on the road again…




my nice little winter vacation is over….back to work…i have pretty much been chilling out the last three or is it four weeks….only my self initiated responsibilities to you on this forum have kept me busy (i do have some new good news for you, but will save it for the next post)…but, mostly i have been hanging with family and friends….this was the longest holiday season of all time for me…but, a quick scroll down through this section and you can see i was "on the move" prior and may have needed a break….

i hit the trail on  friday  to India for 10 days (see post under "workshops") and then almost immediately to Oaxaca, Mexico for two weeks and then almost immediately to Oslo, Norway to join my Magnum colleagues in our first seriously organized workshop since i took on the role of "minister of education" for our cooperative….

appropriately, Jonas Bendiksen and his wife Laara Matsen have worked so so hard to get this major Magnum Masterclass workshop set up in their beloved Norway….i really think i should have said Laara Matsen and her husband Jonas Bendiksen,  because i know very well who did most of the work!!

in any case, Alex Majoli, Paolo Pellegrin, Chris Anderson, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Alex and Rebecca Webb, Jonas and yes, yours truly, will slip into Oslo in March for a springtime (Norway style) gathering of the tribe…please log on to: http://agency.magnumphotos.com/about/osloworkshop.aspx ….we would love for some of you to join us….

this will be my first trip to Norway….or to any country in Scandinavia….so, personally i am very excited and curious…i just have this feeling in my gut that  this workshop is  going to be very very well run…the Masterclass is being set up in conjunction with the Norwegian Press Photograhers Association, Bilder Nordic Photography School and the Oslo College of Photojournalism…man, do they have their act together!!

as a matter of fact, what i really am trying to find out by going to Norway,  is why oh why Scandinavian countries all seem so very very peaceful and very very organized and  have very very near perfect economies and  very very great health plans , while the rest of us scramble for our very very souls!!

to end up my mini all over the world workshop "tour" i will be seen on the beaches of the Dominican Republic, the green half of Espanola….please see my new post under "student work/workshops"…then, no more workshops til fall….i have a new photo project i want to start soonest and i will tell you about that once i get going…i hate to talk specifics about something until i actually start….you know, get that first good picture…

which brings me to an interesting question for you….if you talk to others a lot about something before you  really do it, does it lessen the desire to do it, or does it push you forward to actually do it ???

75 Responses to “on the road again…”

  • Hey David: Regarding your last question, YES. It works both ways. It’s the difference between starting a new relationship, kind of holed up getting to know each other and quitting smoking where you discuss it with everyone to get encouragement.

    What do you think?


  • Hi David…
    I do everything I say I am going to do…I dont say I am going to do it unless I have the desire in the first place. I think the important part of your question…is choosing the right people to talk to about it.
    Time for sleep..what a day!

  • David, always on the road…..I just checked the link and this Magnum workshop in Oslo should be quite something!!..I wish I could be there….Unfortunately, I am already booked in March to go to Antigua so hard to do another trip the very same month (at least for someone like me who also has a dayjob). Thinking about the unique opportunity to interact with all of you at once (Alex, you, Paolo), I may have made a different decision and attempted to join if I had known….I have a suggestion….I am not sure if you plan the year long time in advance (probably not) but it would be great if you could post on your blog the various workshops that you will be doing through the year. My sense is that some of us who may require longer planning may find it easier to join if there was earlier visibility….Anyway…Not always easy I am sure when you are more used to live “in the moment” but could help some of us…On your question of whether to talk about something before doing it, I would likely fall into the category…I sometimes needs a kick, almost need to be very overt about my intent to do something so that I cannot go back and no longer “not” do it….I told you before that I have had a strong desire to take some time off work for 3 months or so to travel and do a photo project….I know it will be tough for me…tough to get away from a very demanding job, tough to also get away from my two small kids for a few weeks…I know that you probably feel this is easy and I make a big deal about something that you have done all these years but anyway…will be the first time for me…In any case, as I want to make sure that I do not find any excuses to not do it, I have made it very known around me, at work, been very specific etc and I think that now, I HAVE to do it…. When I was younger (still young but…), with 4 of my friends, a year in advance, we decided that we were going to join an adventure raid taking place in Costa Rica, having to cross the country through the jungle with no assistance, being dropped of an airplane on the beach of Costa Rica…sounds pretty silly and it probably was….I do not know why we tried to do this (probably got drunk with these friends and had a stupid bet…) but anyway, we trained like crazy for 9 months, friends, family etc were all behind and then….no choice…had to train for it…. I always look at putting myself into situation that I cannot go back and disappoint myself or friends and family….So, not always smart but served me a few time to do things I would not have done otherwise….Have a great trip in India David and keep us posted on what you are doing there. India is a fascinating country. I traveled there few years ago in Rajasthan with my old man (father!)….Really had great time. Lots of very nice people and beautiful country!!!! Cheers, Eric

  • David, by the way, as you mentioned a new photo project, what happened to your intent to do a book about women???? Are you still working against that? I remember the title of a slide show: “You made me leave”!!!! Still on your radar? Eric

  • Looks like you’re living the high life David. Exciting schedule to say the least. Jonas Bendiksen is my favorite ‘new’ photographer.

    When in DR, check out Samana. Nice place on the norteastern side of the island.

  • With your last question you’ve really given me something to think about.

