apologies for being slack – things have just been very hectic with little Tor Capa, before he begins nursery.
he’s one year old today – unbelievable.
to illustrate that i have not been entirely out of touch with photo-snappery, here is one from working in ibiza last week..
i will post again soon..
i will..
i will.

no time.. no time..

i’m on maturnity right now.. until tor capa starts nursery during september..
it’s a fantastic time.. very busy as he’s walking at 10 months..
we got back from croatia a couple of weeks ago.. quickly found a beautiful flat on top of a mountain.. settled in.. beate started work again after nearly a year on maternity..
all is well.. just no time to blog.
will try to back date blogs this weekend..
here some photos from the past month or two.

in croatia PT.3

tourism from the italian and german, english and scandinavian parts of europe as well as from within croatia itself is booming in places.

there is antipathy towards some areas of the business.. the all-inclusive resorts with wrist band wearing clients who do little or nothing to feed the local area are reluctantly accepted.

tourism has the potential to be big business here, with so much coastline and crystal clear sea, yet i am told that any profit rarely filters down to people in the form of social benefits or improved infrastructure.

big business has moved in from richer countries and purchased many of the most profitable companies and some people have the opinion that there is little left for the croatians themselves..

i’m trying to say little at this time about discussions i’m having here for the simple reason this is the first week of 5, and in time more will become clear. for now i am just really enjoying the photography, the conversations and seeing where one thing and another will lead me.. easing into it gently.

in croatia PT.2

finding reconstruction in villages and towns is really quite easy – there is a lot of it going on in terms of new housing and development, industry and holiday resorts.. individuals and business moving on.

one of the strangest things i have found in this region is roads-to-nowhere. these grids of high quality roads and pavements have been seen next to minefields and deserted villages… like sprawling suburban or industrial areas, minus the buildings.
some locals allege that corruption is feeding the new construction and conflict of interests benefiting certain individuals.. some say that several new developments are not needed

moving inland, though, the veil of normality is generally thinner.. unable to say much for the time being.. still exploring.. still photographing.. yet some destroyed houses stand alone in villages which were relatively untouched by fighting..

in croatia PT. 1

my family and i are spending 5 weeks in croatia at the moment, undertaking 4 or 5 projects with the intention of forming a 10 years after, (or there about), study – during this year that croatia has again been refused entry to the e.u. due to it’s northern border dispute.

the first project is to investigate and document reconstruction along the old front-line, perhaps working across into bosnia as well, and in doing so i thought it best to start at the beginning.. with the devastation.

there are a string of ghost villages.. uninhabited due to landmines or simply because the damage was well beyond repair and also peripheral areas of villages and towns, particularly small towns, where damage has not been repaired due to funds…

more info later.. whilst actually photographing i would like to learn much more than i now know and research specific geographical areas before saying more.
as interesting as the project is it’s also important for me to respect that the war is still very fresh.. neighbors were fighting neighbors in the region i am currently working.

while photographing as positively as possible i have already been made aware of just how close to the surface the friction is.. with one village in particular taking exception to my working there.

it’s quickly become obvious that treading carefully and negotiating access & conversation very gently is the name of the game, even when photographing something as innocuous as a ruined building..

other developing projects are centering around;
-the youth culture movement and punk, bringing young people around the region back together
-tourism and neo-colonialism, which is a double edged sword i’ll expand upon later
-the northern border dispute which is preventing entry to the e.u. and
-finally the poverty problems in serbia which continue to this day due to sanctions imposed after the war.

constitution day, 17th may..

gratulere med dagen..
17th may is important in the norwegian year – it is the day in 1814 when the countries constitution was settled upon in eidsvoll.
read more about it here.

we had a family day.. here are some snaps..

this year as it turned may 17th norway also celebrated winning the eurovision… alexander ryback came up with a decent violin riff and creamed it.. big congratulations to him..
watch it here if that´s your cup of tea.

