happy new year 2008

i certainly hope everyone has been having fun… either partying last night or relaxing all day today….while you have been playing , i have been working!!  or should i say, suffering over decisions…..about your work!!

ok, here is how it shakes down (so far)…there are some essays still under question or without any identifiable caption information….i have sent emails to some photographers who just have not replied…i will give them a bit more time….

there are approximately 30 essays or  partial essays that i will put up for review on the new website due this week kindly supported by LiveBooks….and perhaps 40 strong singles which includes some very nice work from many of you…..i will also , as promised, give reviews by private email  to those who so seek…some of you just need just the right little kick to take you to your "next step"….many  of you are so so close…..

as i hope all of you remember, the purpose of this excercise was to see if our audience here on the forum could "produce" within a given time frame:  july 15 – novermber 15 2007   …. i sadly had to eliminate several terrific essays which did not fall within that time zone…the reason for this short time period was simple….to secure funding for future "assignments" for some of you for the future, we needed to see how well this audience could respond  in this fashion…this is, of course, not the only way nor perhaps even the best way to judge a photographer…but, it is not a bad place to start and a point that resonates loud and clear with most magazine editors and other funders …

i left the subject matter and style of work up to this audience….and we certainly will see the variety this freedom provided….

the essayist who will receive the first grant i have ever given (but not the last) and the first under the new Magnum Cultural Foundation  was chosen from the following best essayists:


all of these essayists will be shown soonest on the new website (i am waiting just as you!!)…hopefully  a traveling exhibit of this work and perhaps hard copy publication will also result from our efforts…to this end i am working…

the recipient of the first funding  ($5,000.) under the David Alan Harvey Fund for Emerging Photographers is:


below are a few photographs from Sean’s strong essay on the  desertification of China’s Western Gansu Province….the fast moving desert is literally swallowing up farmland and communities and is ever growing due to bad land management and global warming…i saw this essay as stylistically  powerful and journalistically relevant….and worthy of more financial support to keep Sean continuing on this significant  body of work…


A young girl stands before  a man-made lake in front of encroaching sand dunes.


A lone corn plant  in a field next to large sand dunes.


Huge sand dunes slowly creep onto arable farmland.


A camel walks past a pile of recently forested logs. Deforestation is the main cause of desertification.


A farmer sells watermelons to passing tourists. Watermelons consume massive amounts of water during growth. Overcultivation of this fruit leads to the draining of water from land, contributing to desertification.


The desert oasis at MingShaShan
has been present for over 2000 years. Recently however, as water is
mis-used by the public and local industry, the water level is slowly
dropping to dangerously low levels.


Two women climb a sand dune that  is slowly creeping into arable farmland.


As tourists fly above in motorized hang gliders, below them the desert continues to move, swallowing everything in its path, including the graves of past local residents.

353 Responses to “happy new year 2008”

    and a happy new year!!!!

  • Well done Sean, happy new year, good luck and good hunting!

  • Congratulations!!

  • Oh, and thankyou David for kicking our butts and spending time on our work!

  • Congratulations Sean and to all the finalists as well! I know it’s already been said many times, but thank you David for all your hard work and leadership. I really enjoyed participating in this endeavor and I look forward to seeing the best essays.

  • Happy New Year, David and everybody!! Congratulations to Sean Gallagher and thank you for encouraging us to work harder and harder to become what we really want to be.



  • Congratulations Sean and to all participants. As I’ve said before, I’ve never seen anyone else doing what David has done here and it’s SO GOOD that photographers have such a place to show their work. Thank you David.

    Best to all,


  • I forgot to mention- this experience and your (David) inspiration has prompted me to do something that I’ve been hesitant to do since I was first bitten by the photography bug: I’ve enrolled in a Steve McCurry workshop May 2008 (NYC weekend). I’m psyched!

    David- I’m sure you’re in a constant state of demand from others and you’ve already given so much, but if and when you have the time, I would love even a brief critique of my essay (the second one I submitted).

  • Well done Sean. I’ll raise a glass to you this very evening. You bastard!

    I’m very much looking forward to seeing the full essay at some point.

    Well done, also, to the finalists.

    Looking forward to round two.

  • congratulations to the winners and to all worked hard and put their hearts behind their lenses and submitted essays. you are all winners who did this. i hope this challenge will be presented again and that i will “take the plunge” knowing that the more i push myself, the better i will be. i have so much enjoyed the visual and verbal poetry of this site. sean’s winning essay is graphic, moving, and beautiful.

  • Congratulations Sean and everybody!

    So cool, I’m all silly. I went to buy a cigar but it seems to be that they don’t sell them anywhere (new laws and late hours). Fresh air was good, though.

  • Congratulations Sean. Very powerful work. And a congrats to all the other photographers. Look foward to seeing all the inspiring work.
    Happy new year!

  • pierre yves racine

    Hi everyone

    Congraulations Sean ! Well deserved.

    To David : thanks for your hard work and generosity. And though I’m conscious of the weaknesses of the essay I submitted, could you please give some feedback ?

    Thanks to all of you for making this blog a lively place !

  • Dear David and Dear All,

    I am surprised, flabbergasted, honoured and most of all just plain delighted to be the recipient of David’s first ever grant. Thankyou so much to David and to everybody else in this great community for your kind words about the work.

    I had been intending to do this project for some time however the announcement of David’s competition and a fortuitous 2-week break in my schedule allowed me to finally attempt to begin this work in August 2007.

    I can’t wait to see all the rest of the work entered as this project is about the whole rather than any individual.

    David’s blog is both inspiring and entertaining and i can only say thanks again to David for working so hard and putting this altogether!

    Best Wishes,

  • WOW! :))))))

    CONGRATULATIONS SEAN! !!!! :))))))))))))

    I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER! :))))…I was first introduced to Sean’s work on china by my close personal friend Arantxa Cedillo, spanish photographer who moved here to Toronto 2 years ago after finishing ICP and with whom Marina and I have become best friends. Arantxa told me about Sean’s extraordinary work (especially the color) on china and I, as now, was buyoant! :))))…Not only is sean a strong stylist and swallower of light but also works on important themes.

    I am so so please that David has awarded this first grant to a person whose work is so rich and challenging and inspiring.!! :))) I am calling Arantxa right now! :)))

    And a LARGE LARGE THANK YOU too David for honoring me to have my story along side such talented and committed photographers. I entered this in the hope of just joining with other photographers in the support and commitment toward the idea that telling stories, personal ones, in ways that bespeak this disappearing but assiduous world. When i told the Korean/Japanese immigrants that the 2 weeks that I would spend with them listening and photographing as they prepared to return to their country would be submitted to a photo-essay idea with a ny photographer, one of the young girls asked me: “why? Do others think photos of students talking about themselves and their life in canada are interesting?” I told Ran: “yes, because you are interesting and your willingness to open yourself up is a measure of that”….

    I am really ridiculously humbled by this and am so happy to not only the names about but by all those who submitted essays and stories.

    CONGRATULATIONS TO best essayists:


    and to all the rest! :)))))

    sorry for the long-winded note…guess i have to go throw some snowballs in joy at Marina and Dima :)))))


    holly fuck! :))))))


  • Would too appreciate a sentence about my 20. Just a sentence. ‘Tis all I need. I think.

    Mr. Harvey, as I’ve said previously, your generosity knows no bounds whatsoever. As far as we can tell.

    Simply, thank you.

  • Sean: :))

    brother, your essay on the blind girl/blind orphans (this is the one Arantxa first told me about) has sat in the back of my throat for 6 months :))))) You should know i am blind in one of my eyes too and thus: one of the most important reasons it resonates with me: few understand what that means…in yur work and in that story is the meaty heart of illumination…believe me, i know :))

    You deserve it….now, saddle up and throw us some nice chinese rice wine! :))))


  • Can’t wait to see everybody’s work, the chosen few and others, and possibly the texts that came with it, if any. That’s my regret stated many times, that very few words ever come with the essays (or part of) posted in the student/WS session.

    I am “off” to look at the websites from the people David mentionned, some I know, but may have forgotten what from whom.

    Sean, bravo to you, your work and choice of is great encouragement to us all, stipend or not. I also now have another worthy first name to put in front of Gallagher (being a big fan of the regretted Rory G.).

  • Congratulations to all of the top essayists! I am looking forward to seeing all of your work and I just know that it will be a learning experience. I came here totally by chance a few months ago and now I just can’t leave!

    David…I don’t know how close I am but your comment…”some of you just need the right little kick to take you to your “next step” just wants to make me yell…kick me!

    This is a great classroom..thanks a heap…and kick me whenever you find the time :)

    Happy New Year!!!

  • Congratulations Sean and all “best essayists!”
    I am eagerly looking forward to seeing all the published work…as well as the new website.

    Congratulations also to David and Michael for getting the job done! Hope you were able to enjoy the Holidays in the midst of all the decision making.

  • Congratulations Sean!!!…really good work!

    Congratulations too the following essayists:


    Finally…Thankyou to Mr David Alan Harvey for your kind,generosity and hard work, which i am honored to be apart of.

    ozzy al

  • Congrats to Sean, and all the finalists! Exciting to read the post and see the first essay. And congrats to you, David, for being the spark for all of this.

    And yes, please, any small, large or any size in between kick in my direction is welcome. (Should we get signs, “kick me”?)

  • Natan Moss Congratulations !!!!

  • Congratulations Sean!! Keep the good work!!! Looking forward for your reviews David.

    Hope all of you had a beautiful xmas season, and wishing the best for 2008!!



  • David,
    Happy new year to you as well and congratulations to Sean!!!! I am also so pleased! Is there a better way to start the year than to know that your favorite photographer has been going over our essays and to eventually have the honour to be selected among this distinguished crowd of “best essayists”… Nice feeling to log on the site this evening and see my name among the ones of Bob, Lance etc…All I can say David is that this is such a pleasant surprise!!!! I just want to thank you for having got us all started on this project.. Personally, I just wanted to be part of it and participate with the rest of this great community…Like most I am sure, I did not send an essay to be distinguished but simply to get out there to shoot and know that you will be looking at the work, sending your feedback…This is all I was hoping for so, this evening surprise is such a BONUS!!! Again David, thanks for being such an encouragement and support since we have first met! 2008 is starting like a great year!!!! A huge THANKS and congratulations to all others beyond Sean! Eric

  • Ana Y. and Herve both emailed me almost simultaneously with the news I was a finalist.

    I cried..

    Thank you so much, David.
    Thank you, for the kids.
    And for your enormous Heart.

    And congratulations to Sean, the finalists and to all
    who participated in this ground-breaking event.
    This is the first time I have ever submitted my work to an open call like this.
    It means the world to me that
    you saw my photos.
    Because it means you saw my Heart.

    Happy Day!


  • congratulations to all! what an awesome start to the new year!
    really looking forward to seeing all the work.
    congratulations David!
    Happy New Year to all.

  • Olly olly olly oxen free!

    We yelled these words as kids in order to announce that the game we were playing was over, that those in hiding could come out into the open safely + that help would be greatly appreciated!

    I’ve been following this blog religiously since meeting David at the Magnum reviews last June. I was blown away THEN by the generosity of spirit and loving words that David shared with me. Was he for real? My curiosity encouraged me to continue reading and I’ve been hooked ever since.

    So back to the Olly reference. Having been a quiet participant for so long, I feel as though I am climbing out of a big tree in order to introduce myself. That said, it’s definitely time. I am oozing with gratefulness to David and EVERYBODY here. Everybody’s participation, through words and/or imagery has been hugely inspiring. I am so grateful to David for providing this opportunity/assignment for all of us. The challenge put forth has made me grow in unexpected ways as both a person and as a photographer.

    There is one thing I have been wondering + it’s considerably more fitting to ask David while he’s in Colorado. Does your Mom know that you’re doing this?? The foundation, the challenge, everything… She must be beaming.

    David, I would love your feedback regarding the work I submitted. My email address is tucked away in my metadata.

    Sean, I love your acceptance post. You won! How cool is that!??
    Congrats finalists!
    Congrats EVERYBODY!

    Anna Boyiazis

  • This is truly epic and frightening work Mr. Gallagher. Your photography is beautiful and the subject of your images are like awful slow moving monstrously huge tsunamis. The inevitability is unsettling in the extreme.

  • Happy New Year everyone!
    Congratulations to all the finalist essaist and Sean. What a awsome way to start a year isn’t it? :)
    Thanks David and Michael for all this work and to push us all to become better in photography.
    If you have the time just kick me please ;)

  • Congratulations to Sean and all the other finalists. I am surprised and humbled to see my name listed, can’t wait to see all of the work up on the site.

    Thanks David for your time and this great forum for photo discussion.

    Happy New Year, Natan.

  • my hearty congratulations to Sean and to all the finalists. i am eagerly waiting to see more of the essays as David has promised. i really feel proud to be part of this community. This has been a great experience since the day I discovered it. and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. what a way to start the new year!!!

    and to DAVID, regarding
    “i will also , as promised, give reviews by private email to those who so seek…some of you just need just the right little kick to take you to your “next step”….many of you are so so close…..”

    a well-directed kick in my direction (my back is already turned) is very welcome whenever you get the time and if at all my photos are worth anything. i am really hoping to be a better photographer this year. and once again, thanks for everything and this opportunity.

  • CONGRATULATIONS SEAN!! I love your story… thank you for putting yourself there to document this occurrence of desertification… truly a well executed job on a very disconcerting issue. I look forward to seeing more from you!


    Congratulations to everyone who entered and more-so for everyone who breathes the LIFE into this forum!!

    Although I’m still a little sluggish from last night, I will open a bottle of wine with Kelly and toast to all of you!!!

    Special thanks to Michael…. are you ready for round two? Ha!

    Bob Black, the second toast goes to you amigo, (after Sean of course)… thanks for enhancing this community brother!

    Happy New Year All!!! (Aga, Marcin, Eric, Erica, all… :)

  • Congratulations SEAN!

    DAVID – Thank you for your inspiration and your endless energy. You continue to give and give.

    Cheers to everyone who participated and everyone who keeps this community alive and kicking.

    Happy New Year… and excitement and anticipation for MORE PICTURES :)

  • Dear David,
    Happy New Year to you!
    Although I did not participate I was very closely following the proceedings. I wanted to learn how it all comes through. And I must say it’s been wonderful to wait for the decision you made.
    Heartiest congratulations to all the participants..and to Sean who has, through his work, made us aware of the environmental disaster happening in China.
    Look forward to the photographs to be posted soon! Thank you.

  • Congratulations Sean! and to the other finalists… I aspire to be among you some day!

    David – I just flew back, after ringing in the New Year with your friend Tony, at his warehouse in DC. It was a memorable way to start off the year!

    Happy 2008!!

    Very, very good, great pictures!!! I’v not seen all essays but I agree with David!!

    You did what you want. I think you “kick” for “next step” many of us already earlier. And thanks for trust, and sweat during hard work.
    Just thank you.


    Happy new year my friends!



  • Congratulations to sean and all the finalist, but most of all congrats to all these people here (including david) who has put so much energy and time and hopes and heart in such a great proyect. happy new year¡¡¡

  • Thank you David and thank you All :-)

    Thanks for a perfect new year start and hard kick straight into my recent photographic crisis’ ar**e. You’ve made my day. Couldn’t be better :-D

  • I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. From just a glimmer in DAH’s eye — “What if we could work together to produce a publishable body of work and this could be backed up with a stipend?” — to full-blown results and grant award in just a matter of months. It really is a fine achievement all round — for the finalists and winner, obviously, but also I think for everyone who has sought to participate.

    Congratulations, David, and everyone else — Magnum should be proud!!


  • My congratulations to all the participants, specially the winners. I think the winning essay is an excellent choice.

    David, THANK YOU for starting this and inspiring so many people in this fantastic way, and that the new year may bring you all you wish for and more!


  • Congratulations Aleksander! and to the other finalists…
    Happy New Year to all.

  • Congratulations to all, especially Sean!

    So exciting…can’t wait to see these stories/images!


  • My congratulations to all, and of course the winners. I’m happy to see that many of the winners are old members of this community.
    David: many thanks for this wonderfull oportunity. For me, the most important of all was the chance to be reviewed by someone like you. That is priceless!! I have evolve from being a landscape photographer, to a documentalist one, and i’m still in this hard transition (until know I had never photographed people, except my family!). I probably don’t know very much how to edit a story, and how to focus on it. So please if you could give me some feedback on my stories, I’ll be most gratefull.

    Many thanks


  • Stupendeous work Sean, really really good. Congratulations. It is not only good photos but also a rich, deep story. I took a look at it on your website.

  • happy new year


    (the one paid by your ex wife)

  • Congratulations to all the finalists and especially Sean, and a very Happy and prosperous New Year to everyone. And thank you, Mr. Harvey, for the opportunity. Now if I could only shake this goddam cold my New Year really would be happy.

  • ألف العفو ولكن لا أحب هذه الصورط

    Χιλιες χαρης, αλλα δε μου αρεσουν αυτες οι φωτογραφιες

    – Ryan Karim Sharif

  • Great stuff from Sean and big thanks to David! People like you are needed in today’s competitive photographic idustry.
    I wish I put more work in to my project than I did. I got some decent single images, but as an essay it wasn’t very good.



  • Congratulations to all,especially Alkos…

  • Congratulations to Sean and all the finalists. And, thank you David for initiating this fine community of artists.

    I’d like to wish everyone a happy New Year, may all your dreams come true this year. Thanks everyone!

  • Congratulations to David & Michael for all the efforts put in this work and be able to give this auspicious news the first day of the year, and of course congratulations to the winner and the finalists: Kudos to you all! Bravo!!! … and David, i wouldn’t mind to receive a kick if you have time and energy :)) thanks!!! and Prosperous and Creative 2008 for all of us

  • I have not read every comment here so maybe I am the first to say this.


    I am not trying to sound negative, as they say you should never write anything bad because it will always read 10x worse to the reader. With this in mind, please here me out. I am not here to complain or whine about not being chosen for my photos. With that out of the way…

    I think David chose this story not for the photos, but mostly for the story. I think there were much better photos being sent from other photographers, however the thing that held everyone else up was our lack of story and or info for each photo. I bet if David published the meta data with each picture we would see that Sean probably had at least aq paragraph behind each photo. I am not saying this is a bad thing at all. In fact I have learned a valuable lesson myself from this. That is besides the point though…

    I can say honestly the first picture was great, awesome! It really was a great picture. However the rest of the photos fail to move me, and further more… looking at them from the title of the piece, they don’t add much to the story

    I think we can all be honest and admit this… Story before photos next time… I am sincere in this opinion … flame on!!!

    – Octavios William

  • Off-topic: Today I’ve receive the bag and the signed book of the camera-no camera quiz. David, I want to thank you again for your kindness.

    I’ve post some pictures in my blog: http://micropixel.blogspot.com/2008/01/la-bolsa-de-david-alan-harvey.html

  • Octavios,

    No worries about getting flambeed. Nothing all that wrong with a simple contrarian view.

    No doubt a strong, sharply focussed story makes a big difference. The photos were more than “okay” in my opinion. But that’s just it isn’t it? Opinion? For instance, I think the last shot was the best single image of the collection. The first was OK.

    Of course, the whole idea about what constitutes a “good” photograph has been discussed in this forum and others and in salons the world over since the first Daguerreotype. Most of the time, for me, it becomes nothing more than intellectual masturbation. So what is a good photograph? ;^}

    In the end it isn’t “story before photos”…it is story from photos. And I think Sean delivered that. Is it the best thing ever seen? That’s for others to contemplate.

    For me it was the best essay for David Alan Harvey, you know, that guy who has shot for Magnum and National Geographic and such for like a couple hundred years or something!

    OK by me!

  • Octavios William:

    I think you need to see the entire essay before any comment.

    There is a basic “ethic” to documentary reportage where authenticity
    of a photographic image and it’s written caption goes hand and hand. Without any text, the images would be meaningless.

    Sean’s work is complete.

  • Hats off to the chosen,

    I must say I can’t wait to see all the essays that made the cut. I can’t wait to see everyone who beat me…

    Yes that’s right, I said beat…I feel that is a perfect word to describe the situation.

    In my mind, there isn’t a single working photographer today who isn’t insanely driven and fiercely passionate about what they do…and yes, at times competitive in spirit.

    What do I mean to say from all this?

    Mr. Harvey,

    Thank you,

    Though I felt I worked pretty diligently for the last couple months, I’m making damn sure I work my ass off in continuing this work.


    I don’t think you sound that negative, I felt that whoever was chosen, the first thought I would have said to myself was, “What!? This is the one that won!?”

    Well done Sean.


  • Octavio, UNFORTUNATELY is right… I hate to admit it, but as much as I see David as God!!!…that much I see the weakness on the chosen photos.. I choose photos over words( coincidence: isn’t the Chinese that say that one Photo Equals 1000 Words???). Honestly I had to read the metadata 3 times to figure out the story…and still…anyways…. Sorry David…but this time didnt worth to wait…how about let the public vote….
    once again, Octavio thank you for being honest…I see no fear in your comments…
    peace everybody

  • I have similar views with Octavio. I do trust in David though too, this was not a time for everyone to vote ‘ Panos πουτανα πουστις! However I do like your idea, I don’t know how we could arrange something like that, maybe with out David but here on his site or something. I think funding someone to to another project sounds interesting. I could put up some money if you are willing to. Again, I don’t know how we could go about setting something like this up but I like the idea.

  • For the record, keeping in mind that I’ve not yet seen the other finalists’ work, I think David’s choice is really something special. I’m hugely impressed with Sean’s project and when I read the caption information it simply added to the impending gloom I was already beginning to feel seeing those huge encroaching mountains of sand.

    The project appears well handled to me and I’m tremendously excited that Sean has now secured some additional funding to continue to track the stampeding dunes.

  • Be careful, those of you asking David “for a kick”. He’s a big man. You might not be able to sit down for quite a while afterwards.

