Photography, Expanded is a Magnum Foundation initiative inspiring documentary photographers to expand their storytelling beyond the still image. Through intensive workshops and panel discussions, photographers have been learning about emerging digital tools and methods in order to engage audiences across platforms and mobilize communities around social justice issues.

During Spring-Summer 2014, documentary photographers have taken part in Photography Expanded Labs, with an objective to incorporate interactive and participatory techniques into their own photo and media-based work. Topics and practices explored include data visualization and mapping for photography, image aggregating and authorship, and cross-disciplinary collaboration between media makers.

Check out info and videos from past and upcoming events below.


Photography, Expanded Symposium
Date: Saturday, October 18, 2014
Location: The New School, NYC
Admission: Free and open to the public. RSVP details available soon.

As the media and communications landscape has been upended by rapid technological shifts over the past decade – from social media reporting to smartphonography – documentary photographers are faced with incredible new challenges and opportunities to shape visual storytelling for social impact. Now we must work as not only image-makers, but also curators, community facilitators, platform designers, and collaborators, working with other media producers and NGOs to enact measurable change. Photographers are also adopting emerging digital tools and strategies, while news corporations and indie media startups are moving further into interactive journalism, to produce more immersive and captivating stories. Producing online photo slideshows is no longer enough.

Magnum Foundation presents the Photography, Expanded Symposium as a forum for documentary photographers to come together with mediamakers, journalists, technologists and human rights advocates to get inspired by recent work from the field, learn about new tools and strategies, discuss emerging trends in multimedia journalism, connect with potential project collaborators, and critically evaluate the impact of media toward social change.


Photography, Expanded Lab #3

Creative Innovation and Digital Community: Art & Media on the Brink of Change
Panel: June, 20, 2014 (The Paley Center for Media)
Lab: June 21, 2014 (Parsons The New School for Design)

Documentary filmmakers and photographers who do human rights and crisis work have experienced drastic shifts in a web 3.0 world, which have dramatically enhanced the potential for audience cultivation and community building in the digital terrain. As a demanding digitally-fluent audience increasingly expects connection, transparency, and the opportunity to take action on crises or human rights issues, how should filmmakers and photographers  – and in fact any artist — recalibrate their practice to empower and activate communities through their visual storytelling?  In this interdisciplinary panel, we bring together photographers, filmmakers and cultural workers to investigate the newest intersections of art and activism.

Panelists: Joslyn Barnes, Hank Willis Thomas, Pamela Yates, Nina Berman, and Michael Premo
Moderator: Wendy Levy, Director, New Arts Axis

Participants in the full day workshop gathered to get to know one another, discuss the nature of interdisciplinary collaboration, hear about new tools, approaches and funding opportunities, and share their newest projects—all with an eye towards sparking meaningful creative partnerships with a new posse of filmmakers, photographers, and journalists. Digital Communities was an opportunity to break open participants’ process, begin a new project, inject new perspective into an ongoing challenge, and connect with new partners-in-crime.

Video available shortly!

Photography, Expanded Lab #2
The Story of Data: Visualization, Mapping, and Photography
Panel: April 29, 2014
Lab: May 4, 2014
Aperture Gallery & Bookstore, NYC

From smartphones to city power grids, incredible amounts of data are collected and monitored on a daily basis, transforming the way in which all manner of conditions are understood and managed with real-time, networked systems. How can documentary photographers utilize open data sets from governments and NGOs, geotagging, and locative media platforms to inform, enhance, and reinforce the intent behind their work? How can photographers safely access and share data in lieu of increasing online security threats? How might data visualization and visual mapping techniques help bring viewers, participants, and advocates closer to the issues? In turn, how can photographers measure the impact of their work using data or analytics? In this lab, participating photographers will explore the visual storytelling potential of big data and mapping, learning about digital strategies employed in data science, geography, and development that will support various phases of research, production, and evaluation for their own socially-engaged practice.

Paolo Cirio, artist working in privacy, copyright, and cyber-security issues (Street Ghosts)
Harlo Holmes, mobile developer at The Guardian Project (InformaCam)
Jake Price, photographer (Unknown Spring)
Derek Watkins, geographer and Graphics Editor at the New York Times (Riding the Silk Road)
Moderator: Stephen Mayes, visual communications strategist.


Photography, Expanded Lab #1
Collaborative Images: New Models of Authorship and Aggregation
Panel: March 18, 2014
Lab: March 23, 2014
Aperture Gallery & Bookstore, NYC

The rise of online and social media participation has not only created a sheer abundance of user generated content, but also new models for creativity, communication, and collaboration. This paradigm shift has notably taken place with the aid of photo sharing platforms like Flickr and Instagram, offering incredible new opportunities and obstacles for amateur and professional photographers to engage with diverse communities. It also marks a changing role for photographers as not only image makers, but also community managers and content curators. How might photographers build off existing online platforms and communities to generate awareness for the issues behind their work? How can photographers play a role in activating marginalized communities to share their own visual stories? How can we learn from the mistakes of failed online storytelling platforms? In this lab, participating photographers will explore collaborative storytelling methods, crowdsourcing, and curatorial strategies for developing community-based photo projects.

Madeleine Bair, journalist and curator of WITNESS Human Rights Channel
Michael Premo, artist, activist, and co-creator of Sandy Storyline
Brooke Singer, artist and professor of new media at SUNY-Purchase
Moderator: Michael Mandiberg, artist, designer, professor at the College of Staten Island/CUNY, and editor of The Social Media Reader.


Documentary, Expanded: Interventions in Social Media
Panel Discussion with Teru Kuwyama and Lev Manovich
February 25, 2014
Aperture Gallery & Bookstore, New York

The Spring 2014 issue of Aperture magazine, produced in collaboration with guest editor Susan Meiselas and Magnum Foundation, explores how the ground for socially engaged documentary storytelling has radically shifted over the last decade and how photographers might adapt. This event presented two practitioners, Lev Manovich and Teru Kuwayama, who extend the language of documentary by harnessing social media in novel ways. Lev Manovich’s data visualizations reveal how the billions of images uploaded to social-media sites reflect more than our photographic habits, offering what he terms a “mega-documentary.” Teru Kuwayama is one of the minds behind Basetrack, a social-media experiment launched in 2010 that connected soldiers stationed in Afghanistan with their families back in the States until it was put on hold in 2011. Moderated by Susan Meiselas, Manovich and Kuwayama discussed opportunities for rethinking contemporary documentary practice.

Documentary Expanded: Interventions in Social Media, Part 1 from Aperture Foundation on Vimeo.


2013 Photography, Expanded Symposium
To revisit the Photography, Expanded program from 2013, check out the video below.
You can also learn more about the participants and their projects.

Photography, Expanded from Magnum Foundation on Vimeo.


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Photography, Expanded is produced by Magnum Foundation, Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project, New Arts Axis, Aperture Foundation, and Parsons The New School for Design. Photography, Expanded is supported by the Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project, the Ford Foundation JustFilms, and the Compton Foundation.

(splash image courtesy of Illso Bantu)