Yes, three years ago right about now I launched Burn Magazine as an evolution of my Road Trips blog. I as the publisher and curator, and out of a pool of eager helpers, Anton Kusters became the creative director/tech guru. Together Anton and I allowed Burn to evolve in its special way, flying by the seats of our pants. Chris Bickford, Tom Hyde, Erica McDonald, David McGowan ,Eric Espinosa,  and Andrew Sullivan were all on hand at my place in New York to help launch Burn. We were drinking, smoking, laughing and working really hard to make Burn a reality. Sleeping bags all over the floor. Ideas were popping up all over. Everyone contributed. Kelly Lynn James came up with the name Burn. I knew when I read it, that was it. We all did. Anton came up with a logo design I liked. Tom Hyde secured our domain name. Game on.

In the last three years on Burn (and 1 yr. prior on Road Trips)  we have given away $52,500. in grant money (tax exempt donation status through Magnum Foundation), published two limited edition print magazines Burn 01 and 02 featuring legends and emerging photographers alike, paid photographers for original work published here on Burn , and have done it all with reader support. Lean and clean. We thank you for this support.

Any help you can give Burn in 2012 would be most appreciated. If every reader here donated 50 cents a month, we would be functional in the business sense. Right now a very few of you give a whole lot. The $15,000. EPF grant that we have awarded three times and a new one coming in 2012 is supported by a handful of generous donors. Same for the payments to photographers.

My Riobook online workshop which just ran for a month with a buck99 paywall worked. This was not a profitable venture of expenses against income if you just look at it narrowly , but I learned a lot. It can only be described as a rather magical experience for all of us. It was like when we started Burn itself. Audience participation. I did what I do, yet the audience jumped in with opinions, critique, and I answered all questions put to me. Everyone was happy (almost everyone) and I was able to produce the One Night In Rio book, or at least a major part of it (see below a sample of the working wall). www.theriobook.com

Few knew about this effort , yet I still had a paying audience. With content on the net.  I think there are many ways to educate, inform, and yes entertain. I am just trying to help get some things done right in this now helter skelter world of photography. I refuse to believe that the world of serious photography is either over nor that talented photographers cannot be compensated. I might be wrong, but I will go down swinging and trying new ideas or old ideas done in a new way…Whatever works.

I do not want to be big, I just want to be good. I have had enough success now online to be able to garner nice support for my work and for Burn, yet again it is those who put in such long hours for me like Anton, and Diego, and Michelle who need just a bit of help. Burn  is a labor of love.

Frankly, a labor of love is what I want to buy!! Anytime and every time. A house, a car, a meal , you name it…if it is a handcrafted personal labor of love, I want it!!  So, that is what we do here. Our print magazines, our books , our workshops, will always be small in numbers, always limited one of a kind,  and always done with care…Sure we will make mistakes. Yet, our intent will always be a perfection.

Well, almost. To take the picture above  my good buddy at the Outer Banks  Frank Brown and I had a fun afternoon. You can imagine what led up to this shot. Hey it is Christmastime. Don’t you wish you had been there? I live in a wooden house. Need I say more? All is just fine as it turned out. Popping another cold beer, getting a little crazy, first day back home from RIO (see below) .

I truly wish all of my loyal audience the most joyful holiday please. Forget the commercial stuff. Well at least minimize. Relish your friends and your families. Stop by my place for a cold one. Some of you will. Fire going, under control, and always a nice place to hang.


  1. a civilian-mass audience

    Can I sing now?…


    there is no party …without civilian…

    happy birthday to US
    may the Spirits be kind
    so we can drink ALL we want

    Happy Birthday dear BURNIANS
    happy birthday to US
    may the vision be bright
    may the cake be yiammy
    and the wine …be fine

    Happy Birthday OUR HAIK
    happy birthday to you
    may you always be around

    and the ouzo on me…

    I am out there traveling…don’t forget I AM watching YOU
    free wi-fi…

    I will be back…TO BURN the roof down…

    MR.HARVEY…the journey has just begun…THANK YOU!!!

