|16 Dec 2005|
Balance. We all need a little balance in our lives, I certainly know that I could use a bit more. Just a little something to help find that ultimate point of equality between the personal and the political, family and work. With so much happening at EI8HT – the launch of HOST gallery in London, a new issue in the making, four nominations for national magazine design awards and generally a busy and exciting time in photography – it is easy to forget the other more important side of life. That’s the side depicted above, family. And so how, you may ask, do 88 pages of photojournalism help determine my balance or yours for that matter?
It would be simplistic, crass even, to reduce all the stories in this issue down to one theme just to fit my opening letter, so I won’t. If you look at the stories contained on these pages however, you will notice the pendulum swinging between extremes. Along the Essex coastline the environment is captured in apparent harmony, man’s imprint left on nature suggests a stasis of existence. In a more decisive sense the photographs from Gaza represent a symmetry created by departure and arrival, where momentarily scores are settled. In this small area of land it is hard to tell from these events which way things will go following such a pivotal moment. Out of the bleak but beautiful landscape of Greenland comes Sabine, a cold and hard story of survival fuelled by desire and love. On other pages the postcards we have designed for this issue, “sent” to us from “tyrannical” regimes around the world, seem to reject fundamental journalistic traditions of balanced reporting.
I may wax lyrically about the underlying meaning in EI8HT’s images but there is no hiding from the brutal, the shameful and the tragic message in many of our stories. Nowhere is this more evident than in the experience of the people as shown in Cruel Sea. If this is our society coping with equality then I am truly ashamed. The sheer ugliness of it overshadows our golden sunset. Depending on your disposition, photojournalists may or may not make a pretty picture, but the images are there for you to determine your own level of acceptability.