sleeping around….




home is where the heart is….a rolling stone gathers no moss….it is hard to kill a moving target….whatever…..i am just content to sleep in one bed for two whole weeks….that has not happened lately….since the three week  holiday with my family way way way back in december, i have not been in one place for more than a few days….so, to now have 15 days in Oaxaca is a luxury i am soaking up with every passing minute…

however, i will move on next week to Norway and then and then, well i just will not have a "home" for all of 2008….the shock of the loss of my New York loft at first left me dazed and confused, but quickly survival instincts kicked in….and then and then, true beauty….an IDEA!!! 

forced evacuation has led  me to voluntary exile…for my upcoming photographic project,  i MUST not have a home…i do not WANT a home…i CANNOT have a home….that would ruin everything….telling you now about my IDEA would ruin everything too…it is time for me to "disappear" into my work…

it may surprise you  that "travel", in and of itself, has never been a source of inspiration for me…discovery fascinates, but "discovery" is also right around the corner…travel has always been totally incidental to whatever creative ideas were rolling around inside my jetlagged brain…ironically, i never set out to "see the world" even though that is exactly what happened…and i did not "leave" until i was over 30…

my first 17 years in serious photography never took me out of my own country…i was perfectly happy photographing life around me and my own "backyard"…i had no sense of the "real world"…then fate forced me out the door to learn about other cultures and countries….looking through the international viewfinder became my whole "real education" …certainly this is  one of my most priceless assets….but now, that same "fate" brings me to a creatively "logical" project which will at least keep me culturally  and photographically "at home"….albeit without any place to stay!!!

i will now begin my daily Oaxaca "routine"….starting with a nice walk to the "zocalo", one of the best plazas in the world …i will find my perfectly positioned  table and chair…get some coffee and pan tostado …mull things over…think david think…maybe i will take a picture or two…chat it up with my "old friend" and waiter Pablo who will be just now seeing his children off to school…the morning light is nice, so i must leave you….

so, i just have time to ask you quickly….would "sleeping around" stimulate you, or do you need an "anchor" to do your best work??


130 Responses to “sleeping around….”

  • HA!

    David your energy is just amazing! and influencing!
    ha…. new ideas… new ideas! rolling stones…

  • Just a deep breath and a camera is all I need. Makes no difference where my bed happens to be.

    Good hunting to you Mr. Harvey.

  • You seem to be a gourmet of lemonade, as in ‘when life gives you lemons’, an optimist extraordinaire. And why are a living example of the power of positivity. I am excited for you and the new project.

    When you have time, I hope to hear from you/talk with you about direction, seek a bit of guidance from your sageness. Also curious as to whether the tempbooks site will ‘go live’ and if you have other thoughts about exhibition/publication/whathaveyou..

    In any case, I wish you great pleasure in Oaxaca..I loved it there bouganvilla in bloom now I wonder?

    And the anchor/freedom question..I would want options, but I am a nester for sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a nest in a hammock on Zipolite..near Puerto Angel, if you have a minute, it used to the stuff of legends, heard it’s more touristed now, but still, may be worth a night by the waves.

  • David…
    For me staying too long in one place is like tying my thoughts up..
    That special state of mind when I’m on the run..Everything flows when..
    Unfortunately I’ve been avoiding any major trips for 3 years now.. Hopefully that will change in September when I’ll be setting off to Caucasus for whole month :)

    Good Luck with the Idea David

    @ Marcin
    Hi, I like your new website. And Photos of course. Moody Cuba..Sweet!

  • David,
    I agree travel just to travel is tiring and tedious. Travel needs a purpose. I think extensive travel has changed me. My ideas about people, the world blablabla. I have been living out of a suitcase for the last 13 year, as I told you before this experience ‘de-rooted’ me. So no place is really home, I could live anywhere. I don’t need an anchor, but nowhere I sleep as good as in my own bed, anyway it’s good to have a base to relax. The answer to your question:
    I don’t think it really matters, I need a story I am really passionate about, can be close or far away from…..’home’.

    Good luck with your new project.

  • DAVID:

    Yesterday, I met and drank with your former student Mike Berube (the one you dubbed “Harry Potter”) :))))))….

    we had a wonderful 2 hours drinking and talking and discovered we’ve many many life-threads in common (surfing, skateboarding, cameras, grandparents who “made” us photographers, death of friends, deep love of stories, etc) :)))…I adore him and cant wait to introduce him to Marina and some great folks/photographers here in toronto :)))….I should tell you that I have re-named him though….

    he’s not Harry Potter….but Harold!….Harold, from Harold and Maude….the harold who’s suffered but at the end of it all is playing his banjo and dancing out against the sky and sea and cliff….

    Mike, if you are reading this DO NOT WATCH THIS CLIP, AS IT WILL GIVE AWAY THE MOVIE!!!!…


    As for the question of anchor….let me say only this….

    like you David, I was a wander,…rootless and born of the surf, a hungry and eye’d-open traveler who was at peace anywhere i’d lay my head and back and ass. My parents, for good and ill, bequeathed me this: born in california, living in asia, us, running around, rootless, but somehow always anchored to that which appeared always the most ellusive: family…like Basho with his cloth bag upon his back and his head stuff with his haiku, my body was filled with the smell and scent of my family, the South, their voices, the stories, though i never found a home: the result of us always traveling, parents divorcing, many homes, many states and cities….until the day i was married at 38 and my anchor, the emotional and spiritual rootrich center, hooked inside the place wherever marina and dima are….even here in toronto, a place i dont expect to remain, the root and home is and will always be there: with them….for like a turtle, they are my shell and where i go next, where WE go next shall not change that….for i will never find a home, a physical home (i realized that before i got married), but it’s settling to know now that my home is encased in the rooty-trunk of the tree of our family…after toronto may be NY, maybe me France, maybe California, maybe a place i have not yet imagined, but it remains…

    so where does the best work come from…for me, it’s always been when i feel, somehow, connected, when a place or person enters and climbs along that anchor chain…

    and most often for me, i have to be physically lost and hungering….

    send u a picture from a series i’ll submit to Fader magazine later this week….we’ll see what they say…maybe, David, that picture says more than i can today about this…

    the heart is a pulpy river and that river rushes along side the 4×4 of my life…

    homeless, but at home in the world…


    p.s. DONT FORGET TO CHECK MY EMAIL ABOUT THE MERCY BOOK PROJECT…i’d love for u to participate….joined hands David….

    ps. the room looks lovey lovely :))…i can smell the salt of the sea air and the lick of the white sky….

  • more harold and maude (no looking Mike until after you’ve seen the movie!)

  • David,

    Why am I not surprised to hear about your ‘homeless wanderer’ project? I more or less anticipated this- and even suggested it- back when the Kibbutz got evicted. It seemed to be the logical outcome of where your life was heading. So of course I wish you Good Luck and Vaya Con Dios!
    My guess is that astrologically you have a lot more air, water, and fire than earth in your make-up. You are apparently not the gardener or builder-of-stone-houses type of person who needs to settle in on a piece of ground and build something substantial. This may be temperamentally true for most photographers! But I suspect that after your year of homeless wandering you may find yourself craving a place to ‘go to ground’. But I’m certain there is much to be learned from a purely ungrounded existence. Some argue that we humans are originally hunters and gathers and nomads by nature. Since you’ve spent some time in Oz, you’re probably familiar with Bruce Chatwin’s ‘The Songlines’, but if not I highly, highly recommend it as at least one companion volume to carry on your travels… it’s filled with pithy quotes from a galaxy of wanderers and students of wandering waxing eloquently on their lives.
    For me personally the desire or need to wander like that came in cycles… at certain periods of life I was homeless and in motion for a year or more at a time, but finally needed the security of ‘my own space’ in a very physical and territorial sense, and I ended up once living in an isolated cabin in Idaho for six years, then a tiny sticks-and-paper Japanese dollhouse in Kyoto for 12 years… Now over sixty, I am addicted to having my physical privacy and my tools and books around me. But the years of homeless wandering, and the memories and ideas and thrills of those times- and the photographs- are the greatest treasures that I now hoard.
    I can easily picture you lingering over breakfast in the sunny Zocalo in Oaxaca since I spent many mornings there myself in the winter of 1980, getting my regular fix of jus de naranje, huevos rancheros, and an ‘americano’ or two while enjoying the view of the plaza. I liked to sit on the north side in the mornings… then, in the evening, bands always played in the Zocalo, sometimes mariachis, sometimes a Vera Cruz-style marimba band, vendors sold carmel pancakes, cotton candy, and ices, and families promenaded. I wonder if the old Hotel Principal is still the best place to stay in Oaxaca?

    Saludos Amigo,


  • hi David…this is your “bag man” at BH. This entry in your log has hit a real home with me. I have always considered “home” photography the only way to go. “My life” as it goes from day to day…it’s the way I’ve always shot stuff. To make my life “on the road” as you suggest would be a nice “as my life goes” from a different perspective. Unfortunately the money to do this is not available to me……………hence where I work. If I could travel wher ever I wanted to go….assured that my pictures would have some resale value………….damn, I’d do it in a heartbeat ..

