no place to live, everyplace to go….

i have managed to convince many people over the years that i am a photographer….but actually, truth be told,  i am more of  a "born again" beach bum…i mostly grew up (figuratively speaking) at the beach….my darkroom was set up in a  back room of the family garage, but i often succumbed to the vagaries of being the luckiest kid in the world to live at the beach….body surfing every frisbee throwing summer day at 14, finally gave way to selling plastic viewer pictures to sunburned tourists on the beach at 19, to help pay for college, but mostly  for the primary and primal purpose of meeting girls….

on sunday i will travel to the beach….i will go alone and  to a beach i have never been….i have no friends in this new land….my first  trip to a "new island" of blue water and palm trees , just seems like the right thing to do …it is cold and windy in New York… i also need my own space for a few days…for the last two months i have either been teaching workshops or otherwise engaged in group activities…with almost no time alone… i have a very nice room in a very nice apartment as a guest of  two very good friends…two friends whose hospitality knows no bounds, but  two friends who are married and would, i am sure, like to have some "space" of their own….

besides, i need a little vacation anyway….last week i sold my apartment in Washington (national capital) which i had owned for almost 20 years….i have no idea where i will reinvest…, i literally have no ties, no home, no material attachments of any kind, and am burning burning to get out and photograph on my new project…i am so so psyched for what i see as perhaps the most important essay of my life…..but i must wait until the first week of april to get going….so now i will just sit on the beach, collect  my breath, meditate on the upcoming work, mull over the idea i have for YOU, catch up on some reading, think things over,  or maybe not think at all….create a "calm" before i create the "creative storm"….

we are all "wired" so differently…we all use different methods to clear our heads  before lunging into the fray…i seem to get the most energy going when i pare things down to what may seem to others like "nothing"…..which is , in a Zen way, "everything"….i felt just like this way back in 1989 when i "caught on fire" for what eventually was to become the work in Divided Soul  ..ironically,  i was "homeless" (divorced) then too,  and literally sleeping on an office floor at  National Geographic….but, this seminal  work led to becoming a Magnum nominee by 1993….so, i know THE FEELING.. "the feeling" gets me out of bed in the morning with the "juices" flowing KNOWING i am "on to something"….now is such a time….

so, my question to you  is, do you KNOW "avant" when you are about to "launch" or is it a pleasant SURPRISE  when you see the  "result"  of something you have just  "done" ??


278 Responses to “no place to live, everyplace to go….”

  • Ciao David! I am too tired to answer to your philosophical question now (it is 430 in Italy) but i am glad i can be the firts to write here… usually when i came to your blog i find something like 300 posts of discussions and so is too long to follow up ;-) Good night and good trip to Santo Domingo!!! You are so lucky to travel so mutch… actually you don’t really need a house ;-) in one think less to worry about… isn’t it?

  • David…

    Until recently, if something worked out, it was a “pleasant surprise.” For the first time, though, I feel I’m about to do something “special.” I pitched it, the magazine editor liked the idea and we’re going for it! Will be published in the Fall. Small story but good, important…I think.

    Thanks–for the thousandth time–for your inspiration…guidance.


  • Strangely enough, as often as not, it is revealed to me in a dream some time ahead… then I may forget about it consciously, but then I may find myself in the middle of something new and fraught with meaning, and there’s a moment that comes when I remember at least part of the dream…Whoa, this looks familiar!
    But it doesn’t happen that way all the time and I have little or no control over it… it’s just something I started noticing many decades back. Now my mother, long dead, purportedly had what is known as ‘second sight’ in Celtic circles (Scottish and French Huguenot background)… bothered her throughout life because she knew many bas things ahead of time as well as good, and never talked about it.. it was somehow linked to a life of fragile health, often sick, in and out of treatments… cause or effect?
    So, is it a foretaste of destiny, or do our subconscious minds create these scripts and then work to bring them about? There’s more in Heaven and Earth than is ‘dreamt of’ in any of our philosophies, Horatio…

    Hope you really enjoy your beach holiday and can get way, way, way off from the business and busy-ness of the human anthill. Soak up some sun for me, I’m down with a cold, and will be chained to a computer for at least the next two weeks.

    Vaya con Dios, mi hombre!


  • Hey David

    Your question got me wondering. Are you taking this trip
    to ‘find’ the spark to fuel the fire for your upcoming project
    or are is the spark already there and you’re stepping out of the
    fray to crystallize your ideas?

    BTW,what is your upcoming project or is the concept
    still under wraps.



    so nice to hear from you…i am still remembering us freezing to death in India, but having so much fun…i look forward to seeing your new work…


    hey amigo, congratulations…let us have a look when you are finished….


    well, since you are “chained to your computer” anyway, keep the home fires burning here with your prose….

    probably we have it worked out in our subconscious, then we “realize” it in a “dream” or “vision”…..but, who knows???


    the fire was lit several weeks ago….flames leaping high…this is just a “deep breath” before i get going….project under wraps but i will “come out” within the next post or two….

    cheers, david

  • David–

    Will do.

    (Oh, wait…shit…now I’m really beginning to feel the pressure!) Heh-heh.

  • Look forward to the online ‘coming out’ party!

    As for your question,I don’t view myself as a pre-visualizer
    kind of photographer. I find my successes,modest though
    they are, more attributable to a nose to the grindstone
    working style.
    As the saying goes,”The harder you work,the luckier you get”.


  • David,

    You are a wise man. It is important not to forget your inner piece.
    Think of the ‘no place to live’ as a liberty. Many buddhists would envy your minimum of materialistic posessions.
    Well…your slide boxes don’t count;))
    Travelling is my job. I fly across the world without time to spend at the destinations. When the moment is there that I get time to stay at a place, become one with the people I totally get ‘the feeling’. Photographing people gives me so much energy and the experience makes me feel truly alive. It is the EXPERIENCE of photographing which is something special, the outcome comes later when the editing starts. But when the experience is special, the results are special. I also do feel always a bit wired though to get it! the challenge… doing my best and pushing harder to do better, aslo not being afraid of making mistakes and learning from it.
    I was just looking at ‘Divided Soul’ again and wondering if you will use slides for your newest adventure. The ‘look’ of that book really rocks David.
    Ok ‘photobuddha’,gotta run…

  • MARK

    “As the saying goes,”The harder you work,the luckier you get”.


    Best, Edward

  • To answer at your question, I usualy know before have seen it done if my work will be special or not. To persuade the others is another problem…


  • Hey David–

    I haven’t really been at this long enough to trust my feelings about the things I’m doing and the directions I’m going in, so I can’t speak directly, though I know from earlier artistic pursuits that the first piece of inspiration always comes quckly and easily, and usually produces some of the best and most inspired work…then there is a period involving banging my head against a wall and then stopping long enough to keep from killing myself, which usually yields some kind of inspiration, at least until I suffer so much cerebral damage that the process no longer works and I need to find another strategy.

    I find I often get “cold feet” before jumping in to something, and yet sometimes my reservations are justified and I would have saved myself a lot of anguish if I’d just have listened to myself. I’ve been having trouble of late distinguishing between good instincts and bad insticts, if that makes any sense.

    Right now I’m going through a fair bit of confusion in terms of the road ahead, and unfortunately things like the “fire” and the “feeling” are more like a candle in the wind, faint and flickering and in danger of getting snuffed out. I know the fire is there and there are enough memories and hopes to know that the feeling will return, and more than anything I have confidence that I can do the work and do it well (having gotten a sense of the “thing” that you pushed me into getting) , but there’s just too much flotsam and jetsam (career questions, life issues, illness, etc) that keep me swimming against the current. I have a very strong feeling that I need to make some big, bold steps, but right now I’m still stuck on “this side” of it all, and having a hard time getting to the other side, and uncertain of the steps I need to take to get there. There’s an almost panicky feeling that I may get stuck in some kind of mire, which leads to rash decisions, flailing attempts to do something or anything to break free, but result only in exhaustion and exasperation.

    I know you’ve probably been in similar states. How do you deal with the “fog” of not being able to see your way clearly to the other side? Or do you ever really feel like you’ve gotten there? How do you continue to “jump-start” yourself?

  • David… sounds not just exciting, but exhilarating. I have known “the feeling”, or my version of it. I really want to thank you not just for your sheer effort in creating this, but for your energy, which is contagious and buoyant (must have been the body surfing which seems like good buoyancy practice)…

    I never know when (or if) I will do something special, but I am a big believer in great leaps… instant inertia, trajectory, movement. It’s always good… I wonder if you see your next project as a “leap”, or as a natural progression of your work?

    I printed and posted some photos of the parade I mentioned the other day… didn’t “nail it”, but maybe something…

  • Chris… I just want to acknowledge your post above. Not that you know me, but I went to your site… whatever your situation, you make great pictures. Keep the fire going.

  • Good post man. Just what I’ve been thinking about. For so long I was unconscious of such happenings in my life. Muted by the fact my work was never personal to me.

    Two weeks ago I quit my job at The Sacramento Bee in Northern California, sold most every single thing I own and I picked up and moved to Vietnam. This is my first week here. And now that the fear has subsided, it has been replaced with a newly found confidence and passion.

    This will surely be the start of an epic personal journey for me.

    While such huge steps are not required of every one, I feel that it is so important to step outside of your comfort zone every once and a while. Look to see if that is where you truly belong. If you desire more then take the chance and reach for it.

    Looking forward to the new work you come up with. Thanks for sharing, as always.

  • O! How jealous I’m of your palm beach David!
    How I need palm beach…
    It could be mental beach not real even… some space…
    Maybe you remember I try have my own “mental beach” a few days ago… few days for my self… damn… but I will try againe…
    joy your “self time” David!

    and aswer for your question…
    When I started working at my “trans” project I was sure I will made something specjal, but it was before “normal 8h 5/7” job… now everything moved very slowly… I have to decline some meetings even. But I am still sure… it will be something specjal!!… or will be comletly nothing…
    and as I say always… I walk but I need run…
    so my “something specjal” is somewhere before me… so
    Appoint course! Sails up! Do you hear wind?! I hear it! I hear it!
    hmmmmm… it was breeze…

  • Kevin… wow! major, beautiful leap! What prompted you and how did you make the decision to move from California to Vietnam???

  • You know. It’s late and I’m tired but… You know.

  • Uncle Dave ,
    You must be reading my mind!I’ve just had the computer version of what happened to you at the Kibbutz – nothing that wasnt backed up to disc or a hard drive was lost courtesy of a lightning strike while I was away- so I get to revisit my pictures again – drag them off discs – burrow into Hard drives , start scanning all over again – but this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise -I’m going through my personal work and finding that over the last couple of years the happy accidents are starting to become more and more frequent and there’s the beginning of a body of work there that has something to do with how I see things and not just for the job,maybe it’s time I took a deep breath?

    KEVIN – welcome to the tropics – great work on your web site!

  • Oh! That smells like freedom!! So just close your eyes and breathe it. It really feels good….
    Just yesterday I had “the same” feeling. Needed some peace, some calm and solitude to enjoy the sun by my own. So I got a book and spent some hours doing nothing but reading and looking around (something that I didn’t do for months!). Then I went back home and started filling my heart with new will and energy. Maybe I’m in the start of something new and hope I come back with better photos than before. Yes, in response to your answer, I always feel it before it commes ;-)

    Enjoy your time alone and get as much energy as you can!! We all are looking forward to getting “infected” with your enthusiasm :D


  • I also know THE FEELING David. Although it jut remain like that , ” a feeling”. It doesnt actually materialize but I can even taste it with such a force I fall for it everytime . So in my case its all a SURPRISE which is good I supose.
    I wonder if you will be able to relax in Santo Domingo. Are you leaving your cameras in this trip?

  • I’m with Chris in that fog, though for me its more of a blizzard- can’t see where I’m going can’t see where I’ve been just stumbling along on a compass bearing. Sometimes I get a view of something but then more wind.

    I try not to look ahead to far as I always prefer surprises to disappointment.

    David are you planning a big “Travels with Charlie” thing? I’d love to see you do something similar with a camera. Enjoy your beech

  • david alan harvey


    sure, i have times like you describe…there are many more of those than the ones of “enlightenment”…

    when times are full of the “flotsam and jetsam” you just have to focus like hell…i do not write about all of the little things often big things that get “in the way” everyday in my life just as in anyone else’s…who among us really has a “clean slate”???

    whatever you do, do not panic….do not “freeze up”….just knock off all of the things that need to get done…the boring stuff…deal with the flotsam and jetsam as best you can….your “best idea” is somehow right in front of you…once you have your “best idea”, dealing with the other stuff will become easier….

    your are a fine photographer Chris…if you nail down an idea, just do it…it may involve “jumping off a cliff”…i do not know your circumstances…

    but, listen, i am coming down to obx soon to see my son Bryan..why don’t we get together down there???? your schedule???

    did you see Kevin’s post above??


    so sorry i missed you guys in Valencia…one of my big frustrations is that i just cannot be EVERYWHERE…pretty basic and obvious, but editing time is just as hard as editing pictures….i do hope to see you soonest…maybe in late april…


    there is no way i could read YOUR mind, but i think all photogs have got a lot of the same stuff in their head at all times!!!

    if you get just a little whiff of an idea, go for it…there is a really fine balance between not thinking at all and thinking too much…

    yes, deep breath….between stubbies!!!


    great to hear from you amigo!!! wow, the big jump…good for you….i already like the work i have seen from you from Vietnam…you are focused, you are talented….you are on course…on it!!!

    it is a “given” we will meet again…in the meantime, fly , fly , fly ….


    yes, i feel the wind….and you do make an interesting point…just because you feel you are “on to something” does not mean you are actually “on to something”…it could be disaster…but, so what???

    you know the old adage..maybe Shakespeare..


    peace, hugs ..david

  • david alan harvey


    i never leave my cameras…i take my camera to the dentist!!!


    Steinbeck, Least Heat Moon, Kerouac, Frank, Pirsig, Thompson etc etc are all on my mind…of course, i must do something different….deep deep breath!!!!

    cheers, david

  • I am so very jealous. Not only that you are going to a place with sand and surf, but that you are “on to something”.

    I need both very badly right now.


  • That is what I though David.
    Have you ever forced yourself to leave your cameras ?
    Did it work? or did you feel anxious? Or like we say “como cucaracha con Baygon” (like a cockroach with Insecticide)

  • david,

    i like to think allot about new idea’s and new work and how i would lik it o be seen and viewed etc etc but i try not to think too to much otherwise i find my mind starts to take me in a different direction… i think the best thing and i am sure you can agree is looking at the work after your shooting it… seeing where it is leading and focus where you think it is most important and work your way out from that.

    having an idea of what you want to look at after seeing the work that produces this i think is my main method… see the direction i am going in and focus on the most important things.

    otherwise i think too much about things and i just have way to many thoughts running at once… so i guess i try to get a main idea… keep it simple… general… and shoot and see what i have and work from there.

  • The British writer and Poet, Laurie Lee, once talked of the freedom of travel without any ties with a phrase I love:
    “Never before have I felt so fat with time, so free of the need to be moving or doing.”

    I envy you your trip Mr Harvey because it sounds like one of those where directions can be chosen at whim, where stops are unplanned, accidents of chance and created by encounters you cannot even dream of, and all the better for it if you ask me; and you have time, acres, miles and eons of time to really explore where you are or where you are going.

    I know too that setting out into the unknown can need a moment, a breathing space as you say to take that first step on the road.

    So enjoy your well earned rest from work and keeping up with this forum which is hard work reading let alone replying to and Bon Voyage!

    Needless to say we are all looking forward to the photos, I`m sure they will be great.


    I am very happy for your deep breath..and for the fires that are burning strongly within. It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to clear the palate before tasting the makes it that much sweeter and discernible.

    I am soon finishing up a project that I have been on for the last 40 days, and it feels good and right, closer to actualizing my intentions than before – I know in my heart when I am to do something, that adrenaline push is also there. But in a sense for me, each bit feels like just a baby step, rather than a launch.

    Sorry to have missed you this spell..can you give a head’s up when you are back in these parts, or perhaps we could talk on the phone or dialogue via email for the ‘review’ and so I can get a few questions out and show you the new work..

    Just thinking now about PJG’s words about him being a mud person, not a sand person..guess you are a sand person extraordinaire. Enjoy it…

  • man, you are free, and i can’t wait to see the new work in a few years down the line or whenever, because i know it will have an influence on my life, as your past work has. you are an inspiration.
    i wish i could answer your question but i don’t feel i’m experienced enough to do so, but i think you know ‘avant’ when it’s happening, when you’re on to something special.
    good luck!

  • Do I know beforehand if something I just shot really works? No. I see it later and say, damn, that looks like I know what I’m doing. Then I look at the other pics and I know I just got lucky with that one. I think this may be because I am a stick in the mud person.

  • ¡Ándate por la sombra, David!

    “finally gave way to selling plastic viewer pictures to sunburned tourists on the beach at 19, to help pay for college, but mostly for the primary and primal purpose of meeting girls….”

    This bit reminded me of today. I decided to give a walk around the beach to snap some shots (kids buried up to the neck, men sleeping with ferrari hats on their faces, couples, etc.) and at one point I was chasing these girls that were jumping against the very large waves (extremely windy). They stopped before I had time to get into the sea so I had to ask them if they tried again because I was shooting with a 28mm. They happened to be these two gorgeous Swedish girls that were happy that I had chosen them, so I spent most of the time looking down to the sand. Hah. At some point in my life I have to learn to talk to pretty girls.

    On another note, almost everything that I have planned shooting in mid term involves road trips and travelling. I feel I’ve been too long in Cardiff and once I finish my attachments with the place I want to get on the road and in touch with people. There are series of raves in August all around the continent that I planned following with a mate. It would be a pretty pan-european trip as we both are absolute bumming mongrel shooters. Now the main problem is buying a second hand car :oP

  • david, thanks for the advice. Focus is definitely the key, I think. At least for now. I’m out of town right now but will be back soon. I’ll email you my schedule. I’d love to get up with you when you come to the obx. Have a great time soaking up the sun!

    mike, thanks for the kind words. and kevin g, rock on buddy. I look forward to checking out your new work.

    Ana Y, I enjoyed browsing through your blog. Great work, incredible spirit to the whole thing. keep it up!

  • David and Whoever Likes To Read:

    OK, talk of hanging out on the beach to charge oneself up, gearing up for a new major project and a new phase of life, casting aside the cares of the mundane world, being about to embark on a real adventure…
    And then, mention of the ‘voortrekkers’ lke ‘Kerouac, Frank, Moon, Pirsig, Thompson…’ etc. made me think of the truly inspirational travel-related books in my life and the models they set for me to partly follow and partly deviate from… maybe the books changed my life, maybe reading them was just synchronous and coincidental to changes that were happening, maybe they only reaffirmed evolutions already under way in my mind, but these books stand out over the last six decades… and if I were in David’s situation, I’d want at least one, or maybe several, of these as my travelling companions. The list may reveal ‘too much’ about myself… but so do the photographs we take, don’t they? (Non-literary types may skip down to the next post without prejudice). I’m sure I’ve left out some important ones, for which I apologize, but here goes:

    The Classics:
    The Journey Upcountry (Anabasis, aka. The Persian Expedition) by Xenophon
    The Odyssey by Homer
    Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
    Journey To The West (Monkey) trans. Arthur Waley
    Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest by Will Shakespeare
    The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun
    Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
    Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
    War and Peace and (not or!) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    Red and Black (Rouge et Noir) by Stendhal
    The Heart of Midlothian by Sir Walter Scott
    Moby Dick and Typee by Herman Melville
    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
    Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Graham
    Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson
    Huckleberry Finn by Sam Clemens
    Two Years before The Mast by Richard Henry Dana
    Kim by Rudyard Kipling
    The Star Rover by Jack London
    Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
    Lost Illusions and A Harlot High and Low by Honore de Balzac
    The Crock of Gold by James Stephens
    The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis
    Strange News From Another Star by Hermann Hesse

    Akenfield by Ronald Blythe
    Memories of Silk and Straw by Dr. Junichi Saga
    The Grass Roof by Younghill Kang
    Slow Boats to China by Gavin Young
    Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence
    Across the Wide Missouri by Bernard De Voto
    Heart of the Hunter and Yet Being Someone Other by Laurens Van der Post
    Two Kinds of Time by Graham Peck
    White Waters and Black by Gordon MacCreagh
    Third Class Ticket by Heather Wood
    A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
    Shadows on the Silk Road by Colin Thubron
    And the Rain My Drink… by Han Suyin
    Heaven’s Command. Pax Britannica, and Farewell The Trumpets by James (Jan) Morris
    China Road by Rob Gifford
    The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
    In Search Of History by Theodore White
    A New Age Now Begins by Page Smith

    Man’s Fate (La Condition Humaine) by Andre Malraux
    Hawaii by James Michener
    The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    V by Thomas Pynchon
    Gaijin by James Clavell
    That Night In Lisbon by Eric Maria Remarque
    The Guide and The Vendor of Sweets by R. K. Narayan
    Letters From Thailand by Botan
    O Zone and Picture Palace by Paul Theroux
    Malayan Trilogy, Nothing Like The Sun, and Napoleon Symphony by Anthony Burgess
    The Children of Sanchez by Oscar Lewis
    The Asiatics by Frederic Prokosch
    Spangle by Gary Jennings
    The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie
    Raintree County by Ross Lockridge
    A Leaf in the Storm by Lin Yutang
    Rickshaw Boy by Lao She
    The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White
    The Makioka Sisters (Sasameyuki) by Junichiro Tanizaki
    The Enchanters by Romain Gary

    That should keep you busy for a while-


  • @Sidney: man, what memories, my father read the Anabasis to me when I was in bed, sick, when I had five years or so… I read it again recently and it’s just such a killer… the details on tribes and cultures are amazing, and the ideas on Greek morality of the time, sort of how Kerouac is all about morality but less so…

  • What, Sidney, no “Rick Steve in Europe”?


