late nite movie

i have added a "Movies" section on my home page…i will try to have a little library of short films on photographers and by photographers soonest….i  only had one in hand to start this off… it is a short produced by Natgeo…this is a 6 minute version of  a one hour production on yours truly working in Brazil…

if you have not seen it, go get some popcorn and beer..  the 50mb file  will be about a 5 minute download for most…if this puts you to sleep , then maybe i have done my job for the day!!

of perhaps more interest, there is new work being posted later  this evening of some of your colleagues as yet unseen here under the Emerging Photographers section…both as essays and a few more singles…i think you will appreciate this new work and there is even  more to come…it has taken us awhile to get all the space we need for this section..

please  do not forget that some of your work,  now featured here,  will be exhibited in June at the Virginia  Festival of  the Photograph (Look 3…see link),  and hopefully at Visa Pour L’Image (Perpignan) this fall…stay tuned….

305 Responses to “late nite movie”

  • im trying , trying trying trying.
    .. im in the second beer… stop teasing


  • David,
    what can i say…!???
    great movie…
    Your childhood, the diagnosis, the fear of not walking….


  • Remember this from JAckson. Loved it then, too. However only whets the appetite! Must have full hour!!! I’ve got cable, I can handle it!

    Great stuff.

    (And to those in an earlier (days ago!) discussion about flash technique and gels and the like…look closely at David’s flash in this film.)

  • … Michael, send me a web link, so i can watch the whole thing…
    6 minutes , not enough…

  • Sorry P… I was hoping David had it! I’d love to see it. I fear we have to move to Australia where it originally aired. (At least, i think that’s where it was.)

  • gotcha Michael,..
    David where can i buy that video….?
    I cant drink a six pack in just 6 minutes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • david:

    trying to watch the flick….

    but, not working (or uploading slooooooowly, ’cause probably the entire dah blog world is chomping down on it ;))) )…

    so, ok, until then:

    here is the link to the VF article on FRANK that Akaky mentioned:

    and here is a film, from the article, with FRANK:

    hopefully, i’ll get to see the movie before i sign off…


  • Thanks for that movie David. It reminded me of why I wanted to learn from you. It’s a very special film and worth viewing a few times, at least for me.


  • D: :))

    just watched it 2x’s with Mrs. Black! :))))))….

    M says that you and your mom look almost like brother and sister (hats off to ur mom! ) :)))))))….

    look in the mirror indeed :))))…

    thank u david alan harvey….thank you to ur mom as well :)))…

    running to sleep with a hum in my belly :)))…

    ;more more films when u can :))



    please, my girlfriend left me for 9 days … She is in Miami…
    I feel so alone…
    Please , especially to ones just peep through the gloryhole,
    or just LURK, please write something…
    I’m all alone and its monday night, and i’m tired reading my comments over and over…
    please, please, please, i crave to hear new voices, opinions,
    please, please people get involved… and i promise everyone…
    i will not bite…
    I know there are thousands out there lurking, all over the world…
    Drop something…
    Dont worry , it wont break…!

  • DAVID and all,

    I will run off to watch the movie and catch up on David’s galleries but first I would like to invite everyone to play a game with me. Panos has been encouraging me to “get naked”… I am sure he does not mean that literally, oh no Panos would never be so bold (HAHA) but he meant that I should “come out” and show my work and expose myself, right???

    Well the timing is great because David was kind enough to post three of my images today under Singles part III. Thank you David for taking the time to do this. I am thrilled he posted these three images because it shows me how absolutely little I know about what is good and what is not good. One of the three he posted I had removed from my Lightstalkers page long ago because I thought so little of it (#23 on his site, third one on mine) and I didn’t even bother showing it to Alex Webb when he reviewed my work.

    So here’s the game I would love for you to join me in…

    PLEASE anyone who is interested go to my link (below on my name) and look at the first six images on the slideshow at Lightstalkers. YOU ONLY HAVE TO LOOK AT SIX IMAGES.

    #1, #2 and #3 are the images David has posted. #4, #5 and #6 are the images Alex Webb selected…not even one image was chosen by both.

    It’s certainly not a matter of right/wrong or even which you prefer although I welcome any comments. I am just happy that there are six “likeable” shots rather than only three!

    Does anyone see why David selected the three he did and Alex the three he did and why they were not the same? I’m thinking perhaps each sees as a different “direction” for me… (Alex’s direction was that complex relationships was where I should head) It’s an opportunity to get you involved with my work which is always a good thing so thanks for looking….after you’re done with all the great stuff David has posted of his. Thanks!

  • Damn , exactly what i needed…
    I’M coming right back,… i’m going to your site right now…
    give me some time, dont rush me…
    this is INTERESTING…

    2 magnum photogs, and you, next thing i know, 3 magnum photographers….! bravo,
    let me go and see those nice “all chosen” photos of yours, and i will tell you my retarded opinion too…
    As always do, want it, or not…
    I work here , remember!

  • MICHAEL are you there ?
    I have my answers for CATHY…
    but noone cares to listen…

    1 ( sweet)
    2 ( nat geo boring)
    3 ( nat geo – shot with a motordrive or EVEN WORST, waited for this shot… You knew the time they opened the door… anticipated… not
    unexpcected…. excellent.!)
    4 ( simply awesome)
    6 (terrible, don’t even let me go there , please)

    SO,… 1,4,5 PERFECT
    2,3 O.K.
    6 ( local suburbia newspaper)

    ps: i hope that i looked at the right photos…???
    Cathy you said the 6 first in the slideshow…. right ???

  • Damn i just got a phonecall that i voted twice for Alex and once for
    David !!!?,
    but anyways, Cathy, life is a mystery, at least to me, so i will stick with my original,1,4,5
    thanks Cathy for being so cool…
    Nice work….
    You totally deserve to work for NatGeo… at least 100 times more than me…
    I hope to see your name some day in that “yellow magazine”

  • Very cool Panos. Yes, the first six. I think you saw the correct images.

    I actually “get” your opinion…I mean it totally makes sense to me what you are saying. AM I ON DRUGS???

    Thank you! Thanks for playing.

  • and NO #3 was not shot with a motor drive. I don’t own one.

  • Kathy I think your singles in III must have been there for some time because I don’t see anything new… could be wrong, just had a quick 3 beers…

    Speaking of Look3, I would suggest you get your tickets if you’re planning on going. It’s going to sell out.

    Oh and Harvey, I sent you an email. Look for that if you have the time.

  • I think I’m wrong – maybe those weren’t there before. Must be the beer.

  • Cathy

    I get the impression that both DAH and Alex each chose three
    different images that,perhaps,mirrored their respective
    shooting styles.
    My take is that David leans a little more towards the ‘quiet’
    moment while Alex very often seems to gravitate towards a
    moment but with a specific graphic.
    If you look through Alex’s archive at Magnum you can see a very
    difinite pattern whereby a high percentage of his images contain
    a strong vertical element that,more often than not,bisects the
    image near the center.Your pics,especially #’s 5 and 6 fit that


  • David M,

    David H. just mentioned posting new work on the site. Mine included.


    I also use a lot of “dividers” in my shots. Alex has been doing it way longer than I have but I am happy to know that I started doing it without even meaning to or knowing I was, long before I ever saw his work.

    Thanks for your comments.

    “…more often than not,bisects the
    image near the center.Your pics,especially #’s 5 and 6 fit that


    Posted by: mtomalty | March 18, 2008 at 12:38 AM…”


    … AND ALSO LOOK AT THE “PERFECT TRIANGLE “,CATHY created at the photo no:4
    good job Cathy

  • Cathy,
    let me ask you:
    When you visit those places and photograph, do you try
    to be “invisible” or do you order people around … ask what you want ?
    In other words , do you interact with the subject-people, or observe and photograph????

  • Panos,

    I’ll answer your question in a sec…

    First of all….
    OMG!!!!! The MOVIE rocks. I LOVED it. In fact I think we should seriously find someone to document your upcoming road trip who can post movies to the site as you go. Any film makers available? No, not you Panos!

    Okay Panos, well my nickname was always “the Observer” so that should tell you something. I definitely don’t “order” or “direct” but I do try to connect and interact by talking and watching.

    BTW guys…I saw a lot of strong verticals in Davids work in the film too.

  • cathy ,
    would you call Alex Webb an “observer” too? or no ???

  • Okay, wait…I take that back. Panos can’t be documenting the trip because he’s going to be the DRIVER!!! :))) Of course….and while he’s driving he can be posting to the blog about the trip. How’s that? :)

  • HA HA HA HA!!!!!!

    David I’ve seen you dancing twice… Ha Ha… what can I say???… I love this Big Sentimental Selfconfident Guy With His Small Magicked Camera!!!!
    Ha Ha I will have good day today after this film…

    and David When you will publish new book with rest of your fenomenal unseen pictures???
    please publish new book… Could you do it for me?…
    Ha ha
    Must running to work…

  • Panos, you may have a new job.
    From pitbull to David’s driver in one day. That’s a promotion!

  • Panos,

    man, I read tht article about Frank….really sad and tragic because in the end I think all that fame and acclaim is meaningless and what counts most is your family, kids….

  • I can also clean his shoes… or make a coffee…

  • Rafal, hey, what’s up…

  • Rafal,
    in the previous episode, you were joking about a “problem”,
    around Frank…?
    really, im a little ignorant around that subject…?
    Also what do you mean by “SAD AND TRAGIC”…?
    What am i missing here..?
    Sorry but im an ignorant…
    Fill me in

  • hi all,
    do you have any plan for workshop in thailand again? i hope someday i can get that chance.
    “keep going effy and all”

  • Finally was able to see the movie. Too short!

    Hi Cathy,

    OK, IMO: 1 and 4 for me. 4 is very good, there is a superb silent kind of drama between the 3 pictures, a case of 1+1=3, which photography is all about. 3 seems flawed, if something should be in focus, it should be the kid whose invisible stare leads us to the action, not the crowd in the background.

    I find the others have too many weaknesses, and are not strong or potent images at all, the timing seems off, even though the material is there.

    I’d say don’t think too much about why and which one David and Alex like. I mean, it’s nice but I’d be more interested in what they say about the ones that did not make the cut in their eyes.

    Again, IMO.

  • I meant between the 3 figures (not pictures)..

  • David,
    thanks for positing the NatGeo movie. Must agree with the rest, and it was too short…and would be great to watch the entire film.
    great idea, that you wanna post movies of and by photographers.

    thanks for posting the Frank article in Vanity Fair, and also the movie “pull my donkey”.

    this all made my morning!


  • dear david
    for me that movie did not give me the good technic for take a pic but it give me more confidence and feel closely, closely to my dream. i think many people feel like me. many thank, “keep going david, keep going effy and all”

  • i heart Courtney Rule !!!!

  • pierre yves racine

    Interesting video though I would have liked to see longer sequences of David shooting or interacting with people.

    David, thanks a lot lot for the review… so much appreciated. I will have to pin it down somewhere !

    I sent you 2 emails (at blog questions and at aol).

    Did you get them ?


  • Hi David
    Speaking of movies, did you get the movie i sent you, via email to your AOL account? Maybe it was too big, about 7MB! I’ll try resending later…

  • Jarle :))…my pleasure :))…thanks to Akaky for bemoaning the St. P’s parade and turning us on to the article in print :))..


    Generally, it isnt my bag to “second guess” another photographer and i think the reason why David and Alex choose 3 different pictures is quiet obvious: each photographer see the world entirely differently; hence the need for each photographer to (as David spoke of in the flick he posted “look in the mirror”) dig into themselves and if not understand (maybe an imposibility) at attempt to embrace and taste what it is that you are measured by and hunger for in your own photography. What is it that you see and how is it you see (that How goes out to Herve ;)) )…Just because David and Alex are post brilliant photographers and members of magnum doesn’t mean a dime when it comes to their aesthetic or personality or visual philosophy or…dancing style! :))

    I see David’s choices as very much a David photograph: lots of empty space within the frame: a almost painterly understanding of space and “drama” within the silence: lots of silence and loneliness (is this the loneliness of polio his mom spoke about?). David’s drama is more subtle, less obvious, but it is there in equal measures to Alex (notice the drama of the 2 boys on horse and how this compares with the drama of the boy that Alex choose (3 figures, #4). alex’s “great” choices (#4 & #5) contain very clear an interesting drama: almost the Bressonian “moment”: the boy holding the batman and the cook in the background, the child watching his parents (?) with interest/sadness/grief/surprise and the way he holds his lasso, the tiny child with the ball against the collusus…Alex’s pictures usually have something very intense, and so, im not surprised he gravitated toward those 3…

    as for my own take on your pics, i wont comment, ’cause i think it’s important each photographer wrestle with that themselves…i personally usually find something interesting in almost all photographs and that’s what i hold onto and lick upon…

    I should say this. As a photographer, while my own work is often criticized as being “excessively dramatic” (style why, though I have no idea what that means), I prefer David’s choices and david’s aesthetic…and i dont mean ’cause it’s his frickin’ blog..but because, i think accumulative silence, in the end, becomes more mysterious, more biting…i prefer photographs that make me think:

    “why the hell did the photographer shoot that, or make the pic like that” instead of “ooo, yes, that’s a great shot, cause look at that moment..” etc…then again, i’ve always preferred Giacomelli to Bresson, Frank to Evans, Boltanski to 90% of the war photographers, Kuwayama to the lot ;))…

    the way people are caught by space and moment, for me, often reveals more about them that the surface detail of what they’re doing..:))…


  • david alan harvey


    i tried to play your game myself…curious to see the differing edits…then, i realized i had never seen pics 5 and 6 before….were Alex and i both picking from the same batch of pics??? i had chosen 6 or 7 pictures of yours from the essay you shot and then picked 3 of those…Alex could not possibly have been picking from the same 6 or 7 because even you do not know which 6 or 7 i chose….or do you??? when i go to your site , both 5 and 6 are pictures from another story , are they not??? i do not recall seeing them before…no doubt Alex and i would often choose differently, me for emotion, alex for complexity, but , in this case, i do not think we were choosing from the same second edit…

    by the way, there were a few others i did like way down in your selection…if you do a tight edit of your work, like down to 20, you will have a nice portfolio…but, i still want to see your lowrider work…

    mostly Cathy, and i think Alex would agree, you tend to photograph “exotic” subjects…clothing seems to make a lot of difference to you…and that is ok…so ok, that maybe you should really “go for it”…just take the “fashion look” way out there…no no not shoot fashion…but make your work really STYLED… OR, if that is not really your thing, then shoot something “not exotic”…do not make cowboy hats and scarves a “crutch”….in other words, either really “put it out there” or take it out…

    cheers, david

  • david alan harvey


    looked again…for sure, i have never seen the basketball photograph before..what is that from??? very nice picture!!!

    the only way to “play the game” is to make sure we are all seeing the same pictures, same second edit…


  • david alan harvey


    i think you have heard me say many times that all that really matters is family….

    but, you still continue to confuse “fame” with good or great work….i do not think Frank or any great photographer thinks about or gives a damn about “fame” …go back and read my post with that title several months ago…

    serious photographers are compelled to do what they do…no choice…

    but, Frank himself may have neglected his children in the process…i think this created a great sadness in him…but, i do not think Frank was putting “fame” ahead of his children…surely, he never thought about that…but, he may have let his WORK get in the way of his personal life…


    i just have not had time to view your link…but, i will today…


  • Cathy,
    Of the six photographs I like 1 (very much) and 4.
    Of the rest of your portfolio – too many to mention all individually but 7,8,15,Sadhu(22) and At the Beach (36) stand out. You are very good at photographing children.

    David, tried to load film but no joy as-yet: will try later.


  • well… the day here is just beginning and has been already so inspiring, that I have this sensation in my stomach and my feet to run out and go photograph anything…

    this cocktail of CATHY photo #5 + ROBERT FRANK “Americans” + DAH movie is too much for a Tuesday before 9 o’clock

  • DAVID,

    haven’t had a chance to read the comments…just jumping in quickly but YES I submitted all the same photos to you that you are saying you have never seen. I will look at my folder and let you know what the numbers were in my “assignment” folder.

    be back soon

  • I dont think he was doing it for fame either, but fame came his way. Im sure he was doing it for his art and his vision but in the end its sad to read him talk about his regrets vis a vis his family and just to read what became of his family. So theres a sadness to it. Im just saying that in the end, whether you achieve fame or fortune, accolades or respect as THE Robert Frank it pales in comparison to the regrets you feel. And I think everyone has regrets.

  • david alan harvey


    i can go back and look at your original submission…maybe i was confused by some pictures which did not seem to be part of your essay , which, in my memory was just the cowboy work….i mean, is the basketball picture part of your essay??? or is that a single?? if it was a single , then i would not have put it in the same edit…and therefore never seen it again…i was just editing for the essay that first time around..there is some kind of mixup here and i am not sure what it any case, for sure and for whatever reason alex and i were not looking at the same pictures..but, i do like the game anyway!!!

    cheers, david

  • DAVID,

    In my folder submitted to you the basketball shot is #30 and the other one you say you have never seen is #31. I definitely submitted them to you and showed them to Alex as well. Did you not see them somehow??? Maybe you could take another look at my folder? They are there!

    I only included six images in the “game” because you selected three and Alex selected three so I showed all six. I submitted all six of those to BOTH of you (except for the Rodeo shot with the gate opening I didn’t show to Alex because I didn’t like it much.)

    There were others from the past that I showed Alex which were not part of the “assignment” some of which are on Lightstalkers.

    No, I don’t know which images were in your “semifinals” but I did think you would be posting #18 from my submission to you (#4 in the set of six on Lightstalkers that we are looking at) because you said in your review to me (which I saved of course) that the two strongest images I submitted were “the guys with the rope, and the guys talking by the fence” but you did not post the people talking by the fence. That’s the first of the three Alex selected.

    IN ANY CASE…I appreciate your posting ANY of my work but I do hope you had the chance to see my full submission and were able to choose from all of them.

  • RAFAL…

    yes, the way you put it now is basically what i believe…

    “regret”, however, will eat you alive…

    “regret” also has nothing to do with “fame and fortune”….i think perhaps people who have achieved little have the deepest “regret” level…

    i wish way way in the back of my mind that i had done certain things differently with my sons..but not much and no regret.. i know that we did so so many things together beyond what most fathers and sons have…and i do not let “regret” enter my consciousness simply by doing something special with them TODAY…that extra phone call, that extra together time..for sure, do not think that you will spend time with your son (?) later…i saw too many photogs who thought they could “catch up” when they had more time….now is the time!!

    cheers, david

  • Now I need to update my Lightstalkers page! Should have done that before sending everyone there.