  • Born in France, escaped to the US, and only property I own is in Thailand…. For me, “anchor” means a cambodian beer! :-)))

    Patiently waiting for the unveiling of your homeless project, David.

  • For me, photography is just an excuse to be an explorer. A wanderer. A drifter. A nomad.
    I am fascinated by the in between. Not the dots on the map nor the web of roads that connect them. The in between, the forgotten places no one goes where small lives are being lived unchanged. Get off the bus in the middle of the trajectory, start to wander with no purpose and surrender to serendipity. There is no science to it yet it has never failed me. These are the moments when everything comes together for me, the discoveries are many, and I walk a little swifter, and my mind clears, and life is beautiful, and nothing can get me down, not even the rain. Rain brings neither depression nor hope, it just augments whichever one you’re feeling. And so in this moment of optimism the rain only broadens my smile, as I walk around completely soaked and speak to everyone I meet, even if it’s only a tip of the hat and utter “caballero”.

  • I can’t answer this question, as it requires a basis for comparison and I do not have one. I’ve lived my whole life in the Hudson Valley; everything I photograph, everything and everyone I know is here, and I’ve never really been anywhere else. I went to Sicily twice, when my brother was stationed there, and I’ve been to Biloxi, Mississippi, to see another brother get married to his psychotic ex-wife. That’s the extent of my traveling, and I went to those places before I became interested in photography. I tend to get lost easily, even around here, if it’s a place I haven’t been to in a while, and as a result I stay in the places I know. So I have no concept of the nomad’s life or whether this helps or hinders one way or the other. I imagine it would help, what with something new happening every day.

  • Good question David.

    Never posted before, but why not?

    I’m a grad student at OU and my classmates and I just returned recently from our 10-day magazine shoots. It was basically our once chance to go anywhere in the US to shoot whatever we wanted.

    Guess you might say it was our once chance to play “house” and pretend for a second that we were shooting for that yellow bordered publication.

    The experience taught me a lot.

    1. It’s not all that glamorous. Here I was all by myself filled with nothing but self-doubt:

    Why am I here? Are my photos all crap? What am I missing? How can a hack like me pull this off? My brain ran rampant with self-doubt.

    The only fix for me was junk food, good light, and good frames. My body didn’t thank me for the food, but my heart and soul ate up the images.

    Like you probably know it was a roller coaster ride. The highs were amazing and the lows were anything but. At times I felt like I couldn’t shoot my way out of a wet paper bag, but when the great images hit I felt invisible.

    It got lonely after awhile and thank god for my “project road map” cause once I was out there it was the one reassurance I had. It probably would of helped had I checked in with Terry more often back at school, but I lived to post about it.

    What you wrote in Divided Soul really summed up a lot of it for me:

    “Making compelling pictures is natural compared to finding out what is really going on.”

    So true.

    For now I’m happy with having my background as my playground again, but time will tell.


  • I`m bouncing off the walls of my suburban comfort here in Japan, but my family need me to be here with them, and with them I am home. I am trying to convert my wife to the idea of a little more routelessness however as that has been pretty much all my adult life and I miss it. The university of life, although a cliche, is still the best education I`ve ever had and I want to give my kids some of the same.
    When started on the road 15 years ago the way was already growing crowded. Now I think travellers, even to the most remote of places, have an identity as travellers due to the sheer numbers of them and this has made it difficult to be in some places and get real relationships with those that live there. But like the post about photographing strangers: a smile and time spent make all the difference. Most travellers now are passing through and the movement with the ego-boosting collection of experience it brings is the point. Even if those experiences are picked up like ticks in long grass they are still counted. Myself, I like to get to know the tick`s family, his name, his ambitions in tickdom, find his history and…(okay so this metaphor has run its course!!) but what I mean is that travel is exactly about the points on the map and the places at either end of the route. Things may happen along the way but the speed with which we encounter them makes them less knowable. Mark J. Davis is right that the unknown places inbetween are the most interesting but getting off the bus halfway along the route is the end of the journey as far as I`m concerned and the next bus may be some time away thus you are there for “quality time”.
    Good luck with the project anyhow David, forgive the rambling. I am newer in photography than I am in travelling and it is a subject i am passionate about. Indeed my passion for both is very great now. Unfortunately as long as I am not at your level of success and skill I have a choice to do one or the other it seems. Your lifestyle is my ambition, my Japanese wife`s vacation tradition of 4 days rushed exposure to another country is not.
    I wish you all luck on the road and look forward to seeing the pics. I also hope you are more than comfortable in the many beds of the next year or so.
    Bon Voyage


    it is always nice to see your new work….and you know i love your “texture” of Cuba….is spring coming now to Poland or still dark and gray as you sometimes describe?? i will have some new ideas for you soonest, so do not wander too far….


    my apologies for not having read your email yet…i am hopelessly lost with my email now…but, i will make a point to read yours in the morning….without even reading your mail i will do whatever you want me to do…i do hope that it will also involve meeting your anchors Marina and Dima…

    very interesting that you used a turtle metaphor…i raised and studied eastern box turtles when i was a child…always thought them interesting for two reasons…they moved slow , but live a long time and , as you point out, they carry their “home” with them everywhere!!

    so, you met Mike Berube…yes, Harold and Maude!!…but, do you not agree he “looks” like Harry Potter??? in any case, great guy and i am so pleased you met….


    yes, you did suggest at least a version of what i am about to do…well, i have not told you exactly what i will do, but your wisdom prevails as usual…

    actually, if there is one “home thing” i do enjoy it is puttering in the garden…i used to have a rather extensive water garden and took to raising koi….the koi provided so much peace and beauty…and , after this one year of “road trip”, the first thing i would do is to build another koi pond…


    thanks for dropping me a note….i should see you again in a couple of weeks…i do not need a new bag, but will probably buy one anyway!!!! please show me your work at some point….


    wait a minute…you have property in Thailand? but, you do not live there do you??? i do not think so, but maybe i missed something somewhere along the line…


    only one sentence from you??? are you ok???
    we will meet soon….and i have been thinking about a really cool project for you…but, you might have to drive with both hands!!!


    well, the “grass is always greener”…i always wondered what it would be like to have lived the way you do…sounds very nice to me…in any case, i think it is all about “balance” and the weights on the scale vary from person to person…i will meet you soon too….


    OU is special for me…so many great friends teaching there and i know so many grads and undergrads…almost went to school there myself…

    it is great you had the above experience and conclusions…i will be swinging through Athens sometime in the spring, so perhaps we will meet…


    i should return to New York from Norway on March 10…i will be pleased to go over your projects with you…please call me soonest after i return and we can set up a time…mike just came down to Mexico, so maybe we can go “live” this week…if not, very soon…sorry for the delay…


    sounds like we are similar….my “ace in the hole” however are strong family connections…so even if i do not have a roof over my head, i know that my family will give me at least “emotional shelter”….

    cheers, david

  • Damon,

    I have some sympathy for your predicament (and wonder where in suburban Japan you are living? not that there’s a whole lot of difference between most Japanese ‘burbs!)

    While most Japanese are conditioned from early age to always be busy, focused on work and family and ‘ganbaru’-ing, there have been some great Japanese travellers and some of them were and are also good writers, so you might try to get your wife more interested by having her read some of their books, if she’s a reader. I’m thinking especially of Uemura Naomi the great mountaineer, Arctic and Antarctic explorer; Kaiko Ken (or Takeshi) the journalist, gourmet, and fishing enthusiast; and Honda Katsuichi, another ‘deep embedder’ traveller and journalist… these guys date from the 60s and early 70s and their books are around in cheap, readily available ‘bunko’ editions. The next generation includes several personal acquaintances of mine who are adventurers and also good writers: Noda Tomosuke, the canoeist and non-fiction writer; Shiina Makoto the novelist and essayist; and Yumemakura Baku, ditto… and a much younger guy who is an impressive solo adventure traveller named Kunori Yasunari. There are probably even more now that I don’t know… it’s been ten years since I left Japan. I also personally know two great Japanese travel photojournalists whose web sites you should check out, Sato Hideaki (also known as ‘Shuumei’) who is a big nature guy, and Ito Takashi (who has been deeper into North Korea than any Western photographer): (Sato- he also has a blog) and (Ito)

    You also bring up a very interesting topic about how there are so many travellers that when one travels, mostly one bumps into other travellers… this is another huge topic, and I’ll save my comments on this until after some others have had their say. Good luck with the marriage of East and West!


  • I’ve been on the road since last July- what little I do own sits in a friend’s basement and I have no idea where and when I might find ‘home’. But I’m loving every minute of my latest adventure and sleeping around is amazing stimulation! Though I think even on the road a little structure is needed. But either way, it’s the best way to combine life and work. Here I sit in Guatemala, writing my own script, and the only thing I wish for is a nice hot bath!

  • I was trying in the early hours of the morn to think of the positively connoted equivalent of homeless..just got it, unfettered. David, I like to think of you not as homeless, but as unfettered.

    thank you for the note, will do..and no desire to rush you on the site, just curious, mostly..

