kurt lengfield – pick up lines



Pick up Lines by Kurt Lengfield

Under the watchful eyes of Mr. Miyagi, party animals seize the moment at THE BOX, a hip Charlottesville, Virginia nightspot for some fun, photography and a little bit of tail wagging. This image was taken for one of the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph workshops in June of this past year. I hope this will grow into a photographic essay on societies night owls.

Website: Kurt Lengfield

46 Responses to “kurt lengfield – pick up lines”

  • Kurt, I loved this photo in C’ville and am delighted to see it here on Burn! I am particularly taken with the interactive moments you’ve caught between both two- and four-legged creatures, as well as the juxtaposition of warm/cool, light/shadow and blurry/sharp. And this is not the only winner you captured during our workshop with DAH and Jim Natchwey–you’ve got at least six “night owls” images that sing.

    Don’t know when you slept that week, though, with our five-and-a half hour classes every day and your late night forays into C’ville’s clubs. Not to mention the time it took to edit and prepare your photos for every early morning critique AND the time you spent helping your classmates with their technical issues. You, my friend, are not only a fine photographer but a caring human being. Hope we meet again.


  • I’m breaking the one comment rule to encourage folks to go to Kurt’s website and click on the “Night Owls” photo essay. Man, he has WAY more keepers from C’ville than I realized! It’s great!


  • One of my favorite photos EVER on burn.
    This is exactly the type of photo I like to take.
    I’d be proud to call it my own…can’t say the same for most of the work shown here.

  • One comment rule only in essays..
    So go ahead, shoot

  • Nice shot, Kurt! Way to keep your eyes peeled for good moments.

  • CATHY…

    so pleased you like Kurt’s photograph…and , yes, keep your standards high…

    cheers, david

  • Great moment capture. Very nice.

  • Jamie Maxtone-Graham

    That’s the secret of comedy…….

  • Yes, yes, yes! Kurt, you are so bad ass. I love the way you see! It was such a pleasure to take DAH and Jim’s workshop with you, and watch your star shine ever brighter as the week wore on. I’m so glad to see this published here, and I can’t wait to see where your eyes take you…keep rockin’ on, my friend.

  • Fantastic timing,
    I think the dynamic look of multiple relationships in this one shot are amazing.
    How will you go about making this into a series? what is your plan?

  • Wow, wonderful. A picture you never tire to look at, as it seems to show you everything that happened then, easy enough, but has this little magic that even the most trivial moments can deliver when photographed. Just like with Winogrand, and a few others, I force myself to say “so what?”, knowing full well my pleasure cannot be denied and the response is “nothing… Just that!” and “that” is what photography is all about.

    I have been starving for such shots on BURN. Too many images just add up to the sum of their parts, a brain and a finger, almost literature :-(, not photography. Here, we have an eye and a finger, and not a little bit of spirited virtuosity (mood is not absent either, add 5 points!).

    Great visual dynamics, our eyes keep bouncing from one side of the frame to the other, the poster, dividing the frame adds all the spatial depth needed to enliven the scene, and is a great lesson to make your background as part of the story, not just an indifferent stage curtain.

    Even the word “welcome” becomes a heart-warming prop, as it makes us imagine, even certain, that we (Kurt first) are not indiscreet at all, but part of the fun. This crowd is our crowd. And in this crowd, taking a picture of everybody else is OK, not frowned upon…Welcomed indeed!

    Not to mention that what one is welcome to, is the Box, and what is a camera called so often?….

    Love these pictures, I can go on and on, and yet, simply go back to it, and purely enjoy it.

    Thank you Kurt!

  • great shot moment, very nice picture, congratulations :)

  • Out of the box happy :). iLoveIt.

  • Funny moment, well caught! Several stories in one picture. Nice shot:)

  • Jim Powers,
    O Brother, Where Art Thou?

  • The problem with photos like this is that whether they were set up or a happy accident, they still look set up. Could work in an ad for a P&S digital camera, though.