  • Hey Sidney…hell of a list! But you know we’re all going to want to add a couple… ;^}

    Here are mine:
    Travels with Charley–Steinbeck
    West with the Night–Markham
    Adventures of Augie March–Bellow
    Desert Solitaire-Abbey
    Razor’s Edge–Maugham

    Really makes you want to get up and go!


    “…The Classics:
    The Journey Upcountry (Anabasis, aka. The Persian Expedition) by Xenophon
    The Odyssey by Homer…”

  • Sidney, thank you… what a great list! How about Cormac McCarthy’s The Road??

  • david alan harvey


    i do not know why i would “force myself” to leave cameras behind…that does not mean that i am always taking pictures, nor that i am “anxious” because i have my camera, but i always like to know that i can simply take a picture if i want…


    i am not sure how i missed you…did you try to call me back?? anyway, i will return soon enough…pls. stay in close contact with marie , who knows my every move….i do hope to see you soonest…


    pretty amazing list….my life changed with some of those listings and i was not aware of others…many thanks from all of us for being our academic guru!!!

    cheers, david

  • David how long you will not here?

  • DAVID,

    oh, maybe editing time is one of the most frustrating things in life…. I understand you so well…. But there will be more chances, for sure. Maybe in late april… yes… :-)


    Oh thank you sooo much! That really encourages me. There’s a lot of me in it and for sure, will try to keep it up and do it better as I have some new things in mind…. :-) Thanks a lot!!

  • Hey David…

    Just a gentle reminder about that review. If it needs to wait til you’re in OBX or til you return from the islands that’s cool. No problem. Just didn’t want to keep checking my email if not necessary. ;^}

    Thanks again.


  • For me, it’s really images that awoke my calling for finding out what’s beyond the horizon, ie. entering that picture.

    Paintings, photographs, I remember docus on headhunters (back in the 60s, it was still talked of as current), cowboy movies, and these Bayon heads (Angkor Wat).

    Indelible impressions…Yes, that’s it, impressions, this is very much where who we are (and the Journey) does begin.

    David, your question. It’s just great to be alive, everything else is a bonus, so “pleasant surprise” for me! ;-)

  • hi David..

    I did indeed call again and left a message, perhaps you were breaking open the Magnum in honor of PJG at the moment and never heard the phone, the message must be somewher.. in any case, I will await your return for another opportunity.

    Do you know yet what work will be shown at Lookk3? Is it a slideshow? If indeed I have pics in it would be a good thing to add to the small CV…

    I will be working on a website soon, and am excited to have your eyes (and all shining eyes here) on it when it finally happens.

  • Michael Kircher-

    I never got through ‘Augie March’ but I certainly agree with all your others. And I’d add Barry Lopez’s Crossing Open Ground to compliment Abbey’s Desert Solitaire.

    Joni Karanka_

    Xenophon’s ‘Anabasis’ is a really fabulous work (one of the most underrated and neglected of the classiscs, I think), and no accident that I put it first on the list, though I’ve probably read ‘War and Peace’ more times than any other. In addition to all the travel, ethnographic, and cultural information info in it, what has always got to me is… The Greeks are surrounded, a thousand miles from home in hostile territory, their leader and patron and only legitimate reason for being there has just been killed, and an army many times their size is about to attack and wipe them out. Most of them have given up in despair and are waiting for death. But a few brave souls- not the ‘generals’– actually start using their heads and thinking, discussing rationally their alternatives, what strategies might work, knowing the odds against them are horrendous… and they start to move… and day after day, through crisis after crisis, trial and error, cliff-hanger after cliff-hanger, after months they win thru to the sea. The combination of courage and rational thinking and debate, in which natural leaders arise from the ranks and calculated risks are taken, is one of the great stories of human history. (Remarkably similar in many ways to the Long March in China during the 1930’s). Whenever I’m at the point of completely throwing in the towel, I try to remember this book. What would Xenephon do?



  • @Sidney: I know, it’s wonderful… I love how it shows the hard work of Xenophon convincing his own men and also how -as he was a soldier and not a general- he fails miserably in command at the beginning. Definitively a good read for all ages. And very short. I love short books.

  • I intend to read it, Sidney and Joni, going to the library at this minute (with the camera… You never know!). Not sure if the Long March, which translates as a power struggle, with no sparing human expanses in the process, does compare. If I understand, the greeks were in alien territory, their troops not numbering up as they progressed.


  • david alan harvey


    i just found out today that it looks like they are going to give me a half an hour to make an Emerging Photographer presentation in the Paramount Theater during Look3 of everyone’s work, which is pretty unbelievable!!!! prime time!!! and they may make it an annual event….

    sorry i missed your message, but we will get together for sure when i return..thanks for your patience…i am a little hard to pin down sometimes!!! a whole whole lot going on….

    cheers, david

  • What, no PG Wodehouse, Robert Benchley, or SJ Perelman? Such a list will cause psychic constipation, mark my words. Three titles to remember:

    Jaroslav Hasek, The Good Soldier Svejk and his adventures in the Great War.

    Joseph Heller, Catch-22

    Vladimir Voinovich, The life and extraordinary adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin.

    Svejk’s anabasis to the front beats anything that Greek guy could come up with.

  • I dont have anything to add to the above; I just wanted to be reply #50. Dont mind me, I am easily entertained.

  • david alan harvey


    i think you may have to wait until i return on april 2…i might be able to do something while i am gone, but i doubt it….i have done about 20 reviews and i have about 20 to do….a promise is a promise and i will get it all done, but i will never make that particular promise again, for obvious reasons!!!!

    peace amigo, david

  • Hey! that half an hour in the Paramount Theater Look3 sounds fantastic!! I’m so happy for all the blogmates that will be there… Congratulations and smiles!!

  • DAH: just completed posted fourteen new images from my abandoned estate series from Lake Como; Italia. This work is a departure from my other work as there are no people included. My objective was to record the essence or atmosphere of a place. This is new territory for me and i feel like I’m just scratching a small surface with these images. Certainly looking forward to exploring more in this realm ie. low natural ambient light-high asa film-lots of grain for texture & mood. Please dear sir what do u think if anything ? Am i on to something ? U encouraged me to keep working and stated that you were interested in seeing more work in the near Future. Well here it is for better or worse. Now Mr. Harvey please,please,please,please throw me a crumb of advice from your bountiful loaves of bread ie..wisdom !!

  • david alan harvey


    yes, i think you are on to something here…i particularly liked the 5th picture down from the top of the first section and then the whole second section…overall, so sad and mysterious and time left behind , which is your whole point i suppose…is this film??? i would love to see actual prints on this subject, but from looking at small pictures on a computer screen, it still looks quite good…


    you counted down??? no!!

    cheers, david

  • David…

    Don’t sweat it brother! I’ll be in France til the 13th of April. I absolutely can wait.

    Hate to be a pest. Makes me quite uncomfortable.

    In fact if I can one day this summer corral you briefly on one of your jaunts, I’d love to buy you a beer and just chat about it all. No worries.

    Peace and love,

  • David: Yes; film kodak 3200 recording film !! i also would love to see this project realized in fine detail ie. silver gelatin fiber based prints. However no access to a darkroom and limited funds perhaps in the Future always chasing new dreams. I can tell you that the negs are most definitely print worthy. “Overall so sad and mysterious and time left behind, which is your whole point i suppose.” DAH

    Not really there is no point except always trying to record Honestly that which is in front of me. Same concept as a mirror always reflecting my surroundings little tiny truths that i see fit to compliment. Anyway thank you for your support and wisdom !!

  • Wow..really wonderful about Look3 and Paramount..I guess I was ‘feeling it’ a comin’somehow…maybe I’ll try to make it to the Festival, please let us know details about which day the presentation will be..very exciting, thanks for all the good efforts…and lovely a thought re: laying the groundwork to perhaps make it annual.

    I hope/feel we will have many chances to gather in time, all of which I look forward to.

    Time to play with my new Zoom H2 recorder..trying to get on the multimedia wagon.

    bon voyage..

  • SIDNEY – great list , My non university / real /freestyle education started with a list like yours given to me by a writer with whom I travelled on one of my first assignments.
    The list was a starting point ,where every book lead me to 5 others , some of them I still have to revisit as I don’t think I got it the first time round – so I take the one book on asignment with me so I have no choice but to read slowly and savour -It’s that or the Gideons.
    I’ll gladly print off that list Sidney and let you know how I go.
    ROBERT – you are onto something with your villa series – nothing more spooky than the homes of rich folk fallen into disrepair.
    You have given me the confidence to share some pictures that I have been doing lateley,Id be interested to see what anyone out there thought?
    the series is on front page of my site and called “Return To Earth” , early days though.
    DAH – I’ve been off the stubbies lateley – Vodka for it’s slimming capabilities and Tonic as an anti-malarial.

  • david alan harvey


    no worries…yes, come to see me in person…much much much easier for critique purposes..


    yes, i tried that exact combo a couple of nights ago….hmmmmm, still recovering…but at least , i do not have malaria….

    cheers, david

  • David…

    Then it’s official. You now have one less review on that list to deal with. I’ll find you in the coming months somewhere on this big blue planet and we’ll just talk. I look forward to it.


  • By the way, David, all this talk about books…what author would we find you reading on the beach in the coming weeks?

  • Robert,
    If you have scans why not try and make some digital prints? remember I talked about small and intimate prints?


  • david alan harvey


    i am way way behind everyone else…so i will start with Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and then go to McCarthy’s “No Country For Old Men” (saw the movie, but have not read the book)…then i have about the last four New Yorker’s to peruse, the NYTimes and the Economist for the flight…recommendations welcomed…you know, a good beach read…

    no mike, i was not trying to get out of the electronic review, just inviting you to pop in when you have time…

    cheers, david

  • David…

    Without a doubt, I know you were not trying to get out of anything. I really just wanted to give you a bit of a break. In any case…we’ll run into each other eventually.

    i must say…
    the wife’s away…
    and I must finish off that bottle of “Che.”

    (Hey, check it out Bob! I’m a poet!)

    Beach book for DAH: “Priority” by Iselin C. Hermann (I thought this was wonderful. It’s been a few years though…my tastes may have evolved. Or devolved!)


  • David… I hope you enjoy the McCarthy book, he’s a wonderful writer (NCFOM is a good book, though I would say is not his very best)… anyway, if you do, check out “Blood Meridian”… it’s brutal, exquisitely written and defines something essential about this country. “All the Pretty Horses” is also great and would be a fine beach read!!

  • MIKE…

    Cormack McCarthy has been a favorite for several years and i “started” with All the Pretty Horses” and then did read Blood Meridian..i am going to try to meet him the next time i am in Santa Fe…he is supposed to be a very quiet shy guy…hmmmm, where did all that violence come from???

    cheers, david

  • You allways have to keep an eye on the quiet ones Dave.

  • Hey!
    I also remember the freezy and funny moment in India… it looks like it was yesterday!
    I miss a lot those days!!!
    Next friday there will be Nikhil exhibition opening in Rome… I will surely go and also Carlo, Anna, Shannon-Stone and maybe somebody else… will be so nice to see tham again… we will miss you a lot!
    New work… mmm… I am still trying to edit the tibetan refugees pictures… i put some of tham in my website… if you want to have a look go to the gallery “out of tibet” ;-) I don’t know if at the moment it make a sense… is still “under construction”… as you know 4 me is always a nightmere to edit… can you imagine to make togeder a story of pictures taken in different years and different locations… anycase as you suggested i look at it everyday… i put one picture, I take out an other… sooner or later the story I want to tell will come out… or at list I hope it will…
    As soon as I can I will go back… I want to collect news from the refugees on what it really happened cause here the real news never arrives… I am so sorry and worry 4 tham… and also pist off with how this world is hipocrit… today there was a big match of my football team… i asked tham why they didn’t do anything to express disappointment about the Tibet issue cause in China everybody look at italian soccer… and they had a lot of excuse… but yea… they probably get a lot of money selling TV right to China and they don’t want to loose tham… and is the same 4 every big organization and 4 every nation, everyone have interest in China and so is afraid to take a strong position… blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh
    Maybe in few weeks i go… now is better I don’t leave 4 a long trip… I am so sick… i cannot stop cofting, it is even impossible to sleap… I hope is nothing serious… while in the camps I spent a lot time with a TB patient who was really in bad conditions… i visited her nearly every day and talked for houers… on tuesday i will do the test… just in case… my parents are so scared, they get mad when i start cofting near to tham… they are not even happy to have me at lunch 4 Easther :-/
    Now I also want to answer to your question… 4 me good things often come out as a surprise! In work i don’t have all this experience to talk but it happened with the Compton project… i didn’t belive in that so mutch, of course i gave my best cause i knew it was a big occasion, but i was not “feeling” it as i do 4 examples 4 the tibetans and at the end according to everybody is the best thing i did. In personal life (and in this topic i also have a bit of experience) is the same… sometimes you spend so much energy to make things in love and friendship going well with somebody you think “is the right time” and than it come out a disaster… than maybe a person that you will never think is worth anything arrive and everything goes perfect!
    Well… I am writing to mutch bullshit… and with bad english… in this super cool blog with a lot of interesting peaple who hold such a big photography culture… I try to go to sleap… even if is so hard this days :-/
    I will surely come back here cause there is so mutch to learn not only from you but also from those guys who post here!
    I hope things will keep on going grate 4 you and i am sure they will!
    Have fun in Santo Domingo and take some sun also for me!!!

    P.S.: Will you have time to write that presentation letter about Compton i wrote to you about? Don’t need to be anything special… just few words… the same things you told to me when you saw the pics… that is a strong story, will deserve to be in a book and bla bla bla…


    please remind me what i am supposed to write about Compton…of course, i remember the work, but i do not think i remember what i am supposed to write for you!! my apologies…maybe i did not see that email…anyway, tell me again, and i will do it…i love your surprises!! you are very funny in person and in your writing!!!

    un abbraccio, david

  • MARCIN….

    i will try to post something from my beach time, but i do not know how much i will be gone….i have a few stories in my head, but maybe i will do them when i return…or maybe i cannot stay away!!!

    cheers, david

  • Yep I wrote to you an email about it on the aol address… just one minute before i got your mail from the other address…
    It was a big coincidence cause was quite long i didn’t here from you and as soon i retourned to my inbox after sending my email i found your email…
    Don’t know which email you actually use mostly…
    Anycase… I want to apply the project to a contest that if you win they make a book of your story. And…

    “The applicant should enclose a letter of presentation from a professional, an institution, a school or university, a company dealing with or practicing photography, that explains why the work is eligible in this context.”

    And the context is:

    “The awards are open exclusively to “concerned” photographers.
    The work submitted should express the point of view of the photographer and should reflect concern for life, in the wide sense of it. Photography should be used, in the work submitted, as a medium to reveal the human condition, to improve and encourage understanding among people”

    Same things you told to me i guess is enought ;-) just few words ;-)

    shit is 4-10… I keep on cofting… impossible to sleap… but i must… if tomorrow i show up 4 the easther lunch with a fuckt up face it will be one more reason to make my family be afraid i have TB and so nobody will want to talk to me :-/

  • Not just your parents are worried, Albertina. get that test and spread the good news afterwards!

    You have some great shots, expectedly, in that Tibet story (I also fell in love at #14, what a beauty!), Kabul too, and some not as strong too (edit, edit, edit!). Anyway, totally inspiring.

    Michael, cool Wyoming gallery, fine work that cries out for being in print. Are you familiar with Zbigniew Bzdak’s “Living in Wyoming”. Superb work, David may know.

  • you know the old adage..maybe Shakespeare..


    would you believe st. augustine? i was surprised when i found that out just a few months ago. anyway, i finally got to download and view your natgeo clip. nifty dance moves you’ve got ;-) seriously, i’m glad i saw you dancing because i thought it was a concrete example of what you’ve been saying about being comfortable with (and being with) the people you photograph. thanks for the sudden lesson david :-)


  • Great site!!! Albertina , get well soon… I love your pictures
    DAH, THANK YOU, thank you for the inspiration!!
    Sincerely, Luis

  • DAVID…

    thanks for look3 and all…
    You have your trip and I have my… you have palm beach and I have urban trees…
    but we both have a good wind!
    velvia loaded!
    so my dear friend David… I wish you strong wind in your sails when you working and warm breeze when you rest! Take good direction watching stars!!
    And find new lands!!

    peace and winds for all!

  • david alan harvey


    rushing to airport…weird…i must rush in order to relax!!

    back soonest….

    cheers, david

  • Hi, yes Albertina, great web-site, I especially like the night shots (Monferrato,Compton) but also Tibet history.
    I’m also blocked at bed for broken
    ligaments. But have a look at the positive side: finally I have the time to read the 500 post on DAH blog, read, write, edit, think and … relax. I have just defined now my project. Coming back to the original question: I’m not reflexive so… Sometimes I know in advance. Very few. But usually I’m right. In any case I always know while I’m shooting if I’m going in the correct way or if i’m just… doing the “assignment” I always commit to my work (don’t know if my english translation it’s perceptible).
    For example in Oslo I was aware of not doing the best.
    David take a sun-bath also for us! Here it’s raining hard!

  • Herve–

    Thanks! My site is in desperate need of updating. But I will be sure to look up “Living in Wyoming”.

  • i’m currently fascinated with the creative process in general and my sense is that you have to be out there doing in order for the real work to happen? being in the flow, opens the channel for something really amazing to come of it.

    and in that light, i’m reading a book called “the accidental masterpiece – on the art of life and vice versa” which is kind of about this question.

    it’s by michael kimmelman, an art critic, and he reflects on those moments of serendipity, those happy accidents, that have led to the creation of great bodies of work or perhaps just a single divinely inspired creation (i.e. the discovery of a muse, or a random photo that says it all).

    i read this line last night, and thought you wuld all enjoy it. in a section about photography he is sharing/talking about an amateur photograph that is interesting…a “good” photograph and he says:

    “…because the amateur’s fluke reminds us of a basic fact in life, which is always heartening: that art is out there waiting to be captured, the only question being whether we are prepared to recognize it.”

    happy travels, david!!


  • i must rush in order to relax!!

    Oh, David, You are soooo american!


