Photojournalism is not Dead - it’s Independent
A few years ago someone famously lamented that photojournalism is dead and, yes, with camera phones and expensive flights and Facebook and Twitter being what they are, he had a point. But there have been some promising attempts to bring photojournalists closer to funding. Here’s the latest:
The Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, a five year old initiative from the historic Magnum Photos, aims to fund photo projects independently of any publication or news outlet. Then, after the project is done, they help distribute the work to whichever outlet the photographer chooses.
According to the British Journal of Photography:
The idea is to invest in photographers who have a strong editorial project but little financial backing. Each year, a rolling roster of industry experts is asked to select up to 100 photographers that could benefit from a grant.
After the initial up-to-100 nominees are chosen, ten are given $125,000 to complete their projects. This money, which includes per diem to cover living and everyday expenses, allows the recipients to focus on their work.
That kind of commitment and partnership, according to foundation president Susan Meiselas, is what’s gone missing with the deterioration of the photographer-magazine/newspaper relationship.
Meiselas, quoted by the BJL:
Photographers are not just suffering from a lack of financial support, they also are lacking editorial support. It was quite surprising for me. I think that’s symptomatic of the decline of the market as a partner. Magazines are not editorial partners anymore. In the past, photographers could rely on journalists and editors to help them create narrative structures, for example. They can’t anymore because that support is gone.
FJP: A list of grant recipients can be found in the BJL article. One project I loved by Stephen Ferry, entitled Macondo (for all you Marquez fans out there), reminds me that professional photographers need love as much as the rest of us. Opportunities to help fund individual projects may be found at the foundation’s Kickstarter campaign. Amen to all of that.
(Photo courtesy of Pete Pin, a New York based photographer who wants to cover the Cambodian diaspora throughout the US Northeast.)