i read carefully all of your comments on our last two essayists, Michael Christopher Brown and James Chance….both received almost unanimous “thumbs up” votes from the readers here on the essays presented…both are working in the documentary style of “bearing witness”, and yet this seems to be a good time to point out how quite different are these two fine photographers….

first i would suggest that Mike created his own narrative out of simply his own desire to make an essay out of Sakhalin…there was no inherent or obvious “story” to be told….there was no editorial reason for an editor to jump up and say “yes, let’s do a story on Sakhalin”…it would not be number one on the IMPORTANT  list…but alas, the essay succeeds quite simply because Mike decided to do it…period….Mike made it important…..and he used his approach and his visual authorship to create a mood and a  “style” and  because of the power of the “vision” itself , a story has been told…

this is quite different from James, who had  a “built in subject” in editor’s parlance…..tell an editor that you have found a place where people live in a cemetery and eyebrows automatically raise….the subject is obvious…James just might pique your curiosity about the Manila cemetery even before you have seen picture number one….we are shocked automatically  because of the subject matter…period…the “story” is not created by James’ vision , but by the nature of the topic at hand….this is not to say that James was not “seeing”, but i think you can see the wide difference from an editor’s point of view…..

James photographed something that was THERE….Mike photographed something that was in his HEAD…i could easily imagine so many different approaches to the cemetery that would work, because no matter what there are people living in tombs…interesting by nature….i could also easily imagine many a photographer going to cold stoic  Sakhalin and coming back with absolutely nothing….in other words, it really takes a photographer with a point of view and a real “look” to pull of a Sakhalin style essay…and it takes a good journalist to create the multi-media piece James gave us…both totally valid..

James used pictures to TELL a story…..Mike used photographs to MAKE the story….

when editors at magazines choose one photographer over another for an assignment, these are things they think about…who is going to do THIS story best?  some stories are suited for one photographer, while others would be best done by someone else…in “movie speak” this is called “casting” and this  is not much different in photoland…matching photographer to subject and the expectations of results is what “assigning” is all about….if you were an editor, would you send James to Sakhalin and Mike to the cemetery?  do you think both would do great essays in both places?  hmmmm, something to ponder for sure….they of course would both be “good” if they traded places, but a magazine editor might think long and hard about this one…

now these are subjects that i have discussed at great length with both men…i have had the opportunity to sit down in person with James Chance on several occasions to edit cemetery , so he knows what i think….the same for Mike Brown…we edited Sakhalin at my apartment just before i published….both men studied photography at almost the same time from the same university and with the same teachers….Ohio University has over the years been a leader in producing talent for newspapers and magazines…and is probably the largest rival school for the famed University of Missouri….both schools go competitevly neck and neck with a long list of very successful graduates ….i have no doubt that both James and Mike will be two photographers on the “A” list for top editors to choose, despite their differences……who gets chosen for what will be interesting to see…

so i have a question for all of you, albeit oversimplified for the purpose of discussion…..

do you see yourself as a photographer who needs a strong clear subject in front of you in order to work,  or do you prefer to “invent” the concept in your head and carve interesting photographs out of “nothing” ???

338 thoughts on “clear eyes…”

  1. David,

    Thanks much for posting your perspective on this topic as you’ve shed some important light on a question I was dying to ask you in Perpignan, but I never seemed to have the appropriate opportunity to do so. As you know, I very much like James’ work and style and like James tend to shoot with a built in subject in mind. That being said, I would hope to think that my photography will evolve to a point where I can work on more conceptual stories from “nothing”.

    I also wanted to say that ever since the new format for Burn came in to being I found the conversations difficult to follow, but the new changes and your comments on the main page are a positive one and most welcome. I think I speak for us all when I say that this is the reason I was drawn to your blog way back when, so I look forward to more valuable commentary like this coming from you.

    Thanks again.


  2. I never knew an essay could be written in the style of Sakhalin before I saw Trent Parke’s Minutes to Midnight. From that moment I would like to work on that style. It opened my eyes in photography. Stories could be anywhere, we just have to make them (am I right?)

  3. David,

    I did not know where to place this and I don’t mean to hijack the thread. If it needs to be moved or deleted, I understand.

    I just came across this interesting piece this morning that a photographer put together about the ups and downs of being a photographer and being creative and trying to transform oneself and evolve.

    I thought the readers here might enjoy it.

    For those who watch, please give it a chance. The beginning is a bit strange, but it all makes sense and gets really good about 1:30 into it.

    It is posted on The37thFrame at http://www.the37thframe.org

    It is called Transform.

    I will be back to comment your question later.

  4. STOOP….

    didn’t i see a short film you did??? if what i saw was yours, then pretty interesting work….


    i am trying to set up an interview with Trent now…


    yes, yes…thanks…i think we will modify a bit the way we have conversations here so that it will all flow smoother and be more coherent….i think what we will do is to have no comments directly under the essay from now on…and have all conversation come on to dialogue….i can start a dialogue as i have done here based on the essay or in some way tie in a question to the readers based on the essay…that way everyone can still comment on the essay of course, but when the conversation starts drifting off (as it always does) , the essay could still remain at the top of the page nice and clean..

    “selected singles” can then be changed daily with one essay up top for several days…we will create new “real estate” on the right side for a thumbnail of the selected single…

    as it is now, i have to change the essay after 48 hours just to get the conversation back on track…seems like a weird way to change the conversation…whereas , if all our writing/commenting is under Dialogue, when the conversation swings away from the essay it does not seem so rough or, in fact, disrespectful to the essay…by doing this, i will also be able to work more closely with the photographer on her/his essay….this will still give us say 52 essays per year which seems quite enough i think…i can balance this with not only selected singles, but with profiles and other stories under Dialogue..

    Charlie, i would think by now we would be in a good position to start us editing an essay for you..what do you think???

    cheers, david

  5. DAH- What you said about Ohio University and Missouri are the same conclusions I’ve come up with myself. I just watched both stories, and I think i wish there were captions for the Sakhalin story, but over all just looking at the imagery, both are very strong. The cemetery story is a great example of convergence journalism. I think when it comes down to the question which style speaks a story better in a given situation, being able to create a story from nothing too important, and finding and shooting a story of something that is important I struggle with it. Personally, I loved both subject matter, I’ve always wanted to explore Russia’s interior, where things seem vast and the population is small. So even though that’s not necessarily a big important topic to anyone, I think great things could come of it and I would definitely want a photographer sent who could see the the stories. On the other hand, If there was a story happening now, as it had been for many years as in the Cemetery story, and has probably been photographed in the past, I’d want a photographer who could make a moving story, great photos that show the difficulties and struggles. I think it’s one thing to just go photograph for a story, and it’s another entirely to see the story on the spot, and have the creative thinking to MAKE that story come to light. I think in both instances, both of these photographers are making stories, their the director and editor and producer… However, in the Russian story, it’s the editing that pulled a great story out. And in the Manila story, it’s the photography and actors.
    And the Oscar goes to…

    I wanted to ask a question of you David,
    In your experience, since you’re now a member whats probably the strongest photographer rights organization (Magnum) and having started out in smaller newspapers, what is your opinion on working as a staff photographer or either a newspaper or magazine since either generally means as a photographer you will not own the copyright? I have friends who, starting their senior year and now are graduated, work for a Gannett newspaper in town, however they’re told they’re freelance, but had to sign a work-for-hire contract, and received W2’s… I think that’s pretty shady business practice on Gannett’s end personally, And since they own the market in my area, there is no where else to go for experience. But, say for a recent graduate from a photojournalism program, what do you suggest a person is to look out for? I know Missouri has a new facility researching ways to save the newspaper industry, so in the meantime, how difficult is it to find Magazine work? Freelancing becomes a self business, and you have to do all of your own advertising, what’s the best way to go about this that you’ve discovered before Magnum?

  6. both types of work will surely be undertaken by working photographers though.. in so far as i see the invented as illustrative and the factual as PJ work..

    i think both kinds of work have been undertaken here and hopefully there will be a stream of work in future which can straddle the real and imagined world i see..

    as far as editors go, if they see me as one or the other i don´t mind.. by next year i would like to be seen as the photographer to use when celebration needs documenting.. jeeze – all these carnival photos out there right now have my happy feet itching..


  7. “do you see yourself as a photographer who needs a strong clear subject in front of you in order to work, or do you prefer to “invent” the concept in your head and carve interesting photographs out of “nothing” ?”

    I wonder if there’s a hybrid? I have a fascination with improvisation…jazz…comedy….abstract expressionism. I don’t know if photography can really embrace this but I do find myself most interested in photographers who seem to make it up as they go, starting with a seed and allowing their intuition, understanding of photography’s history and most importantly their eyes to guide them.

    I think this is where editing plays an huge role. Carving out the project in the editing room, looking for connections and new ideas. And then heading back out to refine and do it all over again.

    However, I do also have a tremendous amount of respect for photojournalists who can take the story in front of them and clearly document it in terms that communicate the vital facts.

    Look forward to hearing more responses.

  8. well i first must say that the essays on here both mike and james were powerful and amazing. and i get a sense of each photographer in each essay. i think that is one of the most important things. and something david has mentioned since the day i met him. ” authorship…. authorship…. authorship” this has been the keystone in his teachings and in burn as well. for myself… allot has changed… i used to have to have a subject, story, place… all of this… but now i can see a new way of looking at things. i look and mikes work and i see that he did create something. something that i pay attention to as much as james work who had a subject in mind and had a story in place. this is something i am beginning to see. something i really like. so. do i need a place or can i make something out of my head?? allot has changed for me so i can see both ways now. and i think many photographers often need something for it to be a strong story. but that was clearly put aside my mikes essay. i think i see things that interest me. things that i am curious about and then i want to learn more. learn why. and that is often how it starts. usually i need a subject and a story. but more recently i find i dont. i can add my own little twist to things.

  9. PETE..

    thanks for the video by Zack…a bit long, but should provide some good discussion….


    when i look at your site, i see filmmaker all over it…the problem with film is that it is just too damned expensive to just go out and do it…takes a lot of funding and a lot of people…but, even if you can figure out a way to do a “short” ( and the new technology should help) you might just feel really fulfilled…man, if you feel like being a filmmaker, you need to figure out some way to do it…and then you can change your moniker, because you sure as hell are not “stupid”….

    BRYAN F…

    of course, the “hybrid” concept is probably where most successful photographers are…i am sure Mike would enjoy a “subject driven” story and i have seen James do a pretty subjective essay in Bangkok…

    when do you arrive in New York?? i look forward to continuing our discussions here…


    i have one simple answer: DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR COPYRIGHT NO MATTER WHAT….you do not need to give up your copyright….and that was my answer way back at the beginning of my career as it is now…that concept did not come to me at Magnum…i had that locked in my head all along…i have known photographers who come to the end of their career and own nothing…no archive….no legacy…just a paycheck for 35 years…hmmmmmm, seems traumatic to me…

    YOUR ARCHIVE IS EVERYTHING…..better to work as a bartender and own your work than to be paid as a photographer and sacrifice ownership….both from a financial and an artistic standpoint…

    there is not much print magazine work…none of the magazine publishers have any production money..or not much anyway…this was true before the financial recession and has magnified in kind…that is one of the reasons we are trying to change the equation here on the net….who knows how it will all work out, but times of trial are also times when things really move forward…i am in the “let’s move on, move forward school”…i will waste not one minute of my time thinking “coulda , shoulda, woulda”..

    i always “advertised” myself in the simplest possible way (no promo cards etc ever)….i just always always always had a personal project going..sure, i shot some commercial things to pay the bills…but, at no time ever have i not had a personal project going that i could show an editor or publisher…figure out a way to do a book..this is your best “promotion”..there is nothing better..so whatever it takes DO IT…

    i think i told you before, but it never hurts to mention it again…in the early years of your career, it is just going to look like “dire straits”…that is , if you let it….the business was totally crumbling before my eyes when i got out of college..worse than now…the two most major picture magazines in the world went out of business the year i graduated..there was NOTHING else at the time…it looked like the profession was OVER….

    this business is and always has been a struggle…and definitely not for everyone…and definitely not a “profession” at all….everyone must figure out the best way for them to use photography for fulfillment…that most likely will mean NOT being a professional photographer…if you decide to go the pro route be ready for lots of failure…the ability to get back on your horse after falling may be your most valuable asset….IF you can make it work you will have the most rewarding way of going through life imaginable…but, this will take lots of fortitude, a bit of luck, and a clear vision of exactly who you are….

    cheers, david

  10. maybe..
    i invent concepts,
    in my head..
    and then try and seek a ‘strong clear subject’
    to illustrate my thoughts…
    it works the other way…
    I see a strong clear subject that
    causes me to
    a creative story…

  11. ‘Magazine Editor’, two words, one word describes a domain, the other word a decision making body, both are driven by the same thing, the consumer.

    since the largest magazine demographic is the consumption first of the written word, then perhaps James would have the best ‘Chance’ at commercial success; his essay’s images would go well with a written story and i’m sure a journalist would favour James as a co-partner on a candidate story if she/he only had the two essays to judge and she/he didn’t know much about photographic aptitude.

    maybe i’m part of that magazine demographic and my money will contribute to the commercial success of those types of journalistic photographers, but they are not the photographers that create the photography books that i buy.

    i’m a groupie of photographers and photography, so when i think of my heroes many of them have little success with magazines, and almost entirely succeed through books or in magazines specifically tied to photography. i think the images Michael has created belong in books and would sail through the editorial process for magazines that feature photography first, words last.

    i do think James’s essay appearing to be a ‘this is what i saw’ effort might not be totally accurate; much in the same way someone could go to Siberia and come back with nothing other than a cold, James could have gone to the cemetery and bored us to death with all the poverty clichés; they must be as abundant as coffins. He didn’t, and although he didn’t make up his own story, he teased out the story that best appealed to the consumer’s best nature.

    but that being said i suppose there is recording what you see and better than that there is recording what we should feel, i think Christopher Anderson is dazzling at this latter aspect, rather than directly recording an event he seems to let us experience it by recording the people’s mood, emotion and reaction to the event, it’s sort like seeing the shape of an entity without ever seeing it, very emotive, but very indirect. But recording is recording and i celebrate that aspect of photography the least. For me all the action lies in pure creativity and pure vision, it’s when the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.

    For me journalism is far too lumbered with the rules of documentary rigour and the most ‘efficient’ way to drive home a point is the ‘best’ way to communicate. this constraint is not the case with the anti-journalist. The visual poet is free from all of this, but at the same time is easily lost in all the possibilities; they have to envision first something to say and then they need to go and find ways to say it with still-images, at its best, ‘candid-ish’ still images as they are the most emotive, and then, even harder, when they find those images, they need to harvest them into a still images to be part of the emotion they wish to convey.

    Having the ability to harvest a still image in a visually stimulating way takes loads of photographic aptitude. To create photographic poetry has this same pre-requisite, but also demands raw artistic creativity and vision.

    So i guess if i was a journalist and i had to take James or Michael out to create the visual information that would support my written information, well i’m sure i would be in a win-win situation, but if i could choose i’d want someone with both skills and if i only had these two essays to choose from i would clinically pick Michael.

    Unfortunately, i don’t think magazine editors want poets, they are too unpredictable, they want solders, i suppose this is why i don’t see my favourite photographers producing images for magazine articles! i doubt this will ever change, but i would love to pick up a magazine and discover that Roger Ballen create the photographs for an article about living in a cemetery ;-)

  12. I don’t think anyone who has seen any of my pictures, or read some of my comments here over the last year and a half, will be surprised when I say almost all of my conditioning has been towards focusing on “strong, clear, ready-made subjects” as opposed to “carving interesting photographs out of nothing”. It doesn’t mean I “prefer” the one to the other… and when I see work like Mike Brown’s or Kyunghee Lee’s (especially her color work) it makes me want to shake myself up, break down the conditioning, and try to see the world anew. One thing that has kept me coming back here again and again is that I appreciate being exposed to work that shows me possibilities I had never even considered. How I would love to become a little less ‘literal’ in my own work… but how hard it is to change the conditioning of 60 years!

    My mother was a painter, I grew up in a house with a lot of art books, dabbled a little in drawing and painting, I even spent a rather aimless year in art school once… but my passionate interests, from early childhood on, were history, geography, maps, languages, animals and natural history, and landscapes. In the visual arts I was most drawn to landscape painting and to illustration. To me, illustration was a great art in itself, but as I got older I gradually learned that in the world of ‘Fine Art’, illustration was looked down on as an inferior trade. That only made me suspicious of Fine Art, and I suppose I still am a little. From the late 19th century through the mid 20th, America was blessed with many brilliant painter-illustrators, like Frederic Remington, Howard Pyle, James Montgomery Flagg, Robert Lawson, etc. Winslow Homer is a little harder to classify- maybe he straddled both worlds of illustration and fine art(?). For many years my favorite illustrator was N. C. Wyeth, and it’s interesting to contrast him with his son Andrew Wyeth to see the dichotomy between illustration and fine art. It took me a long time to really appreciate Andrew Wyeth’s art as much as his father’s… but now I acknowledge his greatness.

