Cover by Mikhael Subotzky, from the series Deep Hanging
Vice has teamed up with Magnum Photos for its latest annual Photography Issue, which is dedicated to social documentary and features work by new and established photographers from Europe, Africa, the US, Asia and the Middle East.
The issue comes with a choice of two covers, one by Dru Donovan from her series Positions Taken (featued below) and another by Mikhael Subotzky, pictured above. The publication is Vice’s seventh photography annual, but the first produced in partnership with Magnum.
In an introduction to the issue, Magnum creative director Gideon Jacobs and Vice photo editor Matthew Leifheit describe it as a showcase of photographers whose work lies “at the crossroads between photojournalism and art”.
Marmarilo Dreams by Carmen Catuti, which documents a new found interest in the Georgian Orthodox Church among Georgian youths who are turning away from Christianity
“We live in a world where millions of images are being made between the moment you started this sentence and the moment you’ll finish it. There’s an anxiety in professional photography over this new glut of pictures—a fear that all these shareable, disappearing images of daily life somehow devalue the medium. But the truth is that this documentary practice has long been part of the photographic tradition,” they write.
“[Featured artists’] approaches are diverse, but they share a knack for capturing the images that exist as resonant frequencies among the cacophony. Their pictures, about their hometowns, how we inhabit our homes, the silent presence of our political leaders, the lived experience of state violence, are illustrations of the enduring power of using a camera to understand the stories of our lives,” they add.
Our NHS, by Lewis Khan
As editor Bruno Bayley noted in a press release announcing the partnership, Vice has been commissioning Magnum photographers for its print and online publications for several years. The issue features both Magnum and non-Magnum photographers, as well as artists supported by the Magnum Foundation, a scheme which provides mentoring, grants and fellowships to emerging photographers.
Featured work is diverse, provocative and sometimes harrowing, documenting crime, conflict, addiction, inequality and religion, as well as local communities and daily life in remote locations. Lewis Khan’s Our NHS (pictured above) documents the NHS’ legacy and uncertain future, while Alec Soth’s There’s No Place Like Nome captures the unique identity of the Alaskan town of Nome—a place Soth says he has been “haunted by” since travelling there to photograph it for a magazine following the murder of a young girl.
There’s No Place Like Nome, by Alec Soth
Subotzky and Lindokuhle Sobekwa’s Deep Hanging project offers a compelling and at times harrowing look at life in South Africa: Subotzky’s smashed and distorted images question the ethics of documentary photography, while Sobekwa’s black-and-white shots capture poverty and nyaope addiction in townships.
Grey Hutton’s Night Rooms, Al Zana, Gaza project captures bedrooms which have been reduced to rubble in Gaza:
Peter Van Agtmael documents his family and home life in Maryland:
And Donovan’s Positions Taken, featuring young men from The Bronx, recreates their encounters with NYPD:
There’s also an extract from a new photo book by Chris Shaw documenting the Sandy Hill Estate, on the borders of Hampshire:
Plus photography from Magnum’s archives:
Eve Arnold, School for Nonviolence, 1960. The image on the left documents activists being trained not to react to provocation in a civil strike. On the right are Arnold’s notes about the project, dated May 24 1960.
And work by Magnum Foundation photographers Pete Pin, Olga Kravets, Shehab Uddin, Pedro Silveira, Tanya Habjouqa and Poulomi Basu, which ranges from series exploring the oppression of African communities in Brazil, to the lives of pavement dwellers in Dhaka.
It’s a powerful selection of images, and for Magnum, a great way to showcase its wealth of social documentary and reportage imagery, while also promoting its Foundation scheme. The issue offers a compelling look at different cultures, communities and social issues around the world, and given Vice’s increasing focus on serious news content and investigative reporting alongside its more light hearted features, social documentary seems a fitting choice of theme.
You can see more work featured in the Photo Issue here.