25 years of Panos Pictures: “It’s about who you’re working with and why”
By Helena Williams
For 25 years photo agency Panos Pictures has been covering stories the mainstream media won’t. The commercial arm of the development NGO the Panos Institute (now Panos London) has had photographers documenting history as it unfolds, with a focus on social and development stories globally.
“We like to poke around in corners other people don’t go,” said Adrian Evans, Director of Panos Pictures.
“Photography is the idea of ‘don’t look over there, look over here’, and we’re not afraid to take a stand.“We step aside from the main news and can pursue stories when they are not under the media spotlight. We cover stories we think are important.”
“In media terms, there is this attitude that once the UN goes in, everything finishes. I think staying longer in a place and covering the aftermath [is important]."After the war in Kosovo there was an orgy of violence.”
“It shows the passing of time, and how things are not being resolved in a quick way,” Testa explained.“In Kosovo everything has moved on, but for these mothers they are frozen. For the soldiers who killed [the missing] it only took a second, for the mothers, time has stopped.”
“With ideas of oil companies being corrupt and evil, to see it as a health remedy… well, a photograph can make you reassess your views.”
“Photographers are like little NGOs themselves, they have to be able to write proposals and go out there,” he said, adding that many photographers now look to displaying their work in galleries for a fee.
“Nowadays it’s not just about the photographs. It’s about who you’re working with and why.“We communicate to the world our interest, our passions, our desires. I’d like to think Panos does this.”