  • DAVID,

    As far as essays…I submitted several mini-essays for the assignment. The Rodeo was one and another was Fairs and Festivals was another…the two images you don’t recall seeing were from the fairs and festivals essay.

  • oops…too many anothers in that last post

  • CATHY….

    well, my dear, that is the obvious problem…i looked at your entry…like most, it was very confusing…no break between one and the other, no real text to tell me…..i looked at the cowboy essay as an essay and that is all i ended up choosing from…so i was never looking at a cowboy picture and comparing it to a basketball picture!!!!


  • now is the time, for sure! Im exhausted….15 hour work day today…out the door at 7:30am back home at 10pm….its not just photogs who have no time:)

  • David,

    I did identify each essay with titles, yes? I don’t know what else I could have done to seperate them. Anyhow the images are all there.

  • Perhaps for the next assignment…coming soon I hope…we can clarify how and what to submit. I know you told us to submit as many essays as we wanted but I didn’t realize that you would only select one essay and even for singles select from that one.

    Understanding this will help me do better next time!

  • Thanks to all who have taken the time to look and comment.

    Great comment. Very perceptive as always.
    NO ONE has ever picked up on the fact that those are his parents!!!


    thanks for letting everybody participate in your experiences. so much to learn from just reading here. I am glad you did not follow your second passion, which must obviuosly be dancing. :-)


  • CATHY…

    i agree with you…this was an experiment and imperfect..however, we did garner some financial support, set up a non-profit, had a lot of fun, and the grants will increase soonest and also provide some funding up front…

    we need to come up with a better way of posting and separating the essays…and it is not that text makes the picture, but imagine me looking at work for the first time with no explanation at all and i do not have the same knowledge of the subject as the photographer…

    let me also say, that i think your “basketball” picture is surely one of your very best pictures…very “alex webb” in that there is strong use of “poster art” in the photograph…looking at it in the context you presented it here for “the game” i would have chosen it first…

    please remember there were over 6,000 photographs in the pot!! for the photographers who did have essays, i did pick the best essay, and then chose perhaps a single out of it later….some photographers only submitted singles, so it was easy to edit singles…it was virtually impossible for me to go back and look at the “rejected essays” and then pick out a single..maybe not impossible , but just not practical…editing off of a computer 6,000 pictures, from over 250 separate uploads , is less than perfect obviously…

    in any case, my dearest Cathy, i will post your pictures from the fair!!!

    for the next Emerging Photographer stipend, i am also involving my Magnum colleagues and other selected curators…i do not want to be the only one to blame for a “missed picture”!!!

    peace, david

  • DAVID,

    Sorry, but now I am a little confused…If you were only picking all images (including singles) from one essay then how did the girl putting on makeup get in there? She was from another essay too.

    Just trying to understand a bit more about your selection process. In fact, weren’t you going to say a bit more about that process in general…HOW (not just WHY) you selected the essays you selected?

  • Well we are on the same wavelength. You pretty much answered my question as I was writing it. Talk about being “on top of” what is going on here! That’s why you’re the boss.

    Feel free to post or not. I definitely DO NOT intend for this to be about whether or not you posted the “right” images or even if you missed anything that “should” have been posted. As I think we have clearly seen time and time again…what is “good” or “bad” differs with each individual. It sounds like a HUGE UNDERTAKING to do what you did. I shouldn’t say “sounds like”…we all know it was and appreciate your doing it.

    It will be interesting if you get colleagues involved…How will you come to an agreement? :))

    To repeat myself…I got SO much out of the assignment and am still learning from it all these months later. The stipend has nothing to do with it so don’t be concerned about raising money…for the site perhaps, for your time but not for us. I say that at least for myself…others may disagree :))

  • david,

    great video. really cool as always to see how other photographers and artists work and see what makes them tick. also i love how they tied in your personal life and showed how it translates into your work as well.

    i cannot wait to see more. really cool.


  • Great to see that video again. i think it was screened on Nat Geo as part of the Truth Files series? I made the opening titles for that series, so I may have more of the video lying around somewhere. Keen to see more docs!


  • CATHY…and ALL…

    you bring up legitimate issues…we are in a group forum here, and as far as i am concerned, we should be able to discuss anything and everything openly…as a matter of fact, this is what i love about the Magnum approach to discussion..we get it all out on the table…it does not mean that we all agree on all things, but at least the issue is “out there”…usually, when things are discussed openly and honestly , consensus will emerge…

    i have not totally formulated exactly how the stipends will be given in the future…but legally, i must have a board (3 people minimum) to oversee grants…money taken into a non-profit for the purpose of dispersing to a grantee is closely watched by the IRS…the Magnum Cultural Foundation will be very cautious in every move because it takes some doing to even get the proper authority from the IRS in the first place to solicit funding which is a tax exemption for fund donors…

    my “board of advisors”, which will include representative individuals from throughout our business, may or may not help me with final selections…Magnum photographers may or may not want to get involved…their choice…ultimately, my “voice” as the progenitor of this forum will prevail as sort of an overall “editor”…this is sort of the nature of our “being” here…but, i am not a “boss”…just a guide…but, i have seen a lot of magazines and book publishers lose their way because nobody had a “voice”…this “voice” must first “listen”, but then somebody has to take the responsibility for a decision…i am sure that not everyone on the set of a Cohen brothers movie agrees on a day to day basis with what they see going on…but, you must wait wait wait for the final movie…which looks nothing like the very making of that movie….

    ok, more coffee…damn, i will be exhausted by lunch time!!!!

    love, peace and more love…


  • STEVE…

    i will post new docs as soon as i can get my hands on them….can you help???

    cheers, david

  • CATHY…

    hmmmmm, i do not know how the girl with the makeup got in there..i think we must have thought she was somehow part of the backstage cowboy story… i said, when i look at your entry, it is confusing at best…a jumble of pictures that only a private detective analyzing every picture very carefully could figure out..and i do not mean just you…many were like this…as i said, we need to have simple “black slide” or “title slide” breaks between essays next time…the way this was set up made it very difficult for us to tell one story from another and even whether it was an essay or a group of singles…i do think we can fix this easily next time…

    my oh my Cathy, you are a full time job!!!!

    teasing , teasing….laughing…

    cheers, david

  • DAVID,

    Would love to help. One problem being the old ugly issue of copyright clearance… especially with Internet TV becoming so essential to broadcasters…..and essentially the future.
    …Maybe…just maybe… the world needs a new collection of new short films on contemporary photographers…? :)


  • David

    But here is not a discuss like beetwen your friends from magnum group. Frirstly we don’t know each other and we don’t see each other so we have many misunderstandings. I wish to see here full openly and honestly discuss, but witout bodylangage, without see other is very hard because I never know what my interlocutor will get from this what i say.
    maybe I’m wrong but this is what I think.

  • David,

    The first time I saw that video I just felt a lot of emotions moving… you may remember it as I told you. I still have it (signed!) and keep it like a treasure. It’s really touching and encouraging as it makes me dream about my big dream. And I will always thank you, thank you, thank you for it.


  • David
    you may say that this will just make things more cumbersome, but maybe it is worth considering: your last stipend “competition” opened the floodgates, many people (i am guessing) submitting multiple times… WHAT IF you charged just a small fee — $15 or $25 to be paid via PAYPAL… this would cut down some submissions as it would make people think before flooding you, AND it would add to the funds which you disburse and/or pay an hourly fee for assistants to organize & “webify” the pix
    just a suggestion…

  • David, Cathy and All: :))

    Just a very quick and brief note after some quick digestion of your discussion and the evolution of David’s largess: his Emerging PHotographer Program.

    It is truly amazing to me how this has evolved and evolved so quickly. It was about this time (or a bit later) last year when the idea came up and started being bounced around. I remember, long ago, suggesting it as a form of artistic RINGU (ring: image from member to member to inspire one another), and look how it evolved: $$, exposure, exhibition, etc. I am still astonished by this quick evolution and still humbled and proud to have been a part of it (even if I dont think my essay is the best thing i’ve ever shot, by a long mark). I saw the “assignment” as an exercise in RELATIONSHIPS, THINKING, ACTING.

    Not caring a shit about “exposure” originally, i thought David’s assignment was a great exercise as a collective expression. As i wrote before, i used the assignment to severely limit my own approach (3 rolls of trix over 2 weeks, no more) and try to see if i could make something “sing” about a specific group of people/emotions. It was a great exercise and also very challenging for me: because i have never thought, not ever, about “ends” while shooting. In other words, I’ve never thought: ok, these pictures will be submitted to this person/magazine/gallery, etc. I always shoot thinking: ok, what’s happening, what is the project, never thinking it will be the goal. This was excruciating for me and I felt lots of pressure, especially by my own constraints and I LOVED THIS EXERCISE.

    That it has evolved is a measure of David’s insight and foresight and i think lamenting about the past is totally useless and unproductive. Could anyone imagine what would be the result now, 1 year ago??…

    So, David, here is a suggestion, since this thing has become “real.” Forget the ideas of singles, PERIOD!

    submission: 1 essay per photographer. 1 time frame (e.g, 2 weeks). 1 specific, unconfusing body of work: ie, new project or continuation of existing project. 20 photographs (or less), no more. NO SINGLES. judged by your dudes/dudettes/whoever…

    then when announced, no looking back.

    I think it’s wonderful that this program has begun and that other Magnum or editors/collectors are involved, but….in the end, it is still only an award and in the end, nothing more profound than that.

    WHAT MAKES THIS “AWARD”/PROGRAM SO INTERESTING IS THAT IT FORCES PHOTOGRAPHERS TO WORK WITHIN A CERTAIN FRAMEWORK/PARAMETER…. It’s not like the other situations: submit work, submit old work, etc. If that had been the case, i would have also submitted something from my work on family or russia or portugal or faces. But, I think David’s hit on something:


    i loved this “game” and while i wasnt (and still am not) please with my essay, im happy what it taught be: about time, constraint, failure and what i need to think: sometime understading time constraints is an interesting aesthetic challenge and now i am greatful for that….god, if i could only show the essay that i shot after David’s assignment (on my wife and son and a trip, which i turned into a small book): it was better than my DAH assignment, ’cause i had learned much by that point…


    NEXT YEAR (THIS YEAR?) only essays, no singles: include text/explanation in the metadata…

    hope that makes ur life better :))


  • Cathy,

    I really do like your work :))

    I love #1 and #4 …

    #4 to me has so many possible stories to it, it asks questions and like good literature, doesn’t answer them all leaving to the reader avenues for personal imagination … it has made me think and ponder, has stayed with me.

    #2 appears differently on David’s website to me than it does in your personal portfolio … I like it better here because you can’t see that the boy’s eyes are closed. When the shadows are opened up it feels like “not quiteness” to quote Herve, and yet, maybe I’m just being too traditional about that!

    And I like #3 as well because there is much going on there in many planes.

    And I think the last two are great for the humor and the idea and I really want to like them more, i appreciate that they are “smart” … and perhaps this is a direction where you can go further to be YOU … but still “not quiteness” for me. For what it’s worth … I am still learning to see in many ways.

    David’s workshop blew away many conventions for me … bad habits and bad ideas about what makes a good photo, not always easy to swallow but beyond value if you are open to it and you can differentiate between your work and you as a person (many people cannot). I think it’s great you’re “getting naked” here.


    Sent you an email, probably like a thousand other folks, about some personal directions. I try not to bother you much so if you have a chance, any insights, ideas, etc., would be greatly, greatly valued …

  • Bob,

    Rules? Constructs? Boundaries? You? Say it ain’t so brother ;))

  • anyone by chance read the Vanity Fair article regarding Robert Frank and a retrospective of The Americans in China ? Wow; jesus great article with lots of FREE FOOD 4 thought. April 2008 article in case anyones interested. insights into a bright beacon of LIGHT !! Bless U
    Mr. Robert Frank !!

  • To ALL,

    I would like to place the following link to an interview with Phillip Jones Griffiths which appears in the latest issue of APERTURE. Since this seems to be the day when we talk about our heros , influences and more . . .
    I believe it’s rare that a photographer can be so outspoken about his craft. For me Griffiths really puts in perspective what documentary photography is all about in a precise and articulate fashion. When he speaks about the REAL MAGNUM versus LITE MAGNUM, I envisioned the endless debate this must have caused at one of your general meetings, David.
    Thank you Akaky and BobB for the link to the Robert Frank piece.

  • gee, I am glad we are not all taking on David on what was “what and where, but..” in our essays. I do understand that some put a lot of expectation in their submissions though, yet, let’s move on, that was 6 freakin’ months ago ( I mean in terms of blah-blahing about the presentation and what fell thru the net).

    Cathy, is that a mini-version of “men are from Mars and Women from Venus” we have been privy to? I can almost hear “you just don’t understand!…” in the back of my head, reading you sometimes! :-)))

    What would be cool, is for people to sometimes mention what they’ve learnt from the essay experience and from what David wrote to them about their essays, how they are going to use it.

    Me first. I know I differ with Bob (all things are equal, art even more, words are disqualifiers…. love you Bob!) on that, but the equation is simple for me. Either I will be in or out. Either I take pictures or I attempt to do photography. It might no be a difference on a single print, or even an essay, but I live the difference on a daily basis, so I know (no, it’s not about amateur/pro)!

    If you’re in, you owe a lot to yourself to up the ante on the craft you are taking on. If you’re out, then it’s just about “this one is nice, this one less…!”

    So Cathy, I am a bit annoyed, not by you directly, far from it, but by the stuff about: this picture, that picture. Did you see it? I put it! Bob said it best: why do you take this picture, why do you essay on this subject, what is this you want to do, holding a camera, etc… Never mind about one freakin’ pix…

    Oh, yes, the basket ball shot WAS very well-timed, apologies there, but too cluttered for me, you took the shot but don’t “own” it. In general, I’d wish for more “here now!” than “There… got it?” in many shots (mine first!).

    #4 is it, don’t let david fool you ;-)(I am in lese-majesty mood this morning!), Cathy! (Bob,it’s got the most “space” of all, really surprised david let go of it)

    About all this, I just read some essay by D. A. Coleam about how the ultimate idea is not to take a shot, but give it. Food for thought….

  • errata: D. A. Coleman.

  • TOM H. :)))))))))!!!

    yea: got me! :)))… i meant not “rules” (definitely not for what/how/why stuff was shot), more like “things to make life easier for DAH, Mike and whoever administers”…it’s a cool idea the concept: an essay shot in a short period of time….that would be, in my imagination, the only “rule”…though, u know how i loathe rules…so, fuck it ;)))))…

    Herve :)))…good suggestion: briefly, here is what i learned: i usually thinkin in terms of my work relating to all my previous work: how i see, stories i see, what pics look like: what i learned was this: given a limited time, limited resources (film, light, people), how can one learn to “anticipate” what will happen given a story…how can i learn restraint (and im usually a restrained photog already, shooting much much less then most): how to edit: how to think, ok, 1 is better than 10 ;))….more later…

    running to teach


  • Herve–

    You make some good points. Very glad you made them…Because just before I read yours I was reeling from reading Cathy’s and David’s exchange…and I’m thinking, “Damn! One lousy picture is all I got? Cathy has three posted and she’s now getting more posted? Did David miss some of mine, too? Did mine really suck? Where’s my review? Why is the sky blue? Paper or plastic? etc, etc, etc…”

    Man!… what an asshole I was beginning to sound like! So thanks Herve. Chilled me right the fuck out! ;^}

    Work, work, work…shoot, shoot, shoot. The rest is just crapola.



  • Coming in late to this post, a lot of messages about a lost photograph.

    Anyway, that was a great video about DAH, albeit with cheesy music….I want to see the full doc, and cannot wait to see the new book. Also, the DAH website is really starting to take shape and come together… some of the singles were fantastic. Ryan Brown’s image reminds me of a cross between traditional Asian painting and Gregory Crewdson….really captivating.


  • Natan

    I like your empty places photos. I like this kind of photography. You don’t use medium format do you? It is digital small format?
    Good work. very visual and sensitive.

  • Herve,

    Fine form today, if seeming a bit curmudgeonly :)) I have read your post many times now to understand … why do you have to be “in or out”?

    I think I understand what you are saying but … are you speaking to taking snapshots vs. having something to say? Screwing around vs. really trying? Or too much mechanics vs. bigger ideas? There is frustration here … with what really? Perhaps you are putting up barriers, making distinctions that don’t really have to be there. I am unclear.

  • david alan harvey


    you are right , of course….this is totally an imperfect way to communicate or edit..on the other hand, it has brought a lot of people together and together we have created the most loyal photoblog community around…and, it is going to get even better….hey, like i have said and like you have said too…any of us can quit whenever we want…this is a volunteer army!!!


    thanks for the Phillip Jones Griffiths link…Phillip is a great photojournalist..Phillip is a dear friend..Phillip pushed for me to get into Magnum…

    at the same time i STRONGLY DISAGREE with him on his vision of “original Magnum” and his “Magnum Lite”…Magnum Lite, in his view, would include Martin Parr , Alec Soth, Alessandra Sanguinetti and Antoine D’Agata….i love what Phillip does/did/will do…and i believe in the “original Magnum”, but to close the doors and windows to new ways of “bearing witness” would i think kill the very agency Phillip loves so much….


    laughing…yes, there was definitely a bit of “Women Are from Venus etc ” in there!! i have had those “conversations” all my life!!! hmmmm , well there you go!!! nuff said…

    in any case, i will say this..and i am only being BLUNT because otherwise we will be here all day and all night on this to no good end…


    the really great ones always jump out…i have judged at one time or another all of the international contests etc…..quibbling over who thought what about the “seconds” is a bit silly.. and quibbling generally means “mediocrity”…

    even if Alex picked one picture and i picked another of the pictures in question, i doubt if either of us would really “stand up” for ANY of the six!!!

    i always tell my students at the beginning of a workshop that i will critique from the highest level…i cannot critique from some mythical “mid-point”..i have to compare everyone’s work from the best work i have seen …so, that is the way i see it here too….i have been a little “soft” here at times because of the nature of this medium…it takes too long for “response”…it is not a real conversation…but, in any case, we do the best we can…and if everyone is game, we will move forward …

    most importantly, the only reason i would ask for submissions, or take the time to critique anyone, is because every once in a while i hit a nugget…every once in a while i make a difference…and every once in a while someone blows me away by taking their work from point A to point B…it is worth it for this alone….and for this i am here…and for this i totally and warmly appreciate all of you being here…this movie is just getting started…trust me on this one!!!!

    cheers, david

  • Hear ya… Loud and clear!

