They’re not an agency in the traditional sense. Neither are they a collective. Rather they’re a co-operative of 13 like-minded photographers. More importantly, says Melanie Wenger, one of the co-founding members, they are a collection of photographers who have a similar approach to photography. That approach: long term and indepth.
They’re called Inland, and they’re the new kids on the block – they launched at Perpignan, with a kiosk for perspective clients to get to know their creative brand and what they’re about. They are, of course, not new individually. All of the 13 photographers who make up Inland (the name is a slight tip of the hat to poet Thomas Lynch) are established photographers in their own right – with prestigious grants won, books to their names and clients knocking at their doors. And they are represented by one of the best in the business – Lauren Steel (ex Getty/Verbatim).
So why become one entity? According to Jef Bonifacino, also a co-founding member, they want to pool their money, connections and ideas with the aim of securing the best outcome for their work. Wenger delved deeper: “We decided to create this cooperative, not exactly to work collectively on project per se, but more to put our means in common. We brought together authors who develop quality works while maintaining complete independence in the way they choose their stories. We have created a lightweight and fair network/structure to give the power back to each individual in the team building a project. Photographers take back control of their stories. We decided to work with experts who share the risks we take and understand the challenges in the field as well as its realities. Our job is indeed changing. We have chosen to adapt to it and to find out for ourselves what it can become.”
In addition to co-founding members Melanie Wenger (Belgium), Jef Bonifacino (France), Patrick Wack (Germany) and Tim Franco (Korea), Inland is made up of Tjorven Bruyneel (Belgium), Mathias Depardon (France), Phyllis B. Dooney (USA), Muhammad Fadli (Indonesia), Jeremie Jung (France), Tadas Kazakevicius (Lithuania), Laura Pannack (UK), Romain Philippon (Reunion) and Matjaz Tancic (China).
As the landscape of the photographic industry changes and new channels of distribution are unlocked, collaboration not only between photographers but between photographers and the numerous other players in the media landscape are crucial for the success of the industry at large. Approaches like the one the photographers behind Inland are taking are perhaps a step in the right direction?
— Samantha Reinders
Enter Black Box, A Cooperative for Visual Documentary Projects