Every time i get ready to quit Burn, something happens which keeps me in the game for another 5 minutes…I am sure you can imagine I often have to ask myself “is all this really worth it?”…a pretty typical thought for all of us , most of the time, regarding wherever any of us are putting our psychic energy…so, I really came into Burn 02 thinking , ok this is it…done..finish with flourish

Then I actually held 02 in my hands.  Hmm, THIS is something…THIS is it…and I honestly can say that I could easily (well not easily) rock out at least 10 issues before my feet even hit the floor from a content standpoint…I am in touch with just that many photographers and have so many of the iconics and emerging ready to throw their best efforts into this pot…so that’s nice…at this point in my life, that’s just nice..…i like that….a peer group after many many years can love you or hate you….

At the same time, oddly I have some buying into my “future”…that’s a new one for me…yes, buying work, actually paying me for work that I have not done yet…no, not commissions/assignments, but prints out of my darkroom… selling and the darkroom is still not done yet..a show and book launch at the Australian Center of Photography booked, done, on for their fall 2012, and I am on my way out the door to go shoot a chapter of this show/book in a few weeks…(simultaneous piece in NatGeo same time) ..yet nobody is this crazy…curators will be nervous, my friends will abandon me, all stuff I love of course, and then I will ride into town with the show…whew..with work that could have been better if I had just been organized!!! smiling…

Point is: my time is going 100% into you/Burn and 100% into me and my work…somehow it is possible …I am on it..somehow doing it..comfortably..learned to zen it…minimal stress….not much sleep , but the minute I fall asleep I wake up with a new idea…yet still I cannot help succumb to temptation and let my mind drift into total selfishness to manifest the hell out of my own work ….and yet just about the time i get ready to drop the hammer on Burn, something happens…

Five minutes ago it happened…dammit,yes, one of dozens of emails i get a day to open a link and look at work and 99% of the time it is hard work to look carefully and rarely a spark and lo and behold tonight i open up our friend Jukka Onnela work and just got blown away..I looked at it for maybe 30 seconds tops…ok maybe two minutes tops tops…fast anyway…and I KNEW right away, that I had to publish his book…no, not right now nothing else is right now, but next year or whenever the time is right….Jukka tells me I am the only one who has seen this particular sequence of work…maybe I have that part wrong…but never mind, not important …so dammit, now i am stuck putting all of my energies into somebody else!! his is brilliant work, you will see, you will see…a powerful  extended version of what he had in 01..

So what exactly is the photo/life lesson here?

Isn’t is obvious? Time worn. Works. Every time. Do what you love passionately and pass the baton to others as often as possible. Makes for a better day. Or rainy night.

Or, looking at it another way:

If you can get to a stage in your work and believe you are playing the piano, then you ARE playing the piano.

Just a state of mind, just a state of mind.


87 thoughts on “NIGHT RAIN RIO”

  1. marcin luczkowski


    Keep the Fire of your ideas David. I am sure at the end it will be worth it.
    Best regards

  2. marcin luczkowski

    Anyway… I am really impressed with everything you’ve done here.

    I hope there will be more things keeps you in game than things that you get tired

  3. One of the truest statements of life and how it is to be lived I have read in a long time. The older I get the more intense the need to help those coming up behind me.

  4. David

    Today is my 64th birthday.

    My lovely wife Martha has a strong belief the universe provides you with what you need, when you need it. This week, a business/personal coach came in for a portrait. We got chatting, clicked immediatly, and two hours later agreed to work together. My task for our next meeting is to come up with a mental image of what my ideal life would look like right now.

    Over the past couple of years, burn, and you, and burnians, have been an inspiration, not an exaggeration to say life changing. Thanks for the birthday gift of your thoughts this morning.

  5. Happy Birthday Gordon!!
    and yes,
    thanks again..
    for all that YOU do..
    and for BuRNIANS everywhere…..
    I love this image…

  6. GORDON,

    Happy 64th Birthday!
    I hope your day is filled with enjoyment, wonder, some satisfaction, and a renewed sense of the joy of life!

    And I hope it doesn’t turn out like my 64th birthday, some months back, spent in a hospital emergency room!

  7. JUKKA!!!!!!
    whew…that boy is about some serious gut-work.
    can’t wait to see his new stuff.

    he sent me the classic Anders Petersen book, “Café Lehmitz” some time ago, signed by Anders himself.
    it was Jukka’s wish that his book collection be sent into the world and enjoyed by as many people as possible. so i feel it my duty (and it is my deep honor) to send off “Café Lehmitz” to the next eager and reverent pair of eyes, who will hopefully pass it along in their turn.

    so,… who’s next?