  • Ryan I’m not trying to say that I’m a better judge than David but I INSIST that the chosen essay is BORING to death…and what’s worst it needs an explanatory MANUAL book to come along explaining the medioocre photos(Harry Potter-size)…
    I’m sorry but literature and photography are sisters… Not Twins…
    people go see Paolo Pellegin’s work about quantanamo prisons or check Antoine’s D’Agata work…
    A powerful essay needs no Words…
    Back to the photos: I want to believe that David felt the pressure to decide early…Another thing: The black and white enhancements are ok but they dont give me a “real” feeling…No depth in the tones…It looks more like “iPhoto” or adobe elements … Dissapointment is only one third of what I feel…and Ryan sorry but I’m not willing to fund rich westerners that happenned to go vacations for a couple of weeks in china or other third world exotics … All this fake idealism gets on my nerves…now regarding voting for the best it seems as a violation on Davids website…maybe disrespectful… But people dont get so sensitive…as octavio said:David chose a Srory not Photos…next time

  • Panos…I wonder if a trip to Sean’s website would alter your thinking at all? There are more images from the story and the B&W treatment looks to have more “depth” in the tones. Have a go at it.

  • martin (marcin luczkowski)

    Octavios and Panos

    “isn’t the Chinese that say that one Photo Equals 1000 Words???”

    Maybe you just don know how to read this 1000 words?

    Of course Sean’s essay is not most impressive work I’ve ever seen, but this is very, very good essay. Obviously better than my.
    For me photo essays are like novels. Not every sentence in book should be “most beautiful”. Shouldn’t even…

    Details, mood, the point of view, subjective view, Intention, persons, relations, etc….
    Point marks, commas, exclamation marks, question masks…
    That how I see photography….

    I think 90% of Good photography in not “gorgeous”, because photography is something very simple. and I love this simplicity…

    Look at this photo…

    This photo means nothing if you need see nothing.

    I heard hundred times when people saying that everyone can paint awful paintings like Picasso did. Is only one answer…
    So, why you are not Picasso…

    Congratulations Sean.

    Running looking for details of life…

  • Octavius, you make some very good points, and your honest comments must be welcome and encouraged, otherwise, every post will be about thanking David for doing a great job, a great choice, ad nauseam…

    I am sure he welcomes other opinions, even if contrarian to his own. I am even sure David (sorry david, assuming a bit here) sees his choice as eminently educated, but still his own, and that for ex., not just to speak of us, another eminent photographer could differ from his opinion.

    I hope there can be a way to concentrate and organize discussion, not on the choices David made, but simply on the essays and photography proposed for the website. Not to end up saying they were underserving of accolades and stipend, but simply because there is a lot to say about any type of essay, photography and photographer, that does not have to be a constant apology or sucking up.

    In general, and I welcomed it as a new way to look at photographic stances, and challenge my own, I must say that one of the surprises that came to me belonging the road trip blog is that, seemingly and IMO only of course, there is often little emphasis on the quality (composition) of the photo as an object of artistic expression. An example is B&W treatment on some WS or essays pix, which leaves a lot to be desired (er…IMO, again). As personal stance and journalistic approaches go, it matters little, but as an object that would equate to something unique, which leaves an imprint beyond the subject itself or stance, call me old fashioned, I do think the treatment of forms in any art or craft (compo, color/mono treatment, editing, all things that Ansel Adams called the performance, the raw shot being merely the score) is important and here is what makes the photo enduring and valuable (not speaking $$).

    Such photos stay with you, wheras I am not sure an image that relies only its subject, will stay, lest it is a strong, or vibrant image that jumps at you.

    There is definitely, in this craft and critique of it, a tug of war between 1)what the photographer has to say, that may take many pictures and a personal stance showing thru them, functionning on the authoring, journalictic level, and 2) these images that need little explaining beyond a caption or none at all, because they show superb skills, and potency/expression.

    I will be frank, since i speak in general, not really about the road trip assignments, but I believe ultimately photography is also about the endurance or perenniality that a strong, “superb” image lends to a subject or a photographer’s stance. Some images must move you, jump at you, just like some music or painting or literature does.

  • Now that the suspense is over, I went back and looked at my submission. I didn’t while this was still going on; the one thing I do really well is second-guess myself and I can live without the excess agita; but now that I look at what I sent in I could open an artery while asking myself, what the hell were you thinking? Out of the twenty, there are two that I like and the rest are piffle. It occurs to me that I should just thrown darts at a wall of my prints; I’m pretty sure I could have picked twenty better ones that way. Now that I’ve second-guessed myself into a case of heartburn, I’m gonna go home and belt down an Alka-Seltzer with a Pepto chaser. Ah, the wild life I lead nowadays.

  • After being bumped last night from a flight I’ve been traveling since early morning and just now have a moment to write.. bleary eyed and fatigued, and very very happy to be included in the first round of finalists for the grant..

    Big congratulations to all! I am so grateful that David posed the question of what we could do in the time period..I know the process had a sincere impact on my process and has left me in a new place..that is the greastest reward, but it is always wonderful to have one’s efforts well received..thank you and I am so very looking forward to see where David carries this..

    peace to all in this new year

  • I disagree. I think the story was good. Remember who we submitted to: A guy who made his name at Nat Geo. And this was a Nat Geo style story: photos but also an article. It was a total package. PLUS it was an important contemporary issue. Thats a triple threat. I think rather than protes and argue we should take note: this is the sort of stuff Harvey will be looking for so job #1 is to find an intersting story and tell it thoroughly through photos but also words. I think I know where I failed, and it this is another good learning experience.

  • On the subject of Sean’s work…

    Why be that critical about it?

    I swear, Harvey could have posted some unknown HCB photo’s never before published and we’d be bitching about artistic merit, technical proficiency, tonality, etc…

    But! I think it’s a good thing. Hell, Sean already won, right? Deservedly so.

    The trials we all have faced or will face out there, are far worse than criticisms encountered in here.


    lets take off the kid gloves and have it out a little, kick up some dust in here!

    Thank you David,

    Hi ho.

  • I was talking to a very well established photog friend about the idea of having the shooters vote, one vote per submission.
    The idea of the mass choosing the final group and winners seemed like one that could not be argued with. But my friend made one good point though, alot of amatuers and pros have no idea what a good photo really is.

    pics verses text
    Should the photos breathe life into the story or vice versa?
    What wieght ratio should the story and photos have in relation to each other?
    If you look at the shots 1st, do they tell the story, or do you need the story 1st?
    For me, I usually will be drawn in by the shots, esp if its an area of interest, and then the text becomes a vital commponent.
    In this set though, I think the wieght of the story added to the impact of the images.
    All n all, I think its key for the community to be supportive, I think if we are going to critique the submitted work, it should be appropriate. the correct post, time and place etc.
    I dont think its appropriate to start tearing into our work without the correct parameters or guidlines for analysis.
    we all have to wait for the completion of the site and the correct channels for critique. ( but i think the critique will be really imporant for all of us photogs )
    my only prayer is that there is a venue for critique.

  • Congratulations everyone. And Erica McDonald, I don’t know what photos you submitted but I really like your Park Slope portraits. I live in the neighborhood so I see many of those people you portraited around the neighborhood and really enjoyed looking at your photos of Park Slope and essay.

  • FWIW – I did not accompany my essays with words in exif as somewhere along the way I seem to recall David that it’s ok not to send words with the essay and if the essay was strong enough he would then reply and ask for the words to be submitted.

    It was my way to understand that if David doesn’t ask for words then my shots sucked and that’s all there is to it. It my previous experience I was led to believe that the shots should speak enough information so that words are not necessary. Perhaps a mistake on my part, but we all learn and we don’t all have to agree either.

    Since I don’t live in an exotic location or a battle zone, my essays were not pretending any crisis at hand yet documented life around me with a few mild hints of social critique. One essay actually was an attempt at being humorous. For all three, however, shots were chosen with thinking for developing a series – a way I have not thought before and for which I am thankful to David to make me think differently.

    English is my second language and so it takes a while to get me write so many paragraphs as now but the critique in the previous paragraphs inspired me to write more.

    when I first looked at the winning shots I also wasn’t blown away by the quality and, yes, the description definitely helped because as I learned about the issue at hand and then connected the words with the pictures I thought the choice of the shots to support the story was excellent. Suddenly I liked most of the shots much much more. If I didn’t have the descriptions I wouldn’t have guessed in the first picture that the mountain behind the girl is actually a sand dune, I wouldn’t appreciate the people hiking the sand dune as much as I do now with the description.

    So, for what it’s worth, I do like the chosen essay and given the fact that I wrote ZERO words to support my 3 essays I say that I should just shut up and keep on improving. I hope David will send me a few sentences about my work. I would surely appreciate it.

    Am I disappointed I didn’t win? Nope. I did not expect it. Am I disappointed I wasn’t among the top 10? Yes. It crushed me. It’s a great kick in the ass that I need to reevaluate what I’m doing and improve.

    All in all, I could not ask for more. Get top people in this business to evaluate my work and pay nothing for it is a treat. Thank You Mr. Harvey and congratulations to all the winners!

    I think I just wrote my self out for the next few months ;-)

  • chris, i like your zeal, but kicking up some dust without seeing the other essays doesn’t make much sense… generally this hasn’t been a kick-up-some-dust-for-no-reason kind of community.. plenty of that on lightstalkers.. which works there..

    i think once the other essays are shown then some legitimate comparisons can take place.. for now, if you don’t like Sean’s work, then i guess harvey was even less impressed with yours (not a chris-specific comment).. or at least some aspect of it. some of us might like other submissions better, maybe not, but at this point how would we even know?

  • Akaky—don’t be so hard on yourself. Take a look again—I’m sure there’s good stuff there. I shot a cultural study of a local club, and while it has no significance on a global level, it will end up having an impact locally.

    I’m sure David made the right decision, but part of me was hoping the grant would go to the shooter who took an enlightened look at something really common, over a common look at an international story of biblical proportions.

    I may not be choosing my words correctly—I don’t want to take anything away from what Sean found, because the images are solid. I’m just not jumping up and down right now, because I think if you take the captions away, you have a series of slightly above-average landscapes. Until I find reason to think differently, I’m in the camp that thinks the images should be able to move one emotionally without the benefit of words. Image first, words last.

    I do agree with the notion that this story, with it’s environmental significance, should continue to be pursued—so if the grant is enabling that, then go Sean!! It seems a matter of time until a publication with an environmental focus picks it up.

    I can’t wait to see what discussions spin when the other essays are posted!

  • ok, i’ll jump in ;)))…

    something is greatly amiss….and that’s not only about the post fact criticism of Sean’s story and David’s choice of grant recipient, but so to all of those who considered themselves having failed….the entire mentality of competition, of best vs. least, of style vs. content, of content vs context, of loss vs win is utterly meaningless, empty, nonsensical and complete shite. We delude and fool ourselves with this kind of litany and liturgy, and it is so fucking ripe in the world of photography that i find it disdainful and depressing. We, as a profession and as a species, mire ourselves in this morass of competition: we believe, like centurians and gladiators, that somehow it steels us, it hardens us, it prepares and illuminates and educates us: that if one prepares harder, words more vigorously, “learns” through the test of collision that they shall be better, made more whole and more strong and ultimately which yield a life rife with character and achievement…

    this mad delusion and sadness….


    victors yes, and how does victory mean anything real other than a stupid “victory,” when in the face of all things, it doesnt change for a moment the richer and pulpier truth of what comprises a life…..

    Sean’s essay is a very strong and challenging one. The story, yes, is important and crucial. Is it unique: of course not. Are there more stylized essays on the same subject, of course there are (think of James Delano Whitlow’s gorgeous work, the Yellow Tiger), are there essays in the “chosen” finalists who press or challenge the aesthetic and questioning of photography, i absolutely guarantee that there are photographers in that list above whose idea of “story” deals as much about challenging the “aesthetic” of documentary photography as the “content” of the story (that is my belief and i know another photographer who shares that who also submitted), and so what…..

    This project was born not of competition, but of community: to call out essays, to showcase the spectrum of photography, the range of voice and identity and story telling of which photography (in this case “documentary”) is composes of….there was no competition, there was no grant, none of that and it was never (i believe) Harvey’s intent. I can tell you that I did not submit a 35-photo essay, shot in 2 weeks, with any idea about $$ or “competition” or “comparison” or good/bad in mind…I submitted the work as part of an idea, something similar to “ringu” that I wrote about this summer here: the collision of stories against one another contributing to a larger story: a narrative of rumination and voice, a chorus if u will…..

    I think that David, later, decided to give a grant to one of the photographers is AWESOME and extraordinary and I am extraordinarily happy for Sean (he is a terrific photographer ladies and gentlemen, take a look at his work on his site) and I am sure that this largess will inspire and further sean. But I also think the framework will inspire and beckon others, including myself. the intent was to challenge the members of this community to produce a body of work in a short time period to see what that would amass…and i found it rewarding and rich….

    the argument about “quality” is an extraordinarily superficial AND superfluous one. That Octavius (great name by the way! :) ) and Panos (ditto on the name :) ) found it less than stellar is just as legitimate as my own opinion that Sean’s work is powerful and effective and worthy of the “prize.” The probem is that all this is couched in the nomenclature of “better”, “stronger”, “more interesting”: this is chimeric language…empty and meaningless. I dont think Harvey once ever mentioned that the “winner” was the best. He chose to give the grant for a abacus of reasons and I find all of them not only fair but worthy.

    Are there more “interesting” essays: NO! Because in truth each person, each editor, christ, each photographer thinks (rightly so) that their take on the matter is the binding one. If i, frankly speaking, didn’t think my own work was interesting, I wouldn’t keep photographing. It is and I believe and love it. Is my work important: fuck no, for it’s not the work that matters as much as the calibre and arch of what is done with and without that work.

    Ditto about all those who feel they “lost” or “failed” This is total nonsense. Being “chosen” or “looked over” is NOT a measure of failure, not a measure of anything other than, not being picked. But this has no, categorical, meaning to it. Frankly, if the weight of one’s photography were carried by the times it was honored or liked or chosen, what photographer would ever continue? Speaking about my own work, most people hate it…and I, in truth, am not certain either what i think about myself, truth be told. However, I know that for whatever stupid-ass, empty, derivative reason, i continue to be stunned and startled by photography and it has a place in my life…this was true before David Alan Harvey and it will continue to be true after he has departed ….that is the measure for me that matters…

    no one failed…no one won, in the long term….immediately, yea, $5,000 is fucking sweet, but honestly it doesnt mean that those who didnt get the cash or didnt get their name, for now, above in lights, are less or are less strong photographers…

    Sean’s story doesn’t inspire or settle wickedly in some, cool, fine, no problem. I am sure the same is true for my work and all the work that was submitted here by the 250 submissions. You should NOT 2nd guess your work because of a collective project. you should 2nd guess yourself because you have become to think about photography in this kind of nomenclature…it’s a false architecture and will collapse faster than twigs on a frogs back…..

    i find the entire willingness and eagerness to fight and argue over images and ideas bullshit…like as what has happened at LS…ideas are meant to be burned and tossed and tossed around: fuck yes! But, the problem is that people QUESTION AND ARGUE OVER OTHERS and seldom QUESTION AND ARGUE OVER THEMSELVES…..

    it’s more profound to fight with yourself and to question your own ideas and worth that it is to dally and taber another….

    no kid gloves or man gloves for me: i find it all boring: the deeper and much more confusing and challenging notion:

    to understand why we still rattle our bones and sabres instead of seeing what really is at the heart of the fecund muck of life….

    the essay is strong, and i am sure that lots of the work submitted was strong and satisfying and I can wait to see it and I think we must remember wherein is value:

    in the awarding of things or in the delving and swallowing of them….

    funny, when i saw Sean’s essay, I thought: that chinese girl could have been me: that’s the power of it’s universality: it’s beauty and sadness….




    I think, truthfully, that the entire tembre of both the criticism of Sean and the criticism of David’s choice, as well as those above who, dejected or not, criticize themselves as “failing” because of the names above….in truth, this is the very thing, the

  • Ok I got it… China is responsible for the global warming… and Sean just revealed it… Sounds like an Al Gore movie…ah and I thought that Chinese are only responsible for beating Tibetan monks!! How wrong was I!? Now I know that they secretely create “dessert” to attack the world…what an eye oopening reportage,,, never mind the boring pictures…Noow I know who is behind “las Vegas”… The Chinese watermelonists… They turn our land into dessert… Very “apocalyptic”…!!! should be funded by Mel Gibson… I still dont get what a vacation has to do with photojournalism!

  • David has expressed concern for a while now about what would happen when he chose the recipient of the stipend…He even said he’d shut down the blog if he encountered “negativity and paranoia” over his selection. Uh-oh!!!

    The first thing to keep in mind is that although we all have opinions and likes and dislikes…it is David’s blog and David’s money and David’s grant. We are lucky he chooses to let us come along for the ride. Who “wins” is not in any way up to us.

    I’m just glad to not have been the one that brought this up…since it’s only Day #2 of 2008 and I made a New Year’s resolution to be more positive! That being said, I do hope that as Herve said, there is room here where we can agree to disagree….

    I give credit to those of you who have been outspoken in your feelings about the choice of Sean but don’t you think it’s a little premature to say whether or not he should have been selected over the others? We haven’t even seen any other essays yet!!!
    Maybe it would be worth waiting to hear more from David before jumping to conclusions.

    To attempt to interject a little humor here…What if it turns out that you like all the other essays even less than you like Sean’s? Would that then make him more “worthy” of winning in your eyes? :)

    Octavios I also have realized that I did not put enough effort into my captions and creating one cohesive story. I did a bunch of mini essays with barely any caption. I think the fact that Sean had one “larger” body of work was a positive for him…

    So let’s take advantage of the opportunity to learn here, from David and from each other. We are already learning what we did wrong without even getting our critiques…that should prove once again how valuable this blog is. Let’s give Sean a few days to enjoy his accomplishment and wait to see all the essays and the new site. Undoubtedly we will all have our favorites but to repeat, this is David’s choice, not ours.

  • Panos:

    man, dude, you just took all the legit-blood out of your original comment with that last bit….at least, as figured, all would, like bubble to shore, come up….chris, by the way, IS NOT on vacation in china….it’s like saying ur own vacation down along ‘Nice… (my former home turf)…

    it’s pathetic it’s come to this…….an example of what’s so empty about what haunts this profession….

    the lurking of the addled…


  • Jeez, while I was writing about 10 of us were all writing at the same time. A hot topic for sure.

    “But, the problem is that people QUESTION AND ARGUE OVER OTHERS and seldom QUESTION AND ARGUE OVER THEMSELVES…..”

    good one Bob! Did something get cut off at the end of your post?

  • what i should have added to my comment above is that if you pushed yourself to produce the best essay you could within the timeframe given, then you have also won! to think that it’s all about #1 and the money is misguided. it was a carrot at best, and a real boon for sean’s continued efforts. hopefully everyone here who submitted work took steps to further their skill and vision, and for that this entire effort is a huge success and should be celebrated.

  • sorry, i mean SEAN IS NOT ON VACATION in china but is working there AS A PHOTOGRAPHER!..

    but maybe Chris is ;))

    Cathy: yea, 2nd half got cut off…but i already wrote enough ;)))))

    it just depresses me that under the “guise” of discussion the real heart of David’s project is lost to some…

    it’s what is so disheartening about discussion: it’s born often of superfluity/superficiality disguised as discussion….anyway…

    anyway, what Harvey has accomplished is profound and no amount of of dissent can diminish that accomplishment…

    that is the same sentiment Sean wrote as well…

    anyway, off the computer for the night…


  • Bob, your January 02, 2008 at 07:20 PM is priceless. I have to admit that sometimes I gloss over paragraphs but you are so right when i pay attention to you. ;-)

  • Panos…what a shame to find you are so unserious. That last comment was so utterly sad.

  • Panos, you are sounding like an idiot, man. Grow up.

    So some of us lost. yes Bob, we did:) But who cares.

    I met David I was lost. Drifting with no purpose. Since then and since this exercise I have started to find subjects to focus on. The stories I submitted I knew had no chance because my heart wasnt really in them. But I submitted for the fun of it. This exercise has made me think. So I won despite losing. HOPEFULLy by the next one, if idiots like Panos dont ruin it, I will have found something to say.

  • Maybe this will lighten the mood, or at least give us something to look at. I’ve posted the second Photo Friday collection here:


  • Salvador,
    Thanks for posting the photos of your bag and book arriving! It is great to share your excitement at this arrival in the daily mail.


  • David Alan Harvey is one of the most generous spirits that I have ever had the very real pleasure of meeting and as an observer of this blog and a non participant in the grant process I would like to say that bitching about his choice of the recipient and his work doesn’t do anyone any favors.

    I for one think an essay on the state of the environment is an incredibly important thing. If we are to survive as a species in the 21st century then we need to be paying real attention to our surroundings. And I believe you will see many more of these type of essays in the future, we can’t ignore what we are doing to the planet for much longer and I think Mr Gallagher has nailed the concept of the desertification and its surrounding aura of doom extremely well.

    A hearty congratulations to Sean Gallagher for an impressive body of work. And I am sure that the other finalists all put in great essays as well as I am familiar with the work of many of those named.

    Guys to make an impact on the world you have to have a strong and confident expression of your voice, you must believe firmly in what you are saying so that you can defend what you are saying with logic. Its always really obvious to me when we don’t have confidence because when there is no argument other than sarcasm it suggests an emotional rather than rational response to the situation.

    I think just merely looking at the work and being a gracious loser is sometimes not enough either (and as for the John McEnroe antics well, its just silly) I think you also need to examine what it is about this essay that has separated it from the rest, ie is it strong visually- yes- is it relevant- yes is it well edited well from what I can see it is- yes, does it have a strong point to make -yes-

    Life is a learning experience and David Alan Harvey is a Master. It would seem to me that you should be asking questions about what he thought made this essay standout, rather than saying you don’t agree with his choice.

    My congratulations to all of the participants and the finalists. And to David for having the generosity to set this up and to devote so much time to it. DAH you are amazing!

    Happy New Year to all, I hope you have a GREAT 2008

  • My friends,

    I do not understand, especially from the poeple who were at the very beginning of David’s idea to challenge us, that the words winning and losing creep up. Guys (and gals), this was not about that.

