A curated online gallery space for fine art photography, we have no bins…
“Houses on the beach at Dauphin Island, AL, where the Katrina storm blew dozens of houses off the elevated pilings which held them, ruined most of the rest which remained. Here, what was once a house on the beach, is now just the piling supports, and because of the storm, the beach itself is now 30 meters further out than before the storm.” D.B.
David Burnett is a well-known and well-respected photojournalist whose work has covered more than four decades. The variety and scope of his work is impressive. His unique style and eye make his photographs memorable. He is a photographer with a carefully chosen bag of cameras who transforms his photographs into memorable visions.
Please take a moment to view and pause with his work to see what a photographer can create.
Rfotofolio is pleased to introduce the first our interviews with David Burnett.
Please tell us about yourself and how you started your career in photography?
I began shooting in high school (age 16) in Salt Lake City, working for the annual “Yearbook” - photographing sports, the various clubs, and making candid pictures around school. I was mesmerized as were many of my friends by the magic of seeing a white piece of photo paper turn into a photograph in the Dektol, and the excitement of seeing that happen has never diminished, even though I don’t do lab work anymore, and use digital cameras for a good deal of my work. I began selling pictures by the time I was 17, working for local newspapers, and it was seeing my pictures in print which made me want to be a magazine photographer.
What photographers have inspired you?
There is a long list of great photographers, and it includes, from the early days: Robert Capa, David Douglas Duncan (his book, Yankee Nomad really made me understand the world was ours to explore), Cartier-Bresson who could take the simplest non-event and make a stunning image of it, Eisenstadt who proved that you can always make a good picture. Later, I met Larry Burrows in Vietnam shortly before he was killed, but I loved the self-assurance and understanding of his subjects which he showed. Erich Salomon, the master of the Ermanox who took pictures in ways no one had before. He really helped to invent photojournalism. I wonder, in fact, if today’s young photographers take the time and trouble to see beyond the current generation, and understand more of who the great photojournalists were of the last 75 years. I worry that the self-congratulatory aspect of digital (wow! Look! I just took a picture, and now I’m looking at it!!) clouds the view of young photographers, who I believe could learn a great deal by spending some time seeing what the great masters of the craft did with simple cameras, and a personal vision.
What do you look for as you are composing your images. You use a variety of cameras in different formats, can you share why you chose to photograph this way?
It is very intuitive. I don’t really ‘calculate’ it so much as just ‘feeling’ it…what seems like it might be right. You try to make a choice, you look thru the finder, and some times it works, and mostly it doesn’t and you have to go back to square one and rethink it. Much of what we do is very intuitive, you have to feel it in your gut. It is something you can’t really teach, although I think you can be taught to be smart and tough on yourself. In the end, that is what makes photographers good photographers: an ability to keep seeing in places where most people see very little.
How did the series “Aftermath” come up and how does one prepare for that kind of project?
I was assigned three months after the hurricane by National Geographic to photograph the results of the destruction for a big story on the changing world of hurricanes/storms. I took my digi cameras and my 4×5 Speed Graphic. Shooting film was something few people in the magazine world do these days, but I wanted to have the chance, the opportunity to use the big camera if it seemed like the moment was right. And I was happy that every picture in the final story was a 4×5. It seemed at the time to carry a bit more weight than the 35mm pictures, and for me it was the kind of pictures which take a little longer to shoot (the camera is awfully slow) but you end up making sure that the picture you want is the picture you get. Preparation: I was happy to have had the researchers from Nat Geo find locations and people to give me a good start, and once I was there, I was able to expand on that information — there is nothing like being on the spot — and find picture situations which seemed to work with the story.
Did you photograph any of the aftermath of Sandy?
I ended up doing a lot of politics last year, and did not do much on Sandy, which I regret that I didn’t make more time for doing so. But you can’t photograph everything. You have to make choices.
“Hadi returned to his ruined house, torn apart when Katrina’s storm surge breached the 17th Street Canal levee last August, and found his seven year old son’s dress clothes. “I hung them there to show how quickly life can change.” D.B.
Herbert Gettridge and his wife raised nine children in this house, which he built with his own hands in 1953. A year ago Katrina filled the house to the ceiling, ruining Gettridge’s extensive wardrobe – scores of suits, dozens of hats, closets of accessories. But the house, built solid, suffered no structural damage, just a broken window-pane, and Gettridge, now 82, is steadily rehabilitating it. D.B.
A lone Ford Mustang, near the 17th st canal, covered in sand after the levees broke. D.B.
A church pew in the Lower 9th Ward, covered in mud. D.B.
After the storm passed through New Orleans, these glasses and cups remained on the kitchen counter of a house. D.B.
To see more of David Burnett’s work please visit his site. David Burnett
David thank you for sharing your work.