  • Albertina & Laura great work…..
    Viva Italia….
    Good morning from L.A. … 20 C… today…
    time to go to the beach and swim…. and then
    a cold ( maybe two maybe more ) Erdingers at the Waterfront…
    Viva Venice…

  • David et al,

    Interesting post. I’ve recently embarked on a journey(s) of my own although not photographic per se. I’ve been doing some deep healing – I’ve suffered from daily headaches and general dis-ease most of my life, in large part from a number of factors – family trauma, darkrooms, rock and roll lifestyle, etc.

    So I’ve been partaking in ceremonies using the Amazonian “medicine” ayahuasca and working with a Shipibo trained shaman. It is difficult, terrifying, and amazingly rewarding “work.” It is a highly hallucinogenic plant mixture that can go in and actually rearrange one on a cellular level. It allows you to have deep spiritual, mental, and physical opening and healing. I highly recommend it for anyone suffering from serious stuckness in their life though it’s not for the timid or anyone on anti-depressants or other MAOI’s.

    Anyway, I hope to go to Peru at some point and work with some of the other healing plants as well as the master shamans. Funny thing is that I’ve done four ceremonies over the past three weeks and the (photo) work has just started pouring in. And I’ve found myself more focused – in large part because the headaches are almost gone – but also because it is such an intense experience that it strips away all of the other bullshit. And it came to me on one of my journeys that I would like to share what I’ve been going through with the trusted members of this forum. And DAH’s post on embarking on journey’s seemed like apropo timing. I think it’s important that sometimes we keep in mind that to do our work we may need to do work in other aspects of our life first (and/or throughout).

    Feel free to hit me up for more info. It’s seriously life changing. Though a vacation at the beach sounds real good about now as well (the rain is coming down in sheets here in Seattle).



  • Man, I am the same. I need to rush to relax.

    When I’m on the streets making photos I need to walk quickly. If I walk slowly, or am forced to, for one reason or another, I don’t see anything. The quicker I walk, the more I can slow the world down and see pictures.

    Good hunting David.

  • Thank you Herve ;-)
    Unfortunately I didn’t kept in touch with the girl in pic # 14… but the Tibetan refugees community is very small so it will not be difficolt to find out where she lives ;-) # 25 is miss Tibet 2007… she was invited to partecipated to miss universe contest in Manila but as soon as the Chinese governament figured out she was there they made a mess and made her been kicked out :-/
    And… Don’t worry 4 me… I am sick… but not soooo sick ;-)
    Laura I also love your staff… get well soon!!!

  • I think what I was getting at (with a few less words) is that the inner journey can be as important as the outer and that this can have a profound effect on the way we approach the world and photograph it.


  • Charles – Cool words , cool work – was looking at your stuff for years back in the day – Maybe not all road trips are made in a car???

  • DAVID:

    JUST RETURNED FROM MONTREAL (belated Honeymoon)….dont know if you got the my email: I’ve sent you Jon’s email and cell phone: he’ll be a contact for you in Beach Land :)))

    as for the “avant” or the “apres” or the “pendant”…i’ll can only say this…for me, it always seems, a big like (what i imagine, rightly or wrongly), pregnancy….

    i’ve no words now, just exhaustion from driving and trying to like “english” after so much french (which i love, …but dont quiz me Herve!! ;)) )….

    ok, something, short, maybe this is about your question…

    hugs and enjoy the beach, beer, and beauties!



    Of Old and Memory

    We are caught, a wisteried half-coin of shadow, between thumb and forefinger, of tooth and tongue, caught and unsettled in the absence of things. Is it they or we who are absent among the gathering and re-gathering of that which once once?

    Once, undone.

    The stitching of things: twigs, stone, kettle and the bone which once made up all that nailed itself around your calcified and indentured home. The ordinary spec of things which appear to be there for long, but much later seem to have been lost, a forsaking, to the space and the place of things. Where is it that things go, between the tough of palate and the turn of time, to which bending of which corner, what dampened and rusting space below the bannister, which clear glass of water, which board sagging beneath the weightless circumference of the shell that long ago was abandoned by an early and viscous interior life. Where to, those ordinary things jostling in their vanishing, especially when they have not yet long left our call and cadence of them?

    The jolt in the un-finding.

    We are bruised.

    We are bruised by spared space and the lift of light, a tongued tunnel of shadow lip-lit, and the hanging of a boot, moth rain and the curl of steel beneath breathed-upon moisture, the arch of the wearied ribs of a roof and the calf of a window’s muscle, the knotted knuckles of twined flower-fingers poured out of themselves from a glass and the uncarefully set dime: the spare and dare of things.

    We are bruised by the plum print of ordinary things. Those ordinary things which tattoo themselves along the passages of our ordinary lives, those things which seldom scotch-tape their removed stick to us, but still tinker away in their falling away: through our list and canter, the fibrous caught gone of us.

    So, how does one begin to sing upon the sting of things without welching a maudlin voice? Begin with a memory, the stitch and twitch of something that broke through forlorn sight toward a more fecund sight: a cold winter evening when you were a child.

    Once, you remember, you could curl into the small space, the size in height of a quarter, the length that of a broken limb from an Elm, between a floor radiator and the bowing oak floor itself. It was then that you learned to carve yourself into spaces, imprint your child’s flesh against the bark of the hard-chiselled radiator and the ungiving floor, chiselled the way one’s initials are carved into the dentures of a school desk. You learned then to tatoo yourself against things the way things leapt at and into you. What other explanation is there that you still dream of things you know longer know the names or places of. The naming of those spaces.

    The detritus of our lives: excavate it and see what shall unsettle.

    The unsettling of the settlement of things ticking.

    Come. Let us See.

  • BOB:

    I’ve look at your website. I saw amazing B&W.

  • Jean_Sebastien :))

    Merci beaucoup mon ami. Excusez-moi pour mon français terrible. Je viens de revenir d’un voyage avec ma femme à Montréal et mon cerveau est toujours troublé. Je vois que nous sommes tant amants de villes que clairières et ténèbres qui chantent de la lumière….

    J’espère que cela devient plus chaud bientôt. je déteste cet hiver…

    tout le meilleur

    bob :)

  • Allez looya!


  • Charles – interesting comment.
    I’m in Seattle too.
    Maybe we could get together sometime.

  • Katia,

    That would be fine. My studio is in Pioneer Square. I’ll be around most days for the next three weeks (leave for Haiti on the 12th). Email me via my website.

    Nice work you’re doing. Must be difficult at times. Keep it up.

  • Mike, Glenn – thank you. The decision to leave for Vietnam came from months of deliberating. Not about the country but about being strong enough to detach myself from all that I have ever known about photography – the newspaper industry. My work became so much more personal this past year. Thanks to inspirations from everywhere. The writings on this blog from both David and others also fueled that inspiration. Vietnam is a place that has warmed my heart as of late. The language and the culture has sparked within me. I like having the feeling of a child in such an unknown place. For the time being, this is where I belong.

    Chris, you are a rock star my friend … thank you.

    David, Thanks dude. And thanks even more for the print. It is beautiful. Received right before I left California. It rests at a friend’s house with the rest of my photography books until I return to the States with a solid footing.

  • David —

    i have a question for you.

    i consider myself a documentary photographer first and foremost.
    i’m also a street-shooter but have done less of that since i met and grew to know and love the homeless street kids here.
    now they are my primary photographic focus.

    i was with a large group of them on saturday. it was hard to keep track of all that was going on but, at one point, i saw a new boy with a very long knife clutched in his hand and he was crouched down and stabbing the pavement.
    (we were all in a fairly secluded city park at the time).
    i asked daimey what was up with him and she said that his name is noel, he thinks he’s a shaman and that’s his ‘shaman knife’.
    just then i saw the Twist Family approach in a pack. the Twist family is a gang of homeless kids named after Oliver Twist. They’re a gang of petty thieves and i know most of them. they trust and respect me.
    as they approached they looked very agitated, tense, mean and i knew something was about to go down.
    erin was leading them and i called her over to me and asked her what was up.
    she said they were about to jump noel co’s inde (a twist member) said that noel had pulled a knife on him.
    i said, ‘no, erin, he thinks he’s a shaman and that’s his shaman knife. just leave him alone. he’s not hurting or confronting anyone.’
    she said ok and walked back to the pack and told them, ‘it’s just a misunderstanding. let’s go.’ and they left.

    of course, i felt good that i helped to prevent what could have been an extremely violent scene.

    but then i started to think about my role there as a photographer and as a DOCUMENTARY photographer. i started to think that i am there to record the natural goings-on of that culture and that, at times, includes violence. i started to think that as a true documentary photographer i should not have interfered with the natural unfoldings of events. only documented them as they occurred.

    of course, i don’t think i would have felt good about letting someone potentially get severely harmed if i could prevent it.
    but as a result of interfering i will not be able to make photos that capture all of the aspects of a street kids existence – and that sadly does include violence.

    i guess i am feeling a bit conflicted about all this and am hoping to hear your, and perhaps others, feedback.



  • @Charles: how cool, I know some of your shots from inner sleeves!

  • Katia, if I may…

    You are a human being. What you did was the right thing. You cannot unknow something. If you had not talked to daimey you’d have not been the wiser and you’d have been witness to something horrible…and likely recorded it. And that then would have been the right thing.

    I suspect there have been times in the past (and there will certainly be times in the future) where you were not in a position to prevent an act of violence, to act like a concientious human being…but to instead react and record the scene.

    Don’t beat youself up for this latest occurance. You did good.

    And finally, I am not a street shooter or strict documentary photographer…so do take my comments from that point of view.



  • Katia, you did the right thing. Photography is what you do, human is what you are. Assume for a minute that you did nothing to stop the Twist Family. They would have beaten Noel senseless or maybe even killed him; Noel might have stabbed one of the Twists trying to defend himself. What would you have told yourself then? That the whole experience was worth a little pain and suffering because you got some good photographs out of it? That Noel or the Twists’ pain was particularly photogenic? That those pictures will help your career? And what would you tell yourself at four in the morning, at the time when the truth comes to us plain and unvarnished and in all its ugliness? That there was suffering, and you could have stopped it, but that you chose not to, that you chose instead to profit from it. Others face the same choices. People like Nachtwey and Salgado get charged with this all the time, but the differences become plain when you think about them. The wars Nachtwey covers he did not start and Salgado often points out that he is not the one keeping the poverty-stricken he photographs mired in their poverty. They are photographing the reality of their time; to sit and do nothing while you could have done something to prevent another human being’s suffering is wrong; to stand by and to photograph the act you could have prevented is not photojournalism, it is being a vampire feeding on other people’s agony.

  • Katia,
    Good job and nice pics! You for sure did the right thing! We want to have an impact as photographers, but it’s hard making something more important than you did. Allthough your images are great they may never have as big impact as you had that night.


  • Of course Katia, you did the right thing as you are involved in their lifes. You are witnessing their lifes in the streets from “the inside”, being part of their world even if you don’t have their same life. They accepted you and you are making the photo-report from that position. So you can’t pretend to be an objective witness, you can’t photograph from a “cold” outside. You are IN and you are taking with you the human side of their lifes. Violence is include in their reality, but, sometimes the heart and trust goes first.


  • david alan harvey


    you are a responsible human being first and a photographer second…it is not ME saying this…it is what you already proved….i think you did the right thing….in this type of project , you are a “part of it”…you are not a “fly on the wall” observer no matter what…just you being there with these young people as much as you are makes you a special kind of participant…i do not think you should be conflicted….i would have done the same thing…but, i am sure that some would disagree with me on this one…but, i will stand my ground …you prevented a possible violent attack…good for you in my book…..

    cheers, david

  • pierre yves racine


    As soon as you observe people, you interact with them. People often act for your camera, whithout you thinking about it.

    Sociologists or ethnologists have thought about that for a long time : you have to take your presence into account, when you bear witness on something. This, whether you try to be inconspicuous or not.

    I think we should always remember that the presence of photographers, on a potentially violent scene, can make things worse, since people get nervous in such situations when they know they are observed…


    Pierre yves

  • Katia, I also agree with everybody!
    You did good and I wuold do the same… there is no question!
    There are some cases, like a wor or something like that, were you cannot do anything to help… but in this case you could and leaving the violence happen wuold be a bad thing imo, also becouse i understand from you pictures that you have strong feelings for this people you are working with. Some photographers surely wuold leave it happen to have stronger pictures… that’s sure… but be proud not to be one of tham ;-)

  • hello katia,

    i can not say, if you did right or wrong, because i was not there, did not see the kids (i did not care about the ethics of photography at the moment), but please be careful. a boy that thinks he is a shaman (maybe he is, i can not tell that either) with a knife can be dangerous. a carried weapon will be used at some time, just a question of time. so for me that boy is a ticking bomb. maybe you could have an eye on him, maybe he needs more help, than beeing left alone.

    communities, even if they are outlaw, form their own rules. sometimes taking dangerous weapons away from somebody is not too bad. ( i do not say, they should have beaten him up).

    maybe you prevented that attack on noel, maybe you just put that problem on another day.

    but nobody can answer that in front of a computer screen.
    once again, please, be careful, a long knife is a long knife. your photos are great and i think you do a lot for these children, because you are with them, what may give them the feeling, that at least one person cares for them.

    cheers olli

  • Katia;
    You did the right thing. Sure you may have put off what could happen another day, but you can only deal with the now, the present, you haven’t a crystal ball…

    Even being a present can alter a situation, so you can only be true to yourself and your intentions… Even by taking a photo you are editorialising (is that a word??) a situation.

    But that also reminded me of something I’ve been mulling over recently… You all may be able to add your valuable input…

    In my work in the Vanuatu squatter settlements life is pretty dire and poverty is rife. I’ve decided to use B&W for the work because it suits the purpose/intent. But by using B&W am I putting my own editorial slant on it too?

    For example, I have two images of a woman in the settlement hanging out washing (their lives seem to revolve around cleaning, cooking & kids). In one she is smiling and the other, taken a second or two later, she isn’t and looks sad. Here’s the quandry, which do I use to illustrate the poverty problem? Melanesian (& Polynesian) people tend to be great smilers and humourous despite the circumstances. If I use the unsmiling image am I putting my editorial slant on it? I do find it hard to be impartial in this situation…

    Just a few thoughts… Cheers

  • Hi Katia,

    We can talk about this later in the week when we meet but I have to second Oliver’s comments above (and btw you totally did the right thing). A young boy stabbing a knife in the pavement and somehow thinking he’s a “shaman” most likely needs some real help. My younger brother, who is extremely bipolar, used to carry around a knife in order to “ward off the vampires.” Fortunately he wasn’t living in a violence prone situation such as these kids find themselves in (he has also never exhibited violence to anyone but himself). Yes, I would be careful around that individual.

  • Katia, it’s not like you are deflecting History’s course by preventing things to get awful, amd maybe murderous.

    You love these kids, I do not think it has much to do with photography at the end, so you naturally did the right thing.

  • thank you all for your valuable input.

    it’s funny that it only now occurred to me that my very presence already alters events within this street culture and has for a long time.

    just hours before this scenario with the Twist family occurred i was with another group of kids for 3 hours and decided to go get a cup of coffee. just minutes after i left, one of the kids pounced on an older gentlemen who was walking through the park, stabbed him in the forehead and robbed him of $50.00. that never would’ve happened had i stayed.

    i don’t feel bad at all about interfering and de-escalating a potentially violent situation. i could not have stood by in good conscience and just let it happen. i couldn’t live with myself had i done that.

    but i started thinking of nachtwey and eugene richards – 2 of my photographic heroes. would nachtwey have ever turned to a soldier and said, “please don’t throw that bomb.” or would richards ever say, “please don’t hit that crack pipe”? i doubt it. they are there to record the natural unfoldings of events.

    i want to publish a book about the lives of these kids – what it’s like to be a homeless street youth in seattle. not for my profit but for theirs, hopefully. i want it to include all aspects of their existence. these kids are beautiful, creative, resourceful, loving, generous and they are also the opposite of all those things, under the right circumstances. for the portrayal to be accurate it must include all of who they are and all of what they do.

    olli– seeing noel with the knife did not alarm me at all. most of these kids carry knives and will show them to me freely or have them out while sharpening them. it’s an everyday sight so i’m used to it.

    charles– yes, noel might need some help. i thought so too. i spoke with him briefly and he seemed lucid at times and then his words would become nonsensical. he’s brand new here so i will come to know him and see if there is anything i can do to help him or plug him into services he might need.

    david– thanks for you words and for having a space for me to come to, pose my predicaments and be sure to get some thoughtful responses. that’s a blessing.

    thank you all!


  • Katia;
    I remember the Reuters cameraman in “War Photographer” saying how Nachtwey(in Indonesia) got down on his knees to beg the crowd not to kill the man they were chasing. Needless to say they killed him anyway…

  • I’m thinking about the unfortunate person mentioned above who was stabbed and robbed… I’ll probably catch a lot of grief for posing this obvious question…. but if you know that your subjects/friends are committing (or have committed) violent crimes, are you under any moral or ethical obligation to do anything about that?

  • Dear Katia, reading your predicament made me think about the real time situations docu photogs face…its a pertinent point you have raised for all of us to ponder over, and maybe the answers aren’t so easy to come by ….’fly-in-the-wall’ observers vs. participant observer role…intervening if possible..etc…
    for me your dilemma brings to mind photographer kevin karter’s life story…its not easy…i also remember watching a docu on reza, where the condition of the refugees he was photographing (i think it was in afghanistan)made him give up his cameras for a while and become a volunteer in the relief operations, he was in tears then…
    i just think, you did what any human being would do…

  • *correction – its kevin carter

  • The way adrenaline flows, the psychology involved in fighting at war, the orders given, it is near impossible to stop a soldier from throwing a bomb or shooting. No more stoppable than for Capa to ask one the soldiers not to shoot germans as they landed in Normandy.

    However, I have no doubt that given the real, even risky, possibililty to stop a man from being killed, Nachwey will seize it even as it costs him a picture. No doubt!

  • Katia, allow me to add my praise to the giant rumbling mountain of “jolly good show” from people vastly more experienced, more famous and much better looking than myself. You did the right thing and stopped someone being hurt.

    Where did this fly-on-the-wall crap come from? We are’nt flies, we’re giant bipedal omniverous mammals who make tens of involuntary noises every minute, emit potent smells and take up a lot of space! How precisely adding a camera to this that goes some combination of click, whirr or flash activates a secret cloaking device, I simply do not know.

    When I’ve been there in what I suppose is “fly on the wall mode” is not that I’m suddenly a tiny antiseptic insect, its that the participants to the scene simply don’t care that I’m there or have accepted me in some way. I honestly don’t think this gives me the right to stop behaving like the good biped I like to pretend to be. Provided it would’nt be a totally futile act, of course.

    In the situations where you can stop things getting worse in a sensible manner, don’t we have a duty to intervene? The author of “the bang bang club” is pictured being hauled bleeding off the front lines by none other than Jim Nachtwey himself. Can anyone imagine him instead photographing a colleague while he bled and leaving to develop the film?

  • David,
    you are probably long time on that beach of yours, enjoying all that nice moments before the Storm you expecting.

    I would like to answer your question. My answer is yes, I always know when something is coming I know when it will be good. I feel it in my whole body. I am full of it. So I perfectly understand what you wrote.

    I would love to have freedom you have to fulfill that feeling more often that I can.

