updates, mandates, and postdates

i am just a mess sometimes…but, i think most of you have probably already figured that out by now…you should see my apartment…or rather, you should not!!  nightmare!! anybody who walked in here right now would imagine that here is a man in turmoil and they would not be far from wrong…i swear, for me  it is a winter thing…this time of year is not my time of year…got my eyeballs on spring…

but, somehow i also get stuff done this time of year…i can’t ride my bike, so i get work done instead…one of the things "done" in the last few days was to secure your work  some kind of presence at the Festival of the Photograph this june…either a projection or small print show of your work….i think also we will have a presence at Visa Pour L’Image (Perpignan, France) in september…

i may  award one or two "assignment stipends"  this spring, funding up front, just to make sure we are looking fine…very soon i will list a selected  "jury of peers"  for the Emerging Photographer Fund…respected peers who will help me to think about our Fund and how best to make it work….we have already gotten some good notice online from PDN (Photo District News), there will be soon something in American Photo magazine, and Magnum will issue an international press release about our project soonest…

some of you have received private e-mail critiques from me…and some of those same people have never returned to comment or communicate with me in any way  either!!!  i guess my analysis of work is usually on the tough side for some…but, that is just how i do it…that is always how it has been in the world in which i live…critical but constructive….maybe it is somehow "softer" in person, as in my workshops…words on a page can be like a hot engraving in steel…..well, my only intent is to give you something to help you move forward….and i only sent critiques to those who asked….please let me know through blogquestions@gmail.com whether or not you want a review…it is time intensive to give even a short review, so i will only do it upon request…

michael says he can post all of the remaining essays and singles on our new link within the week…he and i will be operating by "remote control" and with an 11 hour time difference since i fly to India today, so please have your usual patience…the website is still not exactly what i want and you may see changes from one hour to the next…we will not go "live" with this new site until we have it pretty much perfected…


please be of good cheer…..and i will be "on" again from India by the weekend….

106 Responses to “updates, mandates, and postdates”

  • Wow, David, you really are a busy bee in all fields even if you write about avoiding procrastination! Good update in the website.

  • David,

    We have exchanged one message only and that was through Lightstalkers. I would hate to think that you responded to some of my e-mails and I have never received them or worse that you asked me some questions and you never received a response. Would it be possible by not taking too much of your time to just say that I don’t owe you any e-mails and that you are not going to send me any? Or something like that?

  • Hope you get out before they close Kennedy! Laguardia? 4″ snow and still coming down here…I hear it’s headed your way, may be already there? Go man, go!

  • Mind how you go David. Safe journey.

    Would love to meet up with you at some point before my move to London in July. Just got a new folio done and would love to show it to you before then.

    The site’s terrific. Smooth.


  • Rene…new website? I don’t remember that look…pretty damn nice!

    Love the work, too. Old Car and Dour Protege especially.

  • Don’t worry David: your not the only one who feels a bit off this time of year. It’s supposed to get to 14 below zero here in Minneapolis this week. I can’t ride my bike either, but yes I get lots of work done too. I don’t think man was supposed to live in this environment. Why did we choose to live this far north of the equator? Enjoy India – wish I was joining you.

  • Website is looking better all the time.

    You will probably have wireless internet where you are staying in India. It is often easier there to get online than it is here so you should have no trouble checking in on us if time allows.

    As far as future assignment stipends I would suggest/request an entirely new assignment rather than selecting more from the submissions you have already received….Don’t know if this is what you are thinking. I know this creates more work for you but it gets ALL of us out shooting and gives us new work to see.

  • @Michael Kircher – Thank You Michael!

  • Critique me please! (I think I can take it.)

  • Enjoy your trip, David! The website is MUCH better now – finally I can show it to friends without risk of too many where-what-when-why questions ;-) – however the festival news are something I’m really happy to hear about!!! ;-) You rock, man :-D

    Have a safe’n’quick flight :-)


  • martin (macin luczkowski)


    whatever you do.. just thank you


    w sprawie tych filmów to ciagle aktualne?

    greetings for all from dark side of moon


  • David
    I got your msg – pretty much floored me.
    yeh, its all 4×5, I have a nice little drk room that I put together, on a shoe string, its pretty well gerry rigged, but it works good.
    yeh man, that was a real boost, I was really pumped that you stopped over, thanks!

    counters- just to track how many hits your site is getting, and I think they can also track the general location that the hits are orginating from.
    its the new science, tracking all that info. all the lrg multi nationals and large corperations, they are on that like white on rice.
    personally I don’t like to see counters on a site, but if there is a way to cloak the counter but monitor the info, I think its worthwhile.
    anyway, I would love to meet sometime, its a bit tough for me though, just coz of the doll-hair situation, but if you come to LA, that would work if you had time?

  • I am glad you are a part of the Festival of the Photograph again this year-and your plans sound really great. I plan to be there again and am working on a project now that I hope will develop into something I want to bring.
    For those of us who did not submit work in November, will there be another opportunity to have our work looked at? I would suppose that the workshops at the festival will offer this.
    Good luck with your projects and your travels. One thing that I like about this site is that you and many others “tell it like it is.” Perhaps because you are documentary photographers. Well, I need to go clean my house–maybe it could compete with your apartment!

  • Marcin – powiedziales ze nie chcesz i w koncu nie sprawdzilem, sorki ;-) Zadzwonie jutro do “mojego człowieka” i dam ci znac czy cos jest ;-)

  • “counter” easy… Try ” google analytics”… Amazingggg…
    not only you see details like who and when someone visited your Site… But it also goes deeper: it even tells you what kind of internet connection !!? your visitor has, what’s his hometown… Etc… Pretty accurate…FBI stuff… Scary but super informative…

  • Hi David.
    I received a critique from you a while back and I replied in an email thanking you for doing so. It was very much appreciated and I was very happy with the positive words you had to say.
    I may not have communicated much with you since and I’m sorry if that has annoyed you…I’m just worried I’m one of the ones you are referring to.
    Anyway I think I may have shied away from the blog a bit because due to circumstances I never got round to completing a project you set for us in the summer..anyway excuses aside, that’s my problem.
    Cheers, talk soon!

  • Lots happening- very cool!

    I just bought a ticket for Look3- I hope to meet you face-to-face there, David!

