Bieke Depoorter

I’m About to Call It A Day



‘I am about to call it a day’ is a sequel on ‘Ou Menya’, a project where I entered the intimacy of families in Russia, while spending one night with them.
This time, I have travelled through the United States. It is a series of portraits of places and people where I spent the night while passing through. I meet my family-for-the night on the streets. The social contact, the short and intense encounters and the mutual trust for them to take me into their most intimate privacy is an important element in my work.




Bieke Depoorter (1986) received her master’s degree in photography from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent in 2009. She is mostly working on autonomous projects. In search of family intimacy, she spends the night at people’s houses. This year her first book ‘Ou Menya’ was published. Since 2011 Bieke is member of the Paris-based photo agency/collective Tendance Floue.


147 thoughts on “Bieke Depoorter – I Am About to Call It a Day”

  1. Fantastic, I love this. Great photography does all kinds of things, including the powerful act of revealing the human condition in ways that we hadn’t quite see it before. These photographs owe a lot to the back story, which is why they don’t need captions. I don’t think the photographs would stand on their own without that story…but I don’t see why that has to be a problem. Altogether it works and works well.

    We can see the problems in the world from so many angles, but we won’t do anything until we see ourselves. That’s why I think attempts to help us see ourselves can be important (and that’s why I think some photographs that don’t challenge our delusions–that confirm the stories we want to tell–can do harm).

  2. BTW, remember the guy traveling across America to write a book about kindness, but then he shot himself and said a passing motorist had done it? He wasn’t trying to find truth; he was trying to make a story that would sell, a story that would confirm our suspicions of the problems and our hope in the end.

    I guess a test of this photographer is whether she is discovering or shaping.

  3. I think this project seriously needs some accompanying text to give us some kind of clue to what the photographer is seeing. Because as is, I’m not getting any kind of story or purpose. It looks to me like simple voyeurism. One can argue that all documentary photography is to some extent an invasion of privacy, but we justify that by having a larger purpose. But if that’s not the case here, if it is just simple voyeurism, a more-or-less home invasion, then I find this work distasteful, to put it mildly. I’m not saying that’s the case. One can obviously argue that the bric-a-brac of private spaces sheds light on big picture issues. Is that what we’re supposed to see here? If so, I think it requires some more extensive written guidance.

    The question of voyeurism (irregardless the answer for this particular essay) also brings up a larger issue of hypocrisy. Would I even blink if these were pictures of African villagers? Do I find that kind of “look Ma, somebody different!” voyeurism distasteful only when the lens is turned on my own culture? And it begs the question, is simple voyeurism purpose enough for documentary photography?

  4. I like this a lot. Kind of a Tina Barney goes sluming look. I agree that it really needs text, though, to give the individual photos some context.

  5. This is just totally freakin’ insane. I love it! (Jim, you are so totally right on sometimes.)

    Yes, I am curious about context. However without it we are free to speculate. Voyeurism?…well yeah, but hey, she was invited in, here we are, freaky shit and all. More, more!

    Amazing stuff Beike, congratulations.

  6. A fantastic concept, and a brave project. As photographers we often seek or desire invisibility… one has the feeling with this series that Beike has bared herself to her subjects with an honesty that has allowed them to feel comfortable with her occupying their space… Though the subjects may not always be confronting the camera, Bieke is present in these images, and especially in the photographs portraying loneliness, as in image #19, the idea of her sharing this space with her subjects is poignant, encompassing beauty and sadness… Kudos – some really wonderful images here… will seek out your past work. Thanks.

  7. Jamie Maxtone-Graham

    Enjoy this immensely. I’m not sure that text would add to this; perhaps the opposite. I enjoy the uncertainty of exactly where you are and one is left, using the available clues, to figure something out. That is where the heart of this is. So very nice.

  8. I want to say again, simply, that when you know the back story the pictures are better without captions. They are like mysteries, mini-stories. Captions would just get in the way and probably ruin the moment. If these were in a book I’d put the captions at the end of the whole thing. The actual facts probably aren’t as interesting OR REVEALING as what we can imagine.

  9. I’ve seen this before. I loved it then and I love it now. And the “prequel” story ‘Ou Menya’ was just as wonderful.
    I don’t need captions personally, words with just “explain”, describe and add nothing. For me at least. These are people’s houses that took a stranger for one night. That’s enough.
    My immense gratitude Bieke.

  10. I love this idea…..
    and your photos only want me to learn more about the families…..
    what a great experience for YOU and your subjects!!!!!!!
    those that have less, always seem to give more…….

  11. Micaël Martel

    Very good project, you clearly went deep in order to get what you wanted and that is admirable.
    The question of voyeurism brought by MW is a very good and important one I think. I don’t think that it is only an aspect of documentary photography. Of course, the whole person of this kind of photography is to go where people can’t go, I don’t see it as voyeurism per say, but more like the subject gave permission to the photographer to tell a part of it’s story, but not every photographer use this kind of approach. Granted, it is not always done very well, but in this case I think we can agree that the effort of Bieke to go beyond simple voyeurism is worthy of recognition.

    And honestly, what is it with people always wanting captions, I understand the point of it and it’s a really important thing for some project, but I think people are starting to depend way too much on it. We need to observe more, take our time with the images, then the meaning will reveal itself.

  12. The meaning can never reveal itself. They are, after, only photos. Without words, they can only reflect the observer.

  13. Yea words we depend far too much on those pesky things………… I will leave you with my response

    ..@#$%%ẦḊỂṔỜĮ%^&ǡạąáṾǕ ŁḸḾṀ ƗȈềǵềƶẕb Ʃṵṻǵ and ṇņŏṍǿȑ or maybe ĥḣǵě⁊#§❞❢❢℗™! …..if you take your time the meaning will reveal itself, if not well you will have to rely on osmosis

  14. since this EPF closed and during the Magnum meeting in Arles, France two weeks ago Bieke was selected to nominee status into Magnum…she is just 23….Bieke still has a long way to go to becoming a full Magnum member, but she is off to a great start….welcome Bieke…..

    cheers, david

  15. I’m not convinced 23 year olds should be Magnum nominees. I can, however, understand the pressure Magnum feels to make it so.

  16. I don’t know. I thought Magnum looked for nominees with a significant body of work over time. Has the cult of the young taken over Magnum’s thinking, now?


    not right Jim..significant body of work CAN be good, but definitely not the “rule”..only authorship matters…Donovan Wylie came in at 19 i think (late eighties)…and Alex Majoli was 22 or so (mid nineties), and Larry Towell had zero experience when he came in ..only one story……so, we often prefer not much experience….let them grow into Magnum….age not really a factor one way or the other..Gilden was older , Cristina Garcia Rodero was older, Goldberg was and so was I…it will take 6 years minimum for Bieke to become a full that time we will know…all things being equal (which they never are) younger would always make more sense of course…but the exceptions are almost the “rule”…anything can happen….again,only authorship matters…

    cheers, david

  18. marcin luczkowski

    I am quite surprised who was nominee this year. But in positive way. I didn’t know this photographers before. Zoe strauss and Bieke Depoorter is excellent choice. inconclusive, but the forward-looking. Jerome Sessini is just great photojournalist. I am sure he will be valuable part of magnum famili.
    Now I will looking forward how Zoe and Bieke will challenge the world.