    Over the years I’ve used photography a lot as a tool for research and teaching… and there again, it was often the more ‘literal’ stuff that was most useful and revealing for those purposes. I think maybe as a result my conditioning and biases in photography became a little too rigid and ‘hard-wired’ and too focused on photo-illustration… So, I will try to make a conscious effort to s-t-r-e-t-c-h my vision… expand my appreciation… and try to ‘loosen up’ my own work… but it’s doubtful that I will ever really cross the line from ‘literal’ to ‘imaginative’ photographer, and deep down in my heart, I’m not sure I would want to…

    Oh, speaking of James Chance’s ability to ‘crossover’ from doing a ‘subject-driven’ story to something more impressionistic and ‘subjective’… I loved his little photo sketch of Macao.

  13. JOE…

    great piece!! thanks…

    i think that magazine editors do not right off the bat want poets…as you say, poets just tend to not be dependable enough to fit into the production schedule..besides, magazine editors will all tell you, just as you wrote, that they are NOT photography magazines….lovers of photography are not their audience….they just use photography as illustration for the most part …however, deep deep down inside good magazine editors DO know the difference between a soldier and a poet….and IF the poet can somehow manage to get through all of the maze of the “biz” , then occasionally a poem , or at least some very fine work, can find its way to magazine pages…but, not often…

    most photographers who use magazines as a way of earning a living, have no illusions about what the magazine will be for them…most see magazines as a RESOURCE, not as a final place to be published…this satisfaction comes from their books and their exhibitions…however, with the right attitude on the part of the photographer, one could see a long assignment (self proposed) as a mini-grant or whatever to get going on a personal project that would/could lead to a book…

    yes, Roger Ballen as an editorial photographer!! nice idea…

    cheers, david

  14. As someone who is not (yet) a professional photographer, I most definitely fall into the latter category of concept inventor, carving photographs out of “nothing”.

    But even “nothing” can be something. It remains nothing if nobody pays it any attention. And, as the Heisenberg uncertainty principle state, it’s impossible to study/observe something without affecting it, so even studying “nothing” visually will change it into something…

    On the other hand, the few assignments I’ve done for a local magazine have been very liberating and enjoyable in that they gave me a chance to dig my visual teeth into a blank slate, challenging me to put my own take on things into photographs.

    So I think a balance of the “poetic soldier” would be something worth striving for.


  15. BRYAN F..

    come over…i live in Williamsburg….475 Kent Ave buzz 607…i am here today and tomorrow….give me a call 202 413-1137….timing perfect, which is not always the case!!

    cheers, david

  16. we enter the world tossed and tipping, an arrangement of mad light and unrecognizable sound and grow stiff and lip-limbed as we work our way toward an unending navigation of things….to breach the story that surrounds is only, only ever, a beginning and nothing comes from nothing and something need not something in order to bloom, for it’s all there, tin-thread and stick-dimed, in front of us and behind us and inside us….the same, always the same, story, the one in which we scramble to arrange, like pellets from Scrabble, to speak of something, or about nothing, which is still something….

    and how to give physical body to that which carves us invisibly. Inside the accordion flaps which is my photography, I have tried to capture with the blind basket of my eyes, those things which pass around, through and inside me, corporal or fleeting: bereft breathing. There is no truth in photography but in the sovereignty of the inner landscape of our life’s reckoning selves. We wane. We expand. We seed. We hunger. We are blind. What else can we do? We do not resist.

    everyone is a poet, for our rhymes and syncopated wobbles come from the same….

    the effort: not to divest, not to categorize, but to recognize, to expand and to embrace….

    fortunately, photography is larger and more fecund thant what we ever imagine or limit it by….

    my ambitions are much much less ambitious that whether or not an editor ever gambles on me (most never, ever do), but on a simple thing:

    how to find a way to make the work that i feel compelled to make and still put bread on the table, a roof pitched over my family’s shoulders and leave some kind of legacy or footprint for my son….

    a small pin-tap of light,
    the twist in the morning,
    a small, child’s tooth

    and in this, there are no differences ;)))…

    wobbly, running

  17. p.s. and David (and my wife) are 2 of only 4 editors ever to ask for something of mine, photograph or writing, and so, with this batting average, i still to more simple things ;)))))….teach a few things and save money on not buying clothes ;))))

  18. I dont know the answer to the question above. In the wild, ie NOT on a paid job, I look at EVERYTHING[and shoot most of it] trying to find SOMETHING. I rarely do. I wish I could do concept and essay, I have tried and failed miserably. So I guess I fall into the ‘wait and see what pops up in front of me’ school.
    I heartily DONT reccommend approach this if you ever want any peace of mind.

  19. “everyone is a poet, for our rhymes and syncopated wobbles come from the same….”

    Eco spasm,
    Future shock,
    Kill the hawk.

    Photographically on the net, I’m like a bad poet, I’m everywhere! :-)

  20. I think it’s simplistic to say, “Don’t give up your copyright.” Photographers are not in a position to make demands these days if they want to work.

  21. These two projects are VERY different yes, but as photographers I think everyone blurs the lines a little beyond personal style, esp. as we experiment through our development. Mike has shot more literal work than Sakhalin, and as Sidney quite rightly points out my “What Happened in Macau” piece is far from literal. This is all very interesting to me and i’m glad you brought this up. As I mentioned at the time the Macau piece was a hugley cathartic experience for me after coming off the back of the cemetery and HIV/TIB projects and breaking the shackles of very literal story telling.

    Personally I feel I evolve a bit more and add a new piece with every project. This has always been a very clear and linear progression for me. Like building blocks I have applied new creative devices to my work, quite literally over phases, one at a time eg. first experimenting with framing a lot, then working more layers, experimenting with refections, light etc. etc…. adding, adding new devices to the mixing pot until one is using them all subconsiously. Refering back to the Macau piece I saw this as another stage in my personal development—working more on feeling and a mood rather than literal story telling. This was most interesting to me as for the first time the progression was outside of the frame… this was my soul, not a visual technique.

    I am excited for what comes next… I hope in future work to be able to combine the literal and personal/non-literal in harmony. This is when the “voice” and true authorship manifests in ones work.

    Its always been a dance, and you have to keep adding new steps. My question to you David is does this plateaux? Does the progression stop? I’m sure it slows down… but do you keep adding new steps?

  22. You have been asking me this question frequently over the last few weeks David – not in the written form, but in photographs. Haven’t read any posts before I posted.

    Are we able to express ourselves in a photographic / photojournalistic essay or are we just supposed to be the unblinking mirror, held up to society?

    In its lifetime photography has produced many great photographers for us to admire. The standards that they set in pursuance of their craft still stand today as a benchmark of what is possible. What we must be careful of is that such standards don’t become, for us, shackles.

    Henri Cartier-Bresson used a Leica and B&W film: so must I, Steve McCurry almost-always uses a tripod: so must I. For photographs to be photojournalism they must be in B&W, be sharp from front-to-back and contain no obvious bias by the photographer: so must mine.

    History can be a burden. Where, in the above scenarios is there room to insert a little “me”. Should I practice photojournalism as some form of almost-religious ideal and put the “me” into “personal projects” you know, photos that don’t really matter, just the ordinary stuff.

    What I am increasingly seeing here at Burn and also when I look at the tearsheets from photo agencies such as V11 and Noor is that it IS possible to express yourself through your photography and still tell a truthful and relevant photojournal / documentary story. Moreover, it is ESSENTIAL to give your imagination and creative spirit full rein if you want to even attempt to explore some subjects. We have a sophisticated audience; intelligent people who not only want to know how a place LOOKS like but also how it FEELS.

    I like the sound of making photographs out of nothing: it frees me from searching for the Big Story.

    I have the Oasis song “Be Yourself” running in my head.

    Good question David.

    Best wishes,


  23. I think its fun and exciting when I find or see something that I would like to photograph. I find myself being inspired by a place or an idea and the looking for a confluence of situations to create something interesting to look at. also I think I find that the work I maybe looking at by others, that resonates within me, will influence the approach I would take for a particular set or story.

  24. David.

    I’ve usually pursued “subject based” projects. I think in some ways they can be easier because there is a framework and there is already a story to tell.

    The new project I’ve started is more of a concept, which is exciting but also a bit nerve wracking specifically because there is no framework. The story can practically go anywhere!

    But it is also extremely liberating because of the lack of a “story” It also frees up your shooting because you are delving into a concept rather than story.

    The only problem I find is that as well as being free to shoot the way I like; I know I will probably have to pare the images down to its essence otherwise it will lack focus. Conversely I could shoot all over the place and see how it works, maybe too many choices!!

    But the exploration is exciting. Hopefully this all makes sense!


  25. Stelios,
    “Stories could be anywhere, we just have to make them (am I right?)” Yes, sounds easy doesn’t it?

    “i don’t think magazine editors want poets, they are too unpredictable, they want solders”. Yes, they want the “jobbing photographer” the one who they can send out in a morning with a list of photographs required, safe in the knowledge that they are technically proficient and talented enough to bring back the goods, no-matter the situation or weather. This takes great skill (I don’t have it) and if you are able to gain satisfaction from being able to do this work, very rewarding. I’d rather work in a bar.

    It strikes me as almost unfathomable that magazines and newspapers who employ some of the most creative writers don’t seem to assign the same importance to the photographs that accompany the articles. The “illustrations”. I say this because we as a species are very visually literate. We look at images in the form of television and film (movies) and are used to seeing sophisticated photography in magazines in the form of product advertisement. Surely the addition of stunning photography can only aid the written article and increase sales? Why doesn’t somebody try it? Is it the cost of newsprint?


  26. Interesting topic, something I’ve thought quite a bit about recently.

    As a PJ student, I’ve really struggled with bringing back good, literal images of mundane events. I’m told by teachers to get a shot “that can run” and then experiment to my heart’s content. I’m not sure I’m actually capable of that though.

    In my experience shooting newsworthy, “big” stories, alongside pros from the dailies, and magazine people, I’ve been quite happy with the images I’ve brought back. They have a type of authorship, be it in a somewhat incubatory stage. They are different from the pros, not worse per se, and that experience gave me my first clue that I might see things differently, and that I could capture it photographically.

    Controlling that and duplicating the quality consistently is a different matter altogether. I fear taking “the shot that can run,” I’d rather get a real job than limit myself to that form of documentation.

    I personally think James Chance does way more than just document by the way, his photos are way over the baseline threshold of authorship, but I relate more to tackling a story the way Michael did in Sakhalin, whether there be a ready-made story there or not.

  27. What a great question! I never asked it myself. Now I am curious why? Was it because it didn’t matter to me? Or was it because I just didn’t have a chance to try myself in both roles? Probably the latter, as this approach seems to me, if not reserved, then may be rather preferred for the commercial (aka journalism) type of work, and I’ve never done it. But I can not say that I’ve ever built a story out of my head. Definitely there are some ideas behind my series of photographs, but they are rather self evolving. I enjoy taking pictures and the more complex and not obvious they are the more I enjoy them. There is so much going on around that I find it is hard to concentrate on some may be productive but still limiting idea.

  28. JIM POWERS..

    simplistic?? yes, totally simplistic…clear…clean…Jim, you are just flat out WRONG on this one and you had better do your homework…photographers today are in every position to keep their copyright even on advertising shoots…the ONLY exception to this is newspaper staff photographers, but this is not even a career aspiration for most serious photographers these days…newspapers are going out of business fast, firing staff photographers who gave up their copyright!! see what i mean???

    i see young photographers starting in the business right this minute, like James Chance (30 something) and Mike Brown (twenty something)…do you think they give up their copyright??? why would you give up ownership of your creative work?? again, no archive at the end of your career?? sad that you think this acceptable….

    right this minute i am in a room with three photographers…one is 26, one is 34, one is 41….none have ever given up their copyright and they ALL earn their living as freelance photographers…

    MIKE R…

    please do not see history as a burden….history should be a guiding light…not that it can or should be repeated straight up, but the tone or the drumbeat can be admired and some version of it can be applied always….mostly, it can be expanded….molded to suit your needs..re-written to include new circumstances and your growth…


    it is not necessary to tell stories at all..story telling per se is only one function of the photographic form….i just happen to be referring to two story tellers, Mike and James, in this piece…


    there are always new steps..and i find that things do not really slow down…in fact, maybe things even pick up a bit…energy begets energy….

    cheers, david

  29. David,

    Associated Press also grabs the rights both for staff and freelancers.

    Have you gotten my emails?

  30. Jim:

    I will have almost nothing materially to give to my son, a reality that I recognize and as a father often struggle with. I have very very little to give him, outside of the love and values that hopefully i have bestowed his life with. However, the one thing that I have that I can bequeath to him are the books i write and the photographs that I have made. Value, probably very little, not only because I resigned myself long ago that what ‘worth’ my words and images will offer are negligable, but they are mine, and those of the only material things and corporal things of which may have value that I can offer him. Sure, if someone writes a story for a newspaper (which i have done before) or shot a picture for newspaper (which i have done) or shot something as part of the ‘job’ that they don’t feel an interest in, fine, but in now way would i for a moment ever, not ever, surrender the one thing of value that i have to proffer. It aint even about the ‘value’ of the photographs or the words, per se, but what copyright represents and stands for. When i am long after my ashes have been tossed into the wind, and there wont be a single person who knows a single photograph i’ve shot, my son will have to opportunity to do with those books and those strips whatever he wishes…and if they offer him some kind of material worth in the way of royalties or income, that i will have done part of what i wish to accomplish as a father. I cannot give him a house or expensive clothing or car or trips, or (fuck college is coming up) afford to make his university life comfortable, but i cant make sure that the one thing, or the 2 things i can do (write and photograph), remain mine so that I have the ability to give them to him….

    for me, it’s a very simple equation. It is not about some pompous artistic legacy, but about the legacy of all the fucking hard work i’ve put into the writing and into the photographs…and those, fucked up and all, are mine and mine alone to give and to earn something for my family and their future. Any photographer that gives their copyright away hasnt really thought it through enough, or haven’t been given the opportunity to think it through properly….

    aint no pensions brothers and sisters, aint now brilliant and posh home for retired photographers/writers…it’s a cold world and ;you gotta protect yourself for your future…

    David IS SPOT ON!!!

    i say that as a person whose family is fed by our work and i have no illusions about wealth or fame, but something much much simpler…..

    if there is one quote that I would wish all photographers and all creators of things remember here, it’s what David has said about copyright….

    should be written in stone….


  31. DAVID,
    “please do not see history as a burden” – I don’t; I love photography and it doesn’t have to be mine. My point to aspiring photographers is yes, look and learn from the “establishment” but to your own self be true. Frolic and dance in your own vision and poetry. No fear, no boundaries; enjoy yourself!

    Somehow I can’t see you, David, as Establishment!



  32. David, I’m sure retaining copyright has value for some famous photographers, and at one time stock photography was a seriously good way to make a living, if you shot constantly for stock and had a large enough library of images. But images are like water these days. Today’s photo is yesterday’s news, and not just in the newspaper business. I’ve never concerned myself with ownership of images. Photography has been good to me financially. But it’s because I saved and invested successfully, not because my images hold any inherent value beyond the pleasure I had creating them.

    Whatever I shoot today will be buried in a year under a million other images more current and offered cheaper than I could offer my own. Perhaps many here will become famous photographers whose work has inherent monetary value. The Internet has made this difficult, though. Once posted on the web, it’s old news to millions of people. Photography really must be its own reward.

  33. BOB…

    many thanks amigo for being so eloquent with Jim, whereas i was too blunt!! that topic just fires me up in the gut, and it is hard for me to control my clear sentiments …you have it right on….

    MIKE R…

    thanks for that…and your optimism is so refreshing…

    cheers, david

  34. JIM…ALL

    Jim, you obviously did not read what i wrote….i was not talking about so called “famous photographers”, i specifically wrote about photographers entering the business NOW….of course , photography IS its own reward…and i never said one word about “stock photography”…i am talking about a photographer’s estate…their archive..their retirement fund….what they have done their whole life…something to pass on to their heirs…that must certainly be one of photography’s “own rewards”, both financial and otherwise….

    good for you that you invested your salary i suppose and it worked out well….but, why should a young photographer squander the most valuable piece of “real estate” he or she owns??? real value born from the creative act of seeing…

    by the way, being posted on the internet does not take away from a photograph’s value..why oh why do you think that??? the top collectors print sellers are on the net all the time…..a picture on a computer screen has nothing to do with a fine archival print in the hand and on the wall…again Jim, please do your homework on this one…or, just go to the next Sotheby or Christies print auction…

    as you well know Jim, i did work for a newspaper for a couple of years…and i learned a lot about the world, about people…loved the experience, believe me…but, i sure knew from the very first day on the job, that there was absolutely nothing about the newspaper life and/or philosophy that had anything to do with the value of photography in its highest forms….and i do not mean to put photography on a pedestal either…but, the very BEST communicators with the mass public (the audience newspapers say they want to reach) have their work carefully archived so that it may touch people for generations to come…history my friend, history if nothing else…on the simplest terms we all photograph history…if the work goes beyond and is rewarded for its more artistic merits, so be it…

    Jim, i think you are probably a great guy….and i do know you…or, i should say , men like you from the newspaper…but please please when you are talking to young photographers i think it a disservice to let them think they must “sell out” to get by….it is just not true..to make them believe otherwise just based on your own experience, and without studying the whole market today , just ain’t right amigo….

    cheers, david

  35. ‘do you see yourself as a photographer who needs a strong clear subject in front of you in order to work, or do you prefer to “invent” the concept in your head and carve interesting photographs out of “nothing” ???’

