from the Burn archive

December 17, 2008

who is this??


the man is a teddy bear….a family man…he would much rather talk about his teenage daughter Nina and French wife Sophie than about photography…honesty is his best policy…. you never never have to worry about what he “really thinks”…i live in Brooklyn…..but, Bruce Gilden is Brooklyn….

many think Bruce “attacks”…i do not know this for sure, but i am imagining Bruce has had a least one of his subjects “attack back”…but, Bruce and i are as much on the “same page” as anyone i know in Magnum …we surely have opposite personalities and ways of working, yet we have exactly the same “code” for life regarding fairness, transparency, and family….

Bruce is now working on a project on foreclosures in the U.S….a hardball look at one of the primary reasons for the financial collapse in America and the folks who “lost it all”…his new Magnum in Motion digs in deep and gives us a vision of a side of this country that most ignore…when Bruce went to Florida for the opening series on foreclosures, he showed us a certain kind of sympathy that i just do not recall in his previous work…

my first impression of Bruce came with his book on “Coney Island”…then “Haiti”, then “Go”….i thought Bruce harsh , but irresistibly fascinating…and funny…i can never take my eyes off of Bruce’s pictures even though i might feel a bit guilty for “intruding”, even as the viewer….if Bruce appears somewhat cynical with his work , when you know him personally , he is more “realist” than cynic….there is a difference…..the man’s work reveals a part of his personality, but not all…there is a straight up kindness in Bruce Gilden..and nobody but nobody has a better sense of humor…

please keep your eye out for Bruce’s continued work with foreclosures….anybody can smell a book in the making…

i am only hoping that i do not become one of his subjects…..

Posted at 05:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (122) | TrackBack (0)

December 15, 2008


nothing happens until it happens , but things are happening…cracking, buzzing, and yes burning bright…we will launch soonest a working model of BURN magazine (or journal or??)….the house will not be finished…we still need to  get in the wiring and plumbing and it will be a long time before all the furniture is chosen and the interior is decorated and we all feel “at home”…but, at least you will have a sense of it….and you will have a “place at the table”….

i must right now thank Anton Kusters for his tireless efforts working on design and function…the boy flew all the way from Brussels to spend four days here sleeping on my floor… the next sleeping bag was Tom Hyde and tossing and turning on the sofa was Chris Bickford…my place looked like a homeless shelter rather than a home for a  wellspring of  ideas…reminiscent of my grad school days or some version of a camping out road trip….

all i can say is that i was totally humbled by all of the hard work from Tom Hyde(flew from Seattle), Eric Espinosa  (flew from Cincinnati), Erica McDonald, Andrew Sullivan, David McGowan, and Andrew Owen from Look3..and i will never forget Kelly Lynn James who gets total credit for suggesting BURN as a title…many  thanks to all of you who wrote, phoned in, and sent constructive emails..but, it ain’t over yet….

today and tomorrow i must attend our Magnum board meeting…our winter interim gathering of the tribe…who would have ever thought i would be on any “board”, but well life has its twists…i might be able to get an interesting post out of it , but in the meantime all of you will have time to chew on this…..

oh yes, if you are in New York, we have our annual Magnum book signing at Aperture tonight…please join us…

back soonest…..


59 Responses to “from the Burn archive”

  • Those were the days, eh, DAH?

    My, how you’ve grown, Mr Lucie Nominee!

    The power of action and positive thinking.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    can I sing now?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    That’s AMORE


    I am so proud of you…and I am so proud of our AUDIENCE,DONORS…

    VIVA BURN…I can rest my case now!

  • a civilian-mass audience



    Welcome home…where the heck have you been?
    I need update,FELIX,BEATE…


  • If anyone has a spare copy of Burn.01 that they want to sell, please let me know. richard
    @ richardmanphot dot com


  • I was a little confused by this post at first, early saturday morning you know. Anyway, went to the Aperture site and noticed that Bruce Davidson is doing a talk and book signing for the new edition of “Subway” this coming Wednesday. As I think I mentioned at the time, I was really knocked over by his color photos from that project when he showed them at the loft.