  19. Micaël Martel

    ..@#$%%ẦḊỂṔỜĮ%^&ǡạąáṾǕ ŁḸḾṀ ƗȈềǵềƶẕb Ʃṵṻǵ and ṇņŏṍǿȑ or maybe ĥḣǵě⁊#§❞❢❢℗™! …..if you take your time the meaning will reveal itself, if not well you will have to rely on osmosis

    Come on Imants, you can’t compare imagery to words in that sort of way hahaha. Sure context can help a lot to understand a subject, but it’s not always necessary. I mean look at painting, (ok maybe not the best example but humour me.) especially the academic period, the painters used to put intense and profound messages and meaning and didn’t put any captions, yet people still understands them. I think it’s the same with photography, even in documentary. The small description that Bieke gave was quite enough in my opinion.
    Maybe I’m wrong and what I’m saying makes absolutely no sense, but I think we forget that if the work is done properly, we don’t need a detail explanation to understand whats going on.

  20. You know, I wrote something years ago about how the only way I could ever get into Magnum was if Capa in 1948 needed another person with $400 in ready cash and I was the only one available. I was going to find it in Road Trips and repost it here. It’s not there, so my memory must be playing tricks on me again. Still, I did like going through the archive. It was pretty cool, I thought, reading through everyone’s pet obsessions at the time, although from what I read I was funnier in Road Trips than I am here in Burn. I wonder why that it is.

  21. Most people were illiterate and relied on story telling. The artists subjects are of popular culture of the day. People understood the visual language that was presented, it was not agame of esoterics. Some artists created double meanings that were understood by small sectors of society. You understand some specta due to your historical knowledge present Rennaisance work to a Burmese farmer and he will as for further explanation about the work.
    Most artists go at great lengths to explain what they are trying to present, Plus there are all those minifestos etc. Who better to explain than the artist.

    Take the photo of the guy in the wheel chair, for. strt I do not need. photo to show me tht people fall sleep in wheel chairs(that is information I already posses). S is it because he could’t get into bed, is it about his family not giving a shit about him, is it about his refusal to sleeping in the bed? etc all speculation on my part As for the meaning, who knows it could be that peole in wheel chairs have a hard time??..
    Now with the essay as awhole unit I can take a more informed direction here the artist’s intent and concept are explained in the preamble. I have been informed, now The essay’s pieces can fall into place. As for the single image well back to speculation maybe the photograph is about that a photographer wha stays overnight is more important than this guy or maybe it is a set up and he his a cagy old coot playing possum fot attention. Askthe photographer if you want to know

  22. The above shows claerly that my keypad skills on a ipad are up the shit……..

    Most people were illiterate and relied on story telling, the artists subjects are of popular culture of the day and people understood the visual language that was presented.It was not a game of esoterics as with today’s contemporary art. Some artists created double meanings that were understood by small sectors of society, that highlights the provincial nature of art. You understand some aspects of academic art due to your historical knowledge. Present a Rennaisance work to a Burmese farmer and he will as for further explanation about the work.
    Most artists go at great lengths to explain what they are trying to present, plus there are all those artist’s minifestos etc to assist with understanding and meaning. Who better to explain than the artist.

    Take the photo of the guy in the wheel chair, for a start I do not need a photo to show me tht people fall sleep in wheel chairs(that is information I already posses). So is the photograph about that he couldn’t get into bed, is it about his family forgetting about him, is it about his refusal to sleeping in the bed, does he live alone? etc……. all speculation on my part. As for the meaning, who knows it could be that people in wheel chairs have a hard time??..
    Now with the essay as a whole unit I can take a more informed direction here the artist’s intent and concept are explained in the preamble,I have been informed, now the essay’s pieces can fall into place. As for the single image well back to speculation maybe the photograph is about that a photographer who stays overnight is more important than than a guy in a wheel chair or maybe it is a set up and he is a cagey old coot playing possum for attention. Ask the photographer if you want to know more.

    … that is better

  23. “Has the cult of the young taken over Magnum’s thinking, now?”

    Man that sounds like sour grapes…. Surely; if the work is good enough, then it is good enough. Who cares about the age? I was looking at the work of Jost Franko who is now part of the VII mentor programme; he is only 19! I say good luck to him; I’d hate to hold him back because he wasn’t “old enough”. Again; it just sounds like sour grapes…

  24. Micaël Martel


    Well like I said it’s not the best example, art was meant for high society, which was very well educated. Normal people didn’t really have access to art until the 19th century. To understand a lot of very well knowed paintings, one must have a good knowledge of history but also mythology and symbolism. But that’s hardly the subject. It all depends on what the photographer wants, does he want his project to be as informative as possible, or does want us to let us make our imagination go, let us make our own conclusion? If the latter, it brings out the question, is it still documentary?
    I’m wondering…

  25. “Normal people didn’t really have access to art until the 19th century.” That is a ridiculous statement people have accesses art in all walks of life since well we were around as humans. Or are you playing the art for elitists card?

    We are not talking about conclusions or imaginations I am referring to “take our time with the images, then the meaning will reveal itself.”

  26. “Man that sounds like sour grapes”

    It’s not sour grapes at all, Ross. I feel sorry for the 23 year olds now. I was 23 in a time of unlimited opportunity for a 23 year old making a living with a camera. Despite (or because of) the billions of photos being produced and uploaded to the web each year, there are fewer opportunities for a kid obsessed with photography as I was to make it professionally.

    My fear, in fact what I see, is that the reaction to all of this is to lower the bar, when I think we should be raising the bar. These young folks are not carrying around battered Nikon F’s and processing and printing grainy film in a closet. They need time, not celebrity.

  27. marcin luczkowski


    from one side hard to not agree with you Jim, but from another side make a faith with people.
    beeing celebrity in art proffesion is overreacted. Mostly succes gives freedom and selfconfidence wings, not crown of glory.

  28. MARCIN

    yes, i felt very very good about this year’s nominees…well balanced…correction on the age of Bieke…she is 26 not 23….


    celebrity? the bar gets raised higher all the time…i think the problem is you know just enough, but not anywhere near enough, of the process and of the bodies of work….a little bit of knowledge, as always, is a dangerous thing….yet i understand human nature well enough to totally understand why Magnum has always been, and will always be, a big target…i just hope that young photographers realize the role Magnum has played for everyone in holding high authorship and photographers ownership rights…Magnum is 65 this year…maybe that is enough…maybe game over…rare for any artistic movement to go past even 30 years…we will see

    cheers, david

  29. “Take the photo of the guy in the wheel chair, for a start I do not need a photo to show me tht people fall sleep in wheel chairs(that is information I already posses). So is the photograph about that he couldn’t get into bed, is it about his family forgetting about him, is it about his refusal to sleeping in the bed, does he live alone? etc…….”

    Or could it be about nothing more than the photographer getting access to some wheelchair-bound guy’s bedroom?

    Regarding the text, or lack thereof, in this piece; most often I prefer little or no text, especially if it explains what the work is about; double especially if it comes from the photographer. I didn’t have a negative thought about this work when I saw it in the text free Look3 presentation. But after reading Depoorter’s text and looking at the photos anew — She trolls strangers on the street, invites herself to spend the night with them, then photographs them in their bedrooms — my initial reaction was that the whole thing is downright creepy.