    I would really appreciate a critique of my essay- I’ll send you an email as you requested above. And- not only can I take anything you have to say, I want it and need it. I thrive of brutally honest criticism.

  • Look3 would be a good place for a lot of us to meet face to face. I went last year and it was so much fun. Great photography, fun parties, and lots of pretty girls!!

  • David McG…great suggestion, about a Look3 meeting… but when my girlfriend read about that…”lots of pretty girls!! thing……..
    Did someone said “pussywept”????

    Wrobert…didn’t i tell you, your medium format work is amazing???
    I know i did.but nobody pays attention to what i say…

    Joni,thanks for the info about cardiff and the links of the 3 other photographer’s work…

    BBlack, i cant believe you put me in the same “boat” with T.J.robert..you hurt my feelings a little bit…

    I’m going to ALKOS’S website again for more inspiration….now..

    Michael Kircher… thanks for all the weather info…and sorry for “picking” on you…I wouldn’t do it if i knew you couldn’t handle it…just remember that you refer to me as shitty human been…
    I would suggest our “BEEF” should be over…or if not…a break should be o.k… what do you think?

    “Don’t know if this is what you are thinking. I know this creates more work for you but it gets ALL of us out shooting and gives us new work to see.

    Posted by: cathy scholl | January 17, 2008 at 02:08 PM”

    PANOS says…: “I even agree with CATHY …what the hell is WRONG with me today????????????

  • don’t worry Panos were not in the same boat; TRUST ME.

  • Panos…

    No beef. Water under the bridge. All is cool.


  • also Panos f.y.i. i don’t use canon or any of their products for that matter. Before you start criticizing Canons products you should definitely consider the work of both Pep Bonet and James Nachtwey.

    as for my project in Tijuana i used a small contax film camera..

  • DAVID:

    all of these new events are wonderful news and the website is starting to look really good. let us all know when you are coming out to LA, a meeting between you and panos – not since anwar sadat and menachem begin, bush II and gore, dre and tupac, colbert and o’reilly, red sox and yankees, protestants and catholics, dodgers and giants…well, maybe not that historical but certainly not to be missed. please make it sooner rather than later, when the WGA strike is over some of us will have to go back to work…..enjoy your travels.


    come on guys, how are we supposed to interpret that?


    man was NOT supposed to live in that environment, that’s why you guys have buildings that connect – so you don’t need to go outdoors….i’m cold thinking about it. but come to think of it, it has dropped to 67 here today, so i feel you when you speak of the harsh winters….i just put a sweater on…..downside of course is that we have to live in LA. and we didn’t invent prince, plus that whole uptown area is pretty cool, in the summertime anyway. plus garrison kieler…he’s cool too.

    back to the last post. i try to keep my mouth shut with the exception of a few close people whom i trust to bounce ideas off. LA and to some extent NY (williamsburgh anyway) are full of people in cafes talking incessantly about how they are going to do this, or going to do that, or are thinking about this…all they seem to accomplish is their coffee….

    “Just do it”

    i just came up with that term off the top of my head if anyone is interested, catchy no? i’m working on a few others – “we should do lunch”, “call me”, “your work is……interesting”, “she can’t come to the phone right now, she’s washing her hair” – also a good one….

  • David McGowan: Absolutely- I’m up for joining in a “Look3 DAH blog-minifest”. As far as the “pretty girls”, I’ll be bringing my own two beauties: my wife and my daughter… (and my son- a real hunk!).

    Seriously- maybe when David has a little more time we can arrange for a time and place for all DAH bloggers to meet for a beer (or 2… or …)

  • Robert I love contax… I’m not sure if I really hate canon that much either… A great photog should be able to use everything and anything … Its that ” canon ” philosophy that I hate… I mean all the sporty white lenses … All the gadgets… Multi autofocus etc… Canon forced all the other brands to follow a retarded race about more buttons and more automatic bullshit- programs… But LEICA or contax resisted and still do…
    whatever happened to the “less is more”????
    plus what a ” superfast” canon can do in the hands of a ” slow ” photog???
    that was my point… I think


    no offense meant (to either Cali Guys! :)).(remember, i was an LA pointer too (4 yrs)..

    ..just tossing up names who wrote comments that I wanted to address, in support (by calling attention to them) and to offer another pointofview (against): :))…

    like MC competition in the old days (my days) :))…

    no worries, to both P and TJR…

    running, flight myself…


  • PANOS found this info on the web:

    from blogger Jon Porter

    Jon Porter, Mar 17, 2005; 07:26 p.m.

    James Nachtwey: What is his combination?(equipment he used)

    It looks like Tri-X developed in D76 to me. My guess is he liked to keep things simple, plus most news darkrooms used D76, Acufine or HC-110.
    In a 1991 interview he said he used a (Nikon) FM2 and F3P and took 90% of his shots with the 28mm, 35mm or 50mm lens. Occasionally he used a 20mm and 75-150mm zoom. So you don’t need a lot of expensive lenses to shoot in his style, though that may have changed since the switch to digital…

    Panos comments:
    I really dont know and DEFINITELY I COULD CARE LESS… if its canon or zenit…ZENIT…ahhh does anybody still has one of those…

    Once again its tha canon’s “conformity” that i hate…and the easiness that brings to tha “game”.

    Once again…F**k Canon…as Alec Soth said…”photography became a fools paradise”…
    kinda like…”Oh look mom,no hands”…
    …”if you set your camera to “P”(program)…everything is “perfect”…

    CANON PERFECTED and reinvented “MEDIOCRACY” ….no question why they are like Toyota…number one in camera & undergarment sales…Because they market…the mass,the idiots,the conform-big screen tv’s retards that still think that “Micky-freaky-D’s” is the right food and playground for their children!
    people sell your canon equipment today…and buy some “health” insurance or something…and if you need to be on a budget…then buy an M8…
    Peace again…

    “Just do it”

    i just came up with that term off the top of my head if anyone is interested, catchy no? i’m working on a few others – “we should do lunch”, “call me”, “your work is……interesting”, “she can’t come to the phone right now, she’s washing her hair” – also a good one….

