Foto8 Archive

Traditionally at this time of year newspapers and the media go back over the year, printing or reprinting the photographs which they think were the highlights of the year. It’s a practice I’ve seldom found illuminating but I suppose it does take a bit of pressure off and let editors and journalists take a bit of a break at this time of year, though of course events around the world keep on even if they are not reported in depth. And this year perhaps the most important of these events are taking place almost hidden from the press, who largely have to rely on bloggers and those taking part in the uprising in Syria for any information.

© 2010, Peter Marshall
One of my pictures that got into some of the 2010 round-ups

Domestically the two big stories of 2011, so far as the papers etc are concerned, were a wedding and the outbreak of looting and in particular arson in August following the police shooting of Mark Duggan, or more precisely following the police refusal to engage sensibly with the public after that shooting, and the beating of a young woman who questioned them on the street.

There was of course no news about the wedding, an almost entirely predictable circus of little or no consequence. Flames do however make for some dramatic images, and there were many photographers who went to take pictures, often at considerable risk, of the events on our streets. But though I admire them and some of the images that were made, I do perhaps wonder how much these tell us about what was happening and more importantly why it was happening.  Almost certainly there are photographers who have been working on longer-term projects in our inner-cities whose work would cast more light on the issues, but lack the drama and the topicality that would attract the media money.

One publication that since it’s inception has published photo stories that look at issues around the world in greater depth, often printing work that has failed to find other outlets, is Foto8 magazine. I’ve been a subscriber to the magazine since its foundation in 2002, and somewhere around the house have all the 29 issues, which now are published twice a year.  These can now also be read on-line and it is a fine collection.  You can also of course buy the print issues on-line, including the current issue, though at present it does not appear to be possible to become a Foto8 member. Foto8 also has a gallery with regular shows and runs various photography events as well as publishing material on-line.

So if you get bored with looking at similar pictures of the same events in every newspaper and news programme, take a look at the last ten years seen through very different eyes on Foto8, along with some thought-provoking articles about documentary photography.

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