It was with much trepidation that we prepared for our biannual fall photojournalism issue of PhotoMedia. We've somehow had rather uncanny timing these past few years, coming out with the issue in the midst of some of the biggest news stories of our day, which have served to illustrate our positions effectively.
In 1997, the passing of Princess Diana and the resulting focus on the behavior of the paparazzi provided the controversy. In 1999, the shootings at Columbine High School was the big story, shifting our attention to local communities and the potential for tragedy in everyday situations.
Little could we anticipate the kind of news item that would coincide with our fall 2001 issue. On Sept. 11, we awakened to possibly the biggest news event in American history - the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Frankly, it's been a little spooky. I prayed that this record of super-sensational stories overlapping our coverage would not be extended to this issue of PhotoMedia, but to no avail. The lingering U.S. military occupation of Iraq following the March invasion continued to dominate the news all summer. In an echo of the Sept. 11 feature from two years ago, our cover story for this issue focuses on the photojournalists in Afghanistan and Iraq, providing insight into their psyches and their dedication to delivering to the world the news in pictures.
As fate would have it, I had the pleasure of befriending Jean-Pierre Pappis 25 years ago while living in New York City, before either of us was well established in the photo industry. It is a friendship that has lasted, despite my moving to Seattle almost 20 years ago. Back then, who'd have guessed that years later I would become the publisher of a photo magazine, J.P. would find his way to heading a prominent photo news agency and our paths would crisscross along the way?
After many years working in key positions with Sygma, Corbis and Gamma, J.P. recently took the leap to start his own photo news agency, Polaris Images, and further established himself as an influential voice in the business. My thanks to J.P. for his cooperation with this issue, which features the work of several of Polaris' key shooters -- Kate Brooks, Hyoung Chang, Eric Grigorian and Yannis Kontos (on our cover) -- who provided a glimpse into the lives of photographers covering the Middle East conflicts.
Our story on digital photojournalism features discussions with, and the photos of, two other Polaris shooters, Jessica Brandi Lifland and Jon Hope, as well as the Seattle Times' Alan Berner and much-respected freelance photographer Douglas Kirkland. Along with several other industry professionals, including J.P., they offer their perspectives on the impact of new technology on the industry.
We also are pleased to present a selection of some of the winners of PhotoMedia's World in Focus Photo Contest, which culminated in a seven-week, 91-print exhibition in Seattle this summer that was viewed by tens of thousands. Please visit worldinfocus.us to view the entire virtual exhibit. It is impressive work. The exhibit was shown in conjunction with World in Focus (June 6-8, 2003), a multifaceted event that included seminars with some of the industry's foremost nature and endangered-culture photographers.
Finally, I am proud to announce that PhotoMedia received its second Apex Grand Award for the overall publication. It complements our second Maggie Award, won earlier this year.
As always, please let our advertisers know that you saw their ads in PhotoMedia. Their support is largely responsible for our ability to bring you our in-depth coverage for free. As the nation's economy struggles to regain its momentum, our advertisers need to know, more than ever, that their ad dollars are being well spent.
Happy holidays ahead.
Gary Halpern, Publisher