    Maybe I’ll answer later.

  • %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
    which brings me to an interesting question for you….if you talk to others a lot about something before you really do it, does it lessen the desire to do it, or does it push you forward to actually do it ???

    I try not to talk to others a lot about something I want to do because I find that I adjust on the fly and thus whatever I plan on doing takes a different shape when it’s done. That, takes a lot of annoying explaining to do sometimes.

  • “if you talk to others a lot about something before you really do it”

    interesting question since i think it applies not just to photography but to other creative arts as well (i guess one can expand the circle some more and include business ideas, etc). and my take on it has nothing even to do with whether the desire to push through will remain or not. rather, it’s the risk of throwing out there an idea that others might snatch away before you even lay down the first building block. i write poems and short stories and i have a lot of writer friends. we talk about a lot of things but, now that i think of it, we never say “oh, i have this wonderful idea i’d like to write about.” we pass around drafts of poetry or fiction for critiquing but that’s different– the stake has been driven into the ground already, so to speak. a novelist teacher of mine once gave us a verbal summary of a great story that was the idea of a friend of his. then he remarked, i wish i had thought that one up. in fact i could flesh it out for myself now. but it’s my friend’s idea so i won’t touch it. now how many people are as respectful as that teacher? actually, not even having a story already written down is a true safeguard. a friend of mine once submitted a finished screenplay to a writing contest (i forget if he won) and then a few years after watched a movie that blatantly copied off his “unproduced” screenplay. so to answer your question david, if i had shared a germ of a project to others, i better get down to work to claim it as mine ;-)

  • I learned from experience that I didn’t like the way I presented myself when I’d talk about a project and for whatever reason it ends up unfulfilled. I noticed that I’m more thorough when I don’t talk so much.

    David I sent you an email subject “web design” with some opinions about the new site if you’re interested.

  • I wouldn’t talk to others about what I’m planning to do, if it’s a real project, not just an outing. Gee, i may not even tell them after, coz…..I’m an amateur!


    have a great trip David, I wonder if your WS is scheduled around the Jaisalmer Music festival, BTW.

  • I guess it works both ways… :P sometimes it does push me to do it, but, sometimes, when i talk a lot about it, is like i’ve already did it, so it lessen the desire…

  • Sometimes I can’t help telling everybody around (as I am a helpless tattler ;-) ), but when things go very deep and personal and important, I am the only one who knows. I’m somehow superstitiously afraid of bringing bad luck to a project by telling others…
    I realized, though, that the more of my friends know, the more responsible I feel for what I’ve said. They believe in me and I don’t want to let them down, simple things… so I’d say it rather SUPPORTS the desire… ;-)

    (Arrrgh I wish I’d join one of your workshops… but no wonder money and time are on the dark side of the moon together… ;-) Anyway, in the light of what I’ve said above, I’m not saying anymore now… ;-))

  • Depends. When I am offered the opportunity to do something outside of my comfort zone I tend to keep it close. And yes, I believe that talking about something in excess can dissipate the idea and the whole thing fall through the window of opportunity.

    There is also the thought that getting other’s opinions of a project you have in mind can change the look of it and thus the desirability on your part to continue. I have had that happen more than once.

    But there is also the side that says it takes an objective voice sometimes to point out an obvious issue that I have overlooked. I really enjoy talking to people about my project in the midst of it.

    It took me a long time to learn when to talk and when not to talk.

    It takes lots of focus and requires listening. I learned this recently from a very astute teacher.

    Happy New Year everyone.

    Lee Guthrie

  • Er David this might help you tp understand the Scandi mentality just a little bit…

    If you get a chance go check the Hardanger Fjord it is really really beautiful!

  • Oh and if the last educational video doesn’t help I think you can never beat an original…


  • ‘if you talk to others a lot about something before you really do it, does it lessen the desire to do it, or does it push you forward to actually do it ???’

    To answer your question, it does push me forward to actually do it. Absolutely. Once the words leave my lips, I’m committed. Slight pressure and stress ensues, but it’s a good pressure and stress. I hope that part changes the more I travel. I do get a kick of excitement from my family and friends before I embark on a project and they look forward to the end result.
    The travel part always happens but the end result is another story. I have to improve on that.

    Happy travels David!


  • “if you talk to others a lot about something before you really do it, does it lessen the desire to do it, or does it push you forward to actually do it ???”

    It takes the wind out of my sails IF: I haven’t thought things through enough (and therefore fail to convey the idea accurately), or the person I’m talking to isn’t listening, or the person I’m talking to is listening but is uninterested.

