one of a kind….

photograph of Mary Ellen Mark by Michael "Nick" Nichols


she was always a "star"….in high school she was the head cheerleader for the football team and super student….in college she received a Fulbright Fellowship in photography and went off to Turkey to first make her "mark" as a pre-eminent photographer…i cannot think of any photographer who has consistently produced for an entire lifetime in quite the way as has Mary Ellen Mark…at times with a coy and "girlish" personality, and other times as  hard as nails , Mary Ellen has always had her "eyes on the prize", knows what she wants, and goes and gets it…

using the now extinct 20×24 inch Polaroid camera to make spectacular, literally "one of a kind", black & white prints, Mary Ellen has been photographing high school prom night since 2006….she has three more proms to photograph this year and then that will be it…over for her project…over for the the super big Polaroid…end of an era…please read a story on MEM prom work by Francine Prose in the summer 2007 issue of Aperture magazine…last weekend Mary Ellen came to Virginia (seen above) to shoot a high school prom and will have prints in her retrospective "legend" exhibition  from this local event….MEM only had 15 assistants with her…  i ended up grilling steaks for all of them, at a dinner hosted by Look3 producer Jessica Nagle,  therefore becoming number 16!!

Mary Ellen joins Joel-Peter Witkin and James Nachtwey as the "legends" to be exhibited and on hand  at this 2nd annual Look3, Festival of the Photograph, from June 12-14 in Charlottesville, Virginia…please check the link to see all that will be presented by festival  maestro Michael Nichols …last year he put this photo fest on the "international map" and this year promises us even more….see this YouTube video…

added this year will be one week shooting workshops (June 7-12) being taught by Eugene Richards, William Albert Allard, and , yes, your own DAH…i think we have a few spaces left, so click the link if interested in a challenge…these workshops will segue right into the festival…

i believe you already know that many of you will have work from our forum here (entries from Emerging Photog Fund) presented in a half hour slide show as a special feature for the festival…this could become an annual feature, this will become at least one outlet for you here….as you know, i am trying for more….the good news for me is the workshop will be over by the time the festival starts, therefore giving me some "hang time" with those of you who show up, and some shooting time also with some local families…

ok, the logical, and perhaps soul searching question for all of you… you have dreams of being recognized as a "one of a kind" photographer?


129 Responses to “one of a kind….”

  • Mixed couple moves me (not sure it is the good word). My wife is black, I’m white… We are both… metis children… Not black, not white… metis. Two peoples, two souls or maybe one soul, two parts.

  • David, just to be mentionned as…Kind of a photographer will be plenty for me ;-)

    I am probably one of a kind in other matters, though…

    Mary Ellen Mark is indeed one of the greats, I bet she hates the word legend though.

  • thanks for your personal into to Mary Ellen Mark, David. very nice insight. explains also why wrote in the last post that you were off to the prom…good times!!
    Look3 seems like a great event, and it would be a great experience to be able to partake, at your or any other of the photographers workshops, see their work and hear their talks, mingle and socialise, and last but not least, see of DAH emerging photog fund slide show…won’t be able to prioritize this event myself, but wish all of you going there a great time.

    i realized something today, thinking about what was reflected upon, in an earlier post, with regards to home environment, that this has been holding me back…don’t know what or why this is…but bla bla bla…my conclusion is that i gotta make portraits of the 2 neighbours one story below…why them? have contact with them, and their lives have for some reason changed…and they are now enjoying the sweetness of alcohol…i’d love to get their story…maybe even film them…what attracts me to homeless and drunks, i don’t know…anyway, time for me to get off the soapbox…too much herb…don’t know…a great day and night to you all…

    sweet dreams,

  • thanks for your personal into to Mary Ellen Mark, David. very nice insight. explains also why wrote in the last post that you were off to the prom…good times!!
    Look3 seems like a great event, and it would be a great experience to be able to partake, at your or any other of the photographers workshops, see their work and hear their talks, mingle and socialise, and last but not least, see of DAH emerging photog fund slide show…won’t be able to prioritize this event myself, but wish all of you going there a great time.

    i realized something today, thinking about what was reflected upon, in an earlier post, with regards to home environment, that this has been holding me back…don’t know what or why this is…but bla bla bla…my conclusion is that i gotta make portraits of the 2 neighbours one story below…why them? have contact with them, and their lives have for some reason changed…and they are now enjoying the sweetness of alcohol…i’d love to get their story…maybe even film them…what attracts me to homeless and drunks, i don’t know…anyway, time for me to get off the soapbox…too much herb…don’t know…a great day and night to you all…

    sweet dreams,

  • I went last.year and it was terrific. Don’t wait until last minute – they do sell out.

  • sorry about the double posting…so here you’ll have a third…don’t know why..again..but had to put in the security code twice, so that would explain the double post..


  • I went last.year and it was terrific. Don’t wait until last minute – they do sell out.

  • sorry about my 2x too. ‘trying to do this from iPhone.

  • I’ve got my ticket to the festival. Curious who here is going.

  • david……

    it’s been an awful day….and today decided: sadly, cant come to charlottesville….found out today our tax accountant totally messed up my taxes, i owe $$$ (still in a state of shock as i type, listening to Preisner to calm down…….from part of what i sent you and michael yesterday…..

    as for MEM: last year, work from her Ward 81 was shown at Stephen Bulger (the dude that represents some of Magnum folk like Larry T, Jim G, Susan M, your buddy Alex W and of course Mary Ellen M)….

    after the exhibition (marina was in russia), i went outside, drank….and wept….went back with a friend 1 hour later…wept again…but also depressed by the prices of the prints (well, she is greatness)…i’ve loved MEM for a long long time…but also, was pissed ’cause Bulger wasn’t at first very “friendly” to me, when i tried to get him to see John vink’s projection…then when he re-met me, knowing i was doing a magnum photog, he was nicer to me….the usual bullshit of the art world…ditto, when he learned who’d showed our family show ;))…anyway, her exhibit here, was the highlight of my 2007 for documentary work in toronto…

    I digress…(fucking taxes)…

    “do you have dreams of being recognized as a “one of a kind” photographer?”

    I am dreams that my wife and son are safe and calm and happy and that i can make photography and write without constantly running into obstacles…fuck it, no that aint right, ’cause being a photographer, being known, being anything is nothing compared with the days and ways of what others have to ordeal…

    i dont want to be anything: only to write and snap pictures and help my family and friends and live simply…

    im grisly today…i’ll i’ll leave a long, obnoxious comment…from something i finished writing last week…

    how can we know…



    Our bodies carry, like flotsam and drift-wood upon the back of a slow-articulating river, the memories of those who came before us. Along the curve of our spine, tickled beneath the hinge of our jaws, along the fan of space between our fingers, from within the resonant sound of the shape of our teeth, memory seeds itself and grows with a fecundity we seldom acknowledge properly. What grows happens in the silent snap of a moment. That moment , however, may occur in the lick of a lifetime. We contain the entirety of the lives that came before us, bestowed to us along ligament and hair lick, tongue and tissue, wobbly vocabulary and vocal chord. We are, even in our muted silence, the spoken history of those lives lived gone, only too-often the songs written upon our bodies remain choir-less, the stories cast along our limbs unopened, the mythologies archived in the chambers of our cranial corners still un-categorized. Yet, we hunger to remember. But there still the faces and the traces, the sounds of the rounding of days, the pictures and tinctures of the already lived and lost, recomposed inside our own seemingly inimical lives. But are we unique or an amalgam? We grope to understand within the shape of our hunger to remember and to retrieve, to understand and delve, research and relinquish. We contain. We sift. We burgeon. It is, in fact, all there inside us though often at a loss of approximate distance. Remedy this, we tell ourselves, remedy this.

    So, take into your hand something small and weave it into the movement of your thoughts. See how it enlarges all of you and all that you have not counted upon; see how a small artifact reminds you of what once was and what still resides inside: a book, a story, a pen, a signature, a piece of cloth, a word, a scent, a glimmer of a shadow or a speck of light, an imprint, a sound, a comb, a shoe, a tattered lace, an indent, a forgotten taste, a photograph: all the small things that trigger obdurate things. How much could be unbelted if what we longed to retrieved were unhooked. Those places and faces and spaces, ancestor and parent, that sit like an unadorned and unopened book upon the shelf of your gathering. If only we but reached out and opened, would we begin to recognize ourselves more clearly? To snap the spine that has woodened from age, the whelp into the world of recognition. Crack it. Shellack it. You were born of it: desire and duty. Look at the rings beneath your eyes, nibble upon the the carving along the back of your hands, focus on the nimble notes of your voice, take up the photograph of the woman standing on the bridge with her back turned and catch her, the curve of her hip suggesting the loss of love, wander over the TV screen in front of you as that unknown but somehow recognizable woman speaks to you of what has gone missing, distilling her life’s tale as if sung from Scherhazades, know not the name or the details of the forlorn awakening but speak upon them regardless. Arrest that which has rested too long. Remember what you had forgotten to remember while you see what it was that you were meant to see. The ache of a quick snatch gone fleeting. There, in that moment in front of you. Have you begun to remember? Picture this: a photograph as a map of your life pre-drawn.

  • everyone is already a one of a kinder weather they recognize it or not. and the photos they make , weather it be of family and firends or stories from their own lives are probably much more meaningful than some “famous ” persons photos. i think there 2 aspects to becoming recognized as a one of kind photograper….skill and marketing! yes marketing! and marketing is huge piece of it. by the way are portfolio reviews still being done?

  • I think everyone wants to be one of a kind. Maybe it isnt to be recognized, but atleast to know that what you are doing, even if not “recognized” is original and new, different in some way and not just a copy of what came before. call it authorshop or what you want. Being recognized would ofcoure be a great thing but how many artists are recognized in their lifetimes? Van Gogh was your typical unsuccessful starving artists when he was alive….I bete he never dreamed how big he would become.

