MoJo and the Magnum Foundation Join Forces to Showcase Documentary Photography


It’s with exceptional excitement that I can finally squawk about the Mother Jones/Magnum Foundation partnership. This is a big step towards building out the awesome photojournalism and documentary photography for which Mother Jones has become known, to our website.

In partnering with the Magnum Foundation’s Emergency Fund, Mother Jones will be showcasing 10 photo essays through the year, giving a platform to projects documenting underreported stories from around the world. It’s a partnership that makes sense: the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund helps photographers complete documentary work that may otherwise not see completion. And upon completion, Mother Jones helps give an audience to the work.

Karen Mirzoyan shot our first project, The Unrecognized Islands of Caucasus, an appropriately complex project that examines the tangle of unrecognized lands in the Caucasus region. Mirzoyan’s work goes beyond straight, expected documentary photography, which he smartly realized wouldn’t do justice to such a complicated region, to a story with so many contours. The photography varies in tone and style to match the chapter of the story being told. Mirzoyan incorporates pieces of his notebooks he kept while working on the project. It’s a very intimate look at the people of the Caucasus, their relationship to their homeland — and to each other. Really, it’s an amazing body of work. It’s exciting to get to run it on MotherJones.com.

We will be bringing a new photo essay from the Magnum Foundation partnership to MotherJones.com each month. And we will be running at least one Emergency Fund project in print. My heart still lies with the printed page, so for me, that’s an important component of this partnership. Thanks for taking a look. This is just one step to help expand our commitment to documentary photography. We hope you enjoy it.

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The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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