  • Like Michael, I was scratching my head over this too. What does Maestro’s road trips as described in Road Trips have to do with the emergence of Burn01? And then I realized, or made the assumption, that we should be thinking about our own road trips that David had challenged us to consider many months ago. The archival documents above are, after all, about trips of discovery and creative expression of one sort or another.

    It seems the last little while here on BURN has dealt with projects involving community: BURN02, the San Antonio show, the loft workshops. Wouldn’t it be great if the 2012 road trip project became a reality, and not one of those 90% sketches of David’s that never come to fruition?

    Now that winter is coming (in the northern hemisphere at least), we can give some thought and share our ideas as to what kind of roadtrip we can plan on our own, or with others. This is the time to discuss. How about it? Do you have a road trip in mind? I do…

  • JEFF

    i was simply going down nostalgia lane and posted an archived post…seemed relevant to me..but i guess it confused some…i mean, it is clearly dated in big type right at the top as an archive post…

    you said…”Wouldn’t it be great if the 2012 road trip project became a reality, and not one of those 90% sketches of David’s that never come to fruition?”

    what does that mean exactly? don’t understand….

  • You said at your Toronto lecture in May that like most of us, 90% of the ideas you come up with get played around with, sketched maybe, and then dropped. It is the 10% that you accomplish and finish that carries you. Here on BURN you have set several challenges – those that are of particular interest to me are: using medium-format on tripod in the street; doing a high-key project, which I’m trying to imagine being done also on the street; the roadtrip, either individually, or in a group. These ideas have been floated by you, and then seem to disappear, but I have been giving considerable attention and thought to all of them. I love all of these challenges; the first two are individual-type efforts, but the idea of a roadtrip goes hand-in-hand with so much of what has been accomplished here as of late, in the sense that it can be a group effort, with contributions from even smaller sub-groups.

    Of course, you were talking about the 90% of your own projects and challenges, but I think extrapolation to your students can apply as well. Hope this clarifies.


    i think i have three wrapped in cellophane here at the house…Diego i believe has a very few in Italy as well…there are probably a total of 20 left, but we will not sell down past 10…at 10 we stop…then that is it..we wish we had held more back….

  • JEFF

    yes, now totally clear…thanks..i would definitely be very interested in your finished work…

  • Gotta admit I was confused as well. I’m easily confused.

    Congrats on the Lucie nomination!

  • Hey Jeff, you know, I was intrigued by the high-key challenge myself. At the time, I thought, man, I could totally do that. Thought about it quite a bit. Practiced it some. But chickened out when the time came. Probably a good thing as it turned out, but shameful still. One of these days I’m just gonna suck it up and do it.

    I recently shot two projects over a three week period. One and assignment the other my own thing. Those experiences significantly colored my comments in the Bahia thread. For the assignment I tried to depict reality as accurately as possible, to tell an honest and enlightening, or at least insightful, story. I spent much more time hanging around potential subjects trying to figure out the reality than I did shooting. Then when I shot I didn’t shoot all that much, at least not by modern standards. I later spoke with one of David’s students who was there on a same night. He said he took 650 photographs. I went back and checked my card and I’d taken 37. Might as well have been shooting film, eh. More like big film.

    Anyway, sorry to drift. The other project has little to do with accurately depicting reality. It’s about distorting reality to such an extent that it accurately depicts a little part of reality at a higher level. Fiction, essentially.

    So I live both sides of the “truth” debate. My main concern, I guess, is for truth in advertising. Journalism is one thing. Fiction another. Label them accordingly.

  • MW..

    you have hit the nail on the head..simple labeling solves all problems…there is fiction…there is journalism….and then there is that category i love most…”based on a true story”…. ;)

  • GORDON..

    well, maybe i should take it down..isn’t it easy to see that it is from the 2008 Archive? ..says so in big type…i was thinking of regularly publishing as a sidebar “from the archive” now, we would see some cool things…or maybe that stuff better after it is at least 5 years old…or, graphically set apart more than even the headline…???

  • Three years? Three? Good times.

  • WOW!*!*
    that was 3 YEARS ago!!!!

