Max here. I waited to write this email for so long! It has been over a year since our last publication, a challenging year filled with turmoil that took me away from my photography-related projects. Despite anything, I've eagerly sought an opportunity to revive them.
A few weeks ago, I finally felt ready to start working on mnngful again, and I'm excited to present the completely revamped platform to you.
What do we have now?
Consider this a beta relaunch. While there is still much to be done, I decided to begin by building a proper website that aims to promote each and every story and photographer.
The goal is to make every Member visible. That's why I built a directory of members where everyone could search and filter the whole database of photographers and stories by country, topics, and genres.
As the next step, it will become an online community, a sort of niche social network to build connections, run discussions, and collaborate.
Feel free to join as a Member to feature yourself among other authors and promote your work. 16+ thousand users from 120 countries visited the website during a year, although we were being silent.
Submissions and features
The newsletter stays in place with 1170 active subscribers while I'm rethinking the format:
- I won't stick to a strict schedule for a while but will provide occasional updates with well-prepared publications and some updates on how things are going.
- The content itself will vary. Less writing, simpler approach, but more about authors and their work, and photographs, of course.
I want this newsletter to help readers discover new names from around the globe working in documentary genres and their work on various topics.
The new submission page is available for logged-in members. Basic membership, as well as story submissions, are free of any fees.
The core idea remains the same – mnngful is dedicated to supporting and promoting the work of independent documentary photographers, and my motivation for this project has only grown stronger. As I continue working on it and contemplating its impact, I feel that this endeavor, let's call it a side-project, is evolving into a life passion – promoting photography work and the passionate individuals behind it.
I have three directions in mind (which may already be too much). We will proceed carefully, without strict commitments, rush and see how it goes. So, here are the three directions I have been dreaming about:
A cloud democratic agency
This may sound challenging, but I enjoy building complex IT solutions (and am happy to put my professional skills into value for the photography community). I see mnngful assisting photographers in:
- Finding new commissions and assignments.
- Managing licensing and paperwork.
- Accepting payments and making payouts.
Additionally, customers will be able to:
- Discover experienced photographers specializing in specific topics and working at locations they need (we already have an early stage of the Directory and working search functionality on the website).
- Simplify commission-related paperwork and payments.
- Have a mediator to handle communications and management.
All these ideas are at the Research and Development stage and are to be well-tested. Happy to state that the basis is already there — Members directory, and profile pages, technical part.
We will collaborate with our member photographers to initiate and publish projects in digital and print.
Projects, curated by mnngful. We currently have a few projects in the brainstorming phase, and I hope to announce them soon.
Here you can see an example, a draft we created some time ago together with Matthieu Dandoy — an activist, photographer, and filmmaker from France covering the issues of child labor and modern forms of slavery.
This is an ongoing project. Its page requires some updates but perfectly illustrates what I see as "Originals." That's why I decided to show it here.
We've made some attempts that were interrupted later, but currently discussing an update. The project is probably, the best example of what I'm trying to focus at — social, global, and local issues impacting humankind. Stay tuned for updates.
I hope such ideas inspire you as much as me. Or if you have a project in mind? let's talk!
Printed editions for selected stories
This idea haunted me from the very first day of mnngful. Small affordable books featuring selected projects are ideal for celebrating meaningful work and don't look too complicated and expensive to produce. Will it be an occasional or periodic edition? We'll see.
I hope to introduce a pilot or dummy version to you very soon!
More content about photographers and stories
Given my deep fascination with other photographers' work, their motivation and experience, we will explore additional formats such as written and video interviews. This approach will further promote photographers and attract more readers.
These plans may appear highly ambitious. While I considered them impossible some time ago, such dreams represent the big picture of mnngful I see in the future.
Right now, I'd focus on small steps and actions: the primary and short-term goal is to bring the whole thing back to life, drive conversation around, create a genuine value for the community and attract funding to enable all the next steps.
I'd appreciate any feedback and support!
If you like what I am doing — please support my work with a small monthly donation to keep mnngful rolling.
Thank you for being with mnngful!