observer music monthly

artwork by hans edward hammonds

a good friend and artist, Hans asked myself and my lover beate to pose with our baby boy, Tor Capa, for an exhibition recently..
here is the snap.


final day for entering fresh milk and i just throw my hat in the ring with these.

final day for entering fresh milk and i just throw my hat in the ring with these.


if you have a few hours spare, check this out.. life magazine have put an archive of their photos online in conjunction with google..
enjoy..American troops wading from troop carrier towards shore into German artillery fire on Omaha Beach during D-Day, 6th june 1944 invasion of Normandy.

copyright – time inc.

who’s the daddy?

me.. i’m the daddy.
one month old tomorrow, Tor Capa enjoys fishing, philosophical debate and the music of john mclaughlin as well as The Milk..

it’s a blog love-in…

in the entry before last i posted a story about how the british journal of photography came to be featuring my work in their magazine back in 2002..
i’d been inspired to share it due to some happy coincidences helping one of my students along, and also by the general chatter on road trip.

it seems that someone from the magazine saw it on my blog, (a lightstalkers reader probably), and so the bjp responded by blogging about my blog of the original article, under the title ‘talking about the bjp’.
it is a strange and quietly confidence building happening, which surprises me since the only readers i imagined here were mates and students…
with thanks to olivier laurent…

nachtweys TED wish

doing the business..

showing the ‘venice beach’ work of panos to my class

doing the business.. back in 2002 the british journal of photography carried a cover story about my work, with the cover by-line ’sound and vision’, (a david bowie pun.. i am used to them), and the article title of ‘doing the business’.
here is how it came about..

on a folio day in london, between meetings, i had some free time.. lunchtime.. so i called the bjp on the off chance someone could see me..
at the time i was teaching photography through gallery out-reach projects to community groups and in a school.. some of the students in the school had created good work and i thought if the bjp could give them a page – perhaps the regular ‘end-frame’ back page sponsored by nikon, it would further encourage them.

the features editor was out of the office, in a pub having lunch.. so i wandered off to the pub, sweating and out of breath from the quick rush across from covent garden tube.
bursting into the pub i walked up to the bar and gently interrupted the landlord, who was chatting with a customer..
i asked for the editor by name – did he know him?
he told me he did not and so i walked around the pub searching.. asking at each table.. courteously interrupting all without any joy.

as i went to leave the pub i thanked the landlord with a smile and a wave..
he smiled back and beckoned me over to the bar..
to meet the man i had been seeking..

the features editor of the bjp was the man at the bar, chatting with the landlord, who i had interrupted when first entering the pub.
he now smiled at me, having watched me rush around the lunchtime crowd asking for him by name..

i told him my idea to publish the students work and he recommended i walk back to the office and have a chat with dawn sumner – the main features writer – to see what could be done.
when i arrived back at the office dawn was expecting me and i guess the editor had called ahead from the pub..
they were not interested in the idea of publishing the students work, however she began to ask me about my business… who was i? how did i begin? what was i doing running round london calling up for on-spec meetings?
an appointment was made and a month later i was siting in a cafe with a folio, being interviewed for what, at the time, i still did not know was a cover feature.

my point?
well.. my point is this – now that i am teaching again, the fundamental passions which started me in photography are returning to mind as i watch others become inspired and work.
the technical and practical details – the how-to and the theory behind it is a relatively simple task to get across.. go.. look.. think.. do.. layers.. shapes.. moments.. different angles.. distances..


what is a more difficult confidence to instill is the random nature of nature.. the fact that people want to help.. the way in which the world will turn in the favour of a photographer, if that photographer gets out there and ‘does the business’.
contact leads to contact and idea leads to idea.. the evolution is organic and once the technical details are nailed down, the world can and will reward the photographer who tries to help others.. does their own thing with passion.. and connects with people honestly.

doing the business, to me, is about helping other people do their business.. unexpected rewards add up and become something new over time, and that is more likely than the ‘big break’ many are looking for. be kind to everyone, because you don’t know who anyone is..

unexpected rewards for ‘doing the business’ are what seem to make this business turn.
and good work comes from a random place, harnessed and presented simply.. while the actual full story is most likely anything but simple..

