Happy Birthday Burn

The waves today on the Outer Banks are just spectacular. An offshore wind gives the large swells a perfect shape. Although it is for sure a winter day with seriously icy water, the surfing crowd is out there. Modern wetsuits make surfing a year around art form. So about an hour ago at sunset when I headed for the water’s edge holding a birthday cake it just wasn’t anything that could be explained easily to the surfing crowd.

I took off my shoes and waded into the rushing white water and alas only one shot with my iPhone. Yea, I know it coulda been a lot better, but the birthday cake store was closed by then, so well this is it. Last year for our 3rd birthday I burned the cake in my fireplace which was much much easier and I had several pictures to choose from. Next year, if there is a next year, I want to blow the cake up. So stay tuned.

Right now I simply want to thank this audience for well just hanging out with us. We’ve had some fun, chewed on the merits of this essay or that, gone into the minds of some top folks in the biz via interviews, and generally made Burn a place for pro photographer and emerging photographers alike. We have managed to raise 75k through the Magnum Foundation over 6 years for the Emerging Photographer Fund grant (coming up soon again), published approximately 500 essays, and won a bunch of peer group awards, honors etc.

The main thing is that Burn is a no strings attached operation. No ads, no sponsorship, and of course ha ha no money! Great biz plan huh? Well honestly for me, Burn is a labor of love, not a job. A payback to young photographers who might just be looking for an outlet. To get their name known. To show readers a new way of looking at something in either a journalistic approach or with an artists vision. For me personally an equal aspiration and both worthy goals.

At this writing we have I think about 6 hours until we find out if the end of Maya calendar is the end of everything. I doubt it. I hope not for sure because well I think all of us just have too much more to do. For photography is an all inclusive science, art, and journalistic vehicle. We can all use our cameras to inform, entertain, and enlighten. Regardless of your interests in life, the recording of a moment can play a part. I love that simple fact.

When I was leaving the beach tonight,  one of the surfers was getting out of the water, and he strolled over and asked “what was that all about?”. I  said “well it is my magazines birthday and I needed a shot of a cake in the water”.  He ran his hands through his long wet hair and said “uh ok whatever”.

Some things are just better in pictures than in words.


Burning session

The original THINKERS for Burn Magazine. 2008. It doesn’t take long for a picture to look “vintage” now does it?

Erica McDonald, Andrew Sullivan, Chris Bickford, Young Tom Hyde, Anton Kusters, Eric Espinosa, and David McGowan on Skype

61 Responses to “Happy Birthday Burn”

  • Thanks for another amazing year.

  • Happy Birthday Burn!
    Thank you

    What not to love?

  • Should we all start singing Happy Birthday now?


    hey boys, sorry i have not been around much here in comments….as Don Henley wrote in Lyin’ Eyes, “things just got crazy…”

    i do hope you are shooting a picture or two and having fun doing it …that’s all that should matter….

    cheers, david

  • I disagree. The picture could not have turned out better. It is perfect.

    What an amazing creation you have made in Burn! What an impact you have had on my own life! Who would have ever thought?

    I would have liked to have had a piece of the cake though. One could interpret the symbolism of it being swept away in different ways. Being ever optimistic even as I am eternally pessimistic, I chose the optimistic interpretation and see it as clearing the way to allow a whole new cake to be made in the new and fifth year of Burn.



    thank you burn, the whole team…
    can’t believe how time flies and how much has happened.
    burn has been an important source of inspiration for me over the years, and it’s been integral to my own process. back at the start of burn (and before that road trips) it was a shinning light at a dark time and i am eternally grateful for that. it was wonderful to meet so many burnians and of course david and his family crew earlier this year, back in sydney (seems like an eternity ago now doesn’t it!).

    and david thank you especially as captain of this ship and as someone who continues to inspire… like i said before you lead by example, out there doing it… and thank you david for you’re TIME… the time you give so generously to so many sharing publicly here so we can all learn and also in private… those short interactions have been so essential for me, like a visit to the chiropractor… a quick click here, a twist there and everything is clearer, sharper, better… so MASSIVE RESPECT TO YOU SIR!

    Wishing everyone a fantastic 2013, may all your dreams come true!

    hugs, love and photography all round

    Viva Burn!