    I am not certain that I agree with Bob that all things are equal, and quality is a by-passed notion, but said in the sense that we were not in a competition (save against ourselves, ie. self-challenging) and that all that has been done, shot and sent is cause to celebrate, yes, yes, yes.

    Of course, David’s choices don’t have to appeal to anyone as carved in the marble of photographic contests history, why should it, it was not a race to highest skyscraper, or fastest man in the world. If we have grasped who the man is, we can’t but understand and respect his choices.

    The first thing I did after reading his name, was to look at his website, and evryone of the chosen essayists who had one easy to google into. Isn’t that the idea, be ever-curious, get excited about photography, love to see pictures, images from others who are not just snapping away but strive to achieve some kind of personal expression thru that medium. Out of all of them,Not evryoone awoke the same interest, I am not a robot after all, what I felt indifferent about, maybe another time, I will feel closer to.

    A certain stance about taking photos might challenge me and at the same time, or ultimately, I may rebel against it. After all, There is conflict, tension, soul-searching about art, in which realm, there are no unison singing angels, and only praise is to be uttered, God forbid!

  • precision:

    I meant: “reading Sean’s name, was to look at his website….” (ie. not David’s site)

  • Dear David,

    Already made my compliments about this project and stick to them.

    Really looking forward to all the other essays and, if possible, some critique on my own submission.


  • “I met David.I was lost…”
    hey senior Rafal!!!! Wake up… Leave your evangellical bull at home you paranoid little Jesus freak… Dont worry I do NOT intend to ruin your “photo Church”…NOR THAT I CAN… David is a teacher… Not a god… He dont “I Rafal says:”i was lost and then i found Him”. Who needs fanatics kiss ass house retards like you… I hear you that I should Grow up but … please stop Neglecting yourself… Go to the mask or something… Someday you will be so happily surprised when you discover that is actually Life Beyond Jesus… Till that day keep praying for your personal spiritual awakening…
    p.s: have you tried a rehab lately??? You will be surprised how much they can help you… Also try something new for a change… Sleep with your eyes closed…for a change…but dont forget to open them again by sunrise … I know, sounds like a lot of work but it pays off…halleluja
    once again senior Rafal you are in the wrong forum you Jesus freak!!!

  • I’m piping in late here, but here it goes…

    While I can appreciate the value of a healthy debate and constructive criticism, I think some of the negative comments above are unduly harsh, immature and pathetic. The top essayists are all deserving of praise: They produced essays that spoke to David. Bravo and kudos to them! We are all celebrating here, at least those of us mature enough to see through the BS of sour grapes.

    The rest of us also won the experience of participating in this unique endeavor, initiated by arguably one of the most inspiring and visionary photographers of our time. I for one was thrilled just to be a part of this. Anyone who feels slighted is truly blind.

    I am confident that David will respond graciously yet firmly, in his usual role model way, and that he will not let this pettiness signal the end of this precious blog. There are too many of us here who see the value in everything we do here as a community.

  • I really hope Sean submits his material to the Oskar Barnack award. It fits perfectly, seems to me.

  • Sean, I love your work, keep it up, and congrats on the award. And, as usual, thanks to Bob Black for saying what needs to be said…you are such the heart of this community…happy new year senior!


  • Short of David being back to share some wisdom here on this heated debate, I thought I would post the link of a video that I have previously found of David, explaining to a young emerging photographer that to have a picture published into a magazine, you need to have a strong editorial reason. Main reason for showing a particular picture needs to be a journalistic reason not just an artistic reason….Well worth looking at the video as I think that you may hear some guiding principles that David has likely used. Seems to me that Sean most certainly has an eye and some of us may or may not like some particular pictures but at the end of the day, these are strong pictures with a strong editorial journalistic relevance and so, it is not a surprise to me that David would have selected that essay. When thinking about myself, I have tended to shoot pictures that inspire me, without thinking too much about a journalistic reason or thread to the essay…In that sense, I am much less likley to be published into a magazine…. David has selected an essay that could interest editors in the real world and Sean certainly desrves credit for having put this together. Hope we all go back to the great sense of community and high spirit that we all cherish on this site. Cheers, Eric…The link for the video is underneath…..


  • Asher, well said….missed you the first time.


  • I just was writing a post and was interrupted only to come back and see that Asher had pretty much already posted what I was writing…(please allow me to quote Asher)

    “While I can appreciate the value of a healthy debate and constructive criticism, I think some of the negative comments above are unduly harsh, immature and pathetic.”

    This has gotten way beyond mature conversation to the point of being totally out of line. Hopefully the “offender” will see that there is nothing to be gained here and that will be the end of it.

    I only feel badly that after all David has done, he will be faced with reading some of what has been said here. A shame!

  • I feel bad that I started this mud slinging. As I said before I wasn’t trying to be negative. I still feel that after all that has been said that story is more important. I tend to agree with Panos on the style of the BW conversion, it looks bad.

    Rafa you sound like a Jesus freak the way you speak about David, I thought this was a forum to express opinions, not a Hollywood interview where every player kisses each other’s ass! As for Cathy I hope you are joking, if David isn’t laughing from these comments, then I don’t want to be part of this place. Panos was obviously joking, you Americans can criticize stuff in private and have fun, but we from abroad know how it is to joke around with friends, relax flojos!

    David please be laughing as I have been. I love the energy not the fake praises from earlier today. Praises are good but add something to the discussion.

  • Octavio or should i say BABABOUI… of course David is laughing… of course most of them got it… the joke i mean… Sean, you should be laughing too…But honestly David add something to the conversation soon…and i promise i wont send a kiss ass Rafal comment…and yes still the B&W looks bad…
    But everything else is really fine…Good job Sean…
    NEW DISCUSSION TOPIC:…is everything that Sean shot,shot through a CANON…topic no2: Are Canon cameras really pro???

  • Looking for to a new post. Time to move on from these comments.

  • That should have been “looking forward to a new post…”

    I’m a little brain dead after watching a lot of c-span coverage of the Iowa caucuses.

  • martin (marcin luczkowski)

    I something missed…
    Here should be 250 comments with simple words “congratulation Sean”…
    Rules was clear… one winer, one judge…
    what are you talking about?


  • ::sigh::

    coming in a bit late, returning back to soggy Northwest from Sally Mann country, i love that little Shenandoah town, stumbled on the best damn bluegrass jam i’ve ever seen, such hope and spirit and community coming together with such joy, everyone irrespective of position all together in the club tapping, stomping, dancing, laughing, lying, drinking, yelling, smokin’, spittin’ and … wow, jolt, get home and so surprised at some of the posts here … damn … like innocence dying … sigh …

    ah well, i think great things will be remembered here … simple and clear … the noise will fade. i love to see how others see and i have learned enough to understand my own sight and appreciation of other’s work evolves, just as my own work evolves … that to make absolute pronouncements, judgements today will likely lead to embarrassment tomorrow … silliness, whatever …

    A huge congratulations is of course due and Sean has now assumed a great responsibility … we expect great things and can see them on the horizon … Sean, man, seriously, good on ya dude ;-)) … and hats off to everyone who contributed, who understood or is gaining understanding, we are on the road, in the bus … it’s amazing what you can learn from others, from a community, in a short time if you are open to it!

    i can’t wait to see upcoming essays and work … a collective present to the community from the community and spread by a generous spirit. I love this place, i just wish it served Guinness :)))))

  • Congratulations, everyone! And great work, Sean!

    And a happy New Year to you all as well :)

  • Congratulations to Sean, and to the other short listed. I’m eagerly waiting to see the other pictures and essays.

    allready learned from all this, going to learn more.


  • And HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nuno de Matos Duarte

    Congratulations to all essayists and readers! The discussion about the quality of the winning essay is a silly discussion. Martin put it simple and right: one judge, one winner.

  • This is a place to express opinions, but Octavios and Panos, you two sound like immature little babies. Sorry you lost, sorry David didnt pick you, but most sorry that your parents failed to raise you to be adults and now when things dont go your way, you throw tantrums and insult people, lashing out like 3 year olds. This will be my last response to the two most IQ challenged simpletons Ive met on the internet.

  • It is important every now and again for people to–one way or another–stroke their own egos. This happens in all forums eventually. What can’t be achieved in “real life” must be attempted in forum threads.

    In the case(s) above it is to criticize David’s decision and the photos chosen. Thereby proving how independant and “different” you are. Again, if you aren’t different enough in you own work maybe you can be in the comments section. “Look at us! We’re not blindly praising! Those photos are mediocre. David didn’t choose photos…only stories! See! Aren’t we clever?! Aren’t we stand outs, too? Oh…and it was all a joke! Get it?”

    Yes, little boys, we got the joke. You.

    Thanks for the laughs.

  • Michael and Rafai, you both have beautiful photos in your respective websites, actually Rafai very beautiful.

    But Guys, really thank you for showing me the light. I have been a baby a toddler. You are right everything in the world is beautiful, why criticize decisions or photos or contests. There is no time or need for that, you are so right. Where is David so I can absolve my photo forum sins. I’m sorry David please take me back!

    Seriously guys stop trying to be the righteous police, I’m expressing an opinion.

    This has gone way out of hand!!!!!!!

    This is what my point is and has been…

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE I’m not being negative this is what I learned from this….

    From what David chose, it appears to me that the story was more important than the photographs.

    Guys no I didn’t like the photographs, but that’s not the issue, obviously it doesn’t matter what photos I like or don’t like. However as many up above have already stated they thought their respective photos were better too, and I saw their websites and agree…


    Mom and Dads stop trying to control this place and make it a pristine little heaven. ahhhhh….

  • Happy New Year everyone and congrats to Sean and all the short list. Can’t wait to see your works.

  • Happy New Year everyone and congrats to Sean and all the short list. Can’t wait to see your works.

  • Happy New Year everyone and congrats to Sean and all the short list. Can’t wait to see your works.

  • Happy New Year everyone and congrats to Sean and all the short list. Can’t wait to see your works.

  • Dear David and all,

    After reading the above, I feel conforted in the position I presented 6 months ago: inevitably, people would look at this experience as a competition. That is the reason why I decided (and I wrote about this on this blog) not to submit my work, even though I worked very hard for it.

    I respect David’s decision because he set the rules of the game at the onset, participants accepted these rules, so nobody can come-up now and question his choice. And another point to remenber: the winner is David’s choice only. People may agree or disagree on the artisitic value of the winner’s work, but David decided that for the purpose of his blog, it was the best work submitted. Nothing else to add on the topic…

    On another point: David I will be in NY for around 6 hours between 2 planes (we going to Paris) on February 15. Would it be possibel to meet you then, I would love to chat with you if you are OK.

    Have a nice day from Bermuda,

    Nicole, Anne-Camille, Arie

  • why criticize decisions or photos or contests

    You KNOW this is NOT the issue, so please dont play silly games. Its not the criticism its the WAY you guys did it which crossed the line of politeness. Thats what we are saying, or atleast I am.



    Yes, this is true. We were supposed to submit a photo essay, which means a story. Looking at David’s background, is this any surprise that he put emphasis on the story?

  • P.s David, whats with the year in review on the Magnum site? its all photos of people who died. Depressing, I couldnt watch it all.

  • a brief (i promise ;) ) chime in about, without taking on personalities, the argument about STORY BEFORE PHOTOS PEOPLE issue:

    it is a canard, totally!

    In fact, this is bollocks and has no relationship at all to Sean’s essay. I respect and understand if Octavios, Panos and others were unmoved by the imagery, that is a legitimate reaction, for each of us, individually and collectively, reacts to imager in our own PECULIAR and individual way. The argument buttressing that reaction or arguing against it is a Sisyphusian one, and pretty much meritless (either way). The moment one tries to argue quality, one’s lost. One can only argue their own reaction, and leave it stand as is.

    However, I think Octavios’ thought that David has chosen the story based on the merits of the “STORY” is an wrong assumption. In fact, one can not separate or bifurcate story (content/context) from photo (aesthetic/craft) for they are bound inextricably. While yes Sean’s story is important, BUT ALL STORIES ARE IMPORTANT, ALL AND EACH, for they all lead to the abacus of things: there is not a hierarchy of tale, for all things point to the same irrevocable tale: our disappearance and the difficult and forlorn attempt and waylaying that….

    however, story aside (china/desert), the QUALITY OF THE IMAGES are strong. In fact, I would argue against the interpretation that the story of Sean’s essay trumpts the craft. Not true at all (for me). In fact, it is the MARRIAGE of both (craft and story) that make Sean’s essay strong and worthy of not only David’s respect but all our. The aesthetics of his craft:

    I think many of the negative commentators don’t understand it’s visual subtlety: i mean that girl with eyes closed is front of wire and placard and creeping sand, like a monster, is EXTRAORDINARY photograph: one is not imposed by the content (the actuality of the image) but by it’s ambiguity, its universality: that photo is about fear (real and imagined) and shadow…! and the totality of the essay (on the website) is brilliant: the creeping sanddune nearly engulfing the city is also a gorgeous image, including (at least for this point) the interesting use of Dovchenko tilt (a stylistic device that often feels empty to me in most photos)…and i think because Sean’s iconography is “simple” (by simple i mean without obvious visual drama, instead the drama acculumates through ambiguity, it’s poetry is even more profound: repeated viewings reveal how dramatic the images really are), the viewers have mistaken the “story” (which is incredibly important) for the “aesthetic”: which is much much more subtle that people have seen…the temple surrounded by a small moat and sand with young couple (tourists?) walking up is another brilliant image, and the cemetary (like a coin or Ozmandius) is another extraordinary moment, especially with the juxtaposition of the handglidders..i mean, im not sure what all the shit is about at all….as for the b/w conversion: again, these guys dont know what theyre talking about. the blacks are rich when they have to be and the grays gray and often when the grays are washed out, it’s even more effective…

    Sean’s aeshetic id one of abmiguity born of clarity (a paradox, right?) from a simplicity, but more essential, aesthetic born more of the MOMENT than of style (notice the 2 handgliders over the tombstone, the photo tourist being photoed in front of Dune-castle, the scarred droubt…the use of watermelon (a metaphor, real and poetic), etc…

    one cannot argue the case for Sean’s work if others don’t feel the same…but I can assure you that to me, as a photographer, the aesthetics and craft are as rich and decisive as the story itself….

    that’s the point: it isn’t the ‘BEST’ essay, for that doesn’t exist, but it is a great and beautiful and sad and important one, contextually and craft-wise, and thats, as a viewer, all I care about…nothing more….

    i dont always agree with David about ideas, and im sure he the same with all of us, but i don’t question this choice, for in the end, it is only a choice, and a strong one and I am happy and thrilled for sean and for all of us…

    this is not about STORY OVER PHOTO, but the STORY AND PHOTO: MARRIAGE…..

    song, dance, disappearance….

    by the way, the idea of “quality” is still untrue Herve ;))…it’s a thing we hold onto to brace ourselves against the abyss…believe me…take a gander at Anne Carson’s gorgeous essay about Paul Celan ;))..


    let us not confuse David’s rationale for our own…..


  • ” I love this place. I just wished it served Guiness ! ”

    I agree, Tom !

    Maybe some wine, too…

    Happy new year everyone !!!

  • Sorry Michael K. but even “soccermom” photographers like Rafal has good work in his web… You should be able to back up your opinions with your work… Now Rafal sorry for you feeling upset… It was a pleasant experience and surprise to see you are much better photographer than thinker!!! Hmmm!!! I loved your photos…
    Michael K … again.. Check Rafal’s website and learn!!!

  • Octavios…

    Did you see my first response to you? Please read it again. Story from photos. Not story before photos.

    And don’t mistake civilized discussion…which most in here would like to have…for ass-kissing. That’s just rude and obnoxious of you. There’s no need or desire to make this a “heaven.” If you’ve been in here long enough you’d have noticed more than a few heated discussions/arguments. However, manufacturing one for its own sake or for the sake of trying to portray ones self as some sort of rebelious contrarian is simply childish.

    That is my opinion of what you and Panos are up to.

  • Wait a moment, I understood that this is more of a stipend than a prize… am I wrong? I mean, I think that Sean’s stuff is ok (I’m not that interested in photojournalism in a classic sense) but what I think it has are very good possibilities of continuation. It can be followed for the duration of that stipend and made into something very very cool, more complex and intriguing. If mine had won, the $5000 would have gone into film and alcohol. In a way it was more of a dead end as for how to follow up.

    Or as in the film Magicians:

    – I want a loan…
    – What for?
    – Well, the usual…
    – Hum?
    – You know… eating, drinking, that sort of stuff…

    It really sounds better if you talk about bussineses :o)

  • Hey BobBlack at least respect different opinions…without having to agree??? See Rafal??? A new way of thinking… Beyond fear soccer or churches… Leave all that aside… Free yourself chupakobro!

  • I think is Bob is right about this whole discussion, after reading it a couple of times it really sank in. But I have to say Panos and Octo gave me a good laugh, I didn’t take their comments as criticizing David’s decision. In fact especially Panos’ rants were funny because I felt a little of that inside, I think that’s natural and human. Bob’s line: let us not confuse David’s rationale for our own….. sums it up.

  • Chupakobro AHAHAHA Panos your killing me!

  • Ugh…I suppose this level of discourse was going to make it here eventually, but still kinda sucks. You win. I’m out.

  • Thanks for the open mind Ryan… With “moms” like Michael or Rafal i was ready to quit the boring forum… but there also intelligent cats around … i believe that BobBlack makes the most sense in here… i also find Joni Karanka’s sense of humor prety strong…
    Ryan you are right …Bob Black sums it up ….


    i am trying now to get the website up so that this intelligent discussion will be even more intelligent!!

    when you see all of the essays together you will have better referencing…

    none of you , at this point, has the same frame of reference as do i..but, you soon will have…..but, all is ok…a good discussion nevertheless….

    my original thought was to publish everything at once…but, working over the holidays to get a new website designed and up and running and editing the finalists at the same time became a bit overwhelming…anyway, i am just waiting for the website to go up with ALL of the edited work…

    but, PLEASE KNOW THIS …i do not put any more weight on traditional photojournalism that i do a good “art essay”…not at all…as a matter of fact, i would serioiusly PREFER to lean a bit away from the traditional “story”…

    ALSO remember there is more funding out there and i could, at any moment, fund one of the so called “art photographers” on a worthwhile endeavor…this was not a “one shot deal” nor is sean gallagher a “winner” and the rest of you not in the “game”…nothing could be further from the truth….

    the first stipend to sean was because his work was cohesive, not because it was tasteful photojournalism….but, i plan to write a lot more about sean and his story and i plan to write a lot about many of the other essays you will soon see also…

    by the way, there was another photographer way way in close running for this first stipend who literally did not even have a title for the essay!!! …repeated e-mails to this phtographer yielded nothing…even an “art essay” ought to have a title or some reference to the subject matter…i could only guess the photogs intent and subject matter…..still, i like this work …i would just like to find out a bit more…. i am very interested in helping this photographer in the future…

    PLEASE REMEMBER my statement of purpose again…i repeat this often, but few seem to remember!!! at least, the nature of much of the discussion leads me to realize i need to repeat often the overall intent of this excercise….

    my INTENT overall here is to fund several of you….NOT to run a contest…this should be the OPPOSITE OF A CONTEST where there is a winner and the rest are “losers” or forgotten…i am trying to BUILD FROM MANY OF YOU!! to help those who need help in finding “themselves” and to fund those who are ready to be funded….

    there were at least 10 photographers i saw here who i would have funded if i could have…and 10 more that just need to think a bit more/work a bit more, and could be certainly ready to “go” in a very short time….

    ALSO, please see the obvious…in what other grant or stipend scenario is there even this kind of discussion???

    not surprising either that some of the strongest critique here is from people who did not submit any work at all!!!!! but, i have no problem with this….that is the nature of the beast i suppose…

    anyway, we have lit some kind of fire here!!! this is not bad…this is good…keep your comments coming…i will do my best to keep up, but not back in new york (my mom will not let me go!!) until monday…

    by then, the new site should be up and we can all better discuss the merits of various bodies of work…

    be of good cheer…..david

  • Hi David,

    Did you read my note above about my short trip in NYC?



  • by the way, the idea of “quality” is still untrue Herve

    Good morning everyone. about the tit for tat yesterday, I think with the same arguments, but without getting personal, it would have been just fine. Also, David probably need no “bodyguards”, me thinks.

    This thread has over 100 responses in 48 hours. People seem to be in total sync with David’s choice. Yet, lately, the WS section is stuck at under 20 comments, many of them to say “great”. I fear an homogeneized world where free-thinking, and possible dissenssion is hissed and hounded, told to shut up. The net, as far as I see, has started this trend that many of our governments are happy with. If you have passion for photography, friends, let’s hear it, state it, or scream it, be right, be wrong, make a difference. it’s always better than joining the crowds or be on the safe side. IMO, as usual.

    Bob, Just reading the appreciation and accolades people respond to your contributions, just that, makes the presence and discerning of “quality” ever so true…;-)))

  • Herve ;))))))))))…i spiked their cocktails prior to writing ;))))

    serious: great book: ANNE CARSON’S THE ECONOMY OF THE LOST …brilliant essay :)))

    more later about quality, on another post, :))

    running to teach


  • Bob,

    I’m going to print out this quote and keep it in my camera bag:

    “… ALL STORIES ARE IMPORTANT, ALL AND EACH, for they all lead to the abacus of things: there is not a hierarchy of tale, for all things point to the same irrevocable tale: our disappearance and the difficult and forlorn attempt and waylaying that….”

    I’m coming to Toronto for a week in February with my wife and kids to visit our family. Perhaps I’ll have some time free so we can meet, if you’re in town.


    hey my friend….YOU DID NOT FAIL!!! you just need more work!! you are a brand new man in photography!!!…you have great enthusiasm, you are thinking/learning and i believe you will do very very well in the future….maybe your only “weakness” is in thinking a bit too too pragmatic…but we will work on that!!!!



    IMPORTANT….i wish wish wish i could have given the first stipend to an essay that did NOT look like it could belong in NATGEO..i agonized over this….i wanted wanted wanted more than anything for there to have been an “art essay” with an equal amount of cohension or purpose as did sean’s work….besides, sean is only the beginning, not an end result!!!