    Oh, I can talk myself out of that view, but it was my genuine, unthought-out reaction. My unconscious first impression. As a photographer who has always had ambivalent feelings about the métier, it’s the kind of thing I can’t help but explore. In this case, with that artist statement, I think we can see a profound difference in how photographers view the world as opposed to how normal people see things. I think normal people are more likely to find the idea of a person trolling strangers in order to invite herself to spend the night at their houses and photograph them in their bedrooms as creepy. Photographers, on the other hand, are more likely to see successfully pulling off that stunt as something more akin to winning the gold medal at the Olympics. The degree of difficulty is off the scale. How can we not applaud?

    For me, as someone who tries to keep a foot in both worlds, I find I need there to be some kind of noble purpose on the part of the photographer for me to appreciate work like this that so egregiously invades people’s privacy. That’s why I would like to see more explanation for this essay. What is the photographer tryng to communicate with these images? Is this about anything more than the stunt. The degree of difficulty? Is it about anything deeper than winning a gold medal? If it is about something deeper, which I’m willing to trust is the case, why is the stunt aspect of it just about all the photographer talks about in the artist statement?

    Personally, I’d try to find a writer who would say that the work is a powerful statement about the dignity and humanity that is inherent in all people. Because, negative first impression aside, I like to think that’s what the work is really about. That’s what the photographs communicate. Unfortunately, the text can too easily be construed as communicating something else entirely.

  30. This is an outstanding project created by a remarkable photographer. Voyeurism/documentary, captions/no captions, expanded text/no text, young artist/old artist, Magnum nominee/not a Magnum nominee…none of it matters when you see such an original (and courageous) concept, executed in such a masterful, heart-encompassing, curiosity-inspiring way.

    This is just dead-out fabulous. Brava to Bieke! I can’t wait to see more of her work and how she evolves as an artist. Thanks, DAH, for introducing her here. What a treat!


  31. marcin luczkowski

    I know the example is from art not photography, but Zbigniew Libera one of the best and world well known polish artist confess lately he afraid his old washing machine will broke soon, and he will have problem with money to buy new one.

    So beeing well known, or beeing in well knowing group means less celebrity and more and more hard work.

    Think about pressure the will feel now. To produce better work, and the better.

    from one side stimulating, from another overwhelming.

    Anyway from obserwer perspective excellent choice this year!

  32. marcin luczkowski

    should be

    Think about pressure they will feel now. To produce better work, and then better.


    exactly….some people have a really hard time just looking at pictures and enjoying them…..or simply admitting that a photographer might really just “have it” as Bieke so obviously does…i do appreciate you being here and for your always intelligent well thought out comments…

    cheers, david

  34. MARCIN

    i struggle to pay my expenses every month…..yet i am happy…i do not complain…when i was on the staff at NatGeo a few years ago and had no financial problems, yet i was miserable..not with them, but with me… i knew i had to go to the edge….so i left financial security…i never looked move i ever made…i have no bosses…don’t owe anybody anything…and i feel i have an open canvas….as i tell my students, if you THINK you are lucky, then you ARE lucky…

    nice to see you back here, we have the old gang!! cool

    cheers, david

  35. marcin luczkowski


    Yes, I just try to say in proffesion like ours being celebrity is quite misunderstanding. You are well known, but it’s not mean your position is given forever, or give you privilage like celebrities have (maybe during festivals or exhibitions openings).
    And Magnum, I am not an expert at all, for sure it’s reason for pride, but I think its also big responsibility for you own career.

    David, It is always pleasure to be here :)

  36. some people have a really hard time just looking at pictures and enjoying them…

    This is one of those cases where I actually was able to just look at the pictures and enjoy them. Then I read the artist statement and it seriously challenged my ability to enjoy the pictures.

    I suspect that too often Photographs are like sausages; it’s best not to know how they were made.

  37. Fascinating work, fantastic eye. I do wish she had at least given us name and place. Don’t really need anymore story than that though – plenty of “stories” here being told by the photos themselves.

  38. In my opinion, many people over-intellectualize pictures/photography. I personally don’t give a rat’s ass about captions. If they’re there, ok good, maybe they will add value, maybe not. But at the end of the day, the reason I buy photo books, and the reason why I come to this site (and other sites), is to LOOK AT PICTURES.

    And just as I was going to post this, Jim Powers wrote: “I really like these pictures. And then what?” Who says there has to be a “and then”? Personally, I will leave it at “I really like these pictures”. No “and then” for me.


    no criticism of you intended Jim…your comments were straightforward and your questions about Magnum 100% legit….you commented,i commented back…that’s why we are here….


    because of the internet, and Magnum, and Burn, i end up being known by probably too many people in these photo events…and i go to find new photographers and in the case of the last three events i was chosen to show my work one way or another or to show the work of Burn photographers…

    everyone wants peer respect of course for their work, but that is way different than “celebrity”…celebrity in and of itself is the enemy…however, most of the time, as in my small town in Carolina, nobody gives a damn who i am or what i do…and i treasure that…where i live, the locals think i don’t have a job…

    i don’t fish, i don’t build houses, and i don’t bartend…the recent article in NatGeo on OBX made some aware, but i think they figured i just shot that on the weekend or something…or they wondered why i did not take a picture of the Hatteras Lighthouse…

    i sacrificed a bit of anonymity mostly because of the internet, and well i do provide an outlet for some…even now the Magnum photographers themselves want to publish a Burn book and for sure i will..this sacrifice for being a bit too known is balanced by the fact that i have no bosses as i said earlier…none…you see no sponsors or advertisers here…so while i was totally anonymous at the Topeka Capital Journal and the Richmond Times Dispatch, i had the terrible disadvantage of the advertisers of those publications creating a false photographic esthetic and often in the name of “balanced journalism”…

    i bought that for awhile , but now see it was a totally fake ethic…again, an ethic created by the department stores who paid my salary ..indirectly perhaps but with much influence over the content of the newspaper…so i have traded off the control by publishers/advertisers for being a bit too popular sometimes at a photo fest…

    but i know who i am and the work i must do…i have been shooting every day almost continuously since about 13…so my body of work runs way deep..only a piece is known….Burn etc is a payback for feeling blessed by my craft…yet my main work is to keep on working on my own photography..on some days i get off balance or lose sight of this…yet not for long…

    right now i am gearing up for another , and last big push to shoot American families…my darkroom is format film is in the bag…

    when i am walking across a wheat field to meet a farmer whose family i want to shoot, that farmer has no clue who i am…he will accept me only on my own demeanor and his belief that i will do something representative of his life…

    i am just another guy standing there with a camera and a smile…whatever accolades i have mean nothing…and that is the way it should be…

    cheers, david

  40. marcin luczkowski


    Ha ha, We never meet in real world, but if someone commanded me to describe you, I would use exactly the same words you used above. And in consideration of my English language skills I should be copy and paste text. I hope you know what I mean :)

    I hear about darkroom and american families. I know what keeps you drive. I keep fingers crossed and I hope I will see new stuff soon.

  41. So why didn’t you take a picture of the Hatteras Lighthouse? That’d be a hell of a lot more interesting than a picture of a pompano being mugged for entertainment purposes.

  42. Another full page text essay? YAHOO!!!![Not in any way to be considered a commercial endorsement; if Yahoo! wants me to endorse them then they can damn well pay for the privilege] Any ideas? Because I’m fresh out. Well, that’s not true; I do have one, but it refuses to gel, which is almost as annoying as not having any ideas at all.

