For the last few years, on here and on elsewhere, I have bemoaned the future of photojournalism. Although it continues to be under assault, 2011 seems the year photojournalism finally came out of that benighted emergency room. Its unlikely savior? iPad.
The app store has cut the middleman between the photographers and the public. In Via Pan Am (above), renowned Dutch Photojournalist Kadir van Lohuizen takes you along his journey across the titular Pan-American Highway from Peru to Alaska ($3.99). In Capitolio, Christopher Anderson takes you an intimate journey through a time of revolution in Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela ($6.99). In Zona: Carl de Keyzer documents daily life in the prison camps of Krasnojarsk, Siberia, where prisoners live and work (for free) in a “country” of their own. While these apps are pricey, Platon’s Power, the Greek photographer’s unique and revealing take on world leaders, is well-worth $9.99.
But my favorites are obviously free ones. In Human Rights Watch, there is Brent Stirton’s amazing photoessay Gold’s Costly Dividend. Greenpeace‘s 40-year history is captured on iPad as well. And my favorite photography app so far — judged by a combination of factors such as price, layout, content and size — is probably 9/11: the Photographers’ Stories: In this deeply poetic app, photography legends and amateurs alike recall the day that changed their lives forever.
The most innovative app was no doubt Condition One. Patrick Chauvel films his reports from Libya using a five camera system that is combined to create a true immersion experience for iPad. I find this immersion disorienting and distracting, but it’s still a free app (although at 1 GB, the episodes are huge!). First episodes are free, but Condition One has subscription model.
Along the same lines, Once Magazine claims itself to be Life Magazine for Tablet Age. In its monthly issues, it combines three photoessays at an affordable price (with even cheaper subscription model). Photoessays are pretty good, but there is something to be said about being the only photojournalism magazine solely made for iPad. This is definitely the one to watch out for in 2012.
For those more comfortable with more traditional media, the British Journal of Photography has a great app. Guardian Eyewitness Picture of The Day is always a welcome distraction (Free). Life magazine celebrated its 75th Anniversary with an iPad app. National Geographic has published two great apps (7 Billion, 50 Best Photos) that are $4.99 each. Beginning with its listing of World Heritage Sites, Fotopedia apps chronicle both natural beauty and human conditions in places like North Korea and Burma, as well as revealing new angles and windows into familiar places like Japan or France. (Free)
The Italian publisher Contrasto also has established itself to be an iPad powerhouse, with a planned series on Great Photographers starting with the one on Mario Giacomelli ($11.99). Mackbooks has a great app, Figures and Fiction, on South African photography. Other photoagencies (like Balcony Jump) are also slowly joining in.
2012 will be a more hectic year when they do. Here’s looking forward to it ! ! !