The reportager newspaper is now available
The work contained within this print version of reportager represents sketchbook pages of 20 artists who are either members of reportager or who have been associated in some way with the online journal. Reportager.org exists in order to support, initiate, and showcase projects involving drawing as reportage, visual journalism, documentary drawing and illustration as visual essay.
The brief for this publication was for artists to submit work, which as far as possible, was created on the spot, without correction, mediation or beautification. Many of the artists make work either for self-initiated projects or for commissioned work. All have one thing in common in that they all use the sketch as the basis for reference, investigation, interrogation and research.
The following drawings demonstrate an integrity and honesty, a warts and all approach often lacking in the more mediated finished work which can often hide behind the veneer of digitally cosmeticized modifications, sometimes necessitated by art directed and commissioned work. The work as far as possible demonstrates what Bonnard called ‘the state of first vision’
Reportager.org has been up and running for over a year. There is a drawing zeitgeist taking place and evidence of real interest in documentary drawing and reportage. As the editor I have been both pleased and surprised by the huge amount of interest in the area of visual journalism and reportorial drawing.
Steven Heller wrote in 1992 in a catalogue introduction for a retrospective of the work of Alan E Cober ‘The artist as illustrator, The illustrator as journalist’
“Despite our current reliance on photographic, electronic and now digital media, for the transmission, and reception of objective information, the artist continues to be a valuable interpreter of critical events”.
This seems even more relevant today. However, I was recently sent an article written for the Feb. 1984 edition of Designer Magazine. In the article Clive Ashwin discusses “The Artist as Reporter” a conference run by the Royal College of Art as part of a series of three one day conferences, examining a number of issues relevant to the practice and use of illustration.
In the article Clive comments on the work of several well known reportage illustrators of the day and how the drawings presented although notable for having much excitement and visual incident were strangely absent of the underlying issues inherent in their subjects or locations.
During the conference, Rob Mason (who kindly sent me the article) challenged the rationale of a purely visual descriptive approach to drawn reportage. Mason made a good point arguing that work not necessarily done on the spot or spontaneously may be better at showing and exposing underlying social and moral issues. He went on to say work might require reflection, adaptation and invention.
Several questions were raised during the conference, which remained unanswered. Hopefully some of these issues will have, and will be resurrected, debated and to a certain extent resolved over the subsequent decades. Unfortunately I think they still very much persist
Gary Embury Editor
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