Saline, Michigan 1978 - In 1978 my wife and I bought our first house in the small town of South Lyon, Michigan, about 15 miles north of Ann Arbor where we worked, and thus began my photographic exploration of the culture and events in my new town, and other small towns around Ann Arbor. Both South Lyon and Saline, a town south of Ann Arbor, were considered "horse towns", with many farms dedicated to breeding and training horses for the racing venues in southeastern Michigan and equestrian teams at the schools. For two years 1978-79 I photographed at the rodeos and horse shows in the two towns. I've posted some of those photos on social media over the last few years, but this is one not seen by anyone until just this past month.
This photo owes much of its inspiration to The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. At the time I shot it I was in Lublin to attend the 2017 Eastreet photo festival. The Polish city is filled with numerous parks, many of which offer beautiful scenery, so in my mind, the walk back to my hotel presented another chance to capture something interesting. I walked through a park, absorbing the night scents and sounds. That was when I was drawn by the harsh caw of what sounded like a crow; to my amazement, there were hundreds of crows sitting in the trees. Crows are not known for the beauty of their song, but in my ears it was a mesmerizing sound which made “my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore”. Without any hesitation, I started taking multiple photos but, due to the low light conditions, I had to use slow shutter speed, thus transforming the moving birds into something entirely different from what my eyes saw. Interestingly, I went back to the park the following night at approximately the same time – however, the birds did not offer me a second go at it. - Lukas Vasilkos
Our Photo of the Month as voted by Burn My Eye members is by Gustavo Minas. Here's what Gustavo Has to say about this image.
"This photo was taken in Centro Havana last January. Even after night falls, Cubans spend a lot of time in public spaces, so one can photograph all day. Streets feel very safe too. I was focusing on the 2 kids in the background when the blurred boy showed up and made the photo for me. Although I'm always trying to have control over the images and scenes, the unexpected is still what I love most about photography. "
"I was in Havana a month or so after our esteemed new member Gustavo Minas visited the city, producing his own fine work as the city was experiencing uncharacteristically cloudy weather. When I arrived in late February, however, the strong Caribbean sun had returned, casting strong rays down the streets and lighting the vivid colors of the rundown buildings. It was almost distracting, as anyone who had photographed in Cuba can attest.
I probably should have been heading east on the crowded shopping street in Old Havana that day, but east lay the harbor and west my destination, so west I went, wincing into the afternoon sun. I paused when I saw the man leaning against the wall at the end of a saber of light along a duo-tone pastel wall, the reflections of sunlit passersby flitting behind him on the green glass of the recessed door. His grey hair and coral shirt matched the ornate wall perfectly, and the light caught his face whenever he turned his head to look up the street. He seemed to be waiting for someone, peering periodically at his watch and rubbing his neck, causing his arm to continue the stab of light down his body. He glanced at me, saw that both my lens and my uncovered eye were fixed on the wall, and continued to ignore me as I shot a few frames and walked on, into the light."
I haven’t been to this village fair for some years as I hardly shot in the place where I live any more. I thought that photographs like this, depicting local customs et al. belong to some previous photographic life of mine. But you are never really through with a place, especially if you live in it. Having nothing better to do, that Monday morning after the Greek Orthodox Easter, I remembered that a small religious procession of an icon that takes place every year the same day, and off I went. I didn't shoot much but this picture, despite all its little flaws, made my outing worthwhile.
Our photo of the month as voted by BurnMyEye members is by Dimitirs Makrygiannakis.
This is how Dimitris recalls the taking of this photograph.
" I found this old man on the major touristic spot of Prague, Charle's bridge in June 2015. Found this photo looking in my archives recently, almost had forgotten it existed. His face, I don't remember any more. But those eyes stroke me from the very beginning I saw him. After taking the photo and continuing my photo walk, I could not but keep thinking of the greek philosopher Diogenes. A modern Diogenes? A story far more tragic? Every time I look at those eyes, they tell me another story."
This stunner by Barry Talis is our collective's Photo of the Month as voted by all Burn My Eye members.
I found this scene early on a Saturday morning in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, while on my way to meet the participants of one of my workshops. A young man sitting, crying silently, with a red rose by his side.
There was a story in there, one that touched on the most universal themes of love and fate. And while much has been said on these themes, very few have been able to meditate and write about them like poet Rainer Maria Rilke:
"..For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure, and we admire it so because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
Every angel is terrifying.
..Shouldn't this most ancient of sufferings finally grow more fruitful for us? Isn't it time that we lovingly freed ourselves from the beloved and, quivering, endured: as the arrow endures the bowstring's tension, so that gathered in the snap of release it can be more than itself.
For there is no place where we can remain. ..."
Fragment from 'The Duino Elegies', by Rainer Maria Rilke, 1923.