Visual journalism with a solution focus

Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative commissions announced

The World Press Photo Foundation - along with its partners MIAP, the Message in a Photo foundation, and the Solutions Journalism Network - is pleased to announce the inaugural commissions by the Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative to promote and produce visual journalism with a solutions focus.

This new work will be part of a new perspective in visual journalism. A solutions focus changes the frame of a story. The essence of solutions visual journalism is that it is image-led rigorous reporting on a response to a problem. (See here for more on what a solutions focus entails).

After an open call in summer 2019 we received 110 applications for funding of around €5,000 for each project. Here are the six successful applications.

Michael Eko

Michael Eko is an Indonesian documentary photographer whose work has been published in national, regional, and international media. Indonesia is one of the hotspots of deforestation in the world. Forest destruction can be countered by supporting indigenous people as guardians of our forest, and Michael’s solutions story details how the Punan Adiu indigenous community have been using participative mapping to claim tens of thousands of hectares of their customary land and have the claim recognized and legalized by the local government.

Credit: Michael Eko

Are We Europe

Are We Europe is a collective and network of aspiring European journalists who report on the often neglected and ever-changing state of European identity in various sites around the continent. Their stories are produced by local journalists undertaking intensive production weeks and utilise all forms of media on their digital platform. Led by Ties Gijzel, Marjolein Koster and Sharon Zervaas, their solutions story examines the response to segregated high schools in the Bosnian canton of Herzegovina-Neretva. In the cities of Mostar, Stolac and Prozor-Rama an inclusive educational model, built with the assistance of The Nansen Dialogue Network, is countering the conventional arrangement of ‘Two Schools Under One Roof’ in which the children of different communities learn from different curricula.

Jere Ikongio

Jere Ikongio is a Nigerian artist creating new media, performance, and interactive projects. His solutions story is about communal resilience in Lagos. Women, in particular, have created initiatives to enable eco-friendly and renewable means of powering businesses and homes. Portable, off-grid solar powered devices have provided the means of coping with a sporadic and unstable electric infrastructure. The net result of this, though seldom reported, is that renewable energy provides more than 80% of Nigeria’s power.

Credit: Jere Ikongio

Ilvy Njiokiktjien

Ilvy Njiokiktjien is an independent photographer and multimedia journalist based in the Netherlands, and is also a member of VII Photo Agency. With an increasing proportion of the Dutch population turning to co-living as a solution to the challenges of the rising costs of living, providing elderly care, living sustainably, and responding to feelings of loneliness and isolation, options for alternative models of life are becoming ever more available and diverse. Ilvy’s project investigates the variety of co-living arrangements across the Netherlands, and gives an insight into what is moving people to follow this lifestyle.

Her project will be on display in New York, United States, from 17 September to 29 November as part of Photoville Festival. Learn more

Credit: Ilvy Njiokiktjien. 

Tara Pixley

Tara Pixley is a photojournalist and professor of visual journalism based in Los Angeles, California, USA. She will be reporting on the community response to the migrant caravan/asylum-seekers crisis at the Tijuana-San Diego border. As asylum-seekers from embattled nations have amassed at the border of Mexico and the US this year, activists and Mexican citizens have also gathered at the border to offer shelter, sustenance, assistance and allyship to thousands in need. Tara’s story documents the collaborative work of activists and migrants to create a refuge despite the tortuous physical environments and prohibitive bureaucratic systems facing those who seek asylum in the U.S.

Credit: Tara Pixley

Celia Talbot Tobin

Celia Talbot Tobin is a freelance documentary photographer based in Mexico. Her solutions story is located in the wide strip of sea between mainland Mexico and its peninsular appendage is considered one of the richest and spectacular marine environments in the world. But decades of overfishing has decimated the Gulf of California off the coast of Baja Sur, leaving communities that depend on the fishing industry on the brink of economic collapse. Now, one community is using a multi-faceted approach to restoration. Celia will report on the solutions being explored to re-establish this unique ecosystem. While the focus is on the town of El Manglito, it is possible that this community’s response could be expanded to the rest of Mexico’s coastal areas and beyond.

Credit: Celia Talbot Tobin

These six stories will be completed throughout 2020 and published by both the World Press Photo Foundation and selected media partners.

The new work enabled by the Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative will also be used by WPPF, MIAP and the Solutions Journalism Network in their education and debate programs around the world to show other visual journalists the benefits of a solutions focus in visual journalism.

Top image (left to right, top to bottom): Michael Eko; Marjolein Koster, Ties Gijzel, Sharon Zervaas (Are We Europe); Jere Ikongio; Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Tara Pixley; and Celia Talbot Tobin. 

The images here come from previous work not the projects commissioned, except for Ilvy Njiokiktjien's work.