Magazines were once the principal and perhaps most sought after outlet for working photographers and photojournalists. Even today, most photographer resumes feature a large (and sometimes ridiculously extensive) list of ‘client’ publications that have featured the their work.
But the realities of a fading magazine landscape – a fading that is creative, intellectual, informative, journalistic and financial, has compelled many to turn to their own resources and resourcefulness to bring to life important and compelling stories. Magazine will remain a source of making hard money, but frankly, I suspect that they will not be important as the final destination of a working photographer’s ideas and aspirations. Getting a double-page spread in a famous American weekly journal will not be the ‘trophy’ that we once considered it to be.
A photographer who is bravely, creatively and interestingly staking out his own path is Balazs Gardi with his Facing Water Crisis Project.
A member of VII Network, I met Balazs in Dubai earlier in 2009 and was impressed with his independent spirit and confident belief in his own ideas. I also found it refreshing that he was not a self-absorbed, narcissistic blow hard gushing about himself and his work. Qualities that would however be quite reasonable for someone who is a multiple World Press Photo winner amongst other achievements.
Check out the project website and explore how a photographer is charting new grounds, aware of the risks, but determined to have his say, and to speak to issues at a level of complexity and engagement that a magazine format and most magazine editor’s attention span will just not allow.