  • hey david… after I left the santa fe workshops, I sold almost everything i own and am living loose and working on pictures. right now im in an internet cafe in cancun, mex. everything I own is in my 4 bags that I can fly with. I´m not sure where I´m headed next or how i´m going to pay for it, but I´m trying this nomad thing out too… anyway, look forward to the project and good luck on your travels. — Kendrick
    oh and if you got any advice, i´d love to hear it, perhaps in a blog post!

  • DAVID…!
    I KNOW I’M DRIVING!!!… i told the whole world, i’m driving!
    12 years driving in L.A traffic, that’s kinda training… driving!
    Not even one parking or diving ticket since 2001.!!!!
    So let my project involves driving, god damn!…
    Let’s drive this…. Let me do everything through a caaaar!

    … i know we’ll meet soon and someone needs to photograph, the “gonzo” side effects!

    p.s: too much rain lately over here( West Coast!… Expecting STORM tonight!

  • DAVID:

    :)))…no rush. read the email tomorrow. The Mercy Book project will mean our anchors will be joined :))))…read the email entitled “mercy book”…and the last email i sent (with the pic of the child wearing chester hat and clock in background), was just a pic, after a dream i had…

    As for Harry Potter/Harold: yes, I adore him: he is a great person and soulful skater/surfer and I expect big things from him too (photos), but for me, most importantly is that I love the breath of his spirit and soul…he’ll meet the marina/dima anchor soon…u too (i trust) in May :))


    sometimes i miss driving a car (head out the window, music like tongue in my ear, cigarette, wind, space) alot…now, no car, no cigarettes (at least with nicotine ;)), but still the wind..



  • DAVID, I will be in NY sometime from March 21 on. I hope we’re still on for that period.

    Did you send me an email with your number? I either lost it in the trash or???

    Here it is again –



  • Harold and Maude is one of my all time favorites! Love it.

    As I’ve said previously…”sleeping around” was my MO for years. Since 1995 India has been more my home than San Diego was. I had no interest in settling down and yet here I am shopping for door knobs and the like in Santa Fe. Now I will have to find a way to stay inspired while “at home.”

    I look forward to hearing about your new project. Since you will also be staying close to home (although without one) I’m sure your tales will inspire me…as they always do.

  • Yes, David, I merely took advantage of the opportunity when the baht (thai money) was low and the deal clean and affordable back in 2000. I have spent months traveling and staying in Asia/Thailand since the late 80s, but I do live and work in San Francisco.

  • MARK J. DAVIS…..

    sorry amigo,i missed your post the first time around…yes, serendipity is the most beautiful word…sounds just like what it is!!!


    sad news…the hotel Principal no longer exists..closed down two years ago…all else that you describe on the Zocolo is totally intact…


    well, i do not possess the wisdom to give “advice”….however, keep me posted of your travels…where?? if you are going to be in the U.S. then i would “suggest” you jump on board with my travels for a few days…in the meantime, soak it up….and i am totally pleased to hear from you…


    sometimes people ask me if i ever get tired…my answer is always the same: a hot shower and a good night’s sleep, softens all problems….


    of course it must be done from your car….yes, L.A. is American car culture personified…when the oil runs out, L.A. will be the first place to go…i mean, you guys drive for EVERYTHING….if you go from a restaurant to another bar or whatever, you will drive even if it only two blocks away..right??? i got “caught” WALKING down the sidewalk in L.A. once…people felt sorry for me as they sped by in their super hot pickup or mint condition ’57 Chevy…the car is part of YOUR identity …if you can drive and take a bong hit, then you can drive and take a picture…so, think about it….i have some ideas, but i want you to think about it first…you need a “hook”…one other element to make it sing.. think…then, think some more…


    whatever you do , do not think of “level of success”…this is paralyzing…by just working on a personal project that totally rocks your boat, you will have more than a “level of success”…something that cannot be taken from you…yours to keep…if you “love it” enough , it will show…this finished body of work will take you somewhere much further than anything you can imagine right this minute….

    cheers, david

  • David

    Yes! Spring is comming! And I must say that we have very warm winter now. No snow, no -20 rate Celsius…I hope no more!… global warming?… I hate winter. Yes the sky is grey sometimes long time. many persons jump through window, two days ago next bulding… ehhhh… And gray sky by month… it is in my hometown. I should write story about as i promised but realy no time.

    New ideas? I will waiting with curious in my heart

    when you will have good net connection and some free time I would like to write to you a mail about my project we talking about and asking for advice. maybe in next week?

    I wish you good time in mexico… hmmmm in mexico? you must have good time!

    ok. that’s all

    Maciej and Panos… thanks

    I welkome new writers :)


  • David here is a little hint: nine years ago and after having done a lot of it for fifteen years I found out the act of traveling was really boring, expensive, bad for the environment etc… But being somewhere else remains essential for visual stimulation purposes. One needs that feeling of unbalance to keep the eyes alert. My solution: stick to one place far from home. Dig in for a few years. You’ll see: rewards guaranteed. No useless pressure, higher concentration level, better knowledge about the place, less superficial relations, so much more time to work… I could go on. Downsides? Sure.. But they’re no match…

    And granted: if there had been no wine or Côte d’Or chocolate available in Phnom Penh maybe I wouldn’t have stayed that long…

  • Mr. Vink

    Nice to hear you here. Your news site (blog?) is great but little quiet.

    “And granted: if there had been no wine or Côte d’Or chocolate available in Phnom Penh maybe I wouldn’t have stayed that long…”

    ok… now I must visite Phnom Penh myself!!

    Marcin Luczkowski

  • Marcin,
    You mean the news site is quiet because there are no replies to my posts? It was initially only meant to let people at Magnum know what I’m up to in my little boomtown… But if I never really expect replies (it’s not really a dialogue place like this one) they are always welcome. You’ll get better reactions to your replies from David though…

    (sorry for the intrusion David..)

  • MARCIN….

    honestly, i am not really going to have any time to have a meaningful exchange with you until i return from Norway on march 10…i am anxious to hear of your new project,so let’s have at least an e-chat in mid- march…


    that is one thing i have never done…actually live “outside” of my own country…i have thought of it many times…a move to Paris or to Barcelona or Havana or BKK or someplace in Mexico..frankly i have not done that only because of my family…just figured i could never be so far away from my aging parents , my sons etc etc…i can totally imagine what you say to be true…i think the only way that would work is if i was not traveling around as much as i am already and saved the travel time to go see family…we all have different “circumstances”..

    thanks for writing john…you have always provided great insight…i do hope to see you in june in paris….

    peace, david

  • Mr. Vink

    I ask, but I known the answer I just expected reply.Maybe you will writing more on this forum? I’m huge fan of your work as you know. You have great easiness for taking pictures. and great eye.
    I wish you luck.


    yes yes, only when you will have a lot of time. That why I asked. I will ask again when you will return to new york. No hurry. thanks.

  • While I hate to quote You to You, David, one of your thoughts from Divided Soul (I’m in buenos aires, and I like the way the intro works in spanish better anyway!):

    “Me encuentro en un torrente simultaneo de necesidades y sensaciones primarias”

    I think my best moments come from a combination of excitement and nervousness driven by the discovery of a spark, a thought, an idea. Lying in bed, running 100 mph… it’s less about place and more about THAT feeling…Sometimes my senses are on high alert at home in my apt, other times it’s entering a room or a world for the first time. What I’m still trying to figure out is how to PUT my senses on high alert. Yesterday I was at an amazing home with a group of characters, and I couldn’t make IT happen, and the pictures didn’t come. Time, I suppose.

    That said, the pictures will never be the same the second time I enter a place, and the pictures taken on the 100th time will find something hidden on the first 99. A combination perhaps?

  • Hum. Maybe I should pack my rucksack and travel within my own city. I always have much more energy when I don’t wake up at home…

  • No se por que pasa lo que me pasa, quizas sea la vejez, quisiera quedarme aqui en mi casa , pero ya no se cual es.

  • An anchor, definitively !!
    I’m just back home, after a 2 month long trip down in Antarctica. Hard to be back, but I need it : the “routine” that you are talking about helps me think about my pictures. When I’m on the move for several weeks, it is finaly too hard for me to have a good sight on my job. That’s why I need my home, my anchor, to relax and to get new ideas…

  • Keep us update of the LA dates, Panos and David, if some of us can join.

    David, not sure if you will be in Paris in June, but I will be.

    Who knows, John Vink, I may even ring you up in Pnom Penh with your permission (no portfolio to show, no sollicitation of opinion, no fear!), comes April, though that may be the month you escape the soakedness of the region’s water festivals.

    “..when the oil runs out, L.A. will be the first place to go…”

    panos, calls THE BOSS on the phone:

    or this rare incident below..

  • I am never happier than when I only have a small carry-on suitcase and a camera bag! Yes, travel has become a pain to some degree. But, I prefer the small travel woes to the day to day stuff that comes with owning a home, cars and pets. I am ready to downsize…

  • An anchor for me is like a chain to my soul. Need movement around to feel movement inside, as I’m a wanderer in search of a dream…

    “One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time” (Demian – Hermann Hesse)

  • David, sounds like you are ON THE ROAD to me. You can only be exicted about such a prospect.

    You know, one of the things I admire about Dylan is his life on the road, constantly touring with his band doing his thing. You will be touring doing YOUR thing. For some, this transcience seems to produce a an explosion of creativity. I have a feeling that you will become addicted to it – just having that freedom will be amazing.