    Greetings from Europe, from somebody who never wrote you, but who always wish to meet you.

    richard vanek

  • hi david and everyone else of course,

    i’ve been thinking about this very thing of late, amongst other things.

    i think both are “knowing” and “reacting” are equally placed for me. sometimes i have an idea and then follow that like a blood hound on the trail sniffing my way to a “result”. a project i have just started is going this way. i like what i have so far, i know, or rather i hope it’s going to get better and better. but there was something about the idea in the first place, i could see it in my head and i liked it. just the thought of it excited me.

    but then there are those times when you look at a body of work and you realise for the first time that something good has been done or, when serendipity bathes you in her smile and something special emerges out of nothing. that one picture can start off a whole new project. what a thrill it is to be surprised….to unearth an unexpected gem……which ever way it happens, its all good.

    well do katia, you did something special – the right thing. you may well have changed the world for someone that day.

    i hope you enjoy your little bit of “me” time david. i’m going to email you so have a look for me.

    take care folks,


  • Katia:

    there is nothing, absolutely, nothing that i can add to your question that hasnt been already articulated. I’m not sure that the comparison between your project and your relationship to the young street men and women that you are photographing and people like Nachtwey et al is apt. You have a deeply personal (besides human) relationship with these men and women, girls and boys. In many senses, it’s hard for me to “visually” separate you from them, as you often appear (in imagery and writing on your blog) to be a part of their lives, their family as well: a big sister or one who, by faith or luck or serendipity, escaped the more difficult terrain and consequences that they have suffered under. consequently, your relationship to them is not really “objective photographer/chronicler” to “subject”, but as someone who is telling their story because their story is also part of the story of your life. Above all, as all have said, we are human and the decisions that we make are born of our hopes and fears to make sense of that. In the end, it at least for me has been my personal mantra, you ask yourself “why are you photographing these people?” Why are your spending time with them. Why have they, they who have so little and live under such dire circumstance and shelter, become the heart of your photography? I think you have answered that quite eloquently here and other places, because you see your photography as a means to offer them a voice to people who might not be willing or have the opportunity to hear them or see them, that your hope is that your work will benefit them and their fractured lives. Given this, it is their lives which you are engaged with and not the particulars of any individual photographing. Of course, you did the right decision. As others have raised as well, this comes with additional responsibilities and added pressures, since you dont have an “outsiders” relationship: the questions of involvement with them, knowledge about what they do (preventing one possible assault but yet you aware that “just minutes after i left, one of the kids pounced on an older gentlemen who was walking through the park, stabbed him in the forehead and robbed him of $50.00” and have you reported this or dealt with this with police or the man who was stabbed, also arguably your responsibility as well. It’s a difficult and profound question and I don’t envy these difficult decisions. I admire your project and having myself spent time with homeless kids (street kids in LA, as a volunteer in a program to get kids, punks, drug addicts, children prostitutes, mostly young boys, off the street), I know the excruciating involvement this demands. This is a daily negotiation filled with moral ambiguities and difficult choices. Above all, i think it’s important to ask yourself the questions that others have asked above and to know that your commitment to these “kids” is the moral center around which you’ve chartered your current life. This has nothing really to do with photography so much as a reconciliation with the means of your life (in this case photography, but for others it is time or money or priviledge or ignorance). I think you do have a responsibility, since you’re spending so much time with them and have created loving and trusting relationships with them, not as an outsider, but as a “member” of this sensitive and hurting family, to consider all those situations (the carrying of knives by someone who may need help, immediate help, or the attack upon other people for $, etc)…Goldbergs spoken and written eloquently about all this and it’s no easy battle…surely, these difficult decisions will be a part of your life, but they are in truth a part of all our lives, those most simply never acknowledge them, it’s difficult to stay alert in a world saturated by pressures and pain, photography is simply a vehicle, a tool, that is or can be harnessed to a moral imperative…so, of course, you did the right decision…

    As to the question about Nachtwey or Richards…richards’ responsibility and dedication (in print and in films) to those he has covered transcends most of what 99% of PJ/Documentary photographers ever do: his entire life as been one of commitment, not to be only a casual “observer”…ditto, Nachtwey…there are moments, even amid the panick of chaos, when many (not all, but many) photographers put the camera down…

    by the way, here is one photographer who ‘stands up’ to soldiers and confronts them, this is not an isolation situation…and he’s taken lots of slack for this thinking…but, let me share with you one of the photographers I admire the most: Philip Blenkinsop:

    best of luck Katia….keep up the deep and difficult work…


  • Okay, now that we’ve solved Katia’s moral dilemma, there is the eternal question of what to do when you need help and Tarzan is nowhere to be found. The trouble with Tarzan is that the guy is never around when you really need him. He’s off swinging from a vine somewhere or taking French lessons from Jane or discussing the finer points of currency arbitrage with Cheetah the chimp. The man never takes his cell phone with him anywhere so he’s next to impossible to find when there’s an emergency; there’s no room on his loincloth for a phone, he says; well, there’s barely enough room on that loincloth for his knife and he manages to hang on to that, doesn’t he? I think that knife is what’s holding the loincloth up; he’s got the edges of the cloth wound around the knife. So I should suffer because he can’t afford suspenders? Phooey, that’s what I say. In any case, it’s damn near impossible to get a hold of the man. You’d think that Jane or Boy or someone would buy him a utility belt like the one Batman has for Christmas but it’s obvious the idea hasn’t occurred to anyone wandering around the jungle lately. This sort of obliviousness to the creature comforts offered by modern industry is what happens when the Post Office can’t deliver catalogs and other junk mail to the denizens of deepest darkest Africa; the mighty wheels of American commerce come grinding to a halt.

    A few days ago I needed Tarzan and, as usual, Jungle Man was missing in action. As is usual at this time of year, beasts from the lower orders of the animal kingdom are doing their level best to infiltrate my home like so many little Viet Cong trying to come in under the wire. In short, I have mice and I want to get rid of them.

    This, however, is not as easy as it sounds. For the past eighty or so years, animators the length and breadth of Hollywood, California, have done their absolute level best to convince the great American viewing public that mice are cute, cuddly, and altogether misunderstood creatures, not at all similar to their mangy, flea-bitten, disease carrying cousin, the rat. The late Walt Disney was a leader in this Mice Are Nice campaign, as he spent millions of dollars to make the world safe for Mickey and Minnie and a host of other mousy characters so cute that prolonged viewing of their collected oeuvre can cause the sugar levels of your average American diabetic to shoot through the roof and let the rain in. After decades of pro-rodent propaganda, it is now very difficult for the average American who is not afflicted with mice to believe that mice are neither cute nor cuddly: they are vermin.

    This statement will not go down well with animal rights activists, who will, no doubt, accuse me of the worst sort of speciesism, a peculiar and especially virulent form of racism that holds that human beings have no right to make the sort of value judgments about other species that I just made about mice and that there is nothing special about human beings, that we and all of Creation are one, with no one species being any better or worse than any others. On the purely philosophical level, there may be something to this belief, but I do not live on the purely philosophical level, I live in my house and I want the goddamn mice out of it. As for being on the same level with the mice, I hesitate to point out that there is no rodent equivalent of the Taj Mahal, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, polio vaccine, or Sicilian pizza with extra cheese and Italian sausage. When they come up with something as good as the aforementioned then I’ll throw my arms around them and call them brother; until then they’re just mice. I wouldn’t mind it so much if they were paying rent, but there’s no way I’m providing food and shelter to a bunch of deadbeat rodents. This isn’t New York City; there’s no rent control here in our happy little burg.

    But I am a reasonable man; I didn’t want to use deadly force unless absolutely necessary. Hence, the unheeded call for Tarzan. I needed that yell of his big time. Remember how Tarzan always got himself out of a jam? He’d spend the entire movie proving that he was smarter than the bad guys even if he’d never been to school and spoke English worse than President Bush, and then somehow or other they’d get the drop on him or Jane halfway through the final reel and he’d let out that big Tarzan yell. At the clarion call of Hollywood every animal of the forest primeval would drop whatever or whoever they were eating and come running, flying, swimming, hopping, or by subway to find Tarzan and do battle with the bad guys and look good in their close ups, thereby saving Tarzan, Jane, and the collective necks of the latest mob of clueless great white hunters lost on the back lot at MGM as they searched for the jungle lair of that semi-mythical creature, the blonde so dumb that she actually screwed a scriptwriter.

    I needed the Tarzan yell; I wanted the Tarzan yell; I did not get the Tarzan yell or anything even vaguely like it, although I suppose my yelling, Jesus Christ!, at the top of my lungs can be intimidating if you’re a mouse. It didn’t intimidate these mice, though. Mice scurried hither and thither, which is the first time in twenty years that I have actually used the phrase hither and thither in a sentence, across my bedroom floor. Counting mice, unlike counting sheep, will not put you to sleep; in fact, the reverse is true. Counting mice will raise your blood pressure to dangerously high levels and, according to the American Heart Association, which spent something on the order of five or six dollars on this study, constitutes a risk that cardiac patients should avoid at all times. I kicked one mouse into the corner of my closet, where he gave me a nasty look, as if to say that I could expect the imminent arrival of Mighty Mouse, followed by the eminently well-deserved kicking of my fat human ass. That mouse looked like he’d pay good money to see that happen.

    Once I’d gotten this herd of mice corralled in my closet, where they happily ate an old pair of sneakers and then disappeared down the hole in the corner, laughing as they went, I decided that I’d done every the law allows and more in regards to these mice. I summarily sentenced all mice in my house to death for the heinous crime of being a mouse in my house and nonpayment of rent. Thus it was, with a heavy heart and a sad countenance, I set trap after trap in my closet for the high spirited young rodents, said traps being full of tasty grain liberally laced with some type of poison. I then lay in bed and waited for the inevitable.

    I heard them a little later, ripping into the grain, gulping it down with the gusto of a kid turned loose in an unsuspecting candy store. I could hear the trays moving here and there as they fought each other for every grain of the tasty, poisoned bait. The sounds did not last very long; I heard them again this morning, but the sound was slower now, more tentative. I realized that the horror must have begun for them. The rest, as they say, is silence. I must fill in their hole later.

  • I was reading Veblen and thought of photographers, Koudelka mostly but also the number of us out there without the ballast of a title of deeds and a set of nesting coffee tables- and now you too.

    ‘The predatory instinct and the consequent approbation of predatory efficiency are deeply ingrained in the habits of thought of those peoples who have passed under the discipline of a protracted predatory culture. According to popular award, the highest honours within human reach may, even yet, be those gained by an unfolding of extraordinary predatory efficiency in war, or by a quasi-predatory efficiency in statecraft; but for the purposes of a commonplace decent standing in the community these means of repute have been replaced by the acquisition and accumulation of goods. In order to stand well in the eyes of the community, it is necessary to come up to a certain, somewhat indefinite, conventional standard of wealth; just as in the earlier predatory stage it is necessary for the barbarian man to come up to the tribe’s standard of physical endurance, cunning, and skill at arms…
    Those members of the community who fall short of this, somewhat indefinite, normal degree of prowess or of property suffer in the esteem of their fellow-men; and consequently they suffer also in their own esteem, since the usual basis of self-respect is the respect accorded by one’s neighbours. Only individuals with an aberrant temperament can in the long run retain their self-esteem in the face of the disesteem of their fellows. Apparent exceptions to the rule are met with, especially among people with strong religious convictions. But these apparent exceptions are scarcely real exceptions, since such persons commonly fall back on the putative approbation of some supernatural witness of their deeds.’

    Of course, when photographers get together there can almost be an inverted snobbery about this, as with pilgrims I am sure, which one gets to be lowlier and more itinerant than thou. Don’t worry David, you have too many chattels still to get bogged down in that.




    i have always had to work very very hard to maintain this “freedom” which may appear to have been somehow “given” to me….quite the contrary….

    i will be pleased to meet you whenever it is possible….


    yes yes…there is no way that any of us can do good photographic work without some kind of “balance” in our personal lives…you seem to have it figured out….i do look forward to your newest work with the healing plants , shamans , etc etc…


    this is always a problem for all of us…choosing the proper picture which actually represents the reality of the situation…there is always a lot of the obvious talk about “setting up” journalistic pictures or using photoshop to “alter”…but, your example is just as valid a discussion about reality vs. manipulation….in the end, subjectivity rules….but, you are a man of integrity…your overall sensitivity and honor will allow you to make the “right decisons” for all of the “right reasons”..


    i have very limited computer time here in the Dominican Republic…i am supposed to be relaxing, but i get bored if i relax too much!! so i will go to another town today just to see what is there….my posts will be limited, so you guys keep things going please…

    i will travel to Brazil on sunday i think for just three or four days and then back to New York where i will resume my “normal” life!!

    back soonest….

    peace , david

  • David,

    thank you for your reaction, very nice of you. I would love to talk you about maintaining this “freedom” once you in, Italy maybe?
    I can drive from Holland when you there.

    Enjoy your time over there!

    richard vanek

  • “i am supposed to be relaxing, but i get bored if i relax too much!!”

    jajajaja I really understand you ;-) So, enjoy, relax and don’t stop at the same time!! Keep moving, David and enjoy your time.


  • Bob:


    Thanks Bob, I always wanted to know a bit more about Philip. Not surprised he’s having breakfast with a boa around his neck!

    The footage of the nepali officer realizing what he had been doing, being forced to think of his own children was, to say the least, gripping.

    Past the emotion it awoke in me, I thought, then isn’t the movie/video camera doing a better job than the still camera to bring a human face to this civil conflict, just as it brought home maybe the most staying image of the burmese monks uprising (that of a foreign photographer being shot to death).

    I am sure a photographer could shoot these moments/emotions, but just as in so many imaged testimonies of the last decades violent conflicts, it seems to me professional/freelance photography has taken a step back (not really making a case, just asking what you all think) to other medias, as crude and amateurish they may be (Abu Graib).

    If so, even in some measure, why? Could it be that “serious” photography is not trusted anymore in the public imagination? Too crafty, or even crafted?

    Just food for thought while David is ordering a second pinacolada (it’s not even 2pm)!!! ;-)

  • DAVID..

    I would say I’m figur-“ing” it out. It’s an ongoing process and one of sacrifice. I no longer drink (except the occasional sake) and have had to give up on wheat and sugar etc. Difficult when traveling! But as the fog lifts, it gets easier and easier and the rewards outweigh the sacrifice. Ultimately it’s all about surrendering to what is. Once one has surrendered and is open then the good things just seem to come.

    Here’s a small site if anyone is interested of a recent retreat. It’s mostly friends though a few pics of the shaman and his tools (he’s the burly french guy).

    I hope to shoot in Peru (maybe towards doing a book) though it’s a bit scary as it would mean drinking lots of ayahuasca, and that shit is tough!

    I’m off to Haiti and the DR next month for a short UNICEF ad campaign shoot. Never been to that part of the world. I’m excited. It’ll be a whirlwind but hopefully It’ll inspire me to return.



  • Herve,

    I think different moments are revealed by different means. The photo of the Viet Cong prisoner having his brains blown out; the scene in the youtube video of the officer tearing up. One video the other still photo. Is one more powerful than the other? I don’t know.

    And did either really change the world? How much?

    And on a slightly different note…Is Blenkinsop anything more than a thrillseeking fanatic with a camera? I honestly began to get the feeling, listening to him talk, that he’s a little over the edge. Out of touch with reality. Maybe that’s come from all the horror he’s witnessed. Don’t know. But, to be brutally honest, I came away a little saddened by and for the man. It appears he’s on a quixotic one-man crusade to save all the tragic peoples of the world.

    Those were my impressions on a first pass through that video. Probably not fair. But there it is.

    I’d be interested to hear what others think.

  • Amy..

    re: Only individuals with an aberrant temperament can in the long run retain their self-esteem in the face of the disesteem of their fellows. Apparent exceptions to the rule are met with, especially among people with strong religious convictions. But these apparent exceptions are scarcely real exceptions, since such persons commonly fall back on the putative approbation of some supernatural witness of their deeds.

    Makes me wonder where self knowing falls into this..I wouldn’t call the higher self as witness supernatural, so does that then make the one who knows ones true nature as unchanging and undying aberrant?


    when I read you were off for recharge, I couldn’t help but think of Spalding most often happens to me as he describes, that I the more I seek the perfect moment (of waves, sun and oneness), that it is dashed.. so perhaps you are smart to wander and explore..

  • Michael, sorry, I forgot. I meant in the last decade or so, and maybe roughly starting with the unforgettable but oft-criticized Carter picture of the little girl and vulture. Following our point that Vietnam was, if we wish, the last heroic salve of unfettered war journalism. Which also corresponds to the advent of compact/cell/digital technology and the internet of course.

    I am not disagreeing with you on Blinkensop. I am not by nature prone to associate with angst (to be short) junkies, the visceralness of their stance has often, in my eyes, so much more to do with who they are (which involves staging drama, ie. acting the part, as often as being exposed to it) than the world they bear witness of.

  • Herve/Michael:

    This must be a very short (yes, even by bob black standards) reply: i’ll try to flesh it out more later.

    With regard to PHilip: i can say only this: he IS NOT a thrillseeking junkie…to the contrary, the rish he has taken is born from the deepest well of moral courage and outrage, born yes of scars, but often in their world, confronted by the basic truth of things, one can only make the decisions that seem to make the most sense: for Philip, it is a deep convinction in the belief of “act”: born from the outrage of loss: one either becomes cyncial or not, often perceived as a “fanatic”: WE ARE ALL ON THE EDGE…

    there has hardly been a day in my own life when i thought: o my god, what the fuck…how does one deal with the swelling truth of things, and when one sees how cyncial how desensitized how broken how innured, how lost most of us are, one makes a decision: to burn without surcease: for some that appears as “fanaticism” for some it’s the walling up into their lives, for some it’s the placating tv/web/music/food/booze/love/god/time etc…

    deciding to invest the totality of your life in something as an act of LIFE, though perceived by many as Quixotic, is to me far from that…what is quixotic is that the world is often surprised that there are people who care so much about what enters them, that it fuels their lives like flame fueled by oxygen…

    Philip aint self-righteous about his work or his convictions, but his life is, for good and ill, a testimony to the one inimitable truth:

    we have but one moment of moments upon this earth and how best to ignite that is a question that is reserved only for each person in the dark and storm-licked cove of their heart and head. Philip, while foresaking much, has commited his life to the absolute opposite of material cynicism…

    who to explain to others the weight of knowing what you do is still never enough, but you shall remain undeterred…

    that is not fanaticism, but quiet, profound and yes often reckless, faith…


    p.s. both eddie adams photograph of South Vietnamese Army officer, General Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting VC and the video of the same event (which i first saw in the Vietnam documentary for PBS) both document and both are testimony:

    they create different visceral experiences which point to the same moral experience….that’s my reading for now…

    sorry for truncated post…


  • Bob; I agree with every thing you say about Philip Blenkinsop. He’s a shining light who gives us all an ideal to aspire to.

    David; thanks for those kind words. It’s great having this community to bounce ideas/problems off..

    As for resting; I find that if I’m away shooting and decide to take the day off and put the feet up I get stir crazy by about mid-afternoon…

    Take care everyone.

  • Oh Erica! I think this may be beyond the scope of economics, you’ve skipped straight to the mind/body problem.

  • Bob, on Blinkensop you forgot just one little bit of “flesh” :-), oh not much… May I skin it off and paste: IMO.

    IMO, of course…;-)

    Totally OK with yonder years seminal pictures speaking a thousand words (and thousand reels/videos). Pictures that went into the common man’s imagination, dare I say Humanity’s collective memory. The vietcong, the kid fleeing Napalm, Tiananmen’s lone tank stopper, etc… BUT:

    in the last 15 years, following Carter’s shot (which I regrettably think has not actually entered our collective memory, even westernized one) which pictures coming from a conflict (and a dedicated or accredited photographer) would easily be recognizable to the common man, as to where, what and when?

    Again,I stand to be corrected, but for now, just wondering if photography’s impact is rather lessened nowadays, and if so, why?

    Possibly Nachtwey will come again in the discussion, but I think (no fault of his own and certainly not by lack of awesome, unique genius for photography) none of his pictures have reached the collective pinnacle of those we/I just mentionned above.

    He also has been under attack for reporting horror with beauty/art (I disagree of course, but the debate does exist.

