Photography Collectives

An off-shoot of the Barcelona-based collective RUIDO Photo, 7.7 is a photo project that calls into question the idea of photo projects, calling for instead for a different kind of story-telling, and for a “photography of proximity and profundity, a photography where the stories that are told contain all the hues found in this world we live in.” 7.7’s critical and political manifesto is clearly designed to shake the viewer out his or her complacency, and the stories collected on the site, effective and moving photo documentaries, achieve the goal. 7.7 has also initiated a photo contest, inviting like-minded photographers to submit work for publication and for a 2000 euro prize.

Aevum is the showcase for a collective of clearly passionate and committed young photographers, supporting each other’s work and making a case for a “visceral and visual” mode of expression. The site offers slideshows from Aevum’s cast of six international photographers, organized under the headings “projects” and “features.” The work shown here reflects the obvious commitment this group has to working with the emotional and intellectual power of photography.

Alphabet Project
Two normally unrelated concepts, photography and the alphabet, have been brought together in this unusual and clever yearlong photographic challenge. There are 26 photographers from around the world, each one of whose name begins with one of the letters of the alphabet. The photographers each propose a theme or a task to the group, one based on their letter of the alphabet (“A” is for Alternative Accommodation). The 26 members have posted their photographic interpretations of the themes to the website and the result is a fascinating game of “variations on a theme” that can be viewed at this permanent online exhibition.

Boreal Collective
Canada’s Boreal Collective pursues stories that reveal the uncomfortable realities on the peripheries of the mainstream, such as: what is really happening on Indian reservations, the price we pay for resource extraction, and the direct consequences of climate change on people’s daily lives. Boreal members may come from varied backgrounds, but they have a common concern for unexamined, over-looked, and yet totally compelling stories.

Burn Magazine
Burn founder and Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey’s online photo magazine/journal comes across as a rousing call to creativity directed at the best of the next generation of working photographers. A showcase for the work emerging photographers, Burn is also the realization of Harvey’s work as a teacher and mentor. He “curates” the content in Burn’s ever changing pages, a collection of photo essays (that sometimes include a soundtrack) and individual images. Much of this work seems to come out of the many workshops Harvey leads, and his remarks to students and to the group show up with along with the thoughtful comments and constructive criticism of peers. Burn is the reflection of an intense love for and commitment to photography on the part of its founder and those whose work makes it onto the site.

The collected work of a group of young Romanian photographers, Camera80 is an excellent showcase of up and coming talents that deserve to be seen. The site offers a large selection of horizontal scroll “exhibitions” from different photographers, giving us a range of perspectives. There are links to each artist’s homepage, and although the site is not fully translated into English, the blog page is loaded with news of exhibitions, festivals, events and calls for submissions from all over the world, and much of that is in English.

The Documentography collective’s 5 photojournalists may work out of the Europe and Brazil, but their areas of interest are large and varied. The group’s archive shows a penchant for the stories of outsiders and the unsung in South America, Europe and Africa.

Expiration Notice
Here is something fresh and new: a venue for photographers over 35, a demographic clearly underserved by the “emerging photographer” support system. Expiration Notice’s curators have created a space for artists with an important body of work but who fall outside the strict definitions of “emerging” and “established.” Set up as a monthly blog, the site acts as a gallery for those who “have the quality goods long denied the glory of the glossy magazines or gleaming white gallery walls.” Although a lack of financial support forced this site to cease publication in 2009, this is still an excellent archive of work that might not otherwise have found an audience.

Fundacion ph15
The Argentine photo collective Ph15 believes in the power of art and education to help open up the lives of teens from impoverished neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. By helping teens to express their creative natures and depict their own experience through the medium of photography, The Fondacion’s workshops impart experience that empowers students to move beyond the confines of their circumstances. Founded with a mission to build social inclusion through art, ph15 includes students in the entire process of creating and displaying images, and makes a point of exhibiting their work both in international galleries and local venues. Some of the impressive results of this decade long experiment can be seen in the gallery section of the site. 

Gaia Photos
The photographers of Gaia have two missions: get their photos seen by a wider audience, and on a grander scale, help the people of the world see each other and the state of the planet. Gaia photographers are typically established freelance photojournalists and hail from all over the world. They post stories that reflect local issues that, taken together, present a portrait of our times. There is some fascinating stuff here.

Humble Arts Foundation
Humble Arts Foundation is an interesting non-profit group that aims to promote the work of emerging fine-art photographers with exhibition and publishing opportunities, limited-edition print sales, twice–annual artists grants, and educational programming. Their semi-annual publication, The Collectors Guide To Emerging Photography, which sports a deceptive “user’s manual” sort of design, is a substantial guide to up and coming talents. The source book is distributed to collectors, art dealers, gallery directors, photo editors, museum professionals, independent curators, and bloggers!


Iluminado Vidas, Fotografia Moçambicana 1950-2001
This site documents a traveling exhibition that offered up something rare to western eyes: a view of the rich tradition of reportage photography in Mozambique. This project was created to help Mozambique, and indeed the world, re-discover this nation’s important photographic tradition. Led by the country’s most renowned veteran photographer, Ricardo Rangel, the exhibition showcased the next generation of great documentarians continuing in the Mozambican line. The website features the photographer’s biographies and personal statements – fascinating - as well as a sampling of images from the exhibition. 

International League of Conservation Photographers
A group of established and deeply committed wildlife photographers have come together to translate the facts of conservation science into the sort of arresting images that create change. Founded in 2003, the ILCP is clearly a focused and effective organization that pairs the talents of many of the world’s most recognized conservation photographer/activists with that of scientists, environmental groups, policy makers and governments. ILCP describes itself as project-driven, and indeed the site presents many ongoing initiatives that aim to address urgent environmental conservation situations, such as R.A.V.E. or Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition, where a multi-disciplinary team including a large contingent of photographers moves into an environmentally threatened zone to quickly assess and record the situation. The League’s site is seriously professional and includes slideshows and audio excerpts of interviews and featured photographers that all underline the vital importance of this work. 