    Posted by: Natan Moss | January 17, 2008 at 07:50 PM

    I really dig your humor above…Thats LA man…and YOU know this!!

    you see now how much you really affect people????????
    you see how many people read your sh*t, like you are Plato or something…
    Your words are strong Bob…
    You almost brought me and robert into a “cagefight”…almost

    Hey Bob,of course im kidding ….and now let me kiss your ass:
    I can’t wait for your next post…seriously i enjoy your stuff…

    Peace out,
    have nice dreams except the “canon” people

  • ATTENTION people…my friend Giulio Zanni, just corrected me…
    J.Nachtwey converted to canon…
    read below…

    but his “classic” old photos we all know…it was either Leica M6 or nikon FM2..
    read below:

    , Apr 07, 2005; 05:30 p.m.
    I recently attended a workshop with James Nachtwey in Cambodia (see VII web-site). H e uses Canon 1V with 16-35, 24-70, 24 1.4 and 35 1.4. Sometimes he used a Leica M6 with 35 f2. He uses digital (1Ds MkII) only when time constraint is an issue. He doesn’t have any assistant when he is on assignment but a photo lab working for him for developing his bw. He is like a monk of photography. You can see a picture of him with myself at http://homepage.mac.com/giulioz/ then click on Faith at the bottom of the page you’ll see the picture…”

    Peace out again
    Unfortunately i have to admit in public that robert was half wrong and ME obviously half RIGHT…

    People of this forum:
    YOU be the judge
    F**k peace


  • It’s alright Asher, I can be an awkward dork among the ladies well enough on my own. But I like the mini-fest idea.

  • sorry i meant…PANOS…not Giulio… Giulio just corrected me…that’s all!

    Let me tell you a story…i was completely broke once…i mean completely…of course i got a job…NOT a decent job….$12.5 per hours shooting school games and s**t…my supervisor to be…told me that if i have a digital camera i could get an extra $25 per shoot…I rushed to fill up my credit card with a D100…$2000….8 years ago….
    Next morning with a smile on my face , but not HIS,
    he said:”I meant Canon…i meant a 10D…that’s HIGH END today!!!!
    All of a sudden, i didn’t have a decent job…ACTUALLY , i didn’t have a job at ALL…………

    Of course since then things got better… but you all know what a nightmare is…It comes and goes…comes and goes…
    peace, now

  • Panos,

    PANOS says…: “I even agree with CATHY …what the hell is WRONG with me today????????????

    HA HA HA :))))) That’s very funny…Why WOULDN’T you agree with me?
    You have No IDEA what I am all about…not even close to an idea. If you knew you would definitely agree with me!

    Would it surprise you to know I was known as “Streetbeat” when I hosted Streetbeat’s Breakshop…one of the first “open floors” for B-Boys?

  • CATHY i was a retard before… although i havent changed much…

    “Streetbeat”???…YOU???…I mean cooooool?…Im so judgemental…
    I think i’m an idiot…I should be checking on you more often…
    Actually i should “check your photos now…I will be back in 10 min..
    Hold on…

  • Oh great…can’t wait :)))
    This should be fun.

  • To think I was excited about getting a critique from David…
    Now I get one from Panos too. Wow! :)

  • CATHY…well, you do know how to shoot…I admire that you are not afraid…i mean AT ALL…to shoot people,portraits…from the EYE-LEVEL…like the photograph with the little “tibetan”??? i dont know …girl!!! you know 10th photo from the end…
    I see the wide-wide close-close Robert Capa stuff…you shoot too close…so close you can even catch a virus…if you were a computer i mean..let me think

    Give the “JURY” 10 minutes…
    Class Dismissed!

  • i guess my analysis of work is usually on the tough side for some…

    I know what you’re talking about David. I just gave myself a tough love talk on my essay, and the photographer in me hasn’t talked to the writer in 3 days. I hope they find some common ground before schizophreny sets in …:-))))

    BTW, I do have a feeling we will never meet in your birthplace of San Francisco, David, who know I may pop down in LA to meet you and Peter Pan(os), for a glorious evening of “I think I am a little fucked up”, especially if others join!

  • o.k… back to my senses… now i will tell the truth and nothing but…e.t.c…
    Now … it’s obvious that you are a master, i mean you MASTERED your “thing”… beyond… no matter what i think…
    I use wide angle lenses…but i hate them ,a little bit now……
    at least you know how to use them…i also “hate” zoom-zoom,mazda s**t…i mean zoom lenses…
    but you’ve been in places…i or one could only dream of….
    …plus you love “natgeo”… you believe we can still save the earth…
    I “want” you to be less idealistic…and more of a warrior….”twist things”….too HONEST…too sweet…too respectful…too cute….too “i need your permission…”,too “LOVE ME…I LOVE YOU MORE…kinda thing…
    Your photos are so “natgeo”, that turn me off…but i know you Are wayyy…more than that… I wanna see random stupid photos of you…like…little stupid things…like your family…dog…car…who cares…
    Awesome photos…
    Too “NatGeo” for me…but i hate,hate,hate “NatGeo”..
    To me it represents the “plantation owner’s” first photos with the “new” Kodak…”just click..”…the camera will do it for you…
    but ,i can’t wait to see the real YOU,coz i know there is more of YOU soon…please let me see!!!
    Peace,for now!(Cathy, you know…you are cool!)

  • Website is much better now David with the ability to flick through individuals work. I should have listened to Alexander(Alkos) and entered in some work as the fund seems to be gaining pace/ life like theres no tommorrow. Plus the work on show is of a very high standard and an inspiration to view. maybe next time :)

    safe flight (hope your not near Heathrow), and be good,

  • I look forward to seeing more work on the site. Thanks for bringing to the fore a great many talented artists – it’s very re-assuring to see a successful photographer who wants to help the fledglings.

  • all very exciting news, thank you for the work and progress, I’m under the weather and hoping to make poyi’s deadline tonite, so for now, thanks for the good cheer..talk soon, and be well

  • Panos, your comments about Canon suggest that you think photography presents some difficult challenge, which should be the privilege of those who can focus manually and work without a lightmeter. Is this right? Why do technological improvements on a camera, and its subsequent broader appeal, mean that the Art of Photography has somehow been debased?