    The last time I took an extensive road trip was in 2005 when I went to Saskatchewan and just explored the province for nearly two months and all I had to think about was the next picture. It was great!

    Once my current project in East Anglia is finished I have the feeling that I may need to move on myself. I grew up in the region, moved away, and eventually felt this great urge to return there and photograph. But I think the camera is my connection to the place, even though it is “home” and my family is there. It is nice though to be able to photograph so close to home but you can’t do that forever, well I can’t I don’t think.

    Today I headed out on my mountain bike riding the local farm tracks, forgetting about photography for a couple of hours. And then I suddenly came across an old run down farm that I hadn’t seen before and which looks like a perfect place to photograph for my project. Being “home” has its advantages.

    I’m taking your workshop in Oslo. It should be an interesting place to photograph. I look forward to meeting you.



  • “sleeping around” does stimulate me, actually. i get a bit stale if i stay put too long – i finally just came to terms with that fact. i have a home, and i’m standing on it no matter where i’m at.

    oaxaca, especially, TRULY stimulates me, as does chiapas. god how i envy you right now. after i moved out of 475 (yep!), i headed to the west coast and then moved to mexico and guatemala for a while. did a lot of moving and “sleeping around”. it was the breaks in between moving where i actually PRODUCED (i’m a jewelry designer) but the moving around, and the things i saw and learned, all fed into it. yeah it’s a bit of a pain sometimes, but… it also taught me patience, something i never had before.

    i discovered your blog, btw, because of 475 being in the news and having old friends email me and tell me what was happening. and i’m so glad i did – i’ve really been enjoying your blog. and by the way, i was 26 before i ever left the country, myself. my first trip? egypt. didn’t make it easy on myself. most people go to europe or something.

  • oh and p.s. a previous poster suggested zipolite as a beach spot.

    it’s got some tourists, but it’s still idyllic – also, it’s one of the few (optionally) nude beaches – prepare yourself for Italians in speedos, or less. i, however, would suggest Mazunte, instead (next beach over).

    they’re all beautiful, but Mazunte’s my spot (and if you go there, make sure you walk out to Punta Cometa – and take your camera). just an hour or so east of puerto escondido, right next to Zipolite.

  • When you travel , it usually means you are making the effort to leave the comfort zone and flex those ideas , musings and hankerings into something that justifies getting off your ass in the first place,
    Travel – shows commitment!
    I’m mostly travelling on assignments now and the buzz that comes from landing in different places and hitting the ground running is something else.
    But now that I have a family to come home to, that travel is now more often than nott assigned and I’m shooting my own stuff a lot closer to home.
    Travel with an agenda , an idea trancends tourism , It becomes a quest!
    You gotta have a quest , otherwise whats the point!

    “…David here is a little hint: nine years ago and after having done a lot of it for fifteen years I found out the act of traveling was really boring, expensive, bad for the environment etc…

    Posted by: John Vink | February 24, 2008 at 05:18 AM…”

    I don’t know if anybody noticed the recent visit-post of another MASTER of photography…!

    … how cool and REAL is that ….HE admits that …”traveling is bad for the environment”!!!!!!!!

    people ENlighten up…. Throw away your NATGEO…
    and forget about that “safari in Africa”… you planning for years…
    Stick with your motherfucking corvettes idiots…

    And stop traveling for no reason.. just to test your new plastic CANON LSD somewhere in the north pole, or whatever….
    But nobody ever told you, that regarding the chaos theory,
    even a butterfly or a “click” from a canon lsd1000 in america, can cause a TSUNAMI somewhere in Thailand!!!

    God damn… plastic lovers… stop mplesting the world by your “travels”… keep your shit at your bathroom…
    why you have to spread it around???
    why a “big cruise ship” has to consume half the amazon river( energy wise) just to move 400 lazy asses around the world???????
    why… whats so special…

    In other words… move around, travel, if you benefit the world… if you are helping the world… not just to test your freeky canon,
    or just to “see” the world…
    The world doesnt need to be seen, IDIOTS,
    it needs to be helped and saved!

    But i know, you are an artist… you only see the beauty… not the pain….

    yall know me by now…


    panos scratches his head!!!:

    Why ( not only you, my fellow greek also, mr Nikos Economopoulos… and many more…)
    No, no, no… i’m not comparing anybody to DAH’S openness, and
    straightforwardness .. He is not an IDOL, a DEMI GOD,…
    he dont belong at the “ELITE”… he talks to us…..
    he is teaching for free or “peanuts”…
    With all my respect… “is there an elite, out there mr. VINK?”

  • other words, i agree with Glenn…!
    That’s all i wanted to say…
    peace, again!

  • o.k!

    take this one, if you can:

  • and there is nothing i can do!!!!

    … can you hear me Major “junkie” Tom ????

  • Hello David.. soon i will have similar problem… I am going to move to London, I already have a one way ticket for 22nd March… i will have there only one small room, I will be able to take with me only 30 kg (20kg+ 10kg hand luggage) luggage… it will be hard to decide what is most important for me and what should i leave in Poland in my parents home…
    I don’t know how long i will live like that, dont even know what kind of job i will find… sounds little bit crazy…

    I don’t know if “sleeping around” stimulate me to do my best work but i discovered that when i am poor and i know in some place i am last time (or there is at least big possiblitity i will never go back there) i work harder…


    i think you know i am in Oaxaca right now….a magic city where i have worked many times… my longest stay was for a piece in Natgeo ,”Song of Oaxaca”, but i have probably returned here as much as any “go back” city in my career…sometimes now i walk down a street or a market where i made an interesting photograph in the past…including some from Div Soul…the people are exactly the same as before and the situation is exactly the same as before, but i may see nothing….on the other hand, i am constantly discovering and seeing things i never saw “the first time around”…so, i think the combo is as you describe…some things hit us right in face as part of our initial sense of discovery and other things either come out as part of our “evolution” with a subject or perhaps are just new “discoveries” based on deeper knowledge or immersion…

    i do not know how it is for other photographers, but for me good work totally depends on one thing: my MOOD at the time…good work for me is dependent on my state of mind when i have camera in hand…

    no amount of experience or knowledge seems to help much…if i am ON or READY, then somehow the photographs come out of “nowhere”…conversely,i could be in the perfect “situation”, but if i am not 100% intuitive and fluid and “in the zone”, then mediocrity is the result…

    when i am ON, i am also very very relaxed…serene..nirvana ….yet, “working” to my max…

    this is giving me a thought for a new post, so i will save further writing for now, but the concept of “work/pleasure/creativity” can never be discussed too much…


    i think for sure that “traveling” within your own city, getting away from your normal “routes” will make you feel as if you have “gone somewhere”…give it a try…


    my question back to you is, where are the actual best photographs coming from?? at home relaxed or out “on the road”???


    yes, i will be in Paris in june for our annual Magnum meeting….time is usually tight, but if we do not meet before then, then surely we can meet in Paris….i will invite you to our party that precedes the meeting…


    downsizing is always a good idea…clears the mind….priorities, priorities….


    i do hope to see you soonest in Valencia…


    i look forward to meeting you in Oslo…this should be an amazing gathering….i wish i was a student for this one!!!


    i have been to Zipolite and Mazunte (yes, THE spot!!) several is as you describe…cannot make it on this trip much to my chagrin….if i did not have to be in Oslo by the weekend, then you would find me lying in my hammock after a little body surfing with a cold Sol etc etc….i do not know how long Mazunte could be “home”, but i would like to find out!!!


    maybe because of the slow connection here, i cannot open your YouTube links..but, i will do so as soon as possible…

    by the way, many Magnum photogs, and VII photogs, and Noor photogs and other agency photogs “lurk” here…as do many editors..they just do not write….some people are just more vociferous than others…i think this is fair enough…

    John Vink is actually quite approachable…i am sure you read him on Lightstalkers…he does workshops in Cambodia….he cares very much about the state of documentary/humanitarian photographic work….

