Life Force

Life Force magazine is a free, online, monthly reportage magazine which celebrates the art-form of the photo-essay. Started in 2011 it is sponsored by what it describes as “The quality British national newspaper, the Telegraph”, a publication I view with few positive feelings.

The paper, often referred to as ‘The Torygraph’ generally represents the views of the Conservative Party and its owners, the Barclay Brothers, reclusive British businessmen who also own the Ritz Hotel and much else. The tax affairs of the various companies they own have often been questioned and they are attempting, according to residents, to take over the Channel Island of Sark (they own around a third of it and have a castle on Brecqhou, an island a few yards away from the mainland which is part of Sark.)

But Life Force seems to be untainted by all of that. Its title an obvious reference to Life Magazine, it also gets in the name of the most famous British picture magazine on its front page where it states:

“It has been described as the “Picture Post of the 21st Century” – a photo-led magazine that explores the world and the human condition through the narrative use of photography.”

In its issues it has published some fine photography, living up to its “vision” to

use photo-essays to entertain and enlighten whilst at the same time never missing an opportunity to speak out for those in need or without a voice ”  and reflecting its  statement “We don’t believe in voyeurism or in the exploitation of those less fortunate than ourselves.

The title Life Force also refers to the kind of content it publishes, photo-essays that “capture life by observing and recording fleeting moments of human energy that are about hope, strength and optimism, despite perhaps adversity.”  It also reflects the desire that many photojournalists have – including its editor Damian Bird – to “empower those that figure in our photography.”

It really has published a great deal of fine photography – and you can still see the previous issued back to the start in Jan 2011 (click on the menu item  ‘*This month’s photo-essays* to see the content.) The list of contributors is impressive, with links to their web sites.

The October 2013 issue contains Greg Marinovich‘s Dead Zone, The Last Samurai by David James, Kashmir by Ami Vitale, editor Damian Bird‘s Camp Afghanistan,  Ladakh India by Kalpana Chatterjee, Senegalese Cotton by Sean Hawkey, Myanmar by Catherine Karnow, 21 Days in China by Raymond Gehman, Andrew Gehman‘s Mason-Dixon Line, an interview (with some of his portraits) with Terry O’Neil and work taken by David Eustace as a part of the advertising campaign for the Lumix G6.

All the essays are worth a look, though I found those by Marinovich, James, Vitale and Hawkey of most interest.  You can also possibly sign up for a monthly newsletter giving details of each new issue, though I’m not sure if this worked when I tried it.

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