  43. What I fail to understand is how I thought authorship was one of the most important ingredients in winning the EPF award. I’ve been wondering around this girl’s website and her work is absolutely brilliant and drenched in that magic ingredient and this essay in question is highly original far more memorable than this year’s winner and just as strong authorship.

  44. “These young folks are not carrying around battered Nikon F’s and processing and printing grainy film in a closet. They need time, not celebrity”

    Who said anything about celebrity? Surely (again!) if the work is good enough, it’s good enough…. Anyway; isn’t there a long lead-in process to becoming a Magnum member? I’m sure if the selected nominee doesn’t live up to expectations they will be given the flick.

    Now; I’ll try to find a towel to wrap my camera up, and put it in the tumble dryer. An hour or so’s tumbling should make it look battered enough to be taken seriously… ;-)

  45. marcin luczkowski

    “battered Nikon F’s and processing and printing grainy film in a closet”

    Jim is just romantic.

  46. AKAKY

    well they moved the lighthouse a few years ago back from the beach…it just isn’t a cool picture anymore…and besides i did an outer banks story for NatGeo back in the late eighties (working the hell out of this gig) and i did have a picture of the lighthouse…i mean how many times in one career can i publish a picture of the Hatteras light? i know what you mean about ideas…they are miracles when they happen but you can’t make them happen…i wish i knew for sure what chemistry it takes…for me anyway, i think i have to be either really in love or really not in between is, well, no mans land

    cheers, david

  47. No, Ross, the proper way to beat up a camera is to do like David Hemmings in Blow Up and store it in the map pocket of your car. It’s hard to beat up modern cameras, though.

  48. PAUL

    you are correct in thinking the EPF is all about authorship…that is why of course all of the finalists are chosen for their authorship…all of them…the jurors start with this assumptio when they choose the recipient…Matt Lutton came out ahead by a juried vote…this does not mean that those who were not voted “first place” do not have authorship ..of course they do….Bieke was not chosen by this jury to even be a runner up…miscarriage of justice?

    i do not think so…Bieke is now a nominee into Magnum…Matt Lutton not….so a different “jury”, and with a different set of parameters did choose Bieke…yet from a different set of candidates…any jury has its own parameters and in the case of the EPF is based on one essay which the photographer submits…photographers for the EPF are submitting one project which they want to carry forward…no jury is digging into the photographer’s website as you have done..they are going with what is before them….and of course one jury member might be for one and another jury member be for another and it is the combined tally of votes that determines the recipient..surely you cannot fault the brilliant authored work of Matt Lutton…yet if you were on the jury, you may well indeed have voted for Bieke….conversely not all Magnum members voted for Bieke , but the combined voting total gave her the nod…

    for sure you will see all of the names of the EPF finalists in the future…go back and look at our past finalists and you will see 90% of them everywhere…go peek again at Burn 01…some who were unknown then, are very well know now….some winning one award,others winning another, some never entering anything but having a new book or top assignment….nobody gets everything…ie.Alex Webb got the Amazon project..i would have died for that…i got the Rio project, i am sure Alex would have died for that….photographers who do have real authorship will come out on top one way or another, yet not every time..however, enough of the time to establish themselves as important photographers…

    real authors will never be denied….the yardstick will vary, but those with the “right stuff” will measure up every time….

    cheers, david

  49. JIM …

    your photo of your Nikon F looks exactly as does mine…my weapon of choice while at the Topeka Capital-Journal, Richmond Times-Dispatch and on into my first assignments for NatGeo……nothing better than the worn off paint revealing brass!! i wore the “brass” with pride…no brass these days and no “one camera” either…i now have a shelf full of barely used digi cameras….nothing beats the old F or the M3…those icons became part of our whole “being”…hmmmm, is it time for a new iPhone?? my “old” one just isn’t cutting it….

    cheers, david

  50. MR HARVEY,

    If you don’t mind something out of the refrigerator, I do have something on family, family photographs, homicidal squirrels, lonely Naziettes, and why I am not Bill Gates. Will that do?

  51. I have a Canon F1 that looks almost as bad as Jim’s Nikon, but I have to admit that I was not the one who made it look that bad. I got it at the camera pound, along with a little Canonet, just hours before the pound was going to put them to sleep.

  52. marcin luczkowski

    I have fm2 looks a hell worse than Jim’s, all my cameras are old (even 100 yrs old), but for me it means nothing, ipad or nikon f… what’s the difference?
    I am sure after next 50 years some old sharks will talk about canon’s 5d or ipads the same way you did.

    I repeat you guys are just romantics.

    But who isn’t?

    Fore me it will be m6.

  53. Interesting that Bieke had the gumption to engage and then ask her subjects straight out if she could spend the night. Impressive, too. It just doesn’t square with me that she could do that, and then make photographs where she seems so disengaged from her subjects. There is a distance in the photography of this essay very reminiscent of Soth’s work.

    Jim Powers: Didn’t Hemmings drive about in a Rolls, or Bentley or Daimler in the movie? And didn’t all of those cars from that era have ermine-lined glove compartments? How the heck could a camera get brassed in that situation? ;)


    i am sure phone cameras will soon, if not already, kill the point and shoot camera market….serious photographers are using them seriously…as per Jim’s Sports Illustrated account…right now i too have a potential cover shot for RIO upcoming in NatGeo for the foreign editions shot with the iPhone…if they end up not using it, it won’t be because it’s a phone shot…at that small page size nobody can tell…i have other examples in my Rio book where i can show you one page shot with the M9 and an opposite page shot with the iPhone…i ask photogs to guess which is which…nobody knows…in low light one can tell, but in some cloudy day flat light situations, it is impossible, at small page size, to tell the difference…i still of course have my “real cameras” and for the large art market prints i am now making the iPhone won’t cut it…..but the GF1 does…super sized 60×40 prints from the GF1 look great….however, like everyone else, i shop around ..anybody know anything about the Olympus OMD??

    cheers, david

  55. MARCIN

    nobody can beat the M6 as a workhorse camera……not sure why i gave up on 35mm film…i just did….i still shoot film but med format with the Mamiya VII…yet i am looking also at the Leica S2 or the b&w only new Leica….

  56. If I were looking for a new camera in that range, I’d take a serious look at the Fuji X-1 Pro. I bought the x1-100 about a year ago and have been very happy with it, flaws and all. From the reviews, it looks like the X-1 took care of a lot of the flaws.

    The focus speed on the x-100, btw, was greatly improved by a series of firmware updates. It’s not bad now, though still not as fast as the panasonics. Image quality, however, can’t be beat in that range of cameras.

  57. David,

    Look at these numbers….and that was in 2010:

    December 4, 2010 Smartphone cameras displace point-and-shoots
    Key artifacts (‘article facts’):
    -19% decline in point-and-shoot camera sales by unit since 2008, according to NPD

    -24% decline in sales by dollars from $2.4 billion to $1.9 billion

    -29% increase in sales of more expensive, fully-featured S.L.R.s

    -50 billion photos uploaded to Facebook since 2004 (implies but provides no data that most are smartphones)

    -3 million photos a day uploaded to Flickr

    -IPhone is #1 camera uploading to Flickr, point-and-shoots are not in the top 5 (S.L.R.s occupy other top 5 spots)

    -82% of American homes have a point-and-shoot but for many it will be last purchase

    In Smartphone Era, Point-and-Shoots Stay Home
    The New York Times

  58. marcin luczkowski


    Well, I completely don’t know why I stick with film. Probably no reasonable reason. The way of work?
    Mid format and LF beacuse large prints.

    leica s2 will be a great choice for you. Or other digital medium format camera.
    I see it: american family exhibition with large, full of details prints in white, clean big gallery space!