    Frank Sinatra once said (i paraphrase)..”i only owe people my music, my performance on stage”….

    i think many photographers feel the same…their work is what they DO and that is enough…that is all there is…and i think that is enough…

    i have always “shared”…it is just my personality..but, i seek no “credit” for this…for me it is energizing, for others perhaps not….i promise you that John Vink will share and share some more….be patient and he will write to you….

    perspective: even back in my college days, i always spent a lot of time helping my fellow students think about their stories, edit etc etc…i even really school days “cheated” once for one of my friends and shot a small story for which he took credit…he was “stuck”, so i “helped him out”…i would not go that far again!!!…but, i took my first workshop when i was 22 and started teaching them when i was 23…

    this forum is an extension of all that i have believed and done all along…the “pay back/pay forward” concept just runs in my family…..

    you should meet my mother!!!! and my mother, i assure you, would make the imagined “wild and crazy” Panos feel totally comfortable in her living room…she would see a “unique personality”, be fascinated by it, and want to know everything about you….so, i suppose i get this from her….she does not know the meaning of the word “elite”, nor do i…

    so Panos, you now know there are some iconic “lurkers” out there….”lurkers” who would really like to see you take your “stream of consciousness” wild ride through L.A. and have it manifest itself in a set of powerful photographs….”powerful” as in being totally reflective of YOU…not of ME, but of YOU…to this end i will work with you….and with anyone else on this forum who seeks help…

    again Panos, “stay tuned”….


    did you ever get your bag and your book??? i remember the package we sent you came back with wrong address or something, but i do not remember what happened after…and then, i was kicked out of my loft, so maybe your package is in storage or something…please let me know soonest…


    what a surprise that you are moving to London…pretty easy city to get even more poor!!! my oh my, i cannot afford to be in London for long…in any case, i do not know your circumstances, but i only send “good vibes” in your direction…i can say that we miss you chatting here, but i also know that you are struggling and if you have to “disappear” to get your work done, then we will wait for the result…

    i am in London from time to time, so i do hope we will meet again soon….please be of good cheer…..


    i am a bit behind in getting reviews to some of you…i have done quite a few, but i have quite a few to do…it will now be mid-march before i can do many reviews again…but, rest assured i will get it done…it does take me about an hour or so to do one review…i do not have many “spare hours”, but i offered this service, so i will do it….i will never be able to do this again….but, to all of you who have written me and requested a review i will be sure to give your work an honest look…

    i have a pretty good “feel” for most of you who read this forum….i have looked at all of your websites at one time or another…..i pretty much know who you are…..this will manifest itself in some really dynamic things for the future…again, i am a full time “working photographer” and a part time “blogger”….this forum is a “hobby” and not a “job”…..i do not want a “job”, but i treat this forum like i treat everything…i see it as an “object in itself”….a whole….

    i cannot post like the pro “bloggers”….but, i think most of you have developed a patience with me knowing that my only real offering for you is that i am “out there” trying to do what you are trying to do…

    i will need your help in where we take all of this….i have some new ideas which will be put forward to you within the next two weeks….we have built something unique here…i think most of you feel this….the writing here and the photographic work coming from you will be combined in a unique way….it has all been “organic” so far, and i would like to keep it that way….we are a relatively small community, but strong….i would rather be strong and small than too big and not “personal”….

    yes, now “running”….back to you soonest….

    peace etc…david

  • Your question hits home for me (so to speak), as sometimes I feel like a dog on a short leash with my kids so close to being independent but…not…quite…there…yet. I want to enjoy the time left with them. So here I am, not much traveling to be had as I learn.

    Instead, I am finding stories and subjects where I live, like a local Polish church which has had its Board and priest excommunicated by the Archbishop for not turning over its century-old legal right to the church property. Or an abandoned house I’ve passed by countless times over many years, and never somehow seen until two days ago.

    It’s a period of “a inch wide but a mile deep” instead of the other way around — though I guess the trick is to be a “mile deep” no matter where you are, yes?

  • hi divid,

    i was thinking earlier today of what i wanted to write for this posting, i finally got my thoughts in order and i see that you have beat me to it.

    the basic point for me was that its all about state of mind. location is important in its own way of course, but, its what you feel and see at the time that matters most. i’m in the process of starting a new project at the moment. i had planned to go and take some photos today, but i know that my mood is not right. i know that i won’t do my subjects justice and i can’t face doing that; because these people, what they have done in the past means a great deal to me. i want to give them the best that i can give.

    anyway you’ve said it all, so i don’t have to carry on.

    take care, have fun, write soon.


  • David,
    Oslo is probably going to be amazing. I couldn’t afford the workshop. After all it’s expensive, but probably worth it. Then you have all other expenses like food and living in Oslo for a week.
    Because I don’t live extremely far from Oslo I’m thinking of going there to maybe watch some exhibitions and listen to some seminiars if there are any? Do you know where I can find some sort of schedule or plan for the week in Oslo?


  • Aga

    You are going to move to London?
    Damn… who will stay in this country if everybody value will move to islands?
    Yes, I understand… of course… I wish you luck. I hope that you will work as a photographer soon.
    I should do the same… but Captain leaves boat as last…

    I had awful day today. Bloody laboratory lost my films! A half of my old but proper work about “hometown”… and what is more awful… my lasts works! Portraits and dark landscapes! shi……t!!!!


  • Thanks for the invite, David, sounds swell (June 11th is when I arrive in Paris).

    You raised a point that is keeping me perplexed (read: clueless) for a long time as concerns photography. You mention mediocrity, and i am wondering if in your eyes, a shot that is mediocre is craftless then, for what matters in that craft?

    Heck, taking your opinion aside, these editors you mention often, do they look for craftmanship (the ability to be on when ASKED for) or “moody” photographers (the ability to realize craft won’t help, go home, and have a beer)?

  • David… will be nice to meet you in London :-) Hope i will find there some job (i already found one – but in polish shop, so i am not very happy.. i want to practice my english, not polish ;-))
    I know London is expensive, but still my friends are able to work there and keep half money to send to their families and are able to buy computers and cameras ect…
    I was working whole month for polish agency and i earnt only 136 zl…it’s about 30-40 euro for whole month of work… almost same was with polish newspaper… so… there is NO WAY to live here.. it doesnt even make sense to use my own camera to shoot for such small money…. btw my camera is broken, in London i was shooting with compact camera :-)
    I would love to live in Poland, i have so many ideas for projects here… i will see how things will go :-)

    Marcin…I am not sure if i want to work as photographer… of course i want to make my projects and shoot but i see reality and i think it’s better to find some other job (to have insurance and be abble to pay a bills at least), to be able to travel
    Before i thought Poles are very poor in England, and they are not happy, they miss Poland and work whole days… but during my visit (i spent there 5 days) i saw something different.. they smile more than my friends in Poland, because they can buy a dinner if they want, they can buy a ticket to poland whenever they want, they are able to help their families in Poland… those things are very important… in Poland you work one year to buy a laptop in London, few days :-) plus London is on of the biggest cities on the world.. same as NYC and Istanbul which i LOVE.. all important exhibitions are there!!!! and in London i can work legaly, i don’t even need passport which is great for me! and i will practice my english i hope…

  • Hello,

    Each post ends with a tough question… every time I end up not writing……just makes me think…..

    but yeah fantastic energy…..I just hope I have that energy and passion all this life….anyways for me ideas can come anywhere…..there are no boundaries for that….with respect to photography I feel my best should come from the place I know, in my case India, for I know it…but then its about discovering and having those experiences….so in that respect India surprises me all the time….

    And also when I travel to a new country,I feel excited..the heart floats…thats a fanatstic feeling in itself….

    Combining both the two :)

    I remember reading somewhere….not the correct words of this quote but yeah it says like

    The best thing about travelling outside is coming back to your own country….



  • hi david. i like it when you say you’re sometimes “on” and sometimes “off” with your photography. first time i heard you say this was over at the “family & friends” section when you showed a few “off” pics. it may sound mystical or something that involves the muses, or like you said it may be mood. i like the organicity, of it–being on, whenever. i tend to work this way too, following how i feel. but i also encounter a roadblock sometimes. when i’m “off” i tend to panic, seeing how “ugly” my pics are turning out, and feel a self-imposed pressure to “deliver.” which of course only serves to stifle me some more. you say you feel relaxed when you’re “on.” perhaps just as important, one must be relaxed when “off” too :-)


  • Joan, “inch wide but a mile deep” I like that.

    Aga, hope you enjoy London. I’m English and have visited the capital on only a handful of occasions – usually for photo exhibitions – so in a two or three days of being there you will know it better than I.


  • Aga,

    I wish you all the best in your move to London. It may be tough at times, but I think the opportunities are there.

    My grandfather came to England during the second world war. Obviously his circumstances were totally different to yours but I think it was the best thing he ever did. Sadly he died young so I never got to even meet him.

    My grandmother died a few months ago. When my father was going over her things he discovered photographs and letters belonging to my grandfather which nobody knew existed. My grandmother didn’t talk about him much and claimed to not know anything about his life in Poland and his family there.

    As you may imagine, this has given me lots of ideas to churn over….


  • @Aga: luck with London. The UK is absolutely full of Poles, if I were you I would freak out. (I must know about twelve or fifteen in Cardiff? And I see some of them almost daily.) If I happen to be going in that direction (not uncommon) I’ll give you a shout.

  • Hey David,

    You have interesting and probing questions as always. Much appreciated.

    Hope you are enjoying your time in Oaxaca.

    Your question, with regards to “sleeping around” versus “anchor”, I would personally say that “sleeping around” is the better way for myself. Changing your location of where you sleep, whether in one city, a state or country, I feel one are put in more various situations. But again your question, would also depend on what kind of work you would like to develop, whether it being more localised, or general, would also depend of your location for sleeping.

    For myself, when traveling, I like to explore new places, and traveling from bed to bed, while I am on a journey, is very much part of my experience and documentation. However, when I travel to locations where I have friends, I tend to stay with them, and are then part of their localised experience. is a great experience, for “sleeping around”. I have not been able to sleep on any unfamiliar couches yet, but have hosted quite a few in my apartment here in Berlin, and this has overall been a very rewarding experience.

    I wish you all best for the rest of your time in Oaxaca for this time, before you head to Oslo, for dok08. I will be heading to Norway on Saturday March 1, and will attend the dok08, and I hope to meet with you there.