    I am a bit young in reading about photo-journalism and its history, but it just seems to me that this beauty/craftiness vs suffering debate has never been cast upon the photography of Griffiths, Adams, Ut and others. We just don’t approach or even read such photography the same way as before. Do we? (Bob, I do not mean you or just us DAH bloggers, I mean the Common man, my Mom even, ie. A LOT OF people)

  • michael and herve and everyone else,

    you’ve got a good discussion going on here with regard to the harder end of documentary photography and its ability to change the world.

    i watched the you tube footage of blinkensop too. i can’t help but admire the man. the fact that he actually goes out and does what he wants to do is admirable enough, i think we all know how difficult that is, but to put himself into the situations he does, like so many other photographers, is i think a huge self sacrifice. it must take tremendous will power to get up and do that everyday. could i do it – i really don’t know. i think i’d react very badly to bullets. so i think anyone who does that, with the intension of bringing issues to ‘our’ awareness should be commended.

    now is the tricky bit for me. fore while the intension is great, perhaps the world would be a much better place if we all looked to out for each other, i can’t help but feel that it is a little naive to think that any change will come at all. perhaps it is just naive idealism. i hate sounding so cynical, or is it just realism? the second half of the last century through to the present has to have been the most photographed period since photography began. how much of that photography has been aimed at all types of man made disaster, how many of these were brought to an end by photography? as david pointed out photography certainly contributed to the american withdrawal from vietnam, but then so did a lot of other things. and lets face it the world is not short of warfare, environmental damage etc., etc., at present is it. so what really has all that photography done, what has it changed? in the grand scheme of things, not a lot. okay, it may have educated a few people, but probably only those who care to look in the first place. you only have to look at magazines today to see how life style orientated they are. the ‘media’ is a business and it provides the customer with what the customer wants, and it seems that pictures of starving children or dead babies isn’t on the menu. in fact, from what i’ve heard, most resist publishing ‘harder’ images for fear of upsetting the advertisers. so are the ‘war/concerned photographers’ messages falling on deaf ears? are the majority of people more concerned about their celebrity idols, favorite football teams, keeping up with fashion or the size of their ass to care? perhaps thats the problem. people don’t care.

    perhaps the concerned photographers should stop trying to ‘preach to the masses’, as it were. perhaps selecting the right audience is the right way to go. to get back to the blenkinsop video. i think the most interesting moment was when he confronted the soldier/cop. when he asked if he has kids/how would he feel if it was his kid who had died. the mans reaction is plain to see. but was it enough to really get through? did that man go hame that night and decide to quite, or stand up and try to make a difference? or, did he think ‘yes i do have kids and if this is what i have to do to feed them, them so be it’? what i think we should be asking, is who should the message be aimed at. because it seems to me that a lot of this work is aimed at those who already know, who already agree. are they ‘preaching to the converted.

    i know what herve was saying about the adrenaline junkie photo journalist. i was in a certain venue once and couldn’t help seeking and over hearing a group of guys who fit the bill exactly. i might be wrong about them, but it seemed to me that they had watch apocalypse now one to many times and were hell bent on ‘being’ denis hoppers character. i wondered as i watched them, if they were really that concerned about the misery that they photographed.

    i think that we absolutely have to have the philip jones-griffiths’ out there. god knows we do. i admire those who are genuine immensely. i fully realize how difficult a task they have set themselves. but i occasionally wonder if it may all be in vain. one thing is for sure they can at least say that ‘we told you so’. we were there to bare witness and we told you this was happening. you were the ones who turned you back. so perhaps recording the horror that is out there for histories sake is the best that they can do.

    okay i’m tired. i’ve probably rambled on for far too long without saying much of anything. so i’m off.

    take care folks.


  • Sorry, addendum:

    I want to make sure it’s understood right. I disagree with people putting Nachtwey’s genius on trial for showing suffering combined with esthetics/artfulness/”beauty”.

  • Bob B.

    I think someone in these pages said you had a way of commenting that seems to want to bring all conversation to an end. It is stated! No more! I think, from your post above, I see what they were saying. In any case…

    To some of your points.

    You say: “what is quixotic is that the world is often surprised that there are people who care so much about what enters them, that it fuels their lives like flame fueled by oxygen…”

    All due respect, and I’m being generous here, but that is a very loose interpretation of quixotic. I’ll refrain from speaking for “The World”, but I am not surprised. Nor am I quixotic (neither your definition nor the actual one).

    I do not know what fuels Blenkinsop. I only know I had a reaction to that video. Nothing like I’ve had with other “conflict” photographers. Never with Nachtway. I’m not sure why and I guess I was trying to voice it and get feedback. Which I suppose is what you were doing so I appreciate that.

    As I’ve never been a fan of “faith” I guess I’m not swayed by your suggestion that his is not fanaticism.

    There does not appear to be balance in the lives of people like Blenkinsop. People who come knocking at my door certain times of the year are just as driven with their “good works” and are absolutely conviced of their righteousness and of the idea that they can help others see the light. These folk are fanatics. There is no balance.

    Blenkinsop may not be exactly like these people nor they him, but that is the feeling I got from listening to him and watching him. “If I could only save one life, it’d all be worth it.”

    Being every bit as human as the rest of us, he is, obviously, susceptible to all the failings we are. Greed, lust, pride, etc….even addiction. Does he get the same rush a drug addict gets when he’s about to score some dope? When he’s about to get into the conflict, when he’s strapping on that red rock climbers helmet, preparing for “battle,” what’s going on in that oh so human body of his?

    I don’t know. But the video didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth. I should probably seek out and watch more. (if they exist) Maybe go hear him talk. I don’t know.

  • Am I the first to be turned away from the blog, only to “find” it by googling David and getting on the newly published website?


    It was a first for me so I’m guessing “we” are officially up now.

  • Yep, looks like the old system of linking to the blog and then the website thru the blog is no longer.

    Wonderful. Progress….

  • Yeah, Bob, at times you remind me of the old clerk in the British series “are you being served”:

    “and I am unanimous in that opinion!”….


    Surprise yourself sometimes…. Hell, surprise us! And say something down to Earth, even conflicted, unresolved, ANGUISHED, like…. you don’t know!

    I mean, just a tiny little bit….Sometimes…..

    WAOUUUUUU…. :-)))))

  • Oh…I forgot completely about the whole “blood on photo painting” thing! Really. Doesn’t that give you pause, just a little? Does that not make you wonder a bit about his fanaticism/”faith?”

  • Michael/Herve:

    ok: a quote:

    “All generous thought is threatened by its own Stalinism.”-Emmanuel Levinas

    you guys know me so well, that there is nothing else for me to write and I am sorry i wrote anything (except talking about how much i admire Philip) at all…

    as to the question of anguish:

    that’s pretty obnoxious shit, sorry, just as michaels’s reaction to my post: i was only writing (quickly at that) about his words about PHilip: a photographer he does not know personally…

    as for being conflicted, ok, simply:

    i dont know anything, but i type like i do…i guess we never get used to how the person we are is perceived as the complete opposite…



    anguished Herve

    a people close, very close to me, is dying and i cant stop that, and im dealing with that this year and if my language is fueled it is because of that, simply, matter of factly:

    I invest my life in all that that conflict entails and im trying to offer thoughts here, not as proving right/wrong (who gives a fuck, it all barrels down to the same equation), not trying to conduct a philosophical essay about photography/faith/moral imperative whatever…

    just offering words, nothing more righteous than that…

    we are broken and we try to heal, that’s all im trying to do with my life, period.

    you guys do know more than i, no doubt…that’s clear


    for the 2 of you, sorry i didnt reply, that’s a lovely discussion, so only this

    “If one could possess, grasp, and know the other, it would not be other.”-Emmanuel Levinas


  • Bob wrote:
    “you guys do know more than i, no doubt…that’s clear”

    MK wrote…numerous times: “I don’t know.”

  • re: Philip Blenkinsop

    why talk about what he’s like personally? Talk about his work and leave it at that.

  • Thanks for reminding me about Philip Blenkinsop… super, hard core pictures, but I wonder why he so blatantly makes them look like Bill Burke’s work. Steal from the best?

  • david,

    sorry i have not replied to this thread… i have been so busy. i never really know when i am about to jump or launch into something… i mean i guess i do what you do and look at it all side by side and see how it comes together and try to work from where i feel is best.

    but i do get that feeling when you have work sitting in front of you and you are beginning to see visually what you are trying to accomplish unfold in front of you. then i know i have something and i get excited then…

    “…I do not know what fuels Blenkinsop. I only know I had a reaction to that video…

    panos thinks
    ( … but , isnt this -reaction-?,that we are seeking ???)…
    hoping of course that “reaction” will bring awareness ????)

    Michael continues
    .. And on a slightly different note…Is Blenkinsop anything more than a thrillseeking fanatic with a camera? I honestly began to get the feeling, listening to him talk, that he’s a little over the edge. Out of touch with reality…

    panos admits:
    .. but look at our “master” DAH… !!!
    Does he look “ordinary” to you ??? I’m talking about his lifestyle..
    That “lifestyle” that we all ( in this forum, at least), really, really ENVY…!… at least i do…!
    Don’t you think though, that for some people, DAH’s lifestyle is
    “a little over the edge”…???????

    Michael put more food in the table
    …There does not appear to be balance in the lives of people like Blenkinsop…
    But, to be brutally honest, I came away a little saddened by and for the man. It appears he’s on a quixotic one-man crusade to save all the tragic peoples of the world…

    panos blinks,
    but… aren’t all artists to some degree “QUIXOTIC” ?????

    michael adds,
    …Those were my impressions on a first pass through that video. Probably not fair…”

    panos smiles’
    …I’m with you in the last one…

    “…I am a bit young in reading about photo-journalism and its history…

    panos says,
    …it’s o.k., Herve.. you come from the “fine -ARTS department, anyways…

    Herve keeps going…
    …I am not by nature prone to associate with angst (to be short) junkies, the visceralness of their stance has often, in my eyes, so much more to do with who they are (which involves staging drama, ie. acting the part, as often as being exposed to it) than the world they bear witness of…

    panos admits,
    …My good friend Herve… this time you “messed up”…
    you let “fear”, into your heart… the above theory of yours…
    represents and projects your inner fears…
    You see, You can’t deal with angst, therefore you “tend” to believe,
    that nobody else can deal with it either…”

    Hmmm, interesting…
    but my friends , let me remind you my theory….
    …and it goes like this…:
    …Everytime you find yourselves having a “reaction”
    especially “painfull” or “negative”…on something…
    please honor it,
    stay with it for a second,
    do not try to get rid of it right away…,
    observe it…
    look at it over and over…
    “Face it”
    “Feel me”..?

    ( not driving at the moment, panos)

  • And to ALL.
    sorry about the “imaginary dialogue” i created above…

    but “craziness , good positive … craziness is what DRIVES or
    motivates… that bloody Philip B.

    … but isn’t “CRAZINESS” that drives ALL of us , here….?

    but then again,…
    i know where MICHAEL is coming from…
    and i will AGREE with you Michael, eventually…
    It’s idealism … that fake… ” let me save you… ”
    “…im from your local church… we haven’t seen you , lately ( at all…),
    we know your are new at our neighborhood…
    welcome and see you sunday at church…”

    Philip looks too “idealistic” to be true…
    … but deep in my gut, i have a weird feeling… I’m AFRAID that
    Philip B. is actually ” TRUE “…
    he is keeping it real..
    do you know Philip B., personally…?
    Any light on that “mystery”, except from he is a “VU” photographer ?

  • Saludos David from Oaxaca,
    I am writing, to answer your question, but feel I MUST write – it regards syncronicity…..allow me please, I´ll be as brief as possible…..I “describe” myself as a “landscape” photographer, though have “lost my way” (access to doing all my own E6 processing/Cibachrome prints, letting myself get sidetracked way “away” from being able to be OUT THERE…..excuses….) Recently ran into Mary Ellen Mark here again, giving another seminar at CFAB, invited me to the final critique….went expecting the usual young rich things with the new Leicas, but found an “older” crew of people already accomplished in their lives in other endeavours….was touched by their talent, heart, in particular an architect´s ability to frame graphically AND with the MOMENT – reminded me so much of my early style, almost brought me to tears of what he´d captured, of what I´d “let go”. Then, 10 days ago, in Mexico City for “cultural stuff”, discovered Gregory Colbert´s installation…..again, an instant flood of emotion (my last major “foray” was a planned 3 months in Africa, to BE somewhere FAR “out there” for my 40th birthday – the Fish River Canyon, Namibia……my last show here was a retrospective of that trip…..desert landscapes, lions, elephants “in their landscapes”. Colbert´s accomplishment overwhelmed me….while there in MC ran into a friend from Belgium, a block from my hotel, re-connected, promised to have some good mezcal for him when he visits soon, so went the other day to Beneva here… conversation with the young man (replacing the senorita I had chatted with many times recently), he mentioned you……of course knew of you over the many years…..felt to check your site, and very quickly was “grabbed” again…….scanned quickly “through” to HERE, ultimately surprised, and touched to find your WORDS. Far too many coincidences….felt I MUST LISTEN to what´s being “put in my path”…….write to you. Here´s the last “catch” – thought you must know Tor Eigland – of “older” NG days, possibly Marion Kaplan (both living in southern France, an old friend of his). Tor is a regular writer to HERE, a more than 50 year buddy of my friend who I share this house with, Marion also, a dear friend who hasn´t been “over here” for many years.
    So, in rapid succesion, capped by your final words, your “question”…..I feel the “inspiration” starting to “flood back in” – gotta FOLLOW it…..I “GOT” your question…..have tried, with some success, explaining/describing THAT to friends… the risks of “perceived arrogance”, no, never SURPRISED…..a joy in….after TRUSTING the KNOWING, FEELING the MOMENT, being OPEN… HEART….SPIRIT……..being THERE. The “result” is a CONFIRMATION.
    Thank you, dear sir, for a website of more than just RESULTS…..once again I am INSPIRED.
    Be well….continue trusting your KNOWING……you´re on to something GOOD!
    Take care,

  • Panos…

    Just got up. No coffee…yet! Will try and talk more about this later. Maybe you’ll be up?

    I don’t think I disagree with anything you’ve said. Need to absorb, re-read, re-watch, etc.

    May be best to NOT talk about it later? May have been too harsh a topic? Apologies to all.

    Especially to Philip Blenkinsop.

    Going for caffeine! Later.


  • @katia: think that at the end of the day at least you can show to others something that is hidden, that if you didn’t photograph maybe would not be seen and thought not to exist. Of course being a person goes first, and you don’t let people get stabbed if you can do anything to avoid it. On the long run, that’s the place and situation you’ve got yourself into and you’ll have to get used to its rules. Once you turn your head everything will carry on, with or without a camera present.

  • Amy..I was just talking with a 16 year old girl last night, who is studying economics, and she smiled commented that what she likes about economics is that there is no place in life where it does not reach..

    Bob, you know how I am enriched by Levinas, thank you..and I wish I could get back to reading him, but I am swimming in Don Quixote…still!

    David/all, last night I dreamed you lived in a beautiful tent, similar to the ones that used to be taken on long trips 100 years ago, with high ceilings, furniture and rugs. You seemed at home there, but wanted a bit more air/openness than even a tent offers, so you asked me to cut a hole in the side of the tent, in the shape of a heart..You were going to speak with me about my work, but it didn’t come to pass, and I was relieved, because I had decided that soon there would be stronger work. There were other people from the blog there as well, making sure things ran smoothly around the tent. We all dined together, that was nice..

  • Shit – I have found myself agreeing with Panos – yes the bloke is real!!
    It’s the type of real that may make some folks in this forum uncomfortable with their life choices,but there you go!

  • Hi All,

    Blenkinsop, like Nachtwey, PJG and of course many others, has just made that commitment to dedicate his life to photographing the injustice of the world.

    I don’t know his work very well, but from that video he certainly didn’t come across as any kind of “thrill seeker” to me. Of course seeing that kind of violence day in day out is going to have an impact on you as a person. But I saw a lot of compassion and frustration in Blenkinsop.

    What I found fascinating is that he is far more than a “photo-journalist” in the way that he writes on his images and paints them with blood. He’s obviously also an “artist” in the true sense of the word.

    In my opinion, seeing him as a thrill seeker is just mis-understanding the ammount of dedication it takes to BE a photographer. I think it is the subject matter which adds to the confusion though: would you call Robert Adams a thrill seeker because he has committed his life to photographing landscapes? Probably not.

    But what’s the difference: Blenkinsop has just found the subject which inspires him, drives him, and stirs his passion. As has Adams. They photograph very different subjects, but the dedication is the same.

    Being a photographer is a life’s work, and I think like the great bluesman Robert Johnson you have to be prepared to sell your soul to the devil in order to live that life. And sometimes it comes with a great cost.


  • hi all,

    i’m not sure that anyone here who has commented on blenkinsops’ work questions his dedication for one minute. and i’m not sure that its fair to say that he is more “real” what ever that means, than anyone else just because he chooses to photograph difficult subjects. i for one don’t feel uncomfortable with my life just because he or anyone else for that matter, chooses to photograph death and destruction. thats his choice and his life.

    i think justin made a good point in that blenkinsop has found his subject, just like nachtwey found his. but then DAH found his in the spanish world (amongst others), bruce davidson found his in new york, sally mann found hers in her own back yard. are any of these any less real because they don’t photograph conflicts? i don’t think so. people do what they want to do – i think its ridiculous to suggest that someone is more “real” because they photograph a particular subject.

    i think that some people, myself included, simply wonder if – despite all that dedication, idealism etc., to that particular cause will have any real and significant effect for the better. i really hope that it does of course, but as i said before i think that there is a certain amount of preaching to the converted. i just looked on the magnum site, a quote by gilles peress states: “I don’t care so much anymore about ‘good photography’; I am gathering evidence for history”. perhaps that is the best anyone can do.


  • Hey Jase,
    I did’nt say more real , or that anyone elses work is unreal because of a lack of death and destruction in their work – I just don’t like seeing a great photographer bagged because he maybe a bit on the thin side or looking or a bit too interested in what he’s doing for some peoples tastes.
    What I’m saying is the bloke is out there doing strong work on time , all the time and thats real!

  • Wow, just watched the Blenkinsop video. When he makes the soldier cry it’s just amazing. Made me feel a bit bad for the soldier, who’s himself also quite unable to do anything to change the situation, and would probably get shot if he tried.

    Off the topic, but you’re actually still making your own Cibachromes? That’s impressive. I made cibas for years, found the chemistry very caustic, and moved to Ektacolor…now mostly inkjets, with darkroom prints on rare occasions. Be careful with those chemicals…. neutralize and dispose of properly.


    Smart words re fear my friend. I’ve discovered the best way to overcome fear is to embrace it, make it your own. It’s a part of us, a part of everyone. Easier said than done of course.

    Some people just have jobs to do – Blenkinsop feels that he has found his job, and it happens to involve a lot of conflict and violence. Not everyone can do what he does and certainly not everyone should.

    I had coffee the other morning at my local spot with a fireman. We were introduced at the counter by the owner. We talked about lots of stuff – I don’t really remember. It was only later that I found out he had discovered earlier that morning at the end of his shift a 14 year old girl hanging by a rope, dead. Now most of us would have a hard time dealing with that shit, but it’s his job. He has to process and be okay with that fear/sadness or he would be useless as a person. He also served in Iraq so he’s seen his share. But he’s a healthy, happy, outwardly normal guy whose job(s) just happen to be very trying ones. Somebody has to do it – that shit doesn’t just go away of it’s own accord.

    It’s easy to sit back and judge others. I know, I do it all the time, and I’m usually way off base and kick myself for it later on (esp if the judgement passes my lips). I’m trying to lessen the judgmental mind but it’s hard – we’ve been trained to have opinions on everything and everyone in our culture. It’s sad because it generally doesn’t do much other than reinforce the walls we put around ourselves. Esp as photographers we need to break those walls down in order to open up to the world.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the Blenkinsop video. A friend here knows him and has one of his prints – it’s really gorgeous. The man is an artist. Yeah, he may be a bit of a nutter (my friend says so) but that’s also part of his drive and personality. And everyone in Asia is a bit nuts (esp Bangkok) so he fits right in.



  • Panos, no theory. Always followed my heart, i makes no difference to me if people think that sets me apart from the general consensus. I thought that’s what you’ve doing here yourself.

    FYI, I never studied Fine Arts, I have no connection with art crowds. And I have worked with my hands for the last 30 years as a house painter. Otherwsie, a nut when leaving in bKK ;-)

    Angst? what is this about fear of it. You either have angst or you don’t. I don’t, period.

    Glenn, Amy same thing. There is nothing wrong about talking about someone, besides his work. No one passed judgement on Blinkensop, and I wonder what is this constant line towing where no ear must stick out, one’s sensibilities can’t be evoked unless it is to heap praise in lentghy and predictable (by now) tirades.

