Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 18 May 2018

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up the focus is on different approaches to visual storytelling.

The first story draws on an article by trans media producer Liza Faktor, which examines the idea of Transjournalism.

Also, tonight in Amsterdam is the launch of NOOR Agency’s project 48 Stories: Mapping the Palestinian diaspora. Along with photographs and films, there is also an interactive web app which will also be unveiled.

What is Transjournalism?

Drowning World – video stills © Gideon Mendel

One of the many benefits of writing a PhD on a contemporary subject like photojournalism in the digital age, is that in researching you read broadly and often discover new voices that are not in the academic realm. I came across this article recently and wanted to share with my readers.

What is Transjournalism? Making the Case for Storytelling Across Diverse Platforms is written by Liza Faktor, trans media producer and co-founder of Screen.  

Faktor provides insights into the different ways that photojournalists in particular are expanding their practice to encompass other forms of visual storytelling and collaborating with other artists working in film, installation art, books and interactive platforms.

She says, “In most cases, the traditional media is simply not equipped to deal with long-form storytelling that incorporates multiple formats and media, instead staying the hostage of its format and self-imposed limitations.” It is therefore necessary to go beyond what you know, and embrace new ways of bringing your stories to an audience.

This article focuses mainly on projects that take years to complete, slow visual journalism that allows the creator/s to immerse themselves in the subject to deliver deep insights in a form that is accessible and engages the viewer.

Some are historical works, like Unframed at Ellis Island (below), a project by French artist JR who re-enacts history using photographs that are more than a century old. In 2014, these archival photographs were pasted on the walls and furniture in the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital where new arrivals deemed unfit to enter the United States, were sent. The Hospital opened in 1902 and treated over 1 million immigrants for serious diseases such as measles, as well as providing maternity care. Unframed at Ellis Island is part of JR’s multi-year project on immigration.

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Another story featured is Gideon Mendel’s epic Drowning World, “a cross-platform documentary that explores the effects of climate change. Spanned across 9 years and 10 countries – the UK, India, Haiti, Pakistan, Australia, Thailand, Nigeria, Germany, the Philippines, and Brazil” – Drowning World is a multi-channel visual installation that shows climate change impacts us all.  

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48 Stories – NOOR

This project was undertaken is in recognition of the events of May 1948, which as NOOR states, “For Israelis marks the creation of the State of Israel. For Palestinians, it marks the Nakba (‘catastrophe’): more than 700.000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes. Today – exactly 70 years later – those 700.000 have exceeded six million.”

Combining still photography, moving image and an interactive Web App, “48 Stories presents the personal stories of Palestinians who witnessed the events and shows where they live today”.

© Kadir van Lohuizen2000: NOOR
Victoria Larach was born in 1938 in Beit Jala, Palestine. She worked for years as a teacher in Palestinian refugee camps in the Middle East. In 1962 she married and moved to San Pedro Sula in Honduras (C) Kadir van Lohuizen

Over two years (2017-2018) seven photographers and filmmakers traversed the globe to document the experience of Palestinians. “48 Stories shows a community whose members, although geographically and socioeconomically diverse, are all tied to the same country, landscape and history.”

“The project documents the memories and everyday lives of Palestinians, both 1948 survivors and their descendants. Many of them live in Gaza, the West Bank or Israel but the vast majority is spread around the world; they are based in (former) refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria or Jordan, have settled in countries like the US, Chile and the Netherlands. They have become shop owners, doctors, political activists or university professors. While they are scattered geographically, they share the hope of one day acquiring the right of return. However, being rooted in new homelands and without any sign of reconciliation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is unlikely that they will ever resettle.”

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Tonight in Amsterdam NOOR will launch 48 Stories at Pakhuis de Zwijger. It’s free but you need to RSVP here. An interactive Web App will also be launched. Join moderator Bertan Selim, photographers Tanya Habjouqa and Kadir van Lohuizen, along with Dr. Ihab Saloul (PS/NL) for an insightful discussion about the project, which was produced by NOOR, the NOOR Foundation, Palestinian and other photographers from the Middle East, designers Kummer & Herrman and Paradox.  

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