  • great response, david.

    i’ve watched the movie a couple of times now and i have a question.
    i’ve never used flash but started to get frustrated when the street kids would take me into their dark squats at night and i’d just open the aperture as wide as i could (2.8) and jack up my ISO to usually 800. i never got a good shot, they were always too noisy and still too dark.
    so my son bought me an SB600 for christmas.
    i’m trying to play with it and learn how to use it without harsh results.
    i noticed in the film that you sometimes had a yellow or a red shield over your flash.
    was it it exactly?
    this might be a good alternative for me to tone down the white.

    hope you are well, dear.


  • Hi Tom,

    committed or not, and in the long run, that’s what I meant, Tom. Think realtionship, everyone knows when they are committed with one partner and when they’re not. And if you don’t, she/he will let you know, if need be! ;-)

    Sorry if i sound gruffy, but I think we tend to put too many expectations on David, that, grown up that we are most of us, we should be able to put on ourselves squarely. For a lot of stuff, looking at our own pix, we just don’t need David’s opinion at all What he is trying to help with here seems a bit different than that, IMO.

    I hope that more than a few are able to tell what is still wrong, what can be bettered in this or that shot of theirs, and in the stance they were taken. And not just limit ourselves to that idea of the “good” shot, a litmus test beyond which we’d accept nothing but recognition that “bravo! It’s a good shot”.

    Cathy, do you remember writing your essay shots were not your best by far, yet lately, they’re as good as anyone’s singles, and how come David, you did not see this one…. None of who you are as a photographer is behind any of these sentences.

    Let the real Cathy come out! ;-)

  • Martin Parr as Magnum Lite?????….

    wow!…I think Martin (as “popular”, “well-known” and “respected” as he is) is one of the MOST UNDERRATED photographers alive. I think his particular genius is eons (or was) eons ahead of most photographers…I was always stunned when he was part of Magnum, but i thought: god damn, that Agency is “growing up”!…I love Jones Griffith (he’s a god too for me, photographically and as a writer), but Parr is also a Titan: he also helped to re-invent photographic vocabulary…got, i’d love to drink with Jones Griffith and chat about that…

    ditto the other “Magnum Lites” :))….they are all photographers who’ve helped extend the story (what is Vietnam, Inc if not THE story of vietnam) and the exploration of our photographic language….

    interesting :))

    running, done for the day :))


  • David

    After ten years of art school, critique and suggestion this is something what I like and I need. This is my everyday bread. I was suprised after your review that you was so gentle for me even… :)
    and you are right, clear principles… full volunteer…

    and I was always curoius what key you use when you choose new nominee for magnum, there are houndrets of great photographers on the world and most of tem are great “bearing witness”

  • Marcin,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I shoot with a Nikon D200. I have to say it is the best piece of equipment I have ever owned. It’s only 10.2 MP, (the new version D300 has 12MP I think) but the images are intensely detailed and crisp. Never thought I would give up my N90. I printed 20 images for a show of this work I have up now, they were printed using direct digital printing (illuminage digital prints…) and I couldn’t be happier with them.

    Since I brought up the subject of digital vs. film…

    I’m also a director and I just shot a film with an HD Camera attached to 35mm primes. It looks great. To me film is like a record album, I love playing them, and having them, but it makes a lot more sense to put on my iPOD most of the time.

    I understand the desire, quality, nostalgia and beauty some people have to stay with film. I love the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. I understand that some people say you cannot be a true photographer, (director…etc.) without understanding all of the technical aspects and craftsmanship required for film….I understand, but I disagree. To me it’s more about the subject and the concept.

    Now the concept can be the intense detail represented in an image shot by a large or medium format camera, and that can be very satisfying in itself (see Robert Angell’s work)…but overall I’d say I’m less interested in wether or not it is on a 4×5 or a cellphone..

    I’m over film…

    I am now ready to field the harsh criticism these comments might conjure up….


  • That’s eloquent enough, Natan, and enough to the point that even if I disagreed, It would not make any sense to contradict you. It’s all about the means that allow you to best express what is this you want to express, and the means are not the same for everyone.

    I read the Frank’s interview. Wow, David, i understand why you may be of two minds to go across the street to ring his bell! Talk about curmudgeon… :-)

  • Natan

    yes I prefer film than digital… but only in MY photography, because I need it… out of this point I’m not any vs.
    I have not any sentiment for film, I just like visual quality of photography where this quality is needed, that’s all. sometimes winn film sometimes digi. I like consciously of creative choice.

    If you like shooting d200 it’s ok this is your way, but in my opinion you may make high level art if you work on large format. like alex soth or richard misrach or pieter hugo. But this is my opinion.

    Great film David! Shows your energy…..and your mam’s;))

    Agree, I work with film in black and white making Baryta prints but for color have been shooting a bit of digital lately, it requires a lot of post production to get a consistent look through an essay, especially when the light changes. With slidefilm the saturation and look is just so powerful. For some reason the images just look less clean, have more life. I guess we all have to adjust to the digital era and find ways to deal with it, this might mean changing nothing;))

    Best, Edward

  • david alan harvey


    obviously i agree…you were most eloquent as usual, but that is what we have all come to expect…my only job is just to keep you writing!!! everybody knows that!!


    i agree with Herve 100%….

    cheers, david

  • really enjoying sitting back and reading, DAH – thanks for that last response, it brings things in to focus for me (sorry, no pun meant)..

    I love the thought of not acting, thinking, feeling, etc. from a mythical midpoint – it makes me glaze over and then I get nervous and I want to run from that place, mythic or real. it’s suffocating, saddening, deadening and deafening.

    DAVID – any chance you are available Friday? how long will you be in town?

  • david alan harvey


    i rarely talk tech stuff here, but your question is fair enough…

    first of all, i shoot the lowest asa film i can find when using flash…all that Brazil shooting was with Velvia 50 and a 25 dollar flash, a Vivitar 2500, my M6, and with a cto eighth or more likely a bandaid over the flash..yes, a first aid kit bandaid…softens and warms…

    i use a very slow shutter speed, like usually an eighth or a quarter second, to pick up the ambient light…with the slow film i do not need much flash because i am wide open and the photo is mostly available light….

    the other the reason i use slow film is because i want to work wide open , like at 1.2..i like that look…if i used fast film i would have to stop down, therefore losing “the look”….also the slow velvia was the only film that gave me black…and you all know how i love black!!!

    by the way, with med format film in the Fuji 6×9 (like my australia cowboy shoot) i worked exactly the same…slower lens matched by faster film gave me exactly the same system using precisely the same little Vivitar!!

    and now with digi the same!!! Leica or Nikon….that little $25. flash, with the little tweety bird decal that says “jesus loves you” in spanish, that a little school boy gave me in mexico, has lasted me 10 years or more!!!

    so , my cameras change, my bags change, and that little flash just keeps on going and going like the Energizer bunny!!

    cheers, david

  • Hey

    Look at something beautiful!!!

  • This thread has, as all threads must, reached the point where a long and altogether pointless comment from me is in order. I, on the other hand, do not have such a comment ready so I guess I should say something about the essay I submitted, as these essays seem to be the matter under discussion at the moment. I think I can speak for all concerned when I say that my essay bit the big one. Yes, it sucked, tanked, screwed the pooch, pick your metaphor for disaster and my essay would be in the dictionary next to the metaphor’s entry as an example of that metaphor, and that’s without it falling outside the date limits for the entries. Still, it was nice being early for something as opposed to being incredibly late; late is my standard operating mode, with very late and way past the deadline being late’s backups when they’re on time, which isnt very often. Then why submit it at all, you may ask, since I’ve been asking the same question ever since I hit the Enter button to submit it. The answer: metadata. This may seem strange to you, but I still dont know what the hell metadata is. Will Rogers never said I never metadata I didnt like and I think before our host asked us to provide him with it I’d never heard the word before in my life. But my essay had it, even if it didnt have captions or explanations; Michael the Tech Wizard explained where to find it and so I did. I’m still at a loss what it’s all supposed to mean, though. I am new to digital, having only come over from Analog Widgets in July last year. So, be that as it may, if anyone sees my essay, please walk past it quickly; it hasnt bitten anyone yet, but I am pretty sure its leg has gone gangrenous now and there’s no telling what the thing might do if sufficiently provoked. You may just want to shoot the thing outright and put it out of its misery.

    As for meeting up yesterday, Mr. Harvey, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men would not have made such a meeting possible, not with a sister in law and her nieces and nephews in tow. That was a misfortune; I dont go down to the city very often-I think I’ve been down twice in the past eight years; and when I go down I usually spend most of my available time cultivating my inordinate fear of heights. So maybe next time. I did, however, have a meeting of sorts. I managed to convince the sis-in-law to hang onto the munchkins long enough for me to use the facilities at the New York Public Library, which are up on the third floor. I left them on that big porch, if that’s the right word for it, behind the lions and headed around to the 42nd Street entrance because the front door was closed. As I was going up the stairs I passed a man with a walking stick who was taking the stairs one by one and an old woman. I held the door for the old woman and as she came through the man came up and I held the door for him as well. I asked him “Ya got it?” and he held the door and said yes and then I went through the security gate and scooted up the three floors to the men’s room. It wasnt until I was standing at the urinal that it occured to me that the man with the walking stick was Robert Hughes, whose book about Goya has been sitting on my lamp table for I dont know how long now. Strange things happen in the big city, but I suppose we all know that, which one of the reasons I tend to stay out of them. On the other hand, the conductor never bothered stamping my ticket on the trip down, so I can get two trips for half price on the one ticket, a bargain that everyone can go for.

  • Marcin! Thanks, now I think I’m having an acid flashback. Beautiful indeed.

  • I did mention my essay sucked, right?

  • david alan harvey

    AKAKY….and ALL

    damn!!! may i say absolutely brilliant…this blog is getting better than the New Yorker!!

    you guys all put together…Bob rhapsodizing eloquent…Herve analyzing like a true professor, Sidney giving insights, Panos riding shotgun,Erica getting philosophical,Marcin torturing himself etc etc etc…this stuff is good!!!

    anyway Akaky, thanks for checking in…if you take a good photo, fine…just enjoy….it does not matter anyway…you got the gift with words…just take ONE mirror picture to go with your prose of subtle wit…..

    cheers, david

  • Katia;

    One solution that can work when you are shooting in the dark is to work with it. I’ve just spent 3 days shooting at WOMAD (in New Zealand). One of the situations was shooting a crowd of kids dancing outside to a DJ at midnight. The only light was from the small stage, but it was mostly pitch black.

    Instead of using the flash as the main source (I often use slow synch/blur for crowds etc) I underpowered it by about two stops and shot at 1600 ASA & wide open. Exposures were up to 2.5 seconds! (I would have shot at lower iso’s but it was SO dark!)

    I decided that instead of fighting the light I’d work with it. The scene was frenetic, hot, cramped and pretty crazy so i thought I’d try to recreate that (I also used b&w to make it even more dark etc). The images have worked well.

    I’ll have the photos up on my Lightstalkers site tomorrow (probably…)

    Also had an omnibounce on the flash to diffuse the light..

    Hope this helps….

  • David—thanks for posting those. Good choices—though I think I preferred my “Giant Guitarist” over that guitarist, it still has good energy. Overall I’m pretty happy with this group.

  • hi david et al,

    i hope everyone is very well and feeling happy. i just spent the day on a shoot with my girlfriend, she is a photographer too. could there be a better way to spend a day?

    is the movie the one the one that was shown on the national geographic channel? i have seen it many times. i taped it when it aired, but then the tape broke. how sad. it was a particular favorite in my ever growing photography film collection.

    david have you heard of a photographer named robert farber? i just got hold of a copy of his book “american mood”. perhaps i’m the only one in london that likes him, the member of staff at the bookshop told me that the book had been sitting on the shelf for two years. perhaps it was waiting for me.

    i’ve been using the new polaroid too. very pleased with the results. did you get the link i sent you about the film suppliers in ny?

    right back to the polaroid.

    take care folks.


  • AKAKY! :)))))))))))))))))

    aint gonna add anything to that post! :))))


    I think you need to add a new SECTION to your BLOG, in honor of the New Yorker/Akaky Posts: Call it TALK OF THE UPSTATE TOWN: to be filed every week by Akaky: i frickin’ love his posts…akaky: William Shawn should have met YOU! :)))))…


    Congrats to Alfred, Allen, Alysson (god i love those blacks and shadows!!), Arif (dream time essay!!!) and David :))))…lovely work folks!

    ok, off for the night…pics and writing to do…


  • thanks for the ideas, david and ross!

    i really just need to bite the bullet and buy a luscious f1.4. when i can.
    that would nip all my low-light problems in the bud.

    ok, no more tech talk!
    just wondered about the red and yellow filters
    that i saw on david’s flash in the movie.


  • hey marcin and herve,

    i certainly agree with you that each artist chooses the best median for his or herself…and marcin, whatever you are using is certainly working for you, i’m a big fan. please do not use a cellphone to take your pictures…..

    perhaps if i where a wealthier man i’d be using large format in my photography and shooting movies on 70mm film….when i said i was over film, it was more about weighing the pros and cons….cons being time and money at this point. i’ll always be appreciative of the beauty of film….and records.

    i’ll take my comments off the air.


  • Katia – if you’re using Nikon, you can get a 50mm f1.8 new for around $50. Probably the equivalent for Canon.

  • Katia;

    Shooting dark and moody has sparked off an idea about (yet another) project to undertake: following the late night indie music scene here in NZ…

    Am I the only one here who has more project ideas scribbled down than they’ll probably ever be able to begin?

  • David M. – yes, I’m shooting with a Nikon D80.
    I realize the f1.8’s are quite a bit cheaper
    than the f1.4’s but I also keep thinking I’d like/need that extra stop of light.
    these squats are dark and at night, under a bridge, fiercely so.
    that extra stop will help a lot.

    thanks for your input though.
    i didn’t know you could get a 50mm f1.8 for $50 now, wow!

    Ross – I’m in my 3rd year of shooting the Seattle homeless street youth culture.
    that’s the only project on my mind. and nothing else interests me right now.
    looking back it seems when I’m drawn to something it completely consumes me and usually for years.
    you have ideas on paper and that’s all good but what makes you Blaze and Burn?
    do That.

  • david alan harvey


    i am so pleased you are still working with the homeless youth….yours is one of the projects i hope to fund soonest….

    cheers, david

  • @ANA: I survived las fallas. I just got home after a twelve hour bus trip. Was great to meet up! Very encouraging and energetic.

  • david alan harvey

    JONI, ANA….

    sorry i missed you guys…too too bad….but, i do not think i could survive the Valencia fiestas right now….still recovering from Oslo….

    abrazos, david

  • Katia;

    My scribbled projects are all local, My “Blaze & Burn” projects are situated in the Pacific Islands, where I focus on humanitatian stories e.g urbanisation (squatter settlements in Vanuatu/Fiji)

    These projects are self funded (as a matter of fact am paying for a trip to East Timor this afternoon). But I still try to look for interesting projects here because I can’t afford to be in the Islands full time.

    Will be in Timor for 3 weeks, have two guaranteed article sales (I write too) which means I “should” break even fiancially. As for making a profit, hopefully will when I get back (will have to wing that!!), but to me the story (IDP’s) is more important.

    I work fulltime freelancing and can’t afford to be away fulltime, but that doesn’t make the projects I work on here any less valuable to me.

    I feel that having an ideas list is important too. Having them down on paper doesn’t mean that you don’t pursue them, they’re just food for thought.

    If I had a fulltime job (other than freelance photojournalism) I could probably devote more time to the Pacific projects, but then I couldn’t do the work I love.

    I try to find a balance between commercial work (for magazines & libraries) and “food for the soul” work, personal projects.

    Commercial work provides (and even then, only just provides)the roof over my head. As it is I seem to spend most of my time robbing Peter to pay Paul!!!

    The commercial work mostly focusses on sustainability issues and the people involved.

    I try to find stories that others doing good work will benefit from. I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than do celebrity type photojournalism or other forms of what I call “sell-out photojournalism” or worse still, company PR work (which I could pick up).

    I think it’s a case of “horses for courses” and as long as you are working ethically and with the right intent then you’re on the right track. As the old saying goes “there’s always more than one way to skin a cat”……..

    Take care

  • david alan harvey


    your website looks terrific!!! nice, tight,askew, moody, mysterious, marcin….

    cheers, david

  • david alan harvey


    very well put…stay out of trouble and i will put you on the “writing staff” too!!!


  • david – my heart nearly jumped into my throat when i read that!!

    yes, of course, i’m still with the kids.
    i honestly can’t imagine doing anything else.
    when i’m not with them i am yearning to be with them. it’s crazy.

    my next step is living with them for a period of time around the clock.
    i haven’t decided how many weeks i will do this.
    possibly start with 1 week then work myself up to 2, 3 and then a month.
    that means 24/7. no going home during this time.
    i’m so very excited about this but i need to get through spring quarter first (did i tell you i’m in school to get my AAS in social work? yup! :)) so these plans are on hold until june. but i’m already jumping out of my skin with it! :)

    thanks for your support.
    that really help a lot, y’know?
    i hope you know.


  • david alan harvey


    please stay excited…i love this…but please please just keep your fingers crossed and do not count on anything yet…what i want to do, and what i can do right this minute are two different things…but, i felt it important that you understand my intent…i will do my best…for you, and for several others….

    peace, david

  • ross, wonderful response!

    glad you have outlets for your Fire. :)

    yes, i take on some portrait work from time to time to make a bit of extra money.

    i did 4 weddings last summer and it was excruciating. never again.
    i’m so dead when i don’t love what i’m doing..

    best of luck to you!


  • katia –
    more on flash… bandaid can work if DAH sez… so can anything else. a few layers of papertoweling or a handkerchief — a bandana in any color… the idea is to soften and suppress the light… use it on manual or the camera will tell it to kick out more light… bounce if off a wall behind you or the floor… get an off-camera cord so you can hold it out or up or down or behind… a world of flash knowledge, and more, is at buy that cheap 1.8 lens, it works… good luck

  • david — yes, yes, of course. i fully understand.
    but just knowing your intent is a beautiful thing.
    i won’t be attached to outcomes, i promise. ;)


    Wow…big day for Cathy on the DAH blog! I’m coming in the door from a LONG day and after putting a load of wash in I am catching up on all the days comments instead of making dinner, which I really need. So if this comment has a note of low blood sugar to it there is a reason, not venus or mars.

