The ground for documentary storytellers has radically shifted over the last decade. How can socially minded storytellers adapt to this new terrain? Created in conjunction with Magnum Foundation and guest editor Susan Meiselas, Aperture’s spring 2014 issue, “Documentary, Expanded,” explores a cross-section of critical questions for practicing documentarians today, when the old models for producing and disseminating work have disappeared. Meiselas, in an interview with Chris Boot, Aperture’s executive director, discusses the need for photographers to adapt and embrace new technologies, tools, and strategies; Ariella Azoulay, in conversation with Creative Time’s Nato Thompson, reflects on the important role of collaborative ways of working in the history of photography; Ethan Zuckerman considers the benefits and pitfalls of citizen journalism and image aggregation, while Lev Manovich presents his work with big data and social-media visualization. The essay section is rounded out by additional pieces by photojournalism experts Fred Ritchin and Stephen Mayes, and a dialogue between artist Hito Steyerl and theorist Thomas Keenan.
The magazine’s portfolio section presents new projects that use social media, data mapping, or collaboration to engage on current social-political themes. Thomas Dworzak documents Instagram’s role as a political or news mouthpiece; Daniel Traub collaborates with local photographers to document African laborers in southern China; Wendy Ewald, Eric Gottesman, and members of Canada’s Innu people build a community archive; Emily Schiffer shares her photography and mapping project on Chicago’s underserved South Side; artist James Bridle documents an invisible war with Dronestagram; Mari Bastashevski explores the global arms trade; and Teru Kuwayama discusses Basetrack, a social-media reporting project connecting Marines with their families.