(post inspired by the family at road trip)

it’s a desk.

this is the desk i use at collage, where i teach under grads photography…

i’m showing it to you because over the years stacks of commissions have come from people i have never met.. faceless phone-calls from editors who switch on my imagination with words alone – sometimes only emails..

i imagine where you are.. how you look.. what the desk where your phone sits actually looks like..
so .. for anyone who remotly cares.. here is mine.

going back to my roots, yeah…

when i was 17 i wanted to travel.
i had no money and realized that the only way it was going to happen was through voluntary work, and so i set about finding an organization which could place me in the most remote – the most different – environment possible. i did a TEFL course and through various fund raising and family help, from a town ‘cake and plant sale’ to small donations from friends parents, i gathered the flight money and hit the road in august 1991 aged 18.

aged 18 with strange hair, luding ke rinpoche’s monestary,
manduwala tibetan settlement, india, august 1991
where i ended up was with the kham-lingstan family, exiled from the east of tibet and the most ferocious warriors in the country, this high cast royal clan of around 28 related families attached to a monastery had settled in the north of india.
some of their number had escorted the dalai lama out of the country in 1959 and the elders held a magical energy and power around them.. the result of 2000 years of living cause and effect.. the living embodiment of a philosophy much misunderstood..
i was inspired by this seemingly temporary refugee settlement and returned again and again, despite suffering the crippling illness of dysentery twice, ghardia, and more harsh reminders of mortality than most 18 years olds can testify to.
returning in 1992, 93, 96, 97 and finally, when i was 24, exhibiting the resulting story in london, (helped with sponsorship from photographic companies and my then university, nottingham trent), bought about what i believed to be an end to the project.. which for various reasons *had* to end.. (cont. below)
a former warrior, now village elder with his wife, inherted from his dead brother 1991

a fight during tibetan new year, feb 1992

pilgrimage to tso pema to receive h.h. the dalai lamas blessing, 1992

statues being created for a new temple, 1993

young monks gathered around guavas, 1996

monopoly game at the school-house, 1997

these days of editing my music work form the past 10 years are causing me to drift further back now.. and a search turned up these slides of half a dozen of the framed tibetan photographs.
in a sense these few tell the whole story.. of a tough village.. of a family pilgrimage.. of new buildings and greater permanence to the village and finally of westernization as tibetan culture became fashionable in the mid-late 90’s and rupert murdochs television empire allowed our wealthy wants and needs to filter in.
all of the time, the monks play.. and pray.. and seep into every waking moment, unwittingly lending a unique and gently nurtured understanding of Bodhidharma.

i thought i had finished with the tibetan work once it was printed and exhibited in 98.. although now i am going to re approach my negatives.. some ten years later.. and see what my eyes will notice this time around, in preparation for the web exhibition of the work.

one thing that can be said of shooting compulsively as a young man, while on a quest for ‘adulthood’ and adventure, is that it produces a great deal of work.. which is not only a pleasure to wander back through, but also is a way i am now able to trace my photographic coming-of-age.. the development of a style.. and the shift in my chosen subject matter caused by some tough times.

new blog…

it’s been more than a decade since i first photographed a party and it’s time to get it all ‘down’, as some may say, and present it in a book.

towards that end a new blog now exists.. please visit it.. spend whatever time you have free and contribute a comment if the mood takes you.

competition win – set by david alan harvey UPDATED

only a few posts ago i mentioned a self portrait competition set by ‘magnum’ and ‘national geographic’ photographer david alan harvey.
well.. it seems that i am one of the three lucky winners.

click above

there is now, much to my amusement, a photo of my 35 year old rump posted for all to see on his website.. (screen-grab above)..
better my back-side than my face, perhaps.