  • so this is the anti-gearhead discussion by discussing which gear is best? … it’s the work, the work … the camera is a thing between … but i’ll concede that size does sometimes matter.

    technological advancements should be always welcomed… If they lead to freedom… Open mindness … Not isolation.. When you shoot NEF ( raw for nikon), or the equivalent canon raw… it is a ” closed- protected file that opens and belongs to canon or nikon … In other words if nikon goes out of business in ten years, then you stuck with thousands useless files, unopenned unless you have recent specialized nikon software.. If you shoot jpg’s you are fine… So everytime you shoot nef or canon raw if you care about the future.. You should go home and convert every raw file into the open source adobe DNG files… A slow slow procedure,, that eats up your hardrive like an obese person eats a bagel…
    LEICA though shoot straight dng…
    they dont , so far, try to trap you into their own little world and keep you hostage so you only buy their stuff only- they call it compatility… LOL
    anyways … I welcome improvements on lenses like the new Carl Zeiss for nikons… Manual of course… Ask Carl Zeiss!!!!!?
    all I care about is more glass, less plastic, smaller bodies,, not big coffee machines… Ah and last but not least… Keep your files ( raw )… Open… Free … Like the honesty you can find on a dng file…
    unless you shoot jpgs only… Then you just waisted your time reading the above…
    peace out

  • Panos, I wouldn’t complain about gear that much. I finally got a camera with a lightmeter and I’m well happy with it.

  • LOL,.. I hear you joni.. ” lightmeter is a welcome ” improvement”… A very very welcome one indeed… kinda like the transmission in a car… But I already know you are a ” purist” joni… not by need but by choice …
    people through away all of your zoom lenses… Let’s all ( me included ) go back to the ” beginning”, rediscover our innocence… And stop worrying too much about having that ” pro – white long lens” look… You feel me… Stop hiding behind your long lenses… They are not going to stop the bullets… Get a vest…

  • All very exciting news, you really do look after us well. Enjoy your “around the world in 20 days” journey (hopefully not quite THAT adventurous).

    The website is looking so much better. I love being able to go to the individual photographers when the mood strikes.

    And a meet up at the FOP, vamos hacer un coro, as the Dominicans say…I look forward to meeting some of the faces that make this blog flourish.

  • love seeing all the work here. Particulaly liked C. Bickford, E. Espanosa and L Rosenfeld. The portrait work was very nice too. C. Bickford, did you know the people in your work and if not tell me about how you got access. thanks

  • Ditto what Jay asks! Always interested in hearing people’s differing views, unique ideas about getting access. Everyone else feel free to chime in as well.


    ACCESS!!! The magic word…access is almost equivalent to success….
    One can write a book about this…
    but pretty quick: ” If you cannot get in through the Door, try a window…”
    for example from my ” rap ” experience… with all those artists wearing bulletproof vests and carrying guns…
    in other words if “Snoop” is the main no access ” door”, then try to approach the little people around : the security, the driver, the manager,..
    remember always to ” give” first… Give photos, prints, befriend them, e a family… Cox they know that you are there to exploit them, rub on their fame… etc…
    You can gain the ultimate access if you fast enough you can convince people that they can ONLY get a benefit from you and there is absolutely nothing to risk!

  • Sorry, I type all that from my car( as always) so I apologize for the numerous typos and mistakes

  • Panis…Thanks for the insight. Interesting. Not very dissimilar to what Harvey talked about for his hip-hop culture shoots. Must work.

  • Ugh! Talk about typoes… So sorry Panos! P-A-N-O-S… Not “panis”…my bad!

  • No worries Michael…
    another thing about access:

    …knowing when to leave… never wait that long that you get kicked out… if you found a position near thew stage….or behind…or onstage…stick with it…any sudden moves…coz you can get beat up first, and then kicked out…
    … if you are lucky to be in a special moment…lets say back stage party with Snoop…and some of the guests do weird,maybe illegal stuff…DONT RUSH TO SHOOT…almost indifference is the key…have fun even if you cant…because of stress….try…if they offer you a joint…take a hit…if not never ask or force yourself in…Some celebs they dont see you as EQUAL to them as others…
    Janet Jackson for example is one of those celebs you cant approach…
    When once i met Jennifer Lopez she soon asked me: “why your name is “BANIOS”…i got the joke…she laughed…connection easy…I cant say the same about Janet Jackso though…
    One more…”read” the celeb posture…if they feel ugly or tired for a moment…try not to shoot…act like you are protecting them by giving them great photos and not exposing them as paparrazi’s do…they hate paparazo’s…

    to be continues…

  • “..f*****g car, in front of me…Let me beep the horn…Dont they see im trying to type here?????”

  • O.K, saturday night,everybody’s out kicking…i’m back home …my fun finished early today…just got “kicked out” from a casino…i only had time for “one shot”…after that…out…home early…
    I posted the photo below…in my blog…
    “girl and casino machines”…

    Please visit my blog below:..the only photo i shot is the “indian casino” one…




    this will be a very short message because i want to see if this will even load at all….i am in a very slow internet situation…i will not be able to do any critiques while i am here in India..it just takes too too long to open any page…keep the lively chat going until i can get back to you…sorry to miss out!!!

    i will be back whenever possible…ok let’s see how this goes….

    cheers, david

  • about the access… i am not interested taking pictures of people I don’t have access to. if I have to pretend to be someone else, bend, change, bribe and what not…that would mean I am trying to say something about the world I do not belong to…
    the point is, if i can’t ‘access’ someone or something by being my normal self, than what would be the point of me trying to ‘tell’ something about that someone or something?

  • Sounds like….

    ….WELCOME TO INDIA, David! You are there, unmistakably :-)

  • Access is interesting. People are like dogs, they smell the fear in the shooter. If you just do things with the confidence of knowing that you’re allowed to shoot what you shoot you should be ok. I guess that’s my stance (very similar to what I read in an interview with Martin Parr in the F Blog). Oh, and bob, wave and smile, of course.

    (the interview is here: http://gruppof.blogspot.com/2007/09/meeting-martin-parr.html )

  • Don’t know where you are David but internet in India should no longer be a problem. If the STD or internet cafe you are at has a slow connection keep looking…there is usually at least one very good location with wireless even in a tiny town.

    There are large internet “chains” in the bigger cities.

    When I first started going to India there was only faxing available. Then once email came along I spent many years in disbelief at how slow the internet was. I realized that only the country that “invented” meditation could have such slow connections… You could do a 15 minute meditation between each page change. :) Those days are long gone. India is the home of high tech and computer engineers and high speed internet so keep looking!!!

