Confession: I am ridiculously intimidated by the thought of writing my first Editor’s Journal post for Confluence Magazine. I’ve been procrastinating for days now. But I finally have the “five damn minutes to myself” that I kept claiming I needed, so I’m out of excuses. — Katie
Great, valuable documentary work is being made (or about to be made) by photographers as yet unknown to the documentary field: this is the idea driving Confluence Magazine.
Our photographic work is elevated when it’s brought together thoughtfully in one place; and by elevating the work in this way, we make is easier for the gatekeepers to wider publication find it, and get it out into the world. It is my sincere hope that Confluence Magazine is a stepping stone to greater things for every photographer who is featured here.
In the weeks following my first inkling of an idea for this magazine, I forced myself to share the idea with anyone who would give me a enough time to describe it. My husband, my best creative/visionary friends, my most ambitious photographer friends, and as luck would have it, a handful of seasoned photojournalists and documentary photographers I had opportunity to meet at a photo festival this past summer.
Honestly, I kept waiting for someone – anyone – to pat me on the head and gently let me know that it was kind of a silly idea. Maybe I wanted an out. Maybe I wanted a reality check. Definitely I had doubts – doubts about whether a magazine like Confluence could accomplish the purpose I had in mind, doubts about me being the one to do it. Shockingly, weirdly … no one patted me on the head. No one said, “I don’t get it. I don’t think that would work.”
What actually happened is that a lot of people actually wanted something like Confluence Magazine. Some of them wanted it like, yesterday. I started to see that I wasn’t alone in dreaming of a way for emerging documentary photographers to publish their work beyond their own websites. I wasn’t alone in seeing a need for new voices in the photographic storytelling space. And I wasn’t alone in desiring to connect with the photo editors and gatekeepers who make the decisions about what work gets “out there”.
So, digging deep into two books - Big Magic and The Lean Start-Up (never were there two more unexpected but perfect companion volumes on the subject of taking and idea from inspiration to reality!) and, bolstered with a small crew of supportive and knowledgeable colleagues*, I began to piece together the elements that would make Confluence Magazine.
What you’re looking at now is not just Issue One of this bold idea, it’s also the proof-of-concept that will help us reach out to photo editors and gatekeepers to find wider publication for our projects. It’s the first brave step toward a new pathway for documentarians who don’t fit the typical mold of “emerging” artist, but whose work and ambition deserve a place at the table.
Thank you for being here.
Now, go shoot something great.
* What kind of jackass would fail to thank that crew of supportive and knowledgeable colleagues? Not me! Heartfelt and sloppy thanks to: Amanda Hirsch (the first one to hear what was on my mind and assure me it wasn’t a crazy idea); Zach Walls (my husband, who made it clear he wouldn’t entertain my idea until I read The Lean Start Up, which proved invaluable and is why you’re reading Issue One now instead of eight months from now), Kristine Nyborg (whose expertise and sense of humor really helped this all come together), Felicia and Linsey and Elaine and Elaine (Issue One’s featured photographers, OMG thank you for bring a part of this!), Elizabeth Atalay (who offered her professional writing services at exactly the right moment), and Ryan Christopher Jones (none of this could have worked without your generous agreement to curate the featured project for Issue One, and stick to it even when you had a vacation in Kenya and when you got sick - I know what your time and expertise are worth and what a gift you’ve given in helping us launch Confluence). I also have to thank the genius women and men in my secret Facebook group who’ve given me feedback and encouragement from the moment I decided to make this happen - you’re ALL amazing and giving and beautiful people. I am so damned lucky to know you all.