Lots of chat lately about captions. What they should or should not be. So write one for this picture. Not as a joke . For real. The scene is spring break. South Beach, Miami about three weeks ago. Pretend you are a caption writer for a magazine or newspaper and you are seeing this cold turkey. This is a realistic exercise. In 48 hours I will choose the best caption writer. The winner gets a 100 bucks to write captions for the next story up. You won’t get rich doing this job for Burn. But you might just get a real job out of this fake job.

162 thoughts on “spring break…”

  1. “Spring break is a rite of passage for many young adults, some find love, others find heartbreak, some find the meaning of life all at places like South Beach, Miami, Florida”

  2. A bather examines one of south beaches new ‘security cameras’ yesterday. The ‘controversial’ cameras have been installed all along the beach by authorities in an attempt to halt the upsurge in thefts that occur during spring break.

  3. It’s not Quantum Physics, it’s Spring Break! Mind over Matter! If you don’t Mind, It Don’t Matter! Use Protection…… preferably SPF 50!!!

  4. funny, john gladdy…

    Multi-hued hairdo’s and a close embrace under a heavy sky bring passion to a late afternoon on Miami’s South Beach.


  5. I spotted the couple embrace with such desire that I instinctively raised my camera to document the passionate moment. Just as I started to release the shutter, the redhead thrust her head between the subject and my camera, diverting my auto-focus to her glasses. “What are you?” she challenged. “Some kind of pervert? Give the lovers their space!”

  6. Unable to travel to Europe because of mounting student loans, local students formed the improv group “Occupy (Arab Spring) Break” for beachgoers to experience a socially conscious vacation by contemplating love forbidden by society, women’s rights, and the economy.

  7. Get a Room!! Due to a higher than usual hotel occupancy rate this year ,South Beach couples resort to doing “it” on the beach …..

  8. ps I’ll do the job for free and make a donation to Burn in exchange for 1/2 an hour of portfolio review.

  9. Photographer David Alan Harvey’s last frame, taken just before he suffered a tragic fatal assault on miami’s south beach during spring break. Miami police say a Brazilian woman is in custody

  10. Sun still rises in South Beach, Miami. In this world’s busy-ness, it’s hard to imagine life beyond the four walls of an office cube. Fun, love and whatever still happens here. You just have to take that much needed break and you don’t have to wait for spring.

    “In medical news,South Beach doctor,Ohno Harvey, demonstrates the controversial
    Frontal Heimlich which uses neither Heim nor Lich to dislodge foreign matter from
    a suitably incapacitated and,sometimes,willing client.
    Meanwhile,research intern and part time hair salon worker,Wanda Burns, can be seen
    checking her 4G connectivity”

  12. a civilian-mass audience

    I hope I’ll win this one…HERVE,please stay out of this…I am here for the cold turkey:)))))))))

  13. It’s Laura’s first time on the beach, alone. She wanted to impress her grandmother who always told her life gets more rewarding with age.

  14. Love in the air, dark clouds on the horizon, wild red locks and the eye of a storm. Spring break in South Beach, 2012.

  15. I hardly ever read captions, go figure if I write them.. but .. but.. I’d love the focus on the second plane here.. can do?

  16. “Mr Harvey you seriously need me,” whispered the beautiful rehead has she peered into DAH’s iPhone lens. “Don’t you realize “You made me leave” hasn’t got a single redhead image yet!!

  17. Photography ain’t about level horizons or portraits with a long lens or perfectly groomed red hair, nicely held down by the stylist’s hair clips. It’s a way of life, a necessity, a right here right now attitude running against the average, the commonplace and the yawn. An ache for the exhilaration, as those crazy stars collide and sparks and bangs echo throughout your heart. Can you feel the zone buzzing your whole chassis? That hum in your soul when you know deep down in your guts that image will be a “WOW”. That is the Burn creed.

  18. We have creed now??
    Is there a dress code?
    A special handshake?
    Can I still have a beard?

    Strange. last night I thought I could feel an ache for the exhileration and the zone buzzing my whole chassis….but it turned out to be trapped wind.

  19. Spring break 2012 on South Beach, Miami. Libertine behavior, although not universally sanctioned, is widely expected from students during the traditionally religious Easter holidays of March. Burn photographer, [insert name], had her own Calvinist notions severely challenged by the liberal attentions of an 18 year old South Beach native, ‘Nooky’.

  20. All seemed full of delight. For months now we shared shade and light. It was so soft and sharp. But she told me “illusion” and faded out on Miami Beach.

