write a caption..

obx van

i simply love the New Yorker cartoons…i suppose we all do…and many of you know of their cartoon caption writing contest…in that spirit i thought we should have a Burn caption writing contest…for the picture above ….photographed by my friend Medford Taylor probably 25 years ago, but which i am seeing for the first time today….

yes, that is me in the red shirt …and shot just a few miles from where i coincidentally now live…

so you have 24 hours to write your caption for this picture…normal programming resumes tomorrow…stories will be back up…

prize??  of course…yup, one of my many camera bags as usual…well, i gotta get rid of ’em somehow….judge: Chris Bickford our surfing expert and the only person around here to judge….

put your caption right here in comments…..and by tomorrow at this time i will give you the real caption..


162 Responses to “write a caption..”

  • Caption: Green Titanic!

  • Photojournalist Blues: Disregarding Jim Morrison’s sage advice, photographer David Alan Harvey chooses to keep his eyes on the subject, his hands upon the camera.

  • Gulf Coast residents kill time while waiting to fuel up their van.

  • “Please shoot fast, i’m getting tired of picking my nose.”

  • Quick, now lay down and strike a pose, think Sophia Loren or Marilyn
    Monroe, I just love how the wet weather beaten green background plays against your bright red shirt.

  • Quick before I rescue you do you mind posing for a photo

  • Wonderful darling. Hold that pose while I grab some more film from the van.

  • Enjoying the photoshoot so much, David entirely lost track of the time.

  • Oh! Jenny………… laughing

  • July 24, 1985 Hurricane Bob forces local photographer to get high

  • Only joking Jenny but it was too good to miss, gotta have a bit of fun between all this fighting amongst ourselves……….

  • sinking van captures true spirit of photographer….

  • or
    local aspiring models came to beach to be photographed by famous photographer….

  • Beware the Siren’s Song

  • “Thank god it’s Not raining”

    (that would be my caption)

  • Living Proof that Off For A Family Drive to Cuba goes terribly wrong.

  • kurt
    ha ha ha!!
    love it!!

  • “Yes, yes, i know we were here for a long time. Only one more shot”.

  • KURT…

    ok, i am outta here, but at least am leaving with a laugh…thanks…i am not the judge,but that was pretty good….

  • David Alan Harvey during a typical day’s work.

  • Little did she know, this was to be the most ‘normal’ part of her date with David Alan Harvey…


    That’s right, Ms. Martini. There is an Easter Bunny.

    that’s a variation on a quote from One Flew over the cuckoo’s nest

    Mcmurphy to Martini:

    “That’s right, Mr. Martini. There is an Easter Bunny.”

  • a civilian-mass audience

    you have definitely a vision
    you are a person with a mission

    may your life be full of love,health,
    all of that you are longing for…

    may you keep the fire BURNING
    may you leave the windows open
    it’s your passion and we love it…

    when you are up on your bike
    may the winds give you a message
    from your family and friends
    have a happy farting days!!!

    from your BURNIANS

    P.S am I in the wrong aisle again…???

  • What happens when you shoot and drive.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Typo: Have a happy farting day…

  • Kerry, is the reading at 3rd floor? or ninth?

  • bob..your caption, once again , longer than everyone elses altogether..;))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

  • Still waiting for the decisive moment

  • Brother Panos ;)))))))…it’s the new yorker in me, you gotta know that by now ;)))))))

    but the caption is only:

    “That’s right, Ms. Martini. There is an Easter Bunny.”

    i think there were longer ;))))


  • Take the f***ing photo!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “Kerry, is the reading at 3rd floor? or ninth?”

    PANOS…i guess we are in the wrong aisle…floor…

  • OK, here comes a set. Start paddling.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Fire …Woman…sea…
    three elements of life to be respected or to be avoided…

    P.S guess who is the fire…:)))
    fire your enginessssssssss

  • A desperate photographer needing a good shot to buy himself a new car!!!!!!

