Day 3: Magnum Workshop with David Alan Harvey Notes, Video


Just got up my notes for David Alan Harvey’s Magnum Workshop. Check it out and the video presentations/critiques below!


  • Work on a theme.
  • In general,  want to make prints. ** make physical objects.
  • Make audio slide show. Photo magico
  • Want student to change portfolio completely by the end of it.
  • David lecture
  • “Photographers nowadays Must be sophisticated”
  • Tough love critique.
  • Don’t bullshit people.
  • Likes long form essay guy
  • Shoots like anders Peterson, just photos
  • Put self in good places to get good photos
  • Look at bit photography related stuff. Wasn’t influenced by photographers. Liked French photographer, not American.
  • Loved literature, paintings , music.
  • French painters made something from nothing.
  • Be image maker, and have photos in context as theme. Musician puts work into bigger theme.
  • Become “photo essayist”
  • See self as author, not photographer.
  • Composition like writing sentences. You want correct sentence in literature doesn’t say you can write book.
  • Putting photos together most important thing *** (not individual photos)
  • Jorge pinkosov: nice light and shadows for sake of it.
  • Dah not tech guy.
  • David uses one lens, if switches, use for 2 years.
  • Widest lens: 28
  • Long lens: 50
  • One lens: make decision what size canvas you will use. Narrowing decision leads to freedom. Limit is freedom. To much choices will screw up life. Work on one thing. Expand on your canvas.
  • Limiting equipment as liberating, I can dance with beer.
  • Lots of camera and zoom lens , you can’t dance.
  • Best asset: limit.
  • Don’t move around much. Do all photos in one area ***
  • Stay in one place, limit equipment.
  • Digital : easy to be self satisfied quickly by LCD. Biggest error: stop too soon

On working the scene 

  • Film: keep work scene. Digital: think I got it, and stop.
  • ” don’t fucking stop”***
  • Advice and tips
  • Don’t stop short. Squeeze last drop from lemon.
  • Work 14-16 hour days. Put self into 3 scenes, I’ll work scene forever ***
  • Find few good scenes, work it.
  • Don’t walk and look for photos. Don’t waste energy. Stay somewhere until you absolutely nail it. ***
  • Take photo one step further.
  • 8 feet good high jump: if 20 people can jump that high. You want the edge. Jump higher ***
  • Don’t go for “good enough” *** drive car 15th a second faster. A little but better is a whole lot better ***
  • Go for top level photos.
  • Some people have tiny edge. Will get shows, book published.
  • Study the top people.
  • Don’t have standard by Flickr group.
  • Study the masters *** difference between very best photographers. From past and present.
  • Critique compared to the best.
  • Critique , don’t dumb it down *** don’t critique on level of the class. Compare to magnum guys.
  • Not good as your own standards.
  • Don’t just go for “ok”
  • Be better than photos you’ve already seen.
  • Go for better than your own best ***
  • ‘Not worth hanging onto “
  • Town doesn’t matter. ***
  • Gravitate to French impressionist, hcb, Robert frank: you don’t need anything. Just your camera. Abstract painter make up in head.

David critique 

  • Take photos a level beyond”
  • “You can’t be an author unless you have something to say”
  • To become great is a lot of work.
  • Upper level way of photography: do you want to be the best? Or just hobbyist?
  • What do you have to say about the world? ***
  • Cindy Sherman does well.
  • Dwayne michaels
  • Sally man
  • End up looking like your pictures ***
  • Magnum photographers photograph who they are. ***
  • Alex Webb, intellectual approach with people. He and hcb pulls back, doesn’t drink beer with people.
  • Personality must show in photos

Reed critique 

  • If you have 4-5 photos that fit, that good.
  • Diane arbus got soul of people in photos. About her taking a particular photo of a certain person.
  • Need photos that “screams something”. You need hate, sadness, fear, emotion. Extreme blood or death, or go very very quiet and bland and mysterious photos. “You need to go one way or the other. “
  • Jim Goldberg: gets people to write down things on paper.
  • Photos can be esoteric or specific.
  • Don’t “stop short”

Eric kim critique 

  • Make project auto biographical and personal
  • Note to self: don’t share weak photos. Only show the best. ***

Maria critique

  • Establish a color palette.
  • Wedding photographers are good, they need to get the moment. They “cant fuck up”
  • Wedding photographers can’t be lazy, need to go for moment, understand the light. Lots of good photographers from wedding photography. New photojournalist wedding photographers.
  • Old generation: newspaper photographers
  • New generation: wedding photographers
  • If you don’t have discipline yourself all alone in photography with no pressure, you are unusual person to get good photos.
  • You need forced a little bit, a little pressure to make good pictures ***

Eduardo critique 

  • Ultimate goal: make a book ***
  • “You got a good feel for things”
  • “I don’t care what you want to be, art or magazine photographer.”
  • “I can’t be a good teacher if I wasn’t out photographing. I’m constantly publishing books, and helping others publish book. I don’t care what kind of photography you do. I have all types of photography books. I like every type of photography there is, natural history to landscape, to banal photography, to photojournalism. I don’t do every type, you can only do a couple things in other types of photography in life. But I enjoy all kinds.
  •  It doesn’t help to tell you where to go, unless you already have work.


  • Work on something you’re personally connected to! ***
  • “Composing light and shadows, fuck that. Have something to say”***
  • Do one thing for a few days.
  • Do a long photo essay.
  • Working on project
  • Was classically trained, can do studio lighting.
  • Projects depend on mood. Some are classic lit.
  • Some photos are on iPhone, some are on Leica m9.
  • Keep projects simple.
  • “Work the hell out of a scene”***
  • Zen like pressure. Relax have fun, but have pressure **
  • Squeeze personal work from professional work ***

Critique Videos

Day 3: David Alan Harvey on next level photography

Day 3: David Alan Harvey critique for Eric Kim

Day 3: David Alan Harvey Lecture, critique for ann

Presentation Videos

Day 3: David Alan Harvey slideshow

David Alan Harvey Strip Club Contact Sheets