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Thomas Bregulla


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There are those everyday repetitive tasks… So small, so little, we don’t even think while doing them. We do them – every day. But without them, something would be missing in that day.

Somehow, that makes these little everyday tasks important. By telling this little story about my everyday life, I wanted to make them special, .

These images show me in my everyday situations. Like they happen, more or less, every day. I made the images with a tripod or just by putting the camera in front of me.

I hope this essay makes us stop and think about the little and everyday things we have in life. The things we often forget that we are doing.


I was born 1965 in Salzgitter, Germany. After several years in southern Germany, I moved to Bonn where I live today. My main job is in telecommunications, where I am a program manager in an international context. I like to outline a story and take pictures according to that. Photography is a good balance for my current day job, allowing my creativity to go different ways.


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Thomas Bregulla


Editor’s note:

Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

67 thoughts on “thomas bregulla – everyday”

  1. Exciting!
    Big congratulations to Thomas for this publication, I’m really proud of you.

    Since we met last summer and have been following your photography, I have a soft spot for this series of self portraits in the craziness of everyday chores. They’re hilarious and very very truthful. And well made too. Your consistent technique, the movement and superb timing are awesome. I love how I see myself in pretty much all of them (except the one with the dishwasher-I don’t have one), and the way you make them so much more expressive with your acting.

    I think there’s one missing though. Don’t how could that be done, but surely we need to see a self portrait of you trying to make a self portrait like these. That would be fun…

    Congrats again, and I’ll see you soon.


  2. Thomas,
    Wirklich saugut!
    Die Bilder bringen es auf den Punkt und ich habe wirklich vom Anfang bis zum Ende gelacht! Okay, der Tee war dann doch etwas entspannt…
    Schöne Idee und ich freue mich auf weitere Bilder!

    Thanks for a good laugh!
    Great images!
    You should become an actor!
    Do you feel like a typical German?
    Your glasses look very German…
    And counting money is a national hobby and of course cleaning the toilet with hospital gloves…
    A simple idea, but well executed and fun to see!
    Keep going!

    P.S. Hope I can post before Jim ;-)
    Hi Jim! Never mind. Hope life is good to you in Texas! Sun is up in Germany!

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  4. Na, gratuliere noch mal!

    Based on the animated facial expressions, I don’t think he’s a typical German, oder?

    This series is a welcome respite from the typically ‘serious photos’ featured in burn. The last photo is like a soft landing.

    Alles Gute!

  5. This makes me smile. It’s quirky and very well executed. I have come to expect the unexpected on BURN. Imagine, a program manager with a flickr account gets a place at the table. Thomas enjoy the ride.

  6. Although i will probably not look at these images again, they did make me smile and they did also remind me that we can take photography WAY too seriously. They can, at the end of the day, be just for fun as well right?? This essay proves that, and even if we dont like the work we can surely learn something about photography and ourselves from it.
    Its not gritty socdoc its not cryptic crossword contemporary. its not ‘snapshots’ masquerading as ‘aesthetics’….its just using pictures to have some FUN.



  7. On my first pass through these, I furrowed my brow. The second, third, and fourth passes allowed me to piece together these deceptively simple images. I see completely honest images shot in a theatrical manner so that the feelings of the photographer come across clearly to the viewer. Photograph #12 struck a chord with me in particular… as if I was looking into a mirror. Thank you for sharing.

  8. This is pretty darn goofy – but – well executed and great fun. As to Jim’s question – yes, I think it is not merely a joke, but it is a series of jokes. It is appreciated by those with a sense of humor.

    DAH: As you requested in the cutouts comments, I did send you an email. I assume that the fact that I have not yet heard back from you means that you are too busy on assignment at the moment, but the thought also strikes me that my email might have been snagged by a spam filter or got lost in the flood that must come to you.

  9. What a breath of fresh air! Lighten up, all you Burn-outs! “Does this belong on Burn?” Of course it does!
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought Burn was about expanding the horizons of how we think about and look at photography. And how photography mirrors the human condition. And the ability of photography to convey and express mood, nuance, and subtlety. If nothing else, this fun little essay shatters once and for all the myth that Germans have no sense of humor.
    Aside from all that, I must say I thought these were quite well done technically with a deceptive simplicity. Without Thomas’s acting ability and exaggerated facial expressions this wouldn’t have worked nearly so well, but setting up these shots and coming up with consistently effective compositions and a unified stylistic look wasn’t easy… try it, if you think it was!
    The whimsical is as necessary an attitude to life as the serious, maybe even more so. Shakespeare peppered his serious works with comic relief and broad burlesques. Life is full of the ridiculous and the absurd, and seeing it in the most mundane and repetitive of human activities is a saving grace. Bravo, Thomas!

  10. Adult pictures with infant philosophy… the result of too easy, shallow and careless life + no talent + wannabe… Maybe Circus is already here… actually, it’s not funny at all. I am very sorry, but that’s what I think.