  • ….do you have dreams of being recognized as a “one of a kind” photographer?

    i wouldn’t call it a dream DAVID….
    it’s more of an OBSESSION….

    hey Bob… tax wise you are not alone….
    if i tell you my story… you will probably go out and party all night long…

  • tax wise you are not alone….
    if i tell you my story…
    That’s 3 of us. Though I think on that account I do fit as “one of a kind”…

  • Dream of being… recognized, known, famous. It sounds now for me like science fiction. I’ve realized that last week. I must dream of doing… greats photographs, great shoots. All I’m dreaming about now is doing. Shooting. Que sera, sera. What will be, will be.

  • DAVID,

    I plan to make it to the Festival, although … shame on me, it looks like I will only be able to get there on the 13th and 14th which would make me miss the actual talk/ show of Mary Ellen Mark. I do however look forward to see the show from your friend Jim and I am glad to see that you are also “on” now to talk “off for family drive”…. Let us know where you plan to hang around….presumably this festival might also be of a dimension that makes it easy to bump into each other….

    On your question of being recognized as “one of a kind” photographer…. Obvioulsy who would not dream of this but somehow, maybe because I am not a professional, my initial modest dream has been to do a few “one of a kind” photographs to start with…Rather than the fame of being recognized, what is more exciting than capturing that one very special shot or photograph that creates a real emotion, having your eye recognize that 1/125s moment in time when something magical happens…. There are only few of these photographs that I see, even in the main photographers that have inspired me. Most have got lots of great pictures but there are very few that somehow are the very very special photographs. I can look at these for a very long time…They just seem so intense, so intimately talking to me… If only I could do a few of these before it is over, I will be a very happy man! It reminds me that, when I was last in Antigua, there was a shot I was trying to get of a statue of an angel at the end of a day with clowdy sky…I loved the light, the angle, I was missing something to make this shot more special…all of a sudden, I see this little girl with a wonderful colorful dress coming from a distance and I wait, wait for her to get there, hopefully, worried I was not going to get the shot and then, at the last second, after passing by the angel, she just turned her head to look back at that angel, straight at his eyes…I got that one shot… I was so excited…I did put it in my edit that I shared with you…After the moment is gone, who knows whether others and you liked that particular shot but anyway, I continue to try to work at getting a few of these magical moments….

    Come to think of it, I guess this may be how it all started with you as well….making more and more one of a kind photographs and then slowly coming to realize that you could also become one of a kind photographer…NIce dream for all of us!

    Have fun in Charlotte and hope to see you there. Eric

  • “do you have dreams of being recognized as a “one of a kind” photographer?”

    I used to, for a while. Then those desires and feelings started detracting from my enjoyment of the art, to the point that I stopped shooting altogether for a couple of years.

    I can honestly say that now I shoot for myself. Period. I’m enjoying it just like I did when I was discovering photography at the age of 12 years, and shooting with my grandfather’s 1933 Leica, oblivious to all the pressures, demands, and expectations. Now, any external recognition is pure gravy.

    Incidentally, I’ve been a Mary Ellen Mark fan for about 15 years. I have studied her book “The Photo Essay”. Enjoy Look3.

  • I don’t know that I’ll feel it in my lifetime, but if I happen to have children, and I pass on negs, prints, and several terabytes of data, I’d like to think that I was a one of a kind photographer to them.

    And if I don’t have children, I’ll settle for having a handful of pieces in museums here and there.

  • BOB….

    i was sitting here with my son Bryan when i made this post…we both agreed that we could not wait to see what you would write in response!! figured it was the perfect “trigger’ for you and, lordy lordy, you did not disappoint!!!


    you are basically right, but i am not quite sure what you mean by “marketing” ???? i.e. showing a portfolio??? exhibiting work?? publishing work???

    i mean, the world is full full full of marketeers….but Jay, bottom line, you gotta have something to take to market or else there ain’t gonna be anybody buying!!!

    yes, of course, any photographer must make his or her work “available”…you cannot hide your work in a closet and hope to be “discovered”…but, i have seen many photogs with mediocre work and very slick slick marketing campaigns and the work remains sadly mediocre…

    i do notice a lot of photographers who will see the success of another photographer and automatically say “oh, well, he/she just knows how to sell himself/herself”….anybody smell sour grapes????


    Van Gogh is always used as an example of the “starving unknown artist” whose time did not come until death…great story …but, Picasso , on the other hand, was very well aware of his surroundings, circumstances, did very well financially, commercially etc etc and was the epitome of the very good calculations and “marketing” to which Jay was referring….he MADE SURE he had his place in history….

    in any case, when i said “recognized” i did not say by whom or by how many…you could be recognized as a “one of a kind” photographer by your mother or your wife or your son and couldn’t that be or shouldn’t that be enough ????


    i am surely obsessed on many levels to be sure…and i did certainly have at a very early age a strong strong feeling that i had been “given” something special…that i needed to “take care” as one would take care of a garden….

    but, “recognition” is something over which none of us has any control…either in small quantities or large….surely, everyone loves a “pat on the back”…and the best way to get this “love” is not to seek it too too much…you cannot “try” to get respect etc…you get respect by being who you are and IF someone else “gets you” than fine, nice, enjoy…but to be obsessed with seeking only this “pat on the back” is i think potentially destructive….there is a fine fine balance and difference between self aware and self absorbed….

    i would however like a little bit of love from the IRS!!!! oh Bob, Herve and you Panos…you have no idea how my idealistic romantic subjective way of looking at life has cost me cost me and cost me some more…although i wish i could direct my tax payments away from the war in Iraq etc. and into the areas where i want my dollars to be spent, i realize that for things “to work” taxes must be paid…we need roads, schools, fire depts etc etc etc….i get it….but, i do live in a very abstract world when it comes to personal money management…but, the IRS must love me more than i love them, because i have been one of their better customers and pay even more than i owe in late penalties etc…

    hey, can we please get back to obsession, recognition, “one of a kind” etc etc????

    peace, david

  • Welll…

    yes it should be enough but really its tough to make money recognized only by your wife or mother vs being recognized by a lot of professionals or art people:) Yes, while a lot of people make porr work but are good at marketing we cant forget that different circles of people have different tastes and whats crap to one circle may be great to others. Its a matter of finding a niche and exploding within it, and marketing yourself is important, I guess.

    And yes, van gogh is a great example, maybe overused but a great example….its such a contrast between his life and after it.

  • Getting back to van gogh for a minute, I wonder how much his tragic life has contributed to his posthumous success….would he be the same giant if he was a boring guy who died married of old age with some success in some French town? Is being a poor, penniless and failed crazy guy who cut off his ear for a woman and klled himself part of the package? So, is there not a bit of marketing there? Not on his part, ofcourse he’s dead, but on the part of the art industry?

  • …Birds( Politicians) keep singing their annoying prayers….

    … in the meantime…. Blood ( Soldiers ) are wasted , spilled…

    Ladies and gents…. my first POLITICAL ( 3 minutes) FILM…

    Who are YOU gonna vote for…?


  • DAVID….


    I’m not trying to entertain,
    I’m trying to stay alive…

  • Bob, I’m really disappointed that you won’t be able to make it to LOOK3. I was looking forward to meeting the man whose words consistently give me chill bumps. Your latest post was exceptional. Such a gift!

    But David McG and Eric, I sure hope we meet up in Charlottesville. I’ll be in DAH’s workshop. Hope to see some of you there.

    Regarding your question, David, I’ve been mulling it over since I first read this thread hours ago. I guess I’d have to answer it in several ways. Like Eric, I’m more interested in taking one of a kind photographs–even a few in my lifetime–than being “recognized” in any public way. Sure it would be cool to have my work seen by more people but that has nothing to do with why I do what I do. I do it because I can’t NOT do it. But once in a very long while I’ll click the shutter and know I’ve captured something special. That is a glorious feeling, having nothing to do with its being “recognized as one of a kind” or not.

    But isn’t each of us one of a kind? So doesn’t it figure that our photographs or poems or paintings or music is unique? No one does exactly what we do because no one sees, hears, experiences the world like we do. I used to teach art to adults who would come into my classes saying “I can’t draw a straight line.” I always told them they were in the right place because there wasn’t a straight line to be found in nature. And I never had a student who didn’t end up making art. Pretty damn good art at that. And it was always unique because they were unique.

    Such a long answer to a short question…

  • David,

    In my case… I’m still working things out. I am trying to make photographs that precisely register with the pictures I see in front of me… if not one of a kind, I am aiming for something very specific… precisely imperfect… I want to get things exactly wrong, if that makes any sense. It’s not easy, and is probably a thorny way to recognition of any sort…

    I’ve got my ticket to the festival, too… hope to have a chance to say hello to everyone.

  • Well, David, Rafal has a point, Van Gogh is movie and lore material because of his wretched life, not his paintings. Chances are he wouldn’t have been able to bear the pressures of being famous while alive. I do not think, unlike Picasso, it would have made much difference to his own self-esteem and doubts, except for the worse, like quite a few others.

    Picasso was truly a whore, when it comes to recognition. But talk about one of a kind!

    Photography, I dunno, all these figures we admire, you too of course, it’s all within the craft and people passionated with it, and of course peers and collegues. You say “VIRGINIA” is your best selling book so far, the one book you’d rather slip under the carpet (after tearing off the picture of your kids!).

    Doisneau, famous for one shot, Hotel de Ville kiss, not 1/100 of people know who made the iconic Che picture. Myself, I often think Burri before Korda (I promise to remember for now on)…

    Cartier-Bresson just simply does not have the recognition, outside the afficionados of the craft, he deserves. Avedon says he is one of the 5 greatest artists of the last century. But Avedon is a photographer. A peer.

    I mean, recognition within one’s craft is no mean feat, but I think we all understand recognition beyond that, where at least your work has taken a life of its own, has been established for future generations.