    BESIDES, when you see all of the upcoming essays, do not be surprised if one of the more esoteric photographers is soon funded….but a solid photo-j story is not a bad place to start….but, it is not the only thing…i well well know this…..BALANCE MY MAN, BALANCE….


    cheers amigo, david

  • TOM…

    guinness coming soonest….room temp…on tap


    i might be in new york when you are around….if so , please call….you are more than welcome to stop in….


    hmmm, well i agree…but, i was not editing antoine d’agata or paolo pellegrin here…nor, through the pictures submitted allowed the luxury of a treatise on photography today….i was simply editing what was submitted on this forum…and proud to do it, no matter how simplistic or “boring” it may be to some…

    however, in this case, i do believe that pictures will speak louder than words….your pictures…. i will publish your entry to this forum ….we will all look forward to your explanation of this work with your usual aplomb…

    cheers, david

  • “my INTENT overall here is to fund several of you….NOT to run a contest…this should be the OPPOSITE OF A CONTEST where there is a winner and the rest are “losers” or forgotten…i am trying to BUILD FROM MANY OF YOU!! to help those who need help in finding “themselves” and to fund those who are ready to be funded….”

    That is what I always understood, and that is why I’m so happy to be part of this. What I really want from this is… to learn. To learn from others, to learn from what I submitted and to learn from David’s opinions. Let’s open our eyes and hearts and…. learn.

    This is BIG, and all of us have a big opportunity here to grow up as photographers.


  • Thanks David,

    There is my email address: arie.haziza@archreinsurance.bm

    Could you please provide me your phone number and address offline.



  • ANA….

    thank you…by the way, i almost came to valencia for new year’s eve, but the travel scenario was just getting too crazy….

    i plan to publish on the new site two or three of your best pieces….i saw some nice new work…and looking for more!!!

    besos, david

  • Perhaps some of us motivate ourselves a little differently when we get up in the morning.


    You seem to me to be very content and at peace with yourself. I admire your magnanimity.

    I never thought I would be the recepiant of any money, and like many of you never cared.

    Maybe it’s youth, inexperience, or whatever. I like the notion of viewing this collective, in my own mind, as a kind of competition.

    I never would want to undermine another photographer, we struggling lot have enough to worry about. I would never go out shooting an assignment with the idea of bettering someone or something.

    But can anyone argue the fact that we as peers in this collaborative, were infact judged…That to me is cool, it is ok, it is great.

    I speculate that there were better, yes! better submissions than others.

    I do not subscribe to the notion of useless bickering and negative commentary…

    But do we not judge ourselves amongst our peers?

    Are photographers only to judge our own work against itself?

    I don’t know…………

  • David – I was really counting on being the official trouble-maker of this blog, but it looks like my position has been usurped. Please put me on the list of “Desperately Seeking Opinions” on my essay, and I promise you’ll make an excellent drop-kick (of me!) into the next project. Thanks!

    David M

  • Chris :))

    my magnanimity comes, i hope, from the fact of having lived a life (filled by lots of joy and some terrible, profound heartache) given to my many…maybe it’s age (42), maybe its coming to photography late in life (35) maybe it’s fatherhood/husband-hood (not husbandry ;) ), maybe it’s small thing:

    we’re all caught in the same drifting dingy and aint no around getting the fact that arent enough oars to pilot us properly home, so how best to steer?…

    i’ve buried loved ones and seen strangers bury themselves in front of my eyes, and it’s a stark and either hardening or softening thing…im not content with myself, never am, quite frustrated, but i see the act of embracing more difficult and more challenging and, in the end, more enriching (to me) that its antithesis…

    age, yes, changes one…

    maybe that’s it:

    the magnanimous beat of a saddened heart….


  • Bob,

    Yeah…I hear you on loss…

    To not be content with oneself. Is this not an acknowlegement of certain failures or at the very least sortcomings?

    I don’t want this issue to sound negative, like someone beating themselves again and again, over small flaws in the mirror.

    But Bob,…Achievement, you know, and acknowlegment…

    How does a body of work grow in depth and richness without a desire in the author’s heart and mind to improve it in the eyes of a critic other than themselves?

    If an artist loves their work and deems it worthy of an audience, is it wrong for that person to seek an ever growing audience for their work?


  • David

    Thanks, Skipper, for your timely course correction, a gentle nudge of the rudder to remind us all of where we’re headed…


    Like everyone else, I am waiting with baited breath to see all the other essays and singles David has selected. I want to see much more before I make any lengthy comments. I like what Lance said above, and especially Lisa H when she talked about what a great oppurtunity this is to learn from David’s eye. That’s why I’m involved. I don’t expect his taste and judgment to be very similar to my own, and I expect to be challenged in my understanding and appreciation, as I already have been in the various Student Workshop photo postings, Work in Progress, etc. With the greatest respect, I have to say that as a photographer David is not necessarily, and never was, one of my gods or role models… but as a teacher who can help open other’s eyes to new possibilities, I think he is unrivalled.

    Speaking of ‘reading’ a photo… this may seem like a digression, but when I look at the first photo of Sean’s that David put up, I see the signboard hanging on the barbed wire and immediately notice that it says in Chinese “shǔishe̅n we̅ixiǎn, yánjìn kuàyuè” or “Water Deep- Danger! Crossing this Line Strictly Forbidden” and although I can’t quite make out the smaller writing at this resolution, it looks like it is signed by the ‘Jing District Environment Office’. Now I’m not really just trying to show off here… after all, many bloggers here speak and read languages that I cannot (like Afrikaans, Arabic, Greek, Polish, Punjabi, etc.) but I’m curious how the ability to read or not read the sign might change one’s understanding and appreciation of the picture. In other words, if the picture is supposed to be about the sand, does seeing the sign about deep water alter one’s perception?

    I throw this out as just one tiny example of how we may all see and read photographs in completely different ways. I’m sure I’ll have much more to say after the other essays and singles get posted! Meanwhile,

    Congradulations, Everybody! Anyone who submitted projects, I am certain, learned something and gained something invaluable in this process that is only beginning to unfold.



  • Whoops! Tried to put in tone mark diacritical marks in the Chinese romanization and they got cut out by typepad. The missing line should be:

    …and immediately I read the signboard in Chinese which says “shuishen weixian, yanjin kuayue”…



    you may have missed the point…maybe not…but maybe….of course, there are better single pictures coming in from all the photographers (however, i saw no submissions from you)…

    in the next few days, i plan to publish and honor these strong single pictures…

    but, the point of the stipend was to honor an essay…an essay shot in a very short time and with some kind of authorship…sean gallagher did this very well…so did about 10 other photographers…but, i thought sean’s essay was “important” and needed further funding…not that each and every single picture was “better” than the whole lot of single pictures that i received….but i do not think you can give out a grant for one single picture…that would be a photo contest…a different animal…shooting a cohesive essay is extremely difficult…and ideally an essay would have all strong single pictures…so far, i have never seen an essay with all strong singles, but maybe there is one out there somewhere…an essay is like a song , or a book or a movie…it comes and goes…flows and stops….has highs and lows…and makes you think beyond just the immediate “grab” value…..anyway, we will dicsuss all of this much much more….

    thank you for your comments….discourse is the whole point of this forum…


    my oh my oh my…within minutes of my posting my comment about not wanting my forum to be pushing a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC point of view, i got a call from one of my editor friends at Natgeo suggesting i delete my comments!!!

    well, i cannot do that, because i totally believe what i said above…at the same time, i was writing in haste and when i write in haste i often eliminate context…i just assume too much perhaps from my readers here…i think most of them already know more than they perhaps know…

    so to amplify on my comments above i will indeed add just a bit of context….fair enough for sure…

    first of all, National Geographic is family for me….so, any critique of Natgeo is in the context of “MY National Geographic”…i earned my living for many years at the Geographic, put my two sons through college with funding from Natgeo, etc etc etc…i received the only real education i have from the travels Geographic provided….produced several books from the outtakes of the 40+ assignments i did for the Magazine…for this i am forever grateful and forever loyal…

    yet, my photographic tastes run beyond what can be or should be published in National Geographic..

    i have always wanted to push push push the limits of NG publication further than they were ever willing to go…so did most of the photographers….so do most of the editors….the taste level of the editors is way way beyond what can actually be printed….NG has an audience..a paying audience …and the audience must be satisfied by the editors…that is their job..

    as NG Director of Photography, David Griffin says “we are not a magazine about photography or photographers…we use photography as a vehicle to tell our readers stories about the world….not as a vehicle for a photographer’s personal vision” …david griffin is a man of fine taste…and he personally loves all kinds of photography, but in his NG editor role, this is his view…and this is the view of every top editor i have ever known….

    now, since i am not selling anything on this forum , nor have paying subscribers, and no advertisers, i can publish or promote or reward whoever or whatever i want……my photo tastes can run the gamut…so, it is this context of creative freedom that i may not want to push any particular print magazine’s philosophy…why would i do that?? they do that!!!

    but, at the same time, i know many of the photographers who visit this forum dream of perhaps doing a magazine assignment or publishing a book… to help these photographers is the only reason that i even exist here in electronic form…

    but, just to keep everything really nice and sqeaky clean and clear, i do totally support the “straight playing” sean gallagher story..yes, it could be a Natgeo story….probably should be a Natgeo story…after all, it is about the environment….but, sean showed a lot of artistic style in covering this journalistic story….this , my friends, is not easy and a marketable talent much sought after by all magazine editors…few editorial magazine editors are going to hire anyone who has a portfolio of only strong singles….most want to see how a photographer handles an essay…even though few magazine can actually publish an essay…it is the essay thinking they look for….

    as i said in the posts above, i cannot wait for you to see some of the truly esoteric stories photographed for this forum…and all the stories “in between”….my next funded photographer will surely come from this esoteric category…

    do you think i will be “fired” again????

  • Chris: :))

    Totally, and that’s the heart-break and the dilemma: the delicate and often nutered balance…we seek fulfillment and “achievement”: it’s innate, it’s instinctual, I think it’s about preservation…i mean, i think the long and longed-for thougths and discussion and movement and concern about “achievement” improvement, etc, has to do with the inelluctable fact that we shall perish or that there is NO rationale or reasoned (reasonable) explanation as to why we are here and what makes that worth the living…

    life, and death, is assiduous…and it’s a powerful, magical, loss-filled notion, that most of us never, ever, comprehend…and so we wile away the days and hours bruilding, constructing, arranging things (language, ideas, countries, names, ethics, religions) as a way to buttress ourselves from this fact….

    I dont think there is anything wrong with the discussion of “achivement”, “evolution” “growth”, “improvement” etc…in fact, i see those as simply terms, vessels in which we pour ourselves in order to better “comprehend” this diminishing light…and good for us, for what else do we have?…and this notion of quality haunts me profoundly…

    let me tell you a story: my story for David is comprised of 35 images, many of which are completely abstract and poorly scanned (i was learning how to scan my negatives as part of this whole excercise..then i put the first 20 and later an additional 15 into 2 folders and sent to DAH…i didnt look at them until 1 month later, when i was horrified to see the results (of the digital scans): i re-scanned, after talking to someone who knows about scanning better than i did, printed 1 image and gave to a gallery and they went crazy over the image (David: that would be the abstract image of the Woman’s cheek in bobblack-2 folder), i realized also, that I had originally decided to NOT include any contextual images, instead submitting 35 abstract pics, mostly clausterphobic and close up, trying not to provide any mediating images, to “choke” the viewer (David ;) )…now, i look at the essay (ALL 35 images) and I am shocked to see it included, ’cause as a photographer, i dont like it at all…in other words, many of the choices i make as a photographer, and when it give people my “stories” have included notions of narrative and context along with the more esotric stuff and the images about “questioning” photography…anyway, what does all this shit mean:

    yes, im too obsessed with being better, digger deeper ;))…so, im a bit of a hypocrit ;))))…now, for me, it’s about denying photography: making photography unrecognizable as a way to ask questions, and is this not still about “quality” so you see, you are right, completely, im still just as obsessed about all this too :))…

    the different is this:” i dont believe in it in any absolute sense…i dont think i become a better photographer, i just think i “think” im a better photographer…i almost now dont even want to use my old “good/famous” cameras, but only my cheap ones, like my holga and my lomo and my cheap polaroid…and wondering still this: can quality come from something antithetical to quality: especially in a craft driven by craft and quality and technical mechanics?…im searching still for that and pushing…why pushing: ’cause i know that some bit of satisfaction will calm me for a few moments ;))))

    as to the discussion: hell yes mate! :)))…i’m obsessive: i think about photography constantly and I talk about it obsessively with my wife and ask about her ideas, we share alot: i share my work with friends and strangers and galleries and often like to hear their critical reaction, and hunger for it…all part of the same story: discussion…

    so, that’s what i meant: that, yes, like everyone else, im obsessed with being “better” but that better doesn’t have anything to do with a comparative quality, but with something more basic: i know that I delude myself, that that feeling with bring (i hope) moments of personal and professional satisfaction…and that, in the end, is to stem the truth of things: that all those i love and care about will depart and not one fucking thing i photograph, not one poem or essay i write, not one film i develop, not one thing i do with counter or stem that…and that leaves me with sadness that is inexpressable, but it also fills me with luminous energy…the beating of the oars against the tide, toward that light, right? ;))…

    so yea, all i wrote above wasn’t so much in counter to the “judging” of Sean or David or my own words, but to something much simpler…the heroic and honorable and stupid and sublime act of being alive and denying our demise in the face of so much…

    to write a simple sentence, to make a simple picture, to feel alive, to know that we squander too much and do not love, as Winogrand wrote, life well enough…

    what we love shall not remain, initially, but how rich that which does does rich….


  • Sydney: :))))

    that;s it EXACTLY :)))))))))))!!!!…i’ve been hunting for a translation for 2 days, knowing the thing about “water” on that placard, but couldnt figure out the rest….

    Asher :))…yes, when you come, drop me an email, (via Lighstalkers) and I’ll send u my phone number and we’ll drink together :))))

    David: :)))

    That’s (as all your comments) about as eloquent defense as can be said: about your mandate, your ideas, etc….

    and my heart beats a small bump that you have to even defend your loyalty, commitment and concern for NG (that mag too when i was a young made me dream of being a writer/photog)….to me, it’s just an example of the largess of your heart and character, just as important as the $5,000….and that you, for good or poor, are unafraid to express ;yourself in public and wear your truth outside for all to see:

    i know of no better character than that…and it’s why i personally like and admire you immensely…not because of Magnum or NG, but by the nature of your helmsmanship: I trust NG and David Griffin recognize the rarity of that character…which lay at the heart of the NG philosophy, as least as originally founded :)))

    ok, i think the blog as heard enough from this old man (me) for a few days…

    running home to rest…


  • DAVID!! Oooh, it would have been just great to have you here for new year’s eve…. Ok, we can celebrate it next time you come… Don’t forget it!!

    And you really make me veeeeery happy saying that you saw some nice work from me. And I’m so proud knowing that you will publish two or three of my best pieces…. I am really looking forward to seeing the ones you consider the best. As you just wrote, shooting a cohesive essay is extremely difficult. I know I don’t really know how to do it and also have no idea of how to edit it. I really had a hard time editing! But I’m learning… and next time I hope to do it better!!

    And yes, you will see more :-) In 15 days I will “go out in the wild” for three new assignments, and now I have a more clear idea :-)



  • Congratulations to Sean and all the others, mentioned or not above, for taking part in this.
    Big, big respect to David and Michael for doing all of this work, that is something special…
    David, I said this before but I’ll repeat for I think it’s worth it.. You have achieved something extraordinary with this initiative for pushing people to get out and work… who gets the stipend or who feels a winner or looser is not important at all… it is the fact that many, many people responded and worked on their vocation… They are all winners cause they learned something along the way…
    And yes, I would love to get feedback on my little submission…
    Happy New year to All!

  • Hi David

    We both know that even if I’m one of the signified… I failed whole line…
    It’s happen…
    But I must say I’ve started a three new projects now. Huge projects… for year or longer…
    Something about what I believe… an I agree with… something strong… something sensitive…
    It will be big stuff!!
    Full mind of ideas… new ways… new horizons…
    Maybe it something wrong with me, but I’ll be working on films… I still hate digital… and I will complain for money like always ha ha
    I’m unreformed…

    So I’m running… up, up and away!!!



  • Read and heard enough indeed Good Sir, till we meet again.

    Cathartic? Perhaps it was…perhaps it was…


  • Hey Everybody,

    Congratulations to Sean. From his site it looks like he’s a really hard-working guy with ambitious and creative vision. Job well done!

    And congrats to the finalists! I’m thrilled to be listed with you (unless I share my name with another photographer who entered, and in that case congrats to him!). I hope we can all get together at some point.

    Thanks to this community. It’s a great place to learn about breaking out creatively. Lots of different ideas and perspectives.

    I just want to say one thing about looking at photos. There have been times when I’ve published a picture that I think will receive some accolade, yet only silence comes. Other times, I’ve been embarrassed to give my editors the photo and people rave about how they love it. The final judge has to be yourself, and the process of photography should really be the reward. Cherish the moments when accolades such as the DAH grant come because they’re so rare and fleeting.

    By the way David, is there going to be any kind of fiesta associated with the end of this first event? I could use a Brooklyn lager…



  • I envy your will, Marcin, your vision. If I only could honestly and with no doubt tell myself what you’ve just told us… Many reasons, things against…

    Go, burn some film. It’s worth it ;-)

  • Great, great work Sean, really, really good. Congratulations to all the finalists!!!. David thank you for this opportunity, also for your time and generosity.

    So please David if you could give me some feedback on my story. Also for me, i need more, more, more, more work!!!

    congratulations Sean!!!!

  • Panos,

    you said what you wantd now kindly back off. It takes a big man to insult people on the internet, eh? You remind me of a chihuaha yapping from behind a fence. What the hell is your problem anyway?


    I didnt mean I failed. Well I did:) But Im cool with that. I failed to do what i wanted, Im not talking about this stipend, I simply feel I failed to find something good to show. Thats all, Im talking about my personal feelings, not about this assignment. But I succeeded too in other ways. Too pragmatic? Maybe:) Probably. I dont know. Anyway, hope to see you soon in Seoul, if you come for the book launch or the show.

    My Nat Geo comments werent meant as negative but positive. I found the story strong in terms of photos and in terms of the detail of the story and Im not surprised it won. Very Nat Geo.

    I want to see all the work though, the singles too. Then we can really see and decide.

  • David —

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE — can you have your web guru (would that be the famous Michael?) institute a system that numbers the comments as they come in? This would make it SO much easier to return to the blog and dive in at the appropriate place in the dialogue which, when there are 150+ unnumbered comments, is difficult. Some other blogs do this.

    Not that you don’t have anything else to do… :-)

    or as bob b would say :-))))))))))))

    Other than that, you RULE!

    and RUNNING!

  • I just finished getting through all the comments – finally — “road trip” indeed. Out and back again, over hills and through tangled brush, always an adventure.

    The more I look at Sean’s story, the more I want to know about it. I think that’s really a sign of its strength.

    This little challenge got me to go out and shoot when I never would have, a miserable time of day in a miserable setting, but it made me see it in a different way than ever before. And now, like Martin, it has set me loose on a year-long project that I probably wouldn’t have thought about doing otherwise. The ripple effect multiplied by the participants, not only in the challenge but in the blog, can’t be calculated.

    Asher and Bob, where’s the bar? I need a trip…

  • The time has come for me to de-lurk and say congrats to Sean and the others lest my silence be construed as dissent.

    Each participant has probably learned something from this, I know I have.

    And the proof that I’ve actually learned something is that I would definitely do it differently the next time.

  • I am not subscribed to Natl Geo, so correct me if i am wrong:

    I understand that Nachtwey had black and white essay on army medics not far ago (but He is Nachtwey) , but since Sean’s essay did not come with a Natl geo length text, or in color, unlike Rafal, I hardly see it is fitting the usual Ntl geo format. A weekly like Time or Newsweek seems to accommodate shorther boldlined texts and B&W essays. The type Sean sequenced on his website.

    Still, all these magazines never contain anything close to 20 shots for any story. So that was truly a DAH road trip assignement, unique and full of thorns for striving/blooming photrographers.

    Gee, I think one needs photographic lungs of steel to come up with 20 relevant images on a potent subject. even the best of the best edit down (or are edited down) to possibly half or less, of that. Lest they worked on a book for months or years.

  • Dear All,

    It has been so fascinating and interesting to read everybody’s feedback and thoughts on my work. I have had frank and honest opinions from individuals before however this is the first time I’ve had such a discussion in a public arena. I have to say that this is the whole point why I entered David’s project, to get feedback, to be criticised, to be questioned, all in ultimate goal of making my work better than it is now. David’s project has created an environment of intelligent discussion between its participants which really doesn’t exist with any other form of photography ‘competition’…I use this word very loosely.

    I decided to approach this all in a very ‘journalistic’ fashion. I read the literature, both scientific and general, on the subject. I sat down, wrote a list of what I wanted to show in my photos, pretending that an editor had assigned me to photograph the subject of desertification and what kind of visual evidence they would demand for this story. I also tried to keep an open mind and not be blinded by my preconceptions about the subject. After 10 days of shooting, I returned home to Beijing, edited, entered the competition and thought if nothing came of it, at least I had had undertaken a good exercise in critical thinking and essay construction.

    There has been lots of discussion about captions vs no captions vs conceptual vs ‘classical photojournalism’. I remember seeing another essay on desertification in China before I began mine. It was much more aesthetic in nature with minimal captions if any but I felt I could offer a different slant, or voice if you will, to the story. I didn’t necessarily believe I could do it better, just add my own voice to the evidence of this environmental issue to raise awareness. One of my major inspirations has always been Philip Jones Griffiths’ book Vietnam Inc. In this book Philip wrote detailed, often entertaining and opinionated text to accompany his photos. These left a deep impression on me how text can support and live in co-existence with the photos to provide a deeper meaning. I don’t for a second believe I am currently anywhere near the level of Philip, but I aspire to those same levels of journalistic integrity.

    This is a great community which should/and does encourage critical thought about our wonderful shared interest. I look forward to hearing so much more from everybody.