    It pushes me forward IF: the opposite of all above…

    I’m going to broach the topic of the Oslo workshop with my wife… I’d better think it through first, then talk to her when she’s able to listen and is interested. Perhaps over a nice bottle of wine…

  • Dear Minister! :))

    That is QUITE the traveling itineray! :))…are you sure youre not really Phileas Fogg? ;)…Im waiting to see the shots from the ballon. :))

    saw the Oslo workshop yesterday, sounds terrific: particularly love the choice of Oslo (YOU ROCK, LAARA!!!! :)))…im anxiously awaiting to see what the participants come up with, since i have almost no “visual” ideas about the city (even with Jonas: I associate him with Russia and India and Africa, weird, huh?: that’s another question for another thread: our orientation of association with photographers: Anderson, canadian (no f*cking way), Majoli: Italian (weird?), Vink: Belgium (gotta be a lie), etc ;))))….

    ok, a quick note: the question:

    when i have an idea i often share it with marina first (if i share it) and then she often looks at me with at cheshire grin: “oh, right, just do it”!…since she knows me better than anyone on this planet:….i dont believe in good luck/bad luck, only accumulation, building, dismantling, construction, erosion…the long-train song…

    i know know where or when my photography will lead to next, just as i dont really with my life, but im trying to better disentangle it from my own stupid predilection for speech over act…

    so: this only: sometimes yes, sometimes no…

    succinct? ;)

    Have a great flight(sssss) Minister Harvey and dont let’ the Prime Minister cut the damn funding! :))


    p.s. Tell Laara from me to SHOW HER DAMN PHOTOGRAPHS (they’re beautiful!) and not be shy!

  • I should say: i do not know now (or ever) where my photographs/projects will end up…sorry: typo….b

  • Talking is not the problem; it’s getting someone to listen.

    On the grand scheme of things looking forward to something is around a third of the pleasure, then doing it, and then looking back on it. So talking is good in that way.

    Photographically I don’t like to get excited before I start a project and then I try not to be to excited when I’m doing it and then after I try to be dispassionate about the pictures so I can make a good Edit. None of this really works so I quite often jabber on about things, getting too excited and properly look like a fool.

    I don’t think talking too much or to little effects what I do, that’s pretty much down to money.

    David the Oslo workshop look good, who would you pick as an instructor?

  • Well… I guess I talk too much :D When I have a new assignment, proyect, idea… I’m so excited about it that I just tell everybody. The fantastic thing is that I “infect” my excitement and then it is easier to make it happen. But, sometimes, I’m just afraid of talking about a new project because I’m afraid of failure. I always think that people expect a lot from me and I’m afraid sometimes I can’t give as much as they deserve… So I have both answers.

    Now I am involved in a huge international project. Talked to many people about that as we need a lot of help, but there is still a lot to do and the project still didn’t see the light. But people know how big effort I’m doing and, if it happens that we can’t make it, I won’t feel that I failed. In this case, talking about it before it happens was worth it!

    David, I also hit the trail on friday but “only” to Africa. You have such an interesting traveling schedule!! Hope you enjoy it and get the best of every place (and great shots!)

    By the way, you wrote: “(i do have some new good news for you, but will save it for the next post)”. Maybe I’m the only one that noticed this sentence, but I’m such a curious person…. so I will wait for your next post to hear the good news!! :D


  • Excellent travel scheme! Some films to get you into the Scandinavian frame of mind..

    Under solen (Swedish) Under the Sun
    Direktøren for det hele (Danish)The Boss of it All
    Nói albínói (Icelandic) Noi the Albino
    Italian for Beginners (Danish)
    My Life as a Dog (Swedish)

  • I remember reading somewhere that the greatest works of Irish literature were never written down because the writers had talked their books away in the local pub. Better to get on with the job and do it than spend time talking about it. Now, do I actually follow this sage advice? No.

  • @erica mcdonald:

    Mies Vailla Menneisyyttä (Finnish) – Man Without a Past

    Ariel (Finnish) – Ariel

    Underbara kvinnor vid vatten / Ihanat naiset rannalla (Finnish Swedish… that’s it, the Swedish speaking Finns I mean…) – Lovely Ladies by the Beach

  • How about the swedish version of Alice and Wonderland:

  • I used to get quite excited about photo projects and talk about them a lot before they were really even started. I’ve stopped that because some great ideas don’t work out and I don’t want to be the guy who is seen as one who talks a big story but doesn’t always follow through. Now I will talk about the idea with a few trusted individuals and then just do it. If it gets derailed, as they sometimes do in the initial stages, no big deal. But it’s hard when you get gassed about what seems to be a great project. It’s like when you were young and meet a great gal and want to shout to the heavens “She LIKES me!” But then everyone is looking at you like you are stoned or something. Meh …

  • David wrote: “if you talk to others a lot about something before you really do it, does it lessen the desire to do it, or does it push you forward to actually do it ???”

    I have been told that once you SPEAK IT (to others)… IT Becomes Real and LIVES. Then you might notice that IT shows up everywhere around you. Manifestation I suppose.
    Your community of friends/ acquaintances may even provide you with insight or resources you never realized were available.
    (called sphere of influence)
    In theory, your project takes on a life of its own.
    So I guess my answer to your question would be that “it would push me further.”
    But I am not the best person to ask. LOL

  • I’ve been telling a number of people that I plan to move to Central Asia in a year or so (all of you here included). Part of the reason I mention it so often is because it’s something I’m not entirely sure I would actually do otherwise. But, by now, I’ve talked it up so much I really must go! It’s also a motive to do all the other things associated with such a move, like learn Russian.

  • %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
    why oh why Scandinavian countries all seem so very very peaceful and very very organized and have very very near perfect economies and very very great health plans , while the rest of us scramble for our very very souls!!?