    Blenkinsop, however admirable his work, is not made out of celluloid or pixels. he is made out of blood. Not evrything he is, or is doing is sublime, transcemding his art, or in the service of it by some epiphanic permutation. Ask him.

    Charles, Bangkok, nutter, yes. he so much reminds me of expats I am sure a few of us have come across, traveling.

    The Boa thing is quite in character. BTW, are you familiar with Nostitz’s “Twilight zone”?

  • So…is Blenkinsop just Johnny Knoxville with a Leica?

    I obviously can’t know for sure. Who can? But asking it does have an effect on people. Understandable. We humans do like our hero worship. Also, if we know the person we will readily defend him. Understandable. As is the “projection” that seems to have manifested itself… “They must be uncomfortable with their life choices.” “They must be living in fear.”

    Hmmm… yes, of course! That’s it! Where is Dr. Phil when you need him?! ;^}

    Anyhoo…that’s all I’ve got on “the nutter” in Bangkok.

    Thanks all for the interesting “reactions.”

  • Just out of curiousity…Does anyone know where PB gets the blood from? I don’t suppose you just go out and buy it in the market….maybe from whatever he’s feeding the snake?

    I hung out with Peter Beard years ago as he was preparing for an opening in Santa Fe. He also works with blood…smeared some around inside a book he was signing for me and I never found out where he got his either. These guys don’t seem to be the types who are cutting themselves!

  • hi glenn and evrybody,

    i understand your point completely. and, as i said, i don’t think anyone was necessarily “bagging” him on a personal level, or his work on a professional level.

    i can’t say that i’ve seen all of his work, what i have seen i think is powerful. although i have some reservations about the painting with blood; i don’t think it adds anything to the work. the writing is cool, jim goldberg has his subjects write on some of his pictures. great, it adds another dimension to the work.

    as i said before, i just think thats its a bit naive to think that you can save the world with some pictures. yes its important to be there, to bare witness, of course it is, and perhaps thats all he is doing. but i got the impression, rightly or wrongly, that it was more than that for him, and you know what – thats his choice. more power to him for being so perposeful. but then again perhaps you need that zeal in order to get up in the morning and be around that stuff day in day out. i just can’t help but think that expecting to much from the power of a photograph is a little unrealistic.

    but then perhaps this is more about “we” the viewer than “him” the photographer. perhaps “we” put people like blenkinsop, nachtwey, and even DAH on far to high a pedestal. aren’t they just people trying to make the best of things just like us. don’t they face of the same problems in life and work that everyone else does? are they really “gods”? i remember going to a talk by a magnum photographer who has seen his fare share of death and destruction. i was amazed when he said something along the lines of: “yeah, you know that feeling, when you look through your work and you realise how many shit pictures you’ve taken” in response to a question. i thought it was great that someone of that stature in the “industry” was so open. it immediately leveled the playing field and knocked down that pedestal. so i absolutely agree with herve and michael on the matter of hero worship and the need to dish out heaps of gushing praise. perhaps we should look at the pictures and just put it down to a man doing a job; just like the fireman charles had coffee with.

    when its all said and done though, we have had this debate, i’m sure it won’t be the last on this subject. that has to be a good thing.


  • Cathy, they usually take animal blood. I know P.Beard does.

  • Not sure if anyone knows that the company who created the film on Blenkinsop is seeking funding to complete

  • Michael:
    “Where is Dr. Phil when you need him?” Isn’t he busy trying to sort out his own marriage difficulties!!! :-)

  • Thank you STEVE…

    people read below what the producer of the video ( David Bradbury) has to say…


    During the heyday of classical magazine photojournalism in the l970’s, Cornell Capa of Magnum Photo agency coined the phrase concerned photographer to mean “a photographer who is passionately dedicated to doing work that will contribute to the understanding or well being of humanity.”

    Despite today’s cynical and fast world turnaround of images and headlines where traditional photojournalism has become swamped by a torrent of lifestyle reporting and celebrity paparazzi photography, there are some who still care.

    Classic photojournalism is still alive, though struggling, amongst a new generation of photographers. Philip Blenkinsop (42) is one of them.

    In l989 Blenkinsop quit his job on The Australian newspaper, sold his Volkswagen and boarded a plane with a one way ticket for Bangkok. He was escaping suburbia for the heartbeat and chaos of Asia. He began documenting conflict, war, life and death in all its forms throughout Asia. Lesser known wars.

    Philip trekked into the forbidden zone of Laos to photograph the persecuted Hmong minority, suffering constant helicopter rocket attacks from the vengeful com-munist government. Thirty years after the Vietnam War, they have not forgiven the Hmong for siding with the Americans and the CIA. Since then Philip has been on a race against time to alert the world to their situation. He financed his personal crusade to Washington to use his photographs to help get word out on the Hmong amongst Congressmen when his award winning spread in the London Times failed to help them out. He got a sympathetic response that resulted in nothing.

    “I think you do have a responsibility when you are one of the few people there. Other journalists give me a hard time and say, ‘ Forget about it Philip. It’s just a story. Get on with it. I find that attitude very hard to stomach,” he says. Philip went in search of the mysterious Maoist guerillas in Nepal and found them. In l998 he smuggled himself into the jungles of East Timor and went with the Falantil guerillas for three weeks photographing their forgotten war against the Indonesians before independence.

    But Philip is not just another war photograper seeking a quick adrenalin fix. He regards himself as an artist and is equally at home photographing the bizarre as he is documenting conflict and human suffering. Photographing a slaughter house for dogs in Thailand or Saigonese youth racing themselves at adrenalin fed speed on motorbikes without helmets through traffic crowded streets finds Philip in his element.

    He doesn’t do it simply for the thrill but as he puts it himself, “to counteract the prettified picture reporting that is presented to us everyday. My task is simple: to show that which you cannot see somewhere else.”

    For that reason the daily press often reject his work, so he has been forced with growing critical success to exhibit in galleries and museums around the world.

    While much more at home working far away from the respectable salons of Paris, New York or Sydney, he has rattled the photographic world with his eye. He first presented his work at the prestigious Visa pour L’Image festival in Perpignon, southern France in l999. He has won many international photographic prizes for his work including Amnesty International’s award for Best Photographer of the Year in 2003. Yet he is practically unknown in Australia.

    He lives with his French raised wife Agnes (also a photographer) in Bangkok and…his pet snake. The film will follow him on assignment to China, Nepal during the pro democracy uprisings, to Cambodia, with the Naxalites of India fighting on behalf of Indian peasant farmers abandoned in the wake of India’s super economy growth spurt and anywhere else the stories behind the news headlines takes him. And anywhere else events take him in the next year.

    The film will also document what drives Philip and others of his ilk to risk life and limb struggling to have their work supported and most importantly to have an impact, only to receive little if any response.

    Despite what some would regard as a critical voice in today’s society, “concerned photographers” pay a huge price for their art and the message they are desperate to communicate. Is it that society has lost interest, dazzled and distracted by celebrity and tabloid infotainment? Do we no longer value the stories that people like Philip at great danger to themselves bring to us? Or is there a concerted effort to suppress the work of these modern day crusaders?

    The film will explore Philip’s mostly ‘hate’ rather than love relationship to today’s electronic media and how he combats the emphasis by picture editors in far away cities to sanitise our response to Asia, to marginalize and ignore altogether those struggles that they deem not to have significant newsworthy value, even though hundreds of thousands, millions of lives may be at stake.

    Philip is our conscience, our voice out there on the edge mostly at his own expense documenting and doing his best, often risking his life and living in abominable conditions to bring us the truth about lesser known conflicts and struggles of people which would otherwise not be seen or heard. He is in that tradition of a few legendary Australians like Neil Davis, like Wilfred Burchett who have abandoned Australia for a life in Asia so they can tell it like it is.
    Director/Producer: David Bradbury


  • Thank you STEVE…

    people read below what the producer of the video ( David Bradbury) has to say…


    During the heyday of classical magazine photojournalism in the l970’s, Cornell Capa of Magnum Photo agency coined the phrase concerned photographer to mean “a photographer who is passionately dedicated to doing work that will contribute to the understanding or well being of humanity.”

    Despite today’s cynical and fast world turnaround of images and headlines where traditional photojournalism has become swamped by a torrent of lifestyle reporting and celebrity paparazzi photography, there are some who still care.

    Classic photojournalism is still alive, though struggling, amongst a new generation of photographers. Philip Blenkinsop (42) is one of them.

    In l989 Blenkinsop quit his job on The Australian newspaper, sold his Volkswagen and boarded a plane with a one way ticket for Bangkok. He was escaping suburbia for the heartbeat and chaos of Asia. He began documenting conflict, war, life and death in all its forms throughout Asia. Lesser known wars.

    Philip trekked into the forbidden zone of Laos to photograph the persecuted Hmong minority, suffering constant helicopter rocket attacks from the vengeful com-munist government. Thirty years after the Vietnam War, they have not forgiven the Hmong for siding with the Americans and the CIA. Since then Philip has been on a race against time to alert the world to their situation. He financed his personal crusade to Washington to use his photographs to help get word out on the Hmong amongst Congressmen when his award winning spread in the London Times failed to help them out. He got a sympathetic response that resulted in nothing.

    “I think you do have a responsibility when you are one of the few people there. Other journalists give me a hard time and say, ‘ Forget about it Philip. It’s just a story. Get on with it. I find that attitude very hard to stomach,” he says. Philip went in search of the mysterious Maoist guerillas in Nepal and found them. In l998 he smuggled himself into the jungles of East Timor and went with the Falantil guerillas for three weeks photographing their forgotten war against the Indonesians before independence.

    But Philip is not just another war photograper seeking a quick adrenalin fix. He regards himself as an artist and is equally at home photographing the bizarre as he is documenting conflict and human suffering. Photographing a slaughter house for dogs in Thailand or Saigonese youth racing themselves at adrenalin fed speed on motorbikes without helmets through traffic crowded streets finds Philip in his element.

    He doesn’t do it simply for the thrill but as he puts it himself, “to counteract the prettified picture reporting that is presented to us everyday. My task is simple: to show that which you cannot see somewhere else.”

    For that reason the daily press often reject his work, so he has been forced with growing critical success to exhibit in galleries and museums around the world.

    While much more at home working far away from the respectable salons of Paris, New York or Sydney, he has rattled the photographic world with his eye. He first presented his work at the prestigious Visa pour L’Image festival in Perpignon, southern France in l999. He has won many international photographic prizes for his work including Amnesty International’s award for Best Photographer of the Year in 2003. Yet he is practically unknown in Australia.

    He lives with his French raised wife Agnes (also a photographer) in Bangkok and…his pet snake. The film will follow him on assignment to China, Nepal during the pro democracy uprisings, to Cambodia, with the Naxalites of India fighting on behalf of Indian peasant farmers abandoned in the wake of India’s super economy growth spurt and anywhere else the stories behind the news headlines takes him. And anywhere else events take him in the next year.

    The film will also document what drives Philip and others of his ilk to risk life and limb struggling to have their work supported and most importantly to have an impact, only to receive little if any response.

    Despite what some would regard as a critical voice in today’s society, “concerned photographers” pay a huge price for their art and the message they are desperate to communicate. Is it that society has lost interest, dazzled and distracted by celebrity and tabloid infotainment? Do we no longer value the stories that people like Philip at great danger to themselves bring to us? Or is there a concerted effort to suppress the work of these modern day crusaders?

    The film will explore Philip’s mostly ‘hate’ rather than love relationship to today’s electronic media and how he combats the emphasis by picture editors in far away cities to sanitise our response to Asia, to marginalize and ignore altogether those struggles that they deem not to have significant newsworthy value, even though hundreds of thousands, millions of lives may be at stake.

    Philip is our conscience, our voice out there on the edge mostly at his own expense documenting and doing his best, often risking his life and living in abominable conditions to bring us the truth about lesser known conflicts and struggles of people which would otherwise not be seen or heard. He is in that tradition of a few legendary Australians like Neil Davis, like Wilfred Burchett who have abandoned Australia for a life in Asia so they can tell it like it is.
    Director/Producer: David Bradbury


  • Thanks for posting this Panos!
    A couple questions come to mind. (Guess I’m not yet doen with this…ugh.)

    Here are two quotes from the Director/Producer of the film:

    “But Philip is not just another war photograper seeking a quick adrenalin fix.”

    “He doesn’t do it simply for the thrill…”

    OK…well I wonder if Bradbury could identify who IS just another war photographer seeking adrenalin fix? And how would he know? Who IS a photographer doing it simply for the thrill? Again, how would he know? And then how does he know Philip isn’t one of them? Because he goes to lesser known wars/conflicts? Because he (Philip) is uncomfortable in “respectable” salons in Paris and London?


    Filmmakers (and photographers, painters, performance artists, and so on) have to write like this in order to raise money. It’s called rhetoric. It doesn’t bother me when it’s some indie filmmakers doing a doc on an obscure conflict photographer. It does bother me when it’s an individual running for president that pretends they were dodging bullets when in fact they were actually kissing babies.

    They need to set this guy apart from the press pack for potential investors to feel they are getting something totally unique and special. I would take it with a grain of salt.

  • ou door in bermuda isopen for you if you want to see a beautiful island…


  • Charles…actually, I got that. I was also being rhetorical. But thanks. ;^}

  • Anna B.

    Just got a message from SFCP (Center) that mentions you as 2nd place in their singular image competition. Congratulations!!!


    and please excuse me being naive…

    So , now how can Philip B. , after all that he is been through,
    after all that captured with his leica…
    how can he go, proceed from the point A( his work) , to the point B( nominee for
    MAGNUM, recognition, health insurance… at least ???
    So my question is :”HOW CAN YOU SELL AND PROMOTE YOUR WORK IF YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A JUNGLE…??? without an iPhone ?????????
    that would fuck me, up…!

    Seriously… how do you communicate… with the outside world ??? ( publishers, editors, bullshiters,… e.t.c…?
    How do you stay alive? Who do you target?
    Who is paying you for all that “trouble-pleasure” who cares…!??

  • My book is DONE! It’s out. Finished. Published. Yippee!

    Now I can get back to reading this blog again and try to keep up.

    Hope you’re well David, wherever you may be.

  • Thanks, Panos, for the text. I am not sure if I understand the video is it or if they are making a long feature about him to be released in theaters.

    It is undeniable that guys like Blinkensop brush the News establshment the wrong way. His, seemingly, extreme-left political sympathies may also add up to it. In a way, all this could be counter-productive to what he is trying to achieve, giving a bigger voice to forgotten people. Or is he?

    He may also have his own daemons, with such intense character, that would not be surprising. But I am not sure. All I am saying, the guy himself is the works, in a “take it or leave it” fashion, not just his photography.

    He really reminds me of Nick Nostitz, another bangkok based photographer I mentionned earlier, whom I know litle what he does lately, but whose drive towards the darkest side of life is not just admirable, but disquieting. Is it about the people covered, or is it about them? With all this talk lately of photography being self-portraits…

    Complex individuals, to say the least. And kudos for being the last ones standing, but these “apocaplyse Now” characters may also belong to a type of PJs more often encountered in the past. They thrive, define themselves, even can “wallow” in failures (1) as much as in successes. But it’s a very indirect comment here, i don’t know Blinkensop enough.

    (1)Panos, your quip about “outside world” is an indicator. Even though, South east Asian jungles are probably not shabbily covered by satellite networks….

  • Good work, Paul, I hope it will lead to other things. Nothing like pulling back one’s finger from the wind and just DO IT!

  • Good for you Paul. Congrats.

  • Hey there David

    Just thought I’d pop by and say hi! And I am so glad I struck this really inspirational post! Haven’t had time to read it much did just notice Philip Blenkinsop’s name being tossed around a lot.

    A great photographer, his stuff on the Hmong is amazing.

    Hope everyone is well, will have a new website up soon,

    Cheers Lisa

  • PAUL

    I’ve just take a look at your book on your website. Great pictures !. I came to this blog for DAH and now I’m discovering a lot of good photographer.

  • Coulnd’t help it and cried watching the Blenkinsop video. And wow… when he tells the soldier what he thinks about all of this….

  • Sweet David…i wish all the best things to your life…u don´t need a house…u are a natural crazy beggar ;)
    In Portugal u have always place to stay.
    I love u.
    Best, Pauliana and baby Sarah

  • @PANOS

    Ah the eternal question and not one I really know how to answer. I think it’s partly by having done at least one body of work that is unique and catches the attention of who it needs to catch (ad’s, pe’s, the public). And then it just steamrolls from that. I do very little self promo – I certainly need to do more, at the very least to get the work I really would like to be doing.

    I have a feeling Blenkinsop probably lives very cheaply. Also keep in mind that wherever one goes in Asia one is no farther than a 30 minute to 5 hour flight from Bangkok. As the crow flies the jungles of Laos are not far from one of the most sophisticated cities in the region. Hong Kong and Tokyo are not far away either. There are lots of Asia pubs that are off most of our radar but not BK based shooters. And always where there’s a will there’s a way.

  • Panos:


    send u an email about PHilip and your questions….


    thank you…
    there is “something” about this guy’s
    “bloody” photos …,
    thaï forces me go put a big sign,
    outside my door:
    thank. you ALL..

  • Herve,

    I think Nick Nostitz was able to get much more closer to his subjects than Blenkinsop is to his. It is partially because Nostitz spent a lot more time on one subject but also I think he gave up a bigger part of himself if not all of himself to what he was doing. I think he may have even lost himself for a while in the process.

    I’m sure Blenkinsop gives it his all every time he is out shooting but he is also running around asia covering a number of stories, not just one, and therefore I think he has to decide how to allocate his time and efforts. There was no dilemma of allocating time and effort with Nostitz. It raises an interesting question: is it better to document one issue extremely well or to cover a number of issues pretty damn good?

    Either way, I’m a big fan of both photographer’s work.

  • HI,

    Seems that quite a few of you are interested in the “motion” side of things as well as print. I think many of these type of projects can run consecutively. Watching the Blenkinsop doco makes me want to see more of his work and vice versa! And with the introduction of the movie section on David’s site, i’ve been thinking more and more about how to create more film work related to photography, and to somehow blend the two. I know of one possible avenue for funding a short film through a international channel, but I also think that NOW is the best time to create this sort of thing independently….. Will need more time to think about this…but if anyone is interested..possibly some sort of joint project from this group? (I’m really interested in creating “global” productions…made by people in different places worldwide, but coming together as one piece.
    I’m working on some ideas, would love to do something on the emerging photographers project…. but If we an create a sound idea, I’m happy to pitch it to the people I know.. or otherwise provide time, equipment etc to create independent work..

  • hi steve,

    i think you could be onto something there. it would be great for people involved here to get together and produce a body of work on one theme. that could be fantastic.

    what does everyone else think?


  • Steve/Jason:

    I’m game. I couldn’t agree more. motion/sill/sound/silence: it’s all harnessed and creates a richness in story-telling but also (for the viewers) desire. Would be great to flesh this out…

    off for a few days to write and shoot, but will return later in weekend…



    Nothing like an immediate response! Thanks :)
    Taking a few days off too…a break in mallorca…. but enthusiasm from others gets me going…so will be thinking about this most of the time…


  • bob/steve,

    funnily enough i’ll be off for a few days too…..shooting, thinking, actually thats all i ever do….

    anyway, lets see what we can come up with.

    talk soon.


  • STEVE,
    BOB nailed it”
    “I’m game”… count me in.!
    “also a game”…
    great idea…


    i just returned to New York from my blue water/palm tree mode….i am not at all caught up the comments here past about 100…and i will not catch up tonight either…but tomorrow morning i will read all that is here and will make a new post as well…i am too sleepy from traveling to make much sense tonight…just popping in to say hi..

    cheers, david

    cheers, david

  • i was just about to ask….!
    “where the hell is DAVID…?????? jesus.

    peace…. welcome back !

  • This motion talk is intriguing. I’ve been thinking about making a tribute film to my neighborhood as I prepare to leave it for London.

    This place I live in is magical (most of the time). And now that spring has sprung the soundscape is delightful. I find myself wondering what I might come up with if I had a video camera in hand with good ambient stereo microphones on board. No talking heads. Just visuals and available sound. Simple. Pure. Experiential. Fluid. Short. That would be my hope.

