[photo credit: ©Marta Berens – finalist EPF 2015]




A FEW HOURS LEFT to apply to the EPF 2016!


Enter by TONIGHT May 2nd (6pm PST) and there will be time to complete, re-edit or change your submission till May 5th, 2016 (PDT).


10 thoughts on “EPF 2016 – Last hours left”

  1. Viewing the shortlisted submissions of EPF contestants has always been one of the most interesting and exciting viewing periods on BURN for me. Many of the essays gently nudge the higher branches of hanging fruit: it’s springtime for me in the north; in the southern hemisphere, harvest season. Reap, and sow; look, and learn.

    I’ll be watching for essays capturing the verbal and non-verbal interactions of two or more people. Photographers with that ability are a rare breed, possibly because of the ironic situation of their wanting to connect to others through their work, and the lonely, inner-directed push for creative self-expression which prevents them from doing so. It’s a challenging disconnection to overcome; the private creative type attempting to produce stories of Man in his world is a teeter-totter of imbalance.

    There is always that not-quite-reached yearning for connection in essays where interaction is absent, and where emotional distance prevails. I read somewhere that the New Photography has, among other factors contained within, the removal of emotional content. Is that because the art world wants that right now, or is it because many photographers of our time cannot reach the fruit of that high-hanging branch?

    Good luck and congratulations to all EPF submitters and finalists.

  2. Jeff, I doubt this will come as a surprise, but I have a totally different take on the EPF, and question the presumed superiority of photos capturing non-verbal interactions of two or more people.

    My criticism of the EPF is that it always seems to tend towards the prestigiously mainstream. Prestigious mainstream judges choose prestigious mainstream-ish projects that are also chosen by prestigious mainstream judges in other prestigious mainstream publications or competitions. It’s all terribly prestigiously mainstream.

    Not that any of them are bad. They are usually very good. It’s just that the EPF ends up being no different than any other prestigiously mainstream competition and burn, imo, should be different.

    That’s why, as I’ve mentioned before, I think burn would do well to pick non-mainstream judges, particularly people who have shown great appreciation for burn itself. You, Jeff, would be my first pick, followed by (in no particular order) Gladdy, Bill Hess, Imants, Panos, Erica McDonald, Civi, Nathan Pearce, or others who have been around for awhile. I think (hope) that would set the EPF apart from all the other prestigious competitions. Wallow with the fucking eagles, if you know what I mean.

    As for verbal and non-verbal interactions between two or more people, aka decisive moment photography, do you really want to limit yourself thus? It’s like determining literary quality by only considering writers who can pull off writing really long paragraphs, or musicians who can play the most difficult notes. Sure, the level of difficulty is much higher for capturing the decisive moment than it is for more emotionally distant photographs, but does level of difficulty really make a work of art better?

    Often, I’d say, the two are related, but not always, or even usually. I believe that story is ultimately much more important than technique. Hemingway’s short sentences are not inferior to Joyce’s multi-page sentences. It’s the story they tell, that matters. Same thing with photo essays or books (though perhaps not so much individual photos). Style, in the long run, matters far less than substance.

    Both the art and literary worlds are littered with people who were popular in their day, but are painful to consider nowadays. It will be the same with photography. In a hundred years, few of the top photographers of our day will still be relevant, and there will be a few who are unrecognized now but will end up helping define this era. That’s why you should keep your mind open to the emotionally distant and those who might not give a shit about verbal or non-verbal interactions between two or more people. If they have something to say, and are saying it in a very personal and innovative manner, their work might live well beyond the current consensus of what’s prestigiously mainstream. In other words, I’d rather see ambitious shit that fails spectacularly than yet another well-realized rehash of something that’s already been done.

  3. Diego Orlando

    Michael, it is a very interesting point. So interesting that i will think about that deeply and probably we will end up in the direction you suggest, At least from some aside project.
    About the mainstream.. i would agree, but i also think that if something is inside some prestigious mainstream, there is often a good reason why that is a mainstream. Not always, but often.
    And there are around more than one mainstream at the same time, some with truth in it, some just because of a prestigious mainstream circle, as you well said.
    When we imagine the jury for EPF we start thinking about different point of view, taste, visual culture and vision. Yet we are asking time and experience to prestigious names, but they are normally names that have made and makes the different: they often invest in somebody out of the mainstream and makes him/her or that vision becoming a mainstream. Or surely they help that vision to be accepted and recognized.
    EPF helps authors to be established and recognized not just to be celebrated: to really do that we have to have talents discovered and accepted by somebody already accepted.. otherwise which would be the authority of that judgement?
    But your idea of a different kind of jury is stimulating and your overall point is brilliant.

  4. Michael, I agree mostly with your comments, except I’m not suggesting any sort of superiority in images capturing interactions; just that they are kind of a final frontier for photographic challenges. Any 2016 finalist that can accomplish that will have my attention. Nevertheless, if the EPF judges think an essay on sidewalk cracks is the best, I’ll happily acknowledge and respect their decision.

    The idea developed for me on the street, where I noticed the level of discomfort and nervousness I had shooting people in conversation was greater than that experienced in getting close-in to the unengaged. It’s a different type of invasion of the personal space; a visual eavesdropping or perhaps a heightened sense of voyeurism when moving in on people when socially engaged, connected, or talking.

    Looking for that type of work in others, lo and behold it existed in pretty much all of the photographers I had had the strongest positive response to, beforehand. I just hadn’t seen the common connection. (Not just in street photography, but in other genres as well.)

    It’s also absent in the work of the bulk of photographers; looking at the current list of essays listed in the upper right corner of the BURN website, it’s only Felipe Jacome’s “Lord of the Mangrove” that gets close to the interactions I speak of. Gets past the passive-observer sensibility of most photographers and their intuitively-engaged subjects.

    There’s strong agreement between us in another sense; with your call for change in the selection and judging process of the Emerging Photographers Fund, it’s interaction of a different type. Wallowing with the eagles; birds of a different feather. I like your idea of BURN contributors participating in the process…it might be more than enough for that energy/assistance be given to the shortlist selection process. Would it be possible to set up a blog similar to David’s Virtual Rio workshop ($2.00 entry fee!) and have a shortlist selection sorting feast? Keep in mind there are many, many essays sent in, so there might have to be an initial culling at the hand of the powers-that-be.

  5. And in other important news, I would like to point out the following:

    I see that World Naked Gardening Day is upon us yet again (how the time does fly, doesn’t it? It seems like only yesterday that we were all talking about this and now here it is again). Now I understand that there are many events in this world where the reasoning behind the event is a bit obscure to anyone not actually involved in the event. Soccer games and Grateful Dead concerts come immediately to mind, and I know that there is an annual bathtub race in Nome, Alaska, for another example, and there is a Garlic Festival held every year about 45 miles up the river from our happy little burg, but the reasoning behind nude gardening in the first place and celebrating nude gardening in the second place is proving particularly elusive to me. I can see no advantages to gardening in the nude and there appears to be no end of disadvantages. Gardening in the nude increases the amount of skin affected by a chance encounter with poison ivy, an always unpleasant encounter leading to an even more unpleasant experience, and gives many insects–bees and wasps, for instance–a much broader area to make known their displeasure with the gardener’s disturbing their natural habitat. And unless you are Daniel Craig or Kate Upton, your neighbors will use the opportunity presented by you puttering around in your garden in the altogether to mock you openly, mockery, and please forgive me for pointing this out, you will have earned. So please, on May 7th, do not garden in the nude. Pay no attention to the pleas of those who want you to do this and who will then laugh at you when you do. Just say no. Put on some old trousers and an old shirt and a straw hat and thence go forth to do battle with the weeds. The weeds will respect you more as well.

  6. a civilian-mass audience

    Thank you MW for the suggestion…!!there would be some challenges to overcome though…
    I love chickens,ouzo,wine,olives …therefore I would be accused of Bias…but I am confident cause I love You ALL !!!

    Happy MAMA’S day …Viva BURN !!!

  7. a civilian-mass audience

    Garden in the nude ? Oime…
    “Courage is knowing what not to fear”

  8. AKAKY. Only an American could label the most popular sport on the planet ‘obscure’ just beacuse it is barely played (not to mention wrongly named) in that country. FOOTBALL and CRICKET are the two biggest spectator sports on the planet. Maybe if they threw in a hotdog break every fifteen minutes and dressed everyone up in Sissy armour you guys would go for it more.
    I do however fully agree on the grateful dead point. I for one will be grateful when they finally are.

  9. John, Soccer (speaking American), isn’t even an obscure sport here. Among kids, it’s growing fast and in many places is far more popular than football (American) and baseball. That gets missed because so many old guys (and other sports’ coaches who are threatened) are yelling at the kids to get those goddamned soccer balls off their lawns. And worse, the rightwing fruitcakes have been programmed to believe that soccer is un-American, and many of them go into a rage when they even hear someone talk about the sport, according to ESPN at least. I know most of you not-Americans think we’re nuts, but I’d wager it’s a lot worse than you are imagining.

    Anyhoo, regarding my proposal about EPF judges, perhaps any group of learned photo professionals would come up with essentially the same list. I’m just curious to test that theory by going a bit out of the mainstream for the judges.

    And Jeff, in whatever genre I can think of, I just don’t see a strong correlation between level of difficulty and great art. I see nothing wrong with having a personal preference for work with a high degree of difficulty, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with whether a particular piece will endure.

    I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a professional guitarist after Lou Reed died. He said that Lou wasn’t a virtuoso guitarist. I named a few songs and albums that I thought proved otherwise. The guy replied that pretty much any professional guitarist could play the same notes as Lou did. Reed’s genius was that only he could think to play them that way.

    I think it’s the same with photography. Anyone can point and shoot. Most people, with a lot of practice, can learn to take decisive moment type photographs. But only the great ones can think, or see, to take them in a way that matters.

  10. Only an American…yup, that’s me

    old guys..again, that’s me, unfortunately

    rightwing fruitcakes..I’ve been called this more than once

    soccer is un-American…It is. Soccer is a well-known Communist plot, designed to undermine the morality of American youth and to pollute our precious bodily fluids.

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