    I think the answer is quite simple. It all lies in their solid cultural foundation like this video:

  • It definitely seems like out of every 10 (maybe more like 50) ideas I have, one actually comes to fruition. But more importantly, my ideas always evolve as I get to know a subject. I pretty much always leak my thoughts to friends about things I’m working on, but unless it is already under way (and I have that one good picture as you say), I usually wish I hadn’t. Sometimes it’s nice to let the idea, or feeling, incubate, mature and grow into itself before you subject it to the outside world.
    Hashing out ideas can be such an important part of the process, but as the end result is visual, I like to stop and see and learn from whatever is letting me observe. I always feel much more satisfied to show images AND explain.

    It’s like when you come back from vacation and everyone says “How was it? What did you do?” I always say “wait till I have the pictures, then I’ll tell”…then they can see what I saw.

  • Hey David,

    Enjoy Scandinavia. The Scandinavian sense of humor is great albeit a little weird. I think once you get the jist of it you will find it hilarious. Especially if you have some Norrlands Guld :)

    For comedies check out:

    1. Sommarnattens leende (Smiles of a Summer Night) [Sweden]

    2. 101 Rekjavik [Iceland]

    3. Elling [Norway]

    As far as your last question, I find that if I tell someone something that I am doing then their reaction has too much an effect on me. I generally wait till I am almost done before I start putting anything “out there”.

    Enjoy your travels.


  • AAAGGHH!!! Rene! I’ve got that godawful song stuck in my head!

  • I don’t know why scandinavian countries are so well organised ..may have something to do with the ammount of daylight hours to ( or lack thereof) to get anything done.
    I allways thought a northern hemisphere winter would be great till I experienced one.

    Do I talk to others a lot about something before you really do it.

    There’s no shortage of talkers in the world saying I’m Guunadoo this ,I’m Gunnadoo that! I never want to be a Gunnadoo! Best to just doo!
    Having said that theres all the reason in the world to chat about what you are actually doing at the time and to ask for insight and advice so long as you have a handle on what it is you are up to.
    Dave – does this mean that you think I’m the biggest goose in the room?

  • Since Finland is part of the nordic region and actually not Scandinavia:) watch this from Norvegian TV

    By the way a lot of nice film sugestions
    also check out films by Swede Roy Anderson,
    Gunnar, Oslo

  • GUNNAR Amazing! I didn’t know Paris Hilton could speak Norwegian!

    Good call on the Finnish-Bloody Monty Python, they can never get anything right can they!


  • OMG RENE! What a classic!

    Ski moves, the ‘Ministry of Funny Walks’ and a kind of Nicole Kidman look-a-like!

    Its almost as good as the Chooky dancers from Elcho Island (but not quite!)

    Sorry to hijack the post a bit David, but when I saw Rene’s explanation of why the Scandi’s are so well organized I laughed so hard I cried!

  • With regard to the question about talk v. action, I think if I had photo ideas to talk about I would, but in reality I stumble into opportunity.

    When I used to make ‘art’ (non-photo) it was the opposite, all thought out, researched and conceptual. And though I wouldn’t talk about the idea, sometimes I felt that all that needed to happen to satisfy my artistic impulses was for the piece to be created on the mental plane, because, after all, the works were conceptual.

    Probably why I stopped! And with photo, you don’t have the same time of control, and even if you have a lot of it, with street work you never know who you will find.

  • ahh Sh*T!, Nordic dance song is spilling off my lips!


    i have no time to post….need to be doing other things, so of course i post now as some kind of “avoidance” for what i am really supposed to be doing!!! now, THAT is another post topic!!

    here is what i think about “talking before doing”….generally it is best not to talk away all of the energy…energy is the most priceless “commodity” we all have…it is not a good idea to pour wine on the ground….

    however, at a certain stage, talking about a project does FORCE me to do it…depending on who i have talked to…like an editor or one of my respected colleagues or my students….but, i do not talk until i have done at least enough to see that i can actually do it…i talked for 10 years about a “Divided Soul” book, but i was shooting all along and even had a “done” book before i started telling people i was doing it…

    even this forum is an interesting example…i did it before i told any of my friends about it…some of my friends still do not know!! but, then once i got going, i wrote suggestions to you of various possibilities(but not promises)…once i said it here, then i had to do my best to do it!!! in this case, the idea unspoken or unwritten would never have happened…

    so, like everything else, it just all depends…depends on your individual personalities and on the project at hand…

    ok, now i am really procrastinating by writing even one more word….scrambling, running, avoiding….back soonest…

    cheers, david

  • I know we don’t do much tech-talk here, but I’m curious about something (and it might be related to “on the road again…”)

    To the digital photographers leaning toward photojournalism, have you found a good hand-held laptop replacement for travel? I thought Apple would have nailed it at yesterday’s keynote address, and they’re almost there with the iPod Touch (which has wifi, a browser, and an email application) but I don’t know if you can use that to back up files from a card, and do a second backup to an external drive without a laptop.

    If this is too boring or inappropriate for this post, just email me at david@humanfiles.com.