More to come…
“As architectural photographer I am always impressed how light and space work together.
Sometimes they create a wonderful atmosphere that you feel comfortable and safe.
Sometimes they create a new space, a new architecture which inspires you and stays in your memory.
I like to photograph that nonexistent architecture which is there for a limited time and comes back in another form at another time…” Danica Kus
Architects: Herzog & de Meuron.
To see more of Danica work please visit her site. www.danicakus.com
To read our interview with Danica O.Kus please visit “Capture of Light and Space”
“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.” Walker Evens
“The summation of life is a compilation of the roads taken or not.” Harold Feinstein
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ― W.B. Yeats
“The woods were made for the hunters of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.”
Rfotofolio wishes to thank all the photographers that shared their work. Thank you France Scully Osterman for your time in this endevour. We know it was not an easy task.
Thoughts from France Scully Osterman on her choice of winning photograph,”Persona / Anima Series #1 ” by Annette Fournet.
“This body of work is good on so many levels. It’s an interesting idea which is well crafted; the selection of images are balanced with the choice and execution of technique. While the two layered images at first seem disparate, the choice of delicate subject matter and subtle colors are carefully matched. In the first (front) image, petals are thoughtfully arranged. The viewer is then transported through to a second image which is a portrait. Focus is on the front image with the secondary image is slightly softened, which gives the feeling that the portrait comes from another era. Not all beauty is literal or superficial. This beauty is both ethereal and compelling, demanding that the viewer learn more about this image and this artist’s work.”
“ This series is based on the expression of the persona (external projection of self) and the anima (inner soul). I believe that the perception of beauty is based on these elements of personality“. Annette Fournet, 2013
Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
Currently, I live and teach photography in Memphis, TN. I have also lived in New York, NY; New Orleans, LA; San Diego, CA; Lincoln NE; and Beaumont, TX. The last 20 summers I have lived and photographed in Eastern Europe. I’ve exhibited in seven countries, including the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.
How did you get started photography?
At age seven I took possession of my parents Baby Brownie until they realized that I was taking the film to be developed at the local drugstore, and charging it to their account. I bought my first SLR in high school. My boyfriend’s father was a doctor so I learned to develop film and print in his x-ray lab. I knew then that I wanted to go to an art school and study photography.
Which photographers and other artists work do you admire?
The Symbolist painters, Josef Sudek, Josef Koudelka, Graciela Iturbide, Clarence John Laughlin.
And what about their work inspires you?
The symbolist painters were a misogynist lot, but I admire their determination to reject 19th century middle class reality in favor of exploring the mystical, spiritual, esoteric essence of a person or thing over the actuality of the thing itself. Sudek, Iturbide, and Laughlin share that ability to make magical and metaphorical images. I love Koudelka’s strong compositions, especially in his panoramic landscapes from the Black Triangle Series.
When did you start to develop a personal style?
I think that you can’t really develop a personal style until you understand all of the psychological and emotional motivations that drive the concept of your work. This occurred after graduate school during the disintegration of my first marriage. I was photographing scenes of renovation and deconstruction in Europe and realized that I was essentially making images about the end of my marriage. This led to “Domestic Decay” a body of work I made in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee in the late 1980’s.
Please tell us about your process and what the perfect day of photography is for you.
A perfect day of photography is driving alone, on back roads, discovering and photographing unexpected things on a journey from one village to another in Eastern Europe.
What challenges do you face as a photographer?
I teach five or six classes a semester so finding time for the darkroom is my biggest challenge.
With the rapid changes in how people make and view a photograph, how do you view this time in the history of photography?
At the moment we seem to be caught between two movements. One dictated by the art scene that seems to eschew black and white photography in favor of large color images usually portraits, and at the other end of the spectrum is what appears to be a movement by photographers themselves, reacting to or against technology. There is a resurgence of alternative processes, use of toy cameras, instagram, and other forms of cell phone photography.
How do you overcome a creative block?
I try to break up my routine by giving myself assignments, such as making images using a certain piece of music as the inspiration, or following sounds in a city to find images.
How does your art affect the way you see the world?
I think it goes the other way around, the way I see the world affects the way I make art. I see so much that is disappearing, especially in Eastern Europe where things remained relatively unchanged for forty years behind the Iron Curtain and changed so quickly after the Velvet Revolution.
Is there another type of photography or subject matter you would like tackle?
I would like to photograph in Asia, particularly in Japan. I also want to work with a panoramic camera.
Where can we see your work? Would you like to share any upcoming projects?
My webpage is aefournet.com. My silver gelatin prints can be seen in the Joseph Bellows Gallery in La Jolla, CA; Thomas Deans Gallery in Atlanta, GA; and Afterimage Gallery in Dallas, TX.
Thank you Annette for sharing your work.
To see more please visit her website at afournet.com .