    As it’s quite confusing this idea of recognition. There are guys out there who make big bucks, selling fine art prints, that the world will never give a hoot about. The golden age of photo-journalists and street photographers is behind us, say some. We are a million a day making quite passable shots, but will get closer to the trap (ie. no food on the table) when we start “authoring”.

    Just stirring things, what do you guys and gals think?

    BTW, Not being pessimistic at all. My father was never famous or recognized, and he will have meant much more to me than Picasso, or whoever. There is such stuff in life that has no barometer, no measuring. You can’t never beat true love. That, I do recognize! ;-)

  • Usually I love this world because it is big with so many treasures to find, so many distances to cross…. but right now I wish the world were smaller and time more elastic…. Yes, I just took a look at the Look3 site and watched the youTube video…. Amazing! I wish I could make it and be there!! but instead I also have something big to do at the same time. And that is a constant in life: sometimes we are forced to choose our next step. And I already have a “festival” to attend that for me will be “one of a kind”.
    Hope you record the half hour slide show presenting some work from the entries from the Emerging Photographers Fund and show us later here…. Will you include all the selected works or only a few?
    And about your question, just reading about Mary Ellen makes me dream of keep on learning, keep on walking just to become what I want to be. One of a kind? maybe not for the rest of the world, but at least one of a kind just for me, to finally be confident with myself.
    Peace, love and photography. Yeah….

  • I sometimes reflect on the power of marketing. one of the most successful artists out there who has stores in malls across this country and who definetly has a unique style that one could identify as one of a kind is thomas kinkaid often called the “painter of light”. the power of marketing? call it what you will but there is a genius there.


    yes, afer a morning of horrendous sleep and nightmares, i return shaggy-haired and sleepy, but at least i can commisserate in knowing i aint alone…it all came as just as major shock yesterday because i had our accountant do our taxes and i was told i owed $0…broke even (and i have a very low income salary for a family a 3: go figure, 2 artists) only to get my notice from the govt yesterday with payment do TODAY…crushing and angering and frightening, but as marina reminded: we have each other and will see throughit, aint nothin’ nobody else aint have howed before (as my grandmother might have said), and there are families in much more dire straits…if anything, it was a reminder to the ego…i’d hoped to be at Look3, to see the projection of the work (since some of my pics i’ve chosen, blog members havent seen) and most importantly to drink and talk with david and lance and all the rest of y;’all, since most of us know each other only through this…maybe it’s better this way, waiting until its not as hectic, though i am still very disappointed…digression….

    as fro Mary Ellen Mark, i should have added how brilliant her work is and as a photographer how much i admire her. I already wrote that her Ward 81 pics (old work/early work) ripped my heart last year, but what i admire about her (besides her brilliant photograhy) is that she has courage, big courage (athletes call this “big balls”) to tackle square on other luminaries…her book TWINS to be a straight on dialogue with ARbus: i mean, who the fuck get’s beyond Arbus and that iconic twin pic, and Mark did an entire book: a direct and transcendent act of huzpah and brilliance..add it all up: gypsies, circus work, prostitution in india, coney island, recent big format shit…it’s mad and brilliant and she’s a giant, period…

    but we are each both: one of a kind and all of a kind, and that’s always been, at the end of the day, good doesnt mean i, (who doesnt) dont harbor heart-thumps of grandeur (i want to be the best husband, best father, best son, best brother, best friend, best photographer, best writer, best thinker, best reader, best sleeper I can be, though its a continual failure on all those parts: failure of perfection, achievement, not failure of humanity)…but in the end, its just the simple pursuit of what arrows the heart….for all this “greatness” shit is all usually retrospectively earned and for most, who remembers us…surely no one past our grandchildren…

    hark the heart with hath not music in its soul, disappearing…

    Patricia Lay-Dorsey : i will be there next year…since i’ve missed now 2 years running…


    p.s. last nigh, from shock, i went to bed at 9:00, only to awaken at 4:30 from a nightmare: in the woods of North Carolina with some old man (as if from Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses) and suddenly we were chased by a black bear…the crackle of his breath, the stretch toward the old cabin…and before the door, i fell and awoke my heart like a fucking John Henry’s hammer against an anvil…

    how does one begin to explain their interior life to the world….fucking one of a kind, all of a kind….

  • Hum, but isn’t it annoying to be recognized by many other photographers, and your flatmate, mother and cat? (Sort of following from Herve.)

    Btw, is anybody planning on going to Rencontres d’Arles or Visa Pour l’Image? If time and budget allows I might try to do one of those for a couple of days. Maybe try to subsidize the drinking by selling wetprinted 5×7” prints for a fiver or something…

  • David:

    I was wondering how Mary Ellen Mark was shooting her project, I had not heard about it until you mentioned it in an earlier post.

    Isn’t there an even larger polaroid that someone did portraits of 9-11 rescue works with a few years back?

    I will be at Look3 and I am enrolled in your workshop. Looking forward to it and I am definitely up for a challenge.

    As for being recognized as a “one of a kind photographer”, I would say if that happened it would be nice if it was because the work meant something to people other than just being a photographer that made really pretty images or one that just happened to be in the right place at the right moment to capture an event that became an iconic photograph.

    For me I just want my photography to bring about awareness or change. I am not interested in fame. The only use for it in my opinion is to be able to take whatever recognition my work may attract and turn that into opportunities to create more meaningful work. Lets face it. Photographers that create moving and important imagery end up having more doors opened through funding, access and other means.

    I just want to work. My goal is to move beyond newspapers and have the ability and time to pursue more projects of my choosing. I have one in particular that I have been working on for a few years off and on. Maybe we can talk about it at the workshop?

  • “Do you have dreams of being recognized as a “one of a kind” photographer?”

    No. For the most part I dream of being chased along the bottom of the chocolate ocean by a large mollusk dressed in a nun’s habit who wants to hit me upside the back of my head for not knowing my multiplication tables or the proper way to discuss the Summa Theologica while eating a ham and cheese sandwich. You’d think that getting away from a mollusk, especially a bivalve mollusk (I’m assuming that this particular bivalve is an oyster—it seems too big to be a clam or scallop) wouldn’t be all that much trouble, but it is exceedingly difficult to run anywhere on the bottom of the chocolate ocean without scuba gear and a spoon. Taking pictures doesnt even enter the equation.

  • “No. For the most part I dream of being chased along the bottom of the chocolate ocean by a large mollusk dressed in a nun’s habit who wants to hit me upside the back of my head for not knowing my multiplication tables or the proper way to discuss the Summa Theologica while eating a ham and cheese sandwich. …”

    are you sure that the “LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS” lyrics,
    are NOT yours…??????????

    Good morning everyone…

  • i just assume everyone here wants to be a “one of a kind photographer,” to realize or express their own unique individuality and concept of reality through their work, to reach that pinnacle of combining subject, photographer, and viewer in one shared mind space, to make their own unique “Mark” … I hope to grow into that …

    But I am just as interested in exploring new avenues of communication in convergence with photography, both artistically and economically, and perhaps making a one of a kind mark there (same thing really). And I can’t help but swing toward editorial in some fashion … genetic i think … But the old models of print are broken, at least from an economic standpoint (i.e. print media, it’s so depressing to look at Time now … thin, sputtering, increasingly bereft of meaningful content, more like “People,” shudder). But this leaves everything wide open now … there is a vaccuum and i have always believed that people DO WANT meaningful content, even in America …

    Nobody has yet figured out the new economic model for “print” or really even a perfected convergence of media and communication forms, that right mix of layering of formerly separate forms of communication. It is wide, wide open now … both troubling and exciting times for photographers, great hardships for many but also great possibility as yet unrealized. When somebody does figure “it” out, i think there will be a big leap in the evolution of communication. And by god, please do not let it be Rupert Murdoch!

    I was intrigued and inspired after seeing Stephen Dupont’s winning submission for the Eugene Smith Award (thank you David for that opportunity at workshop!). He combined stills, moving film, sound, narration and music into a moving piece thereby layering the best of all into a cohesive whole that was arguably much more than the sum of any of its parts. I think he may have also driven himself crazy trying to serve the two masters of both moving and still pictures.

    So for me, having an evolutionary goal of becoming a “one of a kind photographer” is as much about message and delivery, and exploring emerging avenues, as it is about having an identifiable and unique style. And this is why, at 41, I am … gasp … going back to college to study in an interdisciplinary way (it’s a unique school) sound, film, video, animation, art, color theory, painting, drawing, art history, culture, literature, writing, etc …. oh, and photography too. Not a bad way to finance personal projects either.

    Too ambitious? ;-)

  • “do you have dreams of being recognized as a “one of a kind” photographer?”

    My dreams, my obsession is to be the best I possibly can and to do work that full fills me and gets me to places not many people get to see; to do something I feel is important for people to see. I think in order to get really interesting assignments and see these places you have to be recognized as a “one of a kind” photographer or at least a photographer that can offer more than the next guy. So I guess my response to your question is yes, I want to be recognized as a one of kind photographer because of what it rewards a working photographer. I am at an interesting cross roads in my young career, I am finishing up my first newspaper internship where I learned an immense amount, and will have two picture stories published by the time my internship is completed and now I really have my eyes on the prize. The prize, do what my heart is telling me to do and its not in newspapers, its in magazines. Being recognized would make it easier to do that, but I guess you have to just go out and do it before anything else can happen. So in the next few months, I will save some money, work on a couple personal stories and try to make a plan to make that happen.

  • “He’s a unique photographer. Awfully bad as well, but unique.”

  • I don’t care whether or not I am recognized (though that would certainly be nice). I just want to continue to be able to take pictures.

    My photography is important to me, and in many cases it’s important to the people I photograph. Whether the influence spreads beyond that really doesn’t matter to me.

    The most enduring sites for your photos to reside are family albums and the walls of living rooms. When a home is on fire, the first things people try to save after themselves are the photo albums.

  • Hey David, long time!… Made it to the first leg of our “adventure” and am finally able to get my heels dug into our first project which I am excited about.