  2. CESAR… you are not “new”…you were just “lost”…but you found your way
    home…!!! and trust me… it feels good to be home…

    THOMAS…thank you for BURNING!!!

  3. Yes, happy birthday burn.

    Burn is a huge force, and a very important piece of my life.

    I encourage all burn readers to hit the “support us at burn” button, and set up a small monthly payment, whatever you can afford. My monthly contribution is the cost of a couple of bottles of wine. I’m not a rich guy, but I get so much back for so little.

    David and crew, thanks for all you do.

  4. I feel a bit silly continually offering gratitude but I love it all too much not to say. The sentiments, the lessons, the philosophies so much- No BS! All for real …what else is the point of life, right? What is all the hard work for other than that? To get to the essences of life and to communicate and learn from each others stories. It’s wonderful to have a champion for the important …the critical things of life, RARE these days. That is what Burn represents for me, that is why I will be loyal to the end. THANK YOU I will be here to support as much as possible. Sharing and rejoicing in the efforts of all here. It is truly gift.

    ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♪♫♪♫•* HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♪♫♪♫•*

  5. That is such a big happy day!

    And it is ironic cause my first feeling wasn’t happiness as predicted, but jealousy for those who got engaged to this website since the roots, the beginning, the first ideas and model…that’s the feeling I’m jealous of , the ones who saw it born and today they keep here, remain excited witnessing all the course of expectations about how it’d grow and if it’d make difference.

    I’m a live evidence of the effects of the development, the difference. Burn as tool, as mentorship, as reliable source of commitment to photography, changed all my priorities; had my time, my attention, my research, my eyes and heart in constant addicted learning, my love for the field, for ones who do, share and evolve, all the particularities of that.

    Burn is the difference I was looking for. The differential to keep believing on something..
    Im so grateful for all of you who made this possible and keep working for the progress, the respect , the optimism in talent and hard work as winners.

    Thanks David, Anton, Diego, Michelle, Haik, all the professionals at the first vessel and all ofyou you here right now… Burnians who created a solid community and been giving it the dynamic to flow. That’s a welcoming place to be the place I feel to belong to. I’m proud to stand up and dedicate a champagne glass to all of you .

  6. Roberta.. you got that right, it’s never too late! It’s, thanks to the direction David gave it, not an exclusive thing, but an inclusive one, up to each and everyone of us to join and support in whatever way we can!

    Happy to be here, thank you to all who are here as well :)

  7. Darn. I missed the Burn birthday.

    But happy birthday, anyway, Burn.

    And congratulations, David, Anton, Chris, Tom, Erica, David, Eric, Andrew and Kelly Lynn for having the vision to launch something.

    Here I am, a lonely photographer up here in Alaska, seldom associating with any of my own kind, and you have given me a community – hell, you’ve enlarged my family.

  8. Happy Birthday Haik! Happy Birthday Burn! Welcome back David!

    Frostfrog, I’d rather have breakfast at Abbie’s Home Cooking … mmm.


  9. Happy birthday, happy solstice and happy holidays everyone!:)
    Coming out of “the lurking closet” after three years is surprisingly hard… But you’re such an inspiration, each and every one of you! Best wishes for the future.
    And of course an extra thanks to David and the rest of the crew. This is an amazing space.



    am fighting a major flu…38, 39 degree fever 3 days running….promise, will post my long comment tonight…i’ve got to hobble to the store to get some ginsing and ecanasia….

    long post coming…

    in the mean time:


    3 years is only the beginning….in dog years you are 21….BURN is Legal!
    It’s such a joy coming here. From the amazing photography to all the insight from the community and last but not least the INSPIRATION! It really has ignited a fire in me. It’s hard to repay that fuel.
    I can say a million thank you’s but that will never be enough.

