David Alan Harvey and a True Story…

Headon for blog.

There is no doubt about it…. Magnum sure knows how to pick them…

I am simply in awe of the recent work by David Alan Harvey that is on display at The Australian Centre for Photography as part of the ubiquitous Head On Photo Festival currently underway in Sydney. 

The last time I have seen any photography that has affected me like this was when Trent Parke’s opus ‘Minutes to Midnight’ was on display in the same space. Something that is perhaps not so surprising as I believe that Parke and Harvey share something of the same values…

Without wanting to sound like one of the many emerging photographers that Harvey mentors world wide I stood before the photograph ‘Nightswim’ and was simply dumbstruck by its brilliance….

I found I breathed the same air of that darkened humid coast and pondered the relationship of the people that were mere specks on the horizon. I felt that the revelation of what was exposed in that mere split second that it takes to frame and adjust a photograph was overwhelming with its implications…from the resonances of  the uncertainty yet feeling of impending joy of my teenage years, through to my sadnesses and losses of my mature years it revealed itself to me like a Herman Hesse novel. Not complex language, but with each single visual cue amalgamating to create such emotion… raw, passionate and real…

Rothko’s work has always had the same affect on me…A search for spiritual meaning rooted firmly to the ground of physical being…

The rest of the Harvey’s work was classic Harvey… with the complex intertwining of people and elements and perfect compositions…the people in the foreground, mid ground and background each doing their own thing yet somehow falling under the gaze of the one ever discerning familial head’s eye…

But thats what happens in a Harvey photograph… everyone becomes part of his complex family of humanity with their own paths and relationships…their divergences and their cohesions…the pictures are a fine metaphor for what he has created in real life with the magazine Burn and all of the characters that has unleashed…

Perhaps though the greatest sign of a real master comes from his smaller prints on the back wall of the gallery…I am not sure whether they are galley proofs for a book but for me it showed that Harvey struggles with his art as much as any newbie photographer trying to figure out the formal elements of composition and to hit the button at the right time… 

That struggle has a great humility about it…to know such a reknown artist still has to push at the boundaries to take it to ‘the next step’ gives me real faith in the future of photography…and an insight into the mind of a man who seems to be able to see it all at the moment it burns…

DAVID ALAN HARVEYBased on a True Story at The Australian Centre for Photography…Absolutely not to be missed!

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Comments
20 Responses to “David Alan Harvey and a True Story…”
  1. Eliane da Silva says:

    This is not so true sorry to tell you. Capa to MacCurry to Harvey Magnum permits setup fotos from this fotografers. I know because I live in Rio and have saw it. Payed models in this “perfect compositions.”

    • pjhoggers says:

      Eliane, I am not sure whether you can verify your concerns but I am going to call on David Alan Harvey so he has a chance to reply…

    • “Mrs Da Silva!
      Good God lady!!!!
      , no offense here but before you clearly ACCUSE anyone about anything plz do a home research..
      “living in Rio as u claim,
      do does not make u an expert on Magnum affairs , or Nat Geo affairs..”

      So now let’s go straight into your SOUR GRAPES , demeaning unfounded hater comment above..
      You insisted that “magnum”!!??? paid models ( Geezus Christ ) for Rio!!!????!!!..
      Listen Amiga: 1) David was working on his personal vision book and NatGeo story ( why blasting Magnum???)
      2) I’m really laughing at your ignorance and pure jealousy writing this post.. DAH does NOT need me or anyone defending him but since i followed Rio closely I’ll tell u this.. Check CNN .. The main photo on CNN of the girl kissing a guy “actor” as you “reveal” in your “investigation” mrs Sherlock Holmes :) ( yes yes pun intended ).. Well that “paid actor” is my good friend Lance that volunteered to help David in Rio and the “actress” is another great friend which is a DOCTOR btw and not a model …
      I can go on and on explaing to you …but mrs E, before you TRASH someone/anyone ( individual or even Magnum agency as you just blasted ) please please think twice before you post , but you made me laugh so hard with your poisonous ignorance that I forgive you
      ….
      ( and remember just because I live in Athens Greece does not mean I’m the Expert on Athenian matters, so stop acting like you’re the mayor of RIO , the absolute authority)
      ps: I’m hope you’re not a judge or a cop coz then I feel sorry for your future victims.. Plz re-tune your judgments .. Your “guitar” and voice is totally out if tune and nobody needs that!
      Love u !!!”
      Panos

  2. Onur Ka says:

    For those who know me will know what i mean when i say “HaHa”…

    Before talking and contextualising images created by photographers I would love to talk about “Becoming a Master Photographer” and “Being made a Master photographer”…

  3. mw says:

    Umm. the title of the work is “Based on a True Story,” key part for those with reading comprehension issues is “Based on.” Its making was extensively documented in Harvey’s “Rio” blog. No hidden mysteries about how it was made or its relationship to “truth.”