  • why (s)ea with no capital “S”?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    three elements to be respected or to be avoided…

    P.S Thanks PANOS..
    …I am on a cleansing mode…no souvlaki today…
    I don’t feel like myself …hmmm

    Come on BURNIANS…Fire up your cameras

  • 1 euros = 1.1966 US dollar

  • “some other, or in some way, sorry honey, i sometimes get carried away” – david alan harvey

  • blow up… desire the desire of the other..waves are rolling and rolling …

  • bob..i agree with u..Its not how “long” it is..its how we use it..;)

  • Gracie, hmm thats sexy..we like it!

  • Immersed.

  • brother p,
    missin ur nite spins.

  • Gracie..when i figure out where/when “night” is..till then, un – jetlagging!

  • KERRY…

    laughing..good…full caption tomorrow, but just know that i was three yrs into a relationship with the woman in the picture, so she was pretty used to everything by then…

  • “Could you turn to the right please? High tide’s not for another 20 minutes.”

    Happy Birthday!
    BTW, Last night at Review Santa Fe there were several people who have been published here showing their work.

  • f@*k! i think i left my expenses form on the dash…

  • “That damn car salesman told me this van was amphibious! Looks like our drive to Jamaica won’t be happening after all… we’ll just have to enjoy ourselves here!”

  • I have to go to work, will brainstorm about that one today and come back tonight with a caption too, hopefully.

  • “It’s no good, I can’t maneuver!”
    “Stay on target.”
    “We’re too close!”
    “Stay on target!”

  • “Not now, baby. Daddy’s trying to work.”

  • Did you leave it in neutral?

  • a civilian-mass audience


    since I am a MASS audience …and I don’t compete…can I submit multiple captions…:)))???

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “DAVID, something smells like fart…”
    “Hold your breath,babey,it’s only gonna take a sec…”

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Don’t drink and drive…you never know …
    where your might end up…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Cross country workshop with DAH…everything is possible…
    VIVA !!!

  • “Well OK, the photo editor did say I’d be photographing a great looking woman…”

  • Harvey takes great delight in his innate sense of direction

  • “Photography never stops…Not even for Katrina..”

  • I’m holding my breath…did you get the shot yet?!?

  • “When Noah arrives, can I stand already?”

  • The 1985 New Jersey wedding photographer of the year hard at work on the Jersey shore.

  • He was an aspiring photographer, she a waitress. Together they would make history.

  • Fred Zinnemann’s younger brother Daryl.

  • “while searching for ‘the decisive moment,’ local photographer fails to notice that the car he was standing on was steadily sinking. the unidentified model apparently noticed the rising water but, staying true to her art, remained calm, quiet, and well composed while preparing for the inevitable”

  • * van not car

    (strange I wrote car as I have been searching for a used van on CL for the last hour!–this one looks good)

  • And so, after 2 hours of shooting 50mm, George decided it was time to try a wider angle lens. Being ever cautious, George always keeps his camera gear stowed safely in the back of his van when not in use.

  • ‘are you sure this’ll get you in Magnum?’

  • ‘Jesus, I told you David to wash your feet!’

  • And it was at this moment she wondered, had her parents been right?

  • “Really???” model Melissa Harbinger asked, “you want me to pick my nose?”

    “Yes,” master Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey answered. “That’s why I picked this green van and ran it into the surf, so that it would match the output.”

    “But I don’t want to be photographed picking my nose!” Ms. Harbinger protested.

    “I am the artist, you are the subject,” Harvey spoke firmly. “I have a magnificent vision and you are fortunate that I chose you to be part of it. Now, please, pick your nose!”

    “Okay,” Ms. Harbinger sighed. “Anything for art.”

    She picked her nose.

    He got the shot.

    Today it hangs in “The Third Atrium to the Left” – the most prestigious gallery in all of MOMA.

  • Of the Carolina coast photographer David Alan Harvey practices the technique of destroying expensive cameras by exposing then to the elements.
    Years later he would prefect the technique with a Nikon D700.

  • UH.. David

    “yes, that is me in the red shirt …”

    That still does not make it clear who is who.

    Just saying.