    Waiting, waiting, waiting for either good or bad news from a doctor which has taken 12 days and they still haven’t called!!! TRYING hard not to stress out about it but it sucks. So it’s nice to have fun things like which photos were posted to discuss. I have totally “gotten it” that stress and worry over anything are not worth it. While busy stressing and worrying one misses out on LIFE and may as well be dead.

    OKAY LET ME SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT… to those who are semi pissed off at me :)) I DID NOT set out to try and get David to add more of my photos to the site. I took the advice of Panos (not necessarily someone to take advice from :)) and called attention to my photos…the ones on my link and since David had just posted three to the site, the ones on the site. I thought it would be of interest to some of you to see the difference between three images David posted and three that Alex Webb selected when they were both shown the same six images (along with others.)

    What transpired after that was due to the fact that DAVID made comments that he hadn’t seen the shots I showed Alex, that I hadn’t submitted them to him, etc. What was I supposed to do? Say nothing???

    From there the dialog continued…I did consider in the midst of it that if David started looking back at my submission how would others feel, but at that point it was too late so sorry if anyone feels slighted by what happened.

    I am not unhappy with any of what I said or what any of you have said. All is good. My comments and questions come always from a place of what is good for the community…If I’m asking how the judging took place, etc. it’s with the hope that something comes out of the conversation that improves/clarifies/makes easier the process in the future. I hope that is clear to everyone here.

    It rarely occurs to me until the mars/venus comments today but I am one of the few female regular posters “hanging out” with a lot of guys. I’m used to that. Hope it’s not a problem for the rest of you! Thanks!

  • anon – thanks for all your tips! :)

    i found the nikkor 50mm f1.8 for $109.00 online.
    that’s the cheapest i saw. still a very good price.
    i’m so torn now!
    maybe i should look into cheap rental shops around here
    and see just how much of a difference a 1.4 would make next to a 1.8.


  • Please David don’t put me on the writing staff!!! :-) I ended up in the wierd position of becoming better known (in NZ) as a writer than a photographer. I wrote to sell my images and vice versa.

    The entire scene got outa whack and my photography suffered because I wasn’t doing enough of it. At the moment I’m trying to get the balance right, but it’s tricky because as you know I’ve only been fulltime for under a year..

    Regarding projects (again, sorry); William Allard is one my biggest influences (even though I now seem to be doing more B&W than colour now…go figure…) and even though he is known for his West work he’s certainly completed a wide range of projects. Yet it doesn’t affect the esteem he is held in.

    I’ve always dreamed of being in one of Mr Allards workshops- I think a week of having my arse kicked from pillar to post by him would actually benefit my work tremendously… Having him provide a quote for one of my articles is one of the most cherished memories I have.

    Regarding the Pacific: most of the people I’ve worked with up there always say how difficult it is to raise money for their aid projects. Whereas if their project was in Asia or Africa the cheque books would open immediately.

    Most people think the Pacific is an easy living paradise; yet even in relatively touristed Port Vila (Vanuatu) you can stay at “Poppies by the Lagoon” for US$250 per night, and over the road is Seaside Paama squatter settlement where most can’t afford to send their kids to school.

    As for the HIV problem in PNG; well that is terrifying….

    Take care

  • david alan harvey


    you forgot to mention firing flash through a tortilla chip, 7-11 styro coffee cup and, of course, an old personal favorite, a dark beer…


  • david alan harvey


    you are great!!! you can dish it out, but you can take it too…i do not think anyone is angry with you…if you were here in New York, i would invite you to the local pub!!!


    so, why don’t you take Allard’s class at the Festival of the Photograph in june??? by the way, why would the wide range of subjects affect the “esteem” in which many hold him???

    cheers, david

  • Katia —
    good idea, try a 1.4… probably not a HUGE difference from a 1.8… shooting wide open with a lens that long in the dark is going to make correct focus CRITICAL — especially if on an n80 since i think a 50 appears like a 75mm due to sensor size (i’m a canon shooter, don’t know the nikons)… have you considered buying a fast 24mm for shooting in these spaces?
    probably expensive but it could be a great focal length for the work you are doing…

  • Herve and others,

    “let’s move on, that was 6 freakin’ months ago”

    PLEASE keep in mind that the reason this conversation came up today, months after everyone has finished congratulating each other and experiencing whatever they experienced about being included or not included, was because my images were only posted to the site yesterday! I have been waiting my turn all these months so that’s why I’m still not “over it” yet. Now I am though. :))

  • david
    :-) you’re feisty today!
    hey, just trying to help harness the big bad ugly light of a powerful flash… never tried the flash through the bass ale, but DO have many shots with the camera itself pressed up against an adult beverage container of some kind… with instant digital feedback, these photos can look amusing at the bar… and then, the next day, not so much…
    you know, a tortilla color styro cup could be perfect. and thus we may have our first DAH approved, ANON marketed product ready for public consumption!

  • DAVID,

    One day we’ll have a drink or two somewhere. Hope you don’t mind if I switch to fruit juice rather quickly. :))

    You are also a great sport. I can’t believe you put up with all of this on a daily basis. :))

  • david alan harvey


    yes, but you were one of the first to have a private review…and , by the way, it was only “three freakin’months ago” !!!


  • david alan harvey


    my oh my..terrific idea….we are rich!!!!


  • David;
    I saw the workshop a little while ago and salivated more than Homer Simpson eyeing up a doghnut. I won’t get back from Timor til early June so will be too strapped for cash.

    Just getting to the States is always expensive from way down here.. I am thinking about taking a three day workshop with Tim Page in Oz though. A LOT cheaper to get to!!! And it’s meant to be challenging.

    Instead of workshops I content myself with buying a book every now and then off Amazon. At the moment am devouring Larry Towells Mennonites & El Salvador; Salgado’s An Uncertain Grace and especially Don McCullins new book My England. And also push myself as hard as possible of course….

    I’m intrigued over Mr Towells book The World From My Front Porch, just shows a great picture/story is often only an arm’s length away!!

  • DAVID,

    Uh-oh…It’s another one of those “Is he misunderstanding me?” situations. JUST TO MAKE SURE… :))

    The “let’s move on, that was 6 freakin’ months ago” was said by Herve, not me. I was letting him and others who had the “let’s move on” additude know why we were discussing this today rather than months ago and was not complaining in any way that I had to wait…but you knew that…right???? :))

  • ROSS…

    yes, for sure, a good book is all you really need…on the other hand i am surprised you would be into an Allard workshop, but thinking of replacing it with a Tim Page workshop..hmmmm, curious about that any price!!


    no misunderstanding…i was quoting Herve…

    cheers, david

  • Katia – I swear a year ago I got that 1.8 for $50 new – it must be catching on. I also got a sigma 20mm 1.8 that I like a lot – that was more like $450 though.

  • anon wrote, “have you considered buying a fast 24mm for shooting in these spaces?”

    oh yes i have! but they are sooo expensive!!

  • David;

    I wouldn’t say replace it with one from Tim Page, I’d say more like, as well as…. I think it would be an interesting workshop & I admire Tim Page’s work.

    Also Brisbane is close; 2 1/2 hrs flight… If I go to Timor again I would try and combine it with a workshop as I’d be going via Brisbane anyway..

    I’ve always thought that it’s important to be open to as many influences as possible.

    I akin it to a smorgasbord… You take a bit of this, and a little of that and you make it your own. You’re not copying, you’re subconciously asssimilating…

    I don’t want to be one of those who take workshop after workshop but do nothing with it. I’d like to use it to fine tune my work and hopefully push it to another level…

    However Allards “The Photographic Essay” is a WELL thumbed through volume on my bookshelf- ok then, it’s a bible….

  • ROSS…

    well put…i too admire what Tim Page did as a HUMAN BEING in Vietnam and after…a very thoughtful and caring guy…..but, photographically in a different world than Allard…in any case, you have your head on straight and thinking things through…fair enough…

    cheers, david

  • ERICA….

    yes, of course, you may call…marie told me she gave you my number…


  • A different world- a big YES to that!!! Allards “Hutterite Sojourn” marriage of words and images was sublime…..

    “you have your head on straight and thinking things through…fair enough…” that’s not what the bank thinks though!!!

  • that was a great little video David, Thanks for sharing! I’m looking forward to checking out the updates.

    cheers –


  • Geez Cathy. You got one of the first reviews, you kept bringing up your photos and finally they got put up but you are still not happy? I would have thought it a matter of pride that if your photos werent posted you wouldnt keep bringing it up. Accept it and move on. Well, you finally got your photos up and you are still unhappy? Some people didnt get a review, some people didnt get their work posted yet you are the only one here complaining.

  • PANOS…

    very interesting piece…thanks…context definitely alters “meaning” least in “journalism”..but, another thing to think about: can the purely visual aspects create it’s own “context”???


  • just returned, before bed: writing too long and then some negative crap, but just a quick nod before off to be with mrs. b:

    ALLARD’S Slaughterhouse Picture from Peru (the one of the bull above an ocean of blood) is one of the SUBLIME photographs, heroic, profound, sad, visually exciting….

    I know his portrait of women in veil is Iconic, but that damn extraordinary photograph: the eyes of that bull (where they blue?)…killed me when i first saw it…even now, i think of it when i see his name…..

    i’ll go hunt, quick , link to the pic…


  • RAFAL…

    now, i am feeling bad about you!!! you have never complained….i suppose i have held back just a bit on your review because we spent so much personal time together in Seoul..talking about your project etc etc…i guess it is hard to put it all together…face time, review and final publication!!

    i have more reviews to do tomorrow…i will make sure you are first….

    cheers, david

  • ok, here’s the image: not for the faint of heart…

    I thought of this pic again when i saw his “hunting” essay earlier in the year (or was it during the fall) in NG…(that essay too was profound and rich)…

    anyway, here it is…

  • BOB….

    that picture hangs on my wall…or, at least did when i had a wall!!!


  • David :))))

    i’ll trade ya ;)))))))…well, that pics in the wall of my head L))..

    ok, off to run…


  • RAFAL,

    WHAT THE????
    I have no idea what you are talking about.
    WHO is complaining other than YOU?????

  • Bob;
    I know the image you mentioned. When it comes to great Allard pics, where do you start, there are so many!!! I also like the way he writes too though…

    Have you seen his recent hunters story in Nat Geo?

  • Alisson, Arif, David M. and others whose essays have been posted.
    GREAT WORK all.

  • ROSS, BOB…

    i am sure you have read my Allard piece here under “family/friends”..posted may 26, 2007….if not , please do…and consider my next question in the context of that story and my closeness to Bill…

    why do you think Bill has only worked on assignment for Natgeo??? does it even matter that he has never done a project outside of an NG assignment?? it is curious to me, but i would like your viewpoint….

    cheers, david

  • I think (if I remember right) he said in one of his books that he was too disorganised business-wise to go completely freelance…

    Maybe it’s a temperament thing too, he certainly doesn’t seem to suffer fools gladly. This may not endear him to some editors etc. Especially if they tried to “art direct” him.

    He does seem fiercly protective of his work…

    I don’t think it matters who he works for, it’s the quality of the work that counts.

    Larry Towell also says he has never ever had an assignment at all, & couldn’t imagine working on one- but look at the quality of his work…

    But does Allard do private projects they never see the light of day? Again in one of his books he said that he had cardboard boxes full of trannies he’s never sorted through, and would make a tidy regular income through an agency etc..

    I can’t imagine him ONLY shooting when on an NG assignment…

  • David:)

    hey, no problem:) if I wanted to complain I would:) No reason.Plus I think I know whats wrong, Now if you want to really look at something meaningful to me then come to my flickr page and go into “Personal Book” folder where you will find two projects: Family Ties and Home Sweet Home. If you could write something about what you think the direction is and how you would see it gping, that would be awesome. The stuff I submitted isnt really close to me or personal but these are ongoing projects I am undertaking so that would be MUCH more helpful. We never talked about these, they are projects that have coalesced after you left. If you want any background on them I can provide you with what I feel I am trying to do. Thanks:) The link is my name.

    Cathy, I just think that if your photos arent posted then why bring it up? Anyway, congrats on having them up!

  • peopleof this forum,
    or ALL , ( lurkers too)…
    whatever you do right now, stop it for a sec…
    Go at your window…
    CAN YOU SEE THE MOON ?????!!!!!
    I LOVE CALI…. for some,… Kali, though…
    I don’t know…

    PEOPLE CAN YOU FEEL THE MOONSHINE … can you at least see it..?

  • I’ve tried Panos, but it’s 5pm here in New Zealand!! :-))

  • ROSS…

    therein lies my curiosity…Bill does only shoot for NG…and he does not own his copyright!!! he can , however, market his work through the Image Collection, the in-house agency of Natgeo…

    Larry and Bill are exact opposites…Larry works only on his own projects, Bill only on paid assignment..

    Larry shoots personal projects all the time, Bill as per described…

    Larry does not get art directed…Bill is subject to the editors whim at Natgeo…

    obviously both photographers have made a mark…but, in very different ways…and then, we must see what happens to Bill…he probably will “retire” from Natgeo soon…and move out west…i will really be curious to see if he then still shoots..i hope so….historically, staff Natgeo photogs “disappear” after retirement..can you name three retired Natgeo staff photogs??? on the other hand, Larry will surely never “retire”…he will seek his “place in history”…so far, Natgeo staffers have not found this place…i truly hope Bill will be the exception…

    but, we must wait and see….i would make no predictions one way or the other….

    cheers, david

  • Rafal,

    What you saw/read on the blog is not the entire picture. David had said things to me in my review and thru personal email about posting my work that I was responding to publicly. You only saw my comments, not his so I understand how you could think that.

    Anyhow, thanks.


    obviously here lies the lack of communication..this is how rumors start..pieces of conversation…

    Cathy, honestly i think the burden was on you to keep our conversation either totally private or totally public…you chose to take my private comments to you and then go public!!! i have many private conversations with readers here….private is private and public is public….

    no wonder Rafal was confused…

    ok, i am DONE with this conversation..let’s please move on!!! please!!!

    cheers, david

  • Panos just showed up so I’m sure there will be a change of topic any minute.

    Sorry for the confusion Rafal, David and all, lesson learned but I can’t worry about or care what each person who reads the blog is thinking each time I post.

    Too much responsibility.

    YES. Conversation over! Please.

  • Maybe Mr Allard sticks with the people he knows at NG because they know each other’s foibles etc. & have a sort of understanding…

    I can’t imagine him putting his feet up & never shooting though. But also shooting for himself may not give him the ego boost of seeing your work in print (I don’t mean that in an uncharitable, nasty way) As no matter what anyone says there is an ego boost to see your work in print and know others are reading your words or viewing your images.

    One thing i found hard to get my head around was that someone was paying money for your thoughts (editors & readers). Especially coming from a trade/retail background. You tend to think you’re a bit of a fraud…

    It is nice to enter a profession where you receive some respect, especially after being in a job where you receive virtually none…

    People are fickle…. It’s funny, but last time I was in Vanuatu I had Western doctors (doing sabbatical aid work at Port Vila hospital)say how lucky I was to be doing MY job & how much they envied me!!! Yet I am the same person who only 6 months earlier was working a job they would have looked down their noses at!!!

    There must be a certain respect that goes with being a photographer/writer for NG.

  • ROSS…

    yes, there is a certain respect…but, i always wished there were more from photoland….most of the respect comes from “middle America” where the Natgeo is like gospel for so many…but, when i was a staffer at Natgeo, i often felt the “sting” of being a bit outside the “real photographic world”…we always wondered why there was so much acceptance from the aforementioned “middle America” and so little from the towers of entitlement in New York , Paris etc etc…i personally struggled with this for a long time before finally realizing it was a battle that could not be fought…Natgeo is what it is…but every photographer i have ever known who was a “staffer” realizes it is an uphill battle to get “beyond” the yellow border….

    cheers, david

  • ROSS, DAVID, thank you… interesting “truths”…
    All i know, for sure…: I’m such an ignorant !!!…

  • Maybe it’s a bit of snobbery and jealousy on the part of the naysayers…. NG seems to be a popular target, even on this forum sometimes… i mean, I’ve seen a few stories in Time that weren’t that flash either, doesn’t mean the mag is rubbish..

    There is still some strong imagery in it, & I think it has become a little more harder hitting recently.

    It all comes down to perception anyway, one man’s meat and another’s poison etc. For example I didn’t think much of the recent Tonga story, I thought it was a bit of a “once over lightly”. That just may be because I know the place fairly well. But that doesn’t negate the mag because there were other strong stories etc..

    What other mag is out there spending that sort of money going after stories? They’re few and far between

    And as for getting recognition from the art market; I think the “art photography” world can tend to believe too much in its own importance anyway…

  • david alan harvey


    points well taken…NG is a other magazine is as big a target as NG….and, as you say, quite often unfairly…as you also point out, NG is certainly the only magazine with the budget to let photographers fly solo for long periods of time …the critics would say then that surely the photographers then become “co-opted” by the magazine…to that i would say, some do and some do not…

    we can all agree i think that for 125 years Natgeo has documented the world in a way no other publication can touch…the collected works represent an incredible archive…unfortunately, little has been done by NG to really put this work “out there” in a truly sophisticated way beyond the initial publication in the magazine…i think the work coulda shoulda been presented in a way that reached way beyond the perceived mass “readership” of NG… perhaps this will change someday….i hope so….

    cheers, david

  • hi david. still trying to download the movie without any luck. will persist though :-)

    btw, i’ve been hesitant to follow up on my request for a review (sent it to the blog email address) since so many things happened to you just after it (losing your home, etc). but i recently see others doing their own follow up, so please forgive me if i jump into the list

    meanwhile, back to downloading that clip :-)


  • david alan harvey

    Bj A. PATINO…

    you are already on the list…will try for tomorrow…


    nothing that i say is THE TRUTH…i am just “guessing” like everybody else!!!

    cheers, david

  • Just so you dont miss it David, if you do take time to review anything of mine please take a quick look at the two projects in the Personal Book folder of my flickr account. Thats the sort of stuff that I am going to be doing over a long term….dont worry about how its edited, it really isnt edited as it is intended to be a long term study. I just wonder what your impression is of the idea and concept as well as how successful you think I am at getting “into the guts” of the material.

