PRIVATE magazine dedicates a special issue, titled “Inquiry”, to 14 photojournalists of VII Agency. Davide Monteleone, Maciek Nabrdalik, Anastasia Taylor-Lind, Donald Weber, Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Tomas van Houtryve, Marcus Bleasdale, Stefano de Luigi, Seamus Murphy, Gary Knight, Ashley Gilbertson, Lynsey Addario, Ed Kashi, Adam Ferguson have accepted to publish on PRIVATE a recent photo essay, and to answer some questions regarding their profession. With this publication, you will travel in several countries of the world, viewing 14 investigations realized with different visual clue.
It’s common to hear photojournalists described as the eyes of the world, acting as witnesses to events that we would otherwise not see. To some extent this is true, but it’s a simplified description that suggests passive observation and it denies the greater function of active investigation that defines great photojournalism. If all we want is a simple description of the world, the human race is equipped with four billion Smartphones (at the latest count) and the daily upload of over 300 million images to Facebook alone would surely satisfy our curiosity. But clearly we hunger for something extra; we want to do more than see the world, we want to understand it. The spirit of inquiry drives the work of VII Photo Agency and informs everything that VII does.
The process of inquiry starts with recognizing that a situation exists, followed by rigorous investigation to reveal the different facets and culminates in the magical transformation of knowledge into image. The diverse visual strategies employed to translate this hard-earned information into photographs are sometimes carefully calculated, sometimes emotionally reactive and sometimes just witty. Each approach tells us something about the inquiry, the images being as much part of the story as the subjects that are photographed.
(by Stephen Mayes Managing Director of VII)