  • always always somehow someway puts a jinx on anything I’m “in the works” on inside my head if I let it out before I have actually started on it…sort of like the counting the chickens before their hatched I suppose…ugh…I envy those that can talk the talk then walk the walk…I on the other hand need to walk the walk a little before I can start talking the talk on an concept I have…oh well

  • I don’t usually bring a laptop with me. Too much stuff to carry IMHO. I bought a cheap hard drive enclosure for $30 and then bought a notebook drive. The enclosure has a small rechargable battery inside so it works without power for a about 10 gigabytes until it needs recharging. If I shoot a lot then I swap cf cards, turn the enclosure on, insert the cf card and press the copy button. That’s it. Later I transfer the data to my home drive. If I’m out of home for a longer period the enclosure has 100 gb space. That’s enough but if I have access to a computer and internet I sometimes consider zipping my data and uploading to Mediafire.com – then pick it up when I get home.

  • Rene,

    What a discovery! I never heard about mediafire.com and it will make my life much more easier! Last time I was in Africa I had serious problems to save all my pictures although I took with me a 60 Gb iPod. For some reason it started to fail and the computers of the people that tried to help me didn’t read my raw files and/or didn’t write DVD’s. I ended up recording don’t remember how many Gb of pictures in a lot of CD’s!. Now I’m going back but will get my laptop with me. But it would be a good help to know that mediafire exists (whenever I have internet access).

    Thank you!!

  • I like to bat my ideas around, mental table tennis with my buds that I know will protagonize my thoughts.
    as for making grand announcements, that can lead to spillage of hot water on ones foot. unless wearing protection I will avoid making my plans known. plus what about all those oppertunistic turkeys that have no imagination, poaching your creativity.
    poached eggs to that.

  • ideas are like the tide they arrive and then go back to where they originated, unless it’s a bright idea that rents so much space in my head that i feel compelled to share the thought with a pal. My father always said talk is cheap and action speaks for itself.

    David, i want to say that i really like your ideas and enthusiasm that you so freely share with all of us. However i feel that the top essayists work was less than exciting in my own humble opinion.

    i personally shot my story in the Zona Rio district in Tijuana, Mexico. This area is synonymous with human traffickers and prostitutes as it’s also known as the red light district. The area was of particular interest to me as it’s so close to where i live and also very different. Anyway i submitted 23 images or pictures of all sorts of people that inhabit this neighborhood district. I included a boxer, skaters, prostitutes, heroin addicts, a mechanic, a shoe shiner, a barber, a pastors wife & child, and waste management workers etc. As i look at my own work without the labels i believe that the peoples spirit shines through the films emulsion. Now perhaps i was ignorant for not writing an essay or labeling my images. It was my opinion then as it is now that the labels are just that. Photography is a language which in this case a visual one where text can support the vision surely. My thinking was that with all of your experience editing you would be the one to separate the wheat from the chafe.

    Anyway would their be any small chance of either a private critique or public one of the images that i submitted ? Carefully explaining what is working and what isn’t and the reasons why ? For me personally the objective of this contest was to improve my visual vocabulary.

  • correction: For those of you that are interested Zona Norte is where my pictures were made, not the Zona Rio, which is actually nearby however it’s an upper middle class neighborhood. If you follow this link to my site go under archives for the month of November and you will find the story as i submitted to DAH !!


    i certainly can separate the wheat from the chafe….and yours was NOT one of the stories that i could not figure out….trust me, some really did need a title at least…you would think the same i believe if you saw them….

    so, you were not impressed with the essays…well, you can imagine that i have seen lots of very fine work over the years….i think i have reasonable referencing…. this was an excercise over a short period of time just with the relatively small group from this blog who were shooting on good faith and apart from whatever they were doing to make a living……also, this was an educational experience aimed at whoever happened to log in here and be a part of my “audience”…and i will stand by this work as is and under the parameters so stated….

    i am doing private critiques with many from this forum now…i want my readers here to grow.. since you brought it up here, i will now go in and look at your work again and be right back here with a comment post…cool???

    cheers, david


    first of all, your essay is one of the ones i was going to post soonest…i am stalling a bit until we get the website perfected….and, again, your story was obvious and i had no problems because of no captions etc…and i remembered your whole crazy trip down to tijuana anyway..

    nevertheless, despite your feelings about the finalists i chose, i still would not put you in the finalist category…you are close, but not there yet….

    i love the nitty gritty feel of your work…i can tell you are on it…you just need to tweak it out a bit by making your style and approach a bit more distinctive and consistent…there is a fine line between repetetion and style and you need to find that line….

    for example, i like the straightforward approach, but you have three different lighting techniques going…stick with one….the raw is good..make it more raw….my favorite picture is the woman up against the wrought iron gate…wow, nice photograph!!! they should all come to this level….the guy in available light just does not look good up against your harsh , nice harsh, flash pictures…

    when it came to portraits, which is what you did, please look again at the work of erica mcdonald….she was your competition in this one…yes, she shoots more romantic than you…but, this is not why i picked her as a finalist…she stays”on point”…has a style…you can she she has connected with everyone….tight..belonging together and yet all just a bit different…not taking away from your style, but yours needs that extra little touch….

    overall, i certainly like your work well enough to keep it an essay and one to be published and noticed…it will be…now YOU get to be critiqued by the others….including the finalists you do not like!!! just teasing amigo….i look forward to reviewing your work again in the future….

    peace, david

  • David,

    Sent you an email.