  • Joni,

    If you have left Valencia already, you missed La Crema?
    Nailed to my computer so can’t go…really gutted..

  • National Geographic has to be taken in context as being a major corporate brand, and it therefore carries all the baggage associated with such an entity.

    As David pointed out, it is a very succcessful brand too; having been around for 125 years, they must be doing something right.

    That middle America target audience is pretty much a sure winner. And the majority of them are not even that interested in photography. A friend of mine in the US had been given a subscription to NG from her grandmother years ago and the magazines just kept coming in the mail and often she didn’t even look at them. I would imagine that there are many people like that and they buy or subscribe to NG simply because it is the thing to do and it looks good on the coffee table.

    We can criticise the magazine to death on this blog, but we should remember that people like us are not NG’s target audience. I’m sure we can all agree though that the magazine is still a nicely packaged product and now again features some very good work, both writing and photography.

    But we are the target audience in terms of potential photographers to help continue NG to be an important and successful publication.

    It seems to me that as photographer, if you can land some work with NG you can’t lose. You have the freedom in the field to work long term and indepth on a story, the end result is nicely presented to the public, and it gets your name and work out there to a lot of people who could potentially buy your books and see your shows etc.

    As for Allard, I’ve always seen it that his work on the West was his personal passion as a photographer and he was just clever / lucky/ successful enough to have ended up having NG assist him in doing this work.

    I might be completely wrong but I expect a major book of Allard’s work on the West to appear at some point, and I think, or at least hope that this will establish his place in the history of photography.

    DAVID: wouldn’t you say that your work on the Spanish diaspora, which was often done for NG was also your personal passion as a photographer? Alex Webb also seems to be in the same position.

    As for Larry Towell never doing assignments, I don’t think that is quite true. He recently had a feature on the Magnum website on The Remote Area Medical Mission in Appalachia. I would think that this was probably an assignment by the NGO concerned. And his work with covering the gulf coast after Katrina was probably for the editorial market first and then became the book. But perhaps I’m wrong.

    I first came across Larry’s Mennonites work in an issue of Canadian Geographic magazine. So he certainly uses the editorial market to publish his personal work when he can.

    Coming back to the piece on Robert Frank: very interesting and important reading. We are lucky to have a master like him still around and popping up now and again to give us insights into his creativity.

    Tate Modern had a big show of his work a few years ago and the BBC produced a wonderful documentary about him. It was sad, funny, and very inspiring. The film is worth seeing just for Frank’s black self-depreciating humour.

    DAVID: Frank once again brings us back to John Cohen. Cohen photographed the making of Pull My Daisy and lived in the same apartment building as Frank at the time. Some of these pictures appear in his PowerHouse book There Is No Eye. Frank photographed Cohen’s old-time band The New Lost City Ramblers and some of these pictures appeared in their albums and CDs.


  • Hi,
    I had to replay the movie. It felt like being in India with the group again, nice memories. It was a little too early 4 beer though…
    And wow you defiantly got your eyes from you mom:)



    GREAT CONVERSATION :))…while you were shuttling back and forth, i was in dream land (dream about trying to swim up a waterfall, no shit!) :))…

    The question about Allard is an interesting one, but I think all three of you have quite eloquently touched on the heart of the matter. I, personally, have never “compared” photographers (nor writers, musicians, dancers, drug dealers, bankers, barbers ;)) as to the “reason/rationale” behind their work: the work, hell yea, but not the pulpy heart that lead to its creation. Like all craft, photographers bring to that small chamber of holes and pins and sprockets their own self, their own foibles and loves, their own predilections and failings. The holding of that Pandora’s box has always been an extraordinary and mysterious thing: for it somehow transforms us, harnesses us, strengthens and weakens us. The why in this case is as singular and peculiar and specific to each photographer as the how. I’m not surprised that Allard has worked for only NG, for something within that relationship gave him the framework to make great photographs. I dont see this, actually, being any different from, let’s say, Giacomelli who spent his life in the same region, or Towell’s magnificent work (before he hit the road, which is still magnificent) on his family or Ontario farming country (including the sublime work on the Mennonites). The truth is that each of us has some, needs some kind of mechanism in which we can function. for some that’s flight, newness, travel. for some that’s long long periods of digestion and then an explosion. for some, that means only shooting “what you know.” Wallace Stevens worked for the same damn Insurance company most of his entire life, and look what bubbled up. also, the things that go into making great work also come from very different places. For allard, maybe the idea that he spends long periods of time in reflection (as do I) and then “shoots” when he needs, (for an assignment) knowing that that will burst out into the photographs that have stewed inside him. I know writers who can only write if they are given a specific assignment to write and when they write: look the fuck out, it’s gorgeous. but put them in front of a computer, forget it.

    At some point, NG “clicked” for Allard: and I am certain he has his own personal, professional, spiritual and aesthetic reasons. Freedom often comes from the acceptance of a certain amount of restriction (self-imposed kind of haiku: “i’ll only work for this”), for all that shit about what to shoot, when to shoot, what’s gonna happen, how do i get paid, how do i sell it, disappears: that’s already known. thus, allard can concentrate on the “moment.”: the shooting, for all the rest is in place. Also, he may also under that photography really is small and he may see the work as just that: work that is a mark upon the way he lived and it was/is his living and he’s reasonably secure in understanding that deep truth, without all the shit and bullshit and energy that most people waist thinking about their “legacy” as a photographer. In the end, something clicked for him that felt right and good about the arrangement, for in the end, to me, its still about the work: did the photographs soar and speak and challenge and question. for allard, that answer is yes….

    so too Towell. I had the great pleasure of having met him at one of his openings here (though im sure he doesnt remember me, i complemented him on his hat, his smile and the pics ;))), and he was a man who was very “kind” (in the biggest sense) and gentle. He also eminated perspective and insight: taking the pictures for what they were and never once grandizing them or himself: that’s a remarkable perspective given how important and sublime the work.

    In the end, each of us arrests ourself within a skin, for whatever reason, that allows us to accomplish or fail as people and photographers. If allard’s legacy is to be forgotten, this would be no different from every photographer, in truth. The fact that he made a lifetime and a living by working for one magazine, to me, is fine cause he produced so much magnificent and challenging work. As justin wrote, i also agree a book, probably, will pop out, and maybe yes about the west…but if he retires, puts his camera down, his legacy as a photographer will live in those who see the photographs….

    to me, it’s no different than any and each of us: the ways and ends of how we accomplish. That NG hasnt been as “sophisticated” about marketing its work to a public larger than it’s readership is, at least for me, both its bain and its blessing. It takes an extraordinary humility to month after month create extraordinary work and NOT beat down upon the work with a klaxon-call of its own greatness (the opposite of which i often see in the art world)…

    the “red bull” lives inside me, just as it live(d) on David’s wall and that’s a legacy that I, as a photographer, would be secure and proud enough to retire upon: 1 photograph that bloomed inside the head and heart of 1 person…

    what else can we ask for….

    “In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then beleive them to be true.”–buddha


  • david alan harvey


    thank you…you have given a “correct” analysis of the audience and “place” of National Geographic…the Natgeo readership may appreciate the photography therein, but they are not the “photography audience” as you say…if i make eye contact with the warm eyes of a Natgeo reader, who are always so pleased to meet me, they would be hard pressed to actually know any of the work i may have had in the magazine…they just know i am a Natgeo photographer in the generic sense and that is good enough for them!!

    yes, of course, i totally accumulated almost all of my personal work by doing Natgeo assignments…..most of which came from my own proposals….the freedom and control i have over my essays is unprecedented in the world of magazines….even the fabled Life magazine was short lived compared to the ongoing support given photographers by Natgeo…i must make it very clear that my only point is as i said above…that this work is rarely “moved forward” and outside the parameters of the magazine itself…historically, many photographers have been supported in part by magazines…Gene Smith, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Walker Evans, Paul Fusco etc etc…yet, Natgeo staffers have so far not made their mark nor carved out their place at the long photographic dinner table of history the way the above mentioned have…personally, i felt that i had to leave the staff of Natgeo in order to have the work move “outside” and find a proper seat at this mythical table…doing a Phaidon book (Divided Soul) with the work that was mostly financed by Natgeo gave me a “place at the table” that would not have been offered had i stayed on the NG staff….nor would i have been as motivated to produce this work…

    Larry Towell may have had support from an ngo …i do not know…and , yes, of course his work appears in magazines….but, he is not financed up front by magazines, unless perhaps he may get a small guarantee from several magazines before he heads to a place like Gaza for example…but, Larry is going to Gaza “come hell or high water”…and no magazine will monitor what he shoots…

    thank you for putting me on to John Cohen when we were in Oslo…i barely knew his work…and not much of his life….i knew nothing of the Frank connection…

    i look forward to more of your work Justin…it was a pleasure to have you in my class in Oslo…

    cheers et al, david

  • david alan harvey


    yes, yes….amazing summary… after all is said and done, we all are a mere footprint on the beach…remember Ozymandias????? (sp?)

    and while i totally concur with every single eloquent word you wrote above, i only add that it may be a creative imperative for some artistic souls to take her/ his work as far as he/she possibly can….not bellowing….not grandstanding ..but just TAKING CARE…

    peace, david

  • David :))

    running to teach: only this:

    “creative imperative for some artistic souls to take her/ his work as far as he/she possibly can….TAKING CARE”-dah


    its all we have…the taking care part, especially :))


  • DAVID:

    It was a real pleasure to be there.

    As for Larry Towell, I totally agree with you, that he will shoot regardless of who will see or want to use his work.

    I actually think that Larry pretty much lives the perfect photographic life: being there on the farm in Ontario working and photographing, and then heading off with his cameras when the urge really takes him.

    Perhaps this is a silly comment to make, but is it essential that the work of NG photographers does move forward outside of its original context of the magazine? Perhaps we just have to see it as it is: photographing in NG magazine. In a way, that gives it some exclusivity, and helps to uphold the yellow border mythology, and the magazine’s place in popular culture.

    David, you should you know if anybody does, but I would imagine if we sat down with the directors of NG and talked to them about all this, we’d discover that the NG brand it is a very complex machine which has many agendas and is struggling to keep its position in a rapidly changing industry and market.


    I think you’re pretty spot on about the pressures being removed as an NG staffer. Because he knows Bill well, David can probably give us more insight on this, but it is possible that all Bill cares about is having that opportunity to go out and photograph and make good work and rellish in the experience of doing so.

    The legacy thing is another issue. I personally think it is an important part of a photographer’s work, that is if you really decide to devote your life to making pictures. After all you want something to show for it at the end.

    Perhaps Bill’s legacy will be those yellow spines on the book shelf. I personally think a book is the way to set ones legacy in stone, but NG magazine seems to exist outside of the typical throw away culture of most magazines, and would be one possible alternative.

    For me, Bill Allard shone best when he both wrote and photographed his NG stories, such as the first Hutterite’s piece or that on the US-Mexico border. There is a real intimacy in these.


  • david alan harvey


    in my opinion, you are right on all counts…

    every photographer must choose a path and pursue whatever is necessary to:

    “go out and photograph and make good work and rellish in the experience of doing so”


  • Looking forward to reading the last bits about NatGeo on the blog here, but just wanted to say I got my copy of the mag in the mail last night, and was so very happy to see a story by Ami Vitale..I know she does so many great things, but I can’t help but feel proud of her with every accomplishment.

  • david alan harvey


    i have not seen the story by Ami, but i am a big fan of her work…i will try to find a copy of the magazine today…

    please call…perhaps we can meet on friday…


  • david alan harvey


    i have just learned of the passing of Philip Jones-Griffiths….i have no details, but he is gone….i was just writing about and disagreeing with him yesterday right here on this post!!! which is something Philip would have loved…

    one of my first posts on the forum, way back last january, was a photo of me with Philip, Alex, and Chien Chi…..i cared so much for Philip who was the “conscience” of Magnum….

    i will do a proper story soonest…i cannot think right now….

    peace, david

  • DAVID..I am running out but will call on return, thank you..and I can bring my copy.

    Is it because you are on the road so much that you don’t have a subscription? I waited for years to subscribe because I always felt I could move at any moment, and this Christmas I put NatGeo on my wish list as a sort of definitive act to say I’m here now..

  • Mr Harvey, I’m very sorry to hear of Mr Jones Griffiths’ passing. He was one of the greats.

  • o, jesus…………..

    need a moment to digest this, those like all those we “love” we know sometime, sooner rather than later, it will come…

    4 of the last 7 friday afternoons, between 3:00 – 7:00 (when i would meet my wife in a coffee shop), i sat and read and re-read vietnam, inc…

    no words at the moment….

    my thoughts and condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues, a towering beacon of light, a net of angry, righteous, moral music in a world drowned by its own deafness….

    philip jones griffith, an unmeasurable loss….


  • hello david,

    i have just read about Philip Jones-Griffiths. I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly once or twice. His is a voice, in every sense of the word, that will surely be missed by all. i think we have all lost a little something in his passing. i’m sure that there is some solace in the fact that he lived with passion and did his very best to inform the world of some injustice. not many people can claim to have done that.

    i know he was held a special place for you….david i hope you are okay.

    take care,


  • David

    I’m very sorry to hear about your friend passing … and great photographer for entire world…
    I’m in shock… no word

  • I am so saddened to here about Philip. I hardly know what to type.

    I had the pleasure and priviledge to spend a lot of time with Philip when he moved to London in 2005, after he moved to there to receive medical treatment. I was helping him move into his new flat and spent many afternoons talking with him, listening to his stories and just mentally trying to note down everything he told me as I hung on his every word. He would flick through photography books with me, pointing out pictures he liked, ones he didn’t and ones of which he had funny stories to tell. These afternoons I shall always remember. We had emailed regularly since but he had not replied to my most recent one…I feared…I worried…

    I want to write more but really can’t put the sentences together.


  • So sad.

    Here’s a recent interview with him in Aperture. Great slideshow too.

  • @STEVE: yes, I missed la cremá, but I was there for la mascletá (almost left me deaf). It is a pity but I don’t have nor the money (my scholarship ran out a while ago) nor the time (there’s a thesis to write) to find a place to stay there for more days. It was pretty good at the end of the day. I shot some hopefully quirky pictures and also got told off twice (once in Alicante in a bar and once in Valencia). Actually, the guy in Valencia said “you can’t take a picture of people without asking, this is not a country of moors” that left me wondering. It is well worth it… I dare people to try the same in la feria de Málaga if they have the balls, cos I don’t have them ;-)

    On the flash stuff. I’m shooting for the first time flash in colour, but for black and white usually anything to diffuse a bit is ok. I’m using the bubbly wrapping paper for this purpose, and to wide a bit the angle of the flash. When I need to bring down the flash more I use newspaper (the ones of cheap paper, that are not too thick). Flash off camera is great through a pint glass, and quite discrete. Best is, of course, infared film and any IR flash but you have to learn to stand black eyes. Not sure for colour… I’ll learn the lesson when I get to develop everything I’ve shot in my last trips to Spain, but I rather go for a harsh, slightly blown colour look than something soft. I try lots of different approaches, though, from the very stark 1/60 that should leave it all cold, to the longer shutter speeds with more ambiental light and less of a flash getting in. Doesn’t matter, after all if you make mistakes you learn something and if you didn’t make them you anyhow have to edit most of it out.

    @ALL: nobody around in Spain for Easter? I’ll be shooting around a bit, but I’m not a poet.

  • Philip Jones-Griffiths, a courageous artist. Journalist.

    We are his legatees, all.

  • Allow me to join with others in paying my deeply-felt respects to Philip Jones-Griffiths who I have admired for many, many years. A great man.

    No time to write or even read the many interesting recent posts… swamped with over-deadline work, clients screaming at me… back in week or so.

    Just one trivial aside: “Name three retired Nat Geo staff photographers…” Bruce Dale, Steve Raymer, James P. Blair. Maybe not on the international photo scene radar, but all still active in their separate ways, especially Raymer.

  • Sorry to hear about Philip Jone Griffiths, needless to say “Vietnam Inc” got a skim-thru today.

    I just noticed the “essays” at the bottom of the emerging photographers fund. Some good stuff, I especially like Alysson Gomes images. I just wish they had captions.

    A modern off-camera flashes have flip down diffusers and stofens, I’d guess these are easier than dealing with beer flavoured images or holding on a newspaper! Gelling the strobe to the ambient light can make it pretty unobtrusive after the fact. My main issue is even at its lowest setting, my flash is too powerful when I’m in tight with people. I find myself using only a portion of the beam and silly shutter speeds to include some ambient.

    I look forward to your review of my work David.

  • Reading about Allard and The Natl GEO, and of course this morning about the passing of PJ Griffith. A great artist always transcends the vehicle that will support, command and distribute his art. I have a feeling that Allard just does hi work, and will let time take care of the rest, wherver the dices fall.

    Griffith will forever be associated with Vietnam. His work is one that will ensure that love always beats hatred and worse, indifference, in this world. Not by much, and it’s a daily fight (within and without us) but in case of a tie, and when a player dies, some of us can or will play the prolongations. I think for that reason, and in many ways, Griffith was also a soldier in the Vietnam war. His weapon shot pictures.

  • Sad to hear about the passing of P.J.G. I wish I could have met him, esp in Saigon over a bia hoi and some banh mi. His pictures have had a particular resonance for me due to my several trips (well 5 now) to Vietnam, a place I love and plan on returning to many times. I totally get his fondness for the place even though he saw it during darkest times.

    I’m sure he will be sorely missed.

  • hi everyone,

    i’ve not been able to view the movie that david has put on the site. is this it, or something different?



  • david alan harvey


    i am pleased you know these photographers…yes, and all active…


    yes, i love her work too…and yes yes, i wish we had some text!!! your review soonest…


    many thanks for your notes on Philip…he was largely responsible for me coming into Magnum…i will work forever to make sure that i do my part to keep his legacy alive..


    thanks for posting the link..that Magnum in Motion says it all about Philip…


    no, that is another short film in Cuba that i had totally forgotten about…the one i posted is from Brazil…

    peace, david

  • hi david,

    in that case i’ve seen the full length version of the brazil film, i had recorded it when it came on the geographic channel. but then the tape broke.

    david did you see an earlier post i made. have you heard of the book: american mood by robert farber?


  • david alan harvey


    oh yes, sorry, i forgot to answer you before..yes, i know Robert Farber…not sure if i know that exact book however….anyway, he is an interesting photographer….