    That’s a difficult one! I rarely seem to have a strong subject that I’m working on, though the more photos I take the more I can see various themes occurring, though I’m not sure if that’s something that’s happening subconsciously when I choose to take a photo, or if I’m just imagining ‘links’ when I look back over what I’ve taken over a longer period of time …

    My favourite photographers seem to have a strong clear motive behind their work, where they approach their subject in a way almost unique to them and their personality – the combination almost becomes their signature. For me, this is what makes a photographer great as opposed to good. I don’t know if this is quite the same as having a strong clear subject however …

    Need to think more about this – great question!

    All the best,

  36. David,
    your comments in this post certainly spoke to my heart and mind. Your words are like a relief and at the same time they are a challenge to ask myself: What is my vision? Where do I stand? What will be my reACTION to all this?
    Times are tough right now. Newspapers struggle to stay afloat. Photographers are taken for a ride. Bad times for everyone and currently only the bravest have the courage to say: no more! Deep inside I am already saying good bye to this life of a news photographer, but I am like an oak tree who has deep roots. Even if you chop down the tree quickly with a chain saw, the roots remain very solid in the ground. That is my struggle. I hope and I wish I will have the strength and the guts to move ahead. Your words are a big help on this road!
    To answer your question: I am simply not good at envisoning a picture. Reality has always beaten my imagination. I simply like to look and so I photograph what is in front of me to capture the moment. And yes, a strong subject is a help, however I love the beauty that lies within the ordinary as well.
    Mr Harvey, you truly are one of a kind!
    Thank you so much for all this effort!

    P.S. In Germany we say: The most stupid farmers have the biggest potatoes. Please, no offence to anyone. Somehow we are all happy when we can harvest big potatoes ;-)

  37. REIMAR….

    thank you for your comment…i think you should know that all of us struggle..and the times we are having right now will test each and every one of us and our resolve may be our only ally…one of the positive things is that the net has allowed us to all meet..share our mutual pain and celebrate all the things that capturing little slices of life around us does provide…

    i was considering your “deep roots” statement…you know moving ahead does not mean necessarily chopping down the tree..as in so many things in life, it is the obvious which is often not apparent…

    and it is also the obvious where the best ideas lay…so, think about this one…look right around you and see what might be an interesting photo project….so, yes, what is right in front of you might be exactly what would ironically allow you to “move ahead”…

    you might just go further by going “nowhere” then by trying to go “somewhere”…

    cheers, david

  38. “but please please when you are talking to young photographers i think it a disservice to let them think they must “sell out” to get by….it is just not true..to make them believe otherwise just based on your own experience, and without studying the whole market today , just ain’t right amigo….”

    David, you are, of course, right. But remember that you are one of the few photographers recognized among photographers universally by just your initials. Your perspective is perhaps as skewed as mine.

  39. Jim and all:

    This must be prefaced by me saying that yes I do work for a newspaper and at this time everything I shoot for them they own. Except for the agreement that we came to at the start of my employment which says that I can use those images for any and all self promotion including a gallery exhibit of my work if it came to that. All I have to do is give credit to the newspaper. It is not the best deal, but it is the reality of working for a publication as a staffer.

    BUT, when I covered the professional golf tours for 12 years for magazines, I RETAINED OWNERSHIP of all images. Why was this important? I cannot tell you how much money I made from secondary sales of what even I would consider the most mundane average photo of a player. One simple image of Tiger Woods shot from behind on the first tee at the Players Championship pulled in $6,000.00. It was shot on assignment for a magazine. I owned it.

    I have close to 70,000 images in my archives covering the professional golf tours from 1987-1999. They are a historical record of the sport during those years. And while I do not get a ton of calls for them now, I can guarantee that there will be a time soon when book publishers will come calling to use images from my files for books about the players I shot at that time in their career just like when I was starting out they where doing books about Nicklaus, Palmer, Hogan etc, and looking for those historical images.

    “But images are like water these days. Today’s photo is yesterday’s news”……”Whatever I shoot today will be buried in a year under a million other images more current and offered cheaper than I could offer my own.”

    Wow. I really am not sure how to respond to that but I need to try. Lets start with every image made, whether it be newspaper photojournalism or some of that artsy stuff that I sometimes just do not get, is a photographic record of life and culture on this planet. It is history.

    There is a great example of value in not only retaining rights to all images you shoot, but also in SAVING EVERYTHING YOU SHOOT.

    Please take the time to ready Dirk Halstead’s “Monica Lesson.”


    The concept of retaining ownership of everything you shoot and keeping everything you shoot seems so simple I cannot believe we have to even discuss it here. JUST DO IT.

    Sorry if went off on a rant there….Hope it makes sense.

  40. Jim and all:

    This must be prefaced by me saying that yes I do work for a newspaper and at this time everything I shoot for them they own. Except for the agreement that we came to at the start of my employment which says that I can use those images for any and all self promotion including a gallery exhibit of my work if it came to that. All I have to do is give credit to the newspaper. It is not the best deal, but it is the reality of working for a publication as a staffer.

    BUT, when I covered the professional golf tours for 12 years for magazines, I RETAINED OWNERSHIP of all images. Why was this important? I cannot tell you how much money I made from secondary sales of what even I would consider the most mundane average photo of a player. One simple image of Tiger Woods shot from behind on the first tee at the Players Championship pulled in $6,000.00. It was shot on assignment for a magazine. I owned it.

    I have over close to 70,000 images in my archives covering the professional golf tours from 1987-1999. They are a historical record of the sport during those years. And while I do not get a ton of calls for them now, I can guarantee that there will be a time soon when book publishers will come calling to use images from my files for books about the players I shot at that time in their career just like when I was starting out they where doing books about Nicklaus, Palmer, Hogan etc, and looking for those historical images.

    “But images are like water these days. Today’s photo is yesterday’s news”……”Whatever I shoot today will be buried in a year under a million other images more current and offered cheaper than I could offer my own.”

    Wow. I really am not sure how to respond to that but I need to try. Lets start with every image made, whether it be newspaper photojournalism or some of that artsy stuff that I sometimes just do not get, is a photographic record of life and culture on this planet. It is history.

    There is a great example of value in not only retaining rights to all images you shoot, but also in SAVING EVERYTHING YOU SHOOT.

    Please take the time to ready Dirk Halstead’s “Monica Lesson.”


    The concept of retaining ownership of everything you shoot and keeping everything you shoot seems so simple I cannot believe we have to even discuss it here. JUST DO IT.

    Sorry if went off on a rant there….Hope it makes sense.

  41. Jim P
    I think its interesting to note how you value your own work, it seems like your ok with your work being owned by others, which may have a bearing on how much you value it. in the last comment you mention that dah, because of his rep and history that he is a unique case, but I disagree. I am an unheard of nameless one amongst millions trotting around with cameras, but this has no impact on how important my photos are to me weather they are of any value or not to others. the photographs I take are sacred to me. probably worthless to most. when I receive an assignment, no matter what its value, among others i will let the client know the circumstances of ownership. as far as I am aware of this is a standard, on the back of my bid sheet, terms and conditions clearly spells it out and if the client insists on ownership mucho dollhairs will be exchanged or I go back to washing dishes.
    its not about the money for me. I am not rich and not very smart but owning my photos is priceless.
    anyway, good luck. interesting topic.

    best to all

  42. Pete, book publishers are going to buy at the lowest price. Take Tiger Woods. Should a book publisher decide to illustrate a book on Woods 10 years from now, he will be able to choose from literally hundreds of thousands of photos. What value do you think a single image of Woods will have then? I remember when an archive was gold. But the world has changed. Just look at the photographers on the sideline of a pro football game, and think of what it looked like when Walter Iooss stood on that sideline as a teenager with his first Nikon. Would he have a chance with Sports Illustrated now?

  43. Wrobertangell, I think it’s incredible folks have been willing to pay me to shoot photos all these years! I’ve had way more fun than my dad did working at a refinery for 41 years. I would much rather be shooting photos than washing dishes.!

  44. STOOP said:
    “…If I were into inventing stuff, I’d have become a stupid filmmaker in the first place
    stelios thinks:
    “… Stories could be anywhere, we just have to make them (am I right?)

    for both of you my friends a big NO, NO…NO…

    Stoop sorry but, you could never be a film maker this way… a third class screen writer maybe ( not that sure either, but maybe… laughing )…its not about “inventing” a “fake” story…
    no, no… its about seeing behind the mundane and the ordinary… big difference…
    Same with you stelios…. sorry but,
    you dont have to “make” up a story… ( leave that for the cops and the snitches…)
    its not about making up a story… i dont think Trent P., ever did that….
    No, again,
    … its more of seeing & CAPTURING the extraordinary that is included in the “ordinary”…
    ITS NOT about making up stories that dont exist…. its more like listening to your intuition ( if any )..
    than making up “stories”…
    see Trent Parke for more… or see “BONES OF TIME” by BOB BLACK…
    ( see what i mean…???????????????????????????? )

  45. STOOP said: “…If I were into inventing stuff, I’d have become a stupid filmmaker in the first place stelios thinks: “… Stories could be anywhere, we just have to make them (am I right?) for both of you my friends a big NO, NO…NO… Stoop sorry but, you could never be a film maker this way… a third class screen writer maybe ( not that sure either, but maybe… laughing )…its not about “inventing” a “fake” story… no, no… its about seeing behind the mundane and the ordinary… big difference… Same with you stelios…. sorry but, you dont have to “make” up a story… ( leave that for the cops and the snitches…) its not about making up a story… i dont think Trent P., ever did that…. No, again, … its more of seeing & CAPTURING the extraordinary that is included in the “ordinary”… ITS NOT about making up stories that dont exist…. its more like listening to your intuition ( if any ).. than making up “stories”… see Trent Parke for more… or see “BONES OF TIME” by BOB BLACK… ( see what i mean…???????????????????????????? )

  46. The fact that you have never been concerned about retaining copyright and I am guessing your archive, you probably have no point of reference to make the claim that “book publishers are going to buy at the lowest price”

    Yes they will have hundreds of thousands to choose from… but how many images are there of Tiger Woods winning his first PGA event? His first Masters? How many images do you think are out there of Tiger carrying his Stanford golf bag or wearing his Stanford cap? These are historical and will be relevant if someone is writing a book about golf in the 90’s.

    How many photos of war and soldiers are there? By your reasoning Rosenthal and Kennerly may as well throw it all in the trash.

    You never know what an image may be worth 10 or 20 years from now.

    “Just look at the photographers on the sideline of a pro football game, and think of what it looked like when Walter Iooss stood on that sideline as a teenager with his first Nikon. Would he have a chance with Sports Illustrated now?”

    I have no idea what your point could possibly be here. What do you mean what chance?

  47. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh… thats so cool ……….
    my comment is printed twice in two different ways…
    loves it…

  48. Jim,
    im so glad that you see no difference at all at washing dishes and shooting photos..
    keep comments coming…
    you didnt make my day… you made my week…

  49. Actually, i would rather wash dishes than work in all those dead ass

  50. …. wtf , is this Tiger from the Woods now….???
    laughing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Jim i agree… photography is “more fun in your eyes”…. but
    cant you see the responsibility here ???????????
    you have to make photography “fun” for the rest of our “eyes” too…!!!!!!!
    you know what i mean??????????? ( otherwise its the same as washing dishes…just a clean GLASS is never
    enough in the Art World… aint it ??????????? )
    peace & hugs

  52. I would’nt be that surprised, if you are talented and reasonable the world is your oyster. its fair enough.
    I don’t want to convince you of anything, but it seems most if not all the photogs I have met over the years cherish their ownership. I know I do.
    if washing dishes paid like a photog salary what would you choose and why?

  53. wrober, there is nothing deeply philosophical here. From the time I got my first camera at age 10, I never wanted to be anything other than a photographer, and I made that happen. Now I can look back at a lifetime of doing exactly what I wanted to do. Have I “sold out?” I got exactly what I wanted and have had a lot of fun doing it. I think the advantage is to me.

    But, everyone must follow their own muse.

  54. but Jim… who said that selling out isnt profitable ??????????
    I’m glad that you had a “profitable” life so far….
    great for you… but was this profitable for the rest of us???????????????
    where is your book??????? where is the work????????????
    how did you promote that photo art????????????
    how did you pay your dues to that “tower of song”?as Leonard Cohen would say???
    ( i meant photography )!!!!!!!!
    Im convinced that you paid your mortgage shooting proms or local papers…
    im sure you covered a lot of traffic accidents or domestic violence incidents,…
    im sure a strong strobe and an 80-200mm lens are your best friends…
    but i would still see this newspaper approach as cool as working on a refinery…
    ( why am i apologizing ? )
    peace y’all

  55. … at least when i wash dishes… or towing cars…
    i dont sell my art out…
    Jim the damage you do to the rest of us is beyond your imagination…
    when photogs with your mentality do not care about authorship or copyright…
    then the fucking newspapers or silly publications like Nat Geo get the WRONG IDEA…
    YOU HELP THEM to get the wrong idea…
    and then when i go to pitch in a story, and insist on my copyright you know what they do ???????????
    they laugh at me…
    they mention your “name” and they say:
    “…. sorry , but Jim was here an hour ago… he will do the same story for half of what you asked PLUS,
    he doesnt care about copyright… he only cares about his mortgage…”
    ( see what i mean Jim????????????… you aint promoting this profession … In fact you are damaging it…
    you are killing it…)

  56. Panos, I don’t want people to emulate me! I’m just an old camera slinger. Emulate Harvey, or McCurry or Natchwey or any other famous photographer.

  57. Wow, Panos. You give me way to much power. I’m just a redneck PJ in the backwoods of Texas. Too funny.

  58. just wondering if you have any of those early shots laying around, if so, do any of them mean anything to you.
    I remember when I was 10 I was handed a scrubber and soap and I knew that all my dreams had been realized.. just kidding.
    anyway, it seems like a dicey little subject. I am sure you have photos that you took while not at work that have some meaning and are not related to the cost of living. and you still own them.
    maybe later in time somebody will save all those pictures, pull them from dusty filing cabinets in a basement somewhere and say…holy shit…these are wonderful and priceless, lets make a book etc etc.
    its your call to decide what is important to you.
    glad you had fun though, thats most important I guess.

  59. Wrober, even I am getting tired of talking about me. Let’s get back to talking about photography.

  60. panos, you got me wrong. perhaps I didnt explain as I should. I still cant. oh well. I get what you mean. I just cant express it I guess

  61. Yes Jim,
    and i hope you are not offended…
    but think… i dont exaggerate …. you DO HAVE THAT POWER….
    i hate to mention names in here…. but there is a “case” regarding one of my favorite National Geographic
    photographers… ( some probably know or guess already the name…)
    well NatGeo,fired the guy… no copyright for re-using his photos… no retirement…
    In other words, mags & papers dont want to pay US next time to re-publish our photos…
    There are people out there, WILLING TO DO IT FOR FREE…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    who wants me????????????????????????????????????? or YOU???????????
    this is our SURVIVAL people… wake up…
    COPYRIGHT… thats the only thing thats left… thats the only thing we got….

  62. JIM…

    laughing…my oh my..i keep writing over and over that i am not talking about ME..i am talking about all the young photographers i know entering this craft…THEY are not selling their copyright…the last two essayists, as i pointed out earlier, and the young photographers who were in the room when i did my last comment and nobody that i know gives up their copyright Jim….nor did i when i was 22 either….and i would not have gotten to wherever you think i am had i sacrificed my copyright…and this is something that has not changed all these years…there always has been a grab for rights and copyright…one long battle Jim…

    now believe me, i think it is terrific that you feel just fine in not owning your pictures…and you got the life you wanted..so good on you for that at least….all i am saying is that a photographer can have both…can you not imagine that a photographer who kept his rights would also be quite content as are you??

    ok, i have more than made my point (three times!)..

    i do like you Jim…not joking!!

    cheers, david

  63. Stelios,
    hey man… i might was kinda quick in my judgment…i now see what were you were saying!!!!!!!
    i just saw you some of your photos in Fickr….cool!!!!!!
    are from CRETE??????/ the most beautiful greek island??????????

    you know what i mean man…
    we have to survive … thats all… im tired of photogs “breaking” the prices just
    to pay their monthly expenses… and f**k tomorrow!!!!!!!
    f**k the rest of us…
    sorry, but thats the ultimate disrespect for me…

    you know very well that its not about “you being a redneck”
    or “me being black, or chinese)…. its more more more than that…
    its not about you being from a little VILLAGE in Texas and i’m from the BIG CITY like L.A………………

    its about dont SELL OUT the copyright coz this way you make it impossible for the young ones…
    the newcomers… the future……….. plus you let the older ones, the ones about to retire with no retirement funds……….
    We “all” lose, cant you see ????????????????????????
    Am i all alone on this one…? god damn !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  64. Panos, I’m not your competitor. I’m a PJ. Newspapers retain copyright. You are not a PJ, so what I do has nothing to do with your being able to sell and resell your photography. I am not the enemy.