  • I talked a lot at one point about doing a project on the communities along the “International Express”, (the number 7 train in Queens) along Roosevelt Avenue looking mostly at where they overlapped. Places of worship, places to eat, places to play. Looking at how the various ethnic groups intermingled in commerce, education and so on. Well I talked up a good brief and even spent some time shooting. I wrote up a proposal and was rather proud of it. Needless to say I never completed it. It was just too big. At the time I was beginning to see the humor in my street work as being something consistent and very me and so I ultimately found myself simply being a street photographer and so my project fizzled out. Besides, I needed to concentrate on assignment work in order to feed myself.

    Now I’m in a better position, photographically and intellectually, to undertake such a project but I’m about to leave the country and move back to London. Hey ho.

    I felt a little foolish and naive having talked it up so much and not actually doing anything with it. It was simply too huge. It would, however, be perfect for a team to shoot.

    Then I developed an idea on the rivers around Manhattan that I wanted to do. Again, it was too big and security post 9/11 made it impossible as did my being primary care giver to my two kids. I wanted to photograph and learn about the people that spent their working lives on the rivers around this amazing city. Such a backdrop. So many of us take the rivers for granted, you know? I wanted to work with the tour boat operators, the Coast Guard, the NYPD and FDNY, environmental scientists, spillage cleaners, you name it I wanted to explore it. It one of those projects that would take years to do.

    I developed this idea on the Thames in London initially but then moved to NYC and so adapted it accordingly.

    However, now that I’m on my way back there I will once again take a look at the Thames and seeing if I can get some interesting access. Who among you Londoners have ever even stuck a toe in the Thames as it flows trough the city?

    This time I won’t talk it up too much, if at all. I’ll simply investigate how I might get started.

    In the mean time I have a book on my Child’s Play material I want to get done. It’s the best work I’ve ever shot. David, the material I submitted for this project was but a dip in the pond. By far my best material on this was made outside the dates set, unfortunately.

    No more talking up projects from me. I just need to start making them happen first. Then I’ll really have something to talk about.

    I only wish I could dream up much simpler projects and not epic endeavors that never get realized.

    Blaa blaa blaa.

  • o.k. GUESS WHO’S BACK…i’m “traveling” right now…from the bathroom upstairs ( because is stuck-??-dead!!! to the one downstairs…with the phone in my hands, posting…

    Now i’m “done”, washed my hands…keep typing on the phone….I know i promised i will “shut up”.. but that was cool???

    this is ROBERT, click below…
    Robert, listen…this is “Socrates” right here..straight from Compt…sorry i meant Arta, Greece…

    listen Robert: PANOS says: “you waisted such a nice trip to tijuana…my friend…Listen …didn’t you know that “canon” is not “pro”…especially when accompanied by a Canon flash…
    try a metz flash…a nikon d50,underexpose 2 stops, and there you have it…NatGeo…I mean National Geographic…for people here for a sixth time…

    people check “ROBERT”, below


  • …ohhh i forgot to add… please let’s get positive!!!!!?
    please check my photos about “KANYE WEST” for “power106fm.com”


  • …i can’t believe this magic phone can post …

    now some “digital information”…

    whoever is going to do an essay in “RAMIA greece…an isolated village…no internet…

    “Panos” or “Socrates”, comments…
    buy 20 4gb cards or if for an M8, double this..
    It will cost you about $500…

    Advantage: REWRITABLE HARD DRIVES easy to be re-formatted a million times…only for your photos…

    … bottom line… carry as many films or digital sd or flash… cards you have… hey!!!!!! and don’t forget those “extra”… and the “electricity convertors”…

    Peace out… from the “warzone”:…L.A.

  • …oh last one …I hope!!!…Thank you Paul Treacy for being… “blogwise”… between me and Michael Kircher..the guy that doesn’t talk to the rest of us…but only to the “GOD” himself…

    peace again
    holla er’body!!!!!

  • Hey Robert, this was a great subject you treated, I must say my own favorite picture in your essay was “the park”, the ladies legs. I do agree with David, though, and that means that you’d be next on the list, which is quite an accolade already (David, can’t wait to see the many other selected essays, I am sure some will have sparkles, and more).

    IMO, if we feel strong and ambitious about what we shoot, we should always be extra hard on ourselves as well.

    Even on account of the essays selected first by David, that would be very counter-productive if the authors did not do just that, and were instead solely carried away by the applauses that followed their nomination. Really, all David has done is tell them and us all: “Ok, good, that’s a beginning, now back to work”. The fact he has selected for each one only a few of their twenties or so photographs submitted, tells us so, I would say.

  • …oh last one …I hope!!!…Thank you Paul Treacy for being… “blogwise”… between me and Michael Kircher..the guy that doesn’t talk to the rest of us…but only to the “GOD” himself…

    peace again
    holla er’body!!!!!

  • i thought it could be funny….it wasn’t…sorry…but..