  • YES! Viva burn!
    Happy anniversary and please let me help you blow up that cake next year!
    The world is still in one piece…. Sam just wrote from the other side of the globe… He is still with us! That is a good sign.

    David, you have been an inspiration and the fact that burn exists and it’s such a source of knowledge and opportunity for the photography world is a testament of your love and generosity.
    Thank you, really… Thank you from the bottom of my being.

  • Hmm, better haircut now but a lot more gray. Shit man, four years? That was good times, a rare privelege to hang out with a group of such exceptional people, especially when everyone just clicked and shared freeform thoughts through the night. Hugs around. Peace.

  • Happy birthday Burn…

    Thank you very much for the daily overload of inspiration… My photography under no circumstances would of ever been the same without this magazine.

  • I think Burn at three years is suffering from an identity crisis. DAH seems to be moving (perhaps inevitably) in a different direction; which, also inevitably, changes Burn because it is so tied to his input. I think it will likely have to be set free to survive…but, then, it would be something completely different, wouldn’t it? Hold them or fold them? The next year should be interesting.

  • Jim…

    I think not :)! It’s just that DAH has gone through a highly inspired photographic year and it’s obvious and understandable that his own work takes preference above Burn and us.

  • Happy Birthday Burn!

    Many many thanks…:)))

    Best wishes.

  • Hey, happy b’day, and happy holidays to everyone!

    We survived doomsday, we’ll survive everything else too!

    A further year of inspiration to all (and many more)!

  • Paul, I dunno. I think there’s more at work than just “an inspired year.” Time will tell.

  • Happy birthday and keep the struggle, worth every suffering.

    I feel sorry for all that wished that the “end of THEIR world” would have been yesterday ..
    Of course all those wicked weak spirits are sad today, still have to pay bills, dues etc..
    End of the world ! Lol.. Keep wishing.. But don’t blame it to the Mayans coz they NEVER “predicted” any of that crap so don’t blame them either..

    Anyway, apologies that I’m not around lately but I’m sure most know that I’m in Greece ,
    Internet is not a “given” like in the “West”…
    Never know where next wifi hub will be…
    But I’m here, all well , stealing CIVI’s chickens and wine..
    Happy holidays to all,
    VIVA BURN … and I’m sure I’ll have a story or two , to tell you upon return!
    One love ..

    ps: VISSARIA says hello to ALL..

  • @ BURN

    Feliz Cumpleaños, I will post soon some GOOD feelings since 2008 till now that Burn had give to me…


  • BIG
    to all…..
    BuRN baby BuRN…………

  • ALL

    first off this is our 4th birthday….

    and Paul is right…i have gone into “the zone” shooting very very heavily this year…not a day in my rocking chair…i have published two articles for NatGeo and done the Rio book and all the attending exhibitions etc etc…last year at almost exactly this time i finished shooting in Rio….

    the book literally could not have received more honors, so while i am proud of that for all of my collaborators, what it really means is that we have set ourselves up very well for the limited edition book biz..

    how far we take that i am not sure…(based on a true story) is almost sold out at an ascending price structure and honestly i will somehow be sad when they are all gone…all four BurnBooks, Yakuza, Burn01,Burn02 and now (based on a true story) have sold out and primarily from Burn…so folks give me your book idea!!

    so in any case, this boy has just been really really busy shooting that’s all…pretty simple..

    sure things evolve..and Burn will too….our team will meet in February to see where we want to go….

    at that same time we will of course announce our EPF for 2013 and have raised again the $15,000. to be awarded to an emerging photographer…

    what has happened that is different is as i describe..i am somehow totally in the mood for shooting…two more books on deck and well i just feel like shooting…so i just cannot forsake that passion…

    for sure i know that this feeling is gold…when you got that groove going you don’t put the guitar down….

    it has nothing to do with completing an assignment, i seek no assignments, nor about making money, but about making sure i follow my destiny…what i felt as a child about photography is what i feel now…i think that my work will hopefully inspire more young photographers than i could ever do as the editor of Burn…and yet teaching, mentoring , has always gone hand in hand for me with my own work…yet surely some days lean more in one direction than the other..

