For me this is a lazy Sunday afternoon. Seems I don’t get many lazy Sunday afternoons. Yet I am cherishing this one. It’s cool outside, I have a fire going, and I’m just talking to my cats. They do not seem to be listening, which is fine.

I have been shooting quite a bit in Rio since 2010. First with a NatGeo piece on Rio. Straight up documentary photojournalism. Then with my book, (based on a true story), which does not mention “Rio”  at all. Why? Because my personal life was mixed in the with pure documentary and I did not want anyone to think (based on a true story) was a “report” about Rio de Janeiro. It was all documentary, but it was not journalism.

Now with the upcoming BeachGames zine (photos here) I went all out and didn’t make any attempt at mixing a reportage coverage with the life I was living. So BeachGames is on the same stage as (based on a true story) except that it is a true story. Again, not journalism at all, yet a personal diary of my 3 months of shooting within the last year. Black & white. Conventional wisdom told me not to go back to the same well. Suicide creatively? Trying to do the same thing twice?  Yet I felt like doing it, so I did it. No other justifications. I will take the critique.

Yet now I am done. Finished with my photographic romance with Rio. Will I return to Rio? Sure I will. For vacation, for workshops, to see my good Carioca friends. Yet I know when I am finished shooting something. In this case, it took two books to finish. Both with different moods, both with different things to say. Both taking me away from conventional reporting and closer to the novella mentality, where I think I will stay. In the end, novelists interest me more than reporters. I see a type of truth in fiction. All barriers lifted. Nobody really makes things up. You cannot write  about or photograph something well if you have not lived it. I will leave straight reportage for others who do it so well.

After years of using one place as fodder for work, when its over there is some sort of post shoot nostalgia. A sweet exhaustion. The way we all feel after we have put everything into something. Knowing we did all we could do, yet always wondering if we could have done more. Yet I feel I really squeezed the lemon. No more juice left. Time to move on. Cuba? Cartagena? or just my own Outer Banks world? I cannot know right now.

Ok time to go take a hike in the dunes. Late afternoon light beckons. My cats will follow me. Rio seems far away. Yet always always near.

-david alan harvey-


28 Responses to “Musings”

  • Now I am truly envious. Wish I could take my cat buddies for a walk on the beach.

  • When I was a kid we always took our cats with us on our family camping holidays to the new forest. After a day or so of settling in they would be just like us kids and disappear until meal times. Part of the family.

  • Most places I’ve lived, if you take your cats camping they disappear because they have become meal time.

  • Bill … John … Michael..

    gentlemen…and i use the term loosely with you three….

    we all know that cats rule and we cannot figure them out ..not exactly…they are wild animals and viscous killers to boot…. if they become another animals meal, well the fact is they probably deserve it….i know my sweet darlings have killed many a rabbit,squirrel,bird ,mouse,lizard,snake,cockroach and probably a few other things..i am amazed at their killing ability..once watched one of them grab a bird in flight…amazing..they can hunt in two’s, one of them flushing the rabbit out of the brush, the other one making the kill…one claw can act like a fish hook and snag a rabbit at full speed..of course i save all the victims i can….and i hope they do not become victims of a coyote or whatever themselves, but it is the law of the jungle around here….

    by the way my cats will follow me like a dog would…but no not on the beach…not the ocean beach..i never saw any cat go there…and they don’t like the bay side much either…very timid around large bodies of water….they do like the high sand dunes and woods however….

    both of my cats do love being photographed…they will pose forever….and after all my years of trying to be a better photographer, forget it…a cat picture will rise to the top of my Instagram over any other subject no matter how well done….depressing….

    well, like i said, cats do rule….so i give in….and spoil them on top of it….

    cheers, david

  • Well cats don’t rule round here, only dogs. Nothing against the feline species and I’ve saved quite a few abandoned kittens but I just find them so unbearably selfish. Apart from the fact we also own two domesticated rats who share a bed with their best friend my pitbull Indy.
    If I may choose your next destination I would love to see you return to Cuba. Nobody has photographed that island like you have David. Lots of nearlys. Now, I’m not sure I want to see a BW Cuba… Or maybe I’m just being silly

  • Chickens are starting to rule at my place….. My friend’s daughter reckons I’m becoming the “mad chicken man” and that it would actually be an upgrade…… Cheeky young bugger…. ;-)

  • David, I guess I made an illogical leap of logic and assumed the dunes were part of the beach.