  11. It was strange for me to see another photographer doing exacly what I had tried to do in my self portrait project “Falling Into Place,” but instead of trying to make the moments from his daily life look unposed, he went to the totally opposite extreme! Once I got over my surprise, I enjoyed it thoroughly. As many have said, it helped me to lighten up ;=)

    Good on you, Thomas!


  12. Photos and editing is ok(i love edition), but nothing more.
    it is a little bit boring. there is something more exciting???
    many photographers around the world and we eventually see this?
    david …nothinf beter?

  13. could put these and a bunch more into a high speed stop action clip…and loop it to increase the impact of the madness of routine sustenance…seeing them sort of depresses me. are these the core moments of our days?

  14. Different … so I like it; not something I would have done, which makes me like it more … kind of odd to put it up here on Burn, but than again all the oddities on Burn are what make burn … Burn. I can’t imagine to many other forums for an essay like this to be posted on.

    Despite myself and my tastes, I am glad to see this essay here, and in existence.

  15. This essey tells nothing to me, just makes me smile and think maybe tomorrow I have to photograph my husband this waY? It is not even personal essey it is only for fun. I’m sure there are a lot good esseys wich are not published here but this is published and I sak myself why? Its not intelligent not visually interesting and some kind of empty .Sorry It doesn’t make any sense to me!

  16. These images don’t make me think about the everyday things, they are all about the photographers sense of humour and i don’t know if the over exaggerated expressions work for me but I see the photographer enjoys them. Still the images are shot really well, I think I like the last one the best, the serious one:-)

  17. Thomas,
    ich habe mich scheckig gelacht! Freue mich auf Deinen Besuch: humorvolle Menschen sind hier immer herzlich willkommen!
    Congratulations on being published on BURN :-)

  18. What great fun Thomas, congratulations and thankyou DAH for featuring them.

    Some folks just take themselves WAY too seriously. These photographs are a wonderful poke at everyday life, and our silly struggles and routines. And for those whod dont consider this “serious” photography, it is seriously fun, and making fun. Comedy is serious stuff.

    Funny photographs are probably the hardest kind of photograph to pull off. You’ve done a great job here Thomas.

  19. I am a rather new photographer and also new to Burn . I am still in the process of learning and come to this site daily to see the many different ways photographers veiw their world and capture it. I have seen and learned so much here….many different themes from light to heavy. Yours sir, made me smile!
    Loved it!

  20. I think I agree with Jim here…..I mean this is a funny, nicely executed essay and what not…..but here? I´m sure the backlog is full of much better bodies of work waiting to be published.

    I guess BURN is becoming more and more diverse as it grows and that is something to celebrate, still, not so sure about this one….

  21. Thanks to David Alan Harvey and to Anton Kusters for publishing me.
    Thanks to all who wrote here and to those, who will.

    I were worried if everybody would agree to have my pictures being published here. On the other hand, I translate “emerging” to “developing”. And yes, I am a “wannabee” .. I want to become a photographer.
    Is fame and money my driver to photography? No certainly not, I would starve :)
    It is fun, I can express myself and I am open to learn. I learn from your pictures and I learn from the feedback I receive. (And from the feedback others get)
    What I like is the openmindness and the fresh thinking in burn.

    Keep on burnin!
    Today – as you might think – is better than birthday. And, I made people smile. What more could I get.

  22. IT does not make me smile, it does not make me think any deeper about life or the daily little things we do.
    I truly believe this is as flat as photography could get. Very disappointed indeed. I am sorry about this extra super harsh comment, but if this is to be considered in any way as a valuable piece of photography, then I really think I should change job.

  23. Personally, I can’t help but wonder what the responses might have been like if someone more well known had produced this work. Praise and glory for the adventurously daring fresh approach, free of self aggrandizement and invigoratingly introspective. Or tother some-such serious words methinks?

  24. it is funny indeed, but i dont see wheres the photography here… or actually, it is one of the capabilities of this media (the way visual record etc can be done and used)… but i consider it as a faint example of photographic art and craft… it was mentioned by other memebers here, about people with small cameras who record themeselves with funny faces (like tennagers with monbile phone camera), or any other type of exhibitionism and self expression as found on flickr too… i think this is where it should stay more or less until one bring something beyond the momentary or obsessive record of autoportrait/biography etc…
    but i do like that BURN brings this issue, to see and discuss.

    as for the work… funny is good, but we are surrounded with so much fun and “light entertainment”… a bit of Depth is lacking in this essay… something reflective, something introspective… it is very superficial, and would need an extra effort in interpretation to make it meaningful, not to mention the lack of photographic aesthetics.
    “see this face” now “see this face” … and another one “see this face” … a bit like clown on youtube record or in the shopping-mall to attract children for a moment while their parents buy and buy…


    yes, indeed there are many photographers around the world , with many points of view and styles…the point of Burn is to show the variety and not just repeat the same type of style over and over…certainly this is not the “norm”, but it is certainly an effort of a genre….and is surely much more difficult to make us smile than to make us cry…

  26. Maybe choosing another model would be for the better…. or maybe it’s too easy to solve the problem that way. Focusing on acting natural in front of the camera when you are in fact trying to pull together a story is not easy. Or maybe the editing is the real problem. I thought there were some too posed and humouristic ones that didn’t work together with some that looked quite natural; when drinking tee, chopping bread and putting clothes into the dish washer. Focus on getting more real moments.