  • 1980’s avocado colored van: $2000
    leica m6 w/ lens: $2000
    2 cans of beers: $5
    being able to say “fuck it!” and truly live in the moment: priceless

  • You just gotta love expense accounts.

  • photographers and models chasing the light:
    just how far will they go to get the perfect image?

  • DAH: Honey, how much of that super glue did you use on my eye-cup? i think my camera is stuck to my face…
    GIRL: Oh David, it’s not my fault! i squeezed the tube and it just exploded everywhere… shit, my hand is stuck to my face… David!!!
    DAH: OK, just don’t panic! try and stay calm. act like we are still shooting… i’ll think of something…

  • “David, you promised me sun, surf and sand. You said nothing about working on your portfolio!!!”

  • “Really honey, this will get me a job with National Geographic I promise”

  • Her: David, I think this is it. The water is rising fast…

    Him: I’m sorry darlin’ but I think you’re right, we’ve reached the end of the road.

    Her: We need to say goodbye before it’s too late…

    Him: Let me take just one more photo to remember you by.

  • “They said they were coming to rescue us, but in the mean time babe…”

  • Facing the inevitable sinking of the car, the couple rushes to take take the always delayed picture they always wanted to make at the roof.

  • Off for a Family Drive, the photographer quickly make the most of his time at the beach

  • “Geez babe, how many times do i have to tell you that isnt my best angle!”
    “Careful honey, dont spill your beer on me”

  • (With apologies to Sammy Johns):

    “She’s gonna pose on my submerged Chevy Van, and that’s alright with me…”

  • Brian:

    hey, babe´, if you had taken off your clothes like i asked we could have done this back at your place..

    (my tongue is planted firmly in cheek, Brian..normally what goes on under the essay stays under the essay but i could not resist)

  • I’ve seen DAH dance with drink and camera, but this takes the cake.

  • In a sea of early Kodachrome, that “Little Red Shirt” again guarantees a paycheque from the National Geographic Society!

  • Zoriah strikes again!

  • At this point I have completely disqualified myself … please, please help me stop.
    Errr, that’s not a caption.

  • “Where the hell is my camera bag?”

    A Decisive Moment even HCB would question…

    “I know Capa said if your pictures weren’t good enough, you weren’t close enough but this is ridiculous.”

  • Off for a Family Drive takes a wrong turn.

  • Oh, sorry Kurt.

    For the love of god, just shoot me. (Again, not a caption, but … no, no.)

  • Did you check the tide?

    I thought YOU were.

    I’m sure it’s fine…

  • Jamie Maxtone-Graham

    “Hey, you take pictures goofy-footed too.”

  • “To Get Carsick”

  • “Hey…you´re confusing me with all these questions”

  • First I have to ask: David, is that the freakin’ van that’s going to do the US Road trip in 2011? Better warn people they are going to have to pedal their way thru the continent! :-)))))

  • Caption #1: “the whole Gulf is getting drenched in oil, and Martin Parr is shooting tourists!”

    caption #2: “David, maybe we should get the children out of the van first!” (that’s my choice if only one is allowed)

    caption #3: “David, something is spilling between your legs!”

    caption #4 “David, I want a divorce!”… “Shut up, I am concentrating!”

    caption #5 CNN Latest: BP finally lets photographers survey the damaged zones.

    5 only, the other ones are in even worse taste…. ;-)

  • Life, Love and Photographers: Each destined to take their own course albeit reason, or sound judgment.

    …..great photo by the way!


  • A bit after I wrote my caption, I realized it was far too long to even be close to the spirit of a New Yorker cartoon caption. So I condensed it:

    Twenty-five years later, this never before-seen-photo has emerged of Magnum photog DAH as he persuades reluctant model Gracie Grane to pick her nose for his classic shot, “Booger Beauty Atop Green Van in Carolina Surf”, which now hangs in MOMA’s coveted Gallery D.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    he is doing the switch-foot…she is doing the wipe-out…
    they are ready to duck dive before the waves draw them over the falls…
    What not to Love!!!