  59. Honestly, the image quality of most of the stuff out now beyond the P&S cameras is good enough for just about anything I do. I have a Panasonic G2 that creates fine images, and I shoot mostly adapted Canon FD lenses on it! The 1D MkIV Canon is a killer sports camera, which I use because of the 10FPS and really fast autofocus, but who wants to lug it around for an everyday shooter. The Leica s2 creates killer files, but it and its lenses are just too expensive unless you really need big files for really big prints. And it is also a pretty big camera.

    As for DAH, it really doesn’t matter what he shoots with, the photos are going to be good.

  60. I just bought the GX-1 and I am pretty happy with it, although it’s pretty clear that the accompanying software was written by a computer whose first language was not English. And now for something out of the refrigerator…

    Family photographs are wonderful things, or so people keep telling me, but I have very little use for them. I will admit to a certain amount of prejudice in the matter, as family photographs of my family invariably include members of my family (and I know this for a metaphysical certainty; I’ve seen some of those photographs and there are family members in every one of them. Really. I’m not kidding). Given that I do not want to see these people in the flesh, a phenomenon that ineluctably leads to my handing out money I will never see again, I do not care to see them in photographic reproductions in either color or black and white. To be honest, I find the idea of willingly looking at those people more than a bit nauseating, if not actually perverse, a vile and unnatural act akin to putting spicy brown mustard on chocolate ice cream or rooting for the Red Sox.

    I cannot say with metaphysical certainty when I developed this aversion to my own flesh and blood, but I am pretty sure that it arose in utero, when I learned that I was not going to be Bill Gates. I was profoundly nonplussed when I got the news, an understatement if there ever was one. I thought the interview had gone well and I knew that I’d scored high in the swimsuit competition and I was sure that things were going my way, so finding out that not only was I not in the running anymore, but that some little dweeb from Washington State had beaten me to the job did not make me very happy, as you might imagine. I knew that there was some chicanery afoot and I immediately demanded a recount, but alas, it was not to be. In such matters knowing the people who count the votes is much more important than having the voters on your side, and under the circumstances I had no choice but to concede. I didn’t like conceding, not by a long shot, but sometimes you’re just stuck with a bad hand. What can you do?

    In any case, the folks who decide these things did not take kindly to my challenging their decision and, in their infinite wisdom and not at all in a spirit of malice, payback, or making an example for others who might think that they got a raw deal as well, they dropped me into the Clan Bashmachkin, as ill-fated a crew that ever stepped into a pile of bad karma while walking down a city street. The relatives keep telling me that things could have been worse, which is an Irish way of keeping things in proportion: no matter how positively awful the bad thing that just happened to you was, it could have been much, much worse. They will then regale with a story about their Uncle Liam in Mullingar, who had a stroke in a barn while trying to saddle a horse and couldn’t move or call out for five hours and had to lay there up to his neck in chicken crap while the pigs ate his left leg down to the bone. The story is usually pointless: Uncle Liam is back in the saddle now, the stroke was minor, and he never liked his left leg when he had it nor does he miss the limb now that it’s gone; and even if the story is not entirely pointless, which is only true in a miniscule number of cases, I find that this is usually the sort of willful denial of reality that I would prefer to skip without hearing the punch line.

    You find this sort of denial everywhere these days if you really know where to look. Take squirrels, for example. Squirrels are homicidal little bastards, not that you would learn this from the press these days. Squirrels are one of the many species protected under the terms of the Disney Dispensation, which declares that all cute, furry mammals are cuter than a bug’s ear, an idiom I’ve never really understood, since if you could see a bug’s ear, assuming the bug in question has ears at all—some don’t, you know, even the ones who used to work for Richard Nixon—you would probably find the bug’s ear just as repulsive as the rest of the bug. Bugs, as a rule, do not fall under the protective folds of the Disney Dispensation; they tried, even picketing Disney Studios to get themselves included, but Walt brought in the strikebreakers—the Beagle Boys did the dishonors, as Uncle Scrooge McDuck was in Howdoyoustan that week foreclosing on a dung beetle—and broke the union; and now everyone everywhere may slaughter bugs in droves, hordes, masses, or whatever other collective adjective you wish to use without your conscience bothering you in the least.

    Squirrels, by contrast, are too damn cute for words. I realize that cuteness has its place in the world, preferably a place as far away from me as possible, but I should point out that no one thought the Nazis were cute either, except for the occasional lonely Naziette looking for a good time in occupied Paris. I realize that this bit about Nazis has nothing to do with squirrels and their effect on twenty-first century American social and political reality, but it does give me the chance to use the neologism Naziette in a sentence. If you don’t like Nazis, Naziettes, or neologisms, just skip this sentence and move on to the next one. It’s a pip… not this one, the next one. Cute or not, it is difficult to get Americans to see squirrels for the vicious and violently territorial critters they really are. Your average American will look upon a knockdown, drag out, winner take all grudge match between two squirrels over who gets an especially big acorn and smile and tell themselves, oh, isn’t that cute, look at those two sweet little squirrels playing with one another when what is actually going on is that the squirrels in question hate each other’s guts and are trying to sink their teeth into each other’s necks. I also doubt that most mothers in this country would want their offspring to hear the profanity laced abuse these two squirrels are heaping upon one another as this fight gets nastier and nastier. Like modern twelve-tone Moldavian folk opera, one appreciates the spectacle better when one doesn’t understand a word anyone is saying. Knowing only spoils the mystery.

    The same is true with your average family photograph. You’d never know from looking at them just how much your Uncle Harry hates his deadbeat brother in law, a perpetually unemployed doofus who lives in the cellar of Uncle Harry’s house rent-free because his wife says so or how many people in a wedding picture know that the father of the bride is not the proud man walking arm in arm down the aisle with the blushing bride, but the older gentleman with the incredibly bad toupee sitting two rows behind them on the left, the somewhat seedy looking man leaning over and whispering something into the ear of his fourth wife, a once and future ecdysiast who did not get the memo on the proper attire for a married woman at a Roman Catholic wedding and consequently looks as though she’s just looking for a handy Pole to leap onto. No, when the photographer is around snapping away everyone’s just one big happy family and don’t you forget it, buster, even if the family involved makes the Borgias look positively warm and fuzzy by comparison.

  61. And something fresh out of the oven…

    As recent events in Florida clearly show, the education and training of young thugs in this our Great Republic is woefully adequate and, as so many things do these days, reflects poorly on the American system of education as a whole. To bring those of you who may not have heard about the Florida misadventure up to date, two young men entered an Internet café in Ocala, Florida a few days ago with the intention of robbing said establishment. They entered the café brandishing an unloaded pistol and demanded that the patrons empty their pockets and that the management open the cash register. At this point, an elderly gentleman sitting in the rear of the café produced a pistol of his own and began shooting. Our two young stalwarts, nonplussed at this turn of events, promptly turned tail and ran out of the café, tripping over themselves as they tried to escape the old geezer’s fusillade. This, it seems, was an unexpected and altogether surprising turn of events for both of these lads; after his arrest, one of these Jesse James’ manqués opined that maybe he should find some other line of endeavor, complained that the old man kept shooting at him even when he was down on the floor (he was still holding the pistol he came in with, apparently), and that he and his partner did not expect that anyone in the café would be armed. Knowing this beforehand, he believed, would have spared him the indignity of having the old man shoot him in the backside.