  65. David, I’m glad they are holding on to their copyrights. I genuinely hope those copyrights have great value to them. I’m a simple guy, though. I’d rather be shooting photos than defending copyrights.

  66. As an aside, I’m sure everyone here knows you have to legally copyright an image (fill out the form, send in the money) to defend a copyright in court. The kind that comes just by publishing a work isn’t worth squat in court.

  67. i have no doubt David man…
    i have no doubt….
    …………but, our profession is damaged by our own selves ………….
    selling “cheap”…. selling at “once”… selling only once…..

  68. Hey David…
    Do i need to send guido after you? Damn you are hard to track down these days!

    I know, your swamped.. just don’t forget me.

  69. All creators retain copyright in this country unless stated otherwise , usage of work is granted but copyright is retained so here at least we have the law backing the creator up so anyone demanding copyright without adequate compensation is usually trying to take the piss or tragicaly ill informed.
    There are deals to be made and there is usually a way around most copyright issues when BOTH of the parties are educated and upfront about their needs ,I don’t see kneejerk reactions like the kind I’m reading now as helpfuladding anything to the discussion , I’m wondering where the old fashioned process of negotiation sits in this discussion , because all I see is some pretty rock solid opinions and no room to move on this subject.
    Panos – I used to be a truckdriving,dishwashing,shit job working photographer and if it came to a choice between a fat ad job that keeps me shooting or a newspaper assignment that gets me where I want to be for a couple of days ,then manual labour loses everytime , and the fact that this is what you are doing now do’snt give you any special recourse to question wether or not Jim has ” paid his Dues ” .
    As to DAH’s original question , I make a living interpreting whats in front of me and am trying to shoot whats inside me and the former does not impede the latter.

  70. Glenn,
    what makes you think that this “is” what im doing this days ????????
    ( laughing )….
    im from LA , remember…
    ( never believe people that are from LA…!!!!!! )
    ohhhhhhhhhhhh, you made my day ( or should i say night ) … too !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  71. Stelios,
    yes ……….. i totally agree…………
    CRETE …… the island of islands………..
    MINOAN civilization ….
    Women with exposed breasts…
    Women respected…
    Women on the pedestal……….
    my kinda place………..
    Stelios, welcome, stay with us…………..
    BURN is GREEK by all means!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. Well, fellas, I’m going to try to bring this discussion back to David’s original question, which was:

    “do you see yourself as a photographer who needs a strong clear subject in front of you in order to work, or do you prefer to ‘invent’ the concept in your head and carve interesting photographs out of ‘nothing’ ???”

    First of all, I’d like to say that in my opinion both Mike Brown and James Chance are exceptional photographers who I’m sure can work in EITHER of these ways. And David, I really appreciate your taking the time to post this thread. It makes me realize how much I’ve missed hearing you reflect, analyze and ask questions. It feels like coming home.

    As I’ve thought about your question, one of my favorite Edward Weston quotes came to mind:

    “Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.”

    I’ve been following that path for as long as I’ve held a camera in my hands. Long before I started my self portrait/daily life project, I was focusing on everyday life both in my single images and in essays. After all, I started adding photos to my daily blog in 2000 and continued doing so for the next seven years. At least one–and often more–photos a day. That sure keeps one focused on the here and now.

    Yes, I’ve also done my share of documenting interesting events and/or places, but something always brings me back to the magic of the ordinary. And the longer I focus on the unremarkable, the more remarkable it becomes. I mean, when I force myself to live with my eyes and heart wide open, I find poetry in the simplest of things. This is what gives me joy.


  73. Patricia,
    my honest answer:
    YOU & BOB BLACK……………
    the rest of us ( me totally included )…. simply jokes…
    although i tried…

  74. … Patricia,
    thats the reason i never really liked HCB…
    i hate “flies on the wall”… i like the ones that expose themselves…
    the ones that “mirror” themselves…
    and JIM P.
    made me soooooooooooooooooooooo happy when publicly announced that im not a PJ….
    i believe him…
    ( i dont wanna be a PJ… i hope im not a PJ… at least the way he( JIM ) “defines” it…
    Esoteric is my word…. shit that bob or you or rafal does…………
    thats what moves me…
    f**k the “OBVIOUS”…………

  75. … to give you an example i prefer “Antoine D’Golgotha”( laughing, hey R.ANT , YOU STILL AROUND??? )..
    than Steve McCurry………….
    make sense??????????

  76. Panos, you and I are basically doing the same thing–simply photographing what we see right in front of our noses. Yes, you generally place yourself in Venice Beach to take your shots, but not always. What about the Dark Children, the hot love affairs, the road trip to Seattle. Man, you are finding the “decisive moment” to be every moment you live. And that, my friend, is the genius and the soul of your work…


  77. Hey Pat..
    ( since you’re asking…)
    do you think that its just a coincidence that JIM P. or Steve McCurry , never promoted
    photography, or newcomers through their blogs…??????????????
    but i hear you already… “what blogs…?”
    well………. exactly! :(((((((((((((

  78. …….. ok
    PAT .. you win…
    im in Big Bear right now… with my “Dark Ones”………
    i should read them a story before they go to bed”…………
    thank you for “waking” me up……….
    coming back in 30’……….
    i need to “read” them a story….
    thanks Pat!

  79. Glenn, eloquent and beautiful way to put it-

    ‘I make a living by interpreting whats in front of me and am trying to shoot whats inside me and the former does not impede the latter.’

    I love photography of all sorts and as long as it has meaning for me and gives me pleasure to look at then well I don’t think it matters what sort of photography I look at.

    But what sort of photographer am I?

    Thats a bit tougher, I guess I like to tell stories for the enlightenment and amusement of anyone thats interested… Whatever means it takes or visual style it eventuates in I guess has always been a looser concept for me until recently.

    But I am now really trying to tell the stories much more in my own voice, say the things I NEED to say visually and emotionally while witnessing the passing parade of events. So does that count as conceptual or photojournalistic?

    As to copyright, no never, ever, ever give it up unless you are completely desperate and doing a job that is the equivalent of dish-pigging.

    Otherwise whats going to happen when you are old and athritic and can’t hold a camera anymore? Whose gonna look after you then?

    PS Glenn I am off to Yuendumu on Sunday you familiar with the mob there?

  80. Patricia………….
    “If the Moon has a Sister…. then its got to be YOU”…………

  81. PS Also I know this isn’t the place to put this but James Chance is a bloody marvel!

    I love his essay and the approach to it, fantastic stuff. And so is Mike Brown’s essay…Beautiful.

    Some great photographers/journalists what ever way you look at it!

    (Argh, now back to all the revolting paperwork I have been avoiding for over a year… Argh and double argh!)

  82. ok…………. last attempt……….
    this lyrics is for Jim & and any Jim in here!!!



    Just as he hit
    The ground
    They lowered a tow that
    Stuck in his neck to the gills
    Fragments of sobriquets
    riddle me this
    three half eaten corneas
    who hit the aureole
    Stalk the ground
    Stalk the ground
    You should have seen
    The curse that flew right by you
    Page of concrete
    Stained walks crutch in hobbled sway
    A capillary hint of red
    Only this manupod
    Crescent in shape has escaped
    The house half the way
    Fell empty with teeth
    That split both his lips
    Mark these words
    One day this chalk outline will circle this city
    Was he robbed of the asphalt that cushioned his face
    A room colored charlatan
    Hid in a safe
    Stalk the ground
    Stalk the ground
    Stalk the ground
    You should have seen
    The curse that flew right by you
    Page of concrete
    Stain walks crutch in hobbled sway
    A capillary hint of red
    Only this manupod
    Crescent in shape has escaped

    Pull the pins
    Save your grace
    Mark these words
    On his grave

    You should have seen
    The curse that flew right by you
    Page of concrete
    Stain walks crutch in hobbled sway
    A capillary hint of red
    Everyone knows the last toes are
    Always the coldest to go

    ( … not trying to be offensive…… its just that im not a poet….
    so i have to use other people’s poems…… thats all ! … fair enough? )

  83. Your Lies Become You lyrics

    How did I get here without you?

    It’s a miracle we’re all sane

    You’re kinda like suckin’ a vacuum

    A book in a flat on a dueled plain

    Well you claimed you could read the future

    And I’d say that you’ve nailed that down

    You still want everyone to love you

    Well, here’s a tip I might have to your big brain

    Do you really believe they can’t see through?

    A circus punk playin’ a foul game

    Let me cast you light, and it’s natural

    And with me you can strike that pose, yeah

    And you melt for the camera, cuz your lies become you

    Yes your lies become you?after all

    How am I living without you?

    I’m not even sure now that I’m sane

    But this little dog’s got enough sense

    To know not to sleep in the cold rain

    Yeah yeah yeah

    How are you doin’ without me?

    I’m sure you’ve found some new game

    I never wanted to miss you

    But then I never thought I could dig pain

    Hope it’s warmer for you, princess

    I, infact, hope it’s hot as hell, yeah

    And get what you asked for, cuz your lies become you

    Yes your lies become you?after all

  84. Interesting discussion,

    I was contacted by Getty to submit photos to them. Some of the photos I don’t have any attachment to but many were images of my ongoing project that David knows about. I refuse to sign over any rights to my images. I think in the long run you have to own your own images.

  85. “As to copyright, no never, ever, ever give it up unless you are completely desperate and doing a job that is the equivalent of dish-pigging.
    Otherwise whats going to happen when you are old and athritic and can’t hold a camera anymore? Whose gonna look after you then?”

    Well, there are savings and investments, etc. like the rest of the folks that retire happily without copyrights. I wonder how many retired photographers are living off their copyrights? I think most of ’em are writing columns in Shutterbug Magazine to pay the rent.

  86. LISA…

    this is the place to be…after James, all comments for stories and wherever the conversation takes us will be here in Dialogue…whatever problems there are in having all comments in one place is overridden by all of the advantages (i think, but i don’t know)….should make everything way simpler…three blog spots on one page is just too much….anyway, we will try it and see…



    cheers, david

  87. David, I just happen to have stumbled on a picture of you with a weird credit: DAVID A. HARVEY / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC / GETTY IMAGES. (It’s a picture of a mass grave in Cambodia dated 1981. Didn’t know you had been on my turf then…) Is the copyright of these pictures still yours?

  88. i think on copyright pete has a balanced opinion.. and only if working on a contracted basis, since there are worker-for-hire rights which some clients can push in court if needs be.

    a friend recently sent me this seminar and some of it remains true despite it comming from 2004 – particularly this paragraph by jeff sedlik..
    working alone, as a freelance, on stories i pitched, researched and offered as ready to drop into publication there is NO WAY i would have compromised on ownership.

    War On Photography II
    Presented at PhotoPlus Expo – Jacob Javits Convention Center – October 22, 2004
    ( http://editorialphoto.com/outreachep/wap2.asp )

    ¨At the top we have to recognize the value of your own work. For me that means to think in terms, to not think in terms of the value of the work to you but to always to think about your work in terms of the value to the clients. If you, if you think about the work in terms of the value to you you’re going to make mistakes, your going to give away things that you shouldn’t give away. You have to recognize the value of your work. It could be a shot of a hubcap that you do that you don’t give a damn about so you give away all the rights to the client. A year later the client wants to reuse that image their just going to go ahead and reuse it. If you had instead thought about it in terms of the value to the client you negotiate a licensing agreement with the client. You license him one year’s usage and the next year when they find that their sales have gone up because you did a great job on that hubcap shot they come back and pay you again for it. Maybe 80% of what they paid the first year and again and again and again. This happens to photographers who carefully license their work. I’ve always done that since day one when I got out of school I acted – and I must say I was acting at that time – like a successful person. I acted as if I knew what I was doing, I got some books on negotiation and on business and I didn’t give my rights away. I carefully licensed it and when a client would come to me and say we need all the rights, we don’t have a lot of money – which is pretty much every single call when you pick up the phone – I would spend as much time as I could carefully backing them down off of that unlimited rights thing. I would explain to them that they don’t need the unlimited rights and back them down onto the rights that they need. And if they said well we don’t know exactly what the usage is that we need I’d say well just wild ballpark guess. You know, let me know what you think you might use it for and I’m am going to license them those rights because they have x dollars to spend and it doesn’t benefit you at all to give away all the rights for those x dollars. ¨

  89. As a photographer, I am more inclined to creating a concept out of a certain topic; whether it is of purely personal and artistic value or of a newsworthy one. A little bit of both is a good balance for someone who wants to tell a story.

  90. I tend to shoot what’s in front of me. I like to photograph people and events as they unfold, without my intervention. I’m interested primarily in photographing people, and that as an observer. I’ve done conceptual stuff, of course, but it’s not my first choice.

  91. David Bowen

    Exactly! It is a very hard line to walk at times, but in the long run it is worth it.

  92. JOHN VINK..

    the copyright deal at Natgeo has always been pretty good with the exception of the published pictures back in the early eighties…in this case there was a sort of shared copyright or at least shared use..that published in NG picture from Cambodia can be used by them or by me, with compensation to me either way….this was, of course, pre-Magnum…NG has some kind of portal deal with Getty of which i am not a part with the exception of this eighties material….a few years after this picture of the mass graves , even published pictures became the sole property of the photographer…

    being in Cambodia (Kampuchea at the time) in 1980 was a tenuous situation..the Khmer Rouge controlled a lot of the countryside at night…even Angkor Wat could be a dangerous place to be once the sun went down…not a tourist in sight day or night…not a hotel or restaurant or anything…it was just me going in with the Vietnamese Army (NVA) who had just beat the U.S Army …i slept in a Vietnamese NVA military hospital tent….no visa..no embassy haven for me….hmmmmm, what the hell was i doing there?? i did have a good contact in Phnom Penh from PJG and so i muddled day by day through the morass….

    cheers, david

  93. DAH

    i have uploaded 100 or so photos to the photoshelter burn site, through the invite from anton.. just as a test.. no narrative, nor final images..
    i cannot find a place to look at them.. i have found the burn magazine photoshelter gallery page though..

    any ideas?

    to look at ´decade´ at the photoshelter burn site it requires a password.. onbly for decade.. not for anton..

    will also hit him up about this..

    many thanks

  94. i am guessing the way to use photoshelter is to create a lightbox, in which i can order the images and number them, and then it is easy to talk about them on skype – which is why i am trying to find out where i can see and arrange them..

    will get there i am sure..

  95. David Bowen,

    Pull down the “sort by” menu on the right side of the lightbox and select “custom.” You can then drag the images around to the order you want.

  96. thanks pete…

    i know about using my own PS account.. david and anton have been working on a burn photoshelter MU account, whatever that is, and have a burn account for mentoring which i have uploaded a bunch of test photos to, in order to see how it works.. yet i cannot get past passwords, (as i don´t have any) and am unable to find the photos i have uploaded…


    if you can i think it´s best to just delete the test upload i have just done to the burn account and i´ll get anton to talk me through the burn pages and supply me with passwords for access…
    we´ll sort it..

  97. I often feel it’s like a conversation, the more brash and talkative my partner, the more appropriate it is for me to sit back and listen. With someone shy or nervous, then I need to take more of an initiative.

  98. David Alan

    Thankyou for your insights regarding the differences between the Sakhalin and The Dead, and the approaches of the two photographers.
    Yes the approaches are vastly different, James draws us in and tells us a story. Michael writes us a poem.

    For me, the strongest story within Sakhalin was the extraordinarily beautiful photographs Michael extracted from a very bleak place. You are certainly right that many photographers could visit such a place and come back with nothing. I am in awe of Michaels raw talent.

    On the other hand, in such a place, I’m sure there are many stories to be told. Had James visited the place, I have no doubt he would have focused in on one and brought back amazing stuff.

    The two situations are not all that different really. Both are far away exotic places far removed from the experiences of most North Americans. While not quite in the same photo-op category as bullfights, Antarctica, African safaris, or quaint Latin American locales, both the graveyard and Siberia are exotic enough to be interesting for their novelty alone. The same goes for “exotic” subjects closer to home.