  8. david:

    plz have a look at LOOMINGS then…maybe Eva will pre-order it…not even jukka has seen loomings, though he asked…


    along with jukka-san, marina and i have continued to do the same…sent 4 copies of giacomelli out into the world, including one to dah and to oli pin-fat….a bunch of stuff to young photographers and earlier this year, left one of my cameras on the door step of a stranger’s house….

    giving away giving away giving away….

  9. a civilian-mass audience

    Happy Birthday GORDON
    happy Birthday dear GORDON
    hope your family loves you
    hope your Martha adores you
    hope your mom still loves you
    and your cat keeps …niaou’s you

    have my cake ready
    have my glass full of whiskey
    and the rest will be …easy

    VIVA !!!

  10. Love the idea of sharing from my photo library (which is just starting)… I think ill pass a few of my photo books along this week.

    … and I would love my chance to view Café Lehmitz

  11. a civilian-mass audience

    as MARCIN says…Magic!
    as MR.HARVEY says…state of mind!

    hmmm…I tried to play piano,nope,nada…BUT, I CAN SING…YEAAAAAAA!!!

    P.S…nice to see my missing BURNIANS…reporting back!

  12. “I think ill pass a few of my photo books along this week.”

    Nathan–you got the spirit! that makes you next in line for “Café Lehmitz”.
    please pass it along after you’ve spent due time with it.
    and mail your address to me at :

    enjoy! and thank you, Jukka, for getting these books moving along as they should be.

  13. David
    Just sat in my favourite chair and re-visited Divided Soul. I also do somthing I don’t do often enough, take time to read all the text, and slow down. Great stuff, both the text and the photos.

  14. Garshh, thanks all.
    Were having a few folks over and doing an organic beer can up the butt chicken on the barbie, and Martha is making a big Greek salad (sorry Civi, no whisky or ouzo)
    I love all of our lives.

    We may even sing and dance a little.

  15. I guess I’m not spiritually evolved enough to pass on my books. I hoard them jealously.

    I do loan them on occasion, but then it is a bummer when I don’t get them back and forget who I loaned them to. My copy of Penn’s “Worlds in a small room” is missing, and so is my first edition Bill Owens “Suburbia”. I had a very rare and wonderful copy of William Mortensons book on lighting which was brilliant. Gone too.
    During a personal upheavel about ten years ago, I purged myself of many many books, and dozens of the annuals that the camera magazines used to publish. I regret it now.
    Since I’ve been frequenting burn, my collection has grown even larger.

  16. IMANTS

    why? i live alone, work alone and mostly travel alone…but sharing a trip with a kindred spirit is one of the great joys in life…but all serious thinking, working, actual action is in my case a solitary venture….as you, with teaching i am with others and this is what obviously gets photographed and passed around so it appears on links, on FB etc that i am always surrounded by childhood was mostly a time of being alone..thinking..reading…figuring out exactly who i was…i can slip back into that time easily in a split second no matter how many are physically around me..for me being alone is not lonely , but a great luxury….

    cheers, david

  17. BOB

    many thanks for Giacomelli….a treasure….and such an instinctive eye….and yes of course i will look at Loomings….but i need to find the right time….after october 8 is i think are not ever a fast read Bob…with words or pictures…so the time must be just right…

    by the way, everyone here is talking about the books they received from Jukka…well, i scored really big and i have not mentioned it here but i will now since everyone is chatting..Jukka sent me his hand made one of a kind book Home/Home…i mean this is THE hand made book…beer stains, blood, the whole bit…this is not a book, this is an experience..but you gotta come visit me to see it…


    you absolutely 100% do not owe me an apology….you are a gentleman, i appreciate it, but no apology necessary…

    cheers, david

  18. Happy birthday, Gordon! I hope you can enjoy and photograph your wonderful life for another 40 years or so.

    I enjoyed talking to you today, David. Maybe one of these days I will get a computer with a camera in it and Skype right, not just nearly free.