  • Joni thanks for M.Parr’s Fblog thoughts..
    you have to make people feel that you are in ” charge ” of your ” art” and what you are doing… You also have to make them feel that ” they ” are not the only important ” element ” in the photo you are making…
    Sometimes I feel like telling people:” get over yourself… I’m looking through you… I wasn’t even looking at you…”
    Ask permission???? Somebody said??? Well what about a project about
    ” stripclubs”… Or ” casinos “… Or ” illegal immigrants ” or ” war ” … Or
    sorry my friends but there is not always enough time for permissions…
    plus I always remember the Greek police riot squad in a random protest…
    they can beat a photojournalist at any time… for no reason… even with a permission and blah blah….
    look at the death of the Japanese reporter in bhurma couple months ago…
    does anyone believe that that poor guy had no access or permission…
    but I guess his ” body language” annoyed ” somebody ” …
    Unfortunately it was a somebody with the gun…
    I already made the distinction between ” us ” and the paparrazzo’s…
    I agree with you.. Not good karma if you have to hide behind the bushes waiting for Angelins Jolie… I’m with you on that
    dont worry about Internet in India…
    I would suggest ” COBRA snake charming lessons ” … because here in america you can only get ” COBRA car driving lessons “….
    peace for now

  • CATHY how many times have you been to India?
    I’m really not sarcastic here… Just curious.. Never been there… Or anywhere around there.. I know enough about ” Bollywood”… But lately I started reading about the ” new silicon valley in India… About ” google” or “microsoft” that searching for their new talented engineers around there etc…
    Naive Question , since you are familiar with the place and I’m totally not:
    how is this possible if common sense says that the U.S or Europe or even japan has way better schools to begin with…
    is education in India free for everybody…
    … Or is more like here in the ” after-bush” america… That they are only two classes…(Rich and Poor)… No middle class…
    ” the people that can read… and command and the ” rest”: “The Slaves”… of any color of course… People like… the stupid, the uneducated?,,, the unprivilledged like me…
    Again F**k peace

  • Panos, I’ve been to India 13 times since 1995…usually for several months at a time.

    I will see if I can post some info about education there.
    Trying to get ready to leave town so I can’t get to it for a while.

  • Not a bad idea for us to discuss the places David is visiting…

    Also since this is the first year since 1995 that I’m NOT in India I am thinking about it alot…and of course waiting to hear David’s reports.

  • And…..since there is some serious thought about this blog evolving into a book, conversations about India (for example) could accompany David’s India photos and India reports.

    I’m thinking ahead! :)

  • Cathy,
    I had not yet seen your site and pictures. Some really wonderful portraits….I presume that Stve Mc Curry must be an inspiration for you…How come have you been so often in India? Are you working on a particular projects? Eric

  • David,

    the new site looks really good! I look forward to see all the singles that Michael will put up…. It is such a reward to know that there will be some presence about our work in these two festivals… I know that many of us will be delighted to go out again and shoot more if you need more pictures to “look fine”…. Who knows, maybe the project that I will do in Antigua in March about Easter Processions will be of interest..

    Separately, the idea from David McGowan of all meeting in Look-3 seems a great one indeed….How many of you are planning to be there? Would be great to get as many as possible to meet for the first time and get to know each other. Keep us posted on who from the blog is planning to attend. Cheers, Eric

  • on the issues of access and many other comments about (hey brother Velibor :)) )…, i just finished watchin the Documentary Film, “Pictures from a Revolution” that Susan Meiselas produced upon her return to Nicaraqua 10 years after the original revolution and time she spent there which produced her heroic and extraordinary book “NICARAGUA”….also accompanying the DVD is a short, 2nd documentary about Susan returning (now 20 years after) to put up photos from the book and to interview people and their reaction….

    the film “pics from a revoution” is heartbreaking…and it was extraordinary to watch and listen to Susan and to listen to the people she photographed, befriended, watched, thought of, hurt for…..

    filled with paradoxes and ironies and sadness and, well….see it/rent it….

    the responsibility and the haunting of our priviledge of witnessing, even in close, ultimately is from afar and how to reconcile that and to honor those less priviledged by our witnessing, the luxury of our ability to witness, document, as opposed to the inability to escape the chain of having to participate…..

    a remarkable and profound experience….

    i think her film (Susan’s) and her pics/book, is a relevant discussion to that above…including the discussion of india….


  • Eric,

    Thanks a lot for taking a look at my link. It is not the original one I posted here and probably most on the blog have not seen any work from me. I won’t apologize for my Lightstalkers gallery…there are quite a few images there I like a lot but I will apologize for my laziness in not updating it! In fact I should go and do some editing right now.

    The “McCurry inspired” portraits are a reflection of my previous interest in Travel photography which has evolved…or I should say is in the process of evolving…to documentary photography. McCurry is a good example of the possibility of the two meeting. I definitely prefer storytelling and the type of work we’re seeing here over “Spirit of Place” type images.

    I do have some long term projects I hope to continue in India but it was not photography that first took me there. I originally went on pilgrimage to visit a “Sage” who is now deceased…After he passed away I went annually to an ashram where I sat in caves and listened to vedic chanting… however that became more and more difficult as I saw what was happening outside of the cave. Too much color! Too many great things to photograph!!! I couldn’t keep my eyes closed any longer. My childhood love of photography was rekindled and spirituality thrown by the wayside :)) The full story is actually a great one and will be told if I ever get a book together but the bottom line is that I didn’t go to India as a photographer, I became one once there.

  • Hi David,

    Whatever you do please continue with your critique style. As a photographer who wants to move forward I find it very hard to find that kind of honest, blunt and useful knowledge. Most people, even art professors and sometimes editors hate to say that a photograph juts isn’t very good or to be too tough in why it doesn’t work. Tough opinions are very hard to hear sometimes, but they are even harder to come by.


  • As I continue to procrastinate about getting ready to leave town in the morning I JUST attended an Opening for IN FOCUS: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC GREATEST PORTRAITS at the library down the street.

    Funny that Eric mentioned Steve McCurry earlier because his Afghan girl was in the center of the gallery and RIGHT next to it was an image from none other than David Alan Harvey….His image was a refugee from Nicaragua taken at a refugee camp in Honduras. Nice!!!

  • whew! sure glad to see that temporary post taken off the site. Hope all is okay… take care, David,

  • Yeah, Janet… That was a little unnerving.