    Personally, i’ll just keep doing what i’m doing and have faith that one day I will have honed my skills to be more (if not truly) “one of a kind”. I mean you can’t force this stuff can you!?…

    Its when you hit that…”zen” and everything else falls away bar that little rectangle, that what is produced is raw and and truly “you”. So me, I just keep looking for that and have faith that all the other stuff will fall into place… I’m enjoying myself at least!!

    Hey there to Tom H too, sorry I didn’t ever get back to you last email, you caught me just as I was leaving. Hope you are good!!?

    Regards to all,


  • Hey James! No worries and good travels! Someday I’ll have a print for you when you settle down again (take your time!) In the meantime, drop me a line sometime about your travels if you get the chance and you’re a little drunk … Cheers!

  • Hey James! No worries and good travels! Someday I’ll have a print for you when you settle down again (take your time!) In the meantime, drop me a line sometime about your travels if you get the chance and you’re a little drunk … Cheers!

  • Ambition and dreams of great recognition are important because they can help to improve, but they should never turn into obsession.
    If you become obsessed for your art to be recognised, the lack of success can turn into generating a frustrated artist and frustration is the worst thing for an artist to live with.
    Success depends on so many things, talent of course, being in the right place at the right time, perseverance and.. a little luck and a little help from those who made it before (that’s why i think what DAH is doing is so special. Not many people in his position are so willing to help).
    On the previous thread i posted a link from the new york times
    I hope some of you read it.
    It’s the story of photographer Jill Freedman. Despite her talent she was not a very lucky person. But maybe now she’s finally getting something back.
    Did you ever hear about her David?


  • Ambition and dreams of great recognition are important because they can help to improve, but they should never turn into obsession.
    If you become obsessed for your art to be recognised, the lack of success can turn into generating a frustrated artist and frustration is the worst thing for an artist to live with.
    Success depends on so many things, talent of course, being in the right place at the right time, perseverance and.. a little luck and a little help from those who made it before (that’s why i think what DAH is doing is so special. Not many people in his position are so willing to help).
    On the previous thread i posted a link from the new york times
    I hope some of you read it.
    It’s the story of photographer Jill Freedman. Despite her talent she was not a very lucky person. But maybe now she’s finally getting something back.
    Did you ever hear about her David?


  • JAY N.
    sorry to disagree with you but that thomas kinkaid is exactly
    “the power of marketing” if he managed to make big money with such paintings. I had a quick look at his website and i can assure thousands of such boring “geniuses of light” prosper (or starve, according to their luck and ability) in every country around the world.
    Nothing personal though…

    sorry about the double previous posting…

  • “…fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
    (That last infirmity of Noble mind)
    To scorn delights, and live laborious dayes…”

    Milton, Lycidas


    “Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
    — Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).

    However, Mr Franklin was not talking about the Income Tax. What is “certain” is that you DON’T have to pay it. Take a look:

    I regret that my first comment on this amazing blog (it’s the first website I open each morning – yes, I’ve been one of those “non-contributing lurkers” for almost a year now) has little to do with David’s latest post, or with photography for that matter. But if it were possible that we could all worry a little less about our financial situations and more about creating wonderful art, then perhaps we could all become, each in our own unique ways, “one of a kind.”

    Keep up the good work people.


  • That’s heavy PaulB. Personally I’m a proponent of a consumption tax, like Fairtax (H.R. 25) that will eventually be on the ballot, and I’ve always wondered how other photographers feel about something like that—perhaps that’s best for another blog.

  • To your question, David, absolutely yes. Hence my branding effort, I will be rolling out a brand new, fully functional e-commerce site by the end of May. It’ll be a point of sale for open and limited edition prints, personal use downloads, books and licensing. I have some video project ideas I’m fleshing out and they too will be available as downloads eventually.

    It will also serve as a vehicle for my assignment services.

    Now, to read the various posts above…


  • Cheers for your comment David McGowan. Yes, I agree. Mine was a reluctant post (after all, it has only taken me a year!). I didn’t want to drag David’s latest post on what is an absolutely fantastic blog on this thing we love called photography reluctantly down the path of such (often) mundane topics such as politics and taxes. My apologies. I’m just weary that the weight of such topics on our daily lives can sometimes stifle our creative and artistic juices. Just look how down the usually bouyant and inspiring “running” Bob sounded with a mere mention of the IRS! Definitely topics for another blog, though.

  • if it were possible that we could all worry a little less about our financial situations
    Paul, all I can say is that anyone worrying less than me is definitely bordering on the insane…. Unless they are loaded, of course.

  • “do you have dreams of being recognised as a “one of a kind” photographer?”

    I have dreams, many, I try to pursue. photography is an obsession.

    ‘One of a kind’, well I haven’t thought about it in such a way. I guess when we find our true ‘voice’ it is unique as we all are…
    Finding that true self, is the journey, letting go…

    My biggest dreams: I want to be good enough to join Magnum, I want to build my own straw bale house, I want my dauhgters to stay as happy as they are now and grow to be all that they are and can be…

    It feels strange to put that here, naked, live and on line…
    typing onto the screen of my laptop, with nobody home.

    It’s almost a very private secret, (not anymore) kept quite inside, while I move forward with my life, with my family. But as my wife knows all too well i am also married to my photography…

    I believe i’m on my way, especially since I left my London career to travel and search out a new life and a new way of shooting.
    To process has been fantastic, frustrating, slow and immediate.
    I am growing.

    But words are not enough, now I need to SHOW AND SHARE my work with the outside world, which i’m burning to do.

    Soon I will have a whole bunch of work on line and I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE MY PHOTOS WITH YOU ALL.

    Especially I hope you will have a few minutes to take a peek at what i’m all about, what i’ve done in the past and what i’ve been doing recently. About a month from now, after we move to our new place a few miles from town, in the forest…

    I wish I could join you for a workshop, but i’m on the other side of the planet and for the moment penniless, maybe in 09, maybe in Aus?

    In the meantime, have a great time shooting and cruising.


  • PAUL B….

    welcome…and you may talk about any damn thing you want here… what is good for another blog is just fine right here too…i mean, anything and everything eventually relates to the work we do as “photographers”….all of my topics here could relate to many other life endeavors…to be a photographer, the way we have defined it here, is not to be a “cameraman” or a “technician” , although i do not disparage at all either craft…but in the way that we discuss photography here, it is all about photography as a language for expressing our ideas, our fears, our passions , our dreams, and even our anger….so any topic that relates to any of those things in any way affects us , our lives, and therefore our final work…

    so, in short, anything goes!!!


    hey amigo, welcome back!!! i was wondering how your “magical mystery tour” was going…i look forward to a full report and perhaps a few pictures too….

    cheers, david

  • DAVID,

    Looking for recognition? Of course!!! Certainly… by all means…bring it on! :)

    Not that I’m doing anything for it to happen… Recognition is going to have to search pretty hard to find me :)

    Mary Ellen Mark…I love her. I have a great quote from her written somewhere…I can try to dig it up but for now would LOVE to get your opinion about it as I recall it. She said something along the lines of:

    “I don’t want my images to have MY voice. I want to allow the subject’s voice to speak”

    I always felt this same way but never “got” how this approach and “authorship” go together. How do they co-exist?

    Hey David what happened with the “good idea??” post.?
    I was deleted 20 mins after you posted it.
    Do you think it is a bad idea or to much work?
    I think It is a great one !!

  • david alan harvey


    i think almost every great author you can think of , gives a “voice” to another person, or character (except in autobio of course)…most photographic work, certainly the best “authored” is about something “outside” the photographer and yet reflective at the same, Mary Ellen’s statement is not contradictory with authorship…for one thing, she (MEM) becomes the vehicle for the “message” from her subject…here comes Marshall McLuhan again!!


    thanks for your heartfelt message…it is almost 2am my time, so i will save viewing your work until tomorrow..this is to your advantage…if you think i forgot, please remind me…i often need reminding..and no offense is ever taken…

    cheers, david

  • Alex….
    I’m with you… about the “GOOD IDEA??”
    I saved DAVID’S POST… ( just like Noah saved the 10 commands…)…

    but i (hesitate) can’t repost it , until he gives me the o.k…!
    Brilliant… but tremendous work for HIM… i think…
    I would even accept to pay a fee … just to participate…
    I can’t even imagine David doing all that work for ALL of us…
    for FREE… Unheard of….

  • Reminding….David had you had a chance to take a closer look at my Home Sweet Home series? Since you asked to be reminded:)

    I do agree, anything goes. I think good photography reflects life so to shoot life well we need to understand what life is all about and that means discussing anything and everything with as much passion and thought as we can.

  • Cathy, it’s… ART!

    Chopin. Belongs to Poland, thru him his country-men had a voice, and yet no music (let alone Polish) quite sounds like his, probably the most individual style of all composers, bar none.

  • @ Panos: ha ha ha . I saved it too !!!
    Now…… I see you were able to post your comment ipso facto .
    I am sure the amount of work will be tremendous.
    A great idea for us can be a nightmare for David.
    Hey Panos I think people are dying of curiosity . Lets keep this between the 3 of us for a while. :-)

    (making you stay in a place for a week..taking selfportraits????…. priceless!!!)

  • David

    Thanks for your response.

    i just want to point out that it will be about a month or so before
    i have my work on-line, so ‘no worries’ for now.

    I will most definitely let you as and when : )


  • concerning mark’s book “the photo essay”, there is the complete interview which is available here :

    or is it not the complete version, asher ??

  • one of a kind…when i first posted some of my images to a norwegian photo portal web page (to get comments), i wrote, that my goal with photography, was to make it pay for my meal (and livelihood). So far, it seems, that i can’t sell a photograph, even if a meal/life depended on it. so, an urge or a deep wish to be recognized, one of a kind, famous, or what ever you prefer to call it, is part of the dream. if you first get acknowledged as a photographer, i think this all, is part of the package, whether you like it or not.

    a part of the package that i find great, is the opportunities that may arise, as in traveling, exploring, meets/greets, and experiencing all what our mother earth has to offer. this is what keeps me in the “business”, and what i know will happen one day…

    until then, i will do what i have been doing since at the age of 9, and that is to photograph for myself.


