Saturday, April 2, 2011


The idea of telling a story or conveying a concept of any sort in the confines of 36 frames of 35mm film has always intrigued me. I've read dozens of stories by photojournalists who made it their practice to work every assignment as if the had only 36 exposures with which to nail down the essence, the heart and soul of a story. Some newspaper photographers used to try to get six assignments a day on one roll of film.

It's not easy. It's a skill to be developed. I've never actually tried it, but recently I've approached the idea from a slightly different perspective. Imagine you're a photographer and an editor tells you, "OK, you've been to Pakistan three times, you've made images all over the country. Now show me Pakistan, show me your vision of Pakistan and do it with 36 images or fewer. Better yet do it with no more than 10." Could you do it?

That's the challenge I and a few friends have set before us. We've formed a little group and put together a "print on demand" quarterly, the first issue of which is available today. It's called "36exp." The concept is simple: with as few images as possible get to the heart of the subject. Make us understand it and see through your vision of it's very essence.

Future issues will feature individual photographers and their personal projects, and others will feature a single subject explored by group of photographers presenting a variety of unique perspectives on a single topic.

There is no profit in the publishing of this journal. The price of an issue covers only printing and shipping and stays with the printer. There is no mark up. There is a free download version available for mobile devices such as the iPad.

I hope you have a chance to take a look. there is a lot of good work being done by talented and dedicated photographers you have never heard of. I hope we can bring some of that work to a broader public, share some important stories and see our world through different eyes from time to time.

Photo: Cover of issue 1 of 36exp. Cover image, ©Marianna Whang


John W. Wall said...

Pretty cool, Dave. The first issue looks great. I remember going out on assignments for the small papers I worked for and was often handed an 8-exposure roll (bulk-loaded) to take with me. They were cheap bastards, but it did focus one's efforts.

David W. Sumner said...

John, 8 frame rolls! Man, that had to be a serious challenge. How often did you make it in 6 frames?