Profile: Statement Images

© James Dodd

Statement Images is a United Kingdom-based photographic collective. The collective was originally founded in 2009 in Sheffield, UK.

The relatively new collective has had some success: James Dodd's project "Olympic Dreams" was named as Anthony Bannon's Juror pick in the Daylight Magazine/CDS Photo Awards and also made the final 10 in the BURN EPF last year. Tom Hyde's project "After the Fall" was shortlisted as a finalist in Burn this year and two members also received honorable mentions in Magenta Flash Forward. Additionally, Robert Ormerod's project "Red Road" was selected for the UK Press Photographers Year.

Statement Images currently has a call for new members. The deadline for submissions is January 20th, 2012. Further information on submission guidelines can be viewed here. In light of this open call, fototazo asked the agency a few questions.

© Robert Ormerod

fototazo: Of all the photo collectives in the world, why join Statement? What is particular about it, what are its unique strengths?

Statement Images: At Statement, we're looking for like-minded photographers to apply to become members. We want photographers who are interested in helping shape our future, and help take the collective to the next level, be that as an agency or something else.

We're looking for people who can bring fresh ideas and who are interested in exploring photojournalism in new and interesting ways.

As a group of strong, driven and opinionated photographers with a passion for our work, we work together, share thoughts on our new projects, our ideas and inspiration.

Every Statement member brings a range of unique skills, knowledge and experiences. We each fulfill different general roles at one time or another such as social networking, promoting each others work and pitching the work of others to outlets. Then there are more skill specific tasks such as maintaining the website and instituting changes, audio/visual editing and copy writing which are assigned to individuals.

We use each others resources and help with research and shape the future of each other's work by being critical and supportive when it matters and also being an ear when we need to let off a bit of steam.

We take all of this and put it together to create a supportive framework for members which we hope we can help other photographers with.

© Tom Hyde

f: How did the idea arise among the six of you to form the collective? What's the backstory on how you met and formed?

SI: The collective was originally founded by Russell Bates, James Dodd, Mark Lomas, Gary Taylor (who left in 2011) and Dan O'Lone while studying press photography and photojournalism with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) in Sheffield, UK.

The class had been set an assignment to cover Remembrance Day. It happened to be the 90th anniversary of the end of World War One so the group decided to make the trip to the Menin Gate in Belgium. For all of us it proved to be a deeply moving, yet photographically frustrating experience. The short timescale, as is typical for press work, made us feel we hadn't done the occasion justice. So the Statement idea was initially conceived as a creative outlet for the longer term projects we felt better suited the work we wanted to produce.

It was only later we realized that Statement could become much more than a website and be turned into a platform for supporting each other and for distributing our work. At that point we decided to plan for the longer term and, starting slowly, develop Statement beyond the original members by bringing in Robert Ormerod and Tom Hyde.

We actually knew Rob as he had been studying on a slightly different version of the photojournalism course. Tom however wasn't based in the UK and had never met us in person. He would be the first member we were accepting solely on the basis of his work. But the experience has proven to be entirely positive and so we are now eager to grow the collective even further, both in terms of physical numbers and in what we can offer to clients and to each other.

© Mark Lomas

f: What would be required of a new member? What is weekly life like for group members?

SI: Everyone at Statement is essentially on an equal footing. Ideas get discussed and a consensus reached. We would want any new members to get involved in all aspects of the collective, from making decisions on future development to contributing ideas for content for the site. We are keen to use the skills people bring, so for instance one member has experience of web design and so maintains the site. But there's no exclusivity, members are free to suggest ideas for any part of the operation of the collective.

The day-to-day experience of being part of Statement varies. This week one member hired another to work on a video commission, the group has offered support and feedback to another member who is close to completing a new body of work and we've engaged in discussions on a range of topics including distribution of work via iPad books / magazines, how to cover the Occupy protests in a different way and how best to proceed with the new commissions page of our website that is currently in development.

We have several group meetings every year. New members would be expected to join in with these to discuss the development of Statement. This is something we are keen to stress. The landscape of photojournalism is changing rapidly at the moment. We are really looking for people who want to be proactive in development of the collective and who have new ideas to change the way we do things. This is a great opportunity for someone who is looking to get in early and fulfill the potential of a great platform.

© Russell Bates