  4. Elian de Silva

    what in the world did you see?

    i paid no models for the photography you see from Rio..

    Now my unpaid assistants (volunteers) who worked with me everyday were definitely subjects for some of my work…key muses in the (based on a true story) novella set with Rio as the backdrop…they are for sure a key part of this book…i list them in the back of the book as “characters”…

    the backdrop of the Rio you see was shot mostly for NatGeo and i would be fired immediately if i set up pictures with paid models…..i have shot 40 stories for NatGeo and have a clean reputation in the business…again, i am not sure what you saw or what you think you saw, but an allegation like that needs substantiation….

    so??

    cheers, david

  5. Test test, check 1, 2… Check 1,2… Testing

  6. Checking microphone .. Test 1,2.. Check 1, 2… Check.. Check ( clearing throat tapping mic sound).. Sound check .. Ok wait for me..

  7. Mrs Da Silva!
    Good lady , no offense here but before you clearly ACCUSE anyone about anything plz do a home research..
    “living in Rio as u claim,
    do does not make u an expert on Magnum affairs , or Nat Geo affairs..”

    So now let’s go straight into your SOUR GRAPES , demeaning unfounded hater comment above..
    You insisted that “magnum”!!??? paid models ( Geezus Christ ) for Rio!!!????!!!..
    Listen Amiga: 1) David was working on his personal vision book and NatGeo story ( why blasting Magnum???)
    2) I’m really laughing at your ignorance and pure jealousy writing this post.. DAH does NOT need me or anyone defending him but since i followed Rio closely I’ll tell u this.. Check CNN .. The main photo on CNN of the girl kissing a guy “actor” as you “reveal” in your “investigation” mrs Sherlock Holmes :) ( yes yes pun intended ).. Well that “paid actor” is my good friend Lance that volunteered to help David in Rio and the “actress” is another great friend which is a DOCTOR btw and not a model …
    I can go on and on explaing to you …but mrs E, before you TRASH someone/anyone ( individual or even Magnum agency as you just blasted ) please please think twice before you post , but you made me laugh so hard with your poisonous ignorance that I forgive you
    ….
    ( and remember just because I live in Athens Greece does not mean I’m the Expert on Athenian matters, so stop acting like you’re the mayor of RIO , the absolute authority)
    ps: I’m hope you’re not a judge or a cop coz then I feel sorry for your future victims.. Plz re-tune your judgments .. Your “guitar” and voice is totally out if tune and nobody needs that!
    Love u !!!

  8. mw says:

    I’m late getting back to this and see David has already answered your question. It’s just insane to question whether David Alan Harvey would hire a model to fake an editorial shoot. That just shows a monumental ignorance of the history of photojournalism and David’s place in it. On the other hand, were he to hire models for something like “Based on a True Story,” there would be nothing wrong with that whatsoever. It’s all about the labeling. It was no secret whatsoever that some of the Rio photos featured his friends and assistants. Nor was it any secret that the photos of the gunmen in the favelas were real. I was mistaken when I said above that there was no mystery. No, the work has plenty of mystery. That’s one of it’s strengths. But unethical secrets about paying models to fake editorial? No.

    • pjhoggers says:

      mw…I hope you are not accusing me of editorial ignorance? If you check my bonafides you will know that I can list two cover stories for TIME Magazine and work for the New York Times as well as The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times etc etc in my resume… I do know a thing or two about editorial work and I would consider David as a friend…

      I also realise it is insane NOT to question anyone that has had such a damaging and libellous comment levelled at them and NOT give them the right of reply (as all well trained journalists and photojournalists know is absolutely fundamental to their job) Leaping to David’s defence without questioning him merely shows a bias and a gross negligence in trying to establish facts… and while it would indeed seem extremely out of character for David to fudge anything and indeed ‘Nightswim’, in my mind and rather long experience of seeing photos, would seem impossible to fabricate, stranger things have happened…

      I have asked Mr/Mrs/Ms Da Silva to verify their statement… one would assume if its just mere trolling then they will never be heard of again… but in a democratic society everyone has a right to their say… whether they can corroborate that or not is another thing…

      • mw says:

        Was I accusing you of editorial ignorance? I don’t think so. But you seem to be accusing me of jumping to his defense without doing any research. Quite the contrary. David’s Rio project is something I have researched quite thoroughly and I am quite comfortable with the facts. And this was not difficult research. You could have easily checked the story before publishing it on your site or doing your bleg. The idea that competing claims are due equivalence without any kind of relationship to the facts is a tragic misunderstanding of journalism 101. Everyone has a right to their say, but every one does not have a right to have their obvious bullshit taken seriously, much less to have it published without any fact checking.