  • Stupid Photographer

    Jim, you almost always put a smile on my stupid face. I always look forward to your notes. Nobody gets it wrong more often around here. And it almost always cracks me up.

  • Hmmm. Personally, it just doesn’t work for me. Not compositionaly, its messy, awkward, chaotic and lacks any sort of real bite.

  • stupid, how do you get an opinion about a photo wrong?

    1. a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
    2. a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.
    3. the formal expression of a professional judgment: to ask for a second medical opinion.
    4. Law. the formal statement by a judge or court of the reasoning and the principles of law used in reaching a decision of a case.
    5. a judgment or estimate of a person or thing with respect to character, merit, etc.: to forfeit someone’s good opinion.
    6. a favorable estimate; esteem: I haven’t much of an opinion of him.

    No they cannot be wrong. But they can certainly be misguided.

  • I wanna know…
    why it takes two
    beautiful women,
    to hold a little camera…
    and why dogs
    have become
    glad people are thinking

  • Folks, comrades, Burnians…

    Jim Powers’ raison d’etre is to garner attention by lobbing bombs. To state with great authority, with strong, confident matter-of-factness his opinion. This obviously rankles many. He knows this. (and don’t think he’s not pleased by it!) But it is his act and he’s schticking with it. ;^}

    I think–for some–the sooner this is accepted and understood, the sooner they will stop being baited by it, and that’ll be for the better. Just a thought.

  • Love outside the box! It’s a wonderful moment!!! Is it hip to take your dog out to nightspots in Charlottesville?!

  • michael, what bomb? The photo looks to me like it could have been shot for a P&S camera ad. And that’s what I said.

  • Stupid Photographer

    You said more. It’s the part you skipped that cracked up my stupid face.

  • Well, then that would be false advertising, Jim. A P&S would have fired its flash in such conditions, and the photo would be “perfect”, but gone too…. :-)

  • The thing is, I was not at ‘c’ville’. had I been there then there is a slim chance that I might look at this and be reminded of ‘all the great times’, ‘wow do you remember that bar we went to?’ ‘do you remember that cute dog in the mr myagi bar?’…etc etc…….. But it doesnt.
    Because as far as I can tell this is a remembering picture. A treasure for later years for people who were there. A memory trigger.

    It has no value to me as an outsider to the events portrayed. It is someone elses holiday snap.

    This does not mean it has no value, far from it, this and millions like it are taken every day by people. They augment memory and they re-open stories years later. A good use for the medium, possibly the best use, but also (usually) a quite personal one.


  • I personally think it could do with a cleaner composition (just a tad cleaner, more orchestrated) and some colour correction. But I shoot lots at night and see quite a bit of this kind of stuff.

  • I challenge anyone to shot this ubiquitous, easy “kind of stuff” vacation shot, and submit it to our (indulgent, I promise) eye. Joni, you are off the hook, just show us some “quite a bit” relating to what Kurt has in his picture, in mood too of course.

  • Stupid, you don’t think it was a happy accident?


    Patricia’s memory of the “good times” in C’Ville had nothing to do with this picture being a “memory shot” per se for her or for anyone……this was part of Kurt’s essay and none of the people in the photograph had anything to do with the C’ville event…it does have that look however, so i can imagine how you are seeing it in that light…

    i do agree with you that photographs used for the good old fashioned purpose of triggering memory is probably as good a use of photography as any..maybe the best..in that context, i will send you a “memory shot” from London soonest”….

    cheers amigo, david

  • Stupid Photographer

    No I don’t, Jim. I think it was not set up, does not look set up, if it were set up the heads in the background interfering would not be there, and this image is the result of an eye that understands how chemistry works, in that low light environment. But I’m stupid, you’re the smarty here.

  • Just to second DAH’s comment, John. Kurt was the only photographer from the workshop who chose C’ville’s nightlife as the subject for his essay. None of us were there with him so this photo brings back no memories of a night out on the town. Sorry my earlier comment gave that impression.