  • Hi, everyone. David is fine. Michael and I just really needed to get in touch with him.


  • Marie, I was worried about you and Michael too.
    Glad all is okay. Thanks for letting us know.

  • I doubt that david comes back from India thinking it’s the country of high speed internet (wi-fi on demand, now that would be dreaming, no?). The longest ever logging session (I mean just logging, not typing and sending) was in a high speed internet cafe. At least the electricity was still on when I finally got the yahoo page… :-)

    That was in jaisalmer, wonder what city David came in and is at this point, I forgot what the WS link said. Wherever, he will love it, warts and all.

  • Bob, I’ve seen the photographs and 10-years-later film from Susan Meiselas: very moving. I remember my reaction being “so much sacrifice wasted due to the Contra war and eventual rejection of the revolution due to war fatigue and fear of an American invasion” . Ortega is back in government now isn’t he? Susan speaks of her time in Nicaragua, and the personal cost of covering the war, on the Magnum website. She has some delightful photographs of youngsters growing up in her New York neighborhood (Little Italy I-think). She still keeps in touch with most of them.
    Cathy, I like your photographs from india.
    Everyone which is your favorite D.A.H. photograph?

    Best to all,


  • Michael :))

    yes, that’s it…that’s the great sadness too….most of those people’s lives havent improved at all because of either the 1st revolution or the long-drawnout Contra war, nor the new democracy….that’s the great, pained Paradox…the book helped make susan’s work known, respected and enhanced her life profoundly…and nearly all of the people photographed lives of pain and difficulty and squalor continued….it’s the pain and the difficult reconciliation of what one does and why one chooses to photograph, particularly as witness to lives and times of tragedy….

    this difficulty, gaping chasm, sits squarely upon Susan’s shoulders and she, admirably and humanely, wrestles with this and continues, as best she can, to give back to that nation and peoples, it’s what i admire profoundly about her, as a person…

    but i think, as i wrote at LS 3 years ago, the 1st question photographers should ask themselves and never stop asking is:

    “why are you shuttling a camera? and why are you photographing, photographing especially others?..”…

    no answers, but the effort to understand that is one most photographers (in my experience) dont’ wrestle with honestly or deeply enough….

    again, that film: should be required, especially for folks shooting in developing/war-torn/empoverished countries/areas/neighborhoods, etc…including ones’ own backyard…


  • Good points Bob: especially “why we photograph others”. For many it’s a “look at what I see” – the beauty of the world etc. For others it’s a vehicle for adventure – looking for bang-bang – but be careful what you wish for – you may get it. You can’t “unsee” what you witness. A photograph usually takes the photographer right back to the moment when it was captured. This must be hard for a war/conflict photographer. I imagine that many a adventurer-photographer quickly becomes a concerned, anti-war photographer who want to give something back. Mea Culpa.
    One of the best examples of anti-war photojournalism is “Vietnam Inc” by Philip Jones Griffiths (Magnum) in which he concentrates primarily on the clash of cultures between U.S. and Vietnamese. I hope this and my previous post do not sound anti-U.S. as I’m just anti-injustice; from wherever it emanates.

    Speaking of Magnum, their strength is dealing with issues in the long-term; often looking behind the headlines and staying after the press-pack has moved on. Often the real story is only told after hostilities have ceased and the true legacy of conflict can be assessed. Broken lives, lost hope. I’m depressing myself.

    Such stories can be told away from the front line and U.S. photographers are already examining the Iraq War through the lives of returning servicemen and women.



  • Michael :))

    in total agreement with you! :))…Jones Griffiths work on Vietnam (one of my heroes) is the model for me about a certain type of photography: visual and written, subjective and objective, an attempt not only to witness, but to bare arms in that witnessing…Susan, in the new documentary when she returned to Nicaragua 20 years after “The Triumph” was asked about the role of photogapher: “witness, advocate, storyteller, document producer, politicial arugment,” etc…she, rightly so and honestly answered, all of those…

    it is at the heart of the question, that i still cannot answer for myself and often feel saddened and bereft by: why is it that i choose to photograph people, it’s a complex problem: rewarding and scarring…i havent figured it out yet, only that i feel compelled to speak about this passing lives and the people with whom my life has intersected…i hope to speak of things that make some kind of sense, …a witness, maybe, to things that are part of all of us…but it’s not that simple, or not that “valorous”: much more selfish too…

    the struggle for me, as both a photographer and a writer, but also a “reader” of photos and books (i love photography so much, the entire spectrum of photography) is that i often feel sad that most of us come from a place of priviledge: for we’re still documenting as the Other, documenting Others, and all that arrogance entails…i havent yet reconciled myself, but i try to turn the camera as much as i can toward myself, my life, my family, as well, as a way to show that it’s not just about documenting something that passed in front of the lens, but something else…

    long-term commitments to people and place, long-term commitment born of something that has less to do with the apperatus of photography than with the apperatus of the quesiton of living and dying and all that…i should say, i never shoot, and never photographed when on a vacation, just to shoot…its weird…

    a quiet and not-won yet lament ;))


  • Bob said: “i should say, i never shoot, and never photographed when on a vacation, just to shoot…its weird…”

    You really should give it a go, Bob. Not all of life, not all photography should be so seemingly conflicted…so lamentable.

    Just a thought.

  • Bob I find your pictures amazing if somewhat disturbing but often you seem as if your glass is half empty. Does your better half take pictures when you’re on holiday? I would be really interested to see some happy pictures in colour, or is that out of the question.