  • i remember the teaser shot was taken in venice…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    … those big BURNING eyes…I would like him to stay…
    and YES,number 3 is my favorite…BUT I can go 5(years) ,no problemos…:)))

    RICHARD MAN, if you are near Greece…come to civilian’s home…
    you can enjoy the book …I have olives too!

    THODORIS…I will visit you…enjoy the ride…

    JEFF…Road trip in mind???…I am IN…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    WENDY…you just won a bag …
    yes, finally someone else is a winner…HERVE,oups…:)))

  • And I don’t weigh as much now as I did in 2008, so AKAKY IRL’s comment about my stuffing my piehole is no longer germane…not that anyone cares about such stuff.

  • Wendy yes! Venice Beach Bistro! If u look carefully you will see me shooting the venice girl ( I’m between her arm that holds the beer ! ( the right place to be IMHO :)))

  • Akaky…

    I remember reading somewhere on roadtrips you had your teeth fixed and you’d be paying way on to 2010 or 11 the damn bill…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    or the left place IMHO:))))))))))))))))))

  • What I can’t seem to remember was the high-key project?
    Would someone be kind enough to refresh my memory?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    AKAKY…we DO care…you have to “fit” in the BURN Bus or whatever the ADMIN’S choice…might be:)

  • paid it off in Feb 2010; I had to plunk the last K down before the interest charges kicked in.

  • I had not yet discovered Burn at the time of these archive posts and, as DAH noted himself, one flaw in Burn is that sorting through archives can be a tedious process, so I enjoyed this archive glimpse – especially after having met Bruce Gilden at the Loft and having been there for his slide presentation.

    Thodoris – you and I are now brothers in blogging. And you started out with a cat… a rather fine cat!

    So did I… my first start was blog about cats. For awhile, I tried to keep it going after I started Wasillaalaskaby300 but, to keep two blogs going and try to make a living… too much! So I quit working on it but it still stands.

    Good luck. I will be dropping by.

  • David
    My confusion was largely because I went to the page by clicking on a comment, so it did not open at the top. As a result I did not see the date until I scrolled up. No matter, fun for me to see as I was not part of road trip.

    Don’t take it down.

  • David…

    BTW does that fake watch you wrote about on RoadTrips, purchased in Bangkok still tick?!! :))

  • Here’s something that isn’t from the archives, but fresh off the grill…

    As is well-known, which was something Soviet diplomats used to say just before they said something previously unknown to anyone not paying attention to what Moscow wanted that week, my Uncle Paddy wore a hat whenever he had to move his bowels. It was one of those Irish floppy bucket hats, the kind that the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, God bless him, used to wear all the time, and the hat even had its own peg on the bathroom wall, right there between the toilet paper and the towel rack. The hat never left the bathroom, except when Uncle Paddy went home to Ireland on his annual visit. I assume that the hat never left the bathroom in Ireland either, but I don’t know that for certain. I am also not certain about what the connection between headgear and colorectal activity might be, except to say that there must be one—a man of such stern common sense as Uncle Paddy would hardly wear a hat in such situations simply for the sake of style.

    Much of life, it seems, is about the things that people do without some sort of reasonable explanation for why they are doing these things. With Uncle Paddy, and simply as a side note here I should point out that yes, a good many Irish people have uncles named Paddy; some stereotypes are vaguely true, even if you might wish otherwise; the thing was his hat and its alleged psycholaxative effects on his intestines. With other people the thing can be as simple as refusing to make the left turn just two hundred feet ahead of them when they can travel three miles to make a right turn instead, or as complex as collecting twelfth century Mongolian stone merkins for fun and profit. I am still pondering the hows and whys of that particular hobby, especially the whys, since I am not usually one of those people who waste a lot of money I don’t really have on something I don’t really need. For example, the government recently gave millions of dollars to a solar panel company that quickly went bankrupt, and now the government is both upset and surprised at the speed with which this enterprise tripped over the light fantastic and fell flat on its face. For the life of me, I cannot understand the government’s surprise at this; solar energy is a great idea if you live in a place with a lot of sunshine, but the further you get away from the equator you get, the less sunny the planet gets. You’d think that someone would have pointed out this particular fact to the government, a fact that I learned in fourth grade geography class from Sister Mary Agnes, who not only knew the capitals of every country on the planet but drove the school bus on class trips as well and knew how to bypass every pothole, traffic jam, and overly enthusiastic traffic cop in the City of New York, but you would be wrong. That the government could not figure this our from their own experience suggests to me that there are too many Hawaiians and south Floridians working for the Federal government these days and that the civil service would do well to recruit some Minnesotans or Montanans or even the odd North Dakotan or two in order to bring a different perspective to the work at hand. That so many allegedly smart people think that the four seasons is a pricey place to eat in New York or a set of concerti by Antonio Vivaldi implies, to me, a dangerous parochialism that is unbeneficial at best and harmful at worst with the needs of the American people as a whole.

