BJP's May 2016 edition: Shooting on Assignment

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“Last month we launched a new-look BJP, promising an ‘undesigned’ approach, more pages, expanded Agenda, Projects, Intelligence and Technology sections, and more insights from the people who commission photography,” writes Diane Smyth, editor of the May issue. Available to order now.
“This month we’ve made good on all four commitments, and in particular on the latter, by devoting features to work made on assignment – be that fashion advertising and editorial, a corporate commission, or a series produced on a residency. In the Intelligence section we’ve followed up by asking two collectives how they fund documentary work, and the editor of Rough Trade’s new magazine about her approach to images.
“In doing so we hope to reflect some of the wealth of this kind of work, whether it’s fully financially supported or just guaranteed a home once it’s made. Many of the projects that gain kudos in contemporary photography are self-assigned, personal projects self-funded by photographers who then bear the brunt of placing it, but it doesn’t have to be like that. And working on commission doesn’t have to mean selling out either.
“In fact, in the right hands, it seems, quite the opposite can be true, that those commissioning work can be actively seeking out, and pushing, creativity. Kenzo’s creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon say they want individuals with a strong personal vision because “if we didn’t let their style come through, then we would take the pictures ourselves”, for example. And photographer Klaus Pichler, says assignments help push your practice, because ‘when you are doing personal projects, you tend to stay in your own boundaries, you do what you are capable of,’ he says.”