  • ALLç

    the stupid notion of ^fame^ and greatness….

    two months ago, i received an email from a friend about a Japanese photographer who i~d never heard of. She~d told me that Noorderlict would be showing a retrospective of his work and that I would be stunned. At first, i thought ^japanese photographer, i think i know all the great ones of the last 60 years^(im obsessed with japanese photography)…and then she posted the link at LS 2 months ago….

    and today, again, a link…

    so let me introduce you to the extraordinary photographer–Kiyoshi Suzuki

    he worked in near complete solitude (that is away from the stupid nomenclature of the photography world) and look what he achieved…

    dig, dig, dig…that is all that matters really…for all the rest is just dross and totally arbitrary…whether you are ^known^or ^recognized^or not has not relationship to the work you are doing….

    it is why i dig David Alan Harvey so much, ~cause fortune has shined upon him and he has always took that with the good sense of humour that that deserves, and he gives back…

    david, this dude goes out to you…



  • ps.



  • David, I’m curious about Mary Ellen Mark’s using 15 assistants–16 counting you!–to help with her recent prom photo shoot in Virginia. I guess I can’t even imagine what all these people could find to do. Could you speak a bit about the use of assistants in photography? I’m assuming these folks get no or little public credit for their work. How much to they do and how much does a famous photographer like MEM do? Is there an unofficial code of ethics regarding the use of assistants? Are they usually younger photographers who do this as a form of apprenticeship to see hands-on how a master of the medium like MEM works? Do you use assistants too?

    Perhaps you’ve already discussed this in earlier threads. If so maybe you could give me a link. Thanks.

  • BOB,

    Stunning work from Kiyoshi Suzuki! Thanks for linking.

    A bit OT, but as we don’t have a forum I don’t know where else to say it. What’s your take on the Miley Cyrus pictures in Vanity Fair? Honestly I think that Annie Leibowitz took it a step to far. I just don’t see a reason to portrait a 15 year old in this way. Yes, Miley and her dad are also responsible, but also Annie and who wouldn’t trust a photographer of her status..


  • david alan harvey


    the “good idea” post was written and intended to be posted tomorrow since there was still some chat going on here and had only been up for a day or two..i accidentally posted it for about 20 mins..also , i will have today to go over it and make sure it makes sense…and make sure it is possible…michael courvoisier has made me promise not to post anything or mostly not to promise anything after two vodkas or whatever….he might have a good point…so i will go re-read it all after another cup of coffee…whatever i do i just cannot create more work for myself here than i already have, given my current family project…i am sure you understand…


    i think there is a fine line between “fame and greatness” and “recognition”….i think that peer recognition is quite a bit different than “fame” which we have discussed in other threads this last year…but, it is always a good one and will always come up one way or the other…

    i think most serious photographers feel they need enough recognition to be supported, i.e. getting a Guggenheim or major assignment, but would shun “fame” which has an almost “tacky” connotation…just like i think Nirvana or Phish were happier as “underground bands” and hated the thought of being too “commercial” or “famous”…however, in this current climate of the extreme version of Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame” it can be very hard to escape some sort of “fame” after having received some sort of “recognition”…i find that many young photographers have travel and fame at the top of their list as a “reason” to even be a photographer…i think both of those goals are shallow aspirations, at least as far as a “raison d’ete” for being a photographer in the first place..

    when i was a very young photographer i had absolutely zero concept at all that either recognition or fame could part of photography …was just not in my psychological makeup or in my “world view” of things…photographers who had books were some sort of “god” to me then, and i never saw myself as trying to “be” them, but rather i saw i could create a “mini version” of their life and work on 89th street in Virginia Beach…i did not see it going past that!!! .when i one a prize in my local camera club at 14 (pleasant surprise) and then later was “college photographer of the year” and then later”mag photog of the year” etc etc(pleasant surprises), i realized naively that this could be “part of the package”…i then never entered another contest…i would still try for something like a Guggenheim for funding purposes or i have no regrets about seeking membership in Magnum nor shooting for Natgeo, but all of these are for the very practical purpose of having a mechanism for getting work done…i have tried very hard to spin whatever recognition i have received back into my teaching…to use that inevitable illusory “fame” into something useful for someone else…to take something that was inspirational for me and pass it on ..

    i must say that way back and even now , if my family and friends like some of my work (and they do not like all of it) , then that is enough “recognition” for me…sure, having editors etc find my work “valuable” for publication etc. has put food on my table and that is no small feat, but i have always kept the “commercialization” of my work way way apart from the most “important work” as it plays back in the deep recesses of my self created psyche…only i know “my world”…all the rest is an “interpretation”, sometimes “correct” , sometimes not…

    the Kiyoshi Suzuki work is terrific ….just could not have been done by a Westerner….not quite like that….very very nice..thanks for the link amigo…

    hugs, david

  • JARLE said “I wrote, that my goal with photography, was to make it pay for my meal (and livelihood).”

    It is mine too. Not for makes money (there is a lot of easier way for that), just leaving of what I love.

    But for now, I am not even sure that I make good pictures. I have constant doubts. I sold some prints, few, but it makes me less happy than have a good critic from a fellow photographer. Am I normal?

    Regarding the marketing, I dont think that it is a “bad” thing. It can help if you are already good, it is never sufficient or anyway not for a long time.

  • Might be of some interest … interview with Chris Johns.


    “…although David… this is tremendous work for you….
    All that for free ????

    I would love to participate… even if i had to pay a fee…
    for real…”

    that was part of my comment regarding the “GOOD IDEA”…
    but … anyway… we can wait…

    I agree with Michael C…

    David doesnt matter how much “blood” you have to give…
    Many thirsty “Vampires” out there….

    You can’t be doing all that s**t for free… !!!


    good question…and this has never been asked before on this forum….

    Mary Ellen needed all of those 15 assistants..first of all, it takes 4 or 5 specialists from Polaroid to just work the camera…MEM does not touch the camera, the lights etc etc…she only steps in when all is set up and engages her subjects and squeezes the cable release at just the right moment..but the whole big “set up” is physically done by others..she also had several of these assistants running around the prom taking SX 70’s of various couple and then bringing these snapshots backstage for MEM to see and then choose her subjects for the big pictures from these assistant snapshots…MEM does not always have so many assistants…just for these large Polaroid shoots…most photographers in New York have a full time studio manager, and two or three other assistants…some of these could be unpaid interns who go to NYU or Columbia or Parsons etc and are looking for an “on the site workshop”…i literally have dozens of college students from here and from Europe who want to come to my studio and “help out”…some of them have done just that and then gone on to their own successful careers…this is definitely the “way” to move to New York…assisting is a career in and of itself…i know some lighting assistants who make way more money than any photographer because they are always in such demand…

    for most of my career i have worked alone….for some Natgeo stories i needed not an assistant , but an interpreter…someone who could speak Vietnamese for example…but, when i learned Spanish, i geared most of my work around Spanish speaking stories mostly for artistic reasons, but knowing another language gets you “in” in a way that no interpreter can do…

    for most of my advertising shoots, which are few and far between, i do have however many assistants it takes to do the work…i think the most i ever had was around 10 or so which included lighting crew and hair/makeup/wardrobe etc etc….

    if i do have an assistant with me on this family project, which i may have from time to time, it is only to help me find families and help build rapport with these families…i can do it alone, but it always helpful to have someone like my full time New York producer Marie Arago around to just make folks feel heavy lifting!!! i do also employ Michael Courvoisier as my printer for collectors prints etc..he also troubleshoots in many other areas including often helping with this forum and general computer stuff where i am a total disaster…both Marie and Michael also run my workshops…i refuse to do any workshop without them….Marie organizes, Mike does the tech work for all of the students…so, that is my little team…we have become very close friends, but sometimes Marie tells me that she wants to go out and get a “real job”…that always gets a good laugh out of both Mike and me…

    but after all is said and done, i still do not have anyone who runs out to get me coffee!!!!

    cheers, david

  • MARTIN: :))…you are very welcome…I agree…i love his work so much. His first book is strict “documentary” work about a coal mining area (you can find some of the pics from his 1st book at the nooderlicht site, under the ’99 exhibition Wonderlan), and that work evolved into the strange, mysterious, delicate poetry of the later work….as for the Leibowitz pics in VF…i haven’t seen them yet, only a few..i’ll check tonight…i’ve never been a great “fan” of her work. i mean, i respect her remendously, particularly her brilliant eye for the iconic (funny, her famed Whoopie in milk photo is clearly (intended of not) an ode to Mark’s pict from Ward 81 i posted earlier)), but i seldom see something more suggestive…beautiful, humorous work, but it’s seldom stayed in my gut…as a dad with a 14 yr old, im pretty flexible..sexuality is alive and part of life, at any age, the question is this: are the pics cheesy (seems probably) or exploitive…but, it’s also a bit disingenuous on cyrus’ family: i mean it’s all MARKETING, so what’s wrong with Annie’s pics?…i’ll have to see them first, …my instinct is to side with Annie’s judgment…more about that later…


    I couldnt agree more :))…nothing to add to what you’ve written…i think each person, in whatever guise their life takes, hungers for “recognition”: recongition to be “understood” or appreciated by someone…for me, it’s mostly about this: those i love and trust, can i ensure some kind of calm (almost impossible), can i share with others the ways and means of my life as a way to connect, to give voice…i think all else, its cool…see, even in Magnum there is sometimes a “hierarchy” of talent, as PJG expressed ;))))…in the end, all that matters is the same tale:

    we each grope to try to share and understand what and how and why it is we’re alive and do certain things and hope, in the silence and solitude, to feel supported and to support…me too, i never cared about fame (well, i did when i was 13, and that was about being a NY Yankee), just about this: a friend or partner enjoy and feel warm in my company and somehow met or touched or fed by something i did: be in writing, photography or the way i’ve treated them…

    the rest, lovely, but just extra :))


  • i have to say that fame is not the reason why i do photography. at my exhibition that i had in norway, i would rather have stayed at home, or have been there for the flower and press photo, and then left. i’d rather be the back ground, than be the fore ground. but staying the entire time was also nice, and sharing the stories behind some of the images, was rewarding. what you manage to do David, spinning your recognition into teaching is very admiring.
    travel…is something i love to do, and being in a new place, with new tastes, smells, and sounds, make me feel so alive..and even thinking about going to a new place and not bring a camera, is for me unlikely. now, i can’t even go scuba diving, since i can’t bring a camera, and don’t have a housing. i feel sick to my stomach, when i am in a situation, and i can’t photograph it. i am so fortunate that i have photography, and are able to capture life around me. as many of you know, pablo picasso said: “I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn.” and i say, if it weren’t for photography, i’d kill myself…not!

