time, he still seems very much full of joy, hope, and enthusiasm. Like a kid. I think I understand why he has become such a good friend to you, and why he pulls at your heart the way he does. I hope he pulls through.

  • I’m recording all of the shows on my DVR. It’s so rare to see an evening dedicated to photography and with this we’re getting a whole week. It’s a treat.

  • Giancarlo, had to work last night, thanks though.

  • Hi David… Hi All…

    ok, I have first part of photos from cuba to show, but with little explanation; I wrote to you last time that my computer is broken (fire), I still not buy new one (next week) and I’m working on my laptop. My laptop is not enough good for working with graphics and my scanned photos is in raw bmp. need to little work on it. That’s why, I really don’t know how this raw jpg will look on your or others good computer’s screen and of course probably my photos can look deferent before I start printing (not to much I hope).
    I hope it looks good…
    Maybe I should wait this week but I’m curious what you think.

    And one more… I had not time to made good slideshow (it could be easier if I worked on my computer but not on laptop… no software… no time…)
    …and this first preview is very simply, just click on photo. You must use browser’s “back” button to back. And no thumbnails… I’m really sorry.


    Martin (The Busy)

    I will write my thoughts about Cuba tomorrow morning.

  • different not deferent.
    little mistake as always…
    mea culpa


  • Hey, everyone,

    Read and heed Peter Krogh’s book, “The DAM Book.”

    It is all about organizing, backing up your images.

    Happy Turkey


  • Hi David, just curious if you David were in Coney Island, I think in October taking photos and I thought I may have spotted you talking to the Shoot the Freak guy for a bit and taking some photos. I have never met you but for some reason I thought it was you. It either was in Sept. or Oct. I was not that close but it was just something I thought.
    Have a great Thanksgiving,

  • Martin, I like this one:


  • Martin, it never hurts to be deferent to those who are different.


  • Nick,

    This is Havana near capitol building.


    Yes, i’m different :)

    I should write about Cuba, i want invite all of you for visite this amaizing island, but i have some problems here and I’m thinkng about solutions, so i will write later. Could be?

    i need time to read all past comments.



  • Hi All, This is my first comment. David I love your work and blog and you are an inspiration.

    I haven’t read all the comments so if what I say has already been mentioned please forgive me. I’ve been through some personal struggle and soul searching during the last couple of months and through this I’ve come to realize a few things. My emotions are messages from the Universe or God and by truly tuning in to them, acknowledging the feelings and understanding the messages I find I am able to let them go safely and remain at ease. This wisdom was gleaned from a book by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis titled: The Heart Of The Soul. I find it is easier every day to remain present regardless of my activity or location and by being present I’m able to listen to these messages. I’ve also learned to shift my perceptions of people and situations to a place of acceptance. So for me it comes down to letting go of emotions that no longer serve me. This philosophy I apply to my work, play and life…

  • Nick

    Yes, that picture is from Trinidad.
    When I had leave Cuba I thought myself that I even not touch this island… and I think that way when I see David’s, Alex’s Webb and yours photos.
    I really like your works Nick.
    I hope I will have opportunity to do real work on Cuba. I work on it… I miss this island.
    David had right! I fall in love… again…

    I need rest… it’s late…

    I see that David have a lot of work and fun probably.

    David… where are youuuu…..

    Nice to read you amigos!


  • Martin said “When I had leave Cuba I thought myself that I even not touch this island”

    Martin, I feel the same way and would love to go back some time.

  • Cathy, I made it way, way past the second grade, unfortunately. Now I am educated beyond my intelligence.

  • Martin: nice work in Cuba.

  • LARA….

    you did not see me in coney island…i have not been out there for several months and have been traveling outside of new york for several weeks…i should be back in new york around december 5 or so…please stop by…


    i have not yet looked at your cuba link….but i will try to take a look in the next day or so….i do not want to rush it and i am now in bangkok with nachtwey and 28 students, so i will wait until i have a decent break…..welcome home!!!


    yes yes i am a bit behind in reading all of your comments etc…i should be able to catch up today or tomorrow with everything….in fact, i am behind with almost everything!!! this is the time of year when i always always get behind with things….the whole year always comes crashing in around me!!! and, of course, my main goal is to make sure i have looked at all of your submitted work…..i might get james to take a look at some of it with me…i will get several postings done here in the next two days….

    as bob black says, “rushing”…back soonest….

    cheers, david

  • James Nachtway looking at our work? I think Im going to die of nervousness David:) and the wish to have done a much better job. Damn….

  • martin (marcin luczkowski)


    No problem at all.
    Take and enjoy your time with students and say hello to mr. Nachtwey from me.


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