    Kindest Regards,

  • @Sean: I actually saw your pics of the blind kids in Need magazine, some cool ones in there

  • Sean

    Ni hao! Zenme yang? Wo hen gaoxing kankan nide zhaopian!

    First of all, direct and heartfelt congratulations to you!

    Many, many thanks for your detailed statement above about how you approached and executed your project. This is a real bonus for all of us who also contributed projects. There are many different kinds of photographers on this forum, and undoubtedly some will be less sympathetic or resonant than I am to your advocacy of the ‘words and text together make story’ journalistic approach. Speaking just for myself, that is exactly what I like to see and what I like to do (as evidenced on my website).

    I also want to applaud your efforts to grapple with real issues in contemporary China. I was a geographer before I became a photographer, and I studied environmental-social-cultural-political problems in East Asia in particular, so this is hardly a new topic for me. Over the decades I have seen thousands of pictures of environmental conditions and landscapes in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Some time ago I saw James Whitlow Delano’s work, ‘Taming the Yellow Dragon’ at the Digital Journalist, and I looked at it again after David posted your photos and name. I have to say that personally I much prefer your pictures and your style to his. They are quite different, and of course comparisons can be invidious, but I think they’re also inevitable. For me, his style is more about him than it is the subject, and gets in the way of the story that interests me. (As you can probably tell, I am not an art photographer! Although I certainly can appreciate many types of art photography).

    I looked at some of your website work and was impressed. Haven’t seen it all yet because I have a slow dial-up connection, but in the next few days I will get to a Wifi coffeshop and see the rest of it. One thing I noticed is that you often work in color, and your color photos are quite strong, so one question I want to ask you about this essay is, why did you deliberately choose black and white over color?

    The other question I want to ask is about all the tilting horizons. Now I know that my taste is hopefully old-fashioned, that tilting the horizon is extremely fashionable and widespread in photojournalism these days (just look at the Magnum site!) and even worrying about it may brand me forever as the fossil I probably am, but for me personally tilted horizons sometime may be called for… but often are not. This is just me, but when the horizon gets radically tilted, I look for a reason… is this really contributing to the ‘truth’ of the image? Is it necessary? In some of your shots, obviously it is necessary, and maybe when I see the whole essay I’ll see other angles, and have a different reaction, but it’s an interesting coincidence (?) that the one of your images in David’s posting I personally find strongest– the two women walking along the crest of the dune– also has a level horizon.

    These are not criticisms, they are just honest questions that I would ask you about face to face if we were to sit down together over a drink showing pictures to each other and swapping stories (which I sincerely hope will happen someday).

    I hope you will indeed use the stipend to further pursue photo stories in China and I really look forward to seeing the work that comes out of that.

    Good on ya, mate!



  • Bob- will do! I look forward to meeting you. I hope I will be able to “break away” from family obligations, but I will do my best.

    Joan- in Toronto, there are many, but I defer to Bob.

  • Rafa the “soccermom” or “JESUS POLICE” said:

    you said what you wantd, now kindly back off. It takes a big man to insult people on the internet, eh? You remind me of a chihuaha yapping from behind a fence. What the hell is your problem anyway?”

    Panos response:

    or maybe let me let David comment:


    hey my friend….YOU DID NOT FAIL!!! you just need more work!! you are a brand new man in photography!!!…”

    I would ONCE more correct “god” David and say:

    …but lets keep going..

    So you wanna be a rock’n’roll superstar…with 3 cars!!!???

    I told you as brother that this is not the right forum for you…
    Too bad because i still like your amateur photos on flickr about all the seoul babies going to the doctor…how fascinating!!! You are safe shooter…learn instead of talking s**t… malaka!

    Let me tell you what was the problem…

    I admire David Allan Harvey but since i was a kid i realized that “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC” is a dead – senior citizen’s magazine, something like “Reader’s Digest”… Racist… beautiful photos- appealing to the eye …for the wallets for old farts driving corvettes dreaming of a safari before they die .Sad

    SAFE SAFE SAFE… Stupid and old fashioned…Last century’s s**t!!!
    You hear…
    Fearless David! Let those IDIOTS OLDSMOBILE DRIVING fire you!!!
    once more… and


    thanks for sharing with us the “behind the scenes”…Like i didnt know…Anyways…
    and me??? I will be nice and i will never f**k with the little jesus freak …I promise!!!

    “This is a great community which should/and does encourage critical thought about our wonderful shared interest. I look forward to hearing so much more from everybody.

    Kindest Regards,

    So we all agree!!

    RAFA the “retard” SAID:
    “My Nat Geo comments werent meant as negative but positive. I found the story strong in terms of photos and in terms of the detail of the story and Im not surprised it won. Very Nat Geo.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    “….my next funded photographer will surely come from this esoteric category…

    I am not subscribed to Natl Geo, so correct me if i am wrong:

    PANOS says: “I feel you brother , i feel you…”

  • One last thing… my shrink already knows:
    When i was a kid,i’m talking about my upbringing…ya’ll…
    I was impressed by the 52 books (yes i read all of them…),
    of the master of fiction for white european kids…JULES VERN…
    french guy… whatever that means… anyways…
    so..back in that “NatGeo” new thing…(not new at all)…
    to me looks like a smooth “hollywood” production (not even!!)…
    …so perfect…
    Although i enjoyed the hip-hop essay by David…back in the day…
    other than that.. i can only remember canon commercials over canon lenses advertisment, over canon undearwear…over canon
    printers… over canon SUV’S… 345 frames per second ..the new canon Mark LSD…15 slots for sdcards22gigafigabytes…j**ga please!!!

    So yes , i read this at my dentist….

    But the David guy… i never saw him as a “NATGEO” guy…
    I saw him as …as… i don’t really know… that’s why i like the guy..

    p.s: Go figure yourselves Amigos!

  • SEAN

    I’m not a writer here, a reader only, but I wanted to thank you for doing this work and submitting it… I probably would not have seen it otherwise, and I’m glad I did.

    I do have a question… after reading what’s been posted here over the last few days, and looking at your photographs, I’m coming around to the thought that _all_ photographs _are_ stories… that pictures and narrative are not just related, but different forms of the same element, like water and steam. What I’m thinking is that each viewer brings his or her experience, past, prejudices, heartbreaks, intellect, and attention to a picture and needs to make sense of it. To do that, he or she will imagine or conjure a narrative to make the picture fit the skull bound landscape. A viewer empathizes with a subject in a photograph, or identifies with photographer, in any case a photograph’s paradoxical or problematic relationship with the real world begs mute for explanation, and if one is not readily available, we, humans, storytellers innate, are more than happy… can’t help but to provide one. My starting point theory. Note: story distinct from words.

    But I think this can only happen if there is something in the picture which provides friction that holds the story… an expression, a line, a gesture, an interruption, or something that stands in for something else. This I think is (a part of) the rhetoric of any photograph, and using this friction eloquently produces pictures that resonate.

    Two of your pictures particularly, also mentioned by others, resonate most for me, the photo of the girl with her hand across her eyes and the hang gliders. The girl I read as a stand in for either China or humans generally who have “turned their back” on an immense, looming disaster, and her covered eyes register as a willful refusal to see or even acknowledge impending, or rather, present danger… so I see this picture as an important political and social statement. If I push more (too much?), I also see irony in the hopelessly inadequate fence, human folly in the face of an angry Gaia. (I read the fence as a symbolic barrier.) In the end, the earth will consume us all, and it will. The ur-narrative mentioned above. In the other photo, the hang gliders read like man-made buzzards, surveying a man-made wasteland… our earth home will become a cemetery where even the dead aren’t safe…

    I’ve written too much and I’m running out of gas… my question is: You mentioned your approach was journalistic, yet I see threads in your work approaching (or arriving at) art and the pursuit of eloquence, or poetry or metaphor. Do you think about these issues and do they inform your work?

  • Aleksandrer

    I like Your pictures, especially the dark moved one.
    What’s the reasons you have?
    You are not satisfy from your photos?
    I understood why you want to burn your films… I did it twice… :)
    If you want start from beginning don’t burn your films, just give it some of your friend. All of you have. Load new film and start again.
    Even if you are Nachtwey or Salgado photography is a hobby and pleasure.
    So feel pleasure!!
    And let’s light burn some images on yours films!



  • Panos: My opinion you should be 86’d from this forum forever or until you learn how to conduct yourself. Perhaps you should read the book; “Everything i need to know i learned in Kindergarten.” Please your really lowering the bar for this online community. Have some RESPECT if not for us then for yourself.

    Truthfully; when i first read your initial comment i considered your words and thought that you made sense. However now i just keep thinking i can’t possibly make sense out of your non-sense.

  • supercoooool!!!!!!!!!! The circle of trust…!!!! Ahhhh!!!!!
    At last!!!!! They found me!!!! Now i do exist !!! I am getting kicked out by the CIRCLE OF trust…. The CIRCLE OF trust….
    wait a second…wasn’t it back in the day SPANISH IN…ahhh who cares! So what time is the “hanging” i mean burning and is it gonna be public?

    Oh by the way, why ’86 pinto and not ’08….what the h**l is that
    CHURCH i mean CIRCLE OF trust…? You ever thought you might home worms!????
    Just asking???
    I mean really..
    Do you know what time it is???

  • Panos: Have you seen the movie; “Meet the Parent’s ?” Oh; sorry i forgot your all business right ? It was a joke please stop taking yourself so serious. Gosh; enough NOW..

  • …o.k Robert cool ,you got me there for a sec…
    Love you too man…
    See you soon…
    Say hi Evangellisti!

  • Marcin, actually that is what I’ve meant – burn the image on it, with light ;-)… do not burn the film itself ;-)
    (BTW, I already knew and liked your photographs as well, before we met here :-))

    It is not the photographs I’m not satisfied with, it is the reasons why I have no time nor opportunity to start a long-term project… or maybe it is lack of something in me…

    Również pozdrawiam

  • pierre yves racine

    Salut à tous !!!

    Now, once again, this discussion is getting interesting, and constructive (a few comments excepted).

    What I read here is that many of us were able to take descent individual pictures but just don’t know how to put pictures together to build a story in a coherent way.

    That’s what you already told us a couple of weeks ago, David….

    Now that would be an interesting new topic :

    In which way is it different to shoot individual pictures or an essay ?

    In the “photographic process”, when do you think about building a story ? On the field ? Before ? After ?

    How do you turn individual pictures into a strong set of pictures ?

    These are questions, I think, that most of us would like to find answers to. Though I know many photographers would have very different answers.

    Does anybody here has books or articles to suggest ? I had found one article on Charles Harbutt’s website :


    But your suggestions would be welcome !!

    Now David, don’t you think it could be nice to add a resource section to your blog ?
    The content is so rich, yet it’s getting very long to read. A couple of days ago, I thougt I would re-read it from the beginning but I gave up… damn too long ! I know you had thought of a book, or something. New ideas ??

    Anyway, I think we have reached a very interesting point in the development of this community : we are able to talk about things, based on the mistakes we made in our submissions.

    How could it be more constructive ?

    Can’t wait to see what will come out in the next weeks !!

    Cheers !


  • Congratulations Sean

    i second to what pierre has asked about ‘photographic stories’, i would like to know the same thing. you have already said that you will write about editing photos as many of us made mistakes there. i am eagerly waiting to read that.
    in addition, i must add a few things on which i would like you to throw light upon…i don’t have answers to them or may be i am simply confused…
    in photography, i understand that the story/content/subject matter depicted by the photo is very important but how does composition (and its different aspects) come into play here? how important is composition there? in journalistic approach, i presume story/content/subject matter is much more important than the composition. i think everybody here will learn many things if you write a post on these topics. we can have a fruitful discussion on that also. and please forgive me as i am tempted to ask the mother of all questions “what are the elements of a good photograph”? may be this is very elementary question but i really can’t help it. the feedback of my seniors here is very confusing and varied even on a given photo. is it so subjective opinion? is there any standard?
    i wanted to get these questions off my chest…i think its better to seek knowledge than to live in a fool’s paradise with imperfect/no knowledge. hope you’ll understand.

  • the circle of TRUST ?? 86 someone?
    Why do you want to start up a conversation about censorship. David himself would not delete his own comments about the above topic, just because someone is annoying you doesn’t mean everyone feels the same, I certainly don’t and you’d be wise to stop with the foolish idea of banning someone. Ever heard of proxies? Using other names? Come on Bro, if you don’t want to continue the argument, then don’t add more fuel to the fire.

    I can’t wait to see the individual pictures along with the runner up essays!!

    If anything this discussion has really got me excited and wanting to start a new project. It is really inspiring and educational to hear what everyone especially David said about this essay and the others. I thank you all for your contributions!

  • As usual, there are several interesting discussions going on here. One that strikes me is the value of doing some research prior to shooting. Sean wrote:

    “I read the literature, both scientific and general, on the subject. I sat down, wrote a list of what I wanted to show in my photos.”

    This comment echoes what I’ve read in the interview with Mary Ellen Mark at the beginning of her book “The Photo Essay”. It also resonates in many of Allard’s experiences as documented in his book, “The Photographic Essay.” I am now convinced that preparing the mind with knowledge about a subject will cultivate the eye to see subtle visual relationships that might otherwise be missed.

    Another intriguing topic discussed above is the relationship between a photograph’s form and function: composition and content, visual impact and telling a story. Again, referring to Allard, I am reminded of something he wrote to the effect that sometimes the light is there but the photo isn’t. For the uninitiated, it may seem a precious rarity when composition, light and content come together for a compelling photograph. However, I think the first point regarding preparing the mind will vastly improve the chances of seeing those elements converge more frequently. My 2 cents…

  • Asher, I like what you brought up. It’s great to feel these ideas unlock and open in your mind. Sometimes some ones words can open up a door you did’t even know you had up there. What I mean is this idea of studying is awesome, not only for a photographic perspective but also a anthropologic one as well.

    I have been so bad the last two months with updating my blog and getting up to take photos. But, I’d like to blame this not on lack of motivation but this phase in studying. I have seriously sat down and started to plow through numerous books on many different languages, mostly focusing on my father’s mother language of Arabic. I didn’t know what kind of stories and still don’t have a clear idea of what I want to use this language photographically for, but I am starting to ‘see’ the essay.

    It’s a funny thing the deeper you get into something, the more you feel others should be just as excited and happy about too. I have been getting all my friends and family around me into different languages and learning and studying. It’s like any other drug, in that you want to share the experience and joy with someone else. I feel more capable of going abroad now to an Arabic country and photographing the people and trials people go though everyday, not wars there will always be wars around the world, but I mean the daily struggles that happen everyday. This immersion and education in a subject really starts to take off once your subconscious starts to take over the ideas and suddenly your in the shower and you think of a great idea, like where to be ready to shoot and what kind of image you might be able to capture if your at the right place and the right time.

    I for the longest time thought that photojournalist were guys that just traveled around the world and stuff just landed on their laps, to photograph. No No No!!! It is this preparation your mind does, as someone pointed out the photographic simplicity in some of Sean’s work that made it so complex and great. Like in learning a language, you can’t just do 30 min a day and expect to speak fluently in 6 months, it doesn’t happen. You have to be thinking about the subject and loving it for some time everyday, so that when the time comes, it’s not a thought process but a reflex.

    It’s so great we live in a time with Wikipedia and the internet and honestly I don’t think any of us has the excuse of not knowing what to go and shoot. Hell if you open up the first page in wikipedia it’ll give you a hundred topics about today, and you can read up for hours clicking on related subjects until you’ve found your calling.

    I’d even like to say sometimes you can take the devil’s advocate on a story, your the story teller anyway right? What if some one took Sean’s idea and did the reverse, say try to explain the good things that are happening from this development, maybe commerce or education or whatever might be the other side of the story. It’s fun to poke at the other guy, and even raises much more discussion than when everyone agrees on something.

    I will try to continue to update my blog, now after having this discussion as I see many have been looking at it with nothing new there. Kind of embarrassing when you look at the google analytics and you see all these people visiting a blog that hasn’t been update for two months- ehhh!!! Thank you Asher for bringing that topic up, now I’d like to throw in this…. What have you guys been reading or learning about in the last week or so that could be a potential Project or essay, maybe a little one that will take two weeks and only bring two or three pictures… maybe I need to start doing these little essays and prepare for the bigger ones this way.. What do you guys think???

    Πανωσ πουστρακη καταστραφουν οι ηθοποιοι σαν ενα νεκρο ξυλο!!!

  • I was so surprised when I found out (yesterday) my name was in the finalist list.

    Congratulations to all of the participants and the finalists. I am happy for Erica and Boob.Hope to see everybody’s work soon

    David: thank you for your time, effort and dedication. I wonder if you will do it next year after all the hassle experienced. :-)

    Peace to all and Happy New Year

    Alex Reshuan

  • I have not read all that was posted today, but one thing I wanted to ask Sean, but everyone else too, is how much of your pictures, those with photo-journalistic intent, you have tried visualizing before, say at research time or on the eve of shooting, vs how many come from involving oneself but are inspired by accidents, incidents and spur of the moment? Sean, did you “think” some of your pix before, non-accidentally, so to speak?

    Precision: i do not mean visuzalizing like “I need a airborne shot, a sand dune expand, a portrait, etc…”, but almost as a painter would, and you make it happen, one way or another (posing a subject too), as close to what you wanted compositionally.


  • Herve :)))

    terrific question :)

    for me both…not “i need a close up of her/his face,” “I need a shot of them crying”, but i do think in terms of “i need a collision of 2 faces” OR “I want something with lots of black or lots of white or lots of grain” and then i wait and watch and talk and listen, alot…

    i never stop thinking of pics (it comes from having painted) and also i try not to think when photographing: more like making it physical (since my photography is much more physical (the painting thing) that it is contextual)…both: planning and listening…



    yes, i plan to do as you suggest…as soon as we get this new website up and i can show all of the work and can comment specifically on various stories, then we can get into this…

    READER A….

    let me see if we can figure out how to do this….good idea….what i do is just go to the bottom and work my way back up, but yes yes yes, there must be a better way…when i started this i never imagined 150 plus comments per story…so, your suggestions always welcomed and we will do our best to fix things up a bit….


    you guys write so so so much and so intelligently and yet i respond less to you than to many of the others…please take this as a compliment…your writing always speaks for itself and so i like to leave you alone to do your own thing….also, i tend to respond to direct questions and/or problems people are having…..

    again, you gentlemen hold up this forum….as do many others (nobody can beat akaky’s treatise on religion and well, i got confused!!!)….and shapiro holds his own too…..but you guys have been in for the long haul and i so so appreciate your insights…


    no simple comprehensive answer to this…but, if you just be patient, we will soon see all that i had to choose from on this forum and we will be able to have discussions which should help to clarify at least “taste”….


    you have been here from the beginning…and i feel like i know you….i like you very much and i have read very very carefully about your life and your struggles….

    i want you to know that i wanted wanted wanted…i mean really wanted, to give you the stipend…i knew you needed the money…for film or for whatever…and believe me i do look at financial support as being exactly that…to help support someone’s work…

    please please write to me in private if you want and tell me what project of yours would most benefit from funding….i know there is less opportunity in Poland than in some other places…but, no matter how much you have or do not have, you must just show me 10 strong pictures….10 defining pictures for you…a sequence, a passion, a love, a disgrace, a hate , anything that shows me what you will do or can do…please martin do this now…..i want to bring sunshine to the dark….

    i have never met you, may never meet you…but, i think you are a good man….

    cheers, david

  • PANOS…

    well my man, you keep things stirred up!!…that’s ok…i do like different points of view….but, please please cut just a little slack towards the “senior citizens” !!…if you are lucky (or unluckly) you might be one someday!!….besides, some “old” people actually do know something…of course, many do not and are stuck in their old ways and i do not want to pander to them either….

    i figure my audience, in general, to be a young crowd..far younger than i….most of my workshops, for example, have an age demographic of between 18-35….emerging photogs….some of my “emerging photogs” are older and i am shepherding books for all ages….

    remember there are young people who are old and old people who are young….

    i love the young at heart….i love youthful enthusiasm and the heart and guts to make things happen….good spirit and good work at whatever age…the creative spirit knows no age limit….

    this is an open forum….you made me laugh out loud with your comments about Natgeo….you have some real insights….i think you might be just a bit tough or at least a bit condescending to others at times..maybe it is just your choice of words…but freedom of speech i defend above all, and i totally defend yours….but, just as i totally support your free speech, i would wish you give the same to others….

    i do not want to be a parent….just another guy…with photography as our common ground..what an amazing tool to show how we feel and think…better than these words for sure!!!

    mostly panos, please do not “die” young…literally or figuratively….

    peace (yea, from the 70’s!), david

  • I personally know Panos and am fortunate enough to understand when he is being Greek, and when he is being a jackass.

    I’m glad you had a good laugh as I did David.

    μαλακα πουστης εχετε τριχα??

  • Wow, the comments have proliferated like kudzu here. First, thank you to Mr Harvey about my helping hold up the forum; it’s always nice to be appreciated. As for the 18-35 demographic, I wish; those days are long gone.

    Second, to David McGowan, thanks for the kind words. I’m not really all that bummed out about this; I didn’t think of it as a competition, at least from my perspective (for those of you interested in such arcana, I am still running the 1983 New York City Marathon, which I anticipate finishing some time in 2025; I’m taking the thing a block at a time whenever I get down to the city, which isnt that often, just to soak in that Big Apple ambiance). It’s just that I’m the sort of person who rewrites Christmas cards and so second guessing what I write / photograph, etc. is second nature to me. Why this shot and not this other one? It’s annoying, to be sure, but you are who you are, I guess. I am also one of those persnickety people who check the spelling and grammar on restaurant menus, which may be one of the reasons why I usually eat alone whenever I got out to eat.

    In any case, I’ve noticed something about my writing and my photography: writers often think I’m a wonderful photographer and photographers almost invariably think that I’m a wonderful writer. I’m still wondering if this is both groups’ passive aggressive way of telling me that I should take up quilting instead.