  • David… i have to say that your blog is amazing… it gives so big impact on my life… so nice to have a chat with people :-) THX EVERYBODY!! :-)

  • @ David: “ANA… i do hope to see you soonest in Valencia…”

    yes, veeeery soon! ;-) !!

    @ Aga: I think you made a good decision. If it does not work, you can always come back, but if you don’t try and give it a chance, you’ll never know… Good luck!!

  • @Aga: luck with London.

    Posted by: Joni Karanka | February 26, 2008 at 03:44 PM..


    but…. you are moving to London!!!!
    congratulations…. I love London or should i say…
    everybody “should” like London…..
    tons of shit to shoot there….

    and by the way… i kidding above…
    I do care about you, good luck….
    and have no fear…. if a retarded greek like me survived 12 years in bloody L.A!!!?…
    im totally convinced that a way smarter girl like you…
    will have no problem adjusting!…
    Hint… as an immigrant’s point of view…:
    If you find yourself in times of troubles?????
    (fuck Mother Mary & the Beatles.)… dont waste your time praying…
    just remind yourself all the misery you leaving behind….
    did you say you worked the whole month??? for 50 fucking euros????????????!!!!!!!… THE WHOLE MONTH????!!!! …. like $80 usd????
    Whattttttt????????? Still there??????
    Leave tonite… or should i say yesterday….
    Work the whole year for a laptop???????
    Damnnnn, it looks that im taking a lot of things for granted!!!!

  • PANOS THINKS ( doesnt happen very often)

    “…oh and p.s. a previous poster suggested zipolite as a beach spot.

    it’s got some tourists, but it’s still idyllic – also, it’s one of the few (optionally) nude beaches – prepare yourself for Italians in speedos, or less. i, however, would suggest Mazunte, instead (next beach over).

    they’re all beautiful, but Mazunte’s my spot (and if you go there, make sure you walk out to Punta Cometa – and take your camera). just an hour or so east of puerto escondido, right next to Zipolite.

    Posted by: dori | February 25, 2008 at 09:35 PM…”


    “…) plus London is on of the biggest cities on the world.. same as NYC and Istanbul which i LOVE.. all important exhibitions are there!!!!…”

    panos says:

    IF YOU EVER VISIT ATHENS , GREECE or even the bloody L.A !!!!
    you might change your mind about, what’s the coolest city in the universe…or even Barcelona…. or London… or…. whatever!
    Leave the “terror ” behind youuuuuu!
    Leave the “City of the Zombies”, behind you….
    Go ahead with your ideas…. Free yourself…. go live in London…
    and when you get and feel strong enough…!?
    immigrate for the south… that is GREECE, ITALY, SPAIN or PORTUGAL…
    thats what its all about…
    welcome to “real” Europe…
    good luck!

  • “would “sleeping around” stimulate you, or do you need an “anchor” to do your best work??”

    well … actually I do not know. It is a interesting question because it relates to working. And like many of the people who have posted, I do good work when I get into the necessary mood. When everything flows… and no matter where you turn, something meaningful happens. BUT, I do not think this has to do with my personal well being. It is more like I imagine a drug might be. A strong water current that drags me with it. It works even if I am not ok. Maybe even better then even. Well, not better, but different. Different angle.

    For my personal well being I appreciate knowing that my things are there somewhere in a save mode. Sounds like a cliché, but I adore books…. And while other people have a difficult time passing a bakery without buying anything, I have a hard time passing the Walther König Bookshops here in Germany. They are specialized in Art&Architecture. Just to picture the importance it has for me: there was a time I had very little money and if I had to choose, I’d buy a book over food. I always said I had more and longer pleasure from the book ;-)
    So books are important and the little things I gather in life, that have some meaningful story attached to them. All the rest … I do not care so much.

    But these things, even though I love to have them around me, could well enough just be in a storage room. I just need to know that I do have access and that they are not lost to me.

    I guess, eventually it is for me about having this anchor you all are taking about. Just knowing that I have it would be fine. Retreating once in a while would be enough. For me.

    For my work? I do not think it has impact. My work is me. And I am always taking myself along with me anyway ;))

    Have fun&intensity, David!

    So long,

  • It’s lovely to ‘see’ everyone again through the chat, but now that my mind is on Zipolite/Mazunte, it’s all I can think about. When I ran out of money at Zipolite, I made pancakes on the grill in someone’s palapa in exchange for hammock and food, and I think it could have been home for quite awhile. There used to be a little woman who baked in her beehive oven down the road..she was the sweetest.

  • DAVID,

    if there is anything smallish that you need for Oslo from NYC, let me know..I am shooting with one of your workshop participants the night before, and I could hand it off..I expect he wouldn’t mind if it fits in the luggage or whatever..

    wish I could come

  • David:

    got ur email. I’ve recent u 2 new emails today: the original email about Mercy Book Project i sent to aol address…this morning i sent to both aol and to the blog email…

    just an update, here are others participating: Steve McCurry, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Philip Jones-Griffiths Susan Meiselas and Chris Steele-Perkins”

    gotta have u on board :))))


  • I’ve just had a crazy, perhaps even a completely stupid, idea about having a big meetup / party online. I wonder if there’s a future to be had for forums like this in Second Life where we could arrange a time and place in the virtual realm and party some. Perhaps have a big slide show projection and kill some virtual beers.

    The only problem, however, would be our needing to pay a fee for membership.

    Just a thought. Entertaining an idea is all.


  • Paul, great idea… One thing though…
    NO virtual beers coz I’m lacking a virtual liver!
    Real Beers, please!!!

  • Panos, are you in NYC? If so, there’ll be some beers swirling on Thursday night if you’re interested.

  • Thanks Paul, i wish i could join the NYC thursday night gathering…
    but im stuck in cali for a while….
    thanks for the invitation… see you soon

  • Bob, tell us more about the Mercy Book Project: you have named photographers who I admire. I recently sent a photograph to magnum U.K. for the attention of Chris Steele Perkins. In his Magnum portfolio he has a photograph taken in Blackpool, England and I sent him a photograph taken at the same seaside resort entitled “Chris Steele Perkins Eat Your Heart Out” (it’s the “Soaked by Waves” photograph on my website. All tongue-in-cheek – I really admire his work. No answer so-far so I hope that he didn’t receive it and is not pissed-off. Somehow I don’t think so.

    I love to travel but I know that I have a home to return to. Don McCullin describes in his book Unreasonable Behavior the return to his family in England after witnessing the famine in Biafra. A table full of food.

    Photojournalism can sometimes paint the world in the colour of shit (that’s color for our colonial cousins). A friend of mine describes BBCs “North West Tonight” as “Danger Down your Way”.

    It’s dangerous out there – be careful!

    While I admire and celebrate the many photojournalists who deal with the darker side of humanity, I do wonder if the balance is tipped in favour of bad news. The vast majority of people are GOOD: perhaps if we saw more of the beauty of existence we would be less likely to tolerate the crap.

    Tomorrow I will sort out the Middle East – easy peasy.


    Best to all and CSP,



    i will see Chris Steele-Perkins in a few days…i will remind him of your request…


    many thanks for your offer….i will be in New York for about 8 hours before i am off to Oslo, so i should be able to pick up whatever i need….sorry you will not be there, but i think we may do something similar in New York in the fall….that is, if Oslo works out right….hmmmm, you are a Zipolite girl!!! not a bad place to “hang” for awhile…i am dying because i am so close , yet so far….


    please find me in Oslo…i am tall and shaved head(bald) and will have bloodshot eyes…i look forward to meeting you….


    i share your love of books…and a good book is only matched by a fine wine, your favorite tunes and candle light reflected in the eyes of your most significant a matter of fact, the latter can stimulate you to go out and make a good book!!!


    sorry i will miss you in New York…but, let’s get together when i return….i do not have a home to invite you to for the moment, but i am sure we can find the proper venue….


    i tend to like the “real Europe” too…however, and do not kill me please, but i have never been to Greece…i keep waiting for an invitation…hmmmm, who do i have to know???

    cheers, david

  • David,

    Speaking of books…your Novella?

    Oh, and I still have that bottle of scotch with your name on it.



    the novella “You Made Me Leave” has been finished for almost two years….i would publish it now , but i must do my other book first…i do look forward to the scotch with my name on it!!! many thanks in advance…

    cheers, david

  • Oh…OK fine. I’ll wait! I did at least get a taste of it (the novella, that is!) two years ago in Jackson…so to everyone else, I say…ha!

    Just kidding. All of you will be floored when it finally comes to light! Very good stuff!

  • Ok… Let me pull over pretty quick!

    Damn David you always ahead of me…
    I do have some plans to take over Greece sooner or later!
    I can see you teaching just like Socrates and Plato and…
    on the open fields.. No classrooms, walking through the olive tree fields,
    chatting and debating and fighting…
    and then drinking wine blessed by Dionysus… and then…
    ahh Greece…
    my grandparents died recently and of course they couldn’t take their home with them… So, there you have it…
    if you need a classroom or a bed!…

    But as Leonard Cohen once said:
    “first we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin”…!
    then… Athens Greece panos suggests!!