    It is this sort of ignominious disaster that makes John Q. Public wonder what kind of vocational guidance the criminal classes are getting in our schools these days. Clearly, these two young men did not read the vocational literature on armed robbery, which is quite extensive in both print and Internet form, and is very clear that one of the occupational hazards that armed robbers face as they attempt to practice their trade is getting shot by the people they are robbing, and if not by them, then by the police. That the schools allowed these young unfortunates to commence a life of crime without even telling them that buying a good pair of bulletproof jockey shorts would be a wise investment in their futures is nothing less than educational malpractice of the worst sort.

    Furthermore, it beggars the imagination that no one in a position of authority informed these two ignorant souls that Florida is a concealed carry state; that is, a state where a citizen in possession of a concealed carry permit may arm himself with a pistol and conceal the fact that he is packing heat from the public. These two young doofuses simply ran into the café and expected everyone to be unarmed, an assumption that may be true in, for instance, Great Britain, but is almost dangerously delusional in any state of the Old Confederacy. They would not have made such a ridiculous assumption if the schools had done their jobs and taught them how to commit an armed robbery properly in the first place. It was only their great good fortune that the gentleman with the concealed carry permit was a senior citizen whose aim was not very good; one shudders to think what would have happened if instead of an old man, the two young men faced an off-duty police officer or a Marine on leave trying to e-mail his friends in Afghanistan. Their attempts to break into the armed robbery field would have ended before they had a chance to go for a payroll or a bank.

    Frankly, I blame all of this on the American system of education. A system that the public cannot trust to teach students to read and write correctly can hardly be trusted with the training of young criminals. There are a few success stories, of course; the large population of drug dealers in this country shows that the schools can teach if they are motivated to do so, but except for narcotics trafficking and investment banking, there seems to be little interest in giving young people the training and skills necessary to advance a criminal career. I believe that our wounded young tyro is correct when he said that he would have to rethink his life. Given that the schools have left him unprepared for a life of crime, I think it advisable that he look into other, perhaps more remunerative lines of endeavor, such as plastic surgery, pineapple farming, or selling term life insurance to mimes. None of these fields involves gunplay of any sort, with the occasional exception of plastic surgery, and are all certainly easier on the practitioner’s buttocks than armed robbery is.

  62. tech talk (money) ?
    look at this one:
    impressive video , Real HD( 1920 x 1080 (30,25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps))
    and a 24MP !!!????? sensor for only $699?

  63. The good news of the week is that the tests have come back from the lab and whatever other health problems I may have, cancer isn’t one of them. Given the relentlessly bad news I’ve been getting so far this year, this is like a ray of sunshine.

  64. Phone camera images are a bit thin on the dynamic range to do some serious push and grunt in the digital darkroom at this stage of development. Big files are the best as one can nuke and destroy them

  65. PANOS:

    tech talk (money) ?
    look at this one:
    impressive video , Real HD( 1920 x 1080 (30,25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps))
    and a 24MP !!!????? sensor for only $699?

    yes, but as the young boys all want to hear in their fumblings in the dark “but it’s huge!”


    “Most people were illiterate and relied on story telling, the artists subjects are of popular culture of the day and people understood the visual language that was presented.”

    made me think about something I have been noticing, and been annoyed with on the interwebz lately….it seems that every time I click on a headline “news” story on a page anymore, I get not a written news article, but a small box with talking heads telling me the story, as if I wanted an on-demand TV show broadcast….

    with the plethora of video and imagery being used in place of the written word, are we heading back to that oral/visual storytelling of the news? Will future generations even WANT to read articles, or books? And what implications could that have on us in the long term….

    Perhaps it’s the red wine, but I find that path rather disturbing…..

  66. oral/visual storytelling of the news…….

    ……. my take is that that is a positive path to follow. There is a need to change the way it is presented this image text video as independent units and having to jump from one to the other was probably ok when one read the paper in front of the television but these days our lifestyles and information gathering are drastically different. A new format is needed which naturally is a technological extension of oral/visual storytelling.
    The so called third world countries are in on the ride this time as wi-fi is the name of the game

    Here are some artists well and truly on the way
    ps you need google chrome it is a start beats just taking pictures ………. we will read articles and create some may create books …….others will just follow with Instagrams or something of that ilk’

    exciting times and we have removed film from the grubby hands of documentors and handed back the film to the creative communicators ………….

  67. digital imagery is in the tumble dryer and spitting out are new forms,trances, ideas, frustrations, death of film as we know it, nuances as for me just as I thought the train was at a station it went on and on and on

  68. Akaky & Bill (Frostfrog),

    So glad to read you guys are cancer-free! :-)

    All the best,

  69. Micaël Martel

    – as newsprint shrinks images get better –

    Oh yeah! definitely, it’s really invigorating to see photography going further and further.
    I like what you said about the need to change the way things are presented. I think we need to see something new and different. Multimedia is a beautiful thing it that sens, it makes the experience so much more profound and interesting. You can go even deeper in the exploration of a subject and bring a completely new level of understanding.

  70. I am a little late dropping into this one, but… what a powerful essay! Having looked at it like this, I think had I been a judge I might well have voted this one the winter. I did wonder a little bit about gaining someone’s trust only to then show them to the world sitting on the pot, looking miserable, but then sitting on the pot looking miserable is a part of life and so if the subject is good with it, okay.

    It looks like this has become the default thread, so I will continue…

  71. Civi… I apologize profusely for missing your birthday. This may be hard to understand but, on my birthday, I hit a pyschological point where I had just had to withdraw from the next, period. I had to curl up into my own mind and shut as much as the rest of the world out. This has really turned into an ordeal, especially as a result of the second, unplanned, emergency surgery I underwent July 9. I separated myself from Facebook and quit visiting my regular sites – even Burn. I didn’t even put up a blog post for several days and the only reason I did then was that I knew a number of people were growing unnecessarily worried about me and I wanted to put their minds at ease.

    Justin – Yes, when the doctor told me no cancer was found, it was a great relief. I kind of wish I did not have to subject myself to this ordeal to find out, but they tell me if I hadn’t the cancer would have come and so it is best that I did and I expect to be well in a month or so.

    Akaky – So good to read you are cancer free!

  72. DAH – I am certain I have it and more, but, just to be safe, I need at least two weeks before I advance on this little project I have kept you informed about. I tried to inform you by text, but your text is not available and I do not trust emails when it comes to them getting through to you in any kind of timely manner.

  73. I guess that the same pressures are not felt in the wwwdot world so great images are lost in the don’t care about what happens attitude that abounds.

    Then again we could eventually lose all that freedom we are used to, restrictions are bound to rearvtheir ugly heads. There will always be a power base, time will only reveal if it is directly obvious or we get worn down and not notice the rights we forgo for a bit of pseudo limelight.

    Meanwhile we are free to play”……….

  74. The seeming unlimited willingness of creatives to give away their work will eventually make us all hobbyists.

  75. Maybe that’s the situation just s some antiques are no longer worth much due to eby(stuff wasn’t rare as made to believe) the photographic image no longer has the same value. Your time in the sun is over Jim even your wording such s hobbiest is done and dusted”…..

