08 / 09 / 2009
He is certainly the most senior member of this year festival. David Burnett talks about his life as an experienced photojournalist. His exhibition is a series of pictures taken during the anti Shah demonstrations in Iran in 1979.
David starts photography at school, at the age of 16. He first takes sports pictures and sends them to local newspaper. This experience makes him decide right away to become a photographer.
When I ask him what gave him the strenght to keep on doing this job after all these years, he declares:
"It's still fun to take a good picture. Your feet have to be at the right place. There's still an excitment. When I am sent abroad and when the plane is coming down, I can't help but to feel butterflies in my stomach as if it was something totally new."
Indeed, David has been traveling to more than 75 countries and was published in the major photography and general interest magazines in the U.S and Europe.
In 1976 he co-founded Contact Press Images.
David likes to specify that every story covered leads to a different satisfaction, that every story has some positive sides and one should always look for them.
As for his report in Iran, the one photograph that is stuck in his mind is that of a man picking up his tea cup. This picture represent a lot of efforts David made to get in the room. When the man sat down, every body got quiet. It was a very intense moment.
I ask David what advice he would give to a young photographer these days.
The first thing is to become familiar with the new digital media. Secondly David insists on saying that young photographers don't have to go very far away, to Afghanistan or Irak, to take a good picture. The most beautiful pictures you can take are where you live. This is what agencies are interested in.
"You can only take a good photo of something you well know."