  21. John Gladdy…

    Yes absolutely right, that was a load of bullshit. Shouldn’t write a Burn comment at work, bad influence. Never done it before and never again.

  22. John Gladdy…

    I could do with some inspiring images it’s been 11 hours of hell at work and I was wondering if you had any new work to show. If not, have you still got that Flickr link will all those brilliant images you had somehow gathered together and posted round last year?

  23. On location for her next film in South Beach, Miami, actress Lindsay Lohan leaves the shore in a huff after she sees her boyfriend, millionaire hotelier Vikram Chatwal, kissing an unidentified woman.

  24. I’m no Carolyn Bennett Patterson but here goes …

    March 2012, South Beach, Miami, Florida – Florida beaches have long been the mecca for the spring break college crowd with sunny days, white sand beaches, warm waters and the promise of good times. The annual ritual exploded with the 1960 movie “Where the Boys Are” which focused on Ft. Lauderdale, a community that two decades later decided it was done with collegiate hedonism and passed laws to discourage spring breakers. While the venues have shifted over the years, South Beach is the new hot spot in 2012 within U.S. borders. Bounded on one side by Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic on the other, South Beach attracts thousands of college students for what has become an iconic American right of passage. Spring break is a booming industry. More than 2 million of the nation’s 15 million college crowd travelled to spring break destinations in 2005. The economic impact is estimated as high as $1 billion and it is one of the few sectors of the travel industry that hasn’t declined during the recession. But for two young lovers on the beach, the only things likely to matter are sun, surf, and love.

  25. Up close and personal. Students take to the sand in the first days of spring. A trained lens captures the intimacy before the storm. Miami’s South Beach retains it’s allure to all walks of life. Unchallenged. Iconic.

  26. Close up of woman’s forehead with embracing couple on Miami’s South Beach, Florida.

  27. Older crowds understand this to be the ‘myspace shot’, but with DSLRs cameras being more accessible, a larger zoom can make this harder to achieve in the traditional sense.

  28. The party never stops for the March, 2012 Spring Breaker’s destination of South Beach, the hot International Party City with some Latin Spice across Biscayne Bay from Miami, Fl. It is the first day of Spring break early in the morning. The sun is out but the beach is sparse except for some early partiers. Already they are sharing pictures and texting, expressing their excitement in real time while waiting for the beach to fill with friends and more Spring Breakers to arrive from all over the U.S to let the week long party to begin.

  29. Martin thought I should have focused on the shiny outfits. Larry told me to dig into family life around. Alex said to use a more complex composition. Sally wanted me to find a dead body in the sand. John to see an unkown frame. Bruce asked me if there are clowns over there while it’s all in my head and I bet it will stay there till next Springbreak on Miami South Beach.

  30. John Gladdy…

    Your photos make me want to pull out my Les Paul turn all the dials on my tube amp up to 10 and jam away with my old group.

  31. The pointlessness of most captions for pictures is amply demonstrated by this caption for the above semi ramdom, badly shot, picture of a beach scene during spring break.

  32. Marketers testing a new ladies anti-perspirant in South Beach, Miami in March for efficacy and water-resistance. Monitoring photographs (such as this one) are posed as self-portraits to avoid attracting attention from beach-goers as the gentleman in the background performs a “sniff assessment”.

  33. time is almost up here…or, rather i have lost track of the time…flew back home and will have lunch and then will choose our winner….a quick glance and i see some classics…


    how in the world you know Carolyn Bennett Patterson?? yes, she invented this sort of test now used by many newspapers and magazines to see who can write captions and who cannot….

  35. Spring breakers on Miami Beach use technology and tanning oil to merge personal interactions and social opportunities. A girl embraces her spring fling while sharing her vacation with friends back home, perhaps laying the foundation for a summer romance.

  36. South Beach, Miami. Spring Break, March, 2012. A young couple warms themselves together against the buffeting and unseasonably cool wind. Et tu, babe.

  37. DAH

    So nice to be here! Glad to see you are still lively and leading this pack of wild men (and women!) with your usual dedication and applomb. I have been looking at some earlier essays and am stunned at the quality of the writing of those commenting. Wow. In addition to previous excellent contributors you have attracted some quality thinkers who can articulate so well their criticisms and observations. Le felicito mucho! I did not want to come back here till i had a web page and now that i do i hope to be able to visit more often.

    Highest regards:

  38. Whew! had me worried for a minute.
    Googled it, and I was either a very disageeable event….or someone who wets the bed.
    I had to go look just to make sure.

  39. yeah. But you know I aint gonna get picked to write captions…Thats one Rabbit hole Alice for sure does not want to wander down.
    Just having some fun.