  • a civilian-mass audience


    Bravo BURNIANS…you are amazing…


  • “This is great! Worth trashing the van for.”

    happy birthday mr harvey!

  • No matter where, no matter what, with the new ACIEL you will always be on top of the world!

  • was there film in tht camera ?

  • ¨please.. i´m begging you.. put the camera down and call me an ambulance..¨

    um.. david.. i think the tide is coming in..¨

  • “David, can you get me another beer? There should be some cold ones in the van.”

  • a civilian-mass audience


    WE LOVE YOU…oime…I am happy you are ok !!!
    will you accept the key for your Greek house???

  • a civilian-mass audience

    and JENNY…

    We love your work…!!!

    P.S Please, I can’t afford to lose any BURNIAN ladies…

  • chris – if we can only have one entry, the one right above is my pick….i feel bad about having tragically knocked off DAH on his birthday :)

    (and a belated happy birthday to you, sir….)

  • a civilian-mass audience

    cold beer on me

    Oime…it’s a betting time…

    Go GIRLS,GO GIRLS,we are BURNING…:)))
    and for my BOYS…keep it UP, keep it UP

  • I know the lights perfect but shouldn’t rescue the other 7 people first?

  • “Really babe. You, the van, the water, it’s a great shot. Can’t you feel the Burn.”

  • “Honestly sweetheart, in 25 years they’ll be writing captions about this”

  • Iceberg? What iceberg?

  • Hurry Honey, the blood is rushing into my head,,hey, I can see right up your nose

  • a civilian-mass audience

    AKAKY??? what AKAKY???
    Sorry I had a cold one…

    KATIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…wake up…the van is going down

    Come on BURNIANS…squeeze your brains…tick tack,tick tack:)))

  • “I told you it’s a story on water, I just need you in the foreground for perspective”

  • For underwater photography Nikon launched Nikonos in 1963.

  • “Baby, don’t rock the boat!”

  • It was fun last night…First invited to attend Mike C’s opening in a gallery somewhere in brooklyn , then on the way to catch a burger we catch Andrew Sullivan doing the same..after done with the extra salty burger we go to the farewell workshop italian party…
    I met Roberto Alfano in person,(organizer) and his girlfriend also (very super cool down to earth people ).. …many of the photographer seemed that they really enjoyed the experience…watched the slideshows…indulged in budweiser , talked in broken italian…it was fun…then the party should to be continued at the kibbutz roof but i dont know what happened…at some point i lost Michael…and next thing i know its 7am in brooklyn and im waking up…in a desperate search for coffee…hopefully the roof party resumes again sunset time…
    just got in touch with Michael…he is perfectly fine…big hug

  • Well ladies and gentlemen–hopefully that phrase is not too archaic or offensive to anyone–after many many hours of deliberating and conferring with my elite panel of judges (who asked their names not be divulged maninly because none of you would know who the f-k they are anyway), I have made a decision on this matter of international significance…

    The winner is…Herve, for his caption #2, “David, maybe we should get the children out of the van first!”.

    It was a very difficult decision, and I know that you are all very talented caption-writers, and it breaks my heart that I cannot have signed David Alan Harvey bags sent to all of you. But if I did, it would limit my own choice of camera bags, see? (I’m thinking I’ll borrow the new Camelback next, once Harvey is over his honeymoon phase with it, and gets the hots for a new bag…)

    Runners up include Andrew Gray’s “decisive moment” caption; SkiWaves’ “Here comes a set” caption; Marc Davidson’s “priceless” MasterCard ad takeoff; Harry’s “shouldn’t we rescue the other 7” (unfortunately disqualified because Herve’s caption was posted first); Tom Hyde’s “Had her parents been right?”; and two of Herve’s other captions–Caption #1: “the whole Gulf is getting drenched in oil, and Martin Parr is shooting tourists!”; and “CNN Latest: BP finally lets photographers survey the damaged zones.”