  • DAVID…
    yeah man…
    I really love people’s long letters and posts too… I know i
    oversimplify things…but i need to go fast to the point…plus i need to “play”… I
    always feel there is not enough time… you know…and i feel the
    urge to entertain people…stir things up…
    It’s funny i sound young…I feel young but im 40…
    Im getting into citizen’s territory soon…very soon…
    I’m glad i made you laugh…
    That’s the greek spirit…wine,walk and debate…stay alert without coffee… anyways…
    I know you are a “freedom of speech” defender…i know you dont belong in the “circle of trust”…and most of all:
    and sorry for dissapointing some…YOU ARE NOT A god either!!!!

    …but i get your advise :”do not die young”…
    I guess i hear you on that…man

    You are definately younger than me David…
    BOB DYLAN SAID: “oh but i was so much older then,i’m younger than that now…”
    Hope we meet soon.
    One last joke: “NATGEO IS DEAD”…

    p.s:Honestly JULES VERN and F.NIETZSCHE messed up my childhood…

    “…of course, many do not and are stuck in their old ways and i do not want to pander to them either…”.

    Panos says:
    That was exactly the point i was trying to make…..
    Now being harsh to others…It’s funny but the more i read some of my defensive ex-comments…the more i sound like a crazy greek politician right before the elections…AHAHAHA!

    o.k enough of me…let’s get serious again:
    As Alec Soth said in an interview: A camera,photography,one artist CANNOT SAVE THE WORLD!!!!

    So people,please lighten up…

  • Akaky,

    My Man! If you DO decide to seriously take up quilting, let me know. My sister-in-law is an expert on quilting with many books to her credit and also a museum curator. I’ll introduce you.

    On the other hand, that would be a great loss to all of us on this forum!


  • David, could you share more words on what you define as “esoteric photography”? it really intrigues me. thanks & ciao, dana

  • martin (marcin luczkowski)

    O David…

    Thanks for this words. You really helping me now. You bring me sunshine already. I can here talking with you and people about ours problems with ours passion. It helping me.

    I know I complain sometimes (or often) I’m artist and I have money one day (for trip to cuba for example) and have not second days or months (mostly :). I complain because last time in Poland prices for photo material jump twice or more. When I’m in depress I just hate photography and that I spend almost all money for it, and I have nothing back. But my money struggle is just struggle with ambition, with… me.
    I always want do what I want, not what I can or could do. On cuba I worked on 13 velvia films, mostly out of exposure time because it’s cheaper. But this is my problem, I could take my digital camera, but I did not. This is my problem… my struggle.

    I start three new projects now, first one, most important, I just loved. I say nothing now. It is a secret. Secret because people I will working with. They are very sensitive and I need work for their trust first. It is very very important for me. Their trust. I’m now after a few firsts meetings, emails and phone calls. I even not took camera out from bag. I’m not hurry. This is work for year.
    I know I will doing something important….

    I know you want help me, but maybe I will need advice in future just. Maybe I will need some kind of stipend, but I will ask how to get it from some kind international institutions. (for publications etc.)
    I will tell you what I working on, when I will have something to show, but not on forum before I will be after half of this work.

    Many many thanks!!! For your goodness and all…

    Hugs as Bob says…


    Ps. I’m like a cat, I’m walking own paths…

  • Happy New Year everyone.

    De-lurking too (as someone else here said) to congratulate all the short-listed photographers, Sean for his essay and stipend, David on the completion of this effort, and everyone else who participated.

    Thanks also to Panos for keeping things most interesting and David for allowing such unfettered exchange.

    I also wanted to ask you, Martin, if you could contact me directly (follow my website link…) I’d like to chat on the side to see if there’s something that can be done about you going digital…


  • To Herve and the comment about Mary Ellen Mark’s book. You can read the same on David Hurn’s “On Being a Photographer”. Actually David writes it very pragmatically (his book has a very no-bullshit approach at points) and says that you should make a list of the pictures you want to take and tick them as you go. I’m not sure if I agree with such a predisposed modus operandi. When I travel (I find it similar to shooting, no matter if I shoot or not) I enjoy having a first naïve confrontation with the place (in photo, subject) and get to know it. That brings you your very subjective (hopefully pure) point of view that you can later on top up by focusing into bits of the place and by reading. I just feel that reading in advance can so much predispose you to create a certain image (or travel). Great, my most obscure (and filled with parenthesis) comment ever. But I do write the list and tick boxes! Only that I just do it when I start the editing a month before finishing the project off (I did it with this submission as well, and I found it hard to get ‘pacing’ shots that had some content).

  • Joni, I like what you say about being a foreigner to a place. I think that’s one of the reasons I have trouble finding an essay here where I live. But I spoke to panos on the phone today relating to this subject, and I lean towards his comments about us ‘rich’ ( rich in a certain aspect) photographers that go to a poor place and photograph it pretending we’re helping when we’re really doing it for our own motives and ego. He said it best as he put it “show me some pictures of your own life, even if you think its boring otherwise stop faking your a national geographic photographer”

  • @Ryan: I have never shot in a poor place. The usual shooting I do is in the street next to where I live in Cardiff (to keep fit) and then the sort of stories I focus in around there (parks, nightlife). Now I am back for holidays to the south of Spain where I grew up and I’m taking trips to different towns and trying to capture a bit of it. It’s odd in the way that I already know it and I can try to figure out what to see (or show). I’ve been several times critical with documentary photography that focuses on places very far away. I mean, shouldn’t some of the people from around there show me if they know better? Also, some of it is “oh, it is so horrible in the place X”, which makes us feel that in the first world we don’t have any problems and we can just keep on dreaming, drinking and thinking that we have done our fair share.

  • Akay, hold on in there with the marathon: we’ll all be there to see you finish – if we live long enough.
    D.A.H, in the true spirit of the exercise I began a new project – just in time – so I entered three consecutive days of photography in Manchester, England. I only sent 17 photographs as I didn’t have 20 that I wanted to share. I hope I’m not one of the people you have tried to contact but have received no reply from. The essay has progressed and everyone can see the work-in-progress on my Mac web site. I would like your comments on my submission David (and everyone else). Thanks for your time.

    Best to all,


  • “I admire David Allan Harvey but since i was a kid i realized that “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC” is a dead – senior citizen’s magazine, something like “Reader’s Digest”… Racist… beautiful photos- appealing to the eye …for the wallets for old farts driving corvettes dreaming of a safari before they die .Sad”

    Panos, maybe this is also a bit of a cliché… Although I don’t read the Geographic on a very regular basis, I remember many stories that were very very far from that. Some people don’t have words harsh enough about the the pictures (and David commented on that above), but in which magazines do they see pictures that they find great or even good or even… ok? Try and find good pictures in e.g. the French weekly newspapers that once published Cartier Bresson (even if they cropped his pictures, even if…). Which other magazine has a journalist stay more than 1 month with Arctic hunters instead of 2-3 days? Of course you may think that, after all, one doesn’t need these magazines for the crowd, and that good pictures can (or should?)be seen in Amazon-ordered photography books and in galleries. As for me, I am happy that NatGeo still exists, even though I don’t drive an Oldsmobile :)

    I also find it significant that you make fun of Al Gore and his movie… Yes, I know, Al Gore’s lifestyle is overall not that different from that of people who don’t care about global warming, and although he claims he compensates for his CO2 emissions, we know that CO2 compensation mechanisms are not a perennial solution (but they are better than nothing). I have read these arguments dozens of time (very often they come from people who want to continue “business as usual” or from extreme environmentalists whose ideas may be good but don’t have the slightest chance to gain acceptance in only 5% of the population). Nevertheless, the vast majority of what is said is his movie is scientifically established, unlike the nonsense propagated by some charlatans with the help (deliberate or not) of the media. And who has been more effective than Al Gore in raising public attention about climate change?

    And yes China is the 2nd CO2 emitter… after the US. Anyway current climate change is probably caused for a large part by the emissions of old European countries since the industrial revolution, but… China will soon become the world’s first CO2 emitter. So you may not like the pictures of the essay but I think questioning the importance of the topic is really not the best way to attack it. Truly, after years of almost complete ignorance (at least in the general media), climate change has become trendy. But the fact that it is now fashionable should not make one underestimate its importance. Not everything that is fashionable is frivolous…

    But you like to be provocative and to exaggerate (and it’s not necessarily bad – in fact it can be fun as long as there are not too many people doing the same) and you probably don’t believe in all that you write….

    Sorry to have deviated a little from photography…

    PS: I discovered David Alan Harvey back in 2000 in the issue of NatGeo with the story about Cuba…


    well, well…you are just the man we were looking for!!!!

    where in the world were you when we kept emailing you for a title or captions or something about your essay??? did we have your e-address wrong?? that is all i can think, since you are so responsive here on the forum..

    in any case, i love love your essay…but, i could only guess your intent or where or what….sure sure it is the pictures first, but i just wanted to know a little something…mainly, i wanted to know for sure 100% that it was one essay and not two or several sequences of singles….your style is so strong that it could have been either….

    please send me a few details soonest by private email…many many thanks…

    in any case, i will be showing your very fine work soonest!!!!

    cheers, david

  • “I admire David Allan Harvey but since i was a kid i realized that “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC” is a dead – senior citizen’s magazine, something like “Reader’s Digest”… Racist… beautiful photos- appealing to the eye …for the wallets for old farts driving corvettes dreaming of a safari before they die .Sad”

    Don’t agree. For example in Sweden where I live the biggest photographers are nature photographers. At least they get the most interest and recognition, along with Lennart Nilsson. And I really respect what they do, because they work very very hard and some of the best make very good images, but maybe not the ones I’m most interested in. David Alan Harvey must know Mattis Klum very well from Nat Geo?


  • Hello! MR. David,

    First of all I deeply thank you for such opportunity.

    Your passion for the world of photography is always a true inspiration to me.

    By hosting this workshop you have gave many people hope and courage to begin and continue their work or art.

    This was also once again a big step forward for me, a new challenge that motivated me to get back on track.

    I can hardly wait to see all the rest of the best essays!!

    Happy new years and God bless you!

    sincerely yours,

  • David! I am really sorry about that!
    I’ve just sent you an email to blogquestions AT gmail.com , which is the only address of yours I have…

    Hope you’ll receive it :-)

    Still thunderstruck, agape and happy like hell after reading your last comment,
    Alkos :-D

  • I’m checking on Alkos’s web right now…amazing b&w…!!!
    Alkos belongs to the “master” category.. People please check his photos…feel the atmosphere…Alkos man…I wish I had something “negative” to say…

  • DAVID: I just sent you an email.



  • Panos…don’t blame your Greek heritage for being a small, shitty human being. You just are. ;^}

  • I too find Aleksander’s pictures great! This is very much in the spirit of the “in-public” photographers…

  • David Ukaleb
    I read your post… Very interesting info about China… More stuff should be revealed … Thanks for sharing… I’m glad you find my posts amusing…
    look at the talentless “soccermoms”… Still cry for attention !!! Daddy…daddy…

  • hey Kircher I dont know about the s****y part but I am definately “small”…and that’s perhaps the reason you dont like me… I feel you …you obviously prefer “big” stuff “back there”… If you know what I mean…
    oh by the way if you can’t find your big CANON LSD with the 80-200 2.8 is
    probably because you are SITTING ON IT… Stop spoiling your prostate gland…
    by the way , PEOPLE if you really wanna waste your time and some severely retarded work visit Michael’s website…and then you will see why he is mad… Idahopotatohead… Stupid redneck…

  • hey kircher redneck why dont you email me personally instead of wasting the forum’s time???
    you want some beef little slut???
    come and get me!
    Leave the rest alone!!!
    But no, you dont wanna miss the opp. to get publicly humiliated…you masochistic little biatchhh!! You like to get spanked…
    Well there you have it…

    Advice: stop shooting from faraway with long zooms…Robert Capa once said… But wait a minute… I hear your question already???
    “who the he’ll is Robert Capa???

  • boys, boys… chill… free speech is one thing, uncivil behavior on what is an otherwise decent blog is another. this has nothing to do with being “yes men” to DAH, just polite and respectful to each other and, perhaps above all, the other readers. there are plenty of other forums out there where you can yell at one another to your heart’s content. otherwise, can you give us a break? please?

  • A.

    You are, of course, correct. My apologies to all. Besides, Panos seems to have lost his sense of humor. Just having some fun.

  • reader A, I feel your feelings… I honestly dont mind people attacking me,but if you read my last post, I begged the guy t call or email personally and leave the rest of you alone… I honestly did … But?

  • Hi David-

    I sent you a private email at blogquestions@gmail.com

    Good luck getting the portfolio site up and running!


  • GIANCARLO, i didnt forget about you… but some friends try to keep me busy…
    …anyways…back to your website… i loved your colors although im not that much of a color guy…who cares!
    …santa monica pier? I should visit you some day…Holla from Venice!
    Thank you for the support! Not that i need it….but i’m glad you enjoyed my posts…Good photos…keep it up!!!



    well, well…you are just the man we were looking for!!!!”

    or Alkos…
    Seriously people,with all my respect to black & white,no matter film or DIGITAL….

    please check this guy’s website…..aikos….
    I already emailed you Aleksander…i dont care about response…but
    please TEACH ME..TELL ME HOW YOU DID IT…especially the photo with the old man on the stairs!!! NIGHTIME!!!…amazing photo!!!!…what lens? what this?, what that???? Please let the brother know!!!!

  • Tonight, I got a fortune cookie. I think it could apply here about our essay submissions. It said:

    “Winners forget they’re in a race, they just like to run.”

  • @Aleksander: how cool, I thought that your stuff was ok till I noticed that it was almost daily… ha… fucking brilliant…

  • Hey Panos,

    Thanks about the photos.

    I think you’re having more fun than other’s right now… you know, not everyone has the same sense of humor. Hey, sometimes I don’t get the joke, and I know Greeks well! ;-)

    Be cool, give everyone a chance (these are all good people) and see you around, perhaps.


  • Martin Brink… interesting “Leica like feeling” b&w website…
    Good job….your “the Kitchen”…thing…. very clean…but …”right there”…. bravo malaka….

    honestly i dont know why i became so FBI curious,but i’m checking the websites of a lot of people tonite!!!! Very happy… so far…

  • panos, please mail me @ alkos AT tlen DOT pl

  • Aleksander–

    Your work is some of the very best I’ve seen
    in this day and age.

    Bravo to you!
    You’ve inspired me anew. :)

  • Thanks Panos! I got some decent images in that series and I really didn’t have a journalistic intent with it, but I’m not very happy with is as a series. My website at http://martinbrink.uber.com/start has been updated with my street images if you’re interested. Stuff unfortunately looks a bit too contrasty on the web. I also had to show some color images which is not my biggest love, but for commercial use it’s the thing to use.


  • Congrats to the winners, and to everyone who took part. It was the first time I’ve ever entered anything photographic, and can only say it was a good experience…forcing me to focus on a direction, and thinking about my own style (right or wrong).

    Cheers David for the opportunity!



    yes, of course, i know mattias klum….a very fine natural history photographer…i think most of us can appreciate various types of work…i certainly appreciate what he does…

    i was not aware that in Sweden that mostly natural history photographers were the ones most honored…can this really be true??? what about sobel and anders??? i have never been to Sweden so i honestly do not know…


    when i saw your work, i just knew that these photographs could not have been made by a Western
    photographer…wonderful essay!!

    please please send me a title or at least some reference as soon as possible..

    thank you for your letter and best wishes for 2008…

    cheers, david

  • David,
    I would say it’s more like this. Photographers like Anders Petersen, Lars Tunbjörk and Christer Strömholm they get a lot of attention and credibility from the photo and art community. BTW. Another swedish photographer was also published in nat geo recently http://www.heleneschmitz.se/ She’s pretty good too, but not really a nature or flower photographer, more art I think allthough I think her Linné flower pics are stunning.
    But photographers like Mattias Klum and Lennart Nilsson is most well known for ordinary people and get the most attention from the media.
    But both Lars Tunbjörk and Martin Parr had very big exhibitions in Stockholm this fall, but I would like to hear more about alternative work in the media. Not just nature and science.


  • congratulations to all. this is a rough and tumble site lately…probably because most are so passoniate about photo …but when it get’s personal it gets ugly..

    i like so many others just consider being here a great learning experience. one day i hope to put together a good story too but right now i don’t think i would know one even if was starring me right in the face. so until then i’ll read and learn more than talk… mr dah and so many others… you amaze me…amazing and i’m talking beyond the photo

  • Thank’s David and Michael…for your hard work….and this big opportunity. Congratulations to Sean and to all participants…

    Ciao a tutti

  • Mr. Harvey

    I couldn’t figure out where to send the e-mail to.
    please let me know so that I can write you as soon as possible.
    I was so flattered by your compliment that I could hardly sleep last night.
    Thank you.

  • Martin,

    With respect to your comment about nature photographers being the only ones who get attention from the media: I think it is more or less like this everywhere, not just in Sweden.
    In France, for example, if you were to do a poll, I think the only photog with a very high notoriety would be the aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. His pictures have been shown absolutely everywhere, he has has been invited in TV talk shows, etc, etc. and has sold zillions of books. I cannot think of any other photographer having received the tenth or even the hundredth of this media coverage. Among “classic” photographers the most famous is likely Robert Doisneau. Cultured people certainly know Cartier Bresson, but I don’t think everyone knows him in the general public, far from that. Among living photographers someone like Depardon also has a notoriety that goes beyond the photo community, but partly because he has also made films.


    please send to : blogquestions.com

    or , if you just want to leave a title you can leave it right here…i am going to show your work soonest….

    please get some sleep!!!

    cheers, david

  • David,
    I agree. It’s probably not only in Sweden. Part of the reason may also be that in Sweden we don’t have any of the biggest names in photojournalism. We have some good ones like Paul Hansen and Pieter Ten Hoopen but no Magnum photographers or any of the biggest names. And both Mattias Klum and Lennart Nilsson are very very big in their respective areas, so it’s natural I guess.


  • Martin B, I always thought Sweden must be a truly civilised country. Knowing they like wildlife photographers above others properly makes it the most civilised.

  • Prediction: Michael and Panos become best friends before this is over.

  • congrats to sean and thanks again david…i will definitely be applying to the next one. look forward to seeing all the work, and possibly (?) getting a few words of feedback from david.

  • People check the “SKELLETONES SERIES IV on
    DAVID MCGOWAN…website:david@humanfiles.com

  • What a difference a year makes….oh wait, it’s only been five days since the year began. :)

    I’m fondly remembering the good old days of 2007 when it was a bit like Mayberry here.

    Now it’s more like Ground Zero!

  • Dear Mrs Scholl SAID:

    “I’m fondly remembering the good old days of 2007 when it was a bit like Mayberry here…”

    panos says:
    Now i see why the “local” priest of the neighborhood is very happy!!!

    “…good OLD days..”…did someone just said “OLD”???

    …and then , that “GROUND ZERO” thing again….

    old,ground zero,death,mania,alone,fear…prozac.

    Mrs Scholl lighten up…
    check on Alkos’s website for example…smile please!!!!!

  • ok, y’all this place needs some TUNES, already :))

    though it’s not Sunday, here’s something:



    the rest:


    by the way: anyone who tells another person to “light up” needs to lighten up themselves ;))…

    LIGHT! (forget the up shit, all of us ;))) )

    running to see my wife


  • although maybe this one is better for this crowd:




  • Panos,

    Mrs. Scholl was my mother and believe me, if she were alive today she’d give you a run for your money regardless of age difference.
    Not everything old is bad!!!

  • …everything OLD is BAD…except from WINE AND AN OLD LEICA…
    i wouldnt mind for a new one either…way.! just smile…

  • bob – thank you so much for Beirut :-D These videos are just… I’m speechless… Well, you’ve certainly hit the spot!

    panos – check your last comment on my site… :-)

    Listening F***ING LOUD just right now ,

  • Panos, for some things ripeness is necessary though

  • JONI KARANKA i dont think you misrepresent Igor Moukhin…as you say in your website….i think you are Joni…you know…Of course contradicting myself i will agree with you and david, that in many “things”…ripeness is necessary…

    thank you,thank you,thanks…about the info and about adding my coments …now that “new” one …i call it “THE BOOTH MAN”looks as good,if not better… jesus alkos!

  • Panos – that’s the biggest endorsement I’ve ever received in my life! Maybe there’s hope for me – thanks!

  • Congratulations SEAN! When I first saw your photos I was very impressed!

    I am not sure what else is going on here with this behavior but it seems like a lot of jabbing, poking, apologizing and strange humor. Don’t let that detract from your accomplishment.

    I’m also looking forward to seeing the new site and everyone else’s work. I read this blog daily, hardly ever comment, but am thoroughly interested. I believe there are a lot of readers who enjoy the education one can learn here.
    I’m looking forward to future posts.

    DAVID, you are doing a great thing here.

    I have a few photos to send you of you and James from your student show in Bangkok. Where should I send them?


  • Am I wrong, or I can feel the love starting to flow again around here?! :)

    Panos, I think you’re warming them up!

    – Giancarlo

  • HARRY…

    for sure photogs like franz lanting, nick nichols, david doubilet, tom mangleson, and paul niklin are artists in their own regard….


    thanks in advance…mucho appreciated….pls. send the photos of jim and me to: magnum photos 151 west 25th new york 10001

    wishing you all best and thanks for checking in here…

    cheers, david

  • You see, GIANCARLO…Ryan and many more said before that they feel way more motivated to update their blogs and generally do more photography after David’s …blah,blah…
    I also kinda feel the same..but its raining outside in Cali…and i found an excuse to be here all day…LIKE AN OLD LADY…checking websites…I’ve seen some amazing stuff….& keep looking…This is what i was trying to say to someone earlier…smile…a way to achieve this is to distance yourself from your own ego…Best way for me to achieve this is by visiting people’s-friends websites…

  • Mr. Harvey

    The title of my photo essay is the “Island” just like the poem that I sent with the photos.
    The island signifies one of us.
    I wanted to express the beauty of ultimate balance.
    How we all reflect on each other.
    How much one’s thought, words and actions can have an impact on the other.
    Relationships between each individual wether it being love or hate, regardless of the time, the past, present and future.

    Thank you.