    And then there is the question of women getting romantically involved with married men, a subject that has little to do with government waste or collecting twelfth century Mongolian stone merkins, but has something to do with the strange things people will do if you give them half a chance, which seems to have become the theme of this piece. For those of you involved in such a relationship, and you know who you are, you are the living breathing avatar, if that’s the word I want to use here, of Uncle Paddy’s crapping hat and the government loaning money to people who don’t know how to stay in business. The object of your affections is not going to divorce his wife to marry you, simply because the objects of his affections; i.e., the house, the car, the business, etc. etc. etc.; are all in his wife’s name and he’s not going to give up all of that just because you do whatever it is you do better than his wife ever did. Even if through some miracle, and I should point out here that hoping for divine intervention is probably a waste of time, given the Almighty’s clearly stated position on this sort of thing, your paramour actually did divorce his wife and marry you, what makes you think he’ll be any more loyal to you than he was to his first wife? He wouldn’t do that, you say, he loves me too much. Allow me to rain on your parade for a moment—why wouldn’t he do that to you? He loved his first wife too, you know, or at least he did before you convinced him to give her the boot. And he promised not to cheat on her too, and you already know how that promise turned out. You shouldn’t let your beating the astronomical odds in getting this cheating lout to the altar to cloud your judgment; you’re the old ball and chain he’s going to want to get away from now and don’t you ever forget it. Strange how life turns out, isn’t it?

    Finally, we come to the question of Oktoberfest, which again doesn’t really have much to do with Uncle Paddy and his laxative headgear. My specific complaint about Oktoberfest arises from the apparent unwillingness of the German police to do anything about the growing tide of lawlessness at the event. I find it beyond monstrous that thieves made off with 150,000 one liter glass beer steins last year from the Oktoberfest fairgrounds, which in the interests of historical and lexicographical accuracy are called the Theresienwiese, after a 19th century Bavarian princess with a pretzel obsession, and the Bavarian police have done nothing to break up what is clearly an organized gang of stein thieves. In the United States, by contrast, the FBI cracked down on a ring of thieves boosting mountains of Styrofoam cups and plastic forks from McDonald’s franchises all over New York and selling their ill-gotten goods to Taco Bells in Connecticut. And only a few years ago, the Chicago Police Department arrested a man for stealing no fewer than nine hundred and sixteen deep dish pans for Chicago-style deep dish pizzas and selling them to a known organized crime associate, who for reasons best known to himself believed the thief’s story that the pans were hubcaps taken from foreign cars on Chicago’s affluent North Shore. But in Germany, a mountain of glass vanishes and no one in a position of authority seems to have noticed that a mountain of glass has vanished nor do these same authorities propose to do anything to prevent further mountains of glass from vanishing. Someone is not taking their job seriously here, folks, no two ways about it.

    Could the German police simply not care about what happened to all of those steins? I hardly think this likely; 150,000 one liter glass steins filled, one presumes, with one liter of strong Oktoberfest beer in them amounts to a lot of drunk drivers on the autobahn and a lot of incentive to get rid of the hot glass quickly. I would think that the highways and byways of the Bundesrepublik would fill with crocked stein thieves hurling anathemas and evidence at each other as they competed like NASCAR drivers for the left lane in order to get out of Munich quickly and that the cops would favor a chance to round up these desperadoes in one fell swoop, but that does not seem to be the case.