    When I said I’d loved this photo in C’ville, all I meant was I’d loved seeing it at one of our morning critiques and again in our workshop slideshow presentation in the Paramount Theater. To my way of thinking, this photo stands on its own merits. In other words, you didn’t need to be there to appreciate it. But of course, we each have our own opinions…


  • This is a great shot; well done Kurt. I love the narratives that the image provokes; it’s fabulous. Lucky accident? Yeah, maybe… but so what. The more you practice the luckier you get. And being there brings its own luck.

    Steve M

  • patricia. David. This was not my meaning at all. merely that you both were in charlottsville, you both knew of the photographer and ‘presumably’ had some knowledge of the ‘history’ of the shot/location/shooter. Fond memories require only the slightest spark to ignite. I did not for one minute think this was a group night out. (not enough/wrong type of cameras for one thing :) ).
    There are of course many people who were not there that are getting pleasure out of this picture.(which is great) I just dont happen to be one of them.
    David. I look forward to seeing pictures from pizza night in london. The one I would love to see though is the worried look on joes face when he came outside to meet me. that one would be priceless. Luckily I still have perfect copy in my mind.

    Sorry if i came across short, kidney infection getting me down.


  • kidney infection getting me down

    I hope for a prompt healing, John, and that your condition reads worse than it is. Most sincerely.

  • John…:)
    feel better…
    Don’t let those kidneys let u down..
    Keep it up..:)

  • John –
    Kidney beans ought to clear that infection out…
    I mean beans always clear me out…

    I hope you feel better soon.

  • @herve: one of the flash fired by other shots I remember is this one by Maciej Dakowicz

    I understand that there’re two layers of action in kurt’s shot compared with Maciej’s, but the tones, light, colour, overall spectacularity are not.

    I’m not saying that this is a fish in a barrell shot, and shooting at night is pretty hard, specially if you shoot in places where you get kicked out when being caught. But that doesn’t mean that the standard of the shots you have to get is any lower.

  • Stupid Photographer

    Tones, light, color, overall spectacularity are dependent on the situation and how the photographer wishes to translate all that, photo wise. Done very well in this case. No stupid complaints or comparisons.

  • John, sending healing thoughts and energy your way. I have not forgotten what you shared with us months ago about your body’s struggles. May you kick this infection quickly and may it not damage your kidneys in any lasting way.


  • DAH and Anton, thanks for affording me the opportunity to show one of my images here on burn.
    I certainly could not buy this kind of exposure. I won’t have todays numbers until tomorrow, but just the few hours my Image was up yesterday my web site had 109 new visitors for 2,284 page views and 14,000 total hits. The previous 6 days I had 7 visitors, I was not exactly burning up the internet.

    Thanks also to everyone for their comments both pro and con. I have some thick skin and enjoy learning from the comments.
    I would like to say it was not a set up shot and no slave was on the point and shoot camera. I had been shooting at the club for about an hour and I noticed the lady bring the dog in. At that point she had my whole undivided attention. I started following her thinking something would unfold. Something did unfold and I was able to catch it. Luck maybe…. but I like to think I was in the right place and ready for that lucky 1/8th of a second to come my way.

    I am not a fan of showing my sketches, but in hopes to put the set up photo rumor to bed. Here is a link to the sequence leading up the shot and the one after the shot.
    I will leave it up for a day or so.


  • I don’t like every aspect of this shot but there is enough going on in it be interesting. I particularly like the right half from the billboard man but less so the half that lies to the left of him. Mainly because of the blur, the colour cast and the shadowy heads of the guys at the bar. But anyway it seems to work. I do love the capture of that trio taking a picture of themselves. And I like how the picture has that second centre of interest with the woman kissing the dog. I like the compositional idea of a picture having various centres of interest. I like the spatial dynamics of the picture, the crowdedness. I like the contrasting colour values but I don’t like the overall yellow cast. A complicated picture.

  • Now that’s a picture, Kurt! Yep, nice — very nice picture. :)

  • ha – this is great kurt..
    catching the pre-flash just right as you have is a treat.. i love photographing people photographing..

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