BBC Reports the Rise of Long-Term Projects in Photojournalism

Gemma Padley tried to investigate the rise of personal photo series, which take up to several years to create.

BBC website published a column by journalist Gemma Padley, where she speaks about the new rise of long-term projects in photojournalism: every year there are more and more photographers all over the world, who spend long periods of time on personal photo series, which help to tell stories on a deeper level.

Padley cites Dutch Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen’s project Sochi Project as an example. The work on this project started several years prior to Sochi Olympics.

“If you are a photographer living away from your home country, combining personal work with assignments is one way to fund what you are doing, — says Guy Martin, a photographer from the UK who has been living in Istanbul for the past three years, where he is working on the series City of Dreams. — In some instances, assignments overlap into areas of interest where your own personal project sits. The challenge is to shoot what you need to for the client and then at the same time photograph with a personal vision for your own work.”

Another way to fund personal projects, according to Martin, are contests for grants and scholarships. His work was recently supported by Magnum Emergency Fund.

Slovenian photographer Ciril Jazbec is another success story: his project about the aftermath of climate change in Greenland, which he started in 2013, drew the attention of many media around the world, including National Geographic. Such attention is not only good for reputation, but can also provide you a well-paid job in the future.

“The potential rewards available as a result of investing time and energy into a long-term project are obvious, — the author of the column concludes. — Given the wealth of tools and opportunities available to photographers, it makes sense that many are taking matters into their own hands, shooting work that means something to them, rather than waiting for a commission to come along.”

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Cover photo: Photo from the project by Guy Martin called City of Dreams

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