  • JARLE…

    of course, we all love to travel…i was just saying that as a “primary motive” for becoming a photographer, it may be a bit shallow…well, at least, on the levels of work that usually are discussed here…if one wants to pursue travel photography as a career, then that is another story..

    you seem to be quite well motivated…you have the “zest” it takes…so, just keep working and thinking and thinking and working…i will look forward to see where you go and how you go there…

    cheers, david

  • hi David,

    cheers for your good and kind words.
    what i wrote for my future one day own web site, as a mission statement was: – To portray life as it is, and create an experience through the image as a place that is reflected upon, to help generate change.

    btw, i’m also curious as to how i’m gonna get there… ;)


  • RAFAL….

    thanks for the reminder….this is really breakout work for you Rafal…very very nice!!! so so different from anything you showed me before….and it is really ironic , because the post i have coming tomorrow mentions a project like this for you, and i had not even seen this….pure coincidence…

    cheers, david

  • Regarding fame …

    “I do think that the quality which makes a man want to write and be read is essentially a desire for self-exposure and is masochistic. Like one of those guys who has a compulsion to take his thing out and show it on the street.” – James Jones

  • … and just saw this on another photoblog. Not about fame but seems to fit this place so well where ther is little talk about technique but much about life and ideas. As the editor mentioned there, this applies to photographers as well. (And Mamet is one of my all-time favorites)

    “Y’know, I grew up in a different generation. I grew up after World War II, and boys did different things in those days. You went camping. You went hunting. You boxed. And the image of a writer, to someone starting off in those days was not some schmuck who went to graduate school. It was Jack London, Nelson Algren, Ernest Hemingway. Especially coming from Chicago–a writer was a knock-around guy. Someone who got a job as a reporter or drove a cab. I think the reason there are a lot of novels about How Mean My Mother Was to Me and all that shit is because the writers may have learned something called ‘technique,’ but they’ve neglected to have a life. What the fuck are they gonna write about?”

    –David Mamet

  • TOM…

    good quotes…..and i believe them….

    however, i must confess that i was somewhat guilty of some version of your first quote once upon a time… back in our beloved Richmond as a college student, having escorted our dates back to the girls dorm, where there was a curfew if you can imagine such a thing …anyway, too much “public exposure” on my part (and my buddies part) directed at our women friends who were taunting us and directing us from their dorm window, did offer me the educational experience of a night in the Richmond jail…live and learn or learn and live???

    peace, david

  • I have never had illusions that I would ever be considered as anything special as a photographer. My ego simply isn’t nearly big enough to convince me otherwise. I’ve always done it for the personal satisfaction and broadening that my photography brings. I feel honored that I have “patrons for my art” who enable me to make a living from my personal photographic journey. I do know that I did not attempt to replicate other photographers styles so the way that I see the world is essentially my own. If my view of reality is ever considered unique or special is beyond my ability to foresee nor do I care if it ever happens. I only wish to be able to continue what I do and steadily gain enough industry credibility to enable me to do some of the more complex and adventurous projects that are in the file cabinet of my mind.

  • David, i’m rolling on the floor … thank you for sharing that, errr, that story i mean … never spent a night in a Richmond jail, so close many times, my high school days were crazy, but was always able to talk my way out of it, even at the riot at the Grateful Dead concert at the Coliseum, or that high speed chase on Cherokee Drive, or … My father would have killed me, and maybe put it on the front page, as he did for the publisher’s son once. Hope you didn’t make the paper. And I’m not even going to ask if you have pictures :)))))

  • Manmy rich comments since last night. To me, Leibowitz (her media image) exemplifies the whole shit about fame (“america’s photographer”). Most of her shots are real nice fakery, perfectly executed, I am in awe of her skills, but give me a Rafal’s one week family series over it, anytime. I love one of her shots, can’t find it anymore. A Vodka advertising with jerry Lewis holding a big glass between his lips, gross, stupid, self-derisory. I bet he had the idea.

    MEM. Wow, renaissance photographer?… I am thnking. Like all these great paintings where we learn that assistants did all the work, then between 2 visits to the bordello and his banker, Michelangelo came to sign. Being insolent. arrogant and irreverential, and Bod said words mean nothing anyway! ;-)

    PS: So, Rafal, how many assistants lately, 16? 17?


  • And I wonder what David Mamet thought about Proust!?!? ;-)

  • DAVID.
    I will like to read in the future a post about passion . Your passion
    Your deleted post its very similar to your recent post about your crossing America journey or last year Emerging photographer’s fund (“i literally jump up in the middle of the conversation to come over here and get this thought “down on paper”)
    Promising something after 2 cups of coffee rather than 2 vodkas its safer!!!…. Still I like the vodka comments, they come from the heart.
    Gracias David

  • I am not sure where I saw or heard this but I always felt it nailed it dead on as far as I was concerned and I have it posted in the photo department here at the paper….

    “It is not about you.
    It is not about the picture.
    It is about the story or subject!”


  • DAVID,

    Cheers brother, good to be back! Yes there is magic and mystery, and I am truly happy for both! Really interesting situation right now… Shooting in the North Cemetery in Manila which is a fascinating place… 55 hectare Catholic cemetery occupied by communities of families caretaking and squatting in the mausoleums. Just started shooting this week so just skimming the surface right now, but will drop you a few files through soon… always appreciate your input!

    Look forward to keeping up with the blog (at last!). All the best to you with your own “magical mystery tour!”



  • Hey David! Its always nice to read such nice and reflective comments about photography. I have been away for a while but really enjoyed your posts, specially the one under the title “inside/outside” and finally finding out about your next project!!!

    On another topic, you feel photography is a universal language? I ask this in reference to your comment about “photography as a language for expressing our ideas…”


  • HERVE & ALL:

    Here is the famed pic of Jerry Lewis that Herve mentions:

    I agree: Leibowitz particular brand of brilliance is her insight into the absurdity and often humorlessness of the world of celebrity…i see her pics for what they are: not Avedon, but she’s got lots humour and a genius for visually getting at the heart of so much stupidity…when she’s “straight” I dont usually find the pics that challenging or stustaining…then again, I think Wilde is one of the GREATS of writing, but can’t imagine him (even with dorian gray) something without irony…to each our game…as for the silly ruckus over the VF pics of Miss Cyrus….god, all might: is the world fucking bored……These aint Sally Mann pics (one of my heros) but they surely arent contemptible: they’re EXACTING photos into the teenage life, including all the deluded dreams of beauty and ardor and pop stardom……I cant believe all the frickin’ ruckus…just portraits, and pretty hammy ones at that: actually, i think Leibowitz understands “celebrity” (now that she’s one too) more than virtually any photog (with chapelle) I can think up….

    i’d preferred to have Cyrus photographed by a Russian photographer whom i know, and who is now gaining “notoriety”: Evgeny Mokhorev

    There is where I met Genia 7 years ago, when i used to participate here and was a stupid “guru”…

    WARNING: STRONG STUFF, may offend some…


    that story sounds familiar ;))))…but, wont incriminate myself today (no wine) ;))…

    As for Mamet: dig him alot, BUT BUT….he can be a pretty boy all about technique too, only hidden beneath his “street” language: ’cause he’s a poet himself: those brilliant fucking cadences ;)))))

    HERVE: ;))))))…words meaning something, surely, only i meant: “bob black’s words mean nothing” ;)))))))))…

    RAFAL: yes, i love the new work..not just the nudes, but the intensity of the examination: at the heart of all good relationships is this: fear…is all a struggle to gather and to tickle and to figure out and to loose, and that feverish hunger is there in the pics.>>..:)))

    DAVID: we share some more common stories ;)))…more about that in person…

    off for a few days…


  • david alan harvey


    that “deleted” post will come back tomorrow..


    good thinking from my point of view…and parallels my thoughts exactly…what you wish is , i think, the most one should hope for…


    yes, of course, i do see photography, like all of the arts, as a universal language…certainly there are limits to what one can express with photography, but those limits have not been found …yet


    your posting on the photo department wall is certainly the mantra of newspaper photography …and i think we all know what you are saying…however, i do not think it a contradiction that some photographers are able to express themselves, be themselves, and be very true to the subject…as a matter of fact, the very finest photojournalists do exactly that…i.e. gene smith, philip jones-griffiths, eugene richards etc etc…if you do not add your own perspective, feelings, etc. then i think you will never leave the newspaper or it’s “mentality”… and newspaper photography is certainly “one world”, but far far from the only world of photojournalism or the art of “bearing witness”…i loved working for a newspaper, but i always knew it’s limits….as a matter of fact when i saw your website , the first thing i thought was “this photographer needs to put “himself” in this work”..and i say that without any intention whatsoever to disregard the subject at a matter of fact i think it would intensify the subject if some of your personality were part of it….i guess this is a long discussion…but, i do hope you will keep your mind open as time goes on…

    cheers, david



    great work :))


  • No, I didn’t end up in jail but I could have. Don’t think the DC cops would have looked too kindly on a tipsy woman grad student relieving herself on a famous statue after having ripped her bermuda shorts (60s-type attire) climbing over the tall wrought iron fence protecting said statue in the middle of Georgetown.