  • Michael/Harry: :))

    that’s a problem with language and web conversation ;))…probably much of what i write sounds “melancholic” or “glass half-empty” when in truth i feel the opposite (although, probably true about the melancholia….

    we do take family pics, btw, on vacation (although we dont vacation enough) and those now are usually done by our son with digital camera…i love all pics, especially family album/vacation pics…in fact, i find people’s family/outing/vacation/pastime photos more interesting and gorgeous and weird than anything…family albums: maybe that’s part of what all mypics are about ;))…i meant, i dont like to go to a place just to shoot…i need to feel a much deeper involvement…in fact, i can almost never shoot when i go somewhere unless i have a connection to that place, or feel the place or spend time there…in fact, i often “foget” how to shoot when i start to shoot someone/place, etc…and yes, for years and years, i never photographed, ever, trips…still dont really…but we’re trying to make family album stuff too…

    as for color: i love love color (and use to shoot color too, weird color too), but for now, im still trying to figure b/w out…i do have some color pictures, most dont work, cause i feel in monochrome…but slowly, slowly i’ve been thinking of color…that takes more work and thought about how i see the world: it’s like a dream: color or monochrome?…and i never think of my pics as “black/white” in the traditional sense of black/white photography (so called classical) vs. color….i think of my pics as just that: pictures…and i sometimes actually think of them in color when i see them…(all that high contrast)…

    anyway…ok, i’ve overrun my daily quota…

    all’s good…all is ripe…



  • Bob, I think you are really touching on a (or the) core problem of documentary photography, and one I think may be irreconcilable…

    But brings up questions in my mind:

    Do all pictures of people depict the Other and are the best about the existential distance between photographer/viewer and subject?

    Is photography essentially voyeuristic, and is that frisson one of its fundamental strengths?

    Do all photographs of people exploit the subject to some degree, and if so, how to determine that degree?

    Can a photograph offer an opportunity for a viewer to think about this distance, assuming it exists… is a documentary photograph an opportunity for empathy, and if so, does this redeem it?

  • Michael : “I’m depressing myself”.

    Bob: “that most of us come from a place of privilege”….


    Dear friends, I’d say, start thinking less about yourself (you may actually, just for the sale of the discussion here). That is indeed where the arrogance and problems of differences start arising and dividing people. Of course, between friends, and within a group, we can do that, but as concerns our relation to the world and how best to make it fruitful, I remember what a great artist told me once, which I have often though of (though reverting most often to think about myself… mea culpa):

    It is the “what” that is the question in what you are doing (he meant art, I mean art and life), not why or how.

    I think one has to ask oneself what it is that we are doing, for ex. with a camera. The why is a fine personal question, but WHAT defines even better how to set yourself up and what results you wish to happen.

    As you know well, the guy dying on a war field, the kid trembling of malaria in an underfunded hospital have little to gain or think, about why you are doing something. You answering the question is of no importance to them, and their welfare. It is only when you decide and find and understand and try WHAT you want to do, WHAT you want to achieve that one may start being on the right tracks to help out there.

    I think, to stick to photography that makes a difference, Nachtwey is great example of all this. there is definitely no public self-questionning of why he is doing something. He hates to talk about himself. He once answered that question to himself, then all we know of him now is WHAT he is doing.

    I am sure he is much more privileged than me, in terms of his position in our society. Money, craft, social position, etc… But I hardly imagine him coming to thsi blog answering the why from coming from the middle-class side of the fence.

  • I think by the very action of pointing a camera at someone or thing, one is in essence pointing the camera at ones self. its self expression. we could say every photograph we take, in a way, is a self portrait. it says who we are, what we choose to see, what we value, where we are, and where our station in life is.
    I dont really think privilege comes into it.
    what does priviledge mean anyway. seems to me to that is a state of mind.
    shit, this word is kind of ambiguous.

    websters dict circa 1940-
    1. a right or immunity granted as a peculiar advantage or favor….
    I like definition #3
    3. a fundamental or sacred right; one of the rights garanteed to all persons by modern constitutional government.

    so it would seem that if your are born into this planet, in a country that has a modern constitutional government, then you are privileged.

  • Slightly relevant to the discussion above, today being Martin Luther King Jr. day in the USA, here is a passage from Jonathan Sacks’ “The Dignity of Difference”. I think this passage might have an additional layer of meaning for those of us who choose to focus our cameras on humanity:

    “The universality of moral concern is not something we learn by being universal, but by being particular. Because we know what it is to be a parent, loving our children, not children in general, we understand what it is for someone else, somewhere else, to be a parent, loving his or her children, not ours. There is no road to human solidarity that does not begin with moral particularity- by coming to know what it means to be a child, a parent, a neighbor, a friend. We learn to love humanity by loving specific human beings. There is no short-cut.”

  • “It is only when you decide and find and understand and try WHAT you want to do, WHAT you want to achieve that one may start being on the right tracks to help out there.”

    Herve, If I understand correctly, you are arguing the point that the photographer’s intention is of crucial importance…

    Which brings a question to my mind…. How does one determine the intention of a photograph, and is the photographer’s intention an intrinsic part of the photograph? What does the viewer bring to the photograph, and can a viewer’s intention circumvent the photographer’s?

  • Dr. Martin L King’s day today.
    Asher, thanks for reminding everybody…
    No violence today… I should keep my mouth shut…
    Time to get it together…
    peace and LOVE for everybody

  • Oh, one more: Is “what you want to achieve” different from “what you have achieved”, and who determines that, and how?

  • All good points y’all :)))…i’ll write brief, response, then i have to run teach:

    Mike :))…important questions, at least for me. I seldom do (and this may be a major problem) without thinking about the existential question. Hmmm, christ, that sounds pompous ;)). I mean, the problem of the camera is that, absolutely, it possesses the ability to translate image for experience, and it often allows us (and the viewer) a false sense of empathy/understanding. this is a major problem, ’cause we’re saturated with images and we think that seeing pictures of others allows us to understand more, behave better and act: this is a fallacy. We;re moved by document and image, but still most of us are seldom compelled enough to do the “what” (re: Herve) which that emotion dictates. Am impasse nearly (the other) but what else can we do? Our entirety is defined by this (how to reconcile this: aint that the big question in our life: marriage, family, friendship, stranger: how to bridge that divide humanely, and lovingly and well?)..sometimes the camera makes me feel closer sometimes more distant. In the end, i can only speak of my own work as a photographer and also my own reaction as a reader: often the act of shooting (which to me, also means watching, LISTENTING, TALKING with people) forces me to think about lives and stories and circumstances that I often don’t as im just walking and “watching” people: the act creates (for good and ill) the involvement, but it still bends back upon the self: in a way, it becomes simpler. those photographers arent anything but one moment stopped, that may or may not be valuable or “truthful” (not likely) but is a catalyst for something, often rueful, sometimes important, sometimes meaningless…the great philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (one of my faves) spent his whole life on this issue…and it still haunts me…but there is still time for this: it’s still only a picture, nothing more ;)))…