    What I find vastly more interesting, and impressive, is when someone shows me something familiar to me in a fresh way, we often miss the obvious. Mirrors and windows and all that.

    I’m still trying to find my own way.

  99. DAH,

    The stream of comments has become slightly confusing…I thought chronologically meant that the first comment posted would remain the first comment posted, but instead it seems to be ordered from the comments of each day are in a time sequence, and then newer comments appear first. Taking a break from my computer last night, I missed much of this discussion…I was able to piece together some of the topics and conversations, but still found it confusing to follow…I liked it much better when the first comments posted remained the first as it was easy to follow the conversations and see the discussions develop.

    So I will attempt to answer the question that DAH posed: “do you see yourself as a photographer who needs a strong clear subject in front of you in order to work, or do you prefer to “invent” the concept in your head and carve interesting photographs out of “nothing” ???”

    This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. On the track to figuring it out, I ask myself questions like “What makes a good story? What makes a good image? How can I shoot a “concept” and have people understand my point? How can I get the audience to “get” my point and feel what I feel when I show them what I have shot?” For me, I have shot many different things across many different genres. It’s helped me to develop my talent and hone my interests where photography is concerned. No matter what I am shooting, it is always very important for me to connect to my subject; I’ve commented about this with almost every essay or single shot here on BURN…the connection, for me, in my work, is paramount. That being said, my approach to a subject right in front of me or an “invented” concept, or intangible concept, would be the same…as I guess it would be for any photographer, being that we all have our own style…

    Since I’ve been following BURN, I have learned so much…about the views of others, how they see, how people react, things to consider that I may not have considered before…it started to help me realize the kind of photographer I want to be and what step to take next. In that, the projects I have outlined for myself to start working on have been much more conceptual…literally attempting to tell a story with an image, or a set of images (a picture’s worth a thousand words…). I will see where these stories take me…

    DAH and all, thank you for making me think and sharing your views. I am so grateful to be part of this community…

  100. we can also rephrase… under what conditions does one’s authorship/vision become subordinate? for the more experienced lurking about here — have you ever felt yourself in such a position? what was it like? when, where how….?

  101. CARRIE…

    we are very pleased to have you as part of this community…

    your comment on the sequencing did confuse me however….the comments are set up just as you suggest…in chronological order..the most recent comments at the bottom and in the order in which they were written…when the comments go past 50 , then a new page is made and that page is seen first, but it is easy to just click “older comments” at the bottom and you will go to the previous page…we have tried everything in terms of how to sequence comments in the last three years, and this seems to be the most efficient most of the time for most of the readers….

    cheers, david

  102. Hi everybody! I think the most important thing is to me, to create your way to photograph, before magazines, newspapers or that stuff.
    YOUR way, YOUR vision. I’m included.
    It’s really interesting after a while of watching so, so many pictures (books, internet, Perpignan, etc…) from so many photographers, at the end you guess at a glance, almost inmediately, who took the pics. i.e. DAH, Paolo Pellegrin, Steve MC, Bruce Gilden, etc… That’s really great for them. So if the editor want that point of view, he will call that photographer… and that point of view comes from inside, deep inside, besides University…

    Hope see everyone at VISA this year, Patricio

  103. DAVID

    Tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 26) I’ll be preparing the video clip you’ve asked for. Then I’ll snail mail the DVCAM mini cassette to you. I’m assuming I should send it to the Magnum address. Is that correct?


  104. I prefer to bring to life the concept in my head and try to carve interesting photographs out of “nothing” even with a “built in subject” in editor’s parlance.

  105. Radiohead Lyrics
    Song: Idioteque
    Album: “KID A” by Radiohead

    Who’s in a bunker?
    Who’s in a bunker?
    Women and children first
    And the children first
    And the children
    I’ll laugh until my head comes off
    I’ll swallow till I burst
    Until I burst
    Until I

    Who’s in a bunker?
    Who’s in a bunker?
    I have seen too much
    I haven’t seen enough
    You haven’t seen it
    I’ll laugh until my head comes off
    Women and children first
    And children first
    And children

    Here I’m alive
    Everything all of the time
    Here I’m alive
    Everything all of the time

    Ice age coming
    Ice age coming
    Let me hear both sides
    Let me hear both sides
    Let me hear both
    Ice age coming
    Ice age coming
    Throw it in the fire
    Throw it in the fire
    Throw it on the

    We’re not scaremongering
    This is really happening
    We’re not scaremongering
    This is really happening
    Mobiles skwrking
    Mobiles chirping
    Take the money run
    Take the money run
    Take the money

    Here I’m alive
    Everything all of the time
    Here I’m alive
    Everything all of the time

    Here I’m alive
    Everything all of the time
    Here I’m alive
    Everything all of the time

    The first of the children

  106. Komm in mein Boot
    ein Sturm kommt auf
    und es wird Nacht

    Wo willst du hin
    so ganz allein
    treibst du davon

    Wer hält deine Hand
    wenn es dich
    nach unten zieht

    Wo willst du hin
    so uferlos
    die kalte See

    Komm in mein Boot
    der Herbstwind hält
    die Segel straff

    Jetzt stehst du da an der Laterne
    mit Tränen im Gesicht
    das Tageslicht fällt auf die Seite
    der Herbstwind fegt die Strasse leer

    Jetzt stehst du da an der Laterne
    hast Tränen im Gesicht
    das Abendlicht verjagt die Schatten
    die Zeit steht still und es wird Herbst

    Komm in mein Boot
    die Sehnsucht wird
    der Steuermann

    Komm in mein Boot
    der beste Seemann
    war doch ich

    Jetzt stehst du da an der Laterne
    hast Tränen im Gesicht
    das Feuer nimmst du von der Kerze
    die Zeit steht still und es wird Herbst

    Sie sprachen nur von deiner Mutter
    so gnadenlos ist nur die Nacht
    am Ende bleib ich doch alleine
    die Zeit steht still
    und mir ist kalt

    Come in my boat
    a storm is rising
    and the night is coming
    Where do you want to go
    (quite alone you are drifting away),
    give it up
    Who will hold your hand
    when it
    pulls you under

    Where do you want you want to go
    So boundless,
    the cold sea
    Come in my boat,
    The wind of autumn
    keeps the sails stiff

    Now you are standing by the lantern
    with tears in your face
    The daylight falls to the side
    The autumn wind sweeps empty the streets

    Now you are standing by the lantern
    with tears in your face
    The evening light chases the shadows away
    Time stands still and fall is coming

    Come in my boat
    Yearning becomes
    the helmsmen
    Come in my boat
    the best sailor
    was I

    Now you are standing by the lantern
    with tears in your face
    You take the fire from the candle
    Time stands still and fall is coming

    They only spoke of your mother
    so merciless is only the night
    In the end I’m left alone
    The time stands still
    and I am cold

  107. Lisa – Yuendemu , I was there twice last year , all sorts of heavy stuff going around , if you’ve not been there before it will definitely curl your toes , I had a pretty bizzare time ,missing children ,dissapearing women and a german picture editor’s mad deadline, trying to tie anyone down there for a shoot is nigh on impossible , so I hope you havent got a tight deadline because things definitely run to their own pace out there , smile and don’t stress!

  108. My eyes would be clear here in Bucharest if they would ban smoking in cafes like most places in the modern world, but then again, Bucharest is not so modern, but Balkan.

  109. I would imagine that the post by David Bowen (Clear Eyes, 25 Feb) on copyright issues will be most useful to aspiring photographers in that it not-only tells them NOT to sell the copyright to their work but also tells them HOW they can still make a sale by licensing the rights to a photograph for a specific period. Good advice here on Burn Magazine. Thank you David B.


  110. MIKE R…

    yes, licensing for a specific period, specific use , is the standard practice of all agencies…but, for sure it should be made clear to all photographers that there is never a need to sacrifice ownership…remember you automatically own your work..you would have to sign a piece of paper granting your rights in order to lose these rights..

    by the way, i found a nice “single” of yours yesterday…coming soonest…

    cheers, david

  111. mike, david…

    the main issue i have found is checking the clients outlets in case of an extended use of the license.. a simple web-search normally does it, but i often find magazines on the shelves, who have been past clients, still using the work for illustrative purposes..

    filling in the metadata for is the best cover i think, although i have yet to take anyone to court..
    will be doing just that very soon though..



  112. David,

    I appreciate your offer of taking a look at the edit on my series on African Migrants in Barcelona. I haven’t worked on the story since just before Christmas, but I would appreciate your insight on an edit as I think it would be a valuable exercise.

    You can see the edit here:

    And just as a test, I’m going to try embedding the Photoshelter widget text. I’m not sure if it will work or not in the blog but it’s worth a try. If you see a bunch of weird code at the bottom here, my apologies in advance.

    Thanks again!


    Here’s the widget:

  113. PANOS..

    geeeez..i have been reading this kind of stuff my whole career…somebody needs to get a life!! tell Lassal to consider the source…and just go take some of her exquisite photographs!! man, you can get bogged down by seminars like this one…whew!! makes me exhausted…

    cheers, david

  114. David, ALL….
    honestly… (still making a coffee)….
    i havent opened or read the link that Lassal…
    wanted me to post here…
    i was just the “medium”…. i dont have much time to read long, long , long posts either…
    im going to photograph the snow outside Freida’s door…
    (but i will tell Lassal to consider the source…& keep shooting more, reading less)…
    All…. i agree…
    go out , shoot more…. enough with reading, philosophizing and meditating in front of a
    bottle of wine….
    peace y’all…. from the cold ass big bear… but no worries… back to the beach tomorrow…
    My friends Ludmilla & Jared Lorio ( La Pura Vida )… invited me to a show/exhibition tomorrow
    night somewhere in Echo Park…
    ( Jared & Ludmilla , if youre listening please plug the tomorrow show more properly… put a link here with more info please…. So Haik, get ready… for tomorrow night … lets see what this “La Pura Vida” thing is all about… but i believe that this must be a great show… just because LUDMILLA is the mastermind behind all that…)

  115. davin..
    i caught that and just thought that nothing has really changed :ø)
    it puts me off reading blogs more than photography.

    11 years ago 72 graduated from my class and less than a handful worked as photographers.. and probably only a handful bothered to go out and take photos during the void which occurs after a photo course.

    i´ve always understood that assisting is a profession all of it´s own and moving to a capital city straight out of collage is always going to be a difficult move..

    of the students i teach now a handful will go on to work as photographers and, as one commenter says on Phot eds page, perhaps the others just do not have the passion to practice..

    i don´t think it matters what you do for money if you enjoy your photography because you will take pictures whatever the ´weather´.. the pro/am divide is more to do with ego than quality photography and the only certain thing is that if you continue doing what you love to do then you´ll taste your relative idea of success..

  116. David,

    Well, I chimed in and said this:

    “I really think it’s simply a matter of cutting costs and going to where some of the action is. The Czech master Josef Koudelka didn’t have an apartment for 15 years after fleeing to the West in 1970. Why?! Because he realized that the money he would have spent each month on rent he could use instead to finance his wanderings around Europe. Now, this might be a bit of an extreme example, but I thin you really need to have your priorities straight right now. As Craig says above, many just lack the passion to follow through. If you want to do photography–even right now–it is possible, you just can’t probably live in Brooklyn, let alone Manhattan–it’s all to expensive. On top of this, when fewer and fewer magazines/newspapers are giving out assignments, you better be in a place where interesting, offbeat things are going on all the time”.

  117. Davin,

    You nailed it. I couldn’t agree with you more. Better Bucharest than Brooklyn or Barcelona;-) The ideal local would be an interesting location that gets a lot of media attention and has a low cost of living. I’m open to suggestions!

    I hope you are staying well, mate!

  118. davin
    that´s the way to do it if needs be.. my ego required working as a photographer… so i lived in my ´studio´, (a disused factory earmarked for demolition), for a while.. ate cheap.. bought good film.

    it is astonishing that someone would ´give up´ after a year trying..

    you´re in a great part of europe and really glad it´s going well..

  119. Hi Charlie! So, you left Barcelona?!

    David: Yeah, a bit ironically, I am doing the best financially that I have ever done(!) There’s some sort of inverse proportional equation going on for me here. . .

  120. hey charlie..

    didn´t i read somewhere that you won a travel photographer of the year contest? maybe through the photoshelter newsletter..?

    also off to the maldives for a couple of weeks? think i saw a post on lightstalkers..

    tough life, photography.. eh?

  121. “The ideal local would be an interesting location that gets a lot of media attention and has a low cost of living.”

    Gaza comes immediately to mind.

  122. Hi David,
    Thank you for your clear answer about copyright! I’ve always taken that stance myself, although I began sending my work in to the copyright office just a few years ago. But some people just ssem to feel the need to have money right now, right away and would sell anything they could to get it… However they still try to live a lifestyle they can’t afford.

    I wonder if anyone has ever talked about this topic in your blog – Relationships

    I read somewhere once that NatGeo Photographers have an 80-90% divorce rate. Thats horribly high, But I imagine it’s due to the constant travel and workload to edit the photos when home… Are you ever really home when you’re working like that?

    I’d like to ask everyone who’s been a photographer for a long time,
    If it’s not too personal, How has your photography and life been affected by the relationships you’ve had and how have your relationships been affected by your work?

    Have a wonderful day!

  123. The Rocky Mountain News announced today it is shutting down. A moment of silence for a great newspaper.

  124. Jason, I’ve been a PJ for 40 years. My wife and I have been married 31 years. We’ve both enjoyed our careers and each other. No issues at all. Many PJ’s I know have not been so lucky, though.

  125. Jim,
    i still DO BELIEVE in books…
    but let all newspapers die! who needs more environmental waste …
    A newspaper is the only “publication” i know that has to go to the recycle bin
    as soon as you done with it… Keep killing the forests for “toilet paper”…
    that i totally understand… but, a filthy newspaper is “gone”??????
    time to PARTY and celebrate… not time to mourn…
    viva Internet…
    viva BURN…. ( we can write all day and all night but no toxic waste is produced… im writing here
    almost 2 years now…but nobody had to sacrifice a tree for all my bullshit… )
    Death to all newspapers….
    its a new day out there…. a new world….

  126. Jim,
    you may have been “lucky” in your “one & only” relationship so far man…
    yes, youve been lucky…. i agree…
    but Serious Relationships have NOTHING to do with LUCK bro….
    ( laughing )……..

  127. Panos, what will you say to all of the photographers who lost their jobs at the Rocky Mountain News today, “Let them publish books?”

  128. Jim, you have a point on the jobs part…
    i agree… but its not me that is changing the world man…
    Our Earth is running out of sources ( and trees )…
    thats all.
    we ruined this earth and people losing jobs is simply one of the consequences…
    ( i would advice all those “fired” people to go tow cars and wash dishes…
    just like i do… and im not sarcastic at all… i dont feel sorry for folks
    that they cant sense that a big storm is coming… they lived in denial for too long…)

  129. Through out the ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, the sky has been falling…for time immemorial, the Photography World (business) has been dying…about to extinquish….TV was going to kill the Newspaper…then the web would kill TV, etc….to some degree, it’s all total bollucks…the closing of the Rocky Mountain News is said (and yes, they were a brilliant outfit) and i feel for the staff there, considerably. But i find increasingly the dire writing that often seems to plaque the photographic world just idiotic. TRANSFORMATION….the world is about transformation and any creative thoughtful photographer who works hard and sees and senses and is not blind or befuddled or deaf to change will do ok…yes, Print Mags are disappearing…yes, getting a decent gig as a journalist for a paper and making a life-long living is increasingly dinosaurously impossible….but the world has remarkable potential and this is the time, not to hang heads, but to delved into what remarkable possibilities are out there…visually, materially and, yes, financially….

    Lassal’s link (i read it) just depressed me increasingly, not for the factual information but for the suggestion that we all just give up, go home…fuck…look what people are doing in China, in India, in Brazil….

    Wake up people…sure, it aint the midas-touch life of photography, but this is a remarkable time…..hard as shit, yea, of course…belt tightening, fuck yea (talk to me about that shit, my wife and i are raising a 14 year old on 2 artist income in an incredibly expensive N.American city, and you dont see me hanging up the bloody towell or complaining at Lightstalkers or burn), reimagining how to make a life as a photographer…hell yea….but, it is possible…pespective people….

    gotta live ahead not behind…maybe it’s ambition, my own ambition is small: make the work i want to make and figure out from there how to survive and feed my family…maybe a turning toward the work rather than toward the ‘career’ will elevate more…

    not to sound cliched, but for god’s sake, carpe diem for god’s sake already….

    Transformation….that’s what the damn profession is about to begin with, embrace it and makes it yours….

    im with david, reading the post on aphotoeditor and than this one from lassal just seems, well…like the same old song….

    im not a pollyanna rose-colored dub, but good god…maybe the difficulties we all now face will hone ideas more sharply….