        One should do one’s fact checking before publishing libelous claims, not after. Now those spurious accusations will live forever in Google.

      • pjhoggers says:

        No I wasn’t accusing you of rushing to David’s defence without doing your research… you obviously follow David Alan Harvey’s adventures ardently.

        I had a serious allegation raised on this blog and I needed David to reply to it and by giving his version of events ultimately refuting it. He has done. I am still waiting to hear from Eliane Da Silva but like anything else she/he needs to corroborate their evidence. Her/his silence in this matter indicates they are not prepared to do that. The discerning mind can draw their own conclusions from that.

        A journalist simply has to take it seriously when they hear someone has an eyewitness account as Eliane Da Silva has unequivocally stated.

        I simply don’t have time to research everything anyone puts out there and while I know David is a superstar to emerging photographers I am not privy to what he does all the time. I have not followed his blog about Rio at all because I have had my own projects to work on and other concerns to deal with.

        The quickest way to address this issue was to allow David to refute the claims in his own words. He has done.

        If your idea of journalism 101 is to only publish one side of the story because it involves a famous person when someone unknown claims they have an eyewitness account of something they may or may not have done then good luck with your future in the industry. May I suggest that Fox News is now recruiting…

  9. Roberta Tavares says:

    Eliane da Silva..

    I was reluctant to jump in the discussion and extend this comment session around your point , cause seems that your opinion shared here was create in such superficial, poisoning, shallow, vagrant way, so distant of truth and far from what everyone knows about David Alan Harvey as professional. It seemed ridiculous to give you some attention and part of my time, when all I did when I’ve read your lines was to laugh.
    But I came to apologize to you, cause I understood I was being harsh, once it must not be your fault such ignorant statement. You mustn’t have understood at all, you must’ve gotten confused and jumped on precipitated conclusions. Anyway, hope we can help you in this one ;

    Eliane, I was working as David’s fixer during the production of this book . 24 hours and all the crew , almost a family, living intensively together. I was really close all the process , so you hardly could find another opinion more accurate with the truths behind the scenes.
    David took photographs of me, my sister, his digital assistant, other assistants and other girls and friends. We were part of his days and this novella, but nobody was a paid model. THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS BOOK IS THAT IT IS A PERSONAL STORY. David photographed his friends for sure but just as muses, as friends, AND ANYBODY WHO GOES TO http://www.theriobook,com can see exactly how it was. No secrets at all. Just jump there and you’ll have the answers you need

    Photographers throughout history have photographed their friends: Sally Mann, Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Duane Michaels, Jock Sturges, Nicholas Nixon, Imogene Cunningham, Edward Steichen, Robert Frank etc etc etc…on and on and on… I don’t think photographing friends should be in the same category as “paid models” Besides of that , the title (based on a true story) right off indicates this essay is PERSONAL…not intended as a story on RIO. The word RIO is not even in the book!!!

    And Eliane…not just me, but all cariocas they are so happy with this book… I hope you will too being from Rio yourself , after you understands it better and have a copy to appreciate it . Anyway, send me an email at roberta_prod@yahoo.com.br and I bet David will be happy to sit down , to talk, and to give you a copy when he’s in Rio again.

  10. DAH made it all very clear from the beginning and all the way through as the book was being made. The entire process was open for everyone to see and is still right there on the net. He was hanging out with friends in Rio, taking pictures of them as well as people on the street. That’s what he does – it’s the very essence of his work. He records what happens around him and includes friends and family and what is more beautiful than that?

    • pjhoggers says:

      Jenny David has stated his case…I wouldn’t have published Eliane Da Silva’s comment except for the fact she/he/it expressed the fact they actually witnessed something first hand.

      Just because a lot of the photography world follows David’s every movement doesn’t mean everybody in this world does.

      I have no idea what was even behind the Rio book so I came to the work for the first time at the Australian Center for Photography. Other than that I don’t really give a rats what the process to arrive at the photos on the wall was… I didn’t get a chance to hear David’s talk and I haven’t been following his blog as I have had more important things to deal with.

      As for the amount of defence David needs in this matter, I asked him to comment on the accusation he has and if there is no proof for the accusation forthcoming then we can simply dismiss Eliane Da Silva as a troll.

      It was just such a shocking thing to say I believed it needed to be addressed directly by David. He has done so, so no-one need continue with this unless I receive evidence its true. Which is just improbable really…

  11. Okay, thanks a lot Lisa.

    Well said, MW. It is always important to check the facts.

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