    Herve: :))…nice thought, indeed and generally i would agree, however, the pitch for me is wrong. The Why pre-empts the what. Many many photographers forexample of PJ’s/Documentarians in the service and hope that story telling and providing document/artifact will provide witness and understanding. Generally, i totally agree with that. However, the what needs the why. doesnt the why underscore and define the What. I know lots lots of photos who talk about being a “witness”, but if they’re honest (some are some are not) they often dont reflect about why (joy, fame, stimulation, recognition, etc). I agree that asking “why, why, why” can be numbing and also prevent action, but i think action for its own sake (questionless) is equally destructive. 2 years ago i wrote long and hard at LS about Nachtwey’s comment about “witness” and “voice.” He’d been hammered/disparaged hard at LS…and I was stunned at how superficial the attacks were against him. His (as I see it) WHAT is the same as Susan’s about this: providing real document and testimony in a world that so quickly digests and spits it out in amnesia. His witnessing is at the heart of the Why. There will be a time when Jim lays down his camera, and the “WHAT’ of his life shall change, but the ‘WHY’ he is doing that shall not…Jim is a great photographer because his “why” is tired profoundly and spiritually to the “what” he has and is accomplishing…and that’s not just about great pics….:))

    someday i shall not be a photographer (i know that) but i hope that the reason that divides and engines my life (the why) will have not ceased…and that is not about thinking about myself, but of the actions of living…hope that makes sense…What is important, but cannot live in a vacuum..Susan said something brilliant in her documentary: “while a camera may stop time, time does not stop for people” and this leads to a different negotiation: if the what is “documentary” photography/reporting, then the why certainly is the fulcrum around which one navigates…witnessing/document making/artifact can be done through language and action too ;))…

    asher/panos: that’s righteous and I cant think of a better day to talk about all this than today :)))…

    in the end, i try not to get bottle-stopped by questions, otherwise nothing gets achieved (achieved in the sense of done, not achievement)…and i hope for something very simple:

    have what i have done, be it photography, or writing, or teaching or being a friend or father or husband helped some small navigation of the end of the day….

    i try not to get discouraged…just to keep plowing and to become better and more aware of others and how this can make for a life and my relationship with them….


    love all, love in, the content of the character above all

    hallelujah :))


  • Is it David’s building the one making news here in Brooklyn today???


  • Yes, it is David’s building.

  • Are you guys still in there Marie? What are your/David’s plans?

  • I’m sure you’ve got options up there…but you certainly are welcome to crash down here in good ol’ MD. Probably sounds like a silly offer, but after reading that link above I really wish I could do something…anything! Let me know. Seriously!


  • We are not sure what is going to happen but Michael and I have removed all of his valuables. The building has to be brought up to code before people can move back in and that could take awhile. It is a nightmare. We are not sure what will happen.

  • All I can say then..and this seems so like so little…but good luck. Hang in there. And we’re here if you need us. Just ask, Marie.

  • Marie, wow! This is incredible, though David did mention months ago that everyone would be forced to move soon. Still…
    I was just thinking last night, that if Donald Trump would quit building luxury condos and restore some housing for artists, he’d be a much better person for the experience.

    David is totally lucky to have you taking care of him! Seriously. Please keep us all apprised.

    Good luck

  • Sorry to read about the building. Wish there was something I could do to help. Sounds like a rush job — maybe just the wheels of government, maybe not –something that will take a long time to sort out, and a miserable time for the tenants. Good luck Michael and Marie. And David. And yes, as Michael K writes, let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

  • If I can do anything, please ask..so sorry this has happened.

    Perhaps, while in India, have a puja done to help with the situation..can’t hurt, but of course the thoughts and prayers are already flowing from your community here to bring the best outcome.

  • Marie, what would David do without you!!!!!! Thanks for watching after his belongings…. What a mess! Eric

  • Absolutely great work from david’s trusted friends in NY. What a bum out, really!

    Dear Bob, I never said the why was not important, but by the time, or when, you are out shooting people less privileged than you, I think the answer to “why” only matters to you, not to them. Then, the answer to the “what”, this may have a positive effect on them. That was my point.

  • Mike: How does one determine the intention of a photograph, and is the photographer’s intention an intrinsic part of the photograph? What does the viewer bring to the photograph, and can a viewer’s intention circumvent the photographer’s?

    By its results, I’d say. If something has failed with that, maybe he can get back to square one (at least for that very project he was on), and…asks himelf why he did it :-).

    No, I do not think that one photograph has to show the intention. Witness Parr’s parking spots series, for ex. . One just does not make it. In other cases, it might very well, as in the “afghan Girl” (though it had to be shot in the context Mc Curry shot it. same shot in Rajasthan is just a damned nice psychological portrait only).

    Yes, I think that the viewer’s intention can circumvent the P.s intention. It happens all the time. Photograph’s meaning (or no meaning, no intention) can easily be co-opted by the viewer, or the public, or the market (Burri’s Che). Bob mentionned Nachtwey being “attacked” on LS. So here we go. But I think Nachtwey’s results do beat babbling about his work and intentions on LS.

  • Bob thanks very much for the thoughtful and thought provoking response. I totally agree about the shifting between image and experience and understanding (more so with moving images?) And with the Other, it seems increasingly more complicated the more I think about it…. not just between photographer/subject, but between photographer/subject/viewer, then between photographer/subject/viewer/culture (or say, social context of the work…) It seems to me there is a web of meanings woven between these nodes (and many more!) which can either support or obscure the work.

    I read something related today, a filmmaker said “documentaries are defined by what’s left out. they aren’t intended to provide information” rather an emotional experience of history, using emblematic stories.

    Levinas… very curious about him, will have to find something, any suggestions where to start? I ready a lot of Bataille, Masson, etc. a long while back, but Levinas never got on my radar…

    Herve, thanks as well… I think you make a great correlation between intention and context (either by other photographs, or by the instant cultural context a guy like McCurry provides…) Also, your point that intention is mobile is so true… can friction between opposing intentions heat up a photograph, I wonder.

    Sorry for the late response. I don’t think quick enough for the internet.

  • Hey David, I’ll see you in Oslo you legend! Can’t wait! Just gotta book those Ryan Air flights for 10 bucks or whatever it is…dublin. Norway not far from here!!!!!!

  • David, your website is wonderful. Thanks for putting those huge photos of yours up. Utterly delightful!

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