    There are also some technical issues going on. Oversharpening (#6). Sharpening of out-of-focus areas (#2). Halos around the body (#3). Fake blurryness (#13). Those things are distracting me from the story, so please take it from the halfway level to the finished level. Be tough on yourself when presenting something like this.

  27. A genre?… If to consider clip art images a genre that can be also presented at BURN, then it makes me sad…

    Yes, the theme could be presented in a nice and easy way to affect the audience and make everybody smile… But these precise pictures haven’t brought me to anything but utter surprise why it is on BURN…

    (David, and Thomas especially, sorry for harsh words, I rarely say something that way, but it really “touched” me, so to say…)

  28. It’s fun, and well done, and has integrity of intent. About time we had some comic relief around here.

  29. I think the problem with this essay, is that even though the idea is well introduced and followed up, the imges just do not add up to an essay, really. Just staying at the level of being an illustration of the “idea of…”, with some images which certainly bring a smile, and are succesfully acted and shot.

    Not deep, yes, yet, once more the text could not depart to makes us think something deeper (ie. to think about) is at play, namely that there is an unspoken meaningfulness behind these daily routine chores, and that something could be missing from our life, lest we stop repeating them daily. Really?

    David has commented a few times on the difficulty of humour to find its due place in photographic language. I am not even sure there has been one “funny” picture (as in: which makes you laugh, not just smile), strictly based on its visuals, posted on BURN so far.

    Thomas shows that the language becomes exponentially more difficult to handle and bring forth when the humour is to come from a succession of images or an essay. It is hard to blame him, at this minute, I can’t think of any one else having pulled it off, Greats or minor masters.

    Kudos for trying. It is simply harder to pull off than many “deep” essays coming our way, rain or shine.

  30. It’s fine for what it is but in my opinion it could easily be SO much better.
    You want to go for comedy, make a mockery of daily life, go right ahead.
    Nothing wrong with comedy.

    I have spent a LOT of time with comedians and in many cases the exaggeration in comedy is a way of covering up insecurities. How about SHOWING the insecurities rather than joking about them?

    For me the essay started with the last image. That one isn’t funny. It was very nicely done without your feeling the need to ham it up for the camera. I’d like to see how you REALLY feel about your financial situation, etc. when you’re not making funny faces.

    Start with that and see where it leads you. I think you could have a very nice piece.

  31. Congrats to you Thomas. staged/acted photographs arent my bag but you did a good job. See Cindy Sherman’s staged photographs, they arent my bag either. But if you like this type of thing, I would suggest looking at some photo books by Duane Michals, i found his photographs fascinating – many of them are staged narrative sequences. Look up “things are queer”.

    more power to you, two fingers to the photo snobs!

  32. Completely without merit. I’ve seen teenagers with point n’ shoots do exactly the same sort of thing as this a thousand times. Perhaps Thomas should join one of the “365 Days of self-obsession” groups on flickr, where I’ll choose to ignore him.
    A man pulling faces in front of a mirror is not funny, clever, or aesthetically interesting. delete 10.

  33. ALL…

    i well knew of course that some of these negative comments would be rolling in on this essay..these comments are almost word for word what Henri Cartier-Bresson said about the work of Martin Parr when he first saw it….the really “funny” thing for me is not Thomas’ pictures (which do not strike me as funny by the way-NOT my sense of humor), but how photographers get so “angry” or “sad” when they see pictures which fall out of their projected aesthetic norm and they see “bad pictures”…i love bad pictures…..i mean , for heavens sake, they are just pictures….a beginning photographer’s reaction to the world around him and using his camera to make some kind of statement…i doubt Thomas is going to continue with this genre OR maybe he will tweak it out and actually do something with it…who knows?

  34. So, David, does it seem clever to put bad photos that you don’t even find funny on Burn? Surely there are some photographers whose work you could feature here.

  35. I think I would have appreciated this essay more if there were photos taken during Thomas’ day, not just staged moments. If Thomas had found interesting moments in the benign, instead of making funny faces in the benign.