    Thanks, David, for bringing back a fond memory of youth!


  • Two words for PaulB.

    “Sixteenth Amendment.”

    That is all.

  • One of a kind photographer? Hell yes! Whether I attain or not is a different story though. I feel that if I just try and repeat what others have done then what’s the point anyway?

    I’m still at the point where I’m trying to find my own voice in my work. I know my aims, but it’s a case of finding the inner voice to channel my work through.

    I’m about to set of on a photo trip to work with some IDP’s. I have decided that if my work is not different to what other’s have produced, and (this is a BIG “and”!) it doesn’t fulfil my ideal of adequately highlighting their plight; I’d be better off sending the money for the airfare etc. directly to Red Cross to provide direct relief. I think that in these situations, ego (& the glory of recognition) can easily blur the project’s intent.

    If I feel that the project is achieving the original aims, I will continue it on a long term basis. If deep down I know that it isn’t working, then I’m just padding my own ego & I’ll pull the pin on it.

    As for recognition; while it’s great to have some recognition, I’d rather have recognition from my peers, friends and family. If I can look back and see that;
    A: my work may have helped someone, somewhere, along the way,
    B: I have put my heart & soul into attempting to produce individual and meaningful work, then I’ll be happy.

    David you talked about competitions earlier, I often feel that competitions are the total antithesis of producing good individual work. Maybe it’s different with international competitions, but I’ve found that many attempt to second guess what a judge will like, and then produce work to suit. Rather than produce work from the heart and see how it goes in competition…..

    Take care everyone…

  • BOB,
    I will check out his work a bit more soon :)
    I have a new series on my website called “The Daily Round”. Maybe a bit depressing, but they’re supposed to. Have a look if you want to.
    Regarding Annie, I just don’t see the reason to take the pic she did with Miley topless in a sheet. She’s only 15 after all.. Does it portray her in any way..? Keep those pics for adults. I have nothing against Sally Manns pics because they are taken in an entirely different way and are way more personal and beautiful, allthough some of her work may be on the edge. Sometimes people seem to care more about their pics than their subjects, that’s all I’ll say :)
    BTW. I don’t care about Cyrus or her family. It’s the debate I’m interested in.


  • Wow, cool…

    thanks David, Herve and Bob (order in which you guys chimed in LOL)

    As far as Liebowitz…you cant compare her to Sally Mann although mann caught a lot of flack for her work. her work was personal, highly personal…Liebowitz’s work hardly ever is, and this Cyrus shoot, well, I dont see the big controversy OTOH as far as interesting work, it isnt.

    herve, how many assistants?:) Me, myself and I so I guess thats two of them:)

  • David:

    I do not disagree with what you are saying. But I do not necessarily define the statement “it is not about you” as referring to not putting yourself into the photograph.

    What that statement and “it is not about the picture” means to me is that the photographer should not be doing this to garner fame for themselves. There are photographers who get the great photo and then spend an eternity patting themselves on the back. I want to be able to create an image and let it speak for itself. And not in the vein of “he is a great photographer”, but the photo evoking emotion and understanding of the subject for the viewer.

    I look at “it is not about you” as a reminder that as a photojournalist or documentary photographer, I am not in it for the fame or to win contests.

    As for your thoughts about putting myself more into my work, I think I understand and agree with what you are talking about. And yes, I look forward to continuing that conversation here or over a beer at the Look3 workshop/festival. I would love to have some of your thoughts on some of the work on my site.


    I totally agree with:

    “As for recognition; while it’s great to have some recognition, I’d rather have recognition from my peers, friends and family. If I can look back and see that;
    A: my work may have helped someone, somewhere, along the way,
    B: I have put my heart & soul into attempting to produce individual and meaningful work, then I’ll be happy.”


  • Bob, that Leibowitz shot of J. Lewis and vodka glass, most interesting that I did not remember it at all like this. But as full frontal facial in color!

    And (maybe) therein lies the problem between photography and the public. What the medium wins in potency (emotional impact), it may loose in accuracy of remembrance. The photographer may loose his/her picture to the co-opting public more than the writer, poet, painter, composer, etc…. does with its art.

    I can’t care less about the “cyrus/leibowitz’ controversy, but there you have it. Image co-opted, doesn’t belong (or was never meant to) to its original conceotions anymore. Everyone will profit from it, needless say…


    “…Honestly I think that Annie Leibowitz took it a step to far. I just don’t see a reason to portrait a 15 year old in this way. Yes, Miley and her dad are also responsible, but also Annie and who wouldn’t trust a photographer of her status..”


    “…as a dad with a 14 yr old, im pretty flexible..sexuality is alive and part of life, at any age, the question is this: are the pics cheesy (seems probably) or exploitive…but, it’s also a bit disingenuous on cyrus’ family: i mean it’s all MARKETING, so what’s wrong with Annie’s pics?…i’ll have to see them first, …my instinct is to side with Annie’s judgment…more about that later…”

    “…As far as Liebowitz…
    ..Liebowitz’s work hardly ever is (PERSONAL) , and this Cyrus shoot, well, I dont see the big controversy OTOH as far as interesting work, it isnt…”

    …maybe because i live too close…
    Publicity games, produce money and attention…
    Here in Tinsel town they say ( lately ),
    that if you are not in the news for a DUI or some kinda drug possession then.. your career is probably over as a celebrity- actor-tress…





    “Hamilton’s naked girl shots ruled ‘indecent’

    Chris Warmoll
    Thursday June 23, 2005
    The Guardian

    David Hamilton: photographs long at the forefront of the art or pornography debate

    The following correction was printed in the Guardian’s Corrections and clarifications column, Tuesday July 12 2005

    In the article below, we say that the books of the photographer, David Hamilton, were declared indecent in a “landmark ruling” at Guildford crown court. This was not a landmark ruling. The defendant had pleaded guilty to specimen charges and this fact was accidentally edited from the original story.

    David Hamilton – the photographer whose images hang in the US Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall and the Royal Danish Palace – has had his multi-million-selling images of young, naked women and girls officially branded as indecent in a landmark British ruling.

    ((((((( Anyone owning one of his coffee-table books now risks being “arrested for possession of indecent photographs”, following a ruling at Guildford Crown Court.))))

    POSSESSION OF ILLEGAL PHOTOGRAPHS…???????? !!!!!!!!! ???????

    …and the article continues…

    …Hamilton’s photographs have long been at the forefront of the “is it art or pornography?” debate. Glenn Holland, spokesman for the 71-year-old photographer, who lives in St Tropez, said: “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by this, as David is one of the most successful art photographers the world has ever known. His books have sold millions….


    HYPOCRITES with your little narrow homophobic souls…
    scared ass perverted judges and rule makers…

    Please Mr. Bush.. lets throw ANNIE LIEBOWITZ IN JAIL…


    I’VE HAD IT…


    ps… Rafal is also right when he also says…
    about the “controversial”????!! photo :
    “… as far as interesting work, it isnt…”


  • hey y’all :)))

    just a quick clarification ;00))…

    for me, MANN is one of THE extraordinary photographers of her generation and she has served as a profound and abiding inspiration to me since i picked up a camera and “discovered” her for myself 8 years ago…and i dont put her at all in the same category of photographers she’s been lumped with (like Sturges, who I, photographically speaking, LOATHE!). She, to me, is one of the great photographers of the last 20 years and i have all her books…but i also admire her as a writer and a thinker: she is one of the most fierce and honest and heroic and articulate photographers I’ve ever read or listened to (saw the documentary about her, about the making of What Remains) at HotDocs film fest last year …one of my “dreams” is to someday drink and talk with her…i think, often, about her, her work, her husband and his illness, the children (now adults), her glorious doctor-dad, her mom (and her second mom, the caregiver of her childhood), farm, the black river, the dogs, that fucking crocodile float too l;))……the waxing of the shadow like etched tin…

    even Mokhorev (who i respect and have communicated with in the past) aint man, for Mokhorev’s work is an exploration (sometimes which makes me too feel uneasy) of teenager’s transformation and all this wilding and uncertain and preternatural conflict, not Mann:

    Mann is a photographer of Life and of Death and Love and there aint a thing that can be changed that when you begin to love something you begin to suck upon it’s death, you need its death for you know that that too is the burning light-flash that cadences our entirety and root…look at any old beautiful tree: hold that truck close to your body and walk away without weeping, in joy and sadness: that is Mann….someday, as a photographer and a writer, i will do something for her, i know that…only time will tell….

    the VF pics are just simple, funny, obvious pics, with some insight into what it means to be a teen: a pagentry and theatre of adulthood, those teenage years, and cyrus and all the rest of us just chew upon that easily…so, im still bewildered by people’s response (public at large i mean) by all this rooting and rotting over pretty much inconsequential photographs…annie has made much stronger, and people of the states have bigger issues to fry ;)), but not teens, and these pics mean something (in good and poor) for her young (preteen) fans…etc…

    Martin: the reason i showed Mokhorev was to offer a counter to people upset by Liebowitz…he’s a much more complex photographer (and interesting person himself): his partner is also an artist with children and creates while complicated relationships…I introduced the work of Mann to Genia (sent him links and pics and all that) in 2003 (he’d never heard of her in Russsia)…and she scared the shit out of him ;))…the work, i mean…i think if you care about your subjects YOU WILL CARE ABOUT YOUR PICS :))))…i’ll go have a look at your series and write later :))

    Rafal: :)))…it’s wonderful stuff and gutsy and looser (even with all the brilliant geometry of the series)…and Im happy for you: it’s wonderful to see a series and a photographer be excited and exciting :))…


  • Hum, now that I see that people drop the names of photographers around. Two of my favourites are Tom Wood and Igor Moukhin. Like on top of the list. I don’t know if Tom Wood is any good at promoting his stuff, but he seriously is a reference for most (many?) Britain based photographers.

