Me-Mo: Pushing the Limits of Visual Storytelling

February 19, 2015

By Alexandra Sarabia

The plethora of technology now available to communicate different forms of journalism, across a variety of platforms, has allowed journalists more freedom in their storytelling process. This is the driving force behind Me-Mo, a new multimedia magazine created by award-winning freelance photojournalists, Manu Brabo and Fabio Bucciarelli, in partnership with web-developing group, Libre.

(l-r) Matteo Dispenza, Manu Brabo, Fabio Bucciarelli and Paul Lowe

On Tuesday 17 February, Brabo and Bucciarelli, along with Libre president Matteo Dispenza, convened at the Frontline Club to discuss the genesis of Me-Mo and to share their thoughts on the future of visual storytelling. The two photojournalists also presented their work on the Libyan revolution, which is featured in the magazine’s recently released first issue. The event was chaired by Paul Lowe, course director of the Masters Programme in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.

The difficulties faced by freelancers when looking for viable ways to publish their work was a main source of inspiration for the founders of Me-Mo. This was especially evident during the Libyan War in 2011, when Bucciarelli and Brabo both worked as freelance photographers for various major news outlets. After their return from Libya, the two photojournalists continued to work in conflict areas and began to brainstorm and collaborate with other freelance journalists in order to develop the Me-Mo concept.

Brabo emphasised the necessity of collaboration and solidarity amongst freelancers, saying: “We are out there alone. If we don’t have each other, what do we have? We have nothing. In the end, through this sense of humanity and solidarity, you start to create links and you realise you have the same idea as another guy.”

“We are trying to create a space for all these kinds of people, people that we know, who have been working in Syria, in Libya for too long.”

Bucciarelli and Brabo hope that the magazine will become an innovative platform for freelancers who want to maintain creative control over their material in the commercialised world of news journalism. They want their contributors to fully utilise the capabilities of digital technology and to build a dynamic interaction with their subscribers. Bucciarelli said: “What we are trying to do is use the digital way… not only using picture or video, but also 360 pictures, paralysis effect, 360 video, infographics… A new platform for freelancers using the digital way.”

Each issue of Me-Mo will concentrate on a central theme, the first issue focused on fear, and will be published four times a year. A single issue can be bought for €10, and a year-long subscription is priced at €25. On this subject, Dispenza commented: “We decided to work on quality and not quantity.”

An audience member enquired as to whether Me-Mo would accept submissions exclusively from photojournalists, or if they would be open to stories presented through other journalistic mediums. The panelists agreed that high quality content was Me-Mo’s ultimate goal.

Dispenza said, “It’s more about the ideas and not about one kind of media. Me-Mo is really open to every kind of good idea because we are not a big publisher and we are really free to do the best things we can choose together. It’s really about the ideas.”

Watch and listen back to the event below: