am i speaking of the environment??  yes, i am…the environment for creativity….and just like the environment on our fragile planet, the "environment for creativity" is always in fragile balance or imbalance….it can never be taken for granted….and it does not come without a price….it must be garnered , cared for, protected, and otherwise cherished for what it is…it is both a gift to  and a creation of our "self"….let it slip away and it could be lost forever….

in my often helter skelter apparently disorganized way of going through life, i do try to stay totally focused, zeroed in on, nailed to the wall hard,  on this one thing…creative environment…there is no "right way", and surely sometimes  i totally feel that i do it the "hard way"…. but it seems to somehow "work"…barely..

you must find your way….and there is no way that i can tell you what that is….everyone has a different resource for "lighting the fire" inside….the conflict photographers i know are fueled by situations that many people would run away from and a desire to "show" the world the dark side of mankind in an effort the "curb" some of our darkest instincts…..the natural history and landscape photographers i know are fueled by a sense of peace and serenity and often a concern for the fragility of land and wildlife….the purely art photographers i know are fueled by a need to express inner thoughts which are manifested by an ingestion of life experience and an esoteric way of expression ….the humanistic and street photographers that i know are fueled a sense of caring and celebrate the common existence of either the ordinary or the ordinary turned extraordinary by exterior forces not of their choosing….

i have totally oversimplified, but i hope you get my drift….simply put, you should figure out what "fuel" lights your fire, starts your engine…..then fill up your tank and drive very very carefully….or another way to look at it is you start life  with a full bottle of wine….do not spill any on the ground…

right at this moment i am totally exhausted….two years of shooting  and recent weeks of show and book preparation all manifested themselves in my "Living Proof" opening thursday evening….i doubt i will ever have as rewarding an opening ever again….the right venue, my family present, my friends from the "hood" honored, my magnum colleagues and peer artists  giving me "my turn",  and so so many of my students and friends from this forum (including two who flew from spain and one from france)…the night was clearly "the big warm"….it was an "event" rather than a "gallery opening"…as larry towell told me, "it was a happening"…and the few hours of celebratory "joy" was absolutely worth every drop of sweat that went into it….big price…but full value….(check out new "magnum in motion" piece)


but now what??  vacation???  beach time??  family time?? or back to the "drawing board"??? i would say all of those things….in my experience, i think all will lead to a recycling of energy…for without energy none of us can move any of the pieces on the chess board…without focused deep concentration, none of us can do what it is we say we want to do…and yet this effort cannot be forced….there must also be a zen relaxation……a peace….a harmony…..a flow…..serendipity….and a knowledge that you must go with the flow of "nature" and not try to fight it…. and accept this fact…. the road you start on can twist and turn like a rattlesnake , but could end up leading you somewhere so much more interesting than what you expected…

so, protect your creative environment…it is a renewable resource, but you must "harmonize" with your surroundings….amazing, something just happened while i write so so strange and perfect… the perfect song for this mood just came on…bob dylan is  singing "Knocking on Heaven’s Door"…..bob says use your time wisely…..i think i will start right now sticking some new pictures up on the wall…no time like right now to start thinking about the next book!!!

p.s.  it is now 5 hours later from this original post…just posted two new pictures from rooftop ("work in progress")…see what i mean about serendipity!!

30 Responses to “recycling”

  • “the ordinary turned extraordinary by exterior forces not of their choosing…”

    I never thought of it that way. Food for thought, and fuel for pushing my own creative limits… Thank you.

  • You have a way of organizing my thoughts and feelings into words of understanding. Congratulations to you for not only your accomplishments, but for your ability to know your own path. Each day I find a little more fuel that powers my passion within. Thank you for the refill.

  • “protect your creative environment…it is a renewable resource” … i think i am failing to do so…its so depressing…

  • David,
    Thanks for the honest thoughts…you are truly inspiring.

    David Ryder

  • very nice! great to see all the work. The NG article didn’t really do justice to all the material you shot.

  • David,

    Thursday night was an amazing experience. The atmospheres at the show and later at your party combined to create a distinctive evening I won’t ever forget. Thank you for your hospitality.

    Can you share any more thoughts on this quote? “…accept the fact that the road you started on could change into something even better than you thought even though it twisted and turned at times…”

    In C-ville, you gave me a strong opinion of what you thought I should do with my newspaper job. As I prepare to make some changes, a little extra wisdom about the twists and turns evolving into good surprises would be really valuable.

    I’ve been using many of the ideas and approaches you’ve shared with us here, and they work well. Your enthusiasm is contagious.

    Take care,


  • Dave.. thx for a link! I didn’t know it’s already on magnum in motion! :-)

  • Hi David,
    I think you have said something very important here: ‘to protect our creative environment’…which is what I hope to do …..thanks really!:)

  • And yes, I saw the multimedia presentation in Magnum in Motion….it was very enlightening for me..seeing the presentation I also got to know how much dedication and intelligence has gone behind it..really amazing!
    Although I listen to Eminem sometimes, I didn’t have a clue before about the Hip Hop’s wonderful really!

    Warm Regards

  • And yes, I saw the multimedia presentation in Magnum in Motion….it was very enlightening for me..seeing the presentation I also got to know how much dedication and intelligence has gone behind it..really amazing!
    Although I listen to Eminem sometimes, I didn’t have a clue before about the Hip Hop’s wonderful really!

    Warm Regards

  • david: this father’s day (wife and son traveling), im so happy to have seen the Magnum story and Im so happy for you and all those boys and girls, men and women, : a bridging, indeed….

    i’ve posted about it at lightstalkers…



  • David,
    Feliz día de los padres!

    Carlos Rubin

  • A very ambitious project. I would have preferred the exhibition over 72 dpi, but that being said the Magnum in Motion piece made some interesting connections. It’s a fascinating story really, how African culture has come full circle. Many people don’t realize the enormous contribution that Africa has made to western popular music, but it extends much beyond hip hop into nearly every genre. “Contribution” isn’t really the right word, either. “Foundation” is perhaps more appropriate, as everything that came after the blues was inevitably built upon it. The other connection that I found really interesting was the fact that hip hop follows in the tradition of the blues in that it was born out of oppression and serves as a type of protest.
    I’d be interested in knowing what facets of the project were realized in Barcelona as I am here doing a project on a different group of musicians.

  • Finally magnum in motion features some of your work, I’ve been waiting. I enjoyed the piece, it’s nice to see that the format is extending beyond a simple slide show with audio, although I like those too. I wish there would have been more photos though, especially from senegal. The light was amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing more multimedia presentations of your work. Any plans to put more of your hip hop work on display on the web for those of us who can’t make it to NY for the exibition?

  • Hi David, your post it’s great, lately i am working on my creativity, there were some years that I have been without creativity, without the energy that burn the brain and the soul, fortunately i have uncovered this book “the artist’s way – Julia Cameron” and i am changing my life … slowly with attention, but i am changing and i am burn my soul with positive energy.

  • Thanks, your advices are always an inspiration for me.

  • Hi David,

    Loved the Magnum slide show. Great stuff. I wish I could have made it to the opening.

  • David,
    I liked very much the Magnum piece.It will be very nice if your book comes with a dvd showing the magnum piece. When I see you and listen to what you have to say about this project, I appreciate the pictures more and in many different ways.

    Carlos Rubin

  • David – thanks again for the hospitality and inspiration – good group, if you’re interested in impressions of Look3 and David’s show, the article and links to galleries can be found here:

  • Hey, David. Great evening last week–exhibit, party, hospitality. Thanks for everything!

    Party pictures:

    I think the best way to recharge one’s creative batteries is undertake a big new project. Anything is better than feeling unmoored (but do squeeze in a few days at the beach first).

  • Thursday night was a great party especially at the Kibbutz meeting some of the people featured on the blog including Lance, Marie, etc and of course Ruckus. A really communal moment.

    Some pics from the night :

    It was refreshing to find so many of David’s former students in the same quandary, with one foot in photography and another in a “day job” or commercial work that pays the bills.

    All were galvanized upon attending a workshop from David into jumping more seriously to doing personal projects and pushing their work forward from the obvious and the tried.

    At times I imagine David as a modern day Brothers Grimm character, the Pied Piper on a crusade luring the next generation into the mysterious, dancing portal of discovery and rapture from which one may never return quite the same.

  • David,
    it’s a shame I could not make it for your exhibition, but i know there was a representation from Sicily, with Lana and Renaud.

    But i went to see your essay on Magnum inMotion: fantastic!
    Much better than what appeared on NG magazine! and I love the way you mixed still images with footage, and comments!

    take care

  • You can appreciate the character of a person by the quality and goodness of the friends around him. David, I have just met you but can say that all of the wonderful and varied people at your party in your home are a testament to the goodness in you. Thanks for the images, inspiration, and congeniality.

    Hope to see a New York workshop listing soon.

  • david alan harvey


    well, the guy with the guitar is my nephew josh….hard rocker his whole life!! i do not know the rapper, but i will find out…

    many thanks for the pictures…i will see that josh gets a print and the other guy too if i can find him….

  • david alan harvey

    praveen and preston…

    many many thanks for the photos…totally appreciated….it definitely does look like we had a nice time!!!

  • david alan harvey


    honestly, what you see on magnum in motion is pretty much all the work that i have…give or take a very few pictures….in all the time that i spent shooting hiphop the pictures were few and far between….very hard subject to shoot….i was trying to key off of the lyrics, not just show rappers rapping….a guy with a mike is a guy with a mike, no matter how famous….i had to look for other things which made this one of the most difficult stories ever for me…but also one of the most rewarding….

  • if josh and/or the rapper want higher res… just lemme know.. great times all the way around..

    praveen… i owe you an email!!!!!!!

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