    for me i always need to be experimental…i never like to think that anything will necessarily work, but that by jumping off the proverbial cliff, something great can happen…guaranteed anything is guaranteed boring….so i like the edge….and in science or in art experimenting has its failures…i am learning learning learning every day these days about the art market, about setting up my own shows, and about the best ways to publish…not just for myself but for others as well

    all rarified air, all feeling so so special…so i doubt anyone would want me to forsake these feelings..

    i have a great team on Burn….we all work together….some things i used to do alone, can be done by others….yet after Christmas i will get back in the interview saddle and i have found some stories by some truly unique photographers i want to publish…

    trust me, i will never never do anything by rote….if something starts to stale, i am the first one out the door…if i can leave the staff job at NatGeo , i can surely leave Burn…yet even when i “leave” anything, and i have always “moved” i am not the subtractive type…i do not subtract…i only add….and i have always taken those with me who wanted to “step out”….

    so stick around….i hope to give you all something interesting to think about in 2013….and as usual i hope to see those of you i have already met in person and meet those i have not…you gotta admit this blog has its own patina….is that me? hell no, that is us…what a ride….lovin it so far…just be patient if i am out shooting somewhere…sometimes from my front porch, sometimes from well just about anywhere….

    Happy Holidays to all..

    Cheers, David


    i just received your spectacular The Seventh Sense today!!!

    thank you …what a wonderful Christmas present….such a great eye you have Kyunghee…..

    i only wish that we had been set up in time to publish this wonderful sensitive book….so now you must do another one for BurnBooks!!

    congratulations…so well deserved is your book…with great honor i place your new book on my table…

    big love, David

  • Congrats and Happy 3rd, David (and Anton and all the others)! Proud to be a part of this crazy family.



    big hug to Maria and Vissaria from me please…and Merry Christmas to the whole Greek family…i am sure you will be kicked out and sent back home soonest….

  • JIM

    suffering from an identity crises? oh yes, always have, and always will…know when to walk away , know when to run….once i get that damned song in my head i can’t get it out…one of THOSE songs..gee thanks..by the way Kenny Rogers is a major collector of photography…but i guess you already knew that…


    in D.C. early January…we meet?


    you hippie chick you…when God made you he threw away the mold…viva California girls!!!


    so great to hang with you in Miami…by the way, i destroyed your prints….was that the right thing to do?

    right or wrong it is done…. :)


    you ready with new work? ready to take you on this roller coaster when you are set….you always have the right head on….so let’s see the pictures


    what can i say? was that you on the air mattress? come see me OBX….you got gray hair now? i am jealous believe me…


    lost you in Miami…but back soon…i know you struggled, but all came out fine in the end…..


    missing you dude…nobody lives further away from my front porch than do you….seems like you are the type to be my next door neighbor….we are ready to give you another essay here….so let’s have a look….


    what you need is some drama in your life!! you are always in good spirits no matter what…THAT is a characteristic to be greatly admired…and i do


    thanks for all your help in Paris…and so sorry for the misunderstanding with your essay…you just got published when i was at my crazy busiest…your dummy is spectacular my friend…let’s talk


    always the gentleman are thee….waiting for pictures from you too…need a pace changer …you might be it


    thanks for your good spirit always


    hmmmm, well what could i possibly say about you that you have not already said??…my only question is the same question…who are you REALLY? whoever you are you should be writing for The New Yorker, if you are not already.

    cheers, david

  • David, a toast to you and the Burn team from me.
    And was such a massive pleasure to have spent time with you in Miami. The inspiration continues to linger.
    Thank you for everything you do my friend.


    hey amigo..yes good times Miami….i am right now missing the weather….ok, i am literally waiting for your pictures….or did you send to Candy already? ready to roll with you here soonest..nice work …..

    cheers, david

  • David, waiting to prepare a surprise artist statement. Needed help with this. So have asked an esteemed burnian to set the stage. Ha. Much better this way. For everyone. I’m sure you will agree.

  • David,

    Miami was a totally unique experience, and I appreciated every moment, the most inspiring and perspiring two weeks ever … but … there’s always time for more!

    Yes, destroying such more modestly sized prints and reprinting is sometimes cheaper than shipping. Thanks for the opportunity and all the preparation and the events!

    And enjoy the holidays, you work harder and smarter than anyone I know!

