VII is a storied photo agency founded a few days before 9/11 to challenge the convergence in the photography business when the trend for giant companies swallowing smaller independent agencies started. VII went small and photographer-owned, believing in the power and energy of collective effort when everyone else seemed to be going big and corporate. VII remains a disruptive and innovative business unafraid to swim against the prevailing currents.
VII has turned its gaze far from the frontline of its foundation. It has earned a reputation for uncompromising photography immersed in the great issues of today. VII photographers and filmmakers are as likely to be found focusing on race, gender, and identity as they are on migration or conflict. Amplifying local voices and addressing the complex political, environmental, and social questions facing families everywhere, VII places great value in the power of images to tell important stories. The members of VII are motivated by issues and are proud to elevate those issues above the cult of the image or the cult of the photographer.
“America, Again” is a year-long project by the photographers of VII, an exploration of some of the most important issues facing American voters as they head to the polls on November 3rd. This is Chapter 2: The Environment, which includes an essay by author Simon Winchester, reflecting on some of the global and political complexities of environmental issues and America’s role in it all.
This chapter includes five photo stories by Zackary Canepari, Ashley Gilbertson, Ed Kashi, Espen Rasmussen, John Stanmeyer, and Sara Terry.
About “America, Again”: Exactly one year before voters go to the polls on November 3, 2020 — and three months before Iowans gather for their caucuses — VII launched the first chapter of our year-long collective election coverage, “America, Again.”
This project emerged among a few of the VII photographers with the intention of focusing attention on the issues that will dominate the U.S. election. The VII Foundation and VII Academy have stepped in to support the project in recognition of the importance of critical and independent storytelling in civic discourse. We will produce stories on material issues that people worldwide are wrangling with, not only Americans. We’ll cover issues that are used to divide us, and that allow populist politicians to undermine the values that are foundational to our societies.
Daniel Schwartz, VII Emeritus Member, accepted the Art Prize 2019 of the Canton Solothurn (CH) in recognition of his achievement in photography spanning more than four decades, encompassing the seminal Great Wall of China (1987), a long-term observation of the political reconfiguration of Central Asia and the war for Afghanistan (1998-2018) as well as the topic of global warming, begun with part I in Asia (Delta, 1991-1995), and continued with part II (While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey, 2009-2016). The award follows the Culture Prize of the Canton of Zurich (2010) and was presented on November 11 during a ceremony in the Stadttheater, Olten, Switzerland.
The New York Times pored over 10 years of images, of moments both fresh and faded, to tell the story of the past decade. Included in this review is Ashley Gilbertson’s April 27, 2013, photo taken at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Staff Sgt. Miguel Deynes prepared a final uniform for Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard. Captain Blanchard and his Apache co-pilot, First Lt. Robert J. Hess, were killed in a rocket attack in Afghanistan.
Some of the world’s leading journalists, academics, and public intellectuals from Harvard University, Northeastern University, and VII Photo Agency will provide insight, mentoring, and training to tackle the fraught and complex issues important to the diverse communities living in Bosnia.
The program emphasizes an ethical, collaborative, and participatory approach to journalistic practice and dialogue. VII Academy Sarajevo, in partnership with the US Embassy in Sarajevo, will award several grants in the amount of $30,000 to the best BOLD project proposals in 2020.