    I know nothing about the history of corruption in German police departments, but it seems to me that this would be a profitable line of inquiry for any ambitious young journalist out to win whatever the German equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize us. Such a malfeasant attitude seems a bit unnatural, at least to me, and I think the good citizens of Bavaria have a right to know whether or not the men and women sworn to protect them from such illegalities are in cahoots with glass thieves and stein smugglers. I can’t imagine why anyone would be in league with such obvious lowlifes, but then I have a hard time imagining why the Red Sox are in any league except the one in Van Diemen’s Land along with the rest of the hoodlums. I suppose that that is just a failure of imagination on my part. And it still doesn’t explain why Uncle Paddy needs to wear a hat in order to evacuate. Remember that? That’s what I was going to write about when I started this thing a few hours ago and I’m still no closer to understanding that than I am about understanding the rest of this stuff. So there.

  • Damn, I forgot I was the last Road Trips entry. Well, don’t I feel special now?!

  • Frostfrog…

    You must visit the RoadTrips blog! I go there these days when I’m slightly down or need that extra little push of inspiration. It brings me back very, very special memories from way back in 2007, sitting late in the evening either in the local library or at home with my youngest son in arms fast asleep, while David’s stories took my mind off my big problems. Roadtrips made me feel safe, made me feel hope is always close by.

    Go here…
    and click on forums.

  • This blog post (Give Me Just One Knight to Believe In) from the new Once magazine site, a new ipad app, is spot, spot on regarding the wrong direction some are heading in the journalism world, i.e., that crowd-sourced content can replace meaningful long-form journalism. Worth a read, written six months ago but I just found the site. First time I’ve seen what I’ve been thinking for awhile so clearly expressed.

  • Another misguided attempt to keep the old alive rehashed by yet another “new” online magazine

  • …….oh yes the ipad accessible by those that are cashed up or waving a credit card(lets worry about the debt later) not the general world audience

  • “Another misguided attempt to keep the old alive rehashed by yet another “new” online magazine”

    I find it innovative, forward looking, hopeful, riding the leading edge, quality work (including from at least one photographer who has appeared here), not mired in despondency … but opinions obviously vary. It makes me wonder though what you are doing here if this is your view of innovative concepts in publishing in general, and specifically photography? And what exactly is the delivery device for the general world audience today? In five years, in ten? What risks taken today will lead the path for tomorrow? Are you that sure? It’s a new world to be sure and it will take a thousand failures, or more, for every success? What then is the future? Do you know? I guess I am just a big fan of those who keep trying. The alternative kinda sucks.

  • Bill, I know I’m in good company…

    The blog was a long time coming, for all those singles, miniseries and works in progress that I can’t find a proper way to show on my website… it was one of those things that spent an eternity on the to-do list…

    As for the cats, besides the four we have living indoors we now have three kittens with their mom in the backyard… so you can imagine the number of pictures I have… I have to exercise control not to post too many of them…

    I’m quite familiar with

  • PAUL

    i ended up really loving that fake watch..just as easy to love fake as real i guess…anyway, true to form it stopped ticking pretty early on…i might have lasted a couple of months…i did not know you were an old Road Trips reader, although i am sure you have said so…hard to keep track..well, come to think of it considering Burn is out there on some sort of international scene, we still pretty much have the same broke down bar here in comments that we have always stories a la Road Trips do not happen because i want to let others tell their stories…but maybe i will bring back a version with the new website where multiple things happening will be easier…and besides that my instagrams are a new type of diary anyway…i looked at my contact sheets from the instagrams…damned fascinating…real snapshots..not trying too hard..loose…something good about it..honest…unadorned…anyway, yes amateurish activity that is a lot of fun and honestly what is really going on around me at any given time…i have never “gone anywhere” to take one of my instagrams…i just take out the camera and take a picture..rarely moving from my seat….actually even my so called pro stuff is not far from that either..but, shhhhhhh

    cheers, david

  • I am happy for the media to develop and not be forced and photojournalists are heading towards niche internet audiences that are similar minded.There is nothing innovative about placing the same old tired models upon new technology.
    Participants on sites like twitter are getting it right they inform,people react or enact upon the information and then get on with either something else or expand upon what has been put into place. There is no need for old style editors, so called professional journalists etc, things aren’t bogged down by silly copyright laws or bureaucratic nightmares. Something gets done and discarded when no longer relevant
    ……… is not about a individuals job or career it is about all of us.