david whittled the submissions down from around 170 and then employed fellow magnum photographer chris anderson to choose between 37 short-listed photos.
chris chose the three winners because of,
“their overall photographic quality, sense of humor, and the intelligence that went into them”
however, on first seeing the short list he exclaimed,
‘”…impossible to judge…they are all very interesting…”

congratulations are due to the other prize winners, les (alongside above), and suryo. i’m sure they’re as astonished at winning as i am, given the remarkably high quality of the entries..
the prizes of a print, his latest book and one of his old camera bags, all signed, have been split between us.

i will be receiving the copy of his wonderful ‘divided soul’ book, which curiously enough is exactly what i would have chosen if asked.. i am utterly delighted.. over the moon.
click here to buy the book – i’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in photography or culture... rich in quality and conceived with real passion & energy, this authentic study-over-time shines bright with love and dedication.

© david alan harvey / magnum

many heart-felt thanks to david who continues to amaze with a generosity of spirit which flows smoother than an endless white-russian.. i am indebted for the encouragement, mi amigo ..

UPDATED – august 27th

the book arrived from new york today, and is inscribed;
‘for david bowen.. with respect.. david alan harvey’

fantastic.. thanks david and respect to you.. the book’s an absolute corker.. has already inspired and motivated….

photo selected for new york exhibition UPDATED

new years eve, san francisco, 2001/2

those sharp thinking folks at the photoshelter collection hosted a photo-trade show last weekend in new york city. many big-name photographic companies turned out with their products, accompanied by a fine array of industry experts who gave workshops and lectures to the gathered snappers. the PSC people selected the photo above to accompany others in an exhibition illustrating the range of styles they offer for licensing.

probably the most ethical and photographer-friendly stock house in existence, and with some 115 000 photographers represented, it was a surprising and rare treat to be able to support them.

UPDATE; the photoshelter collection has ceased trading for stock sales and now only operates as a personal library and archive service.

‘festival’ exhibition in derry, ireland

stiff kitten, belfast 2006

‘those lovely smiling derrywans know how to rock with more passion, spirit and craic than anywhere else on earth’
tom middleton 2008

celtronic 2005

celtronic in ireland is a great 5 day event, run by the superb ‘deep fried funk’ promoters, who have become firm friends over the years. they began promoting music events for young people, regardless of religion, history or the war, in 1998.
started the same year that the ‘good friday’ agreement was finally signed and peace began to filter through, they became a new cultural champion, bringing young people from both sides of the river together.
i was really pleased when they asked if i wanted to contribute an exhibition for this years event, to be held at the ‘void gallery’ in the city, because there is not a more brave, ethically minded, kind and warmer bunch of music lovers to be found.
‘happy 10th birthday’ to both the peace process and DFF.. let both grow and nurture derry city for many generations to come.

halloween 2007

between 2004 and the present i have been visiting promoters in derry and belfast for a range of events – the celtronic music festival, the legendary halloween celebrations and individual nights like global virus…
with compelling, energetic and beautifully shapped happenings provided for them, the young people of derry do their city proud when it comes to having fun and respecting each other.

stiff kitten, belfast

the void gallery is a good space.. the look of it lent itself to a multimedia slideshow..
on one wall, photographs taken of events in derry and belfast and on the other a selection from around the world, shot over the past decade.
photos from gigs, afterparties and peripheral activity illustrate how DFF and others have helped to move derry and the north of ireland progressivly forward, both musically and socially, to a point where their small part of europe is one of the most hospitable, well humoured and lively to be found. the world-wide work was intended to show derry alongside party goers in estonia.. bulgaria.. india.. south amercia.. the balkans.. and many more countries, all enjoying the same, unified and unifying culture.. the world bought together by the newly globalised nature of youth culture.

sandino’s, derry 2005

i’ve previously blogged DFF events here for xlr8r magazine, here and here.
a past belfast entry is here
july has been a great month for DFF dj’s, with well deserved gigs in croatia at the garden festival and serbia for exit – more power too them.

dawn, leaving afterparty 2004