  130. Bryan ,
    thank you… for the plug..
    i’ll try to be there on time if possible…
    Jared L & Ludmilla invited me … and hopefully i wont miss
    the opportunity to see some great work up there!

    peace & hugs….
    La Pura Vida, everyone from LA… tomorrow night… links above…

  131. shifting sands in the newspaper industry is all that´s going on..
    print journalism will stay around.. as will recycling and sustainable sources of paper..

    there was a great section on the jon stewart show this week…
    if the internet had been invented first, and then print journalism arrived, people would be saying the internet is about to die due to this new miracle of print.. which you can read in the bath.. on the bus.. on the underground..

    it´s just shifting sands which run under the passion for photography.. they might change the direction for a few however it is easy to stay on top of the photography – if not for money for love.

    and on relationships – i looked into it after david blogged about it on roadtrips and the highest divorce rates are within the police and fire services.. i think photography must come a way down the list.. just an opinion..


  132. I will miss newspapers in print..
    In Greece they used to wrap fish in the fish market..
    I worry about the fish markets now..
    Oh, someone said , what are we gonna read in the bus
    or in a toilete???
    Hm , very legit question..
    Answer:…. they call it iPhone or even blackberry…

  133. Jason!

    Relationships, OMG have you opened a can of worms!

    I could write a thesis on ‘Creative People and their Relationships’ but I reckon there is enough depressing stuff on this thread about “Photography is Dead’ (I have heard that same phrase used about painting and radio and cinema as well in the past)

    However I can say this reasonably succinctly about relationships (and photography for that matter…)

    I always live in hope!

  134. .. and that john Stewart “what if”…thing..
    Like he admitted himself..
    “what if??”…
    Man you can’t live a real life based on “what if’s”…

  135. David,
    thank you so much for your reply! You hit the nail right on it’s head! I had to look up the word “resolve” in the dictionary. Good word!
    didn’t know Rammstein had a gig on the moon ;-)
    There are some great newspapers out there like my favourite The Glasgow Herald! And yes, I am a tree lover. I recall 1993 Clayoquot Sound at 8 o’clock in the morning in a clear cut with Midnight Oil live on stage! Magical times!
    I agree with you, the link is very depressing. And yes, it is and it will always be a time of transformation. I guess most people don’t like it too much, me included, but as you said, we have to make it our transformation. As always, you have found a great way to say all this!
    truly bad news from the Rocky Mountain News. Even I had it bookmarked! And now? As far as I understand it, there are two big daily morning papers in Denver, too much competition. Very sad.
    Perhaps you have already seen this photo of President Obama’s inauguration. And perhaps you have already found some familiar faces. The picture was taken by David Bergmann. This is the link:
    Anton and the tech team at burn,
    most of the time I use a macbook with Safari. The photo of Dimitri was too big to see it completly on a 13″ screen. Please make it fully viewable on all screens. However I looked at Panos slideshow on a 24″ screen today and it looked still splendid. Now I know why it takes so long to download and view these essays ;-)

  136. Reimar…
    Yep.. Rammstein on the moon..
    I don’t hate newspapers man..
    I don’t..
    I don’t hate film either..
    But I ain’t gonna mourn above the grave…!
    No no no..
    Death is a natural course of all things…
    And death is scary..
    And denial is gold for some..
    Hey, whatever works!!!

  137. Jared !!!
    All …LA crowd!
    Yes .. Echo Park tomorrow ..!
    Let’s drink to the death of newspapers tomorrow..!

  138. at least newspapers decompose…
    laughing………… yep! i agree…
    some crap decompose faster than others!!!!!!!!

  139. Benjamin… its not the phone… its the battery on the phone…
    like i said : some crap go down faster…

  140. …and ALL…
    please dont get me wrong about “film is dead”…
    ( marcin will kill me ;-)))))))))))
    Marilyn Monroe is also dead but i still love her…
    i wish i was the one making the rules… but THANK god I’m not!

  141. Ben, i agree,
    Newspapers or phones… same environmental disaster…
    And yes i will do as you said… throw the phone away…
    but since everyone uses a cellphone… since everyone has to have
    this “disaster” in their hands…. then printing a newspaper ( on top of that )
    is an overkill….
    if we could choose i would agree with you… a newspaper is definitely less waste than
    a phone… no doubt…
    but i dont think that our society will get rid of cellphones or laptops any time soon…
    ( but , have them both??? kinda too much… im afraid ! )

  142. DAVIN….

    interesting piece…but, again, the same rhetoric i have heard since i graduated from college as well…most of my classmates who were in photo school never got a job in photography either…but, you are working….Mike Brown is working.. Aislinn Leggett is working….James Chance is working…many are working…just not NOT EVERYBODY who thinks they should be working is working…it has always been thus…for sure times are hard….but, for those who can move with stealth and think clearly and have a real talent, the doors will always be open…

    there seems to be a feeling out there that if you WANT to be a working photographer and you STUDY to become a working photographer, that you somehow have a right and SHOULD BE a working photographer….there is thinking among many that if those dreams do not come true, it is because the business has gone to hell…believe me, everyone has ALWAYS said this business had gone to hell…if you are trying to become a working and/or published documentary photographer , you just cannot look at our business the same way you might view other professions…first, it is not even a profession….

    besides, now it is probably not even desirable to become a professional photographer per se in order to make a significant mark…..the gallery scene is wide open…the book publishing world is expanding in many exciting ways that did not exist a few years ago…yes, yes there ARE more photographers than in the past …but there are also more opportunities than in the past…

    i am quite sure the young photographers i mentioned above will never be out of work…

    cheers, david

  143. yep………. enough with all that fear..
    and all the pessimism….. good photography will prevail…
    bad photography wont… now if its on a wall, on a paper or on Burn or in a BOOK…
    doesnt matter…..
    if the internet dies, or a newspaper dies or my wall collapses … who cares…
    good photography will stay….
    Even if GM or Ford or Chrysler dies…. who cares…cars will stay….
    dinosaurs died too…jee…
    ALL stop worrying to much… Worry is the mother of laziness… Pessimism also……..

  144. Pessimism and extra fear is a good reason NOT to work… not to photograph…
    Lets all shut up and go out and shoot… enough with all those questions …
    Am i gonna have a job in 20 years…? is photography dying ?
    is film dying? is digital “pure” enough medium to use….
    Lazy, lazy, lazy ass thoughts and questions…
    All , again, lets go out and shoot with whats available today!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  145. It’s sad to hear another paper is dying,
    However, after a while, a new format will be discovered that will fill the void. It maybe like the loos of jobs over the years where there are fewer jobs, but they’re highly technical or you need a great education to do them now… as in the auto industry – very little of the work is hand done anymore – it’s robots and machines. people are still needed to run those and fix mistakes.

    So, If I may ask again, the dynamics of relationships for the photographer. – Is anyone willing to talk about theirs?

    Lisa – you mentioned you could write a thesis, I’m actually kind of doing that only it’s a 5-7 page paper.. and my topic is the relationships photographers have and the family dynamics… For instance do all, most, many, few photographer have wonderful great people skills, relationships with their subjects, and at home struggle because they don’t have the time to devote to the family? Are studio photographers better off because they have the time at home, work stays at work, and they’re not on the go, out of the city, state, country? Some photographers are a working couple – Husband and wife alike are doing the work together, their both involved… others are single – Dorthea Lange comes to mind from her earlier years, I think it was said she always had a young man beside her…
    So I’m looking to know more about Photographers and their relationships and how their work affects their relationships. Thank you Jim for your response, I think maybe as a journalist, maybe you’re not at a norm, I don’t know though, I’ve only had one answer to look at :)


    Panos – How about you? I don’t know much about you, do you have a family?

  146. DAVID

    I just saw your workshop schedule and found that you’re giving a loft workshop in Brooklyn April 3-5. That coincides with when I’ll be in NJ for my niece’s wedding (she’s getting married on Saturday, April 4). You and I had talked about the possibility of getting together in Manhattan during my visit to do an edit prior to my publishing my Blurb book of “Falling Into Place.” Now I’m wondering if by any chance we could meet on Wednesday or Thursday, April 1 or 2? I’d also be available on Friday during the day, but I imagine you’ll be busy with the workshop on that day. Hope we can work something out. I have lots of new images that you haven’t seen.


    P.S. Tomorrow (Friday) I’ll be mailing the DVCAM mini-cassette with my video clips to you via the Magnum office.

  147. PATRICIA…

    i am sure we will have a chance to meet when you are in New York…it sounds to me like your dates coincide perfectly with mine..i do look forward to all those new images….i knew very well when you told me you were done, that you were not quite done…but, you will be i am sure by the time we meet…in the meantime, squeeze just a bit more please…

    cheers, david

  148. I sometimes have this fantasy of being a professional photog but Ive never been really that heavily into PJ style photography. It doesnt grab or interest me much. Im much more drawn to the quiet and personal storytelling that arose along the lines of Nan Goldin, and which is practiced by some of the Magnum photogs as well. It just plays much more with my imagination to know the photog has an intimate stake in the work.

  149. rafal – i think the idea of prof verses am photog is a misnomer – it truly doesn´t matter.. and you have hit the nail on the proverbial head when you turn from the fantasy towards the real interest of storytelling.

    i think that probably more amateurs have the personal stake in their work than profs, who more often than not are stuck in the grind of paying the rent.

    much better to produce a professionally worked project than work to live up to the title of ´professional´.

  150. jason.

    i think the relationships photographers have probably vary as any other industry and it may be difficult to generalize. i have been unable to fund survey details on the subject although my gut feeling would be that any work which involves more than the simple 9 – 5 might have similar dynamics.

    think of a traveling salesman – does their work effect their love life or relationships? that would vary drastically with the work.. do they travel internationally or locally.. do they sell their own product.. own their own business..
    the variables are such within photography and as you state yourself, with so many streams within the industry it may not be possible to simplify the results of research as easily as with policemen, firemen or the other jobs related to the highest divorce rates.

    while i was working every weekend away and internationally my relationship sucked.. now i work closer to home and lecture, (i am still a photographer by the definition of photographing daily), i have a great life and relationship. when i work away again i now have the kind of family which is open to living abroad.. traveling.. and the work my partner does would be inclusive of that lifestyle.. and so the relationship will not suck :ø)

    i wonder if analyzing the relationships of photographers, while fascinating, may lead to results as wildly varied as each photographer.. each family.. and each charecter within the industry.

    there is a thread on roadtrips about this.. it is here..

    and i believe david mentioned in that thread that a german study is being done which might tackle just this subject..

    best wishes

  151. DAVID

    Oh, that’s great news that we can get together when I’m in NYC! To be honest I’m feeling rather clueless about how to layout even a Blurb book. And, yes, you and Panos were right–I wasn’t done taking photos for this project. I was just going through a dry spell. But now things are flowing again, just like you predicted when you posted the stages one goes through in creating a book. It won’t be long now. I’m definitely getting there…thanks to you and the support of everyone here on BURN. Couldn’t have done it without you, ALL of you!


  152. Davin-
    No, I haven’t left Barcelona. I just meant that cost of living wise, one would be better off in a place like Romania, rather than in Brooklyn or Barcelona, which are both relatively expensive places to live.

    David Bowen-
    Thanks for the publicity, but I’m just too cash strapped to pay you. Unless, of course, I can get James to start paying me. We can start a public relations ponzi scheme;-)

    Yes, I won a category of TPOTY in December 08 with a series I did on my Irish relatives. I am also going to work on a project that is part of the grant portion of the TPOTY new talent category I won back in December 2007. I’m thrilled to finally get to go at this project and to have the funding to do so. I could think of worse places to go than the Maldives, but be forewarned, if you’ve ever been on a tourist charter flight from the UK believe me, it can be worse than any combat zone;-)

  153. David asked…
    “do you see yourself as a photographer who needs a strong clear subject in front of you in order to work, or do you prefer to “invent” the concept in your head and carve interesting photographs out of “nothing” ???”
    I’m inclined towards the second but without being in agreement with the whole statement.

    Every photograph consists of a mixture of information and of visual poetic expressions. Their proportions, define up to a point, the specific aim of the photograph.

    I happen to believe that the strongest the subject the weaker the creative potential of the photograph.
    When people look at photographs with strong clear subjects, they are interested mainly, if not solely, on the reality of the subject and not of the reality of the photograph.
    Walker Evans has said that “no photograph can be a document”.

    At the other hand, I avoid as much as I can, to “invent the concept” prior to shooting, because I don’t want my photographs to act as a mere illustration of an idea.
    The photographic procedure is not complete until the final stage of editing, post processing and presentation. And it is at that stage that most the thinking has to go on.
    That way, the mental process will follow the photograph and not the photograph trying to comply with the conceptual restraints.

    I think the subject of all great photographers of the past and present, was their own self.
    If we think about it, what was really the subject of the whole of Andre Kertesz oeuvre?
    And was it really the Americans the subject of Robert Frank or they were merely the vehicle to explore a new revolutionary visual language?

    I try not to lure myself by important and serious topics and to direct my photographic interests towards the seemingly insignificant. That way I know, that whenever I create something worthwhile, even with a little bit of luck, its significance will be entirely of the photography itself.

  154. i agree – erica, how many mother and baby photos do you think they will be getting today? :ø)

    you going to go for it? really is a superb venture if you have some work ready to go..
    thinking of banging over a few photos today, although i have never collected model releases so will have to be careful with the choice..

    have to get invoices off today first though.. and the day is waining.. 2.37pm and so glorious outside.. i feel like wandering to the fjords..

    good to see you here.. seems like it has been a while… how has the portrait project and scanning panned out in the end? approaching publishers?

  155. db

    “in the end” made me smile..just got 3 rolls back yesterday, am scanning away, not sure when the end will be..the piece had a shift, an added dimension, 35mm street..so that is where I am now, shooting, thinking, letting it develop. it is like waves, they keep coming..but of course i need to put a cap on it for epf and will do so very soon, am happy with where it is ‘at’, just curious as to where it is going..can stop at any time i suppose, but the prospect of going elsewhere is intriguing; there are days when I think I’m done, i can’t see anymore, but then I see something that takes my breath and opens a little window again. at this point it really is in part about funding, with it I think I could do the multimedia aspect as I had intended, now that is all just shattered bits of effort..I have an assignment to shoot tomorrow, and lots of looses ends as i was just away for the week, so it is scrambling as usual, but thanks for asking.

  156. all sounds positive though, which is great erica..
    whatever the spark is that´s keeping the project going it must be a bright one.. i´m more or less consigned to the computer now after three or so weeks away from it..

    just for a couple more days i hope.. then fresh air.

    money and me, (and you, and them).. not enough to do everything – just enough to do something :ø)

  157. Charlie:

    Yes, it is still much cheaper here than in Western Europe however prices have sky rocketed in recent years. I mean a few years ago this place was a bargain you couldn’t believe. You could take a train 700 kilometers north for the equivalent of $5! Now, it’s more like $20. . . The metro is still $25 cents one way though for a ticket here in the center! But cafes have sprung up that charge $2-$3 for an expresso and property prices are as expensive as Paris. Also, I have never seen nicer cars anywhere in the world than here. People are driving around in models of Mercedes I have rarely actually seen in Western Europe of New York. They are the special performance AMG versions, you know 500+ horsepower, $130,000+!!! The good news for being a photographer though is that they skipped DSL and cable internet technology and just installed fiver optic a few years ago. A 50mbps down and 4 mbps up connection costs just $12.50 a month!

  158. David B & Erica, regarding MILK…

    How much of a stickler do you think they’ll be about model releases? Does that mean no street photographers are invited to submit? I’ve got a couple shots I like but, hell, I never had anyone sign anything at the county fair, electronic music festival or on the streets of Greenwich Village in NYC. I mean, do you think the juror Elliot Erwitt has signed model releases for every photo he has ever published?

    How are you interpreting this requirement?


  159. in truth it has put me right off patricia..
    i would not want to misrepresent myself by applying when i know i have no releases.. and then you are right about elliots own work.. it must be a requirement, perhaps in nyc law, but for me and from where i have come from for books and editorial use it has never been required..

    i would just hate to be selected, (if i were lucky), and then be found to not fulfill the requirements..

    in conclusion i am probably taking it seriously and although i know what i want to enter i am shying away from doing so.. i guess it is lunchtime on deadline day now and less i do something in the next hour or two i´ll not be going for it.


  160. this competition has me bemused as well.. for a few reasons detailed in the comments..

    i have never entered a competition, apart from davids self portrait one, and editing photos foro one with any kind of restriction seems odd..
    my strongest work is my strongest work, regardless of age or releases, and to show less than my strongest to respected people to fit competition requirements does put me off.

    what do you think you´ll do?

  161. David B, you have one more day. The deadline is February 28. And for everyone who wonders what we’re talking about, check it out at:


    I do have one photo that feels right and I actually have a signed release for it, but the others are very iffy as to whether they would say the subjects are identifiable. Oh well, I have another day to mull it over. Good luck all!