  36. JIM…

    what if i only published here work that i personally liked or was my aesthetic?? choke choke…we have published close to 200 essays since we started….why does every essay published need to be definitive? or why would every essay published here be perceived as what i am “doing” with Burn or a direction i am taking? choke choke…not trying to be clever either…just showing a broad spectrum, some of which i like and some of which i do not…some of the “popular” essays here include work that is surely not my personal thing either…sure there are many photographers whose work i could publish and there have been many that i have published and many more that i will publish…most magazines you know what you will get every time…gotta please either the audience or the advertiser…choke choke…besides Jim all you gotta do is wait…relax…new work coming…but if i tried to please you, this whole game would be over…that is exactly what is killing the big media…trying to over please their audience, trying to bend to the advertiser…the magazine and newspaper aesthetic is by nature the aesthetic of the advertisers…surely i am over making my case for this particular essay, but it does make for interesting conversation and please understand that i totally appreciate the comments from you and from others who may question my judgment or the validity of any body of work…isn’t that the point of Burn?

  37. DAH

    It will never cease to amaze me how you will continue to enlighten… But I think you would have more luck talking to the proverbial wall than you do with Jim.

    I am not a fan of the essay either, but I also realize that I don’t have to be. I find it fascinating that a newspaper editor/photographer can believe that his view is the only correct view. Tunnel vision is a serious handicap to a photographer.

  38. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.
    I love the everyday moments too, but I like them with some poignancy or beauty or something to make me think or observe and I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here.
    For me this is us seeing a new photographer with a new camera having fun, which is great, and I hope you enjoy your journey, I just don’t know that this is the right place to exhibit your work.

  39. I dunno? it seems a little unfair to the photographer to post these images here… it’s kinda like you’re taking the piss out of them. After all you did expect a somewhat negative response? did they?
    Did you consult with them prior to showcasing the work, to make them better prepared for some negative comments?

    Then again as I’m writing this I’m thinking that photographers in general should always be ready for negative commentaries and take it on the chin, it’s part of the developing process.

    But honestly what was the point in posting them? to provoke your audience? To test them to see what the reaction would be? To point out that there are different styles, different tastes?

    Who cares? I can see “bad” photographs and “bad” projects anytime I want… but that’s not what I want to see when I come to a platform which is supposed to be showcasing the work of emerging photographers… and should surely be showcasing the better work being submitted?

    Back to the images themselves.. I’ve seen the same idea done better. much better. funnier, more polished, better aesthetically, compositionally, overall just better.

  40. DAH wrote “a beginning photographer’s reaction to the world around him and using his camera to make some kind of statement.”

    Next week on Burn, a toddler with a Kodak.

    In the meantime, check out http://raoulgatepin.com/photographs/mainstream/ (thanks to Waxy for the heads up) for a much more stylish “day in the life” series.

    FWIW, I’m a huge fan of Martin Parr, but I doubt even he could have done much of interest with this clichéd concept.

  41. couldn’t agree more with those who found this essay as nothing but poor photography.

    i dont want to sound irrespective…
    but…why dont you show us some of the worst of the worst among the tons of essays you’ve received so far?
    something you really disliked, some photography found ridiculous or pathetic….
    just to know what bad photography is, according to the curator…
    Let’s start a separate section, “Le salon des refusés” here on Burn,
    this is a serious suggestion, please show us something I’m sure we would find some true gems.


  42. “What a breath of fresh air! Lighten up, all you Burn-outs!”

    Excellent, Sidney.

    Stress less people…. Everything is okay. I think it would be really fun to know Thomas.

    I haven’t seen Burn for a while, but I’m glad this essay was up when I did. It makes me realise, like others have said, that we should all just chill out a bit and not take photography too seriously.


  43. Sean above, Sidney et all, I couldn’t agree more.
    We all love photography, we all have our tastes and opinions, we all, we all, we all…

    Why is this one causing so much fuss? There haven’t been so many comments for an essay in a long while. And why is that the main point of most critics seems to be ‘the integrity of burn’? DAH put it very squarely (and maybe he did over-explain himself indeed). It’s just photography that you don’t like. It’s not miasma and it doesn’t need to be always so lofty. Why is everyone taking it so personally, as if we invited to our party a non-cool person and he’s ruining it, is beyond me.

    Don’t take yourself so seriously guys, it’s bad for your hair too!

    (and it IS fun to know Thomas, I promise.)

  44. THOMAS! :)))))))))))))

    GOD DAMN, I LOVE THIS! :)))))))))))))))))))

    how the hell did i miss it in november??…that was during my brother’s illness…and so, well i wasnt around long enought…

    but it is sooooo funny and so smart….some of these pics, iconographically, are so frickin brilliant….dr. STrangelove in Germany! )))))

    no time for long comments, but i had only wished i’d seen this upon it’s original publication…

    so sorry…

    this is great, great….

    i only regret i missed all the fighting…i would have written a long,p oetic comment…

    this essay is fabulous!


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