So I joined Panos.
Why would anyone join an agency today? Do we really need one? Can't we all just do some Social Media strategy and simply reach everyone by sharing what we've done? Can't we just produce amazing work and let it do the talk? Can't we work less but keep all the earnings for ourselves?
Ever since I started doing photography I wanted to work with an agency. Who didn't want to be a Magnum photographer? Who didn't want to join VII when VII was super cool?. Vu was a dream for those working in the 80's, Corbis was large and hi-tech. I got to join Reportage by Getty years ago, a reportage agency backed by the absolute leader of commercial photo sales. Institute? cool, real alpha male in the jungle.
Panos was always an agency unique in its kind. Coming from an NGO background, really focused in social issues, with a special taste for underreported, and non obvious subjects. Many of the photographers I always took as references are Panos members. Some of them have been my friends, or I have been it touch with for years. Others have been in my radar, and now they are in my arm reach. Am I saying this because I want to look like a nice guy in front of the eyes of my new colleagues? No, but yes, I want them to know how good I feel after spending a couple days with them in London for the Annual General Meeting. I got to know the amazing Panos production crew, I heard some very inspiring talks, and I can confirm I do feel like I might have found the right place for me.
What I percieve as the main feature of this agency is that the typical Panos photographer is basically a lone wolf who loves to have a gang to gather with now and then. Self-driven, proactive, imaginative and engaged people who are also able to share their knowledge. I like how Panos lets photographers go solo when they want to, but offer their support if required. Staff is smartly shifting the agency strategies towards a more broad-minded production house, able to enlagre its horizons in terms of project concepts, type of clients and cross-over productions. I think Panos has understood where is the documentary visual world going to and are ready to create their own standards.
Do I need this for working as I have been doing so far? Not really. Do I need this to make a better version of me and be part of something bigger? Yes, I think so. I will keep working in personal projects, making photobooks, exhibitions, videos, editorial features, and all the rest, but now I can count on a larger body, to be part or drive bigger projects and reach a bigger audience.
So here we go. Let's see what happens next.