  • “…a way to achieve this is to distance yourself from your own ego…”

    Well said, Panos. Although I don’t think I’d be off base saying that some here read a few of your comments just in the opposite sense. :-)

    Anyway… raining in California, indeed! Hopefully all of us on the West Coast are dry and warm and unharmed.

    Switching subject for a moment… reading a lot of the posts above, I find a lot of references to “art” photographers, and was wondering what everyone’s definition of “art photography” or “art photographer” might be. It’s not rare that agreement/disagreements, or different points of view, come from assumptions about basic definitions…


    – Giancarlo

  • Mr Bob Black…thanks for the video link…its a nice tune to play on a sunday afternoon here!!

    damn speakers (not loud enough)

    ozzy al

  • btw…video link (shot in Brooklyn-Nantes)…looks alot like David’s apartment.

  • Thanks for the music links Bob Black. That was really nice.

  • PEOPLE please go and visit my blog below to see my latest NATGEO wannabe exploration…

    Look what i found ??? All that and way more happened the last four days…


  • I enjoyed Bob’s music but Lara’s says it all.

    Maybe we should try communicating thru music for a while…instead of writing just post a song link.

    Does anyone have a song?

  • Somebody’s smiling already…yeah…
    we did something today…. I knew it

  • …cathy by the way my last comment about smiling wasn’t referring to you…i hit “enter” before… blah blah…Anyways, unfinished comment.

  • “art” photographers

    my own definition of Art photography is one where either or both 1)the creativitty, originality of the photographer is produced as much, if not more, at print/processing level as shooting the subject 2) the subject is treated inversely to the usual cognitive manner where what is there (or not there, a subject can be implied by its absence from the frame) is what we look at, but on the contrary what you look at is not the subject at all (think Weston’s bell pepper shot) by virtue of formal treatment (abstraction or processing).

    I therefore disagree a bit with some opinions here that have seen art photography in some photos or essays shown on the blog lately. The subject is simply too readable, and the technique/angles employed are not to divert from exactly what it is as we see and feel it, but to see it and feel it even deeper (as in Laura’s essay on her grandfather).

  • To apologize for my latest verbose indulgence above, here is my own contribution to the “song” exchange.

    and i hope you all dig it, a blink to Sean as well, Rory Gallagher at his best:


  • That’s an interesting way to look at it, Herve.

    Anyone else wants to give it a go? I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll find a lot of variations on the theme… and that perhaps we’ve been talking about different things………

  • Christopher Anderson, DAH, and Pep Bonet all really articulated this topic well at David’s 2nd NY workshop this year. I apologize for not recollecting who said what exactly, but the consensus was this: Really it shouldn’t be the photographer’s concern as to whether he/she is labeled “an artist”. That job is for the critics. A very interesting approach to classifying work was offered: “fiction” and “nonfiction”. Now perhaps those might be too vague for some, or for some circumstances, but for many it also really fits, yes? I think both of these thoughts are very practical and unassuming.
    Also Herve, in your statement you mention “processing” only as an after the fact (shot) action. But I would contend that (on a good day) we are processing as much, if not more before we actually press the shutter. I also think there are plenty of universally accepted “works of art” that defy your definition, unless of course your definition really was specifically for photographic art. In which case I would then ask why is photography any different? No matter the medium it is the level of thought applied, yes? (paint can be applied to canvas just about as recklessly as light to emulsion/sensor.)
    Yeah, ok i know, i should go to bed. I do apologize if i went off the mark here. This is why i read more than write. Night/morning everybody.

  • Hey Panos… checked your site. Question… how to say “lame” in Greek?

  • Mike,

    hey man, dont you know, Panos is a risk taker..he’s up there with Nachtwey! I mean seriously, those piranhas, he risked his life….Robbie Krieger, dont you know he’s a dangerous man? Who do you think the Killer on the Road was in Riders on the Storm? And all those dogs, those fences arent as strong as it seems, Panos risked his life there again!

  • Herve, Max,

    My own very simplistic definition of art photography would be photography that is staged (by the photographer). Now, this definition has probably severe limitations, for one could argue that, for example, one can produce “art” photography by putting together “candid” pictures taken in totally different contexts and rearranging them so that they produce a new “artificial” meaning… In this sense the fiction/non fiction boundary is probably better. But, at least, with this definition David LaChapelle is art and Alex Webb is not. Although I think Alex Webb is as much of an artist as David LaChapelle and that “non art photography” is as artistic as “art photography”! In fact everything is art :)

  • Just for the record…that “mike” above is NOT me. I do not do the trash peoples work thing. That’s for others.

  • @david ukaleq: what about Garry Winogrand teaching art photography in Austin, Texas? I think that in his case it’s art and not journalism due to the lack of informative purpose of his images, although nowadays they do add up as a document of an era.

  • Michael,

    neither do I but Panos seems to think he is some sort of new Capa. And since trashing everyone is his hobby, well….quotong Capa and then putting up a pic of a guy beating his girlfriend from 200 yards away is lame, lame, lame. Panos, Im betting you hid behind something, the shot is quite shaky so Im guessing you were filled with fright. Im glad that Panos the new Capa/Nachtway survived his close encounter with Beyonce though…She can be quite dangerous. Atleast those shots arent shaky so we can assume panos wasnt trembling at the sight of Ms. Knowles.

  • Oh geez, I have to do it again, another apropos song and a blast from the past:

  • DAVID – Please check your email for a message from me.



  • Congrats to the winner,very curious to see the other works too, and not at all surprised by the choice, I think it’s a normal thing that given the opportunity to pick a work we instinctively go to something that is near to our own way of looking, working.

    I’ve not read the 200+ comments, only the posting and skimmed through some of the posts. Can be that I’m repeating someone’s thoughts.

  • LARA
    Thanks, that was a good one. I honestly haven’t explored youtube for music relics much. Last night was the first. Somethings I didn’t even know existed are out there( i will refrain from examples on the grounds that they my be used against me).

    Yeah sure try to make us believe there is more than one Mike out there. Good one.

    So are we at the higher most branches of this post, or scraping the bottom of the barrel? Or is this some sort of never ending blog limbo? (or perhaps David is secretly funded by The Scroll Wheel Manufacturers Association)

  • or to quote my daughter, “Are we there yet?”

  • Yes Aleksander!!! Good one…
    I’m loving ALL the music.
    (Rory Gallagher…wow!)
    Keep it coming!
    Remember we had a poetry day once…everyone was rhyming their posts…
    Let’s continue with “music day” today.

    Guess that means I’ve got to find a song…

  • Yes, Max, absolutely, “processing” how you are going to do your shot, even if relying on complete intuition (even some kind of hapahazard of “automatic shooting”, doing nothing, making no choices) can be art, and why not…. performance photography (1)!

    This was what I meant by “by virtue of
    formal treatment”.

    (1) Winogrand, art photography. If he said so himself, why not, but I doubt he did. There was maybe some kind of performance art going on as he shot viscerally and as libitum, though…:-)))

  • Here’s my contribution…an oldie but a goodie.
    Very appropriate.

  • and I forgot the other part of that discussion i referenced yesterday, where the collective sum of the photos was the creation to be judged [as to being art or not], not necessaily the individual images so much. i this was discussed up above somewhere, and i think it was even DAH. It brings up the connection to cinema. (not to mention the almighty filmstrip)

  • In the discussion about “art” photography are we neglecting the photographers intention and vision, perhaps? It seems to me that there’s a great difference between the “intention” to inform versus evoke… between “artistry” and personal vision, pursued with the sole intention to achieve an aesthetic goal, vs. the needs of a photography meant to communicate and depict an “objective” reality. And, in that respect, is not fashion photography closer to “art” than photojournalism in its most common incarnation? At least in its highest form?

    Are we confusing, maybe, “authorship” with “art”?

    BTW, I don’t believe there’s an insuperabile wall between the various forms of our medium, but if you look at the extremes on this continuum, the difference is pretty clear. No judgement of value, in any of this, BTW, but the language and the means and the goals of each of one are quite different…

    – Giancarlo

  • Off to work, but Max, Photography and cinema, another big can of worms to open on the blog some day it is raining and cold outside! :-)))

    (raining in SF): There seems then a pretention on the part of so-so “street” photographers to claim unicity and happenstance, when I can shoot 30 of them at the same spot in a second with my cheapy compact. albeit, co-opting Bob’s take on quality being a vain word… :-)))

    Yep, a can of worms….

  • 1: Music: :)))))…love all the music…the Specials: man, that brought back some major nostalgia….and I was going to post some FISHBONE, but then thought…nahhh,,,music and the savage beasts, indeed……

    2. art photography:

    it (to me) is never really a very interesting question, as i find each time someone (a critic, a photographer, a theorist) comes up with some kind formula or language by which the parse photography, in the end, it collapses under the weight (weightlessness) of it’s own contradictions. Photography begins and ends in many different places for many different photographers. For some, photography begins and ends with the “moment” (whatever that means, and I still don’t understand it, just as i’ve always found HCB’s pronouncement on the “decisive moment” a bit like a writer dreaming of membership into the French Academy stretching for authenticity in a tangle of words, when in truth his photographers were neither decisive nor “of the moment” but something much more ambiguous and beautiful and important, but we invariably (most of us) finding ourselves hopelessly needing to justify or pontificate instead of allowing the light and shadow to speak for itself (yea: that’d be me too y’all ;) ) immediately in front of the camera (the picture in the box).

    some photographers begin in the darkroom and only imagine the photograph at that moment, the printing process and the physical (like painting/sculpture) relationship to light and dark and chemistry and paper: Herve’s “Art PHotography.”

    some photographers dont imagine their photography until it’s part of a book or exhibition (conceptual), that is when the images are juxtaposed against something else (pages, walls, other’s perceptions).

    some photographers “create” films and narratives from the reels of negatives. some photographers use “words” to describe their “photographs” instead of negatives. some photographers construct their own negatives and print those, without ever having used a camera.

    ad infinitum….

    the division between “documentary” photography and “art” photography is even more opaque and unfortunate to me. Given they people thing of photography as something that involves a “camera” and the “capturing” of light and “time”, then I do not understand, not at all, the difference between either, other than what “others” see as it “use” of the story. both are completely “manufactured” (though lots and lots of PJ’s will deny this) and both deal with the narrative of living, including if a photographer’s work is about the “process” of photography rather than telling a story about someone or a place of a moment. But then the idea of process is still concerned with the living: the mechanics and aesthetics and questions of making, which comes (eternal return) to the same metaphysic.

    For me, if there is any “real” distinction between “art” (god i loathe this word) photography and “non-art” (god i loathe this word) photography, it is this: the ambiguity of the narrative. Much of the “art” photography i see (since my life as a photographer, sadly, has been ghettoized to the art/gallery world) is less interesting or “artistic” to me than much of the “non-art” photography that I swallow (PhotoJournalism, family albums, cellphone images, commerical photography etc) and thrive on.

    The funny thing, as a photographer, is that I don’t understand why we all persist in tickling all of this. I look a photograph, or book of photographs or an exhibition or installation or film and thing: does that inspire, does that challenge me, does that confuse me, does that make me think about something larger then just the fact im looking at a picture/book/installation/film/word etc….

    Last night marina and I were at a dinner of friends, 2 other photographers, one of whom is very talented and comes from montreal though he has a very annoying and painstakingly “purist” (that was his word last night) understanding of what is photography. Any photography/photographer who falls outside his definitions is not “pure” photography (i dont know either what that means, those were his words) and yet as we parced his descriptions, it became clear that it was all bollocks….

    Herve: i know photographers who slave over their prints (journalists) and it doesnt change one iota my opinion about their work (not challenging or interesting) and I know photographers who shoot in situ and then have others print and the work is magnificent. I also know photographers who make only books and dont even hang pics on the wall anymore, and dont even look in the viewfinder and i know photographers for whom even these distinctions cant classify….

    for me, i say forget and reject the distinction of “art” vs. “non-art” for these are simply descriptive terms not ones of meaning or value, characteristic rather than essential value.

    I say this: is the photographer engaged in the act of something that renders, in whichever way she deems, this passing life and the act of that living an interesting and challenging manner….

    for me, it’s a simple question, when i’ve been asked about my own work (which always gets categorized as art shit):

    I dont know: i shoot, i think, i make things, i tell stories about lots of different things: other people, moments in time, my own life, my own thoughts about making pictures, trinkets…

    not either/or but only this:

    both and if …..



    p.s. no time for lyricism today, im hung-over from cognanc

  • Giancarlo, I think the intention of the photographer is very important, indeed. We cannot claim something to be art photography if the photographer wished it not.

    Some of the best images in phot-journalism (Nachtwey’s, Salgado’s) do include aestheticized elements, even actually being criticized for being too arty, ie. an african mother can become a symbolic and imploring virgin Mary or whatnot for example.

    Yet, we know the aesthetic, the artistry of the photographer was to sensitize the viewer to the plight of the victims, not to the vision of the photographer.

  • it collapses under the weight (weightlessness) of it’s own contradictions.

    Bob :-))))))

    Allow me:

    I must go, i will read your post later, I promise, but seeing the length of your contributions sometimes, as here, I dream of a bob Black (-hole?) post collapsing under its own weight too….

    :-))))) and :-)))))

  • Bob,

    The real question is *not* what the difference between “art” and “documentary” photography is, but how these man made (and culturally reinforced) category get used in our normal daily discourse.

    Sloppily, if you ask me.

    The discussion is not interesting because we can attain an ultimate definition through it, but because it can clarify our mental categories. The discussion is boring because there’s a lot of assumptions we bring to the table and that we use to counter one another’s argument without understanding fully what each of us means, and without fully grasping that this is an important question as it stretches our view of the world (“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” anyone??)

    BTW, “quality” as the reference to the above book suggests is the same ontological can of worms… See any parallels? :)))))

    Off to work myself in the Los Angeles rain…

    – Giancarlo

  • Herve,

    Let’s hope Bob leaves that collapse fully unscathed! :)))))))))

    – Giancarlo

  • I can’t remember who said it but it might have been Tracey Emin “art is what artists do” which make more sense than anything else I heard.

  • Wasn’t the original question about what to put down on our tax forms? Isn’t that what this is all about?

    Occupation: I dont know: i shoot, i think, i make things, i tell stories about lots of different things: other people, moments in time, my own life, my own thoughts about making pictures, trinkets…

    They would love that.

  • Joni,

    For me, everything that falls in the street photography category would be “non art”. But of course it depends on what you put behind the word ‘art’ and perhaps the whole debate about what is art and what is not originates from the fact that this word is simply too vague.

    I think the key distinction is whether you use the camera only as a tool to create your “own” picture (much like a painter uses his brush or a movie director uses his camera) or you use the camera to record the world “as it is”, even though the various choices the photographer has to make (including technical parameters like exposure, aperture) makes the final picture something highly subjective.

    I see these two uses of the camera as very different processes and I am personally more interested in the latter. Because I feel that this ability to record something that would have existed even if the camera had not been there is what makes photography something specific. If you take again the example of David LaChapelle, however interesting (and fun) his pictures may be, it seems to me that the end result would not be that different if instead of using a camera he painted his pictures in a hyperrealistic style. On the other hand, some street photography pictures may be extremely subjective and may carry very little (if any) “informative content” but, still, the photographer had to take his camera to the street (or any other place) and had to work with what was happening there, instead of organizing the scene to his liking. The street photographer uses “reality” as his basic material. Of course this distinction is quite intellectual because it is based on the way the photographer works and it may not (or maybe cannot) be visible from the photographs themselves. You have to “trust” a street photographer that he didn’t stage his pictures.

    Constantine Manos clearly says he does not consider himself as an artist and that, for him, a painter, a poet, etc. are artists but a street photographer is not. He sees photographs as “windows” that are opened by the photographer at some instant. And it is significant that he puts a particular emphasis on people not looking at the photographer, and more generally not interacting with him.

    That said, I think that there may actually be more “creativity” in this sort of photography than in some “art photography”. To me it is precisely this combination of objectivity (take the world as it is) and subjectivity (in the choice of the picture) that makes it so exciting. And, at the end of the day, I see all photographers as artists because they all attempt to convey an aesthetic emotion, including photographers who consider themselves primarily as photojournalists. James Nachtwey may photograph the most horrible things on earth but his pictures are still beautiful. A photojournalist who would take pictures with great informative content but no aesthetic value might be a good journalist but certainly not a good photographer. Someone already mentioned the book “On being a photograoher” by David Hurn. I remember that at some point, this topic is discussed in the book, and David Hurn mentions that he once was invited at an exhibition where the photographer said that, on purpose, he had created pictures lacking any aesthetic appeal so as to reflect the ugliness of the subject matter. He basically didn’t want to create beautiful pictures out of ugly situations. David Hurn contends that even if the goal is solely to carry a message, if the pictures are bad, the message will be lost… For no one will be interested in looking at the pictures.

  • and so while we’re on this trip together…

  • The problem with street photography as art, as I see it, is that in many of these photographs there are altogether too many people cluttering up the street. When I look at a photograph of a street, I want to see a photograph of a street and not the assorted flotsam and jetsam of humanity that happen to be drifting by at the moment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people who know about my interest in the subject tell me about this or that one’s work, about what a great street photographer this person is, and with what great anticipation I went and looked forward to seeing their work, only to discover that the photographer in question was merely using the street as an excuse to take pictures of the people on the street, most of whom are not as interesting as the street itself.

    As to this nonsense about who is or who isn’t really a photographer and how to describe yourself to the warm, wonderful, and extremely nice people at the Internal Revenue Service (yes, I am sucking up), I would say, count your blessings and be happy you’re not doing something else for a living, something horrific like smelling armpits for a deodorant company or being a tour guide in Podunk, Iowa, or selling term life insurance. Then you’d have something to complain about, I think.

    James M. Cain, a much underrated writer, in my opinion, wrote in Double Indemnity, his classic story of love, murder, and getting what you prayed for and finding out that it’s not what you wanted, that in a lot of ways the insurance business was a lot like casino gambling. Not in any flashy Vegas way, of course; I wouldn’t mind getting a good front row seat at a revue with beautiful showgirls wearing sequins and phony ostrich feathers and not much else every time I sent in a check for my car insurance, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it will never happen; but rather the two resemble each other in that you and your insurance company are placing bets on the great roulette wheel of fate. You take out insurance because you know that bad things happen to people and you want protection from the consequences of those bad things; in short, you’re betting that something awful is going to happen to you. The insurance company, on the other hand, is a giant slot machine willing to take your money because they’ve got rooms full of actuarial tables that analyze down to the minutest detail every possible thing that can go wrong in your life and frankly, no matter what your Aunt Irma tells you about what her best girl friend’s uncle’s best friend’s second cousin on his mother’s side told her down at the beauty shop, the extremely bad thing you’re worried sick about isn’t likely to happen and would you kindly remember to write your policy number on your check, please, thank you very much.

    Given the essentially sporting nature of their business one would think that insurance companies would employ a much happier set of people than they do. I can’t prove this scientifically, of course, but just from my personal observation over the years I’d say that insurance companies probably employ a higher percentage of humorless anal retentives than almost any other large American institution I can think of, including banking, the military, and the humanities department of any large university you could name off the top of your head, and if you think I’m overstating the case then try this: file a claim. Your friendly insurance agent is more than happy to take your money when you don’t need their help; your giving them a premium check fills them with a near ecstatic bonhomie and a love of their fellow man most touching to behold. Paying out on a claim, however, upsets their digestion, no small problem in a group so prone to constipation, and causes their skin to break out. You’d almost think that the pot of money they are sitting on belonged to them from the tenacious and usually unpleasant way they defend every penny in the pot. Having real croupiers, pit bosses, and casino managers would, I think, do wonders for the collective image of the insurance industry, since those guys know how to convince people that they are having a good time while handing over their hard earned money to complete strangers, and they know that every so often one of the suckers hits the jackpot. The people working in insurance these days make paying your premiums seem like what it is: another damn bill that’s got to be in the mail by the end of the month. I make the check out, I sign the check, I mail the check; let’s face it—at no point in this process am I having fun. Maybe if they sent me lottery tickets I wouldn’t mind giving them the money so much.

    And the hoops they make you jump through to get what is, after all, your money, convinces many people who have legitimate claims to forego the opportunity to file a claim and to settle their problems themselves, an outcome that frankly causes some mixed emotions amongst insurance insiders: they are glad that you aren’t filing a claim since that leaves them with more money to invest in miniature golf courses in Miami Beach, but they also dislike the policyholders depriving them of the opportunity to drive your premiums through the metaphorical roof. I know this because one of my coworkers here in the egregious mold pit wherein I while away the hours until my death sideswiped my car some years ago. When she came into the building to tell of this unfortunate event I immediately dashed out of the front door, if you can call it dashing; I suspect most people would classify my actions that afternoon as more of a slightly animated slow mosey, my heart racing…well, more of a slight uptick, really, in gruesome anticipation of the horror without.

    It wasn’t that bad, all in all, although I’ve rather unfairly used the damage as the basis of more than one guilt trip over the years, and I immediately called my insurance company to have them take a look at it. They sent a man out, a very nice fellow, as I remember, but he made it very clear very quickly that he wasn’t going to give me a red cent for the damage and that he regarded my even asking about it as an unconscionable waste of his valuable time, but he was nice about it, so I guess that counts for something these days. My co=worker, on the other hand, was utterly aghast that I’d said anything to an insurance company at all, her opinion of her insurance carrier not being something one can repeat in polite society or in front of children or small animals, and offered to pay to have the minimal damage to my car fixed out of her own pocket. I took her money, and no, I never did have the damage fixed; I spent the money on graduate school and a three-volume edition of Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I read volume one, but not the other two, and now I get this awful twinge of guilt whenever I look at those damned thick square books; she didn’t give me the money so I could indulge a loathsome taste for gladiatorial combat or to learn about the fetid and utterly decadent fever swamp of imperial politics in the declining centuries of Rome’s greatness, with the Praetorians selling the Empire to the highest bidder as the Christians worshipped in the catacombs next to Rome’s recently deceased without so much as an air freshener or a can of Lysol spray nearby. But then I get over it—guilt, like caffeine, only works for so long before you’ve got to take another shot of it.

