Saw Dave Harvey the other week, at GPP in Dubai. We’ve known each other for a long time, but, as is typical amongst traveling shooters, we hadn’t seen each other for several years. Maybe it’s just the way of photographers, we’re close in spirit, if almost never in flesh. We picked back up like we had seen each other yesterday, recalling immediately a legendarily drunken, depressed conversation we gather occurred between the two of us at least 22 or so years ago. It was at a bar in a sad Days Inn in upstate NY, spitting distance from Eddie Adams’ barn, and Dave and I commiserated and bitched about the business at hand. Everything sucked, everything was getting worse, there were no assignments, and the magazines we worked for were going down the tubes.
The collective memory of that conversation was immediate, and we both laughed. As Dave said, “Twenty years later. Still standing!”
Dave’s still standing, but he’s hardly standing around. He has embraced the internet as a publication of choice, and built an audience for his ongoing blogs and Instagrams. He believes fiercely in the mentoring process, having been fiercely mentored himself by the legendary Rich Clarkson at the Topeka Capitol Journal. He launched Burn Magazine, an “evolving journal for emerging photographers,” which offers funding and grants for new work. And he creates award winning, limited edition books of his own efforts, combining his ever prescient sense of the moment with various technologies from the Iphone to rangefinders to point and shoot cameras. His sprawling imagination and wonderful sense of light have merged into the digital world in fine fashion.
When we both grew up photographically (though the notion of either of us being grown ups is the subject of debate in some quarters) the interface, the structure we had to plug our pictures into were magazines. We had to wait by the phone, and hopefully it would ring. An assignment would be born, and our pictures then offered up to the judgement and whims of others. Later, sometimes much later, the fruits of our labors would be seen in print. So it went, for many years. Now, of course, the pictorial conversation is quite immediate, with the gap between the click and the delivery down to literally seconds. I’ve been a photog for many years, shooting all manner of film and pixels. Probably the most viewed photo I’ve ever shot was an Instagram I made a couple weeks ago from atop the Burj Khalifa. It was everywhere, literally, before I even climbed back down the tower. We live in a fast world, and now, our pictures keep pace with it.
Dave’s digital conversations, via his Instagrams, are also quite immediate, and personal. His recent posts have been prompted by the death of his mother, Maryanna. He commemorated her in a picture, naturally.
His posts harked back, for me, to the death of my mom, which I wrote about a bit. I disclosed that I knew I would never see her again, so during my last visit, I made a photo. She died while I was in Singapore. That’s the life of a photographer. Sometimes you’re not there for some of it.
Dave continues to update from the gathering of the Harvey clan, and the celebration of his mother’s life. My heart goes out to him, and his family.
Photographers. Sometimes we can’t find the words. But we can, most of the time, find a picture.