    But let me first finish my “unfinished”
    business here in Hel(L.A)…
    And maybe we can invite Nikos E. too,
    unless he is busy with some kind of “Elite”
    seminar… LOL

  • … and speaking of “fine” literature and poetry:

    The World’s Greatest Loser

  • For my best buddy… Panos.

    These are only “vacation” photos, no time to really get “in the zone”… so no nasty comments, I already know how you feel about my photography!

    Anyway, it’s just a way of expressing my deep love of that country of your origin.


  • Aga.
    Good luck in london, I`m moving back to the UK too and it is scarily expensive. So really good luck. I have known and liked the Polish community in London for many years. in those days most were working illegally in restaurants and as nannies and aupairs and most were being seriously taken advantage off, including two ex-girlfriends, though not by me I must add quickly. I haven`t been in london for years now and hear that Polish is almost the second language there now and it pleases me to see that the Poles, a people and a country I love, can feel welcome and comfortable in my country. Okay Daily Mail readers aside! I think the long termers, those that were there before, working illegally perhaps and who then came back legally and those that stayed through the change of border regulations (I remember my girlfriend always being pulled off the bus at Dover whenever we came back into Britain) is a story in itself. I`d love to do it myself but a. My wife knows Polisg girls are seriously beautiful and perhaps won`t want me spending too much time in that community :) plus b. My Polish language ability is now limited to ordering beer so you are uniquely qualified. I`ve sen your work and it is amazing I think you`ll get good stories there. And the day job could actually be the best way into it.
    Przyjemnej podróży

    i’m really impressed…. especially the olive tree….
    really thank you…

    and honestly apart from my occasional psychotic barking,
    you dont know how i feel about your photography…. really…

    plus i didnt see any canons… ( i have no hate for nikon yet, and the main reason is because is the small guy, also kept the original F mount and also accept ZEISS… so still fuck canon LSD….!
    If canon is the cocaine and lsd or ecstasy, id rather stick with the pot…
    manual non autofocus nikons or leicas…lol

    Anyways… i’m impressed you made it to greece…
    You are totally and more than welcomed to my “party” over there…
    You will see. I do have a plan… i promise…
    and you are definitely in my brother!

  • I’m there. Thanks for the invite!

  • These are only “vacation” photos

    All cool, Michael. Thanks for the link. Much love and togetherness, shot as felt.

    One should never apologize (or warn ahead) for any thing we shoot. maybe an interesting topic in itself, how so many of us easily fall in the “not my best”, or possibly “making excuses” fold. Not that it is what you did, Michael. Just ad libbing.

  • Herve,
    right on, thats a topic itself….( warn ahead)

    but, regardless,
    i really enjoyed Michael K’s photos…
    ACTUALLY I LOVED THEM… almost brought tears in my eyes!
    I mean, really…
    and Herve,
    I love the way you “play” your “part” in this forum…. like an instrument…
    like a guitar….
    I think you are Herve Hendrix…!

  • hehe, Panos, maybe because my first camera (I was 15) was… a guitar. Many subsequent ones as well.

    How about some Bach:

  • Damon… yes, there are thousends of Poles in UK… unfortunatelly many of them don’t make good opinion about Poland (when I was traveling in tube in London and i was walking on the streets I saw many of them drinkng vodka and talking ugly) but also I know many very inteligent Poles there…
    Where do you live Damon? In London, too?

  • Panos.. i have never been in Athens! I am sure i will love that city, too!
    Maybe next year! Live is full of many suprices :-)

  • David,

    Have a safe trip to Oslo. I’m heading down to Somerset for a relaxing weekend at my girlfriend’s parents before heading to Oslo on Monday. Your schedule sounds a little more manic!

    Looks like they’re having snow over there. Should make for some interesting pictures.

    Oaxaca to Oslo is quite a contrast!

    See you there,


  • Thanks Herve. Good points you make. Also think it would make for a good topic.

    But for the record, I never make excuses or justifications for my photos. Whether they be work, art, or snapshots. In this case it was just a little concern given a few past exchanges with Panos that brought it out of me. But everything is cool. No more justifying in the future…promise!

    Thanks again.


  • I have a lovely family who I hate to leave but I also love to be away seeing and doing new things. As always the grass is always greener on the other side. I don’t take many pictures at home and worry when I have more stuff than will fit in rucksack. Saying that I wouldn’t want to be away for years at a time.

  • AGA…

    let me know as soon as you arrive in London…i will introduce you to some good friends who will surely be helpful to you…i think you met my friend Laura El-Tantawy in New York when you came over…there is a story about her here under “family/friends” right after the post about you and Lance…in any case, she is relatively new to London, a serious photographer, and i think would “take you in” as a colleague and friend….also, Jason Hobbs, who shows up from time to time here on the forum, would be helpful to you….he is a creative freelancer and has a truly good “handle” on London…in any case, i will give you some more names as soon as you arrive….


    yes, you do “play” us all very well!!!


    our friend Nikos is the least least least “elite” person i know…Nikos does workshops from his van…drives around Greece with just a few students, camping, shooting etc etc…i like this approach…want to go with him myself…if you can get a copy of Magnum/Magnum in your hands, please read what Nikos wrote about me….


    to go from warm sunny Oaxaca to cold snowy Oslo sounds like a transition i would prefer the other way around…see you soonest…

    cheers, david

  • HARRY…

    can’t you take your family with you on some of those shoots?? i worked very very hard (and my ex-wife worked even harder) to make sure i could have my family with me on as many shoots as possible…it seems like your work would lend itself easily to having your family along…

    cheers, david

  • David…
    seen your pic around, so shouldn’t be too difficult finding you…and also i’ll look for the crowd ;)
    if you are in town earlier (saturday, march 1), i will have a slide show during a party from a trip i did to the big island, hawai’i, not far from Grand Hotel, Karl Johan. Let me know.

    look forward to seeing you in Oslo.


  • David,

    yes I could take the family on half of my trips if I had the money but as always skint.


  • Hey Panos, this you? ;-)

    I fell completely in love with Greece, leaving was so painful but working hard to go back. How can you stand L.A.?

  • Hey Tom… this is actually me meditating, unmedicated…
    See my cracked up nicotine lips, my chest bush…
    all that darkness around me….
    Perfect portrait… represent my feelings and explains why i left
    medieval greece…. lol…

    And i really dont know how i stand motherfucking L.A.
    Tell you the truth, i cant stand it….
    Its just that im not that powerful like DAH or NIKOS E.,
    to live the life that i want to…
    so i have to keep living my fake , plastic , botox, L.A life….
    kinda trapped for now….
    do you know what a late credit card payment is???…
    or car payment or mortgage….?
    have you ever owned a corvette?????
    Ah Tom… you just got me started!!!

  • Alright warm weather freaks, check out Ice Fishing / Rabbit Derby if you dare:

  • Hey David,

    I miss laughing with you. Thanks for sharing a wonderful week with all of us in Oaxaca. Hope to see you when Emily comes to town.

  • Panos,

    Nice post, I could actually understand it, ya ain’t so bad when you’re coherent you crazy SOB :))

    I understand feeling trapped … got all that, mortgage, credit card, no corvette (but i’m in the depths of mid-life crisis so i won’t rule it out … hmmm, gold chains) … and i have a “good life” here in the country, not plastic, real, working the land, building stuff, should be content but i’ve never been content with anything, ADD maybe … i’m often stagnant and bored on the homefront, not learning or exploring enough, no new discoveries, or too few, no great epiphanies or sense of wonder … sense of wonder is everything to me, in general and with photography … thinking too much, wheels driving me crazy, both in general and artistically … it just gets all too easy to be … boring and lazy … and I’d sleep around more, really, the road just screams, screams, but I married my best friend so “sleeping around” is not an option right now. But I’m not ruling out balance, I have a plan … working hard on the homefront now so I can take some time later this year.

    So Panos, slip the chains man, say fuck it all, sell it all (except the camera … and maybe meds), get an American hillbilly pickup and a dog, hit the road for better or worse, risk everything … risk IS everything! … cause, ya know, if things go sour every little Greek village still needs a garbage collector, and I would trade almost everything for just that right now … medieval and “boring” though it may be.

    peace, you crazy man :))

  • Tom, i’m convinced you are right:



    thanks again…
    I’ll be thinking all that tonite!….
    if i ever get me out of this fucking car!!!!!!!

  • Panos:

    check ur email…got a pal (great photographer from Mexico/Spain/Brazil: yea, colorful life) who needs some help in LA, will be there in May

    …thought of u…he’s cool…

    maybe u can write him…


  • personally i feel most inspired to take pictures elsewhere than home. Foreign places force me to see things differently at least thats my perception. Maybe it’s the fact that since everything around me is unknown my senses are more acute ?

    for some reason whether in a car, boat, plane, train, or a bus if it’s unfamiliar then it’s home too me. I thrive in adverse situations or places. Everything seems sharper and clearer both visually/mentally. My enemy is a sedentary life oh, how boring. Give me rolling green hills with trees that hug the water//ocean//streams//rivers etc. Or a giant Metropolis like Bombay, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, London, N.Y.C., Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Buenos Aires, & the likes of Mexico Citi..

    if i had the resources i would voluntarily be a Hobo with the barest of essentials ie. backpack, camera, and film. Like the homeless photographer Koudelka. Now that is some story the stuff of LEGENDS. Anyhow Mr. Harvey i think you have a wonderful opportunity & should play it footloose & fancy free.