    But almost all insurance people are positive party animals when compared to those sad and somber actuarial wretches who must peddle life insurance for their daily bread. Like card-counting at a blackjack table, life insurance is the one area of the insurance casino where the advantage lies entirely with the policyholder; even with the best efforts of the nation’s doctors and life insurance salesmen to dissuade them, the vast majority of people in the United States and elsewhere insist on dying at some point. This is disheartening, to say the least, for your average life insurance peddler, who must constantly rethink his commitment to capitalism and the free market in the light of the millions of people willing to drop dead on the least pretext in order to get their hands on the insurance company’s money. Your insurance representative may, like the good neighbor, be there for you during the worst periods of your life, lending comfort and support to you, but he certainly doesn’t want to give you a check. Sympathy is one thing and a good thing too, after all, and has the added advantage of being free, but money is something else again, and who can tell what might happen to the life insurance business if the companies started handing out money to people because they’ve run into a prolonged bout of decomposition? The insurance-minded imagination boggles at the possibilities inherent in inanimation and its long-term effects on the company’s bottom line.

    The refusal of many in the life insurance business to admit that they will eventually have to pay off on all of those policies causes some odd behavior on occasion. The news that the life insurance companies spent millions of dollars a year on psychic research, especially in the field of spiritualism, did not surprise me as much as it seems to have surprised the broad range of people in this country, if the opinion polls are anything to go by. If the life insurance companies can definitely prove the existence of an afterlife, that Mr. John Q. Public, recently deceased policyholder, is still alive, albeit on another spiritual plane, then there is no need to pay off on Mrs. Public’s claim. Alive in heaven or hell is still alive, after all, and your friendly life insurance company does not have to pay off if the deceased isn’t really deceased. That Mr. Public is, given his current circumstances, unable to pay his premiums every month is a shame, but not one that requires an insurance company to pay off on his wife’s claim.

    What did surprise me was the extent to which the insurance companies support Christian Science and its missionary efforts. I suppose if you can convince enough people that death is an illusion then paying off on a claim becomes moot, since there is no death, only, as with the previously mentioned Mr. Public, a sudden and altogether unfortunate inability to pay one’s premiums in a timely manner. And when the existence of heaven and hell is finally proved, of course, this opens a whole new field for insurers: afterlife insurance, in which one pays a reasonable premium in this life in order to avoid the pain of hellfire in the next. This has the further advantage of turning insurance companies into religious organizations of a sort, and hence, tax-exempt entities, a prospect that will maximize profits and bring a smile to the lips and a song to the heart of even the most hard-hearted of insurance bean-counters. So the next time you think of who or what does not constitute “real” photography, remember the fate you’ve avoided by being overly fond of cameras. Let this be a warning to us all and all God’s children said, Amen!

  • pierre yves racine

    My turn…

    Masada… for those who don’t know…


  • bravo,bravo,bravo:
    Bravo MAX

    “…and so while we’re on this trip together…

    Posted by: Max Fox | January 06, 2008 at 03:12 PM

  • Eggleston…
    “i am a photographer, i take pictures, thats what we do”

  • I have a friend, an artist, who has employed photography as a medium of late in documenting his works… thus making his photography “documentary” in the purest form, not so?

    (You can read more on him here: http://www.rookegallery.com/ )

    Local photographers seemed irked that a painter was gaining such recognition for his work with a camera, but rather than challenge him on a photographic level, they felt the need (at a book launch he had been asked to present some of his work at) to question him as to where art entered into his approach… I was actually bored with their wanking about and wandering around the background reading John Berger (the event was in a bookshop) when someone actually asked him: “What makes your work art?”

    His reply: “Because I say it is.”

    Surely that, along with Anderson’s views on leaving it up to the critics, is all that needs to be said on the matter…

    That, and Soth’s interview with Papageorge (http://alecsoth.com/blog/2007/07/12/papageorge-interview/)

    “Don’t speak to me of the document; I don’t really believe in it, particularly now. A picture’s not the world, but a new thing.”

    Oh shit, here we go again?


  • Oh, and congrats Sean, and all the other “finalists.”

    DAVID: This is me adding my name to the potential feedback list, if I may.


  • More music people, more music… :)

    Enjoyed Max’s fine song selection over my 2pm breakfast bowl of cerial. It’s raining in New Mexico too but maybe will snow soon.

    Decided to get in on the “art” discussion but now after reading Akaky’s Sunday “sermon”
    maybe I will just “slightly animated slow mosey”… A RIOT!!!… over to the sofa and veg out for a while and ponder the meaning of life…

    Nevermind…let’s talk art.

    Herve mentioned the discussion about “Is it or is it not” on the FRIENDS section of this blog regarding Laura. Check out her website and read what she has to say…

    As far as Nachtwey. I agree with what’s already been mentioned about no one wants to look at an ugly photo (well that’s my interpretation at least and who is to say what ugly is)… I just wanted to add what I have heard Nachtwey himself say on the subject and that is that unless he makes it something people will want to look at, something that “opens their hearts,” who will take notice of the atrocities he is trying to show the world and bear witness to?

  • Just saw David’s post today, I’m a bit late and it’s a long read, but congrats to all the ones who made the cut :-) Beyond the money for Sean, I hope this recognition of their work in general help them achieve better exposure and surely, boost their own “confidence”. I’m really looking forward to the new site to discover all essays.

    Congratulations also to David to have given his time and talent so generously to promote talented photographers :-)

    And as a personal note to David, whenever you have some time, a couple of quick comments on my own submission would be greatly appreciated :-)



    hey man, dont you know, Panos is a risk taker..he’s up there with Nachtwey! I mean seriously he risked his life….Robbie Krieger, dont you know ? Who do you think wrote the guitar for the Riders on the Storm? And all those dogs, Is this hip-hop from L.A.
    question ?? Who killed 2pac? West coast or East ???

    Posted by: Rafal Pruszynski | January 06, 2008 at 06:12 AM

    Panos says:
    Rafal thank you for the comments…I love Hip-Hop a lot…maybe not as much…as you do…but i do like it a lot…Especially Wu Tan Clan lyrics…Now about West or East…tough question brother…

    Now comparing me with Nachtwey…come on man…too much love all of a sudden ??? What happen???

  • Harry,

    That shifts the issue from definition of “art” to the definition or “artist”, but it does, IMO, get us a step closer to what seems to me to be the heart of the issue: which is the artistic/creative process, and how (and why) one undertakes it. Whether motivated by and in pursuit of a personal vision vs. a external rationale/need…

    I do not, personally, care whether one calls themselves an artist or a documentarian, or a journalist, or…, if their search truly is for an individual vision of the world and reality. And this can — and does — apply to any sort of photographer or practitioner of any art form. The rest seems like labels to me.

    Running, as BB would say.

    – Giancarlo

    Hey Panos… checked your site. Question… how to say “lame” in Greek?

    Posted by: mike | January 06, 2008 at 05:22 AM

    Just for the record…that “mike” above is NOT me. I do not do the trash peoples work

    Posted by: Michael Kircher | January 06, 2008 at 08:14 AM

    Panos says:
    I do not judge people of what they SMOKE!!!
    I judge them of not SHARING with the rest of us!
    Peace from L.A….
    …what???…from L.A?

  • You might like this one Cathy:

  • Thankyou Mr. Harvey for this opportunity of reviewing our photographs. You had mentioned that there were several good submissions that had unfortunately missed the deadline. I was just curious if my photographs were one of them because I uploaded my submission late on Dec. 15th here in Vancoouver. Perhaps because of time zone differences, they were not received or considered past the deadline. If so that is fine. Would still appreciate your thoughts on my submission.



  • L, this time SUMS it all UP:

    “What makes your work art?”

    His reply: “Because I say it is.”

    Surely that, along with Anderson’s views on leaving it up to the critics, is all that needs to be said on the matter…

    That, and Soth’s interview with Papageorge (http://alecsoth.com/blog/2007/07/12/papageorge-interview/)

    “Don’t speak to me of the document; I don’t really believe in it, particularly now. A picture’s not the world, but a new thing.”

    Oh shit, here we go again?


    “As far as Nachtwey. I agree with what’s already been mentioned about no one wants to look at an UGLY photo (well that’s my interpretation at least and WHO is to say what ugly is)…

    panos’s answer to the question about WHO??? : “Me…”

  • David,
    It is now time that you announce the launch of the web site in a new post. Otherwise the counter will soon reach 400…

  • pierre yves racine, beauitful – I know it already but thanks for the reminder ;-)

    one for you:

    and maybe another one:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=n6CH8UAHMqY ;-) (…great jazz from Poland, BTW…)

  • I reckon the final word belongs to these fulla’s!

    We are all part of the songlines….

  • Kazakshtanis against Borat…

  • YOLNGU….that’s dope…. i never seen this dance before….africa rules…
    honestly thank you Lisa H.
    cool choice!

  • D.Ukaleb
    Nothing wrong with the 400 & up posts…dont you think…?
    only porn sites can break records like that..i have personal proof…
    anyways…David A H, is as interesting -and i m glad to say it- as POPULAR as EVER…cooooooooollllll!!!!!!!

    That’s success & recognition “before”….”way before” death…is way COOL,
    because im tired of artists that “expire” before their deserved recognition…(Basquiat effect) …

    I’m afraid that sometimes…what Buddha said and what should happen …dont really match…although i want to!

  • GRAINY HANDS here:
    (If you ever asked yourself about ?Grainy hands…click below:


  • I wonder whatever happened to OCTAVIOS…the person that originally brought the flame on…
    Is he such another great greek philosopher,the ultimate judge or what?

  • Er Panos, not Africa ruling, Australia…

    The Yolngu are from the Northern Territory, in the vicinity of Arnhem Land. These black fulla’s have been around for a bit longer than your mob (at least 60,000 years) but obviously enjoy the refined tastes of the Greek civilization as well!

    Well it does seem that music has a calming effect, eh!

    Laughing… Lisa!

  • jesus Lisa … hit us up with more knowledge…

    “Well it does seem that music has a calming effect, eh!

    … Lisa!”

    Posted by: lisa Hogben | January 06, 2008 at 10:06 PM

    panos says:

    …I’m glad you started “feeling it” Lisa…and it really was Australia…which im sorry…australia doesnt rule…or maybe it does…Think of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds….
    well…you be the judge…
    Peace Lisa

  • David,

    I’m sure you’ve already got me on the “critique” list…if not please add me. Thanks.

  • martin (marcin luczkowski)


    Masz swietne niezwykłe zdjęcia, ale 800 to trochę za duzo. Musisz zrobić portfolio z setki najwyżej, posegregowane. Masz tam takie perelki!!! Aż szkoda w tym tłumie. Najwyższy poziom, podziwiam…

  • Dziekuje Marcin! – wiem o tym, ale PAD nie ma służyć za portfolio, jest trochę czymś innym, powiedzmy “projektem motywacyjnym”, takim “work-in-progress” :-) A za prawdziwe portfolio jakoś ciągle nie mogę się zabrać, chociaż ciągle w planach… ;-)

  • pierre-yves racine

    To Aleksander :

    Thanks for the great links : I really like Tomasz Stanko ! I have one cd at home and it’s “sick” jazz, at times !

    Actually, I was lucky enough to see Marcin Wasilewski trio (Stanko 4tet without Stanko) in Budapest 2 years ago and it was such a great concert !!

    Do you know Marc Ducret (amazing french composer and guitar player) ?

    How about Louis Sclavis ? (cds with big booklets of photos by Guy Le Querrec)

    It’s off topic, sorry, but musical improvisation and photography are so strongly linked…….

    Now congrats again for your pictures !

  • Thanks Pierre, I’ll try to find out something about them once I get back home :-)

  • Lisa,
    We come from a land down under,
    where women groan
    and men chunder!
    Just surfacing again after a rap accross the knuckles!
    Congratulations Sean, you have a great set of pics there and am looking to see how you use $5000.00 of free money! Why not blog the process?
    There could be some real time input from your legion of fans from the previous posts I’m sure they have a better idea of how to take photos like you do than you do!
    Get my meaning?
    This whole thing is not about most of the bullshit I have read on this thread ,it’s about takin pictures taking names, taking the bloody piss for chrissake!
    Uncle Dave Thanks again for getting this up, Sean ,Go Hard!
    Cheers Glenn

  • If you wonder what I’ve been up to lately:

    Probably the funniest metal video (with a fanmade video of Manowar) that I’ve ever seen. The guitar solo with a hand covered in plaster is just too much.

  • First Sorry It’s taken so long to respond…

    Panos said –
    ‘I wonder whatever happened to OCTAVIOS…the person that originally brought the flame on…
    Is he such another great greek philosopher,the ultimate judge or what?’

    1st Panos, I didn’t bring any flame, I think people brought that out themselves after me expressing some honest opinions on the subject, but that is neither here nor there… I think the topic has been discussed exhaustively for the past couple of days, and there is simply nothing more to say… I think I’ve said my piece and others have said their respective piece… As for being a Greek philosopher… I would probably be playing for the German philosophers as Monty Python had it in that classic bit against the Greeks!!!

    Now I don’t want to start any more ‘flames’ as you put it, but I have been preparing a new website myself, as well as photographing here and there, but I have also been biting my tongue on a couple of posts I have read from you and other ‘contributers’ as David put it. Street Photography is not art was probably the most retarted thing I read in the past couple of days!! I guess my Magnum book I got for Christmas was waste of someones money!!!!!

    Panos the only thing I can say to you is you definitely need to cut back and think before posting, I have read some funny stuff but honestly I am getting tired of reading a sentence here and a sentence there. Nice work on some photos you posted lately to your blog, but please, please let us breathe!!!! My breath is starting to smell like falafel and Gyros!!!!

    David commented earlier that I had not submitted anything… I must not be all here or I simply don’t know how to do the FTP thing… I swear on the life of my dog Kane… I sent in photos… maybe ‘Panos the Greek philosopher’ can help me next time… Panos hope this doesn’t read to harshly as I enjoy your post as well… don’t get me wrong

    Oh One more thing I was amazed by your work and honestly it’s what made me rethink the whole web blog and website thing to start being more active

    Aleksander Nowak !! If you would like to talk to me please email me!!!


  • Let’s just cut each other some slack. We have a lot of international readers and writers and some sentences just don’t translate well or come across the way they were meant to.

  • you know Octo… You could be right again..especially about the gyros smell…hahaha…
    You are right on your suggestion of blogging,posting less and Shoot more…I should put my camera where the gyros usually goes and shoot shoot without speaking eating or cursing… I hear you …no more philosophy( by the way the Greek team beat the Germans 1-0 …Archimedes was the scorer… It was the same game that Nietzsche got the red card if you can recall… Good all days…
    now about your new Agony… Who said that street photography is not art,??
    How about street music or rap is not art???

  • PANOS: Is not all music street music, at one time or another?

    By the way, just shat myself reading Octavios’s post…

    DAVID: Did you receive anything from a Liam Lynch? Like Octo, I too have had problems with FTP’ing from a Mac… I am used to simply sending things direct to my own server from my PC days and simply carried that system across when I switched to Mac; got a little lost when uploading at first. Am now somewhat nervous.

    Though I would not have gained a footing in a finalists, given that my essays definitely leant towards the esoteric and “lacking in captions” side, I would certainly have liked to get some feedback… did you ever receive anything to give feedback on, even?

    As we say in South Africa: Cyberduck se poes!


  • I never said street photography is not art! That’s exactly the opposite of what I’m trying to say, of course street photography is art!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Here is the Monty Python video I’m talking about http://youtube.com/watch?v=cGRXF4t_nHI

  • Ryan my apologies for putting your website in under my name I was trying to cut and paste my website and inadvertanly put yours in my name… Thanx for the help on the FTP, Liam why don’t you email ryan he’s pretty technical on that stuff!!!

    For anyone who cares my new blog will be http://octavioswilliam.blogspot.com/

    Check it out next week!!!

  • Octo, I am not sure where you saw anyone wrote there is no art in street photography. The question was not “what photography is art?” (if the label has to matter that much), but what is IYO, art photography?

    Now, I know that some here may think that photography is photography, labelings are but a vain thing. Yes, when you have said that, unless you decide that is all there is to say, you still have to account for all kind of different choices and approaches photographers affect with their cameras.

    Nachtwey does not exhibit or publish essays on blooming flowers, you may decide to write a whole book on what he does making sure you never use any sort of labeling as if doing so was the worse evil that happened in the history of human discourse, or you can think that using labels at time (say, war photographer?) does not mean writing anything in marble or induce debilitation in the reader (and yourself).

    Rene is right, cut some slack, but especially, make sure what is someone replying to. The interest in what constitutes art photography IN YOUR OPINION is perfectly valid, we understand the responses can cover the whole gamut, from denying there ever was such thing to claiming it is quite differentiated from what a street photographer does….Even if this last one is a great artist whose “art” will endure..



    i looked again at the Digital Railroad upload site….i did see your name, but no actual photos uploaded…


    i do have photographs from you…and you have a couple of very nice singles which i plan to showcase soonest….


    some nice pictures from you which will also been shown soonest…perhaps not quite enough for an “essay look”, but your best are out on the “leading edge”….

    cheers, david


  • Octavios xOMG, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for that skit link genius!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Octavios,

    Now that David has started a new thread no one will get to see the soccer match…which is wonderful. Please post it again in the new thread so it can be seen and enjoyed…plus it’s appropriate to the new post. Thanks!

  • anxious to see the rest of the work. great motivation for the photographers in general, yes yes yes! and the winer is the Photography and this Stories who are now under the light for the world to see :)

  • anxious to see the rest of the work. great motivation for the photographers in general, yes yes yes! and the winer is the Photography and this Stories who are now under the light for the world to see :)

  • anxious to see the rest of the work. great motivation for the photographers in general, yes yes yes! and the winer is the Photography and this Stories who are now under the light for the world to see :)

  • anxious to see the rest of the work. great motivation for the photographers in general, yes yes yes! and the winer is the Photography and this Stories who are now under the light for the world to see :)

  • CATHY…

    i stay on the last two or three posts always….i think most people do …anyway, good suggestion…i will be getting to a review of your work soonest…..

    cheers, david

  • Octavio,

    You can call me a “retard”, I couldn’t care less… Actually I even enjoy it quite a lot. Btw this word seems fashionable these days (see Panos’ posts). But Herve seems to have understood my post better than you. What I was saying is essentially:

    1) “Art” is a word or, if you prefer, a concept, and we can debate endlessly about what it is, like middle ages philosophers about the various theological problems of their times. More recently, this problem has been addressed by many many people including Marcel Duchamp and the Dadaistes, or (sorry once again for my French references) the French “artist” Benjamin Vautier (aka Ben). And those who steal Duchamp’s urinals in museums or those who pee on them can legitimately call themselves artists. And if these people are artists, then street photographers should be artists too, otherwise it would be too unfair.

    So I prefer to leave this debate to people who can write PhD theses and then become scholars and make a living of it (and btw Ben also managed to make quite a lot of money with his art and that without becoming a University professor and having to struggle to get a tenure).

    2) I said that although it is not always clear cut, I see the distinction between photography that is staged and that that is not, or more or less equivalently the fiction/non fiction distinction as more “useful” or “tractable”, for at least we have a better idea of what we are talking about.

    3) Let’s now try a syllogism.

    Major: People who claim that street photography is not art are retarded.
    Minor: Some of the best street photographers claim that street photography is not art.
    Conclusion: Some of the most famous street photographers are retarded.

    Unfortunately not all retarded people do great street photography, otherwise I would be a great street photographer.

    I value “non fiction” photography more than everything else for I think than reality, for the better and for the worse, is always beyond fiction.

    Ok, enough about that.


    I have nothing against the 400 posts and I was just trying to increment the counter to make it reach the 400 faster, with yet another useless post. And BTW my name is Ukaleq and not Ukaleb.


    Since you seem to have a liking for both completely off topic posts and moustaches, here is a link to an interesting moustache that you might want to check:


    A French version of John Bolton? LoL

  • David U,

    Street photography and art… three names: HCB, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander. And I’n not counting Robert Frank and William Klein. As far as I’m concerned the case is closed! ;)


    PS; are we at 400 yet?

  • @David U.: My apologies for the off topic thing; digression from the subject at hand is one of the things I do best and one of the things I like least. I’m not sure why I do this, but it has been a constant with me for years. As to the other things, yes, the gentleman in question is interestingly mustachioed; I wonder if he does Inspector Clemenceau impressions on the side.

  • Eggleston…
    “i am a photographer, i take pictures, thats what we do”

    I can see, as a painter of course, Picasso (whom I otherwise appreciate enormously) saying this from his bourgeois digs in Paris, while the gestapo picked up jews all around the city to send them to their horrible deaths.

    The only question an “artist” would ever have to answer to him or herself, to others too if they wish, but in deeds then not in words, is not what is the name of what I am doing but “what am I doing?”.

    That’s where the fight is.


  • “”Another thing: The black and white enhancements are ok but they dont give me a “real” feeling…No depth in the tones…””

    absolutly right what Pano says. the pictures are grey in grey, not black and white.

  • HERVE: For me, the last two things you mention can be one and the same… semantics, perhaps, but when I registered a site, I was asked “Why Liam-Lynch-PhotographER and not Liam-Lynch-PhotographY?”

    I could only think to say that “Photography” was something “to do”… whereas “Photographer” was something “to be”…

    Perhaps “art/ist” is something you are, not something you do, and thereafter debate becomes irrelevant.

    STEFAN: I hear what you and Panos say, but much the same could be said of Eugene Richards’s printing, or some of Larry Towell’s book repro… I too have printed professionally for people as Panos has, and on this side of the planet, we lean more towards the zonal side of things than the harsher contrasts; at least, that is how I see it.

    End of the day, it is a matter of taste, and black and white is NOT necessarily made up of 100% and 0% values.

    Sean’s work already looks better on his site than here… quite often, B&W images appear to lose sharpness and also a sense of defined tonal range when their size is altered, and they are resized as JPEGS.


  • I have several books of Towell, and cant see that there are Black tones missing, black is black in the books I have. I love Towell’s this would not be the case if he had wishi washi tones… best Stefan

  • Or could it be that street photographers are not artists but that street photography is art…?

  • I probably should have added a bunch of ;-) :D

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