    This really is the place to be. No doubts about it. None whatsoever.

    Thank you ALL!

  12. happy burn birthday to all of you here… and to you amigo… what a ride it has been… AND IS! heartfelt feeling… even if I’m mostly absent on the commenting, I’m still always here…



  13. DAVID,

    I remember this day 3 years ago as if it was yesterday…. I cannot believe time is flying so fast…. lots of creativity and fun for sure…. Happy birthday to BURN!!!!! Even if I am not commenting as much, I am never very far… checking in often to see how this community is growing…. By the way, seeing your Rio book develop David over the past weeks has been very inspiring…. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all….



  14. marcin luczkowski

    Happy birth day Burn!

    Happy another anniversary David, Anton, Chris, Tom, Erica, David, Eric and Andrew.

    Keep this child alive please.

  15. As usual I’m late to the party…. But man; 3-years shot by so fast! I’ve gotta echo what Bill wrote above; Burn has been a real community for me. Not a virtual community; but one that has helped me make so many friends worldwide. And best of all; people are actually producing work!

    Thanks David for bringing the entire Burn experience together!

    And; it’s about 7.15am Xmas morning here sooooo….. HAPPY XMAS!!!! :-) I hope everyone has a happy and safe time.

  16. As promised….my long comment for One Night in Rio….i’ve also posted in the book page…..forgive the length….i’m full of emotions this week…my wife and son on the other side of the globe…..and this is my own Christmas gift for David….and for the workshop he accomplished for each and everyone….


    “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”–Psalm, 90:4

    “Não é o amor em si, mas nos arredores do amor que importa”–Fernando Pessoa, “Livro do desassossego por Bernardo Soares”

    How does one measure the geography of their life, tape walk the space of the land and the width of the sky that rafter’s the living of your coupled and solitary waking? How to make sense and order of all you wish to express and all that expresses itself through you and with you so that others can gather, liked palms of soft earth, that meaning and importance in their hands. The knowing and the taking, the yielding and the yarning. A night as the clock work of your life shuttled between the sweep of the day’s minute hands and hour clocking.

    A way? If even if impossible, there it is in the trying. And that trying, if even in misstep or error, is the measure to begin with. The book that only you were meant to write and patch together from the palm fronds you happen to pick up or discard. Feel the tug and the patchwork, you were meant for that strain and stringing.

    For me, the best and most true books always pitch against the only two things which matter, the love and the leaving of your life. The love for the waking of things, for the making of things, for people and time and your own life as it it measured by the joinery of others. The leaving of that and them as well. Love, be it romantic or spiritual or sexual or intellectual or divine, for the other. That other may be a person, or people, it may be some made up or making up thing. That other may be a partner, a project, a place, a project, a moment when all that seemed wrong with the world seemed for a moment to have vanished in the luminous song of being alive. This too then is reminded by the taking leave of and from that moment of propinquity. Love and Death, the one begetting the other and the spinning of the gravity pull between each. We cannot love anything without feeling that tug and strain, and yet it is that tension that allows both and each a part and apart to make sense, if for a moment, of all that beginning and ending.

    As I have watched David work his love around the moments of this past month, it is impossible for me not to see both at work, all that he loves and cherishes so much in this life: his friends and family, his art, his wondrous need to make the singing of this life as much a part of work life and the working of his life, his teaching and caring, his joy and his frustrations, his disappointment and neglect and his incorrigible power to make it right, to make right and open his life and his heart. At the heart of David’s photography, in the architecture and framing of all his pictures, the best ones, is the same out-the-window gaze and determination. The young, polio stricken child who left alone, through no fault of his or his family, who made a pact with himself that he would not allow the walls enclose him or his vision or the living of his life and vision. There it is in each photograph. That space, that wilding horizon is there in the lines of the hips and akimbo’d arms of the women he is drawn toward, of the solitary men surrounded by night and neon as they themselves drink up the dark space around without fear or measure, the sea is both larger than that hospital window and smaller, for even that cannot contain what he wishes to make right and make thirst. His is always a solitary one, but a brave and ferocious and lyrical one. Sisyphus refusal to allow the boulder to surmount his determination, his refusal to fall deadened by Tantalus’ thirst for he knows and keenly understands that it is the thirst that matters and not the abetting of it.