    I’ve got a nice out of town gig coming up in May. That should allow me to buy a small camera. That tiny new Sony thing looks good.

    But will I get around to it? Hope so.

  • P.S. ALL…

    ok, i could not resist…ready to sleep, i scrolled on up to where i left off , just to get an idea of where this thread had gone…my oh my, i have a lot of reading to do….this blog (i still hate the word!) is not a quick read…you guys are doing some thinking and some writing and i just get more impressed with you all the time..

    thoughtful stuff…i am so so pleased that we have never really gone “sideways” here…no cynicism or bitterness or complaining for the sake of complaining…this is a malaise i see in so many other places…

    the long and short of it: thanks all of you for keeping this particular netspot on the “high ground”….not that we should not, cannot, and do not disagree….

    there is nothing more exhilarating than when i see wit against wit, point vs. point, and some of the most flat out interesting discussions of photography and photographers going…

    “it ain’t me babe”…you guys rock!!!

    peace, david

  • PANOS…

    i tried to leave a comment on your blog just before i left, but for some reason it would not post…probably my bad….

    talk later…

    cheers, david

  • Panos, I tried to leave a comment once, and it just proved not as easy as here.

    Motion/stills/audio: How about a feature on David and his next yet to be defined “wandering lust” project?

    Who thinks David deserves at least a PBS “american master” series, if not a full length movie?

  • DAVID and MARCIN….
    thank you both,
    i think i got your comments…. in my blog..

    …ASSISTANT IN VENICE… is that the one…?…
    i think its been recorded as an “anonymous” comment….

  • david alan harvey


    damn, i just lost about 45 minutes worth of writing here!!!! i do not know what i did , but i cannot get it back…i hate that because i can never re-create whatever it was that i said!!!

    part of it was about Philip Blenkinsop…i took pictures of him in my apartment right before i was “evicted” with one of his hand made books , opened like an accordian, and spread the whole length of my space…

    of all the things mentioned about Philip above, the most interesting thing to me are his hand made books which are months in the making…i will try to find the hard drives with those pictures which are in a cardboard box somewhere…i hate lost pictures, i hate lost text!!

    oh yes, i almost forgot… go back to one of my earliest posts, way back in perhaps jan. 2007, for a photo i took of Philip B. and his wife Agnes ( a great photographer) in their home in Bangkok…

    AMY de WIT…

    i wrote to you too…you were part of the “loss”…i cannot rembember everything i said, but basically it was about the “envy” i sometimes feel from people with many material possessions…i am always curious about this….is it because they “see something” money cannot buy???

    in any case, i loved your treatise and missed it the first time around because i think we were posting simultaneous…yes yes , reverse snobbery!!!

    cheers, david

  • david:

    Philip’s books are gorgeous indeed….and I’m happy you mentioned Agnes’ gorgeous work (and her great photo collective that she helped found EVE)…her work on Thai orphans with Aids is heartbreaking, heartbreaking work….it’s easier to judge from afar, originally i regreted pointing to the vid about PHilip and what came rushing from that, but in the end, what matters is the agency of the work and the heart…

    running away for a few days to write/shoot…

    hope u and jon drank some rum…


  • david alan harvey


    you asked a question way back there somewhere about who “takes care of you, who cares?” when you are out in the “jungle”…this was about Philip B…the answer is : nobody really…that is why surely Salgado and Richards in particular are so lucky to have wives who have totally managed their careers…and Sally Mann’s husband Larry who has put a lot of time and effort and funding into hers…both Salgado’s wife Lelia and Gene’s wife Janine, also manages themselves very well too…Lelia is a legend in Brazil as much as Sebastao…and Janine is quite the talented writer..she wrote text for “Stepping Through the Ashes”

    yes, of course, if you can secure an agency , this helps tremendously, but the “personal career planning” is going to come from someone who truly “cares”…i really cannot think of one single photographer who “made it” ALONE….not one…


    hello my dear, i am so happy to see you here!!! i just cannot wait to see you with your new daughter!! of course, i can easily imagine you as the best mother in the world….please send me a new picture…

    nobody here can possibly interpret what you mean by me being the “perfect beggar”…that is a funny story that , well, you just had to be there!!! on the other hand, yes, maybe that funny story is no longer a funny story…i really am “out on the street”….

    love bouncing back to you…


    there is so much potential for our collected audience here…i think we should meet at some point soon and i can tell you of the other things i have in mind as well…i do not know where you are…new york?? washington?? in any case, we can meet anywhere…please call me at Magnum 212 929-6000 if you want to grab a coffee or whatever…


    where have you been???? welcome back to whatever island we are on here!!! sure, i would love to come to Bermuda…i just took a few days off and went to the Dominican Republic which i liked a lot…anyway, next time, Bermuda!!!

  • david alan harvey


    you may have seen a post above from my dear friend Pauliana and her new baby daughter Sarah….there is a picture from Lisbon of Pauliana in “Divided Soul”…you will recognize it immediately if you know the book…page 131…you can imagine she would have a beautiful daughter….and if little Sarah is as talented and intelligent as her mom, well, watch out world!!!

    cheers, david

  • david alan harvey


    i certainly do not put myself on a pedestal and do not expect or want anyone elso to do so either…


    you are totally correct…we all have the same problems, aspirations etc etc…that is the whole point of this forum as a matter of fact…

    because i have worked very hard and been very lucky and made both my own hard work and my own “luck”, i may have been fortunate to have done some things to which some may aspire…but, at the end of the day, i am just a photographer trying to do the “right thing”, which is basically just to have the freedom to do the “right thing”…

    if i can be a “guide” to a fellow photographer, or anyone else, and help them to see their own potential, then i will have succeeded in the “pay back/ pay forward”
    concept to which i so subscribe…

    cheers, david

  • Amen, Uncle! Amen! Just Looking at Pauliana’s photo right now , beautiful picture , beautiful , beautiful!
    Photographers are cursed or blessed by luck , sometimes the the light is great but theres nothing happening , vice versa.
    You research , You hang , you wait , hang some more , act the goose – then bang the thing happens and WHAT ? The subject , muse ,friend turns their face away at the extreme point of interaction between light,colur,movement and emotion and the picture is reduced to meaningless shapes.
    composition is all well and good , but don’t shoot till you see the whites of their eyes doesent just apply to musketry.
    Good photographers are the luckiest bastards around!

  • hi david,

    i hope you had a happy and restful trip.

    i certainly did want to give the impression that i think you put yourself on a pedestal or want others too. the fact that you have made this forum for “us” shows that you certainly do absolutely follow the pay back/pay forward system. “we” are all the luckier for you doing this. and as i stated with the example of the talk by one of your magnum colleagues, most of the photographers i have met, your self included, are very down to earth, friendly, open and very helpful to others.

    my point was partly aimed at how “we” the “viewer” perceive the photographer through their work. “we” can look at books of say 80 – 100 images, turning from page to page, in amazement at the quality of the work. nothing wrong with that. yet it can be easy to imagine that the established photographers in magnum say produce great image after great image, forgetting that this work represents the tip of the ice berg. i often ask myself when i look at books etc.: how many images were discarded during the editing process for this book? (i’d like to see those images for what they would tell about the process). the same magnum photographer i mentioned earlier, talked about this subject in another talk. again, in response to a question, he described shooting a major project, “you know, you shoot 10 thousand images say over a number of years, and then you edit them down to your favorite 100 or so.” at the time i was actually amazed when thinking of those figures. as i said, that comment along with the other one instantly had something of a leveling effect. his comments helped shrink the pedestal i, rightly or wrongly, had put him on due to my admiration of his work.

    i think that the type of work a photographer produces and the viewers possible admiration of that work can lead to a certain perception of that person. i think that it is this process that lead to much of what was talked about earlier in this posting. my experiences have allowed me to keep these things in perspective. as you say you are “just a photographer trying to do the right thing”. and i believe that that speaks for many others too, including philip b.

    david, i hope you weren’t offend by my pedestal comment, i certainly never meant it that way.


  • Hi David,

    I have been reading your blog all this time. We took our dauther to Paris and if you have few minutes, I would love to get your feedback on my pictures from there:

    Other than that, I will have the pleasure to welcome Peter Turnley for a one-on-one workshop in April. I look forward to learn from this amaizing photog.

    Needless to say, let me knwo when you want to come down (it is 2 hours flight from NYC, plane ticket is cheap), there is a room for you at our house.

    Take care for now – Arie

  • click below to see DAH’s photo of Philip and Agnes…

    or visit this blogs archives from jan 30,2007 ( more from bangkok)..
    click on January 2007

    thank you

  • BOB:
    originally i regreted pointing to the vid about PHilip and what came rushing from that

    Bob, I went thru some of the responses. It seems to me we all indicated we had been touched by it.

    It is good we debate (of note, my first responses had little to do with B.), and I think it is good also to keep each others in check (as wittingly as possible), so neither of us takes him or herself so seriously and think our comments so grand and profound.

  • herve,

    well said. i agree, i think its wise that we keep ourselves in check. i also think its great that we can debate here without venturing into personal attacks.


  • Regarding the comment about documenting David’s upcoming road trip…I wrote about that a while ago. Suggesting Panos as his driver and wondering who would do the filming….perhaps something will actually come of it.

  • DAVID..

    You wrote..

    “yes, of course, if you can secure an agency , this helps tremendously, but the “personal career planning” is going to come from someone who truly “cares”…i really cannot think of one single photographer who “made it” ALONE….not one…”

    Define alone!
    I know of a few succesful photographers who have been lonely.


  • David – you need to write your posts in Apple TextEdit then copy and paste when you’re ready to post—things tend to get lost too often when using the online interface—total frustration!

  • re: How can you sell and promote yourself in the jungle?

    Well I don’t know about s.e asia, but the jungles of latin america are stuffed full of internet cafes.

    I read more closely through the Philip Blenkinsop stuff and wanted to say, I think a lot of the reason for the criticism earlier stems from a mythology engendered by people like David Bradbury, though I don’t wish to turn the criticism onto David Bradbury, either. The words ‘War Photographer’ are springing to mind though.

    You’ve got the music. Those mournful violins and the solemn voice over, like an advert for an aid appeal. And then there’s this the idea of the photographer suffering for his art, like some kind of saint. He’s not just wasting time with selfish self expression like all those other gits who make art – he’s saving the world! And he hangs out with poor people! Smelly people! And he’s definitely not having fun. No no.

    I don’t think this myth does anyone any favours, and I don’t think it’s true. And I think it’s a shame that documentary film makers who make films about documentary photographers feel the need to be so emotionally manipulative and, basically, aggrandise their own craft by pointing out how heroic it is to document things.

    And in answer to your first question, David, no I never know before when something amazing is going to happen and quite often I don’t notice afterwards either, sometimes it has to be pointed out to me.

  • Herve:

    agreed. this was the 2nd time (u first, then Michael) that i was told in my comments I write as if i want the last word, which couldnt be farther from the truth, and i have NEVER NEVER attacked anyone here at this blog personally (that’s what both you and michael did, even though we were disucssing ideas): my post was in reaction to what Michael wrote about PHilip, though what he wrote was also an interpretative comment about who philip is as a person, which i objected to: not his opinion, what the act of doing that…only then later to be villified for what i wrote…then you suggest im think im the only right dude…which couldnt be farther than the truth, nor do i find it intereting or rewarding to suffest one ideas is better, etc…

    i dont think anything i write is profound, or better or more insightful…we’re all just chatting…

    same shit happened with Panos and with others…sorry, im tired of this “easy” language about what say and write to to and about others…

    but that’s what others keep writing to me about, even though it’s only based on “how” i write, and im tired of it……tired how ideas devolve into personal shit…

    im not angry anymore, but disquieted…

    funny Herve, even when you and i disagreed about something (idea), i never once thought “that herve is a blowhard or egomaniac.”…i only thought: that guys likes to passionately think and talk and argue about ideas, …

    sorry im just done with all this for a while…while david is right, the level of discussion is what has kept this alive, but i find it exhausting,….i should have refrained from writing michael, my poor judgement…

    late for an appointment…and will be off the blog for a few days…now more bobblack diatribes ;)..

    wish u the best…


  • hi all,

    amy, you hit the nail right on the head with that one. thanks.

    i was thinking about this subject earlier; again. you’re absolutely spot on with the mythology angle. videos such as the one that started all of this, or “war photographer” about james nachtwey for example all make it easier for people to be put on the pedestals i was talking about, even if they would rather not be put there at all.



  • Bob,

    Fine. My mistake. I must have misread what you wrote. How you wrote it. Won’t try to explain how or why. Would just sound like making excuses. Don’t want to do that.

    Sincere apologies.


  • Amy..(and Jason)

    Yes indeed. Very impressive observation. The whole mythologizing angle. It crossed my mind earlier but didn’t really want to stir things up again…but thank you for posting your thoughts. As Jason said…spot on!

    Peace, all.

  • Jason (and all),

    You just beat me to it on commenting on what Amy had to say. She was totally spot on!

    Hero worship and pedestals are certainly not places where photographers want to be or should be. I took part in the Magnum masterclass in London last October. At one point one of other “student” photographers taking part referred to one of the Magnum photographers as being “God”! And he didn’t seem to be joking, but perhaps I’m wrong (hopefully). I must say it was embarrassing to sit round a table with people like that.

    The idea of the “war photographer” seems to have become like a brand and a marketing tool, turning the photographers into celebrities, and for no fault of their own. Unfortunately I think it is just how it is. All the fuss over the recently found Capa negatives clearly show that. But then Magnum (and others) has to try and capitalise on all this stuff simply because photography is a business, and we have to remember that.

    Coming back to what Jason said earlier about the realisation that even the well established photographers produce a lot of crap pictures; that is something we should all remember when we go through our film and don’t find anything of worth. Every photographer experiences that, how ever good they are. I know that 1,000 plus rolls of film for a book, or even a long assignment is very typical. Allard got through 1,300 rolls in five months in Peru.

    Bob: Perhaps I missed something, but I’ve always felt that things are rather civil here. As you know, these blogs and forums are hard work sometimes, and people like to attack each other now and again. You write on Lightstalkers quite a bit – you can get attacked on there just for saying hello! Admittedly, there are some angry photographers out there, but thankfully they don’t seem to be writing here, yet….

    I hope you decide to carry on contributing.


  • Bob, maybe you take what you write, and how, too seriously. That would seem to me the only reason why you’d see my teasing you as a personal attack.

    None of us are beyond a few remarks about how we say things, and project ourselves. We should welcome them, really.

  • Hi all
    been a while since I posted up a comment, I only read back a few comments so not really sure whats going on, but to the question, I think excitement about an idea or project can really boost ones energy and help to execute the idea, and maybe lead to some intuition about the outcome. but this maybe seems a little antiquated, and more relevant to film, but with instant editing on the back of your digi’s, I dont see how that can be surprising.

    talking of antiquated, A&I pro lab, just closed down their downtown Los Angeles store on 6th and central, so now there is nowhere to process E6 in central LA.
    can you frickin believe that!
    what a bunch of douche bags!

  • david alan harvey


    well, hard to define alone…and i do not mean lonely…i just cannot think of a single iconic photographer who did not have a significant “support system” somewhere along the line …and usually that means a “significant other”…who are your examples???


    yes, and my new journey involves med format film!!!


    the minute it goes negative here, is the day i “pull the plug”…differences, yes of course, as i mentioned before….but negativity for negativity’s sake is a waste of time…i remember when i was 22 or so and saw the incredible negativity in the “photogaphers lounge” at the newspaper where i was an intern, i swore i would never go down that road…i always thought, “damn why don’t those guys get up off their respective asses and go take a picture??”

    cheers, david

  • Re. lab closures, it’s happening everywhere. The beauty of it is that it will really reveal those dedicated film users.

    It could be worse, you could use Kodachrome and have only one place to process in the entire world, or at least only one in North America and Europe.

    I certainly don’t consider film as being “antiquated.” It perhaps is now more specialist or professional compared to the consumer market, but I expect film to be around for quite a while yet. Just this week I read that the chairman or director of Fuji is a 35mm film fanatic and is committed to keep producing it.

  • david alan harvey


    it is not at all about how much “photocrap” is at the bottom of the barrell…if you have a few truly fine photographs, nobody counts the number of “bad” ones you have…

    console yourself if need be with the fact that everyone has “junk”…but, do not live with that simple fact as your creative mantra!!

    everyone should think about this as well…any photographer who has received a high number of magazine assignments obviously has a high “batting average” …nobody pays anybody to “luck out”…Allard may have shot 1500 rolls in Peru, but i have seen many photographers go a lifetime with fewer fine images than he did on that one project…surely, his singular best…

    cheers, david

  • David,

    looking forward to seeing you in Sao Paulo. i don’t know if you have any free time here, but if you have interest in some “parallel activities” in SP, please send me an e-mail.



  • David: I totally agree. Trying to deal with negativity is just a waste of energy.

    Obviously we all have our “bad days” but I really can’t understand why there is and always has been (so it appears) photographs out there who are angry and negative about the profession they are lucky enough to be in.

    But perhaps all professions have their negative bunch.

    A negative photographer is a worthless photographer and the best thing they can do for all of us is quit instead of trying to drag others down with them.

    Check your AOL email over the weekend.



  • David:

    I was not suggesting that I, or anyone else should just go out there with a “get lucky once in a while” attitude, but I believe that you really have to set high levels for yourself and know what you are trying to do with your pictures and accept failure if you don’t achieve it, and just go out the next day and try again.

    I agree that Peru is some of Allard’s best work, especially those slaughter house pictures. But 1,300 rolls is 46,800 frames. Even if he had 800 strong images, that’s still 46,000 which almost made it, with many of these probably being variations of a successful picture which did make it, so ultimately the majority of those 46,000 will end up in the bottom of the barrel so to speak and never see the light of day.

    I wonder if Allard is planning a Peru book at some point. I seem to remember that he did another assignment there later on, so he must certainly have the photographers there waiting. And his wife is Peruvian isn’t she? So he probably still visits there. Food for thought, Allard’s definitive book on Peru.


  • DAVID,

    I might be wrong here, but to me when working on their projects Anders Petersen and Lars Tunbjörk have always seemed kind of lonely. But I for sure don’t know everything about them. In a way maybe they aren’t. Petersens mentor was Christer Strömholm and I guess that alone is huge support. Tunbjörk came from photojournalism if I’m not wrong and he may have sympathies from that direction and he’s also with VU agence I think so I guess that’s also hard to say. Well forget about Tunbjörk when I think about it, he’s probably not alone at all. Well, I guess ALONE is very hard to define…


  • DAVID,

    I might be wrong here, but to me when working on their projects Anders Petersen and Lars Tunbjörk have always seemed kind of lonely. But I for sure don’t know everything about them. In a way maybe they aren’t. Petersens mentor was Christer Strömholm and I guess that alone is huge support. Tunbjörk came from photojournalism if I’m not wrong and he may have sympathies from that direction and he’s also with VU agence I think so I guess that’s also hard to say. Well forget about Tunbjörk when I think about it, he’s probably not alone at all. Well, I guess ALONE is very hard to define…


  • david alan harvey


    i realized what you were thinking and meant…i just wanted to make that point and yours was a good comment to “key off of” !!!

    i cannot speak for Allard but i am guessing he would say the same.. i do know that all those “rejects” are often very very similar to “best”…i think shooting is a bit like sketching….you can’t just “draw” the final drawing or paint the final painting straight off…usually, but not always, it is very much about “process”….a “wasted” frame is not necessarily a waste…i mean, you gotta “get there”…getting there is a journey….a road taken….necessary….i cannot imagine anyone just waiting to take the “perfect picture” so as not to have made any “mistakes”…the perfect picture comes from taking perhaps several “lead up” pictures which are not bad, but just not “great”…


    i have never met either Anders or Lars, but am a fan of both…i must say their work does look like they could be really lonely maybe…but, “work” does not always reveal the “man”…


  • david alan harvey

    P.S. JUSTIN..

    i could never imagine why Bill did not do a Peru book at the time…i think he wonders too…i hope he will still do it…


  • david alan harvey


    i will not do this forum without you!!

    you are like the “glue” dude!! you and marcin were among my first writers….

    now Bob i remember you helped me talk Marcin back once…

    now Marcin i implore you to go out and get your brother Bob in off the street and bring him back in here where he belongs!!!

    abrazos, david

  • now that David has introduced Pauliana Valente Pimentel to you all (a couple comments above, see her also in “Divided Soul” Story: PORTUGAL. Lisbon, at, you should take a look at her work/bio at
    for what i know her (work), i second David opinion.

    i was the “sabbatical” photographer you invited to your Lisbon workshop, we went to the castle and watched together the Steve McCurry’s “clash” with the gallery people, do you remember that? – you can go back and watch Steve, yourself, the exhibition, Estoril beach, Lisbon and more, at
    um forte abraço para ti e para todos,

  • DAVID,

    I think Anders regularly visits the festival in Arles, or maybe it only was the year he won..
    It’s funny, it looks from their photos that both could be lonely, yet their styles are total opposites.
    However it’s not from their images I’ve gotten that impressions, it’s from what I’ve read, heard and watched. I also guess you can be very lonely on some projects and not on others..