    I admit that my biases affected some of the runner-up choices–having been run off by BP officials a couple of times over the last month, I found poignancy in Herve’s references to said policy by the Big Polluters; and obviously my affinity for surfing may have influenced my inclusion of SkiWaves’ caption–but I hope you all will be satisfied with my choices. The fact that I owe Tom Hyde money in no way affected my decision to include him in the runner-up position.

    Thank you all so much for participating. Now I have to go get my van out of the water.

    Peace, love, and clean water to all,

    chris bickford

  • Damnit. Now I will spend the day weeping. How will I carry my cameras to my next job?

    Congratulations, Herve. The moment I read that, I thought it might win.

  • Wow, I won a BURN award! A lifetime DAHchievment! And one of the famous bag! :-)))

    Thanks Chris, David. Happy Birthday too!

    PS: er…. let’s do this again, shall we? ;-)

    working today, so running….

  • The moment I read that, I thought it might win.

    so did I, frog!

  • lucky you:)
    congrats herve….

  • a civilian-mass audience


    to ALL the winners…
    HERVE …the brainstorming worked…!!!

    CHRIS you did an amazing job…it was an extremely difficult decision…
    BUT you delivered…THANK YOU!!!

    P.S to all my BURNIANS …the decision was NOT based on any kind form of discrimination:
    Ableism · Ageism · Caste-Classism · Colorism · Genism-Sizism · Speciesism · Weightism
    Heightism · Linguicism · Lookism-Mentalism · Racism · Rankism-Religious · Sexism · Sexualism
    just to be sure…:))) BRAVO…!!!

  • Chris, you do? Why don’t I remember? Hmmm, was I sober? Well since I didn’t win, the compound interest is retroactive. Sorry dude, it’s just business. Capiche? :))

    Congratulations Herve, well deserved!

  • “boy, your moment has come! you’re just a kick away from becoming an underwater photographer!”

  • oh! sorry…i was a little late… :(

  • CONGRATS HERVE! :)))))))))))))

    all that time on your retreat in Thailand has re=energized your head, heart and caption-tinking…..


    i thought all your offers were brilliant!



  • Dave Harvey
    Medford and I have known each other since the age of three
    He sent the submerged bus photo knowing that I had seen the likes
    during several summers with the L.C.
    I think the contest has ended but here is a comment
    Time and tide and moon and locus
    Wait for neither man nor auto focus
    Haaaapy Birthday, Steve O.

  • “Let’s see Doubilet beat this!”

  • And yes, I know Herve won [congrats, guy], but then again, I still use the same crappy bag I always use; it discourages my tendency to bring everything including the kitchen sink along for the ride, so the fact that there’s no DAH bag in the offing makes no difference; captions, here we come!

  • Congratulations Herve! You’re now a famous Burn Bard!


  • It’s fun to win! anything… Civi, no brainstorming for the winner, ain’t it the way it always worked for so many things.

    hey, BTW, david, did I finally make you laugh? or you are going to tell me/us “HERVE… Not only our children were not in the van, but if you had understood anything about me, you’d know I would never sacrifice another human being, let alone my sons, for a shot!”


  • ohmygod, Herve..you sound just like him!

  • Kat… ;-)

    I fear now that bag is going to be forever “in the mail”! :-(

  • Herve

    hahahaha..with the check inside it too..

  • Fiddle while Rome Burns.
    Caught, hook, line, and sinker.

    Herve.. Number 2 gets my vote too. Brilliant.

  • a civilian-mass audience


    it’s time for celebration…we got to put the souvlakia on the table, the wines on the kanates…
    the tzatzikia, the gardoubes,the kontosouvlia …
    it’s the feastday !!!

    raki on Zisis…if he is not available…then
    wine on HERVE…yeap…
    where is the music …JOHNG,ROSSY,PANOS…is anybody out there???

  • a civilian-mass audience

    BRAVO TO MIKE COURVOISIER…for the opening!!!
    wishing him lots of openings…(galleries,bank accounts,museums,homes…)

    oime I miss some AUSSIES…MATT…

    damnit…I have to stop putting labels…cause
    ..I count for more:))) laughing loud

  • 1- At a recent workshop Mr. Harvey demonstrates “The Tripod”

    2- Now that’s a Magnum !