    HERVE i wish i could express myself like YOU…,DAH or BBLACK…


  • David
    cool adjustment on the new site, i think that was a key improvement, to create a list of the essayist names rather than the groupings.
    do you have counters on the site or more specifically on the names?
    whats your take on counters?

    ps. Robbie…luv yer work

  • I talk about it and talk about until there’s no way out and I just have to go and do it because everyone expects me to.


    yes, that is exactly right…most of these essays are all “works in progress” and should be thought of in just that way…this will all become more clear as time goes on as there are more postings and more critiques..if i were in a room with all of you and all of these essays tacked up on the wall or projected, i would be able to make these points much faster and easier…the online “reach” is quite good for assembling us, but much more difficult for critique and certain aspects of discussion…just slow!!!

    and yes also, a big YES, to self critique…you have made this point before and i have my whole life believed it…only YOU are your own judge of your work…YOU must believe strongly in it…i might be some kind of “spark” for you or catalyst, but nothing more….a “complete” photographer is one who knows what he/she wants to say and says it “come hell or high water”…


    i hope you got my private message to you on your site…we should meet..are you doing all of that with large format or are you just giving it that “look” in photoshop??? anyway, nice body of work amigo…

    please tell me what a “counter” is…i know you are laughing, but i do not know…hey, this boy can barely use this computer…no joke…


    you had a couple of interesting pictures with Kanye….and i have seen your work with Snoop etc…photographing “celebs” is always tough because of the access…i thought your “behind the scenes” pictures of Kanye could have been a little “looser”..more freestyle…i mean, you write freestyle and it would be interesting to see it in your photographs a bit more…but, as i said, i know , i know….access not easy…

    by the way, i will come to l.a. this spring with my hip hip work..we meet? THAT would get this audience fired up!! a david/panos meeting!!

    i did have the pleasure of working with both Kanye and Snoop (in a very limited way)….totally different kinds of men and backstage those two did not “hang” with each other as did some of the others…Kanye is a really interesting man in my opinion..something like L.L. Cool J in his overall sense of things…a class act as some would say….Snoop is just Snoop as we all see him in the press…he was so stoned when he went on live MTV the night i was with him, that i cannot imagine he remembers the show…but, THAT was the show!! anyway, he also worked very very very hard with the press…gave interviews FOREVER…he knows , he knows whazzup in the biz for sure…also spent time with Snoop and LT Hutton, his producer in the l.a. studio….one of the most memorable evenings of my life…hmmmmm, or maybe i do not remember!!!

    cheers, david

  • AMY….

    do you have a site?? you check in every once in awhile here, but i have no idea of your work….let us see!!

    cheers, david

  • Hi David,
    I sent you an e- mail.

  • PAUL…

    i do know what you mean about taking on a “too complex” project…i have done it and later thought “what was i thinking?”…but the “Child’s Play” concept could work…again, get loose…become a child!! go back…forget photography…show me what it “feels like” to be a child…

    anyway, we will see some of your work soonest here….


    i may not have time to read your mail before my trip today…scramble mode…..anyway, it is nice to hear from you and i will check my email when i get to Rajasthan, which might be 48 hours from now…who knows?? long trip…but, i will get back to you as soon as possible…

    cheers, david

  • Just checked the gallery site for the first time in days. Looking really good now… more like real gallery experience – although nothing will ever beat that :)
    Talking ideas out for me is completely necessary. Hearing/thinking/ talking about a project outside of my own head-space creates questions, solves some doubts while creating others, new angles…. etc . Ultimately, for me, it leads to more “sound” ideas. That said…sometimes I just have to zip it and get on with it.

  • Thanks David. Here’s more Child’s Play material…

  • This will have to be a short note….i’ve made a promise (to myself and wife) to keep my web activity to a limit (the energy of talking/writing thing ;)) )….so, just some quick reflections for everyone :))

    I’ve read (this morning) all the comments, and have a few quick thoughts:

    DAVID: I will write u this weekend from acta est email ;))…and the new site changes look wonderful! :))

    PANOS: I do love your style and breadth, though i of course don’t also wave the dip of your melt…im old school man, i spent time with Qtip (that generation) and one of my best friends in university (from sbronx) got gone from a bullet in my 3rd hear of university, and that (if there ever is) a lesson in rhymes…i understand ur and wrobert and davidmc and others need to shake it up to kick the brickbitch down of what seems to be precious righteousness, but in truth brother, we’re all fucking lost in the funhouse and not amount of scatter changes those mirrors: the better tune is this: to know the mirrors for what they are and that’s about looking at our own mug in the mirror, licking off our own paws, dog, get it?..

    this also goes for all the interesting and not-so-interesting judgments about the essays…im always amazed by others insatiable comparison with that, judgment and reduction…i’ve never compared my own work or my own life with other, in stead the opposite: trying to understand how little i’ve grown, or how much i’ve failed, how far it has or hasnt come…the gaze against the other is infact a deceit and a pretty (although understandably human) empty one…the moment someone tells me their work is more interesting, better, worse, etc, is the moment they’ve told me more about their own failure than any amount of photography can reveal…we sit in judgment, and squalor, mostly ’cause we’ve failed ourselves to embrace our own failure and just dig that bone as the chew-bit it was meant to be…

    ok, and this small story for now: appropos of something or nothing…

    something once, a long time ago, an old black woman told me when i was a sad and lonely young man: i was on a bus returning to my mom’s home for christmas break (i was 19) and sitting next to me on a greyhound bus was an old and talking-to-herself woman, going back to Philly to bury her granddaughter (who’d been killed by a straight bullet in N.Philly) .. she and i had a long conversation (7 hours) and at the end, when we both got off in Philadelphia she said to me: “child, remember, what u r given is what u have, cherish that and no it was meant only for you and dont be saddened by it cause everyone is saddened cause theyre blind.”….something like that: i think of her (now more than 20 years later) often knowing she probably isnt even still alive…it gives me understanding…

    light on the back, ….