  40. Police said a handwritten note was found on the retired pharmacist’s body in which he attributed his decision to the debt crisis.
    According to a text of the note published by local media, the man said the government had made it impossible for him to survive on the pension he had paid into for 35 years. “I find no other solution than a dignified end before I start searching through the trash for food,” read the note…………..
    Greece has seen an increase in suicides over the past two years of economic hardship, during which the country repeatedly teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.
    Police did not release the pharmacist’s name and offered few other details.

    By Wednesday evening, dozens of written messages had been pinned to the tree under which the man shot himself, some reading:

    “It was a murder, not a suicide,”


    “Austerity kills.”

  41. Miami, March 2012. Climax of the Van de Graaff Generator Spring Camp. Attendees perfect their approach to solo and pairs – otherwise known as “hug generation”. The legendary David Alan Harvey, veteran of many VdG Spring breaks, attended but was not participating in this year’s camp.

  42. College frat guy with a weakness for redheaded women is caught cheating by his girlfriend, who snapped this photo of the threesome. The clouds go wild; revenge is in the air. It’s spring break in South Beach.

  43. Sidney Atkins

    Wow, Kathleen Fonseca, Tom Hyde, and Bob Black all checking in on same thread… is this a Road Trips Revival?

    Me, I’m holding out for reappearances Aga, Space Cowboy, and Lisa Hogben.

  44. “Trying to take a photo of that snoozing couple, but that yesterdays biyatch is still trying to lick my fingers….”

  45. John Gladdy

    I`m from NJ. A pisser is a funny person. Check out this quote from Goodfellas..

    Henry: You’re a pisser, you’re really funny. You’re really funny.
    Tommy: What do you mean I’m funny?
    Henry: It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy.
    Tommy: what do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
    Henry: It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
    Tommy: Funny how? What’s funny about it?
    Anthony: Tommy no, You got it all wrong.
    Tommy: Oh, oh, Anthony. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
    Henry: Just.
    Tommy: What?
    Henry: Just… ya know… you’re funny.
    Tommy: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
    Henry: Just… you know, how you tell the story, what?
    Tommy: No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said I’m funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!
    Henry: Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
    Tommy: Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.

  46. Sidney

    The planets aligned themselves just right..for me it`s great to see Tom (i loved his informative spring break caption) and Bob (et tu indeed)..and Gordon and Panos and Imants and EVERYBODY! And who could resist the assignment to write a caption for such an off the wall photo? There were some amazing captions. Everyone really showed their personalities. It was great.


  47. CIVI:
    I hope I’ll win this one…HERVE,please stay out of this…I am here for the cold turkey:)))))))))

    David said no humour, hmmmm, I wonder who that was destined for!… Capice! :-))))

    all yours Civi…. Yet, if anyone wants to know, the correct “cold turkey” caption is of course:

    No sun, sand, sea and instagram.

    PS: thanks to Jenny Lynn for telling me about this thread , yet it took about 3 minutes to get to this page (and I am not even browzing an essay!), regretfully my net connection in Thailand is not up to speed to enjoy BURN these days.

  48. sidney,
    youve got to count me in.. though my caption was quite serious.
    though i always try to be a pisser… but i always turn out corny.

    nightwatch… awakens…
    we stand guard over pissers and overpiss ’em…

    (hi kathie.)

  49. a civilian-mass audience




    the Universe is working…BURN is a big ball of Fire…roll on,MY BURNIANS

    I am singing now…:

    Go away IMF
    stay away from my home
    I have friends
    who believe
    that I can make it by my own
    Go away IMF
    I will stay here in BURN
    where my friends
    hold my hand
    and my soul is in peace
    I will BURN
    here in BURN
    go away IMF
    don’t you dare…
    you have caused
    so much hurt…
    go to hell IMF

    to be continued…dedicated to the people who have been “murdered by IMF”…


  50. well yes i will pick a winner this morning…i promise.yes yes i was supposed to do it after lunch yesterday, but i went to the beach just could not resist and ended up shooting this spectacular storm….anyway, i am on it…some funny stuff here…and some really good ones as well….


    i said caption in my request…in the newspaper biz (at least in the U.S.) a cutline is the newspaper terminology for caption…at some magazines (like natgeo) the same thing is called a “legend”…caption i think pretty much covers it all for most people…i guess i will just pick the best words that go under this picture..but yes i see that some literally did a four word “cutline”….in my mind i was looking for a “legend”…something that didn’t necessary describe the picture (which never makes any sense to me) but went further to describe the overall subject…in the UK is a cutline as i described? or something else??


    saw that movie again on the flight home just now from Italy…it is the one scene that all of us know the dialogue by heart…..i wonder why?? it is just memorable dialogue…and every body laughing and yet everybody fearful…..an amazing tension build up…great moviemaking, at least of that particular oeuvre.