  • You wrote: “I took off my shoes and waded into the rushing white water and alas only one shot with my iPhone. Yea, I know it coulda been a lot better, but the birthday cake store was closed by then, so well this is it.”

    Better? You can’t make real-time life any better. Life is a spur of the moment, and at best life is simply controlled chaos. The image is wonderful as it is. Happy birthday Burn.

  • Dear David,

    I am very honored and so so happy that you like my book…:)))
    I always feel that you, Burn have been doing great valuable works.
    I support and respect you and your works with my heart.
    And Thank you very much!!!

    Big hugs,
    Kyunghee Lee


    oh sure…but you know how it is, we always wish for better…..

  • David,

    yeah, if i dig a hole in the garden and keep going i might make it to your porch for summer : )
    (actually there’s a good chance i’ll be over your way next june anyway).
    here… my family are about to arrive from UK and Japan (1st reunion in more than 5 years!) and they’ll be here a while. I’ll touch base late Jan. until then have a fantastic break, you are gonna chill now? 2012 was quite a year eh! looking forward to 2013, happy festive season!

  • Happy Anniversary Burn have a great Christmas Adam!

  • Happy Birthday Burn!
    And congratulation for all!
    Best wishes!
    keep rollin, just keep rollin rollin rollin…

  • David…

    Yes I have new work. A lot of new work! Maybe too much! As usual I’m always taking pictures. Photography for me is like a diary. The difficult part for me is stopping :)!

  • Happy belated birthday wishes from this neck of the woods too!

  • Wishing every Burnian and this also includes all the silent ones a very Happy Christmas!

  • Happy Birthday and long life to Burn!!
    I´ve learnt a lot with all the Burn family… Sure…
    Happy Holidays for everybody!
    Cheers from Spain

  • merry christmas, happy birthday and cheers for a good year ahead…

  • PAUL

    a diary that you cannot stop is the sweetest reward of all…..

    Merry Christmas…

    cheers, david

  • Merry Christmas all.

    David, I will send you some work, maybe I’ll make it a January project to try and pull it together. I keep changing my mind as to what to show you.

  • David,
    A big toast and thanks to you and the whole Burn team for lots of inspiration and growth. Thank you also for all your wonderful and thoughtful advice and for giving me encouragement to pursue my geisha project. I have submitted my pictures to Candy and hope you will be able to find some time to look through some more and mentor me to bring it home. Please take a very well deserved rest before you start the new year.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

  • “thanks for all your help in Paris…and so sorry for the misunderstanding with your essay…you just got published when i was at my crazy busiest…your dummy is spectacular my friend…let’s talk”

    it was an honor for me to support you, my pleasure. Regarding my dummy – thanks! – Yes, let’s talk.
    My biggest challenge at the moment is, that I’m having too much fun traveling. I have to open my mind completely again and take pictures everywhere and of everything. I’m looking forward to seeing you next time.


    Merry Christmas….just make a decision….or make two things…we can discuss on skype..davidalanharvey

    cheers, david

  • a civilian-mass audience


  • a civilian-mass audience


  • a civilian-mass audience


  • a civilian-mass audience


  • a civilian-mass audience


  • a civilian-mass audience

    Merry Christmas…Happy everything…LOVE YOU ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

    share your strengths,show your inner souls…we are ALL humans…

    give a hug,a smile,a dollar…euro…love,olive,give something…!!!

    Internet is working…I am in heaven!!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    AKAKY…50 was mine:))))…just saying

  • a civilian-mass audience

    can someone save our cake?…booohooo..

  • David,

    I would not have it any other way….and thank you for pushing and not holding any punches!

    Sorry if it seemed like I was “lost”
    It’s not easy with a new born baby!!!
    But, yes…hope to see you soonest.

  • I meant to say: not holding back any punches :-)

  • and by the way…
    Nice to see a lot of the Miami group here:


    we are missing:

    Annette and the coolest guy Robert!

  • happy birthday BURN…..!

    i hope at least Bry/Michelle’s puppy and Simona and her kittens got some of that cake…hate it to go to waste!

  • Happy Birthday Burn!!!

    I wish to give a sincere and heartfelt thanks to David and the whole Burn team for their time and energy.

    Thank you!!!!!

  • oh my, vintage looking indeed. sending love and happiness in 2013 to you all. miss you DAH

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