  • David;
    I always have a good laugh on forums like when people say “If I was working for Nat Geo and could take 1,000’s of images for free I’d come up with an “Afghan Girl” image too”.

    They can’t seem to see that the Steve McCurry’s of our world are turning out many high quality images, not just one-off flukes. I was going to mention about sketching etc. but you beat me to it!!

    With the advent of digital photography all those nay-sayers who say they could do the same if they could afford to shoot all those images are now on a level playing field. But where are their stunning images?

    They’d rather be talking on etc than shooting. As an aside dpreview must be one of the nastiest photo forums out there, a bunch of hairy Tarzans beating there chest over their gear and gear envy! I think this forum will stay more civil because it is more about the philosophy of photography than the gear.

    One of my photographic influences is Canadian nature photographer Freeman Patterson. Even though I shoot few nature images anymore, his teachings are invaluable.

    One of his projects is to specifically photograph a so-called mundane subject and expend at least a roll on it, without repeating images as a learning exercise. He throws a hoop into a paddock (it might even be a mown lawn) and the student has to use his roll photographing from within that hoop.

    He equates taking great images with a camera to the way a concert pianist works. A concert pianist doesn’t just roll up to the stadium on the day and perform a magical performance; they still do their basic scales each day.

    Equally, I find that I take better images (& see more images) when i have been consistently taking images. As the writing part of my work increased & I had less time to photograph, my skill also decreased. I also feel that you need to get those cliché images out of the way first sometimes. Then you start photographing below the veneer.

    If I photograph frequently I seem to hit a “purple patch” where my success rate dramatically increases.

    I have the following Freeman Patterson quote on my wall to remind me that anywhere can lead to great images, & to not think that having been there once doesn’t mean I’ve exhausted the image taking opportunities. The quote comes from his “Odysseys” book.

    “Even when my feet are placed in footprints I made previously, and even if I stand there at precisely the same time I did the day before, the angle of light will have altered slightly and the sky will be deeper blue or paler with dust”.

    “And I will be a day older. So every time I gaze upon the whole, it will be from a unique perspective. And each of my unique perspectives will be different from each of yours”.

    Well, I’ll get off my soapbox now…. Sorry for raving!!!

  • david alan harvey


    a perfect letter…many thanks…i too often refer to the pianist analogy…”if you don’t use it, you lose it” refers to something else, but is a pretty good analogy too…i know, that if i have not been shooting for awhile, even a few weeks, i have to really work work work at getting back “up to speed”…fluid..instincitve..when i start shooting in earnest in about two weeks, i know tht i will have a lot of calisthenics to do….

    cheers, david

  • David;
    Shooting slides helped too though… I have always used a lot of slow synch flash (inspired by yourself and Mr Allard) and using slides helped get it right because it was too expensive to get it wrong!!!

    I have an image I just put up on the entry/contact page of my new website (Only contact page at moment, going live in a couple of months, want to make sure everything works). It was taken digitally, but having shot slide had a fair idea of how it would look…

    url is I haven’t put it up before because until we go live it’s attached as a stand-alone page on my mate’s (web designer)site & I’m not sure whether every browser will find it yet…

    Cheers for taking the time to reply

  • david alan harvey


    well, i love that first picture!!


  • Welcome home David..perhaps we can try again to meet before you get immersed in shooting?

    Very sad news, I don’t know how many of you are familiar with photographer Sarah Underhill, but she was a lovely person and passed away unexpectedly last weekend. With some of her photo fiends, I will be helping to put together a tribute, where you all can contribute, details to follow when we know more.

  • Thanks for that, I’m honoured!!! I don’t get the chance to get much feedback from other photographers.

    The series is on my lightstalkers site. I’ve only just joined so haven’t had a chance to put too many images up yet.

    The shot was taken on at the local AmeriCARna Festival here, on their Friday Night Cruise. I was taking photos and nothing was working, too static, crappy record shots etc!!!

    So started thinking, what does this represent? Decided to channel American Graffitti, Happy Days, cruising on friday night in the fifties. I hope I came close to the vision.

    The other images on LS are completely different, a pretty staunch protest march here in NZ. But I tried to implement my philosophy of not just looking for the “money” shot, but look around the fringes.. (again an Allard idea!!) interacting with them etc.

    Sure, I got repeatedly staunched out by them (the news guys stayed on the other side of the road, they only wanted the money shot) most of the protesters were gang members…

    It’s funny though, after interacting with them then & afterwards, & telling them I wanted to show the entire story, they wanted to pay for copies of the photos!!!

  • david alan harvey


    i did not know Sarah, but so sorry for your loss..i will be pleased to make whatever contribution you need…

    i am leaving sunday evening…pretty busy with stuff all day saturday, but why don’t you call me mid-afternoon and just see…sunday morning could be good too…but, in any case, i will not be gone long…back next thursday and then only preparing for my project….so there is a little “window”…

    my heart is with you on your loss….

    peace, david

  • Sorry Erica… same here my heart, with you…

  • Do you hear what David said Bob???
    You have a few days, then come back here! This is photo mafia! And you have tatoo on your soul like yakuza have!!
    So you must come back! nobody leave famili…

    Bob I know you are tired sometimes, I am too, but you are one of the strongest part of this blog.
    You are out then David will out as he said and I will out… no… it’s no sense…
    must be balance in universe…
    and i think I don’t have to convince you… you will come back… but remember come back quickly…

    what’s cracking…?
    brother… thank you for posting a comment…

    what the hell is yakuza ?????..!

  • Hi Panos!

    yakuza it is japanese mafia with big tatoo on body…

    What you shooting now Panos?

  • oh Marcin, i wanna talk to you…
    but something really unexpceted happened or happening right now…
    coming back soon…

  • DAVID,

    You mentioned about “divided soul”. I can’t decided which your photo I like most when I watch this book, but you have one photo I love beacuse I’m emotional related very much… and I think this photo describe my soul most…
    this is me… this scene not this old man… or maybe..

    I try do something similar… describe myself… but this result is not as suitable as your

    your photo describe all my soul better…
    I look at this photo over and over… to feel myself…
    so thank you for this photo…

  • Sorry to hear about Sarah. Always very sad. Remember her work from Lightstalkers and had some contact with her trough the forum. Sadly I never had the opportunity to meet her in person.

    Wish you a lot of strenght with your loss Erica.

  • BOB

    somewhere i read about a wise old lady. she says :


    cheer olli

  • david alan harvey


    your photograph of the sea, is the sea that i “feel”…i am not really drawn to the quiet sea…i like your sea of fright, humbling drama, destruction, torment, and unforgiving beauty…



    I can not go to the beach without think to this photo too and to the one of this old man in a white suit in Cuba. I love this light and how you can describe the souls.

    I have tried too but as usualy I was too far.

  • David and all..

    thank you so much regarding Sarah – and David your contribution would be greatly, greatly appreciated…details soon about what /how..

    Will try you later this day.


  • David,

    Love to have you back! Hoped you enjoyed your time off and came back with loads of energy for your new project…

    I was just wondering about what you said about
    “i really cannot think of one single photographer who “made it” ALONE….not one…” mmmm of course its almost perfect that you are emotionally supported by that someone special just like Salgado, but there are many photographers that aren’t that lucky… but still they have managed to achieve a great deal…


    PD I also wrote you an email…

  • David and all-

    I am just back from the week that I have spent in Antigua during the “Semana Santa”. This has been quite an overwhelming experience. No matter where you look in Antigua there is color… Colorful churches and homes, colorful buses, exhuberant native dresses. But beyond the colors of the city, it was very special to be able to witness this incomparable event that the Holy Week represents in Antigua. Throughout the week, there are rituals and traditions to witness, rituals that have been preserved over time and passed from one generation to the next. During that week, all the city joins in the celebrations from the elderly to the youngest kids. This collective show of faith and devotion is quite something to experience wuth all the senses: the sound of the funeral marches that linger after the processions have passed, the very intense smell of incense, the reverence of those on the side of the streets while the processions are passing, the firecrackers and joyful music on the day of the resurrection…. Most amazing thing was to watch hundreds at night, often entire families prepare the colored sand carpets in front of their property that will be destroyed in seconds the next morning when the processions go over these. Hours of work for carpets that are sometimes ready just minutes before the processions get there…. As you can tell, I have enjoyed every minute of this trip and as promised, I wanted to share the link to my site where I have posted two topics under the “new”. Semana santa that largely focuses on the processions and another “around Antigua” that I did with images from streets, colorful market etc. I have not had a lot of time to spend on editing and hope that some will enjoy looking at the pictures and sharing with me their perspective. I realized Panos that you were suggesting that I send images to you everyday to share but unfortunately I did not see your message in time and I actually did not have any internet connection over there. I did however post a lot more pictures than I intend to keep to give you a chnence to comment. About 65 images for Semana Santa that I will most definetely need to edit down to 20-30 images. So your and others feedback and advice is welcomed. Above all, I hope I have managed to capture the heat and soul of the people I was with that week…. For David specifically, I have to say that I enjoyed every minute of the Sicily processions that we had the privilege to shoot together during the workshop but you should think of doing a workshop there in Antigua during that Holy Week. Everything happens within one city and I found it even more magical than Sicily. I realize David that you have from all of us a lot of images to look at and comment but, as always, I would welcome your feedback and perspective on this piece of work and on what particular pictures you would keep for a tighter edit (I hope there are some)…. Anyway, enough said…Hope you guys enjoy this piece of work.

    Cheers, Eric

    PS: Came back and still do not know David about what lays in front for your next piece of work…You are all making us wonder….When will the news come????

  • Hi David,

    Are you going to be involved with the New York Photo Festival in Dumbo this May?

    great photos….
    or should i say in L.A …. “that’s hot”…

    back to “what i shoot” ?… nowadays…
    … I don’t know… i’m about to take my little camera and go..
    in an hour… if i convince the rest of my body…
    A lot of changes happening in my brain…
    I feel like changing my lifestyle a bit… When i saw the Philip B,
    video i felt like a loser sitting at home… watching…through
    my apple “gloryhole”… if you know what i mean…
    On the other side my girlfriend just came back from miami and now she needs all the attention… but what was i doing the last two weeks…. my index finger was disconnected from my brain…
    i was shooting ( towards two projects at the same time)…
    with a finger that wasn’t working…
    the results horrible… i hated all the photos, all my work…
    it seemed that my finger was clicking the shutter either ” a little before”, or “a little after”… the RIGHT moment
    Good photos, but NOT GREAT…
    I threw it all in the carbage…. that’s why i haven’t posted anything new in my blog… I’m exhausted by moving all the trash… into the carbage can…. ah life sucks!

  • I’m just coming to look again in Divided Soul and I realize I made a mistake. The photo I was talking about have not been shooted in Cuba but in Brazil. Sorry about that.

  • PANOS:
    That is the most precise phrase I´ve ever read about how I feel those periods of time I have zero ideas…
    can I use it???… please… well… i´ll do anyway…
    but I promise I´ll say:
    As the greek philosopher said: ” my index finger was disconnected from my brain”

  • Eric,

    You’ve got some very nice work there – well done. When I’ve got a few minutes free I’ll go through and offer some editing suggestions; if you want?

    Hopefully I’ll get to it Sunday.

    Antigua looks like an interesting place to photograph.

    More soon.



  • david alan harvey


    from the first time we met and from the first time i looked at your work, i have always told you that you shoot like a pro…for a man who is not a professional photographer, you have a very very nice touch…

    i saw many nice photographs in this Antigua take…yes, you have a whole lot to take out…some of the “seconds” will be very nice, but you do not want to have too much repetition and you have quite a few that look like quite a few others… so you have some tough decisions to make…nice tough decisions….

    i am packing for a trip to Brazil tomorrow, so i cannot help you edit now and no way to edit anyway…in any case, i can communicate with you through e-mail soonest…..

    thanks for the letter…it was informative and interesting for all….


    all this time i did not know that you were you!! yes, i remember those times, but when i saw your name here before i just did not put two and two together….i do hope we will meet again….

    cheers y abrazos, david

  • david… I think you’confussed…
    We’ve never met before…
    there is another carlos that you know…
    but is not me..

    anyway… me is still me!
    saludos from caracas

  • Eric, I remember when you told us you were going to Antigua for Easter. I very simply was jealous as I still have to make it to Central america, and even more jealous now that I see the pix (was it shot with just about one prime lens?). Thanks, and maybe next year, I will JUST DO IT too!

    Funny, I am not sure how others feel about it, but I look at work like Eric did, and i sense that in many ways, a lot of photography is inside of us, waiting for us to step up excatly where we are supposed to be, and I do not mean just location, but in our life.

    David, do you get yourself this feeling as you embark on a project. There’s an apex where the inner and the outer meet and…Bingo! Like you know the shot comes as much from inside as from outside (in front of you)?

  • David,

    Many thanks for your comments! I clearly know I need to edit down….Being just back, I did not have yet the time to let is soak on me and then get down to 20-30 images. It always seem to me that I do a better job editing when waiting a week of two…Somehow, after detaching myself from the event, I see more clearly what is worth keeping. Still a bit fresh now….. Hope you have a great trip in Brazil…This is another destination that I would love to go to someday!


    Would love to get your comments and editing suggestions. As David said, I have too many similar shots so will need to edit down….

    Herve, yes, I always use a fix 24mm lens (with digital camera). I have to say that I use to acrry big lenses with zoom etc and that, after seeing the way David work, I decided to go very simple…one camera, one lens and to the best I can, get close to the topic….. Thanks for your comments.


  • Marcin,

    I can’t get your picture to load. Maybe you are working on the site now? I’ll try again later.

  • ERIC,

    1,3,29,30….all great.
    I went thru once and will look again but Eddie (my cockatiel) is on my lap crying to be fed. Back asap!

  • ERIC,

    Now I’m the hungry one but I took another look before dinner.

    I LOVE Antigua and all of Guatemala. Have always wanted to go for Semana Santa so these are images that are close to my heart.

    My opinion (fwiw): Absolute favorites: 1,3,16,30,39 and 59 (that horizontal is great! I am a huge user of verticals but a horizontal division like that is rare.)

    Other favorites 5,6,7,9,18,25,28,29,33,40,48
    as well as 14 and 16 from the second folder

    There’s 19 for you…It will be interesting to see which you select.
    Excellent work.

  • Cathy,

    Thanks for the very detailed feedback…Very helpful…You should definetely go there for Semana Santa when you get a chance. You will love it! Certainly lots of tourists and photographers by now, but in the middle of this still a lot of emotion , sincere devotion and spirituality.


  • Garbage in, garbage out,( abbr.:GIGO ) used to express the idea that in computing and other spheres, incorrect or poor quality input will always produce faulty output…

    I hear you CARLOS… please “use it”…:
    “When the index finger is disconnected from my brain…”


    My server not work, I don’t know why and how long.


    “When the index finger is disconnected from my brain…”

    That’s why I connected my index finger with heart..

  • David and Carlos Manuel…
    let’s go back to this identity question, please. Carlos Manuel is from Caracas and i (Carlos Filipe) am from Lisbon. Sorry, my fault.

    and now for something completely different… or should i say “six degrees” (just see the names bellow)…
    this year, Visão (a portuguese weekly news magazine) chosed for it’s photojournalism awards, a jury composed by Jean-François Leroy (Visa Pour l’Image), Yuri Kozyrev (Noor), Noël Quidu (Gamma), Susan Smith (NatGeo associate director of photography) and Philip Blenkinsop.
    On April 3, the winners will be announced (227 photojournalists and 6848 photos entered) and on April 5, the jury will give a conference.
    You cand find more at where you can see photos and videos from previous years and some great lessons on editing from former members of the jury like James Nachtwey, Sebastião Salgado, Ian Berry, MaryAnne Golan, Kadir van Lohuizen, Stanley Greene, Christopher Morris, Jane Atwood, Colin Jacobson and many more.
    um forte abraço para todos,
    Carlos Filipe

    PS. i would like to see DAH in next year jury and making a connection with the Emerging Photographers Fund… who knows?

  • david alan harvey

    CARLOS MANUEL (Venezuala) AND CARLOS FILIPE (Portugal)…

    so sorry gentlemen about the identity crises!!! i will not get you both confused again…and then, there is another Carlos, an art director from Puerto Rico, out there too..right???

    Carlos Filipe…i was supposed to have already been on this for the Visao awards…maybe last year or the year before…i had to cancel for some reason i cannot remember…in any case, i love Lisbon and would welcome any chance to return…and yes, yes let’s talk about a connection with the Emerging Photographers Fund…i am setting up a presence for the photographers here on this forum for at least two other festivals, so perhaps yours would be quite appropriate as well…


    the Dumbo photo fest falls right in the middle of when i am supposed to be out on my project….i may fly back for a book signing for “Living Proof”, but i will not be around for much else…too bad…but, i cannot be everywhere!!!


    i will take a good look again at Antigua when i return from Brazil late next week…unless i can have the pictures in a real editing program , it is very difficult for me to “play” with the photographs, move them around, and do a “real edit”…in any case, i will do my best…

    cheers, david

  • DAVID:

    just returned from a 2 day writing/photo/silence retreat…i wont leave you or the blog, no worries…i just have to re-adapt to how i write here and how i react to what is written: in a vulnerable mood this week as i prepare for an important and emotional trip back to the US….sending u an email…


  • ERICA:

    please keep me informed as to what will happen on the tribute to Sarah…still a bit in shock, …just exchanged emails with her in december….


  • MARCIN thank you…
    That really makes sense below….
    Let me try your advise and use that new connection… (index to heart)

    “…”When the index finger is disconnected from my brain…”

    That’s why I connected my index finger with heart..

    Posted by: marcin luczkowski | March 30, 2008 at 02:32 AM…”


    just sent you an email…!


  • BOB…

    Maybe It’s because you put “running” at the end of your posts that some people think you want to have the last word?


    I’m actually in Barcelona, not the US. I tend to work for companies in London… Spent the last year convincing clients that people can work from anywhere. I think you are coming to Barcelona this year? Maybe we could catch up then for a coffee.


  • Hi steve: :)

    maybe, i dont know, but i will change the way i write/comment here. unfortunately, my humour was depleted last week (personal sit), but i am tired of bombast (my own) and also being slogged off…it’s probably the style and length of my posts, which for the near future shall be much shorter and will not be directed to anyone, but the ideas/questions raised by the forum…

    for now, i’ll just keep it simple from now on, and let the last word be kindled by others…when i showed my son the comment, his advice was: “dad, bag it”…but, im committed to david and this community and will just measure what and how i write, let the others write as they wish…


  • To Bob,
    please do not change anything in your writing form, your contribution is great to this forum. And we need to accept that we all have different persoalities and embrace the differences. I don’t recall that bob is impolite, he gives us honest thoughts, he goes deep to try to put some undertsanding order in his/ours lives….


  • STEVE…

    i might be in Barcelona later this month….will stay in touch…


    i agree with you completely….


  • Hi David,

    Did you get a chance to look at my post above (on paris pictures)…



  • Wow, the mouse problem goes over like a ton of bricks. Tough crowd tonight.

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