  162. David B, sorry. I posted that before I saw your most recent comment. I have entered my share of competitions and they all required signed model releases for any identifiable subject. As to what I’m going to do, I’m not sure. I have picked five photos that to me look strong and fit the topic. As I said above, only one of them has a signed model release. It’s a really tough call.


  163. Patricia / db..assume that they are covering their butts, “Licensing will not be liable for any loss, damage or personal injury whatsoever suffered or sustained by any person or entity that results from or arises out of this competition. The entrant indemnifies M.I.L.K. Licensing against any loss, damages, costs or claims arising out of a breach of the Terms and Conditions by the entrant, subject however to the liability of such party being limited to an amount equal to the amount already paid to the Photographer under the Licensing Agreement.” so if you say you have a release and then that identifiable person comes after them, MILK can legally redirect the angry inquiry back to you..

  164. David B, awesome photo! If anyone in that crowd is identifiable, I’ll eat my hat!

    Erica, you’re right on target about MILK’s concerns. It’s all about possible lawsuits. This discussion is reminding me that when one of my photos was nominated for the Spider Awards, they never came back and asked me for the release form even though the subject was very identifiable and they had required that we have one. I think David’s “i guess that without release it is just about entering responsible photos.” says it all.


  165. Panos …

    dig and hole,
    need I say more?

    Now people this is the question David asked:

    do you see yourself as a photographer who needs a strong clear subject in front of you in order to work, or do you prefer to “invent” the concept in your head and carve interesting photographs out of “nothing” ???

    Lets not shit on something really great here. Lets for once agree to focus on the generosity of spirit that this site embodies and use this site to share and learn. David has a great vision for what he wants Burn to be and its not about him, so lets not any of us use it to make it about us.

    When someone offers a gift do you scribble all over it with notes from your personality disorder therapy sessions, or do you accept that gift and return it by giving something from yourself?

    To be brutally honest I have no idea who David is, I’m a doco producer not a photographer but this site has been set up with a unique openness and energy from the off that deserves respect and if you give it respect then in time you will be seeing greater work on Burn on a regular basis than anywhere else on the web. Work that will speak to your heart and tell you, ‘you can do it, I did’

    Some of you will.

  166. Damn,
    Another one begging for attention..
    For that millisecond of “fame”…
    Calling my name over and over..
    Here ben, you “deserve” it.. Take it..

  167. Ben,
    There are two ways to get your
    15 minutes…
    One way is to fake a fight with me..
    The other is with PHOTOGRAPHY…
    but, I see that you already chose,
    the easy, the LAZY way…
    What’s new…

    and while ben is working his way up!!!
    I’m working on Venice photos..
    “right before the jail night..”
    Coming soonest..
    What’s new!

  168. Sidney hey..
    I need to check that out..
    Hmmm, I have no idea..
    I’m stuck with the same clam chowder..
    it seems like forever..
    I really really thank you..
    Hey, I’m gonna post a photo as soon as I find them..
    Thanks again man.. I’m drooling now..

    again, don’t forget the LPV ( La Pura Vida )…
    Tonight up in echo park..
    We will see, Jared Lorio, Ludmilla… and much more..
    LPV ( correct me if I’m wrong ) is Bryan F’s baby..
    Ok.. I will try to post live from the gallery..
    If you Reading, get ready..
    I’ll be at your home around 8:30….

  169. damn!!!!
    LA PURA VIDA… live…
    I’m so high on cheap wine ..
    Right now..Flickr….
    I use to … hate smart asses..
    But there is a photo of mr. Majiej.Dakowicz
    ( I know I spelled it wrong…)
    Flickr , LA PURA VIDA… & all that)
    But… I’m having a great night..
    and I loved the photos… And especially
    .. JARED LARIO .. he hooked me up with $$$$
    for wine… Now I’m forced to go back to fucking Venice Beach
    to pay him back… Sucks!

  170. BELVEDERE , Marcin ..
    I’m getting fucked up on polish vodka right now.. Dog
    Leave me alone.. Dog!

  171. I always believed that POLAND,
    VENICE BEACH gives birth to the best
    phtogs out there..
    Ok.. Maybe VIRGINIA and BROOKLYN also..
    Ohhh.. GERMANY too!!!!
    Ok … CANADA also… and ofcourse RUSSIA..
    sorry Koudelka…
    Nothing compares to Czech Republic..!

  172. Panos,

    Polish vodka it’s not enought… you have to drink vodka like Poles or Russian :)
    Come to Poland I will teach you!
    But damn I did not drink vodka since half year…
    only french, italian etc vine…
    ehhhh… I am not patriot…


  173. …. To all my Chinese friends…
    Thank U…
    I needed that…
    Now, what is “that”????
    Let them figure it out…
    A big shout out to:
    and all the good folks at Beijing!!!!
    peace and hugs!!!!

  174. … Teen Pregnancy…
    Now we are being schooled…
    Ohhhhh… How sensitive…
    Being pregnant in the 3rd world…
    Ohhhhh… Amazing news….
    Fucking LAZY ass people…
    Get it together!!!

  175. Hi all,

    I found this video podcast from Adobe guru George Jardine of the master printer Richard Benson, a professor at Yale University in the US, in conversation with photographer Jay Maisel about his unique way of printing with Epson inkjets. Benson has long been a pioneer in the fields of printing and photographic book reproduction and says that he had become exasperated with current methods of color management in digital photography. So, he devised a whole other method for printing. I love people who take things right on up to the maximum of what is possible! Watch: http://www.podnova.com/channel/25428/episode/23/

  176. David, this is a great post and I am so glad you brought this up. They style stories are shot in, I think, depend on the depth and sweep of the project as well. Michael choose a very broad topic where as James choose a very specific topic. Perhaps that has something to do with the choice in the style of shooting, or at least something it is something to consider when developing the story. For me, I have not really considered the duality you have proposed, not sure why, but maybe because I do what naturally comes to me. I have noticed in my work, or in my larger edits, I notice a lot of portrait like images, where the people are framed as if it were intended to be a portrait, I hope that makes sense. Maybe you will see it when I show you my Baltimore work. At times when working on a story, there are down moments when there is not much happening and the mental gear changes so I begin to make more abstract images that I feel interpret what is happening instead of the “telling” approach.

  177. jonathan..

    i think thats a good way of working.. when shooting solidly on commission for a number of days a little bit of everything goes into the mix.. then when editing it´s perhaps time to look closer at whats available..

    dropping in to point to this
    another magnum initiated award..

    good luck :ø)

    patricia – entered MILK so will see if i might get slapped wrists for no model releases..

  178. HAIK…

    i am wearing a BURN t-shirt my sister gave me for Christmas…i think Anton has it all set up if you want a t-shirt , hoodie or whatever…stay tuned…yea man, we are going to make big bucks with t-shirts!! just like MOMA


    i must have missed some of the hoopla re:MILK contest and model releases…anyway, i just went to the link and looked at the rules…all looked pretty standard to me….so what is the problem?? model releases??? hmmmmmm, well i never have model releases, nor does Elliott Erwitt…except from our ad shoots…but, if your photo is going to be used in any way for promotion or advertising, then you need a model release..pure and simple…none of us have needed releases (in the U.S. anyway) for photographs used in magazines and newspapers…i honestly do not know about the net rules….i would imagine that even for EPF the photographer would need releases IF we used some of those photographs for promo purposes….since we are a “losing money operation” rather than some kind of big business, i do not think anyone is coming after us yet!!! but, if we get serious sponsorship in the future, that could all change..let’s just go one baby step at a time!!! and always get releases if you can…i can’t , but you can!!!

    cheers, david

  179. JONATHAN…

    i have been asking about you amigo…i am anxious to take you, on along with David Bowen and Lassal, as one of my five specially mentored “work in progress” projects….Anton tells me he never got the final work from you …is this just a mis-communication?? anyway, i will be waiting to see your Baltimore work…i think you are on to something and i am ready to help you with it….please help us to help you…

    cheers, david

  180. david

    i just entered my friend… (last post here – http://bophoto-mumblings.blogspot.com/ )
    i have yet to ask anyone to sign a release – it just does´nt seem compatible with the way i work and i have yet to be pulled up on it, despite once having twelve 20 by 60 foot billboards around chicago with a chemically induced reveler pasted on.. that was for Chicago radio, a subsidiary company of disney and – they knew it was not released..
    honesty and keeping talking is always the best way i reckon and i´ve yet to be in court..

    really looking forward to playing the sequencing game under your guidance david – thanks very much ..
    emailing with JOE has been great – he does ask good questions.. and so i have the first meaning of the book – illustrating world wide music culture.. diffrent uses and such.. and the metaphorical meaning which i´ll use to choose or delete essential photos will be a biographical account over the years..
    it´s going to be grand..

    going to skype with anton to tweek photoshelter..
    now – going to apply to the new magnum award and visa to see if i can show some work there..

    on it – like mayo on chips

  181. Regarding M.I.L.K. and model releases, today I received an email from one of the early winners and she told me what they’d asked her to send them now and a model release was not on the list. Just one of the paragraphs of the contract said: “The Photographer has obtained all necessary consents from any clearly identifiable person appearing in the Image and the Photographer is not aware of any rights of any third party to the Image”.

    By the way, the organizers explained to her that they’d extended the competition closing date to February 28 but they’d already completed the first round of judging in line with the original closing date of December 31. So it seems that some of the general winners have already been chosen and some will be chosen from the second round of entries. And then, all the 150 winners will be in the running to be awarded the grand prize.

    Good luck to all…


  182. david a h

    okay – have heard form anton and we have a method for photoshelter for now..
    will email you tomorrow (sunday) with details and leave skype on for the day if you have 10 mins


    of to a PARTY tonight in the kind of artists studio collective studio where moss grows on the walls..
    beate and i are in a piece of work – two portraits framed together – b holding naked tor-capa and me holding a recording studio mixing desk..


  183. DAVID B….

    will you be in the UK at the end of June?? anyway, our annual Magnum meeting is in London this year..preceding the 3 day biz meeting, is usually a pretty decent party…Anton and Herve both came to the Paris bash last summer…i have invited Londoner Ben already but you should come if you are in town and Joe, if he is in the UK (not sure)..anyway, i will put you in charge of getting the UK crowd together for the end of june bash…hmmmmm, cold and gray where i am..summer seems still far away…

    cheers, david

  184. david alan harvey…

    I AM THERE .. with no doubt whatsoever..

    no problems on getting a uk crowd together – joe is in edinborough which in u.s. terms is just around the corner :ø)
    fantastic.. you´re going to get some superb event photography from me.

    many thanks man

  185. I would add that ANYONE WHO FEELS PESSIMISTIC or anyone who gives a fuck about what the “doom-sayers” or the ‘pros’ or the Industry insiders thing, i would suggest a quick read of Agee’s Let Us Know Praise Famous Men…particularly the middle rest, in which he answers questions sent to him by the New Yorker and how he responds to ‘those who know” ;))))….required reading…


  186. I resent what Bob said about pessimists. Pessimists are wonderful people, the salt of the earth and the backbone of any modern industrial society, and naysaying is an excellent and horizon-expanding hobby that will give even the first time naysayer hours of dining and dancing pleasure. So please do not be put off by Bob’s rant against the pessimists. Anti-pessimism is the anti-Semitism of the highly caffeinated and has no part in today’s America. Having said that, I know that many of you are wondering, Akaky went to the big city, that hardly seems very likely, does it, what with him being such a provincial stick in the mud? I know that the idea of me leaving our happy little burg for any prolonged length of time puzzles the will of even the strongest among us, but I can reassure everyone that this is, in fact, true, and that I can prove it. Simply click on the following connection:


    and you too can be whisked away to that most exciting of all places in the world, the place where I am not now residing. Thank you. Your regularly scheduled programming will commence in 14 second.

  187. Great topic – I’m a bit late to the game though.

    I would say I fall into both camps, though as I get a bit older I seem drawn to the randomness of collecting imagery a bit more. There’s pictures everywhere if one puts their mind to it. The problem is figuring out how to pay the rent (and buy new gear, travel, take care of your teeth, and so on). Books are great, and in my mind the only thing worth really really pursuing, but they certainly won’t pay for any of the aforementioned (unless you just happened to have followed Obama around for the past couple of years). But even if one shoots weddings, or corporate gigs etc, that doesn’t mean you need to leave your art behind. Raise the bar always. Seeing doesn’t discriminate.

    But David and others are right, this has always been the issue and really isn’t anything that different.

    Best to just go and shoot, and in some ways we are lucky today in that beyond the initial outlay, digital allows us to experiment and follow blind alleys like never before. A short while back I spent the afternoon at a friend’s factory (he makes custom lighting) that he bought from an old timer and has left the place almost as he found it. It was so much fun to make a handful of beautiful images out of nothing (so to speak) beholden to no one, not even myself (as in a “project” with a capitol P). That is the magic and mystery of photography that keeps drawing me back – light, texture, composition.


  188. DAH

    re: submissions, my guess is that as soon as Oscar Barnack closes, people will turn their attention toward epf…

    and about the question, tho I normally work with what is in front of me, it is most always of interest because it mirrors something within me..so i guess i go out hunting for the inner to be shown to me in the outer, so i can show others, thru the photos, the inner..

  189. also, speaking of Ohio U..I’ve been thinking about Matt Eich this week..really seems to be an incredible person..big talent, big heart, big motivation, big commitment..I don’t normally think much of time and its limits, but when I think of all he has done so young, I am encouraged not to squander the time I have here..

  190. Oh..Akaky !!!
    Couldn’t help it..
    You “forced” me to come out
    of my “hole” for a second..
    not only to “breath” but also
    to laugh!!!

  191. … Actually, Akaky..
    (seriously, oh I so hate that word ..)
    but anyway.. Seriously…
    I really , really loved your latest,
    “weekend work”…
    No bull…
    Love it, love it.. Loves it
    peace and hugs

  192. Ahhh… If ALL pessimists
    could be as “half funny” as you are…
    If I could be as funny as you are…

  193. AKAKY-DAD :))))))))))))))))))))))

    Well, not all pessimists are wet fucks ;)))…I LOVE YOU and you’re the only Pessimist I would LOVE to drink with :)))))….that made me laugh laugh laugh…yes, this great nation(s) of our needs more pessimissim…AND MORE GOGOL! :)))))))

    and living in the Hilton aint too none bad, indeed ;))))))))))….and by the way, i see u got 2 snaps of my ass, and I didnt sign a model release (seeing it’ll be promotional stuff here!)…..but, since you’re dad and since i love u unconditionally and since you’re the most sentimental pessimist i know, i’ll forgive you :)))))

    YOU R THE BEST! :))))

    your son

  194. panos skoulidas

    “A photography show examining the interesting phenomenon of
    photographers forced to set up print sales just to pay the rent
    Particularly in the online community. This broad reaching exhibit
    Will feature photographers based througout the globe.
    Presented and curated by La Pura Vida Gallery.”

    This was written on the little flyer that I picked up last night from the show..
    Some very cool photography indeed…
    I met some nice people, heard some great music, consumed some Charles Shaw merlot…
    Pretty girls ( can’t hate that ).
    Good times… Don’t miss it next time…
    Ok.. That was my plug of the day..
    Promoting and supporting any good honest photo “attempt”..
    Peace y’all

  195. ERICA…

    there are no lack of submissions (we will have way over a thousand)…i just do not want to miss a deserving photographer because he/she just did not know about it…


    yes, i want to do some kind of story on La Pura Vida…you may notice i linked to it a while ago..and Bryan Formhals and i will meet soonest in New York…stay tuned…

    cheers, david

  196. Davin, it’s a sad thing. And it’s going to get worse. To make it in photojournalism into the future will require a broad range of skills, from still to video to video and audio editing, to some degree of web expertise. The problem is that there is simply insufficient financial incentive to attract people with all of those skills.

  197. DAH ..that sure is a lot of images to look at! actually, that is what I meant (as the numbers show), that I bet most everyone does know about it..was just thinking that many people submit in order of the deadlines, so the next 2 weeks may be even crazier with submissions..

  198. AKAKY: Okay, what do you think?

    AKAKY IRL: What do I think about what?

    AKAKY: The President’s Day pictures.

    AKAKY IRL: Oh those. Be glad Winogrand is dead, guy.

    AKAKY: All right, I know I shouldn’t do this, but what the hell, we only live once, so I’ll bite: why should I be glad Winogrand is dead?

    AKAKY IRL: Plagiarism, bubba, blatant plagiarism. If Winogrand were still alive he’d be suing your ass off for ripping off his style and not being very good at it either. If you’re going to commit grand theft photography, then you might as well get the particulars right. And swiping a dead guy’s style is just…ghoulish, I think.

    AKAKY: I wonder why I bother talking to you sometimes.

    AKAKY IRL: It’s a mystery to me too, guy.