Iris PhotoCollective
Founded by four prize-winning veterans of newspaper photojournalism, Iris is a catalogue of their work “exploring and documenting the relationships of people of color to the world.” From their perspectives as artists of color, the PhotoCollective members question assumptions implicit in portrayals of people of color all over the world and their work reflects a mature and independent-minded view of photojournalism. Galleries on the site feature local and international stories and represent the personal interests of each of the members. Exceptional and uncompromising work from established photojournalists.  

Lay Flat
This is a clever name for an elegant publication that concerns itself with fine art photography and writing on the subject. Curated by Shane Lavalette, who works with a co-curator for each bi-annual issue, Lay Flat is produced in a portfolio format that features 20 unbound photographs from international artists and includes printed text in the form of poems, interviews, and essays. The site offers links to all the participating photographers and writer’s sites, as well as information about ordering. Photographers and writers from around the world are invited to submit their work to be considered for future publications.

Luceo Images
A group of emerging photographers that have put together a sharp looking site that promotes the strengths of their diverse styles and interests. Luceo offers documentary, portraiture, and commercial photography as well as new media production on an assignment basis.

Majority World
This organization makes the point that what is generally known as the developing world and/or the global south is in fact the majority world and that their view of what happens there is rarely broadcast. Majority World provides a platform for indigenous photographers to present their work and place for media outlets and collectors to find the “insider” view of southern hemisphere issues. In a world dominated by the northern point of view, this site offers fresh perspectives.

Metro Collective 
Metro Collective describes itself as an international coalition of independent photographers, and to judge by the slide shows, this group is united by the high quality of their work, as well as a humanistic approach to their subjects. Metro’s site showcases the group’s documentary features, some truly superb work, which reflects the membership’s far-flung nature and its wide range of concerns. Metro’s blog page includes news of exhibitions and awards, as well as journal entries and candid photos from collective members on assignment. As odd as the idea of a collective of independents may sound, their works hangs together like a well curated show.

A collective of ambitious young photographers use this blog space as a way to share their developing projects. With its members posting from all over the world, MJR exhibits some very high quality photojournalism from a group that has justifiable confidence in their work, seeing themselves as the “next great wave of image makers.” Members post weekly, observing the world around them, and commenting on each other’s work. This may indeed be a place to see the next big thing.

Moment Agency 
A collectively owned agency out of Stockholm, Moment brings together eight photojournalists with much experience in press photography and a broad assortment of assignment and personal features in their galleries. 

Noor Agency 
It may be a recent arrival on the international photo scene, but Amsterdam’s Noor Agency, a cooperative of established and award-winning international photojournalists, has fashioned a powerful collective vision from its individual parts. Looking through the features, collective projects and multi-media galleries on the Noor site, there is a clear set of common values: a sort of photojournalist-as-activist emphasis on exploring difficult and perhaps under-reported stories because they should be seen and known. Noor members are a prolific bunch, so there is a lot to look at here including “tearsheets” from print articles and a long list of books published individually and collectively by Noor photographers, as well as multi-media features that look to the future of documentary photography.  

Panos Pictures
Representing a number of independent photojournalists worldwide, London-based photo agency Panos Pictures prides itself on getting in-depth local stories, even under difficult circumstances. The emphasis here is on documenting issues and areas of the world that seem to go under the radar of the general media, and Panos’ galleries display an intriguing collection of features, often told from unusual perspectives.  

Piece of Cake
This group of European photo artists gives the impression of belonging to a club that anyone would want to join, as they seem to have such a good time together. In fact, Piece of Cake was founded with the intention to allow young photographers to interact and support each other as they make and disseminate their work. While the website is clearly meant to gain valuable exposure for the photographers (the home page features a gallery for each member), POC’s Workshops & Events page features pictures of the collective meeting for group exhibitions and workshops all over Europe, clearly enjoying themselves. It’s good to see evidence of online communities bringing their collective work to the real world.

Turning their disillusionment with current press photography into an active platform for their own visions, the young, U.K.-based Statement collective offers photo essays and videos that, so far, seem to cover events from the ground up.

Terra Project Photographers
An Italian Collective of documentary photographers interested in “the creation of group reportage characterized by a carefully refined stylistic uniformity.” While the group often mines the rich stories suggested by life in contemporary Italy, there are a growing number of international issues in their repertoire, and the collective’s work has been published and exhibited widely. 

This is a Photo Blog 
No, it’s more than photo blog, it’s a thematic challenge that this group of young photographers sets for each other. Members challenge one another with “assignments,” offering a theme and guidelines for their colleagues, who then post their photographic responses. Of course, this is also an excellent alternative venue for these artists, who’s professional sites are all listed on the home page. A simple and clever concept, this blog is surprisingly entertaining and offers the viewer a reason to return. 

Trikaya Photos
A dynamic group of international photographers based in India have created this collective showcase for documentary photo essays, many of which investigate the intersection of religion and culture, and the effects of the accelerating pace of change in contemporary India. Working in a cooperative fashion, Trikaya photographers follow their own interests, taking only commissions that allow them to explore a subject with their own vision and on their own terms. Trikaya’s substantial archive is a multi-faceted investigation of the fascinating complexities of modern India.

Playfully but aptly named, Webistan is a Paris-based photo agency founded by Middle Eastern photographers whose images provide a distinct cultural point of view on the international stories they cover. Webistan’s home page features the agency’s latest stories, news and podcasts.