    Nourishment comes from the desire to seek and not the quenching.

    By the end of the month, it seems clear to me that what seems to be best about One Night in Rio are those pictures that remind me that David, that each of us, is unyielding and refusing to parse the love and loss but instead are putting them together there in the same frame. What also has been interesting is watching what seems to be David’s own growing-into that realization. Like all first moments, like all electric starts, it is never clear, born more of the jolt of production and fever than of standing back and allowing one’s own, one’s own body’s recognition of the pace and production of what seems to make best sense. As the Wall evolved and changed, I found it interesting that so many ‘participated’ in the cataloguing of the pictures, choosing pictures they liked and trying to be a part of the making and yet, that cannot ever happen. For the making, just as with measuring of one’s own life and thoughts and experiences, can only in the end be accomplished alone. Part of the development I watched, was what appeared to be David’s understanding of that too. And yet, in his generosity and willingness to expose himself and allow others to both see and bid, to speak up and against and to ask, he never once (as I probably would have done, still in my immature self and stubborn unwillingness) suggested that. He, rather princely, refused to tell his audience to shut up and leave him alone while he got down with the doing. Instead, he invited participation not to help him, an impossibility, but as a learning process.

    You cannot teach people how to make a book, how to write or photograph or edit. You cannot teach somehow how to take measure of the process, how to ‘see’ what makes sense, what is your sense. Only in the actual doing of your own, can that rhyme and rhythm be understood. Only you can write your own book, only you can best understand what ticks your speed and cantor, only you. And still, it was with that understanding that David accomplished what was best for me as a teacher. He was patiently continued even amid all the vicarious living of others. I wondered how it would end, not for him or for the project but for the viewers. How would they react to the leaving and the bereavement. For me, in truth, I wished for the end from the moment it began because as photographer, as a writer, as a friend, I wanted David to just settle into his gallop without worrying of what others needed, of what others needed from him. What I need from him, simply, is the same thing I need from all those who I love and live entwined. I need him to just live and focus on all those things which make him, that makes both his life and his photographic work so exemplary. The diligence of the silversmith, the patience and commitment of the lifeguard, even when the beach is empty and rain-spilled.

    The French in their inimical way speak of le petit mort, that confluence of life and death that comes at the moment of the bodies’ exhalation, the coming apart during the moment of cumming. The orgiastic moment not as orgy but as solitary coming apart in the coupling of one’s body with another’s. The reminder that that moment of absence both ecstatic and quickly disappearing, the beginning and the ending.

    In the end, One Night in Rio is not about the beaches or the women or the beautiful light and colour, nor the lyricism of David’s frame and palette, nor really about fucking and being fucking by life and with life, but really is about something simpler. That child, even when divested by the sexing of life, shall not really ever be infirm for he shall take that falling away and remake again and again and again.

    David made this book long before he’d traveled south. He made it long ago when he had harnessed his strength and optimism to the view outside that window. The hills may be different, the skyline a different glow, the back-tie affairs swapped for others, but it was there long ago.

    The benefit for me, just that simple. The birthing and the giving. Fly that yourself, each of you and cadence your cantor and slipped steps. That is his gift and is at the heart of both the book and this process.

    Now, go make it your own.


  17. Seems like yesterday at the loft. Everybody just clicked at that first summit (no pun intended, just couldn’t think of a better word). Good times, great group, good ideas, organic freeform the way it should be. And that rooftop! Made one of my best photos there. Amazing two days for me. Thanks David.