  199. panos skoulidas

    Akaky IRL..
    don’t worry about it…
    We are all dead one way or another..!
    ( thus spoken the optimist inside of me)

  200. JIM….

    i think you are quite correct..there is no financial incentive so far for many to take on the whole multi-media skill set that will indeed be necessary for the new photojournalism…i suspect this will be only a matter of time…i am very curious to see how with the new technologies things are going to play out…the cameras of the future (and now as a matter of fact) are going to be primarily video cameras that allow quality still capture….but, of course, still photography is not as simple as just taking a slice out of a video clip…technically yes, aesthetically no….i think for awhile at least the technology will rule…folks are just going to combine video and stills just because they can…not necessarily because it works better to tell a story….so we will see, and are seeing, a lot of so called mixed media that is just that, mixed media..but, rarely does it really work beyond the “wow, look at that” stage…anyway, good fodder for a future post…do you have any desire to play with the “mix”???

    cheers, david


    when i walk into the Magnum office in New York for sure the busiest crowd (about 10 people) sits at a long table working on Magnum in Motion…they barely take lunch breaks….sitting there with headsets and glued to their large screens putting together various multi-media projects…the same is going on over at MediaStorm…at Magnum we do make a small profit from all of this by franchising our efforts out to various sites who give us a share of the ad revenue, but i think the incentive is for the future, an unknown future…everybody knows advertisers are going to the web, but so far not in the model of print..and spread out all over the place….everybody assumes something will happen soon, but nobody knows exactly when or how..but the work goes on nevertheless…

  201. David, I’ve been working with the video for a couple of years now, and we’re only now starting to use it. But I realized several years ago that if I wanted to stay relevant, I needed to do it on my own. As you likely know, the Dallas Morning News has been shooting HD Video cams and using frame grabs from those videos on their front page of the print edition for several years. I’ve done that a few times, using the Voodoo software they developed for the frame grabs. I’m excited at the possibilities, and am learning video editing, etc. It’s going to be interesting to see where all of this goes. The EOS 5DMkII is a revolutionary camera that changes everything for shooting stills and HD video with the same camera. I suspect that will become a common feature in DSLR’s soon.

    If we (the newspaper business in general) can just stay alive long enough to figure out how to make money with the web, it will be exciting.

  202. JIM…

    yes, this is definitely the trend for newspaper photographers and photojournalists in general…the 5D is definitely a tool that moves us into this realm in a very exciting way..i must say however, and this is just for me personally, i think the SOUND is the more exciting thing to mix with stills than video…my inclination is to either shoot stills with very sophisticated sound OR just go ahead and do a film…and if i do want to mix motion with stills , i would rather do one thing, and then do the other, or have someone else doing the video…yes, i know the 5D (andD90) ALLOWS me to do both with the same camera, but making movies and making stills is an entirely different act and it is not just a function of technology….anyway, maybe i will change my mind on this given the right circumstances…i would not rule anything out…

    i do have a video component to my Off For A Family Drive project, but the video is being done in a different way and at a different time than the stills…as i said, yes we all know that technically we can get a still”grab” from video, but the way a cinematographer views a scene and moves with the flow is quite different than the way most still photographers work…

    for example, when i am composing for a still shot, i tweak my composition ever so slightly from one millisecond to another and am constantly and quickly recomposing in microcentimeters depending on what is happening with my subject..if i moved a video camera the way i move my still camera, i am afraid that would be disastrous from a film standpoint…filmmakers tend to “set” the shot…keep the camera in one spot for longer than do i..they tend ot let the subject evolve in the frame…i am “going with the flow” in a way that i do not think would look so great in film…for other photographers, this may not be a problem at all..i am just speaking for myself….

    cheers, david

  203. panos skoulidas

    .. Now I will pretend I’m Jim:
    “hmmm Im curious to see how are we gonna incorporate videos and multimedia
    in a newspaper.. Hmm , thinking..”

    Did someone plugged only the Eos here?
    How about the Nikon D90??

  204. Hey David, Thanks for checking in on me! Things have been really busy and sometimes stuff gets lost in the clutter and there was a miscommunication between Anton and I, but I recently was in contact with him and we are good to go. I am just waiting on the info for him to send me, so as soon as I get the invite from Anton its all yours to see! I am really looking forward to working with you David and you have no idea how much I appreciate it. Talk to you soon.


  205. DAH

    great advice on tweaking the shot…thanks.

    quick update: got my access and looks like i’m good to go in the summer. would love to touch base on my project before then…


  206. David, I agree with you on the difficulty in switching from still to video and back again. I shoot video with a Canon XL H1 HD and edit in Adobe Premiere. I’ve really not gotten into mixing stills and videos in the same presentation, because I’m still slow mentally switching from still to video. I’m hoping that the 5DMkII will make that somewhat easier. The Canon XL H1 is very different from my 5D’s, so it’s an effort. It’s been a steep learning curve, but I think it’s going be helpful as we move to the web with video.

    I agree that sound with stills is very effective and Slideshow Pro for Lightroom 2 makes that pretty easy to integrate.

  207. “i tweak my composition ever so slightly from one millisecond to another and am constantly and quickly recomposing in microcentimeters depending on what is happening with my subject…”

    “Microcentimeter” ? Is that what we Europeans call a millimeter?

    Sorry David, couldn’t resist. ;))… You know I doth jest!

    I have struggled with integrating video into still images, which is the main reason there is just (video) interviews in the living with the dead piece, although we shot some video. I’m confident it can be done well, but it is a difficult task, and we aren’t used to seeing this as “multimedia” is a relatively new thing. I would love to see some good example if anyone has any?? I certainly concur that decent audio is a far easier and more compelling partner with stills.

  208. panos skoulidas

    What YOU just said means the world to me..
    I’m just a bad editor.. That’s all..
    Thanks again..
    I just can’t wait for DAH to wake up..
    ( drinking Polish vodka now…)

  209. DAH and Young James:

    You were close David. The micrometer is neither a microcentimeter nor a millimeter, but it does exist. These are the things you remember when you spend to much time in the Biology lab in college.

    In any event, I agree with you here David. We’ve seen lots of high quality multimedia pieces come out in the last two years. Some have incorporated video, but I’ve always found the video portion jarring. I have always found that the strongest pieces incorporate quality stills and audio. Perhaps this is because the quality of video has been up to par with the quality of the stills and the audio, but until we figure out how to mix the three mediums well, I personally prefer to keep video out.

  210. charlie, jim, david, james…..

    i´m in agreement with the still and sound blend.
    video, for me, can really add to a piece – such as the brilliant MM piece about swimming screened through road trips a while ago – (too busy to look for the piece or the photographer right now)… often it just does not seem to mix well..
    i love ´moving photographs´, or film which is framed such as a photograph within which people are moving.. jim jarmouch films spring to mind.. dead man ..perhaps..

    what interests me much more when i see it incorporated is the series of photos presented like stop frame animation.. you know, when a snapper shoots 4 or 5 photos looking for ´the one´.. seeing these in a MM piece is interesting since it illustrates some of the photographic technique of the author.. it is something i am looking at with my work now.

    i think or this stop-frame animation process as being similar to looking at contact sheets which is fascinating.. seeing the shots around the single shot which was chosen..

    as had been said before i just cannot imagine myself shooting video, unless it were camera mounted and in some way illustrative of the shooting process – ´war photographer´ style..

    what is strange about newspapers and the like asking snappers to video or write, writers to snap, is that the approach is utterly different.. a writer does not move in the same way – nor a photographer – in order to do the job justice..
    i know i´m repeating here.. just adding my thoughts.,


  211. The convergence is driven as much by financial reality as technology. Newspapers simply can’t afford separate staffs shooting video for the web and stills for the newspapers, so we have be thinking about both media when shooting a story. Like you, though, I think the pure video piece is much better than one in which video and stills are mixed.

    I’m just blown away by the stop frame animation stuff. For exactly the reasons you suggest. I want to learn to do that. I forget the first time I saw the technique used with stills, but it knocked me out.

  212. jim..

    it´s a real shame that editors are thinking this way now.. imagine missing a great photo because of fiddling with video..

    i guess where it could all go – and in some instances has already – will be lifting stills from video.. sending out pure videographers and asking them to select stills from that whole.. they will neither be good videos nor good stills..

    here is a little stop frame piece which the bjp ran recently – because it was banned from screening at an arts fest in derby..
    i like it.. random.. energetic.. and speaks to me about the atmosphere of bringing a child into the world..

    just plain studpid that it was banned..



  213. perhaps BURN could provide an outlet for the above piece which derby CC has banned? i´d love to read opinions on it..
    which reminds me – i love the discussions on photo essays and single photos.. i know it´s being considered that they will stop and i hope thats not going to happen :ø)

    just thoughts.

  214. panos

    what bemuses me, and you admit you are no editor, is that you post a lot of poor photos with a handful of good ones.. it is the photographic equivalent of placing bets on all horses and i don´t get interested in that.
    you have some good photos, sure.. arguably though anyone or thing will take enough photos if prodded to produce some good ones.

    a guy back in notts attached a camera to a dogs lead and snapped randomly and remotely – and got some superb work out of it once edited.. it made a book and exhibit.. he was acting purely as editor and the dog was photographer.

    you have a handle on the technical approach and that’s great – to push forward though, for me, you have to start editing your work yourself and learning why a good photo is a good photo. if not it seems that your interest in snapping is limited to the practice of snapping which, while fun and somewhat purposeful, is only half the story.

    if you are going to post critiques as outrageous as you do it would be great to see your learning curve adapt to illustrate some knowledge on editing.. otherwise i feel like i am just looking at the collected random photos of someone hedging their bets which isn´t convincing to me – after all, give anyone a camera and enough time and they are bound to show a little talent… plenty of people do..

    it´s in the edit that i think you can illustrate your understanding and purpose beyond the act of pressing a button, which is the starting point achieved by so many since digital…

  215. Hi David,

    Thank you for your detailed and constructive post to Panos. It has gone along way to projecting my feelings.

    I am not as diplomatic as yourself and have been struggling to find an appropriate way to convey my thoughts.

    I don’t want to temper enthusiasm for a great art form and career, but “machine gun” technique was never the way forward.



  216. i know this guy, a clever guy, too clever for his own good sometimes, for ages he used to broadcast this single question like a broken record. i don’t know if he thought it up, but he sure thought it was important, here it is:

    Why do you photograph?

    it seems like such an innocent question, but if it looks innocent to you and you can’t answer it easily without sarcasm and without submitting a novel, well you likely don’t know that answer yet and it’s probably the most important question for you to explore if you want to truly reconcile doing something you love doing with the fruits of your effort.

    it took me ages to understand that question well enough to begin the process of answering it, and later, with that answer, start aligning my photographic actions with that answer. i can surely say that photography is now my bliss now that i understand better why i photograph.

    Jim Powers sometimes when i read what you write i wonder if you think everyone’s answer to this question is the same as yours and if it’s not the same as yours then it should be everyone’s aspiration. So my question to you is a different:

    Why do you think everyone has the same reason to photograph as yourself?

    i don’t think your questions or comments are ever wrong Jim, just not right for everything and everyone you paste them to; and possibly explains why the question are not always welcomed with the same degree of wisdom and entitlement with which you deliver them.

  217. I can’t keep up here. As soon as a good discussion starts on which I might have something to say, and I chew on it a little while, it’s long past. But, regarding newspapers, trends, and what it all means, I dumped my post about the industry and google and freelance potential in favor of just this video. NOW is the most exciting of times, of accelerating exponential growth and change, it is the time of innovators. Gone are the days of centralized information generation and control. Gone are the days of corporate media gods. The gods are dead. Traditional employment in the industry is dead. We are all publishers now and the cream will rise to the top much faster because of it. I would argue that the true financial incentive in journalism, perhaps the ONLY incentive for the future, IS in independent multimedia creation, in convergence, in innovation. Technology has slipped the chains. So, to quote the ending of a recent blockbuster movie, “What the fuck have you done today?” (and I say this as much to myself as anyone else in an encouraging, get up off the floor, get back in the game kind of way because this is the breaking dawn of the golden age of independent content.)

    This is one of the most popular videos on youtube, and its been played in boardrooms from Sony to Ford. Think about it.


  218. Joe, everyone has their own reasons to photograph. I’m probably making bad assumptions, but I wonder why people would be submitting their work to a project like Burn magazine if they are only talented amateurs who have no interest in being professionals? I thought that was everyone’s goal in this specific venue. The goal to produce books or essays or single photos that might bring more than an atta boy.

    If this is simply another workshop for folks with time on their hands, then tell me now.

  219. Jim, the point of Burn is to teach people how to be professionals — which means submitting your work for consideration by people with different viewpoints, to learn from editors and peers, and to showcase the work to people who might be in a position to take your career to the next level. I don’t know why this is so hard for you to fathom.

    There is much to be gained — by everyone, regardless of skill level or aspiration — by participating in Burn, whether as a contributor of photos or commentary or as a lurker. Learning how to talk about and to critique photography is a skill worthy of developing, whether you are shooter, editor, or aficionado. Photography occupies such a marginal place in the national discourse. Learning how to examine, evaluate, and respond to photography is important if photography is going to matter at all to anyone.

    I find it odd that you, Jim, after a 40-year career are so troubled by Burn and the images here. The world is different now. No one will have the career trajectory you did. Photographers who are starting out now will reach levels of professionalism, in terms of skill and financial viability, in ways fundamentally different from what was available to you years ago. I’m glad you have been able to shoot almost every day of your adult life and get paid for it. But there are a thousand different ways now to make one’s way in the world as a photographer. That has been the whole point of Burn.

  220. i don’t disagree with what you said Jim, it’s just that as many photographic intentions that there are out there, there is an almost equal amount of audiences for those intentions.

    for me Burn is all about the multitude of intentions the force me to think about what kind of audience could appreciate this; heck, half the time i wonder what the intention was at all, but most of the time when i figure it out i’m glad i made the effort.

    i used to think this was David’s sole intention for Burn, to unhinge all the dogma and force us to rethink things purely by his promotion of the work and thus his endorsement of something we should spend time thinking about. So i’m likely wrong about this place as well ;-)

    but to the point, intention is not perfection; i look for perfection of intentions in other places. For me it’s the diamonds in the rough that fascinate me about this place and more so the effort of so many jewellers to explore how the stone should be cut, could be cut, should not be cut at all, these are things that can not be done with a finished gem.

    it’s in this spirit that we all become co-collaborators, people that take the time to understand first the intention and then unleash all the ideas and possibilities to make that intention happen better than it already has or celebrate it for perfection, but perfection is pretty ambitious, but nothing is really possible without knowing the intention.

    unfortunately i think there is pressure on David to pitch the stones on Burn as cut and end the comments, or for me the mad discussion amongst jewellers. If this means that more stones will appear then more stones is better than no stones i suppose, but i do think much of the energy of Burn is really the magic of a bunch of jewellers receiving a new stone and either making an effort to understand all of its facets and exploring the possibilities, or being one of the hundreds of others enjoying the conversation that’s taking place.

    so maybe we’re both wrong Jim ;-)

  221. joe – just enjoyed your warehouse series.. some strong photos in there mate, and a nicely worked story – seems you caught most of the peripherals :ø)

    will have to visit edin and revisit some excess with you.


  222. superb !
    Live Q&A with Bruce Gilden on Twitter
    Mark you calendars: Live Q&A with Magnum Photographer Bruce Gilden on Twitter, Tuesday March 3rd 10am EST

    just got that through the magnum facebook thing.

    just been watching an excellent front line club live chat with reza through BJP blog..
    interesting stuff.

  223. JOE…

    you are not wrong about my intent for BURN….and i do not want to “end the comments”…i just want to have them in one place….it is not a philosophical reasoning, but rather a technical or aesthetic one…and i could very well be wrong about the flow…if so, i will come back to this format…

    again, there is no “pressure” on me from anyone other than well meaning friends who just want BURN to be the best it can be…i hold your opinion in just as high regard as i do theirs…so, let’s just see how it goes for awhile with the comments all coming under Dialogue….

    in any case, i would not want to stop in any way your stream of thoughts…you are among the most thought provoking writers we have here….by the way, i totally missed your post the first time around your post offering potential support for Lisa…it is in this altruistic spirit that BURN exists at all..good on you Joe…

    please consider yourself invited to our annual Magnum fiesta which will be in London at the end of June….i have already invited Ben and David B…details will be forwarded to you soonest….

    cheers, david

  224. PRESTON….

    i totally forgot that you are in the UK…at least i think so…??? yes yes, you must come to the Magnum meeting/party as well..usually the last Thursday in June, but i will send you specifics …we move the meeting each year between our three offices and this year the host is the London office….with the economy in a down slide, we may not have quite the extravagant bash as has been sometimes the case, but we will make you feel quite at home nevertheless…

    cheers, david

  225. Hi, David. Well, I was in the UK in January and will be back there at some point soon — I have much more work to do. Perhaps late June would be a good time to go. As for the crumbling world economy, your beer may be cheap, David, but I’m sure it will be plentiful!

    With thanks,


  226. Pingback: Photojournalism | 12th Press

  227. Pingback: Photojournalism « moonshinemedia

Comments are closed.