  • hey david,

    thats cool. its something of a journal, covering a journey across the usa and the last thirty tears. its very nostalgic and beautiful in places. i’d never heard of him before and found the book completely by chance.

    it reminded me of a lovely book called bound for glory – which is a collection of colour photos from the 1930’s to through the 1940’s. as you travel through the book, across the years, you move from rural to urban scenes. from the relative peace and innocence of pre world war 2, to the industrialization that feed the american war effort.


  • David,

    Finally caught your film on your site. My favorite part is when you admit that nothing is going right! By god, haven’t we all been there at one point or another. Though it must be fantastic to have the luxury to spend so much time on a story – the good days then easily cancel out the bad.



  • only a photographer. What a great man. I have no idea if being a war photographer makes a difference but fuck it should

  • david,

    sorry to hear about your friend.

  • Jason, Thanks for the link to “David in Cuba”.

    Everyone, it’s all new, posted on youtube yesterday only.

  • What sad, sad news about Philip Jones-Griffiths passing.

  • Your post David, about the passing and transition of PJ Griffith, just came in a few minutes after i had to leave this afternoon. Reading this now, among the rest of the other posts, i sit here, lost for words. I feel empty and hollow inside. I am very sorry to see PJ Griffith pass, although I have seen some of his images before, I didn’t know much of him, until the interview was posted yesterday, and people here talking about him. Thanks Herve for posting the inmotion Magnum about PJ Griffith. That really told a great story of a great man and photographer, who surely has left a legacy and most certainly deserve a seat around the round table. PJ Griffith is a true inspiration, and will be missed. My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.


  • How I miss cuba and trinidad…
    David… No dancing? what was happen on this film?
    If you will have workshop on cuba I will sell my wife and all stuff and I will join it!

    ok. Take care today David. Drink wine, listen good music.

  • sorry for the double posting!
    ~ j.

  • ALL,
    I have a new blog at
    I’ll write about and link to photographers of interest. Both famous and upcoming photographers. I will also post about exhibitions and gear of interest. Have a look!


  • jason — i had the same trouble viewing the movie that david linked us too on his site.
    i tried using a couple of different browsers but it still wouldn’t work.
    then i saw a little white box with a red x in it at the lower right-hand corner of my screen.
    i clicked on it and a window opened alerting me that i needed to allow for pop-ups to view the page.
    i clicked on that option and was then able to view the movie.

    hope this helps!

    Philip Jones Griffith – safe journey to you…

  • Hi everyone;
    It may be old news but I found an interesting link on foto8 discussing photojournalism. Apologies if it is old news.

    BOB; I see you have been contributing to the discussion there.

    When they say they are seeing “the same old images” do they mean that people are deliberately submitting those “types” of images because they think that’s what the judges want to see? Rather than maybe other strong, but different work?

    I saw a doco on Magnum a while ago where they were doing portfolio reviews and one member (can’t remember who) said the same thing. Too many asylums, war images etc.

    It just seems pertinant re; Mr Jones-Griffiths recent comments about the state of photojournalism. Any ideas anyone?

  • hi katia,

    thank very much for that. i’ll give it a try. i like your pictures by the way.


  • I should have read the earlier posts before posting my last post. I missed the message about Griffith’s death. I read his interview at yesterday and while I didn’t agree on what everything he said, he at least had clear, strong and very respectable viewpoints. R.I.P. PJG

  • David…and all,

    I hope it’s OK to bring a little levity.

    I was strolling around the local liquor store and came across this bottle of wine:

    Remembered David’s post about Korda and Che and compromising and selling out and all that good stuff. Anyway, I laughed…then I bought it! I’ll let you know if it is even remotely palatable!


  • You know guys (and gals), I read that stuff about R. Frank’s and his interview, and the tour movie with the Stones where evryone was high on coke and “could not care less if anything came out of the camera” (R. Frank), and how he fucked up the life of his kids…Nausea….

    ….And I see the persistent testimony Griffiths did about Vietnam, I see all these kids congenitally disformed as if coming from some nazi mad clinic experiments (“agent orange”, see magnum site, it’s not just a rock band)…

    …. and i know it’s not nice to take sides and have “opinions against” nowadays, be nice Herve!, but fuck it, I won’t be nice, and to me it matters a lot more what griffiths stood for than the self-indulgent existential nihilism of Frank and so many others who raised fucking up to an art form when Vietnamese mothers gave, maybe still give, birth to children who will have to pay for our imperial sins all their lives.

    Sorry, I had to get it out of my chest.

  • Well, Herve…

    Comparing Frank to Jones-Griffiths might not be the fairest thing to do.

    I appreciate where you’re coming from but I’m edging toward saying that not everything is so black and white (no pun!). Yes, Griffiths’ work was amazingly important. But it doesn’t mean the culture of the sixties or the Stones or documenting things like that was strictly nihilism.

    It’s all perspective.

  • I guess this is one reason to have a TV…to watch cool Nat Geo vids about my favorite photogs…too bad the hundred other channels made me throw my TV out the window…!

  • MICHAEL , how is that CHE wine ???
    Loved the photo of the bottle … you shot…
    I’m glad you left the price tag…
    that was my next question… how much per bottle ????
    but , of course you already new..peace

    “…Philip Jones Griffith – safe journey to you…

    Posted by: Katia Roberts | March 19, 2008 at 04:28 PM..”

    safe journey ?????
    can it get any “safer” than that…?

    sorry, Katia, I’m playing…
    i’m trying to lighten up and also get done with that “element of surprise”… that hit everyone… regarding
    PJG’s death…
    I feel for DAH that new the guy personally… (family members etc,)
    Let’s face it…
    He was really , really , really old….
    He lived a full life…
    we should all celebrate… i wish my life ends up like that…
    You see , i feel for Mozart thad died young… and
    not recognized… and blah…
    but for PJG….?
    He achieved everything, he did more than “normal” human beings”
    do, in 6 lifetimes….
    And he started losing his mind…!!!
    Really sad when i read his theories about
    D’AGATA is LITE…. this is symptoms of “dementia”
    Nietzche ended up with the same story, almost ( i hear you)…
    … no dis to anybody…
    I recognize his talent… and all that bull…

    Allright, OK… let me make it simple …. for ALL…
    If i had one chance ( and one only),
    to meet either ANTOINE D’AGATA, or PJG….
    Imagine a house with two rooms…
    One room is hosting a lecture- workshop with PJG,
    and the other room lecture – workshop with TRENT PARKE,
    what would YOU choose…
    Which door would you open…
    I would go with D’Agata or Parke…
    DEMENTIA vs NEW IDEAS…. ahhhh, you be the judge…

  • Uhm, I am available for some things, you know hanging out (NYC) or some reviews and stuff.

  • or, let me put it this way…
    THAT DIED..!
    IT WAS a little while ago , in MYANMAR…
    the tragic DEATH OF THE JAPANESE photographer….
    I’m still curious if he was recording that millisec…
    … the bullet reaching his heart…
    I worried when Paolo Pellegrin, was wounded last year in Lebanon…

    nobody talks about Myanmar, anymore…
    I never seen an “angry” Dalai Lama… before…
    but , couple days ago … he “offered” CHINA… his ” resignation”


    ps:… Once again , David i feel sorry about the loss of your friend…
    my condolenses to the family…

    TO THE REST OF US… or almost everyone else..
    enough with our hypocritical bullshit…
    Stop using other people’s deaths just to show to your cold self how sensitive you are…
    Let’s talk ABOUT people that are still alive, TRYING TO FEED
    coz, after they die…???? ah fuck it…

  • i meant CONDOLENCES to the family… sorry…
    i’m subconsciously thinking about lenses…

    “…ok. Take care today David. Drink wine, listen good music.
    Posted by: marcin Luczkowski | March 19, 2008 at 04:06 PM….”


  • PANOS…

    one thing to remember please….both D’Agata and Parke are full members of Magnum….this means that at least 75% of the membership thought they should be IN…Philip Jones-Griffiths loved Magnum as much as any member i know and totally supported the process by which photographers enter the agency, including the ones he might not like…surely PJG was perhaps not in favor of some new members, but he totally respected the wishes of his colleagues and the flow of integration…

    Philip loved to be a type of “loyal opposition” on many issues…kind of like you Panos! he would fire off missives full of “fire and brimstone” oftentimes just to see how it went down..sound familiar?? the man was from Wales , with all of the wit and alleged “contentiousness” that goes with his culture….on any issue, Philip was always the guy who would stand up and take the “other side” even if there seemed to be consensus among the others….he would never let anything “go down” without letting us know the possible pitfalls of whatever it was that we were about to do…

    i can tell you that the commitment to “straight photojournalism” and witty rhetoric of Philip Jones-Griffiths will be missed by all, including Trent and Antoine and Martin…

    peace and goodnite….david

  • David,
    I was so saddened today to hear of the loss of your collegue and friend Philip Jones-Griffiths. Selfishly, I feel like I’ve missed a ledgend. Just this weekend, I was reading pieces of an interview with PJG out loud to Lance (I think I even tried to do a Welsh accent). Lance was working, but I just kept interupting him with these great jaw-dropping and laugh-out-loud quotes from this man whose work I only recently discovered. (I know… what hole have I been living in?) At the time I said, “I have to meet this man.” I’m very sad today for your loss and for all of us who have just discovered and have yet to discover this great man and his work.

  • Hi Michael, my comment was not about the sixties, but just a personal reaction reading within 12 hours the Frank’s interview and the pieces with PJG on Magnum and aperture. I was probably too harsh about someone I know little, so mea culpa.

    The little I read from the Vanity fair magazine tells me (I may be totally wrong), Frank is finishing his life a bitter and remorseful man.

    The chinese trip account is really a sad one. He was probably coerced/cajoled to go.

  • Panos, since you mentionned it, 300 000 signatures in 48 hours:

  • thank you David!
    thank you Herve!

  • Herve,

    well, however anyone finishes his life I dont think it has much to do with their photography. The interview I read with PJG made me think he was quite bitter about anything non-PJ…. I think PJG was a great PJ photog but theres more to photography than PJ or even documentary and Magnum is smart as hell to diversify…both for business but more importantly artistically. So the whole magnum vs magnum-lite thing was kind of going to far. As far as your assessment of Frank or anyone else doing something different than stuff like Vietnam Inc….its also quite harsh, dont you think? I personally prefer stuff put out by D’Agata or Parr because they are doing it differently. Not that I dont like PJ stuff by guys like PJG but its good to see new directions.
    Frank, as bitter as you think he may be, and he probably is…hey, life had its bad surprises for him….still changed what photography could be. Or atleast he was one of the change agents. And finally, theres nothing wrong with self-absorbed photography…not all of it has to be socially conscious….it would be boring if it all was. Sometimes we need to dive into ourselves or our own worlds, and leave changing the rest of the planet to others.

  • Those who wish to leave a message for Philip Jones Griffiths (which will be send to his family) can do so here:

    I’m afraid, in my sad and drunken stupor my own lamentation and contribution to PJG will probably look pretty insane…but…

    if you wish to add, please post at the Magnum blog…


  • “Dyfal donc a dyr y garreg.”

    “Tapping persistently breaks the stone.”
    –Welsh Proverb


    Tonight, I have been drinking and I am bereft.

    Philip Jones Griffiths has died.

    I cannot begin to explain or enumerate the loss that this entails. I miss him as if I miss my father, broken. Though I have never spoken to him, face to face, I grieve for him. Is this not the measure and weight that he has been given to our often-atrophied life? How to straighten the clawed forearms of a heart if not by breaking the pinched-shell of an outer reluctance. Did he not accomplish this within the foreshadowing of all that he photographed

    Is it possible to tell his children how eloquently he bequeathed something that is more long-lasting that what we often bargain for: a photograph, a line, a story, a shadow as howl, a moment as assimilation, a broken body, a scar over flight, a picture not as metaphor but as testament. The world is bereft and we, shuttling back and forth like addled ghosts, try to make sense of all that surrounds.

    Philip Jones Griffiths has died and I feel impoverished by his death. This may sound ineloquent but it is neither exaggeration nor histrionic. He was an extraordinary photographer, an extraordinary writer and an extraordinary human being, I know, I am speaking as if a grandiose orator, but can I suggest that our lives are less lost from that which he has been accomplished. Is this not his contribution? Creation or surprise, though the particular, is this not the legacy? Jones Griffiths’ allowed and negotiated our sense of the cadaverous world. What greater bravery can be asked of a person?

    Let me be more succinct: the time of childhood. Jones Griffith helped me from the time I was a 16-year old. He made sense of the incomprehensible. I would not be the person I am without him. Is this too grandiose? Okay, let me speak simpler. He was also one of my heroes? Is it possible to speak, still, of these kinds of things? All this.

    All this day, I have tried to think and swallow, to allow for that which was washing up with that which was falling away: tears in the middle of a lecture; conversations with my wife and son; a phone call with my angry brother; a woman, sitting alone on a bench in dripping Toronto, crying, a book unarmed, a name forgotten, a subway token picked up on a cafe stair, a ring looked at and not bought, a quiver at the sight of a face, all this in one day, all this and the centrifugal force of his exit. Many will speak of what he meant to all of us, so I want to briefly speak about what he meant to me privately.

    Tonight, I wonder and am exhausted.

    His work and his life taught us to speak upon things. For me, I spoke to him often in my head, beginning the moment as a 16-year old I opened a book about Vietnam that my father had given me and was first cold-cocked by photograph of “Little Tiger” only to be confronted by a photograph of a brother howling at the loss of his sister who lay beneath him along the stomach a truck’s bed, a howl that even know speaks of resuscitation and forbearance.. That boy (then as well as now) looked like my brother and I wept imagining that that photograph was of my brother : the sister the one I always dreamed of. Even now, writing about this more than 25 years later, i ache from that which we lost so tremendously. This was Philip’s hard offering to us: to speak of that which we took for granted and that which we did not speak up enough to defend.

    Into the world, as if to resuscitate the dead, and then the photos: of the brother looking at his sister in the back of the pickup truck: all is contained in that moment, all.

    Christ, words exhaust.


    Tonight, within the country of this cool and damp and soft-settling evening, I am at a loss to express how below my feet I sense the world’s pivot slightly off-kilter. Tonight, I not only mourn his death but more selfishly I mourn the temporary loss of my own navigation. Like many others, I grew, even during this time when slaughter and destruction and cynical political gerrymandering seems to be the inevitability bequeath to us, to rely upon the undiminishing fact that with Jones Griffith alive the world stood a chance, a better chance to make right of what it had so egregiously wronged: that his presence somewhere on this gravely planet represented commitment and goodness and a depth of moral and spiritual mindfulness and temerity that no matter the amount of death and cynicism and blindness may shape-shift the world that steadied human valour and speech would prevail. He represented all that is brave and honest and good about our broken, misguided and forlorn species. All that is good and committed. He broke more than stones. He transfigured nations.

    Until the end, he spoke and spoke without diminishment. Against the klaxon yelp of depravity, his voice was a buoys’ bell. Tonight, . The night is extraordinarily silent this evening. I can hear the howl in my skull.

    Wearied, let me now stoop to narcissistic sentimentality. He was, uncategoricaly, one of my heros. Philip Jones Griffiths was a towering beacon of light, a wave of impassioned, righteous, moral music in a world drowned by its own deafness. He was one of the 36 jewels that help the Earth in its equilibrium. He may not have even understood the importance of his responsibility, but by God, he lived it and that was clear.

    Tonight, the spin of the Earth is a major key short in its song. For me, Philip Jones Griffiths was a Lamed Vav Tzadikim. For those not familiar with these Righteous Ones, let me offer a brief explanation. The Tzadikim Nistarim, Lamed Vav Tzadikim (ל”ו צדיקים) (often abbreviated as “the Lamed Vavniks ) refers to 36 Righteous people, a notion rooted within mystical Judaism. According to the Talmud, the world is kept in balance by these 36 righteous ones, human jewels that keep the world’s clock knocking and tocking, their chime forestalling the apocalypse. From wikipedia (

    “Their purpose: Mystical Hasidic Judaism as well as other segments of Judaism know that there is the Jewish tradition of 36 righteous people whose role in life is to justify the purpose of mankind in the eyes of God; their identity is unknown to each other; if one of them comes to a realization of his true purpose then he may die and his role is immediately assumed by another person….. In our folk tales, they emerge from their self-imposed concealment and, by the mystic powers, which they possess, they succeed in averting the threatened disasters of a people persecuted by the enemies that surround them. … The lamed-vavniks do not themselves know that they are one of the 36… Since the 36 are each exemplars of anavah, (“humility”), having such a virtue would preclude against one’s self-proclamation of being among the special righteous…These holy people are hidden. According to some versions of the story, they themselves may not know who they are. For the sake of these 36 hidden saints, God preserves the world even if the rest of humanity has degenerated to the level of total barbarism…….”

    For many of us, Philip Jones Griffith preserved for us and embodied for us what is still yet remarkable about humans, even amid the mud and slaughter of our barbarism. He represented for me, first as a young teenager struggling with the meaning of what Vietnam meant to my father and his father’s friends and country and later, as a young man, what it meant to pursue regardless of the world around, the effort to speak about that which most were still too afraid to speak upon,.

    To do that which is often maligned and to do that which is misunderstood.

    To make someting which speaks about that which is a part of all of us.


    Now, tonight.

    Tonight, I do not grieve. I am thankful that Philip Jones Griffith was among us. He fed our lives. He opened our eyes. He, more than any other photographer I know, taught us that unwavering commitment, moral outrage, belief in the responsibility of acting upon that short and cowlick part of ourselves..

    Without him, our lives would have been even more bereft: reminding that we, who can afford or who are able, should speak of and of those whose stories are often not told.

    Alas, have not written this with an eye to remembrance but with an abandon that which has dug along the line of my own inadequate thoughts.

    Philip Jones Griffith has died and I wish to share to share a fifth of whiskey or a bowl of skin-tickleded weed or a small page of of image with him. Maybe we would have never agreed, drunk, stoned, sober and articulate, or disagreed, but what I lament is that his passing reduces that conversation. How mchjc would have loved to chat. believe is that had i been priviledleged enough, I would have relished the moments I spent with him.

    We care out wha† it is that we are bequeathed. We speak of that which we do not understand but to which we are committed.

    I am saddened and yet, let me be improbable, let me be considerate, let me sway:

    Philip, you shall be remembered, cherished and received: for your work lives. Your reconciliation and you remark, balance and amid the opositino of al thigns, the assurance of that which you have seend.