  53. Sex on the beach, it’s not just a drink. Many students will spend spring break at South Beach, finding fun and romance before they have to turn their back on love and head back to school.

  54. WE HAVE A TWO WAY TIE…no i don’t have 200 bucks …i don’t even have the 100 bucks i promised, but i will come up with it…

    anyway John Gladdy owns the funniest captions here….so for flat out sense of humor Gladdy wins, no surprise.

    however, for a professional caption writing job there was only one written, and that was by Young Tom Hyde..

    SO, we must have a runoff…only fair way….so here is what must happen: Young Tom will write a caption for the Gladdy portrait he just made on april 2 of the woman with dark eyes…in his recent link….and Gladdy will write a caption for Hyde’s tumbleweed shot from a couple of years ago (know it John? easy search)

    ok gentlemen, start your engines…the race is on…

  55. Toms isnt a caption its a novel. :))

    Washington state. Date unknown.
    A stylized landscape with tumbleweed in the foreground.
    Although tumbleweeds are usually associated with drought, dust-storms, deserted towns and old westerns, Washington state photographer Tom Hyde sees them differently.

    seriously though…I concede.
    Sounds way too much like a job :))

  56. Sounded like the encyclopedia britannica to me. Juxtaposed with such a loose iphone photo, I thought it was funnier than anything Gladdy came up with. Congrats.

  57. DAVID,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your choices, but rather than a run-off or $200 or even $100 that you don’t have, why not just give them both free copies of “(based on a true story)”?

  58. John, yea a tome! :))

    David, I cannot find the April 2 portrait of the woman with the dark eyes in John’s most recent link the “Gospel according to st Paul” (lots of April 3). Nice set to be sure.

    MW, there’s a reason I don’t often caption my own photos ;))

  59. SIDNEY

    (based on a true story) is a special construction …unbound… 90% hand assembled…at first glance you might not think so, but you will see…i think i can safely say this is a unique book….and designed as no other…therefore it is not a $50.book….but still a good idea, so one of them will get it as a prize for the best caption….

  60. MW

    actually you do make a good point…hmmm i might have made a mistake..but alas now a runoff…i mean runoffs are fun and now Sidney is giving away my books for me!! the Tom Hyde caption of course was a perfect copy of a major magazine caption…the whole idea of captions for the larger magazines is to get the whole damned story into the captions assuming that many readers never get around to the actual text…so the larger magazines have a staff dedicated to writing the legends (captions)….short text (captions) does not mean less serious text ..harder to write short…

  61. YOUNG TOM/JOHNNY G :)))))

    CONGRATS, beautiful motherfuckers :))))

    Young Tom’s caption seemed more bobblackesque in its length than a bonefide caption for magazine or newspaper …and thus, it was fucking hilarious too, (MW is on the ball) especially all those factoids dropped in comparison to the iphone/upclose/offkilter shot……I believe that the newyorker fact checker might ask him for a rumble with a tumble-weed over those stats….but 2 better men would be hard to match….and here’s one of them gents is going to toss that money back into beverage call in either OBX or NYC or LOOK3 wherever the crew meets up next

    now, what i would like to see (though, alas, i’m about to disappear again for ano0ther extended period of time) is a writing competition between Gracie and Akaky…

    by the way, i dig Spring on the Lucie too :))

    arrivederci, miles to go before i sleep……


  62. David said: “the Tom Hyde caption of course was a perfect copy of a major magazine caption”

    Which WAS the assignment. I went a bit too far in the opposite direction on one these previous exercises. Something like 80 percent of mag readers read the photo captions but not the accompanying story. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to write a “serious” cutline within the context of Burn (or the age of Stephen Colbert) without sounding too literal, or like a tool, or ironic … or all of the above … sort of like wearing a Phil Collins t-shirt in public. :P

  63. I know everyone has moved on from this thread but just wanna say:

    OYE..congrats`to Tom and John..both hugely deserving! Tom let loose with the facts sand John let loose with the absurdity. John rendered the absurd factual and Tom rendered the facts absurd. DAH, excellent choice!