  76. Actually, Imants, I’ve never been in the sun. Just a blue collar news shooter.

    The problem with the “free” model is that, eventually, all of us boomers will die, and the folks producing all of this stuff for free will have to move out of their dead parent’s basement and get a real job, only to find that “free” won’t pay the bills. Serious problem, really.

  77. You were still a blue collar news guy in the sun……. there is no blue collar for most as you know quite well it is a different game.

    Jim they just make choices good, bad, indifferent that you were not willing to make. Photographers aspiring to be photographers are a minority most people just work and do all sorts of stuff.

    Despite all that Jim for many it is not about “free” they do it and make money and pay bills in other ways. They just enjoy doing it and feel that they can make changes no matter how small. So what you lost a bit of a cash cow so did the farrier.

  78. The problem with the “free” model is…”

    The free market. Photographs, obviously, have little or no value because people do not like to look at them. It’s clear that those who publish newspapers, magazines, and websites only plaster their publications with so many photos because they are romantics who hate to see the old ways die. Publishing all the photos they do, and publishing them so prominently, no doubt costs them two thirds or so of their potential customers. Fortunately for us, these publishers are just terrible business people who throw away tons of money just by publishing our photography. If they had to pay photographers like they pay everyone else, they’d be out of business yesterday and would have to deploy the golden parachute. But most people obviously would prefer looking at black text on a white background for their publications, with maybe the occasional ESPN-like motion graphic on a web site. And it’s not like writers get paid all that much either. The free market speaks and says that no one cares about content so it pays the salespeople, and glorified salespeople (executives) accordingly.

    Photographers aspiring to be photographers are a minority

    It doesn’t seem like that from where I sit. Just about every other person I meet is an aspiring photographer. Why just the other day I met a wanna be photographer who told me a story about how he was walking down the street and came up on a fashion shoot. He reportedly asked the art director if he could take a few photos for his portfolio. The art director reportedly encouraged him and promised to credit him in the publication if they used any of his photos. Such a nice art director. Helping the poor photographer guy out for nothing. And harming his magazine’s circulation by publishing photos in the first place.

  79. Some will never be harmed by the prevalent “new free style” photography. Anyway it isn’t just particular to photography big chain stores in Europe selling all electronic household electronics so cheap the old style small shop is being slowly strangled as it can’t keep up with prices. It’s prevalent in every market many including me shop for cheap hoping for quality. “Pan para hoy hambre para mañana”.
    But anyway I’m sure some will survive whatever happens… Look at Sally Mann I’m sure she will still successfully sell all her latest work when it finally appears. In fact I’ve just read somewhere she will be soon pushing her memoirs “If memory serves” based on her Harvard Lectures and of course it will be a sellout.

  80. Jeez mw most of the kids i have been associated with of late like the idea of sportsmen, lawyers executives, millionaires, doctors etc they know there is no money in the arts well ofk weddings if you are really good and bored

  81. “Photographs, obviously, have little or no value because people do not like to look at them.”

    Hardly true.. people love to look at photographs, look at booming instagram, flickr, tumblr and what not.. everybody shooting and showing what they got… what most people do not like is to pay for looking at them, that’s quite different..

  82. I think, Eva, that the reality with all of these free photo sharing sites is not that people like to look at photos, but just like to shoot photos. Which, I think, is the real problem. Photos have simply become just more noise for most people.

  83. I like the photos, very much DAH. The concept of the book is very creative, of course. I still don’t like the concept, though. I much more like the set in stone nature of the traditional photo book. It is just more “complete” in my mind. But, I’m a pretty linear thinking person, and don’t really like randomness.

    My wife, though, loved the mix and match openness of the book and spent some time on numerous occasions rearranging and recombining the photos.

  84. Well, Eva, I answered a question that appears to have been edited. Well, you know what you posted the first time. :)

  85. But it’s all our own fault. There’s nothing to stop us from organizing our own little real print club where once a month we each exchange with each other by snail post our most significant photo of the month. Slow compared to instagram, but wouldn’t it be lovely! Something great to look forward to. These days everything is so recent and hurried, always looking for the next kick.


    well you are in good company…Koudelka felt the same…ripped the sheets out and just looked at the pictures…neither of you want to “read” it as a novela, which is of course my intent…but that’s cool…we knew of course many would be inclined to do what both Koudelka and you have done…however, we sure were not “random” though in the way this was created…Eva and Bryan and i locked ourselves down for a month to very carefully look at the “muses” and the sequences and the interplay…totally linear is what i am not but fair enough that you are…by the way, Div Soul surely is not linear either…

    totally my fault that Eva deleted her comment which she did when i said to her ” i wish you had asked my opinion”…didn’t mean for her to delete…i might not agree, as i often do not with you, but heaven forbid if i would ever delete anyone’s comment…Eva was mostly asking not only for your opinion, but really mostly to find out if you had even gotten the book…we had no way of knowing… i would not have “begged the question” so to speak…i would have waited…to see if you would even ever acknowledge receipt of the book…so that is that…

    now my question is this…if i set up a paywall for buck99 again and do something like “Harvey goes to Bangkok” will you come along for the ride? Or have you had enough? hey i am just trying to get a paying job!!

    thanks for taking a look Jim…and tell your wife she is doing the right thing…never hurts to say that anyway, right??

    cheers, david

  87. You can delete your comments? Man, if I would have known you could delete comments I could have avoided a lot of grief. How is that done?

  88. Photos have simply become just more noise for most people………………… at least if you are on a S&M site and an associate the photos are more than just photography, there is a real sense of purpose just like the corvette club

  89. lightstalkers and a a heap of other sites allow deletion and editing of comments. The results are quite interesting to the level of hilarious beats the train of thought responses. If people delete and resubmit it all becomes a bit more interactive………..

  90. David, at only a buck99 I’ll follow you anywhere! Heck, I paid Mediastorm $1.99 for their 20 minute films, riding along with you is a lot more fun. Hope you do it. I’m definitely down with that.


    i do get behind in emails, but Anton discovered the other day that my email system was, as he put it, “totally fucked up”…somehow i had two address slots..which meant i missed a whole lot of emails…basically i had a 50/50 chance of seeing any given email…i have had no problems with text however, so i am not sure what is happening to you on that one…


    i think creatives are giving away a lot and at the same time selling certain things at premium prices…similar to the music industry problems and solutions….yet i did take care of my family and put my kids through college with assignments from newspapers and magazines…that would be more difficult today, but it was never easy…there were never assignments for everyone…just some…and there are magazine assignments now…just fewer days…..what are gone for the most part in the U.S., as Jim correctly points out, are the plethora of newspaper jobs that used to be around…those were great jobs for many, and most are gone now….

    the days of “one stop shopping” are over…now every photographer must set up his/her own business..all of my peer group are earning a living in photography…shooting, selling prints, book publishing etc…and i am not talking about the well established, i am talking about the young ones as well…

    what has value has changed…photogs used to be paid a “day rate” for services rendered….now the payment comes more from the created work itself…the work as an object in and of itself….for other artists this has always been the case….

    i would absolutely not worry for one second that the talented will only be hobbyists i.e. not earning a living…..although the fact that photography is my hobby is something i treasure the most…i take pictures for fun, or to remember something…anything that comes out of it beyond that is just icing on the cake…

    cheers, david

  92. David none of my friends /peers are photographers or artists most work in a variety of professions from full time gamblers to tree sitting protesters. Sure I know people in the arts but rarely associate with them on a daily basis.