    What else is there.

    I am thankful for this small gesture, that manifest itself in such a heroic and
    magnificent way.

    Our loss, is nothing to your loss: my condolences and thoughts go out to his family, daughters, friends and colleagues…



    My condolences and thoughts go out to his family, daughters, friends and colleague, including Fanny Ferrato, Katherine Holden, Donna Ferrato and Heather Holden amid all the brothers and sisters at Magnum.

    He has bestowed us with now only legacy but with fervour. What else can one accomlish

    Bob Black

  • Yesterday two giants were lost.
    First of all of course Phillip. An amazing photojournalist who had such a incredible effect on our lives.
    It’s photographers like him, like Eve Arnold, Capa, just to name a few, who have influenced me and made me want to be a photographer myself.
    And then there is the Belgian writer Hugo Claus. He died yesterday too. One of the biggest and most talented writers in Europe and the man who was responsible for my love of the theatre. His play Thyestes was the first I ever saw in my life and it made such a profound impact on it ever since.
    Really sad that both men passed away, but very happy that their work will live on and keep inspiring us in our own work.

    David, wishing you strenght with the loss of your dear friend. Hang in there!

  • David did Philip like Rugby? If so he surely had a good last weekend Wales having a massive grand slam win. Though I have a feeling that he might have been one of the few Welsh men who considered it nonsense.

  • Rafal, Where did I say anything about “anyone else doing something different” or any kind of photography, even self-absorbed?!?!?

    BTW, You were the first one, yesterday who offered a comment on Frank as concerns his remorse vs “fame” (a word David corrected).

    Just because a guy is a genius doesn’t mean exemption from looking at the man. In the name of what?

    He is telling us so himself: His photography can’t make him ignore what brings much remorse to him.

    Anyway, I don’t suscribe to the idea of glossing over a photographer just because the guy was a trail-blazer. We can leave that to dictionaries and wikipedia entries.

  • the self-indulgent existential nihilism of Frank and so many others who raised fucking up to an art form when Vietnamese mothers gave, maybe still give, birth to children who will have to pay for our imperial sins all their lives.

    This is what I meant. yes, I did bring up Frank and his sadness and regrets but thats just his life and had no judgment on his photography. But you do cast a judgenment on so called nihilism and “fucking”. Id like to know what you meant. As I said not all photography has to give a damn about Vietnamese mothers or mothers anywhere in this world. It would be boring if it did and really wouldnt change anything. Photography rarely changes anything, bad governments do bad things, just look at China. PJG was a great one but how much do you think he changed anything? Vietnam didnt end because of his book, other wars still broke out and I assure you no photograph will ever stop a war in the future.

  • Herve…Understood. Peace.

    Panos…Thanks! Thanks for noticing the price tag. Appropriate, wouldn’t you say. But you do get that! Will let you know how it is… Probably this weekend.


  • JONI,
    Surviving fallas is quite a challenge but surviving 12 hours in a bus after a long fallas day and night is…. a tremendous deed!! I wonder how you’re still alive!!
    Very nice to meet you too ;-). And happy that it was encouraging and energetic…. maybe that helped you to survive in that long trip on the bus!!

    We missed you so much and talked about you a lot. If we survived… you could survive too. Next time hope you come!! :-)

    net time… ;-)

  • On Robert Frank. I have only seen a couple of assignements of his apart of The Americans. I find this book (even if it has been said once and again) just simply the most important photography book I can think about. First, it opened ground for lots of photographers to follow, showing our everyday surroundings. It’s impossible to count the amount of people that used to go back to it once and again (like Winogrand or Meyerowitz). Second, in an golden age of the United States, it showed a much more democratical cross-section of the population. Suddenly it’s not just Hollywood stars and washing machines. I had never realized the strong Mexican presence in the US at that time if it was not because of Frank and Kerouac. Actually, reading On the Road just gives much more strenght to Robert Frank’s document and brings out more of its latent humanity. Simply, some of the images could be stack next to parts of the reading of Kerouac (like the two Mexicans driving the car or the bars with jukeboxes and rough guys). Most of this seemed to be fairly much ignored in documents and arts from the same country at the same time, and to no surprise both Frank and Kerouac had real trouble trying to get published.

    It could be more controversial to move that discussion towards Parr, whom I do like. I mean, after all, somebody has to be documenting the middle classes (who else has an eye on them!?) and the abundance of the West, which after all is the largest cause of conflict in and between countries in the third world. You have swarms of photographers in Iraq, but where are the documents of an era showing the build up of paranoia after 9/11 that leads to that war? We knew then and everytime we have more clues showing all the lazy judgements and bad loose arguments that lead to the invasion, but no proper photographic document (as far as I am aware) has been produced.

    At least we have the BBC:

    (But now try to go out and shoot that in stills.)

  • ALL,
    Forgot to mention that…. I could see “in live” how Joni takes his “night” pictures. Quite interesting and fun!! :D

  • @Ana: heh, I was so tired in the morning (even after sleeping on a table with an older couple looking after me, bless them) that I started to take pictures asking people in advance instead of after shooting… but yes, sure, the meetup replenished batteries for shooting for a couple of weeks more…

  • david alan harvey


    this has been the damndest thread….

    it started three days ago with me with two big ideas in my head, one for you, one for me, and yet not quite ready to post either…

    stalling for time, i reach in my backpack and pull out the dvd which i sometimes show in my classes and i post it for you…i figured that i would leave it up for a day and then go on to post what was really on my mind…my intent was just to provide perhaps a little “entertainment” while the “big ideas” stewed in my head…

    if you go back and re-read this series of comments on this post you will quickly see how one thing turns into another…how INTENT , no matter how “trivial”, no matter how “important” can turn into something NOT INTENDED….

    we spoke mostly of three photographers on this post…Allard, Griffiths, Frank…

    Frank’s personal life vs. his art..

    Allard’s sacrificing his “ownership” in favor of a “photographic life” best suited to him..

    Griffiths being tough on “change” and sticking by his guns…

    right in the MIDDLE of this post, Philip literally dies…DEAD…..gone

    when i wrote to Gerhard (above) that i “strongly disagreed” with Philip, i was seriously hoping that Philip would chime in with a comment…i knew he was at home in London and was a “lurker” here on our forum…

    some of the most interesting writing i have seen on this forum has come under this particular post, which seems so so unlikely given the original “intent”…ironically, it has mostly been about the “intent/result conundrum” which has manifested itself in the post itself…even the Cathy/David “tennis match” became something other than what it started to be…

    now i have just read Rafal’s post about how the “intent” of Philip to make people aware and therefore stop all war, did not work…”no photograph will ever stop a war in the future”…for sure Rafal is “right”…

    yesterday afternoon i received a call from Susan Meiselas…she told me that photographers and staff were gathering at the Magnum office for a toast to Philip….

    when you first come into Magnum as a new photog, you must buy a “magnum” of champaigne and pour it for the members…just an old ceremony going back to Le Dome in Paris when Magnum was “born”….yesterday we bought two magnums of champaigne for Philip who will never leave Magnum…teary toasts all around….sad stories…funny stories…stories only Philip could have told…

    “photography never changes anything” says Rafal…..intent does not signify change….Philip “intended” to move a society to an awareness so that babies would no longer be napalmed to ashes….so that chemicals produced by companies whose stock prices were rising would no longer make a defoliant which would end up twisting bodies for generations….

    Philip cared, Philip intended, but he did not change anything..or did he?? he sure as hell motivated dozens of photographers who followed to at least “put a brick in wall” in the right direction..he sure as hell, along with others, stopped THAT war or at least made it end early…by all accounts, the photographic coverage of Vietnam surely saved lives…however, humankind moves very slowly within its own knowledge system…

    but, Vietnam photographers like Philip (Catherine Leroy, Donald McCullin) are not just another part of an effete academic discussion about “photography”…they STOOD for something…BELIEVED something

    whether the “intent” mirrored the “result” cannot be judged by any of us…

    but, i do know one thing…Philip changed me…saved me….thank you Philip….

    peace , david

  • David,

    Antoine is not a full member yet. He is applying this June…


  • DAVID,
    Moving words.

    I just want to say that the reasoning that photography doesn’t have an impact ain’t true. It may not be as big as we sometimes wish, but everything we do (photography or not) has an impact in some way, on a very large scale, from almost insignificant to enormous.


  • david alan harvey


    oh yes, that is correct…thanks…my vote will go FOR D’agata…sorry Philip….


    i look forward to your new site…i will link to it….

    cheers, david

  • Hah, I just realized I had never dropped this here… (it only has two series this far and I was intending to have three before showing to anybody, but it’s too much editing work for the time I have now)

  • DAVID,
    Thanks! I have a short post about your new website and the emerging photographers fund.
    I’ve also posted about a photographer named Martin Bogren. Have a look at his website/work if you have the time. It’s for sure worth it!
    Reason I started the blog is that there are so many great photographers out there and I want to link to the work.


  • DAVID:

    Thank you for that story and for sharing with us what Philip meant to you….



    p.s. Can i vote FOR Antoine also? ;)))..and the rest of the Lite crew…somehow, i guess, in the end, Philip will cast is vote in favor as well….

  • David, moving eulogy to Philip. I have his Dark Oddesy book and have seen many of his photographs from Vietnam. I found his Agent Orange photographs painful to view. he cared and DID make a difference. We need people to show the consequences of governments’ decisions.

    Would it make a difference if the decision makers had to look at Vietnam Inc and other more recent books covering war before beginning another? I hope so.

    One of the issues that troubles me is the use of sanitized photographs in publications. Many are deemed to dreadful to show to the general public. Why? Because the general public would insist that it stop, that’s why!

    Philip didn’t just show the bang-bang: he was too intelligent for that. He showed a First World military machine totally out of its depth because it didn’t understand the Third World people or the culture it was trying to “protect”. One of my favorite Vietnam photographs by Philip is of American Marines filling their canteens with rain-water dripping off tree leaves – preferring it to the chlorine-laced water shipped from the U.S. If that does not typify the madness I don’t know what does.

    Thank you Philip.

  • BOB…

    YOU wrote the tribute!! i just followed up a bit…sure, in his own way, Philip would cast a positive vote as well…just by be being an integral part of our cooperative he supported the work of photographers whose work he may not have understood…he certainly supported the overall “bearing witness” concept which all Magnum photographers are “about”, despite their various styles or ways of conceptualizing a “story”…..

    cheers, david

  • But you do cast a judgenment on so called nihilism and “fucking”. Id like to know what you meant.
    Rafal, that was not about photography. What you do that affects your family does matter. I think you agree.I also do think that life and art/craft are not separate things within an individual, and they do impact each other.

  • Not a lot I can add to the eloquent eulogies that David and Bob Black have offered up to Philip Jones-Griffiths. Thanks to both of you. But there are a couple things I feel the need to underline about the meaning of his life and work for me, important enough so I will steal the time which does not belong to me, from work that is long overdue, to write them down.

    Vietnam, and what America did there, left its deep mark in one way or another on every single person in my generation. For draft age males such as myself it forced excruciating choices. I won’t go thru all my own personal sordid details, except to say that I did serve in the army for 18 months, was thrown out, and then was active in the anti-war movement in the US. Someday maybe I’ll tell the story in more detail. But for many my age the war never really ended, we lost friends there, we lost illusions there, we still think about, read about it, some write about it, and it is a prism thru which we see the world… especially American military adventures meant to prop up or destabilize regimes in other countries. To me, the most important thing about Philip Jones-Griffiths is not that he was a great photographer, although he certainly was, but that he was one of a very few journalists and photographers there who actually ‘saw’ what was going on… He got it! There were many great photojournalists and print journalists who worked in Indochina, including some who died there, like Capa, like Larry Burrows, Henry Huet, Bernard Fall… What sets Jones-Griffiths apart is that he saw not only the gory details but the larger picture of the tragic folly. As he says in one of the Magnum videos, most of the foreign journalists working in South Vietnam actually supported the war, if not some of the tactics. But only Philip, “and a few Frenchmen” (I’m sure he’d include Bernard Fall and Marc Riboud in that) actually thought the entire American mission not only doomed to inevitable failure, but saw it as a moral travesty and monumental hubris. So yes, he was a photojournalist, and photography was the vehicle he used to speak truth to the world, but the important thing is the truth he understood and the truth he spoke.

    And his impact? Did he shorten the war, or prevent any other wars? Did he even change any minds? Clearly the impact of the overwhelming number of images from Vietnam, both still and TV, shortened the war. Whether most Americans learned very much, or anything of use, from our involvement there is certainly debatable. I am not optimistic about most nations’ general public’s ability to learn from history. But ask this question… what if Jones-Griffiths hadn’t made those images, what if he hadn’t spoken out… what if the truth that he saw was never voiced? And that, my friends, is the essence of the moral dilemma that ultimately we all will have to confront, somewhere, sometime in our lives… it may not be in a war zone, and I hope for your sakes it isn’t. It may be in the realm of international politics, or maybe just in the local neighborhood, school, or business… I’m not talking about grey areas, minor corruptions, culture clashes, antagonistic points of view. We juggle those from day to day… but if you keep your eyes open and think about what you see, then eventually you are going to run into a real moral issue that calls for taking a stand or hiding. This takes us back to Bob Black’s story of the 36 guardians on earth. Personally, I hope there are more than 36, and I hope some of them are photographers.


  • Thanks David.

    Photography and news reels had a damned lot to do with the course of the Vietnam war, I can’t see how one can deny this.

    Of course, it was not “stopped” with a magic wand, and just because a photograph does not stop war, does it forbid to photograph war?

    And for guys like Griffiths, don’t they keep doing it for the very good reason that the general consensus is “you can’t do nothing about it”? Where most would just give up, one Griffiths finds the reason to dig in even more and SPEAK.

  • “Photography rarely changes anything”


    Do you really thnik that photography changes nothing? Only because we don’t life in “paradise” not mean that protography have not influence as many human activity.
    Damn… My bloody engish is not enouht good to explaine this in high level…

    Rafal.. look how war was showed before world war I and especialy world war II. How many heros was in art and literature… how beautiful they die, with dignity… how brave!! With hands up, with flags and sings on the mouth…
    and look at Griffiths’s photos! What world you see? What war you see? what was happen when vietnam photos was publish in U.S and Europe?
    maybe photography not change everything but definitely not anything!!
    As I say some comments ago…
    Philip Jones-Griffiths, Catherine Leroy, David Burnett, Larry Burrows… this photographers changed my mind and my opinion about war, and I’m sure many other people all over the world.
    Photography and television changed this world for sure!
    This is what I think…

  • Everything changes everything, and nothing at all.

    We can all just do what we can do with the tools we have … we can stand or hide as Sidney wrote in his eloquent post … and certainly Philip stood tall, strong and defiant in a model of real courage, clarity, brilliance and inspiration. Who can say how many strings of time and history he plucked? Certainly many. But the ultimate lesson of his life, like so many other bright stars in the firmament of human history, may be that he stood at all.

  • With regards to change…I have this quote I just love….

    “Ich kann freilich nicht sagen, ob es besser wird, wenn es anders wird; aber soviel kann ich sagen, es muß anders werden, wenn es gut werden soll.”

    Georg Christoph Lichtenberg – Schriftsteller/Experimentalphysiker – 1742 – 1799

    or in English (something like this…Oliver you can probably translate this better than I)

    “I can certainly not say, if it would be better if it was different, but this much I can say, it must be different, if it is going to be good”


  • Sidney: :))

    that’s a wonderful and as Tom wrote eloquent testament. Someday, I would love to hear the story of your experience of the army during the war and your involvement in the Peace/Anti-War movement. You are a fine writer and I would love to listen to your experiences.

    And by the way, I absolutely believe too there are more than 36 who shoulder the world. I’ve met a few of them, from all walks of life, and I cannot imagine a world, suffering-filled and black as it often is, without their light.


  • Jarle,

    Very decent translation! I would make two minor changes to put it in proper English:

    “I cannot certainly say, if it would be better if it were different, but this much I can say, it must be different, if it is going to be good”

    Gruss Gott!


  • By the way, if you havent seen the Magnum-In-Motion about Philip, take a look:

  • By the way, if you havent seen the Magnum-In-Motion about Philip, take a look:

  • Bob/Sidney/Mr. Harvey,

    those are beautiful eulogies to a great man. As for whether or not a photograph (or anything else) can stop war-probably not. War, much as most people do not want to admit it, is a byproduct of the human condition and as long as you have human beings involved in the matter then the possibility for conflict will always exist. What a photograph or a novel or almost anything else that you may want to think of can do is point the way to a different way of thinking. In The Treason of the Intellectuals, Julien Benda points out that
    “…Peace, if it ever exists, will not be based on the fear of war but on the love of peace. It will not be the abstaining from an act, but the coming of a state of mind. In this sense the most insignificant writer can serve peace where the most powerful tribunals can do nothing.” Did Philip Jones Griffiths stop a war? No. Did he, like the writer Benda speaks of, add his bit to the eventual coming of peace? Time will tell.

  • It is good that we go a bit further than eulogy and talk about what this is that someone like Griffiths was tryng to do, and can it still be done?

    In the Magnum movie, back in Vietnam, some officer lets Griffiths in the action because he is “only a photographer”, despite another saying “we can’t let him see what we are doing” .

    What are the chances this dialogue would take place these days, when the state apparels of control are so sophisticated?

    Yet, almost oppositely, The Abu Graib prisoner ordeal was shot by the perpetrators, they are snapshots, their crudeness, the simplicity of the purpose (“Hi, I am in Irak, we are having fun”) is, to me, more impactful and bothering than anything I have seen shot from Irak, that is with an attempt at “serious” photography?

    9/11, as far as being on location, is a clear draw between the common man snapping and the photo-journalists there that day. What does it mean? Where is the legacy of someone like Griffiths in all that, nowadays?

    Just questions.

    Last, Griffiths’ s Vietnam was not just about the war when it happened. For myself, I hope the snapshots of the kids affected by agent orange will be the photography bearing witness for this war, in history.

    It is easy to decry the horror of war, then be glad it’s over, and even witness some redeeming (like the naked girl fleeing her village become an american well-balanced and educated woman, or Elie Wiesel, a Nazi camp survivor become Peace Nobel prize).

    But these kids, their pain it’s unredeemable as far as the society, the country that allowed this to happen.