    Everything you say about cats is true, but its also true that if you hang around enough cats long enough they will break every stereotype and generalization about them.

  • PAUL

    Cuba could be it….not sure….yet i really was thinking b&w……i mean i have already done it in point to re visit what i have done already….and no desire to go all over the island again either…i am looking for a small story…sure i could take another approach….yet i think b&w is at the base of my color, as i have said many times…..everyone thinks of both Rio and Cuba in color….me too…yet i loved working with the monochrome in Rio…at no point did i think, gee i wish i had a color camera… b&w is not for me eliminating color…i still see the color of course….but it keeps others from seeing the color….it takes the viewer right to the picture i think…anyway, we will see…right now i am focused on a huge print show at LOOK3…that is a full on job….after that i will make some decisions..

    yes, i was always a dog man too…just cannot have a dog with my coming and going…cats take care of themselves basically….yes, they can appear selfish i guess…well they are wild animals…and the ONLY “domesticated” animal which CHOSE to be around us…the others were subjugated, trained, broken….cats are free……i like that part…

    cheers, david

  • David,

    What ever happened to the Dubai zine? Was it Up From the Sands….I forgot the title.
    Is that something that didn’t make the cut? or are you going to pursue it later on?

    Talking about cats…my last cat died about 2 years ago. I cannot bear the pain of loosing a member of the family like that….they really become family…..I know its coming…Death….yet I made a resolve not to have another “pet”. I guess that makes me a pussy….pun intended ;-)

  • Paul, I have been wrestling with your comment about cats being “unbearably selfish” against my own experience for a full day now and I just can’t rationalize it. After being brainwashed in early childhood to believe I was allergic to cats and that they were despicable creatures who would bring nothing but misery into my life, I grew up completely as a dog person and came to consider myself a despiser of cats. This changed on July 5, 1991, right after I returned home from three frozen months in the field, fixed myself a ham sandwich and then sat down on the back porch to eat it in the blessed warmth of the sun. A starving adolescent kitten walked out of the woods, climbed onto my lap, stretched its claws up into my beard, kneaded it as if he were trying to squeeze more milk from his mother’s breasts and in this way asked me to share my ham with it.

    I did. And that was it. That cat stayed here and a good number more have followed. When I contemplate all they have freely given to me and my family I can in no way apply the word, “selfish” to them. Self-sufficient, determined always to survive, yes, but “selfish,” no. I just can’t turn any experience I have had with cats toward the word “selfish.”

    But then Patricia Lay Dorsey once expressed the thought I was a cat in a former life. I don’t know anything about former or future lives, but I do know I share a deep bond with these great creatures, a bond known to many of the ancient Egyptians. “Selfish” is just not the right adjective to describe them.

    I must type this last paragraph with just the fingers of my right hand. A cat just walked across my desk, stepped onto my chest and snuggled down into the crook of my left arm. A black cat. Historically judged by so many misguided souls to be the epitome of evil. My good black cat buddy Jim is anything but evil – or selfish.

  • PS: David – I apologize for leading the discussion on “Beach Games” astray into one on cats from the first comment on. You did provide the bait, however. I could not resist.

  • PSS: David, the photography I have seen so far in “Beach Games” is great. Of course, we all know this will be the case even before we see it and so maybe that is why we go off and talk about cats instead. I will buy “Beach Games” and add it to my Burn collection.

    Which reminds me… Before I even published Carrizo on iBooks store, you said here you would buy it. This would be a great time for you to do so – I have reduced the price to free. I did this because Apple’s promo code system is so arcane and complex that most who let me know they had tried to cash in the codes I had sent them, yourself included, failed at the effort. So I’ve made it free for awhile to make the promo process easier and to give “Carrizo” some more exposure before Christmas 2015, being as it is a Christmas book.

