One Project, Four Presentations: Sea Change by Michael Marten

Photographer Michael Marten’s project about tidal landscapes across the British coastline was published recently on The Guardian’s website with an interactive presentation where the viewer uses a slider to quickly move between the two photographs of the same scene. This web presentation sits in interesting contrast to the way the photos are presented on Marten’s own website, in a more traditional ‘side by side’ diptych. (I can’t link directly to the presentation, but visit the site to see for yourself). Further, the project is also being shown as an exhibition at gallery@oxo in London, is available as a video animation on his site and is being published in book form. This makes an interesting case-study of different presentations of the same photographic project.


I’m not sure if this is the greatest project to show off this web “technology” (or should I say “technique”) but I think it is an interesting example of how photography can be presented on the web in ways that would be very difficult to do in other media. Certainly difficult in anything approaching mass media. I’d be curious to see this applied to some of the numerous ‘re-photography’ projects done by photojournalists around the world. Like John Stanmayer’s “Tsunami Revisited” or Jim Marshall’s “Sarajevo 1996/2011″.

I haven’t seen the gallery show nor the book, but I think that even despite the novelty of this web trick (which perhaps undermines the ‘fine art’ nature of the project) it is probably the best way to share the essence of the project about the widely ranging landscapes underneath British tides. The immediacy of the web presentation at The Guardian is my favorite way to interact with this project. Though the time-lapse video animation on his site is also pretty interesting, with a four-hour view of the same scene featuring many people and vessels wandering the scene. What do you think?

(thanks to Michael Bowring for showing me this)

Dirty Season: a group project by new Serbian photojournalism collective Kamerades

Kamerades is a new collective of photojournalists based in Belgrade who have come together to help develop independent photography in Serbia and to work on group projects documenting contemporary stories. They are currently working together to photograph the Serbian presidential and parliamentary elections, which will take place on Sunday May 6, 2012. These six photographers are contributing their own hard-edged and sardonic vision of the Serbian electoral process and how it reflects Serbian society. They call the project “Dirty Season”.

I think it is an important step for this group and Serbian photography in general to work on such collective projects, with financial support, and to have a community of like-minded photographers working together to get photographs published in their own voice. It is not easy, especially not here, but I admire their energy and efforts. With this in mind I had a few questions for the Kamerades crew about their formation and backgrounds. Given the timeliness of their new project with the elections this week, I chose not to show a portfolio of their work but this current electoral group project which I am so excited about. It is an incredible portrait of Serbia during this election cycle.

Kamerades is Saša Čolić, Nemanja Jovanović, Milovan Milenković, Nemanja Pančić, Marko Risović and Marko Rupena. As a group they regularly post to the Kamerades Blog including updates to the Election story, which they present without captions or credits.

So how did this group of photographers come together? Where did you meet?

Jovanovic: Marko Risovic, Milovan Milenkovic and I participated in a photography lecture supported by World Press Photo back in 2009. That was the first time that we showed some of our work to a group of people larger than three. I was swept by Marko [Risovic]’s Legionnaire story for example and one thing led to another. Milovan suggested that we meet and talk about doing “something” for Serbian photography, even if it means taking only baby steps. After two years of meeting in various pubs and places that would be too generous to call restaurants, speaking and inviting over 20 people to join us, this is what came out of it.

Pancic: Milovan Milenkovic and Nemanja Jovanovic initiated the idea that after our work when we have free time, we can meet at the pub and discuss our work. At first point it brought together a large number of photographers, but over the time there were six of us remained and those were the most persistent ones. During this period, which lasted some two years, we have become a collective. It’s started to affect in a positive way to all of us as photographers, but we also became close friends. In the end we decided to launch a website that allowed us to show our work to the public.

What backgrounds as photographers do you have? Freelance, agencies, newspapers?

Jovanovic: Probably every possible background you can think of! In Serbia, you don’t get a paycheck doing and specializing in only one kind of photography.

Risovic: All of the guys in Kamerades collective were working for Media outlets at some point. At the moment few of us are trying to freelance. In Serbia. Can you imagine?

Pancic: Some of us are working in the agencies, some try to be freelancers, and some in the press.

Was there a moment when this group came together and decided that it was time to work collectively? What was it? What gave you guys the idea to work together?

Jovanovic: Yes. The idea was not so clear in the beginning, but it was there all along. From start we were determined to “push each other forward” and to try to do what we like for no other reason. No money, no awards, fame or glory were important, only escaping our everyday routine which included participating in the inevitable decline of journalism, photojournalism and photography in Serbia. The collective came as a logical solution.

Risovic: Being colleagues, working next to each other for years, we were silent witnesses of degradation of photojournalism in Serbia. We realized that sitting and despairing doesn’t lead us anywhere. So, we decided to pursue some action, and besides hanging around, talking and drinking in the pubs, we tried to be constructive. As Nemanja said before, it was a process, but it was clear from the very beginning that we all have common goal.

How did the website come together? What are you hoping to accomplish with the website (that is, to sell work? to share pictures? promoting yourselves, promoting Serbia, just looking bad-ass, etc.)? Where did the design and logo come from?

Jovanovic: It took some time. We are not experienced in that kind of stuff, so we were learning the basics, step by step. We were lucky enough to be 6 people with completely different interests, knowledge, personalities, approach in photography, but we somehow clicked perfectly together, and it resulted in the fact everybody got their part of job. Mostly Sasha who whipped and pissed off rest of us (or, took the piss out of the rest of us), and Milovan who did logo and design details after approximately nine million e-mails and discussions about the same issue. Also, we had a lot of help from friends, like our colleague Darko Stanimirovic who did the website. A lot of people gave different advices, Matt Lutton among them [ed: happy to help guys!], Donald Weber from VII agency and our friends photographers, designers and editors from Serbia and abroad.

Selling our work is every photographer’s job of course, but with this portfolio we mostly seek attention and hope to sell something in the future, maybe to get some assignments that would suit our style/wishes. And looking cool is one of the goals, of course! We are pretty much terrible musicians and we couldn’t be rock stars, so we took cameras. Chicks love it!

Pancic: As I said before, the website has come as a result of our meetings during the past two years. One idea that keeps us together is that we want to show our work to world around us, we believe that as a collective we have a better chance to get more publicity and through joint actions provide us new projects. Logo design came from a smart push by Milovan Milenkovic, multitalented and good looking guy.

Risovic: Basic thing that bothered us from the beginning was the fact that when you simply google documentary photography and Serbia together, you don’t get any of the serious websites with representative work. There are great documentary photographers and photojournalists in Serbia. Believe us! We hope to change this with our website. And to look badass, it goes well with the fame.
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Upcoming – VII’s free online Visual Journey Seminars

VII have just announced a series of 5 free, online seminars with member photographers: the Visual Journey Seminars. The first of these will feature Seamus Murphy–one of my favorites,check out his website–speaking with Brian Storm of MediaStorm about his past work and recent videos for PJ Harvey. Other seminars, scheduled for 2012, will feature Ron Haviv (previously interviewed on dvafoto), Jessica Dimmock, Venetia Dearden, and Christopher Morris (also previously interviewed on dvafoto).

Though the seminars are free, space is restricted to those who RSVP prior to the seminars.