David Burnett

The Reportage Team would like to officially announce world-renowned American photojournalist and co-founder of the New York agency Contact Press Images photographer David Burnett as one of Reportage Festival’s international guests in 2013. Burnett who has been listed by American Photo as one of the 100 most important people in photography, is renowned for his work from the Iranian revolution amongst other projects from his extensive collection. David will open two inaugural exhibitions of his work in Australia for the 2013 Reportage Festival, ‘Soul Rebel: An Intimate Portrait of Bob Marley’ at The Blender Gallery from May 23 to June 22, 2013 and ‘The Presidents: From JFK to Obama’ at The Australian Centre for Photography from June 1 until August 18, 2013.

David will be also be holding talks and seminars during the Festival. More information and program details to be released in the weeks to come!

The following work is a selection from Burnett’s work in Iran ’44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World’ with a selection of David’s work on Bob Marley featuring a portrait of Peter Tosh.


David Burnett – 44 Days:  Iran and the Remaking of the World

“When I arrived in Tehran on Christmas 1978, I suspected there might be a story lurking under the surface. I’d heard on BBC radio  reports of civil unrest, protests against the Shah, and thought that it was worth exploring.  I had no idea that I was walking into a tempest which became the beginning of the Islamic revolutions throughout the Middle East.   Twenty five years of the the Shah’s rule had, in the end, created a gap between the social and religious classes which was now unfolding on the Tehran streets.  Protests were huge (sometimes a million people), gunfire was often present, and the politization of of the demonstrations and funerals began to rock the city.  It was a time before the internet, before cell phones, before computers.  Finding out  what was happening just blocks away was challenging, yet somehow we in the press managed to get to where news was breaking.  We shipped our film out of the country by the good will of departing airline passengers.  We sometimes had to listen to our short wave radios to find out what was  going on just a few minutes’ walk away.  It was one of the last big “old journalism” stories.  There was no telling in the morning what that day would bring, and the most important thing we could do as the eyes of the world was to show up, and document what we saw.   I shot the Iranian Revolution on Kodachrome and Tri-x :  the simplest tools available to a photographer.   Photography remains the single greatest force for story telling, and the days of the Revolution in Iran, the departure of the Shah, the return of Ayatollah Khomeini,  remind us once more of the simple, direct power of the photograph.”

– David Burnett


The Reportage Team

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