    I look forward to the loft with both excitement and terror…

  19. GORDON,

    Happy Birthday! I enjoy your photo posts immensely – and know that you have a soft spot for old cameras. In honor of Gordon’s birthday, if any Burnian has desire for a small 35mm rangefinder, I have Vivitar 35EE I would to send you – it is almost identical to a Konica C35… please e-mail me at jmikelsmith [at] gmail [dot] com, it is yours at no cost. This is probably the smallest rangefinder outside of an Olympus XA…

  20. “Since I’ve been frequenting burn, my collection has grown even larger.”

    Gordon, same here. alone in 2011, I bought about 30+ photobooks.
    …is there a group like anonymous photobook addicts?

    BTW – thanks for giving me the impulse to count… this answers a lot of questions to me ..

    DAH – you’re publishing all your books in 2012 and beyond, do you?

  21. a civilian-mass audience

    YES,GAETANO…simply irresistible …!!!

    THOMAS…there is a group “photobooks addicts”…EVA is the president!!!:)

    GORDON…geia mas or yia mas (viva…to OUR HEALTH)

    oime…Greece is down BUT BUT …the Spirit is Up(side down)


  22. Don’t know how it works, but the twitter feeds on the latest posts seems a bit messed up, tweet to this post and new assignement post is missing.. cheers..

  23. GG, EVA, ROSS, CP, thank u for making a great monday for me over the Lone Star Landia that is owned by Saudi Arab oil men and other local Haliburton, Exxon owners, and puppets like Rick Perry..a fascist bullshiter that actually is been secretly paid by many pharmaceutical companies! !

  24. DAVID,

    Just been back from Cincinnati and I have missed your very kind offer to join you at the end of the month when you will be at the loft and present some of my work…. You just made me miserable :):):) as I would SO MUCH love to be there with you for that last class…. My traveling though for business is almost as crazy as our own travels…. here one week with the family and then off to the UK and then back for few days an off again to Istambul for working there a week… as much as I would love to be with you, I have to face that it is going to be a challenge to be in New York in the middle of this at the end of Sept…. but your offer was much appreciated… would have been a real honor to join you…. this whole place and building on top is so special as well…. I am sure you will have fun with the students and hope I will get to see you soon one way or another…. still hoping for this opportunity to maybe join you in Rio this year.. who knows… hope it will work… and sometimes, will connect on what I could share or work as project for Burn….

    Cheers David!


  25. a civilian-mass audience

    ERIC…be safe out there…and safe travels to ALL…

    EVA…yes,red dots for all the master pieces! credit when credit is due!

    “identity becomes very, very complex, multi-layered, and mysterious…” as SIDNEY says…
    oime…I lost my identity BUT I know this:
    I am ready to fight and I will fight hard cause nobody can take away my dignity!
    Go Greece!

    I wish I can write like BOBBY and my Academians BUT I fight like a true BURNIAN!
    may the spirits be with me
    and with ALL of YOU!

    be back soon…

  26. a civilian-mass audience

    and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a BURNIAN LADY…I believe she is one of the Crew photophilosopher ?!


    yes,we do love our BURNIAN ladies…!!!


  27. a civilian-mass audience


    congrats…credit when credit is due…Viva mate…raki on you…!

    ok,running like Bobby…LOVE you ALLLLLL

  28. Re: Jukka – that makes my heart swell! Wonderful wonderful.

    On the book train…mine go out onto my stoop, with alarmingly regularity. Not all of course, but the ones that have grown legs. And they go, so quickly, I never see to who and that is nice, I get to imagine someone new to photography, stumbling on a book that inspires and carries them along.

  29. There are moments when I’m frustrated with Photography but then I manage to create a nice print or I come here and peruse and see something inspiring and I’m reminded how there’s nothing else I want to do. I soldier on with my old camera inspired by the work I see here and the relentless idea of producing a worthwhile image. I think in my mind “don’t stop, keep going no matter what.” Thanks for the inspiration.

  30. Suicidal Tendencies

    Origin Venice, California, United States
    Genres Hardcore punk, crossover thrash, thrash metal, funk metal
    Years active 1981–1995

    Suicidal Tendencies is a U.S. crossover thrash band founded in 1981 in Venice, Los Angeles, California by Mike Muir, its leader and only permanent member. The band is sometimes credited as one of “the fathers of crossover thrash”.[1] To date, Suicidal Tendencies have released eight studio albums, one EP, four split albums including the rare “Welcome to Venice”

  31. DAH

    “Yes she has red hair and her name is Shannon. Really. Sunday brunch and is thinking about rehab. Need help?”

    Damn I do love redheads. Is Shannon thinking about rehab our you?

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