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Now…that’s what I love about BURNIANS…
    they are unconventional…

    they keep rolling …no matter what…

    one more : Van is by the shore

    Theodorakis-Bithikotsis: Boat is by the shore
    Thank you

  • Herve, congratulations~~~ !

    This picture reminds me of the movie “blow up” by Anonioni.. meaningful movie as a photograher for me..
    … extending the recognition and thoughts…


    I’ve recieved your megazine ‘893’.
    Great!!…so happy to see it.
    Congratulatios and thanks~~~~

  • oops,

    “blow-up” by Antonioni

  • HERVE…

    congratulations! you are a winner…do you prefer a larger or smaller bag? messenger style is what i have most like Timbuk2, Patagonia etc , but also traditional Domke style as well…my assumption is that you are looking for a good street shooting bag rather than an airplane travel bag, but you tell me….after all, customer service here at Burn has always been our number one priority….

    cheers, david

  • Civilian

    That´s right..make me hungry for Greek food this early in the morning..and here i am trying to effortlessly melt away 5 pounds..as if wishing would make it so…but hey, for a feast day, what the hell? Bring on those yummy delicacies!


    Happy belated birthday! I had my head too far up the backside of Brian´s essay to process the stuff that really matters..mea culpa!!! I hope this year (and the next and the next……..are THE best ever! And yes, i share your thoughts on the spill (regarding human nature)..the tragedy is incomprehensible to me and as with photos photos and bios of our dead soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan, i cannot bear to even look at an oil drenched pelican without sobbing involuntarily.


  • Only a minute this morning: thanks for your mail David as well Street shooting bag, I have a decent air travel bag pack just for the equipment already.

    Out the door (for croissants, then to work…)

  • I’m sorry Tom, I got that wrong–it’s you that owe ME money–and lots of it. Matter of fact it’s a sum too large to be divulged here on the interweb. The feds might come after you. I’ll come knocking on your door to collect when you least expect it…

  • Ha! Well somehow that does seem more likely.

  • Hey…you´re confusing me,i am getting dizzy with all these questions!…

    Adolfo 3.0


    glad it arrived… and glad you like it! you’re absolutely welcome :-)



    thanks for the words… Yes the negotiations for me and my brother Malik were very tough and lasted for more than 12 months… very hard and seemingly hitting a brick wall every time. But we hung in there.

    To cut a long story short, they were actually convinced because of the things that I did, the way I behaved as a human being, as opposed to the things that I said… I those meetings, my body language proved to be extremely important, and the feelings and the reasons for me (and my brother) wanting to do this project had to be (and were) one hundred percent genuine. No faking whatsoever. No hunting sensation whatsoever… Nothing but my genuine interest to learn why they are who they are, why so mysterious but at the same time not hidden away, why it all proves to be shades of gray instead of simple black vs white.

    When we mentioned we wanted to take time to get to know one another, and that we did not want “just a photosession” but instead several years worth of close working together, trying to tell their story as I personally experience it along the way, and that I intend to make a documentary but also an art photography project out of it, that did convince them.

    I hope I can make this project as a whole become reality eventually… 893 Magazine is just the tip of the iceberg….



  • This is past the 24 hr deadline but I wanted to have some fun…

    Attention Deficit Disorder: During a vacation in 1984, Photographer David Alan Harvey became interested in the screams of young lady laying on top of a 1977 Chevrolet shaggin’ van. His mission to photograph the human condition and the lack of any apparent vantage point cause Harvey to climb atop the van to take a photo of this young woman. In a brief moment, swifter than the flick of a shutter, the ocean surged up the shore and over took the van – washing these two out to sea for nearly six weeks. The Nigerian Coast Guard intercepted their sinking vessel and demanded a ransom of 20 speed boats from Cuba for their release. Cuba paid the ransom with rafts destined for America, indenturing Harvey to photograph the Cuban culture for the remainder of his life.

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