    Motion Is Freedom & Frees the anxious SOUL !!

  • ‘Motion Is Freedom & Frees the anxious SOUL !!’

    Absolutely right. That is exactly how my soul feels Freedom!

  • The reason that so many of the world’s best photography has been “travel” or “war” photography, by my way of thinking, is because when artists are away from their comfortable environments (home), everything is so damned “fresh”.

    When you go to Scandinavia next, check the doorknobs –unbelievable engineering and quality, attention to detail, even in humble abodes. By contrast in the US, McMansions costing 8 figures often have really crap hardware. Think about that when visiting a McMansion near you.

    Or, when next in Jamaica, take in a deep breath in your taxi or on the bus and you will note — there is a Jamaican scent. There is a way that Jamaicans smell. Hint; not the same smell as Scandinavians.

    Anyway, that’s the idea. Out of your zone, a million details that are reduced to background white noise at home suddenly pop out and are fresh.

    This may also explain why so many of the great “American” photgraphers, painters, filmmakers etc. aren’t……….American. They are foreigners who note the billions of small details that the locals don’t notice.

    So – young Dave – you’re definitely onto something. Being unmoored, being on the edge, all those cliches…..just think of all the great jazz musicians who spent decades living out of suitcases……keeps you sharp, keeps you alert, keeps you….noticing…

    ( im going to Barnes & Nobles right now… oh im buying a new toothbrush too…. peace)

  • John when you say that
    Jamaicans smell, you mean the ganja smell??
    just curious …

  • David

    I’m interested in what you said about traveling with your family. It goes against the idea (or cliché) of the lonely photographer.

    I always thought it was important to be alone at some point, in order to feel the need to connect with people. On the contrary, it seemed to me that traveling with people sometimes prevents me from meeting as many people, simply because you’re already in good company…

    What do you think of this ? Did you often go with your family or friends ? How do you find a balance between traveling with friends/family and getting to know people ?

    How about other photographers that you know ?

    Have fun in Oslo !!


  • great question Pierre!!!

    How do you find a balance between traveling with friends/family and getting to know people ?…

    or, let me change a little bit…

    how do you convince the wife or girlfriend or husband or lover…
    or, who cares what the name is….
    that part of “work”, is to have a beer in a bar or a scotch in a strip club??????

    How can you continue doing “nudes” and other artistic …. stuff. you know!

    Ohhh but maybe the answer is simple….
    You dont have to convince or explain anybody anything…
    Just do your work… and deliver…
    Now if your wife or girlfriend or husband want to join your travels or assignments… FINE… if not FINE…. if you have to go through a battle though,
    if you have to CONVINCE that special someone, or explain why there is not enough money for the whole family and the 2 year old and the dog, and granpapi…?!!!! then forget it…
    That sounds like an anchor…! like a brake, not a family…!!!
    If for example, Paolo Pellegrin’s family want to follow him in Gaza
    or Afghanistan… or get exposed to malaria in africa!!!!
    Then that would be insane!!!!
    Don’t you think???

  • oh, by the way… all the above and more
    COSMOPOLITAN, page 134…



  • David. . . so you are going Koudelka, huh?!

  • Pierre Yves

    Traveling with someone else can cut you off sometimes but going away with kids can be great. I’ve meet lot of people though my children, people seem to open up more or quicker its great. Just 4 times more expensive.

  • I love travelling as well. Just the thought of going on another trip is just so exciting and gives me the energy to take pictures and discover a new place. New people, sounds, smells. I just love it.
    The world is so big and so many places to discover…

    I now however did decide to start a project in my own backyard, in my own country. After a friend told me that I only seem to be photographing abroad or preparing for new trips, that got me to thinking. And somehow he was right.
    In a way it’s daunting, but it’s a challenge as well. And that again makes me very happy to go out and shoot pictures. We’ll see what comes of it.

    Enjoy the Oslo workshop David. It sounds amazing and I wish I could be there.

    Aga, wow, moving to London!! So great. You’ll do amazing and find your way out there.
    I’ll be in London in the beginning of April (9th-13th), and hopefully meeting up with my friend Laura as well while I’m there. Would love to meet you in person, so just drop me a note if you’re up for that.


  • Wendy Marijnissen just had a look at your website and really appreciate your interpretations on life. Very interesting subject matter. Do you reside in Belgium, Antwerp ?

    Aga, good luck with your venture in London town. Also thank you for the pleasant Christmas Card (greeting) with the Polish holiday Carp !! My ex-girlfriend Anna is from Gliwice, Poland and through her i was introduced to your beautiful culture. You have so many wonderful traditions that unite your people together creating a strong national identity. Lots of Singing and Dancing !!
    Also love Polish Cinema & Literature..

  • david alan harvey

    PIERRE-YVES and All….

    i think i am probably a very unusual case….i have almost always traveled with family/friends it seems……i never found there to be any problem at all getting involved with a new culture when i was working just because a friend or family member was with me…i think actually quite the contrary… my friends and family who have traveled with me have either been a big help to me or gone off and done their own thing…i do not remember one single time when there was anything other than a sense of shared discovery with someone i cared for…oh wait, yes one…one 2 yr. relationship that came to an end down in Chile because the work and the personal life clashed……

    on many assignments my two sons, Bryan and Erin, were always more than terrific company and their mother Sue was the master of putting the whole family thing together “in the field” to the point where the family and the work totally blended…yes, including once in a conflict zone (where i met Nachtwey in the mid 80″s) and two of my photographer friends were killed (Richard Cross and John Hoagland…Honduras/Nicaragua border Sandinista/Contra conflict)…Richard had breakfast with my family and me and my friend Medford on the morning he died from a land mine on the same road we had all traveled….however, when i photographed the “killing fields” in Kampuchea (Cambodia) a year or so later, i worked alone.. so, obviously there are some limits….

    my mother and father were with me when i photographed “French Teenagers” for several weeks in Paris…sounds unlikely, but they did their thing , i did mine, and we would enjoy dinners and breakfasts etc etc…they also were with me when i photographed in Spain, Hawaii etc etc…there is a long list of places where i have worked and traveled with my sons including Cuba, Guatamala, Malaysia, etc etc..any time i can figure out a way to combine my “personal life” with my “professional life”, i will do it in a heartbeat…i love the blend….always have, always will…..

    speaking of this, i must say goodbye this morning to Marie Arago and Michael Courvoisier who came down here to Mexico just to “hang” and enjoy the workshop…no official role…just as friends..and Mike Young (see post under “student work/workshops” from last spring) who was a student here in Oaxaca has totally joined our “extended family”…

    actually, when you really look at it, isn’t this forum some part of the same spirit??? some of you i have “met” in person, some not, and some i will soon meet..and my now as yet undisclosed new project could literally have some of you sitting by the proverbial “campfire”…will somebody please go get some wood???

    ok my friends, i am traveling today Mexico to NYC…you are used to this by now…8 hrs in New York tomorrow , then to Oslo for a week for our Magnum workshop/seminar…this is a totally crazy travel plan and i totally made a mistake in my schedule because i totally do not like this tight a program…to survive this i will need “a little help from my friends”….

    cheers et al, david

  • Thanks for the advice David. As one of the first posts said, your energy is infectious and I`ve caught it. Brain is full of ideas but time is always the problem to follow them, but I`ll try as I feel good even just thinking about what I want to do.
    Anyway have fun in Oslo, that city is full of secrets much more interesting than the architecture would have you believe and I`m sure your students will show you some of them.
    Many Thanks once again.

    By the way Aga, I won`t take over Mr. Harvey`s forum for a personal talk with you, but just a little info, I`m in Tokyo at the moment which is, I am led to believe, cheaper than London! I will be back in the UK in April looking for work and some normal life though. I haven`t been there for years so can`t help much, indeed you maybe able to help me with information! Anyway when you get get settled I am looking forward to seeing your images from the UK.

  • David

    :)))…..will send you thoughts to give u strength…incidentally, our families are similar: the traveling for camera stories, for us too, nearly always involves the 3 (and at the least the 2) of us…though, when we’re “home” (which i guess in Toronto for now) we’re often on our own shooting…but we too often shoot, just as we explore or make books or exhibit, together….the joining of breathing….

    incidentally, your John Hoagland (whose photographs of the C.America conflict are among the ones i value and respect the most, along with Susan’s) must be, wherever he is, extraordinary proud of his son Eros….Eros, one of the photographers of my generation (and a fellow surfer) whom I respect the most….

    fathers & sons….,

    be well and strong in Oslo, we’ll “chat” upon your return…

    hellos to Chris, Laara and Jonas too from Family Black


  • Thank you so much for that nice compliment Robert. Really appreciate it!.
    Yep, residing in Antwerp, Belgium. I love this city. Very small, but so much going on. Really feel at home here.

  • Hola DAvid, te acuerdas de mi, fui alumna tuya en Madrid, estuvimos almorzando y pasamos una tarde juntos. Queria preguntarte algo si puedes por favor comunicate a este mail.

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