  • PANOS, BRO :))


    “…as a dad with a 14 yr old, im pretty flexible..sexuality is alive and part of life, at any age, the question is this: are the pics cheesy (seems probably) or exploitive…but, it’s also a bit disingenuous on cyrus’ family: i mean it’s all MARKETING, so what’s wrong with Annie’s pics?…i’ll have to see them first, …my instinct is to side with Annie’s judgment…more about that later…”

    THAT WOULD BE ME, NOT DAVID ;)))..I think David’s kids are older ;)))))))))



    “What the medium wins in potency (emotional impact), it may loose in accuracy of remembrance…”(herve)…THAT’S A BRILLIANT STATEMENT and i agree…I’D love to chat about that too someday here!!! :)))

    ok y’all,
    gotta go, gotta go


  • oh… i almost forgot..

    Lewis Carroll

    Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

    Born 27 January 1832
    Daresbury, Cheshire, England
    Died 14 January 1898 (aged 65)
    Guildford, Surrey, England
    Pen name Lewis Carroll
    Occupation Author, Mathematician, Anglican Clergyman, Photographer, Logician
    Nationality British

    January 1832 – 14 January 1898), better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll (/ˈkærəl/), was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and photographer.

    …The photographer

    …In 1856, Dodgson took up the new art form of photography, first under the influence of his uncle Skeffington Lutwidge, and later his Oxford friend Reginald Southey.
    He soon excelled at the art and became a well-known gentleman-photographer, and he seems even to have toyed with the idea of making a living out of it in his very early years .
    A recent study by Roger Taylor and Edward Wakeling exhaustively lists every surviving print, and Taylor calculates that…

    … just over fifty percent of his surviving work depicts young girls…

    He would later use many of his photographs of children in conjunction with his writings to add illustration to his work. Alexandra Kitchin, known as “Xie” (pronounced “Ecksy”), was his favourite photographic subject. From 1869 until he gave up photography in 1880, Dodgson photographed her at least fifty times, ending just before her sixteenth birthday. Less than a third of his original portfolio has survived[25], however; Dodgson also made many studies of men, women, male children and landscapes; his subjects also include skeletons, dolls, dogs, statues and paintings, trees, scholars, scientists, old men and little girls. His studies of nude children were long presumed lost, but six have since surfaced, four of which have been published.


    BOB… i’m gonna miss you…

    time for me to shut up… and die…
    peace… if possible


  • BOB,

    I’ve watched the pictures now and they’re beautiful, but some are on the edge. Guess that’s personal too..
    But as photographers I think we’re sometimes blind to what we see. We have a more complex vision and might see things that others might not..
    Photographers do wrongs too, but in some circles everything seems to be OK as long as it “artsy” and this or that..
    Well, I dunno, but I try too see it in other peoples points of view too..
    Complicated, complicated, complicated, but where’s the line?


  • Hola, James (Chance), wonderful work with light, need to visit and revisit your gallery, but for now: That “Heil H.” shot, now damned if that is not one of a kind shots! This one is yours and your only. Not much use for her campaign, but if you catch her at a relaxed moment, she might appreciate the humour.

    To all who wonder, #10 of the single gallery:

    “…Rafal: :)))…it’s wonderful stuff and gutsy and looser (even with all the brilliant geometry of the series)…and Im happy for you: it’s wonderful to see a series and a photographer be excited and exciting :))…


    Posted by: bobblack | April 30, 2008 at 08:11 PM…”

    Nothing to add here…
    Bob , sums it up…
    Rafal, congtatulations…

  • James Chance;

    Wonderful website! I’ve just been having a wee peruse and I have to agree with Herve: really magical light. You’ve captured some really amazing and inspiring moments.

    For what it’s worth, nos. 4 & 15 of the singles gallery … oh to live on the Costa Brava…


  • hi all
    going back to Davids assesment of Petes work, just wondering how one puts more of ones self into their photography. what does that actually mean? are you taking about understanding the material or something about they way you are working with the camera.
    schools of thought, look at MEM, 15 assistants, all she does is squeeze the cable release. We know her work is beautiful and perceptive. although I have never seen her working, I really have no Idea what she works like, but on paper, 3 people handling the film etc, choosing subjects from digital snapshot, I mean you could perceve MEM to be removed.
    look at Stephen Shore, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, Bechers, they strongly believe in the subjects being portraid as as clearly and as closely representative of the reality of the subject, to the point that the subject takes a greater sense of impotance in the photograph than the sense of the prescence of the photographer. look at the recognition they have recieved. Revolutionised photography as art. I like that work but it does well as an example to contrast against the idea of putting more of yourself into your work.
    anyway, just thoughts.

  • Pierre- that is indeed the full, complete version on MEM’s book online!

  • Wrobertangel,

    Is it about the act of photographing (being right in the action) or about the concept?

    For example how do you compare Picasso who put all of himself into his work, or van Gogh and then a guy like Warhol who wouldnt even make much of what we consider his? Often Warhol would have his assistants make his work and simply sign off on it. its a Warhol not because its made by him but because its his concept. or what about old reneisaance masters who would have armies of assistants actually doing much of the painting for them?

  • Yep, rafal, that sure puts the craft back in the art, doesn’t it? And I guess MEM’s (she is far from the only one) validate my constant coupling of these 2 words when talking about photography.

    Also, it has been suggested before (guess who?) but never taken up as a discussion that many great photographers may have had a golden Age period, with subsequent work leaving something to desire, or dare I say, akin to what the icy tail is to the comet it is following.

    Can we find that most photographers rarely sustain interest beyond some fine choice works of theirs, and inversely how many are a glorious works in progress from beginning to last?

  • Yeah Rafal,
    brings up another thread, which was touched on in a roundabout sort of way, authorship. David asked if we aspire to be a one of a kind photog, but say in MEMs case, could she produce the images with out the crew. it seems like her crew is a vital component. She makes the calls etc, but with out them she is busted. Crewdson, Lachapelle, all the big production photogs rely on their crew in order to accomplish the end result.
    people get paid, name goes on the product. etc etc etc

  • But isnt the concept the thing? Ofcourse they couldnt do it without the crew but does that mean there is less authorship? I dont thing the crew is at all an important consideration here. Take Crewdson, who needs the crew because to shoot a photo is such a big operation with him. While not a Crewdson fan, I apprecite the fact that he is more about the concept than anything else. Only if his concepts were coming from the crew would I agree with you, but as far as I know his concepts are his concepts. This logic to me naturally extends to cinema. Would you say that a director has less authorship because he needs a crew to put his movie onto film and then onto screens?

  • Right, thats what I was thinking about, movies, but they have ownership, rights, trademarks, shit all over them, credits etc.
    But for the banquet size Prom Polaroids I bet the only one who collects accolade, $, awards, is MEMs. not sure though.
    all I am trying say though is, is it possible to be one of a kind, (assuming that everyone else is the same, which is tough to swallow), when there are so many factors outside of oneself that must be given consideration in order to produce something.

  • Also I dont see how you can say Crewdson isnt one of a kind. I mean who else is doing what he is doing? It seems to me that perhaps he is more one-of-a-kind than most guys who work alone without a crew. Why? Part of it may be that its more difficult to do what Crewdson does, even if its just the logistics of it that makes it more difficult.

  • Here’s a look back at the Festival of the Photograph 2007. I’m really disappointed I missed getting sound bites from Sally Mann and DAH, but overall this is what the festival feels like. Enjoy.

  • Quite true, Rafal. Also, I forgot what was the context of Mem’s shoot, but if it’s commercial work, or a command, she may set it up differently than other more very personal work.

    Perhaps we can also ask ourselves, must she absolutely be there for the “click” David speaks of, and if MEM does not show up, and an assistant makes the decisive moment call to take the picture:

    1) is it a Mem picture anyway?
    2) can it be as good a shot as if she was there? or
    3) could you tell the difference?

    last: 4) does it matter?

  • one of a “certain” kind (of photographer), or a certain kind of image. but “one of a kind”, well I think that must be some kind of heavenly being. something not from this planet, possibly God? (whatever that is).

  • nice one Herve, I pick #4

  • Does it matter? Well, does it matter that many of the great paintings may have been painted mostly by assistants rather than the “master”? Are we sure how much of the Sistine Chapen Michaelangelo painted by himself? Does it matter? I dont know. For example Warhol as I said would simply sign off on prints made by others and those would be Warhol works anyway. Still they are one of a kind because its not the craft that matters but the concept. Anyone could print but only Warhol could come up with the idea. Same for photography. In photography anyone can click the shutter but as we all know its not the shooting but the process of getting that IDEA that is difficult.

  • woah! fellas, Davids “good idea”, its up for all to see.

  • Well, Rafal, for Warhol, the concept was not about creation, but repetition, and a voluntary lackadaisical approach to what constitutes Art. Basically, supply answering demand, but with affect.

  • david alan harvey


    ok, now i understand you….it takes awhile to have a conversation here sometimes….easy to misinterpret… that context of meaning, i agree with you 100%..

    i do hope we can meet in person at some point,because would love to edit your work with you…and i think that with just a little “tweak” your work will become more personal and stylistic without losing one iota of good journalism…

    thanks for writing back…

    cheers, david

  • David:

    I will see you at the Look3 workshop. Looking forward to your edit and comments as well as the workshop itself. Thanks for looking and taking the time to comment.

    Best, Pete

  • BOB!

    Thanks man! appreciate your kind comments! Have always enjoyed your posts here and on Lightstalkers too! Look forward to introducing the latest project to the community.

    All the best brother!



    Sorry, I missed you comments earlier… just wanted to say thanks!!


  • Herve,
    that was an interesting point that got over looked, “the icy trails of a comet”
    sorry about that. nicely put though.

  • Happy Birthday David!!!!! Love ya’ Have a great day!

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