    I had thought I might also do a print version before Christmas, but there is no way I am going to find time for that. Maybe Christmas 2016. Or 17… 18… 19, perhaps.

  • A recent study estimated that cats kill over a billion birds a year, which is significantly more than the number of cats killed by coyotes. That’s one of the big reasons (habitat loss being another) there aren’t as many songbirds around as there used to be. Can’t blame cats for being cats, but with our big brains, we can blame humans for being humans.


    i am still planning on a Dubai zine…i am simply overwhelmed and overbooked…somehow all of my dreams came true!! ha ha ha..and all at the same time :)


    Oh shit, i just forgot Bill…i definitely want to support you….now make this easy for me…put whatever i need to do in an email…yes, again….make it simple and i will do it right away…..thanks for the reminder…

    yea, i have a cat lying next to my laptop right now…my cats mostly are outside and will only come inside if all the doors are open…moderate weather where outside and inside temp the same…this jus one of those days all doors wide open and nice breeze…they rarely come inside in winter…it’s too hot for them inside….


    i have to agree with you…and i am a cat owner with outdoor free ranging cats that kill birds….so yes, it is a bad idea to have pets destructive to the wildlife environment…yet i do not know what to do….i inherited these cats..or rather the mother who gave birth in my upstairs bedroom to these two brothers…the mother prefers indoors and is not much of a killer…the boys are neutered but still roam a bit…there still are plenty of birds around my house, just not the kind that land on the ground..problem is i am now emotionally attached to these two killers….honestly i think they are both just enough older now not to kill as much as they did younger…they certainly do not need food, i overfeed the hell out of them….well i agree with you, and yet i can’t get rid of these cats…it’s too late…

  • David, I just now did.


    ok i saw Carrizo finally…i still did not see where i could buy it nor rate it….???

  • Cats. Don’t even bother to understand them:

  • Frostfrog…
    Funny, whilst writing my comment I kept on thinking about your cats, especially Carrizo and your lovely story. But you must remember I’m always comparing cats with dogs because I much prefer a dogs behavior like their undying faithfulness. However anyone who’s ever gone out walking with me can testify I always stop to stroke or talk to any animal I come across… including cats :)!

  • David…
    Supposedly Samsung is preparing a monochrome camera based on their NX300. But nobody has any definite dates.
    Smiling… Well you do Cuba in BW if you must! But there’s so few people who work in colour successfully… it’s so hard. But I do understand your reticence to go back and do another book on Cuba in colour.

  • David, if you were able to see it that means you succeeded at buying a free copy and uploading. Thank you! As for rating it, they do have a button right near the top in the middle on the ibooks for that but I think you have to be registered somehow to actually leave a rating. Or at least when I first put the book up you did. I’ve got lots of good comments through Instagram and email but, early on, when I asked someone who had given me a good comment if they could post it again on the page, they tried but couldn’t..

    As an experiment, I just tried myself but the rating and comment is nowhere to be seen.

  • Paul – I’m glad you give those cats you meet some good strokes – and that you thought of Carrizo, a most loyal fellow, when you wrote your comment. And thanks for the good words about “Carrizo!”

  • Have just finished making The Prints for my Friend Agata’s Solo show in Berlin.

    Anyone in that part of the world next week should pop in for a look….its quite unusual work.
    Similar techniques to J P Witkin ( the distressing of the negs etc ) but definately her own style.
    Worth seeing.

  • “…so yes, it is a bad idea to have pets destructive to the wildlife environment…yet i do not know what to do…”

    Yes, as someone open to many criticisms of how I could better run my life to care for the environment, I commiserate with your plight rather than judge.

    Let’s just hope your cats aren’t the kind that suck out your soul while you sleep. I hear some cats are bad in that way.


    sorry to miss this show….Agata’s work does look interesting indeed….


    my soul may be gone by now, but i doubt i can blame the cats….”some people say there’s a woman to blame, but i don’t ” … it’s a spring day here and song birds going crazy, so i think my cats are lazy these days…all good….

    cheers, david

  • An inspiring Trent Park video interview…

  • And one more video…
    Mary Ellen Mark

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