    “now the payment comes more from the created work itself…the work as an object in and of itself….for other artists this has always been the case….” welcome to the world of highs and low esteem for those that haven’t been here. It is a wonderful ride


    it’s 6am here and i am just on my first cup of coffee…Sunday morn…should be sleeping i guess, like everybody else…yet alas, this is when i think…that does not mean i am really “sharp” at all…anyway boys the line you have both employed here: “welcome to the world of highs and low esteem for those that haven’t been here. It is a wonderful ride….”…. i guess i am too fogged to get it…can either one of you articulate just a bit more on what you mean? not for, or against, just don’t understand your meaning…

  94. On one level David
    ……..spend two intense years putting an exhibition together a lonely ride at times and it bombs.

    ……..spend years putting a exhibition together find that you have moved on as an artist end up with nothing

    ………have a great show sells well but figure that it is a lie conceptually

    …produce a great artwork love it… nobody there but yourself ….doesn’t matter

    ….run out of money work as a laborer

    ….prefer laboring to art

  95. yep it ha some lows but when it clicks it clicks then a shudder, a crack, a smile and back to one eye open one eye dreaming

  96. IMANTS

    thank you it…that is why i just spent the last hour in the garden…getting out a few weeds..of course i have found, by leaving some of the weeds alone, that beautiful blooms come off of some of these “weeds”…and the roses will cut the hell out of you….

  97. David, I think the ultimate solution depends on the creation of a “new economy” for micro payments to creatives directly from those who actually want their stuff, like Mediastorm is trying to do with their $1.99 films. The problem is that most of us don’t have access to the technology that Mediastorm has put together to manage those payments. There is a business model for someone, perhaps Paypal, to more seamlessly make such a subscription system widely available on the web. The obstacle to this is the cost per transaction demanded by the processor. When you are talking about a couple of bucks per purchase, it doesn’t take much of a processing fee to make the concept unprofitable.

    I really believe, though, that future success for creatives will involve selling directly to the consumer, in whatever form that takes.

  98. ………have a great show sells well but figure that it is a lie conceptually …………………..that was probably the worst part

  99. JIM ..

    i agree totally….that IS the new model…or some variation are correct, not everyone on their own will be up to it, nor be able to make that work…the nature of coops/agencies will have to change from distribution centers to production centers in every sense…

    paypal does make many things possible…micropayments are fine if you have lots of them…the overhead to produce something of value for 10 people is exactly the same as it is to produce something for 1 million people…this is the beauty of the “new way”…wise use of social networking allows these numbers to become realities….if you build the field, they will come…

    it will take the next generation to think about the “big picture” not just the “picture”…they will do it …they always do…

  100. Ah, the secret code. What mischief one could make. What laughs could be had. In an alternate universe anyway. Regarding NY, sure, I’d love to meet. Let’s chat details on Skype when convenient.

    It’s great when artists can make money off their work, greater still when they can do it without compromise. Historically, that’s pretty rare, isn’t it? Certainly not the norm. The problem with having a position is too often having to maintain, if not defend it. Seems like the greatest are often a bit out of step with the times, their work unpopular because it’s different, so other ways of generating income are necessary. Just thinking of a few of my art heroes; Gauguin, Van Gogh, Henry Miller, William Faulkner, Mozart — they had patrons, took academic jobs, did film work, took on students and/or were constantly in debt. Of course there are always contemporaries to the greats making tons of money off their work alone. Some remembered, most largely forgotten. Salieri, for example, was financially far more successful than Mozart. Every era has its Danielle Steeles, Thomas Kinkades and the like raking it in while an unknown number of better artists do well to just get by. That’s not to say, of course, that every era is the same. Each has, no doubt, its own challenges. The biggest one I see for young people here in the U.S. these days is the student loan travesty. Student loans have effectively morphed into a system of indentured servitude. Forty thousand dollars is fairly typical debt for four years of college. No more taking a few years off and kicking around Europe after graduation and trying to find yourself as an artist, not unless daddy is a hedge fund manager. The pressure to compromise, to be popular, to get a serious job and make money is presumably more intense for those with mountains of debt with onerous interest charges.

  101. I think it all comes down to how driven one is and of course being slightly unhinged throughout it all, just enough not to realize that most sane people would never try the creative arts as a career. Apart from the fact that it has to be such an utter acute compulsion driving you on never bailing out because we all know deep down that jump across the abyss when it’s successful is so utterly bewitching.


    oh my…why “emergency”? will check your blog…all of us sending positive vibes of every kind in your direction….


    you both got it right

  103. Here in oz other than the 30,000 debt one of the major problems faced by the young is studio space with all the technologies that were available at art schools. This may be as simple as a nude model or as complex as a 3D printer depending on what one does. Sure technology hs opened new avenues that never existed but lage scale work is still costly to create. Hence we end up with lots of work in progress

  104. Repost from over the in the “Burn Diary” thread, where I’m not sure anyone but CIVI saw it….

    Not sure where the general party room is atm, seems like everyone’s over hangin’ talking about bieke’s essay…


    TOM HYDE; sent an email for you, did you get it?

    So what is everyone doing? CIVI, you haven’t been singing! Panos is posting videos (of course), Akaky waxed poetic on something (I have to go back and read it, although I did notice the a positive spin on health news and a new camera (and I got a GF1, are we related?).

    BILL, glad you’re making it through – have been following your news, but not commenting much. Hopefully the positives build up a little more each day.

    DAH – burn university? Also have a question for you, email or skype next week sometime?

    and now the rainstorm has passed and the sun is going down, and I believe I’ll go play flaneur in my own city….after a glass of wine.

    good light, all

    Bill, read the blog, glad to hear it wasn’t as urgent as first thought, sending good thoughts, prayers, and karma your eway in hopes that everything is better soonest.


  105. ANDREW B

    this is very strange when i get in a comment here from you under Bieke essay if i got an email from Tom Hyde or not!! pretty funny…well, the answer is no…but how in the world did Young Tom Hyde go to you to get to me? hmmmmmmm..anyway, have Tom send again please…i had some very weird problems with my email until two days ago..

    BurnDiary and BurnUniversity coming up….

    no more kegs!!!

    cheers, david

  106. Ah, david, that was my question to Tom – I posted over in the other forum, which seems to have had no activity, and reposted here since it seems everyone was conversing in here (even thoguh it should be for biekes essay). That was me speaking to Tom, for the email. Sorry to confuse.

    Indeed, no more kegs! Do want to talk with you about burn university – email or skype? Just a few questions and perhaps some ideas.

  107. I am back home on a clear liquid diet. Haven’t had a bite of solid food since Saturday morning and won’t get another for two days yet. I am taking a load of antibiotics in the hope it will clear up the abscesses and the third, emergency surgery, that I almost got subjected to Sunday will never be necessary. I am optimistic, but no guarantee and won’t know until after I get another CAT Scan Monday morning.

  108. Dellicson,

    you manage to read that but did not bother to read the rest?


    david alan harvey
    July 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

    yes, i felt very very good about this year’s nominees…well balanced…correction on the age of Bieke…she is 26 not 23….

  109. Pingback: ‘I Am About To Call It A Day’ by Bieke Depoorter (Burn Magazine) | The 37th Frame - Celebrating the Best of Photojournalism

  110. Pingback: ‘I Am About To Call It A Day’ by Bieke Depoorter (Burn Magazine) | Portrait and Wedding Manila Philippines

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