THE NEW YORK TIMES | Creating Community Through Memory in Motion | Fabio Bucciarelli


Launch the first issue of Me-Mo Magazine, and your tablet’s screen springs to life, offering a cinema-like introduction to a variety of photo essays by its five founding photographers. With a combination of still images, video, text and informational graphics, it seeks to use as many different tools to capture the reader’s imagination. But what it really is aiming for is something that is time-tested: to create a community.

The digital magazine, which had its premiere in January after a successful crowdfunding campaign, has garnered an enthusiastic response, especially in Spain, where most of its founders hail from. Tired of seeing the work of photojournalists reduced to mere graphic adornment in the local media, they ventured out on their own to create Me-Mo, which is short for Memory in Motion.

“In the long run, we want to be able to use independent work for the magazine, buying work from freelancers,” said Maral Deghati, Me-Mo’s Paris-based editor in chief. “We want to create a community and make it a shared platform for freelancers so we can work slightly like an agency. It’s very much new media where we are constantly evolving to be able to keep up with the times. But a community is very important in order to support photographers.”

Although technologically current — Ms. Deghati says the heavy code used to develop the app had never been done before to such an extent — Memory in Motion does not rush the work it features. Rather than go with time-sensitive projects, the first issue showcases work that goes back years, work that is informed by the personal experiences of its founders. Manu Brabo, who had been kidnapped during the Libyan uprising, went back to that country to photograph prisons.

Jose' Colon did a personal project exploring the intersection of faith and Spain’s economic crisis, two themes that have run through his life. Growing up in Andalusia, he was immersed in Spain’s Roman Catholic tradition, which is reflected in images like one where people facing hard times nonetheless scrape up a financial offering during religious processions.

His decision to move to Barcelona and become swept up in protests where he met other photographers ended up shaping his view of the world, too. Consider his images of miners, who, despite frequent strikes, cannot guarantee that their children will have opportunities when they come of age.

“I’ve found myself with this mix of faith and the circumstances of the crisis,” Mr. Colon said. “In Andalusia they say, ‘God provides,’ which absolutely baffles me. But I come from those people, I was raised in that faith. But when I went to Barcelona and saw the social movements, that is where the crisis entered into my thinking.”

Some images weave the two theme visually, whether it is explicitly, as in one photo of a widow mourning her husband, unsure how she can raise her family, or symbolically, as in numerous images of people shrouded by shadows, their figures dramatically illuminated by a shaft of light piercing the darkness.

“These pictures for me are a series of questions for which I have no answers,” Mr. Colon said. “But I can express it with the images.”

The one answer he hopes to have found is the magazine itself. Although available now only for iPad, the founders are planning to roll out an Android-compatible version soon. He and his colleagues are hoping to partner with other media groups, as well as other photographers and even readers.

“What is important to us, not just for marketing, but as a concept is to create a community with continuity through the creative process,” Mr. Colón said. “To have the readers participate with us in suggesting themes, to work with organizations and have this network that removes the middle man. We want to change the consumer’s mind, by being the ones to offer something new. That depends on the quality that we offer. The question is, why haven’t other media offered that?”

Galleria Arte Contemporanea Torino

Galleria Arte Contemporanea
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