  • In he art and photographic world exhibiting is easy with a bit of money. Put together some work, pay a gallery about 400 to 1000 dollars for a 2 week viewing and you along with another 2 or 4 peers have a show on. These are on in their tens of thousands every week and are mainly seen by family and friends. Advertise on a site, blog any social media and to become part of that huge information collective. Some work gets better exposure than others but that is not the point it is that huge juggernaut of producers and consumers that creates or new world not a few chosen individuals. Steve Jobs is done and dusted the products he helped to create are evolving and changing. It was not Jobs that changed dictated the terms it is the consumer/audience as a entity and their responses that implement change …………………and that is the great part about where we travel.

  • Imants, appreciate the reasoned response. And I agree, to some extent, except that not all of us take the time to be craftsman. Twitter isn’t literature. Each have their purpose. So, I think there is still room for the long-form well-crafted piece, and for the craftsman who spends a lifetime honing their craft (they used to be called professionals) and still room for those known entities that deliver it consistently (they used to be called magazines), although I certainly see those lines becoming blurred. Certainly socialization/democratization/whatevertherighttermis of content is a good thing but if only “popular” work is seen and promoted, everything would be kitty’s in bomber jackets. So the cloud becomes the arbiter. I don’t know if that’s the complete answer.

  • Look there is a great chance that you will produce something great and receive popular support for it and the same goes with just about anyone. As with most being in the limelight and or cutting edge probably won’t last long but nonetheless a worthwhile journey. Who knows it cold be Obama giving Putin a peck on his cheek…….people would love that.

  • I am sure the well crafted has a place but very much a diminished force but having written that, one has to have pretty good communication skills to twitter successfully.

  • and the above was more than 140 characters……. to reword it, back to thinking

  • Twitter, fast food joint of information.

  • Could be …………. David seems to use it on burn to inform

  • Thanks Paul… more to explore… I had actually been there before, but it was good to return…

    Thodoris, I know what you mean… I will be dropping by often and I won’t be disappointed if a cat shows up every time…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Go MR.HARVEY!…twitter feed …you are not afraid to “move around”…

    “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    hmm…I strongly believe that MR.EMERSON was talking about MR.HARVEY ..yeap

    and as MIKER says…
    Can I purr now?:))))))))))

  • Greetings all from Burnei airport, probably one of the most boring airports to be stuck!

  • ooops! a bit lagged here, Brunei not ‘Burn’ei… : )))
    i need a good shower and some sleep…………………..

  • Can anyone recommend an Ipad portfolio App?


  • Yesterday I had look through Koudelka’s recently republished “Gypsies” and I was surprised by the matt paper, it took me a couple of minutes to get used to the “look”. I’m much more accustomed to seeing a little shine in prints but I finally fell in love with it. Well I left it at the shop, I’ve got more pressing things to pay back and because the book is utterly safe in the bookshop nobody round here buys those sort of books, only dribble like “Mastering photography once and for all”.
    What I really found immensely interesting was how strong the contrast in the prints were. The blacks were real black without any detail at all, big fat blacks and film grain everywhere, marvellous!! Quite refreshing from all the farting around these days with digital trying to find detail everywhere in the blacks, highlights and techniques like HDR.

  • Paul..

    get the book, pay back later! No kidding!

  • THAT WAS 2009!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TOMORROW THE 2011 LUCIE AWARDS!!!! STAY TUNED!


    C International Photography Magazine
    Foam International Photography Magazine
    GUP (Guide to Unique Photography) Magazine
    Nueva Luz Photographic Journal

  • a civilian-mass audience

    time to shine
    DAH and ANTON
    DIEGO and ALL
    You are the vision
    you are the strong
    along with the people
    who DO believe
    that hard work can bring
    amazing results…

    I love you ALLLLLLLLLLLl

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