    Civilian..i hear such sadness, Gracie, i hear cheerful calm. Hmm…

    DAH..the tension in Goodfellas curls my hair. I almost can`t stand it, but it`s oh so good i can`t look away. That particular scene, you are so right. Henry just gets the psychological crap beat outta him. To be the victim of that kind of bullying. Haven`t we all been there to some degree at some point in our lives? I remember being 11 years old in a John`s Bargain Store when a 13 year old had me up against a counter, her face twisted with contempt, her balled up fist close to my cheek, denouncing me for stuffing my bra with cotton. Crap, who can watch this scene between Tommy and Henry and not relate?

    best to ALL and to ALL the best:

  64. SIDNEY

    i changed my mind….you are right no matter the value…both of these guys are good friends, both have contributed to Burn a lot…so yes, two books to both John G. and Young Tom….sorry for getting a bit selfish there for a few hours…..it is my tendency of course to give all my books away…so it is others who won’t let me do that…

    this book really is different…i want YOU to look at it as writing…there are no captions, there is no text..this is my best attempt ever at visual literacy…you cannot get it in one reading…i was pissed off at Joyce and Faulkner (too much work) , preferring Hemingway and Steinbeck and then Hunter S. Thompson and then always always Mark Twain, but anyway really going for the story within the story and then trying to make the readers work a bit if they want….the obvious and then the undercurrent, some mystery, some questions never answered, a small story a novella of sorts….something attempted

    we worked so hard on this book, it is so tactile the way we built it that i dont even really want to sell it…we did not make many …it is expensive, but we spared no expense to build it…ok, i cannot promote my own book, but i can speak of an amazing collaboration..but later….

    thanks for a good idea…

    cheers, david

  65. a civilian-mass audience

    KATIEEEEEEEE…MYGRACIE…I was hoping for the cold turkey or a bag to carry my baby chickens
    BUT hey, a pint of Butter pecan Haagen Dazs can do miracles…

    HERVE…no worries,cold turkey goes to JOHNYG AND TOMMYH…be safe out there…I will call you for the next one…

    THANK YOU ALL BURNIANS…for paricipating…you are all a good sport…VIVA MESSI!!!

  66. a civilian-mass audience

    BOBBY…love you amigo…be back soon…I am low in ACADEMIANS…

    can I say …”fuck”?…cause I wanna say this


  67. Three was a crowd for this couple and for photographer David Alan Harvey, as he photographed spring break in Miami.

  68. DAVID. I cannot let you give away such a piece of work over a few drunken lines I scribbled for fun.
    I certainly was never going to accept the hundred bucks or the job offer so I cant in good conscience accept your book as a prize…I would however buy one, at full freight, if there was one lying around after the pre-order frenzy…..and if you had inscribed it a bit I probably wouldnt complain too much :)

  69. John Gladdy…

    May I offer my apologies for the trapped wind comment last night. Blame it on the fun I had at the beach yesterday which left me in high spirits and realizing I hadn’t noticed the gallery title for your link the other night which caused me to crack in laughter and left me with a grin all night :)!

  70. GRACIE

    a camera bag you shall have….you were actually in first place for a long time in my mind with a very nice short caption that would work in most newspapers and magazines…so as first runner up, you will receive either a working back pack or shoulder bag of your choice after shopping in the harvey bag store (witnesses will tell you there are many choices) ..find me on Skype: davidalanharvey and i will take you on a virtual shopping tour…now, we have never met..so maybe many of my bags, fit for a tall guy, might not be suitable..just guessing, you may be a size or two down from me and i do have some smaller bags as well..anyway, you will decide…and of course a bag is more useful than a book anyway…Gladdy and Hyde i believe both have harvey bags already, so this is just perfect…call when you can…orders taken before 3pm are shipped out the same day….there is a 30 day return policy…customer service hotline: 202 413 1137


    i will stand by my decision (or rather Sidney’s decision, a wise one i initially rejected, but later accepted)for many reasons not the least of which is that this often cold and crumbling planet needs humor more and more and more…it is not easy to be funny..you are….i don’t know what i like more the Cindy Sherman caption or the security camera bit….anyway you got it…and you have been a long time contributor and supporter here and Beto likes you and well you may be the only reader here who will recognize the players, the set, the scene…so for all those reasons a signed copy is yours…oh,i can imagine your next line will be “dammit harvey , i would rather have another bag” …no worries…there is always another bag contest…bags i have a closet full , but books only show up from time to time….

    cheers, david

  71. thank you Mr. Harvey.
    my very intimidating profesor’ Touzon will tell you how much i need a bag.
    i might see what i want but don’t know really what i need.

    with doomsday prepping an ‘in’ thing, you truly have to unload that shipping container
    full of bags so you could use it as a mobile darkroom of sorts to document the end of the world.


Comments are closed.