    PJ Griffiths’s legacy is not just a legacy for other photographers, a professional legacy, but a profoundly human one, going beyond the craft. At least, I hope so.

    In that sense, isn’t the greatest praise we can give him and other unblinking photo-journalists, that, in the end, despite the great craftiness/artistry, their names are the least important thing.

    Isn’t the greatness of photography, beyond our cirsle of afficionados, residing in the instanteousness of the moment taken, making us see as if we too, are/have the eyes of the photographer, taking his/her place?

  • DAVID…

    I know I can’t ask you for anything especialy for that, so I just suggest… you added new galleries on your website, maybe you could create new gallery with unpublish and usseing but yor favorite photos?
    It is just suggestion… It will be great pleasure for me and for all I suppose.
    You know, I’m sentimental…

    “…You have swarms of photographers in Iraq, but where are the documents of an era showing the build up of paranoia after 9/11 that leads to that war? We knew then and everytime we have more clues showing all the lazy judgements and bad loose arguments that lead to the invasion, but no proper photographic document (as far as I am aware) has been produced.

    At least we have the BBC:…”

    (But now try to go out and shoot that in stills.)

    Posted by: Joni Karanka | March 20, 2008 at 07:38 AM

    JONI K, please, please write more often….
    Amazing film…
    people check that link above….
    thank you JONI K… nothing to add here…

    IF , YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH, OR heart problems…
    Don’t tell me later i didn’t warn you!

  • I use the quote all the time but don’t know who said it before me:

    Photographs don’t change the world but the world would be a different place without photographs.

    It’s the people who look at them who change the world.

  • David,

    I love how you were able to recognize the essence of this thread, the “big picture” of intent.

    To be able to find the common thread in things is a talent that seems essential to develop for those of us who have issues editing our images or writing.


    “… The Abu Graib prisoner ordeal was shot by the perpetrators, they are snapshots, their crudeness, the simplicity of the purpose (“Hi, I am in Irak, we are having fun”) is, to me, more impactful and bothering than anything I have seen shot from Irak, that is with an attempt at “serious” photography?

    9/11, as far as being on location, is a clear draw between the common man snapping and the photo-journalists there that day. What does it mean? Where is the legacy of someone like Griffiths in all that, nowadays?”


    Does anyone here believes that PJG could do anything more, or
    different than Paoloi Pellegrin, did in the quantanamo essay???
    Time’s are a changing…
    This is not Vietnam anymore….
    The “propaganda” doesnt see the “photographer”….
    as “just a photographer”… anymore….
    There is no access like “it used to”…

    I agree with Herve… The Abu G… “humiliation- torture”
    instamatic snapshots… are the most powerful photos, than any other
    pro-photos , that shot in Iraq….
    Does anyone here thinks, that if PJG was in Iraq or Quantanamo,
    could have done better than ( the amateuristic, “torture snapshots”) that we all seen and made us sick to our stomachs????
    Vietnam and Iraq,
    huge difference regarding ACCESS….

  • John

    I totally agree with you. Photography not change whole world but participete in natural chenges for good (war) and for bad (paparazzi). But I like think that for good mostly.

  • Sidney, thanks for helping with the translation. Lookes much better.
    Are having friends visit, so will be unfortunately, not such an active on the DAH blog within the next few days…

    But wish you all a great easter!!


  • Marcin,

    I said rarely changes anything. I think it can change small things and it can influence public opinion but I doubt very much it had much impact on Vietnam. I dont buy the argument that America got out of Vietnam because of the images (TV or stills). America got out because they finally realized they couldnt win. Look at Iraq. Look at the opposition to this war. is anyone really getting out? Some countries are but the war will go on even if Obama gets in. Look at China. The ONLY reason anything is stopping China is the Olympics. Sure, the images are important but if it was Jakarta 2008 instead of Beijing 2008 you would see much more bloodshed in Tibet even with the images. I dont think images stop war because I dont thinkpublic opinion stops war. War is a money making machine for those close to the powers. It will always be so. You can talk about economic fallout to average Americans but guess what, those close to Bush and Cheney are laughing all the way to the bank. They’ve made billions, trillions of dollars on this war. Do you thinkBush gives a damn what regular people think? Hell, the guy had no idea how much gasoline costs, he’s that clueless and detached from the counrty he runs. So no, I dont think photography or TV change much. Why? Because people who make decisions are ging to be making them regardless. Thats reality.

  • Amazing: In the midst of all we are discussing…here’s a yahoo news story about a legless photographer who rolls around, often on a skateboard, photographing the people who stare at him:

    It’s so well that John Vink has been barging in, because I forgot to mention his last entry in the Magnum blog section (3/17), where he points out how the photographs are simply kept outside of the proceedings of the Khmer rouge trials. John could certainly better answer your quetsion, becaue he is living that kind of restriction every day.

    PS: Rafal, thanks for sharing this with us. may I ask you how Poland, but most especially, polish people were set free of the constraints of belonging to the sphere of soviet influence, which was that “reality” you talk about then? Thanks.

  • HERVE , you nailed it…. !!!!!
    read that Magnum blog….
    right on…
    Thank you Herve….

    I’m not trying to say that it was easy to photograph a war or ANYTHING… back then ,at PJG days…
    It would be rediculus for me to say … it was “easy” to get ACCESS.
    for “Vietnam” or this or that….
    but i feel that back (60’s , 70’s, ), the photographer was respected…
    at least , more than today…
    ( especially after photoshop, days…
    photos barely accepted in a courtroom, as evidence… if at all…

    photography TODAY, became the “art of the poor”…
    a charlatanism…

    THINK OF TWO OF, the most important recent things,
    regarding the “war”
    Saddam’s hanging – SHOT WITH A CELLPHONE- video, &
    shocking photos from prisons in iraq, shot with a small compact camera…

    … and then you to look at the “quantanamo by Pellegrin,
    yet, powerful, i have to admit…. but you see, Paolo had no ACCESS….


    except of ,

  • Well, Im not sure what role photography played in it but there were many factors to consider. Rise of Solidarity coinciding with a strong reagan administration taking a strong stand against moscow. Gorbachev being determined to change things in the USSR which pretty much meant there wasnt going to be war over it. The Pope’s election which fueled Solidarity’s boldness and gave it a higher purpose. Factor in a pretty much collapsed economy everywehere East of the Iron Curtain and its a big set of circumstances, a “perfect storm” if you wish that took down communism. Yes the people were a big reason for things changing but take away the Polish Pope, elect Carter instead of Reagan, have a hard liner in Moscow instead of Gorbie and I tell ya, things might not have changed at all.

  • John Vink,

    yes! BUT the people who do change when looking at photography dont have millions and billions of dollars invested in PREVENTING change and unfortunately those are the people in power. SO, while people change the world doesnt because the RIGHT people dont change. And thats my point. But photography is important as a vehicle to raise our awareness of reality. Nobody can really tell me that if you showed the most moving anti-war books to the junta in Burma, the murderers in Beijing, the psychos in Sudan or the bush clique that suddenly things would change. Abhu Gharaib images were powerful….so what happened? Bush is still in power, Gitmo is still standing and Bush is still listening in you YOUR phonecalls. Nothing changed.

  • Panos,

    Abu G images are powerful precisely because they are snaps. I ofcourse love documentary photography,Magnum style, but what really tickles my fancy as of late are personal photodiaries done in snaps shot aesthetic. Why? To me they create a real feeling of intimacy. And thats what I see in those Abu G shots…snaps from the REAL inside. Theres such a sadistic truthfulness to them that no PJ could really do, including PJG. They are powerful because they are bad and they are bad because they are real…that reality makes them so good….we cut right through the whole quality discussion and get right to the meat of the matter: the content.

  • RAFAL,
    “…snaps from the REAL inside…”…. i atotally agree.

    “…Theres such a sadistic truthfulness to them that no PJ could really do, including PJG…”,……………. i agree but also DISAGREE…
    i need to believe that ALL MAGNUM photogs…
    and even you or me or marcin or herve… CAN DO “BETTER” IN ANY
    PHOTOGRAPHIC CHALLENGE… than the average citizen of any country in this earth…!…

    … but the question that burns me alive is ???
    Is it “harder” to get “access” today, than BACK in the day ????
    Or is it the SAME ????
    Or , it doesn’t matter ???
    Does the media count ????
    Back in “Vietnam” era… there were no cellphones…
    But “saddam’s death”, was recorded on a phone…
    Does that count ??? Is this …form, of shooting or recording HISTORY ??? photojournalism ???

  • But they cant. Why? because they arent inside. These photos are so good because they were shot by the criminals doing the torture. Instead of being a reportage they are a diary and thats whay makes them good. Pros just by not being insiders wouldnt be able to get that impact, even if imbedded in the situation. So yes, while a Magnum photog would take much better, more beautiful, better composed photos that would actually make them less impactful in a way.

  • Maybe its different access, panos….while prose may not have as much access cheap tecnhology gives opportunities to those who already have it, the amateurs. id LOVE to see some amateur stuff, even cellphone stuff, shot by the taliban or Al Qaeda…wouldnt you? Who was it that collected studio photos of the Taliban from Afghanistan? I think it was a Magnum guy…I dont think he shot them but he found a bunch of posed portraits of taliban fighters from some studio in Afganistan…what was so cool was how natural they were and how they opened up to the camera…thats access, its not Magnum accessing it but maybe that makes it better. It was interesting how these guys looked so effeminite in many of these portraits.

  • It was interesting how these guys looked so effeminite in many of these portraits.
    That’s what bonding under duress does to men. Maybe….(I have no idea…. I swear!!!) :-)))

    Rafal, it’s all a bit mixed at this point. not all our points are about photography, or about stopping war dead in its track. If Abu Graib, the wanton humiliation/killing of men by US soldiers, is off the map, and quicker because of the snaps, I won’t spit on that just because the war ain’t over yet.

    I also think you named an awful lot of individuals as concerns the fall of communism. Even a president of the USA, just a couple decades ago. Without going about Reagan deserving or not credit, I think it shows even high up (pope, Gorby, Reagan) it’s not as rotten. Did they do it because they had power leverage? yes, but they were not born with it. So something does happen to individuals that they can make a difference. Even lesser ones, power wise, Walesa, Havel, guys who could have given up after too much intimidation, they truly refused to be pawns of the “machine”. Then, maybe he is a priest, or a writer, or a photographer…It’s a rich world!

    I surely don’t think that now Bush has been 8 years at the helm, it’s all over for changes for the better and individuals making a difference. I am a bit worried, but not really by one guy, and certainly not him.

    As far as photography, we are probably in a slump at this point, on many accounts. Access, privacy, image surplus, war News fatigue on the part of the public, there is an enormous force of gravity on that whole media. But it’s a sign of the times, I do not think it’s due to limitations of the craft itself.

    It’s hard to pinpoint where it excatly makes no, a little, a little more, or a big difference, but photography is one of the most inspiring, and arresting medias.

  • but photography is one of the most inspiring, and arresting medias

    Yes, and one of the most versatile. On this we agree 100%:)

    As far as communism, I didnt name many:) I could start with 10 million Solidarity members but writing 10 million words is Bob’s forte, not me LOL. Im kidding. But the point is that it was the perfect storm with so many things happening almost at once. Sure, it was crumbling for a long time but these things can last without an end, look at North Korea which has been “collapsing” for years and still stands….things have to happen almost at once for huge change to come about.

  • Rafal: Thomas Dworzak. The Taliban pictures were collected by him.

  • Panos, “Is it “harder” to get “access” today, than BACK in the day ????” Yes: if you want to photographanyone in the “media”.
    Dirk Halstead (see The Digital Journalist website) took a photograph of Nixon on the campaign trail giving his signature “V for Victory” salute – stood just behind him – now you stand where you are told to stand (he still got Bill and Monica). Bruce Davidson said that Joan Crawford invited him in to her home for cookies but that “today you would have six different public relations people protecting these stars. You’re not going to get any cookies now” (quote from Photoicon magazine issue 4). Everyone is more aware of the power of photography now.
    As for Vietnam, photographers were given free reign to wander almost at will. they used their access well and showed the horror.

    During the Falklands war the British media were restricted to only a handful of photographers and it took days to get your photographs back home.

    Iraq and Afghanistan require photogs to “embed” and agree to ground rules

    Having said all above, they still had to get initial access and that required them to have credibility or reputation. So perhaps, for the rest of us, the question is how do we approach people and seem genuine and credible? Those first few moments are SO important.



  • Rafal: “BUT the people who do change when looking at photography dont have millions and billions of dollars invested in PREVENTING change and unfortunately those are the people in power”.

    Yes sure the powerfull rule about content. Even more so when the content producers provide them with what they want/need. But there are more people (MANY more) without billions of dollars and they are not necessarily interested in the same content. And today there are ways to provide content to them. That was not possible before…

    Less access, less outlets? For those topics the powerfull THINK they need to rule: yes…For the rest not so sure… There is always a degree of blindness with the powerfull because of their arrogance. Go for their weak spots: they are quite accessible… Don’t play their game…

  • Thanks for this movie. It is very interesting to see you in action. I’ve always thought that the manner a photograph moves around his subject is a part of his style.

  • John,

    I very much appreciate your comments here, practical and succinct good thoughts to ponder, we are in your debt. And your most recent Magnum blog post fits this discussion well.

    In thinking about the issue of access and control in todays’ hyper-managed media savvy world there is perhaps no better example than the Bush White House and the Presidential campaigns. How can anyone get a meaningful frame in this environment? But some do … the ones who “don’t play their game” as John wrote.

    Christopher Anderson’s much-discussed Mitt Romney photo through the snow posted on the Magnum blog is a good example. In my mind it captured some of the absurdity of the campaign, if not the candidate himself. Of the photo Christopher wrote, “It is as if throwing too much light on it might somehow expose these campaign photo ops for what the really are. The designers of these events want us to make a pretty picture. but a pretty picture to me felt like something that would be false to this event. I almost thought of the flash as being like an xray that would reveal what I really see at an event like this.”

    And the work of Christopher Morris, both within the Bush White House and on the campaign trail, is brilliant in my mind. One photo in particular, of a glassy-eyed young man in an audience, looking up with such unquestioning, and unthinking, devotion may well sum up the post-911 nationalistic fervor which has led to such tragic consequences. Just brilliant work, and scary, and maybe hardest of all, simple yet full of meaning.

    So confine a good photographer, super glue him to a taped X on the floor, but never expect you will ever control him if he can really see.

  • Good morning all,

    Another famous thread, thanks…Philip-Jones! ;-)

    I just want to say that nothing stays the same, nothing is fixed, there is maybe “That’s today”, but never “that’s reality”. No one, no machine, no civilization will ever have a full grip on humanity. Even, ahahah, God, lets us run things pretty much as good or messily as we wish.

    the ride is not over… There are a few shots left worth taking!

  • Michael;
    You’re right about access. Remember that Don McCullin was prevented going to the Falklands, probably because they didn’t want his “type” there….

    As for photography changing events, I feel it did help bring about the end of the Vietnam war. Sure their were other factors too, but the images, both still and moving, shocked everyone.

    It’s no coincidence that Vietnam was the first and last war where photojournalists had pretty much free reign to go where they liked & to send whatever they shot back to the newsrooms. Those in power knew what those powerful images did to public opinion…

    I was born in 63 so was pretty young when the Vietnam war ended, but the images remain with me to this day.

    I can vividly remember the TV helicopters landing on the US Embassy as they evacuated everyone, & of those same helicopters being pushed overboard after.

    As for the Vietcong execution image (Eddie Adam’s I think) & Nick Ut’s well they are emblazoned on my consiousness, even though I was very young at the time….

    The problem with human nature is that there will always be despots who need to feed their egos. And know they have the technology and the means to do it much more efficiently…

    It must be incerdibly hard for the James Nachtweys of this world to stay motivated and not become cynical…

    Take care everyone..

  • Ross, friends, maybe you are familiar with this next link. Pretty much, we can leave the last word on the matter of what changes can photographs possibly make nowadays to none other than James nachtwey. If I remember, he tells for each shot what were the consequences of publishing it:

  • Panayiotis! You out there?

    The Che wine is… not horrible. Glad I only spent 10 bucks! But seriously, it’d be a decent drink with a burger or pasta or some crappy cheez-its…which is what I’m drinking it with right now! I’m not proud.



    your last post…a nice coda. Thanks.

  • Thanks Michael…
    where is that wine from, again ?
    I mean it looks dark red – merlot ? cabernet ?
    Is it domestic…?
    Sorry, but i live in the wine country for the moment….
    i need to move on though… nothing to shoot… here,
    golf courses, leisure, lamborghini’s, aston martins,
    not even PARR could find something “ugly” or “middle class”, you know… You can taste wines all day, and spend the rest of your money in any of the 6-8-10 ( i dont even know…) INDIAN CASINOS…
    you see this is NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN LAND….
    people here dont pay taxes… ( except from me of course ),
    thats why the dodge ” vipers “, and “lambos”…
    NO TAXES… the casinos do not pay taxes….
    So it is weird in a way… but not access to photograph…
    very limited…
    ABSOLUTELY NO photography , IN CASINOS…

    $3.65 for gas today and $4.11 for diesel…

    and someone mentioned above that if you you want to do
    great photography you have to travel, connect,surprise our
    selves and step into the fire… be homeless…
    Put danger into the game…

    so Michael, can you drink this wine , solo ( with no food),
    let’s say, next to a pool, or it has to be next to a burger, to cover it up…peace

  • Valle Central, Chile. Cabernet.

    Better with food…but when nothing else is around, yeah sure, perfectly fine by itself! ;^}

    Been “homeless.” Prefer the alternative.

    Hey, you going to Michael Shapiro’s? Festival of the Photograph? Both? Neither?

  • Herve;
    Have just watched it- very moving…. I had heard of it but hadn’t watched it because I can’t get broadband where I live. It takes ages to download video. It took 3 hours to download!
    Thank you

  • “Fortunately, there are still photojournalists to record what is happening. Let their pictures provide power to the people! I cannot conceive of a better way to spend our three score years
    and ten on this planet. Especially now.”

    Philip Jones Griffiths in Aperture Magazine

  • Perhaps another movie to add to the collection… The CBC Documentary “Beyond Words: Photographers of War”?

    The short (10 minute) version of the film can be seen on the CBC website at:
    And the full length version is available at:
    (by clicking on Judge’s Choice on the left hand side menu).

    The film includes interviews with a number of photojournalists; a collection of inner reflections…

Comments are currently closed.