    we’re blind and that blindness is our way toward sight and only meant for us….

    dig it?….

    david: fly safe….

    the rest: love in, real…

    Asher, I’ll write u this weekend…



  • o.k this is a little SECRET ,im not sure i could get in trouble for sharing this in public…but i still have the copyright…its in a form of a movie so nobody can extract photos…SNOOP BACKSTAGE…enjoy…this is a link -backdoor to my private .mac account…i took away the password…please come in…but dont steal…or grab anything…some photos are old…some boring…sometimes i only had access for 1 minute only…I lost one of my cameras when i shot “THE GAME”…somewhere in montebello…a girl behind me passed out…and what’s worst…when AGORAPHOBIA…kicks in:


    ALSO…check my other little secret place to see my last photos of rapper 50CENT below..also LUDA,BEYONCE ,BUSTA RHYMES,THE GAME…FUZZY…is there


    DAVID…L.A warzone, david/panos…meeting…i cant wait…let’s burn this mother…..

    BOBBLACK: Like i said before couple of times…you are an amazing writer…Your posts i usually read them at least twice…I learned a lot and keep learning from you..im not kissing your ass..but your photos are not bad either…not bad at all…I will learn way more if i find a way to fineI need to discover more about your work…

    Peace out…
    ps:Jonnnnnnnnnnniiiiiiii, Karanka i mean…i need to see more of your work…
    enough hip-hop for now…im craving a beer at Joni K’s pub….

  • Paul,

    I understand that of “epic endeavors”… if you want to explore all aspects of some subject that is just too big, is always difficult in special if you have to do it in a period of time that results too short…
    This has made me think a lot, because all the projects I have are long projects, and is difficult to keep a “pace” through the whole process…
    One of my large projects is religion in Venezuela, the traces of “mestizaje” that are present in all religious manifestations here. This is a large project but it is easy to divide it in small pieces to complete. You need to have in mind the calendar of religious celebrations and this does the job of planning.
    But in other projects, such as one I have in mind that is about people and their occupations here in Caracas, is difficult to keep the pace. You have to cut in smaller pieces so you can chew it but normally is not so easy to figure out which these smaller pieces are and if they are following a logic. So, normally, I finish shooting street photography as you mentioned.
    I was once in a project share by various photographers, and this is an ideal solution if you want to make an essay in short time and cover different aspects. And is always interesting to gather all the essays and to see how the others “resolved” their piece.

    By the way, you mentioned something about the rivers that sound very interesting. The relationship between the city and the river. Thinking about that I wonder if the rivers could be seen as mirrors of the cities. I mean, there must be a relation between the state of health of the river and the quality of life, the general mood of the people, the culture.

    Talking to people about our own projects is not the problem. To me the problem is when you communicate it and you are not 100% committed of what you have in mind. So, you are vulnerable to be shaken and persuaded that the project doesn’t worth.
    If you add to the recipe skeptic people as listeners… then you are lost.

    I try to talk to people about projects that maybe are not 100% conceived, because people in general gives me ideas, and it feeds me a lot and helps me to finish the idea.
    But you have to be careful about what people you are talking to. There are persons that can feed you with a lot of energy and others… well, others…

    It also depends of your personality. I have a sister that can communicate and over-communicate all she has in mind, to any kind of people and you can count it… she’s gonna make it… She could be perfect for a Nike’s add, but unfortunately she doesn’t like sports…

    By the way… some friend told me once, that when you have an interesting project in mind an you’re going to tell a magazine or publication about it, you can’t tell them too much details, because you risk they are going to explain the idea to some other photographer they know better… and you know…

    I almost know what could be your answer but… what do you thing about it?

    un abrazo,

  • @Panos: central bar in cardiff one wednesday a month, plenty of photographers there… trying very hastly to arrange this thing again…

  • bob b
    I saw my name on your comment, but i could’nt get the gist of it. what do you mean?

  • wrobertangell :))…quick :))…I meant other robert: the one with the interesting essay about zona rosa…, i made typing error, confusion: sorry :))…

    what i just meant: it’s interesting that others have created ideas about the discussion about what is “worth” and essay: so i was kind of sending a general comment about that type of discussion…i’ll answer more specifically later :))…i meant: it’s important that others discuss what constitutes (for them, only) an interesting/successful photograph/story/essay, but only within the context/framework of what makes their own work successful/faling:

    i often find the use of “comparison” a tedious one, because it often escapes the more difficult work: in other words: “what about my own work should i be tunneling into”, instead of “how is my work different/better/worse” etc ;)))…

    no offense to any: just an observation based on language generated above :))

    ok, i boned by daily quota for the day ;))


  • right on Bob B,
    David, just saw that you mentioned that you will be in LA in the spring, maybe we can meet then?
    anyway just posted up on your current post.

  • Rock on bobblack. Jesus you can write. You make smoke and blog nonsense worth the effort to follow it. Thanks.

  • Hi David

    Good to hear you’re back in Asia. Are you in Delhi this week? Enjoying the city? It would be great to meet and catch up on your travels since Bangkok. I’m in town until Thursday 24th so do get in touch. And let me know if you need a Indian Gade – I’ve a couple of people here who (almost) match her ability to smooth things out.


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