    Happy Birthday Burn

  18. David & All Burnians,

    Congratulations on Happy Birthday Burn!
    And Merry Christmas!

    Wish you all to be happy.. :))

  19. Merry Christmas to all!Thanks David for the so well known reasons Im tireless to express here. Thanks for the constant gifts you all are bringing to this comment section, but specially as inspiration and guidance to the mind of curious, photography passionate individuals like me. Santa couldnt make a better work :) Hope the night was great and the day keep being fullfilled by people you love, smiles and memories, leftovers and the special mood christmas is appreciated for

    And Bob…In case you didnt check in The Rio book yet:
    ” Bob, we couldnt expect another gift from you..a package full of emotions, understanding, intimacy,honesty, exposure,poetry,intensity,support, love, wrapped down by your words,your means of expression, and ready to be delievered. It arrived in time, in the best time,and we are so grateful for opening it.”

  20. a civilian-mass audience

    Merry Who?………..hiiihooohiii…I love you ALLLLLLLL…

    Santa came last night…he brought me a heartBURN…:)))))))))))))

    still traveling…can’t wait to share with you my journeys…oh,well…
    no pictures from me though…I am your civilian afterall…

    ENJOY every freaking moment…of your life…
    Do you want me to sing?…cause I can sing…oime…

    Happy New Year…and Happy Easter…and I am gonna read all of your comments as soon as I find my reading glasses…
    MR.HARVEY don’t forget to kiss SOCRATES…and BURNIANS remember this…

    BURN,BURN…BURN till you drop down with a heartBURN:)))))))))))))))))

  21. Sharing this wonderful behind the scenes video by Anthony Smallwood who tagged along the Rio journey with Erin Harvey and Richard Beaven, allowing us the privilege to have them around for five funny surprising days this last month .. They definitely brought luck and extra joy!
    Thanks to our dearest Tony Skater

    Time Lapse DAH

  22. @ PANOS:
    Great quote by Frida.
    Lauging is the key.
    Tragedy and misery come from Descartes, Kant, Nietzhe and all their friends… and also from Grecolandia thinkers, that liked lobotomize themself with sunny beaches and wine some 2500 year ago… butm but thanks to them we have rationality, western confort, microprocessors, computers and above all… BURNMagazine!

    Ok, enough, NBA started yesterday!! :-)

  23. Eva, this year under the tree I found Divided Soul, Magnum Contact Sheets, and Pilgrimage. I flip through them all, then try to go back to just one. Reading, reading, reading!!

  24. Amelie..

    Is there anything better to be found under the tree? ;) .. Pilgrimage, I assume it’s Leibovitz’? Flipped through it at the museum a couple weeks ago, but didn’t get it..


    You’re in for mail with the help of some friends, as soon as you and me stop traveling!

  25. John…

    Yes Herzog’s work is absolutely sublime and until not long ago unheard of or highly underrated. Personally I much prefer Herzog’s work to that of Leiter who I find rather overrated.

  26. John G. and Gordon L.,

    I was lucky enough to see the exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery and hear a long interview with Herzog on CBC radio back in 2007. There is also a smaller but permanent exhibition of his color photos of Vancouver from the 1950s on the walls of Vancouver General Hospital which I have been back to see several times (a close friend who is a serious and talented amateur photographer works there). I’m sorry now I didn’t buy the book, but at the time I was quite broke.

  27. Herzog rings a bell, but I can’t remember why or where I’ve seen his work.. Leiter is pure poetry, Herzog more grounded, seems to me..

    Another colour photographer worth checking out is Jeff Jacobson, Melting Ground.. no link, sorry, am on the phone only for a few days more..

    And methinks I’ve not been very good this year, not one book under the tree.. must have streched the tree too much throughout the year ;)

  28. I’ve been away – so belated as they may be, am now sending my happy birthday burn wishes to all. Looking forward to another amazing creative year!

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