Today's issue features journalist and photographer, Terry Hope. As an Epica juror & chief editor of Professional Photo magazine, he shares his views on the needs and challenges facing the advertising and pictural industry.
What inspired you to become a journalist and how did you get into the profession?
I initially took a degree in photography, but always enjoyed the process of writing. When I graduated my first job was in a magazine, where I picked up what was required to be a professional writer, while also taking photographs as and when required. It was a great learning experience, and when the chance came along to join a magazine that focused on photography I jumped at the opportunity to combine both my interests.
What’s your role at Professional Photo magazine - and what are the latest developments there?
I’m the editor of Professional Photo, and was also the launch editor of the title 17 years ago. Four years ago the changing market for print magazines led the publishers to consider closure, so I took the plunge and acquired the title, so I’m now the publisher as well. One year in Covid struck, so it’s been a choppy ride, but the first thing I did when I took it over was to start to build up the online side of things and that got us through. We now have a really strong website and social media channels, and this is supporting the fact that we’re still a print title.
What essential qualities and skills do journalists need to thrive in today’s media landscape?
You need to be able to adapt and reinvent yourself on a regular basis, and never close your eyes to the way things are changing. It’s crucial to try to be ahead of the game if possible. When I started out I was working on a typewriter, and now I run a magazine where we’re producing videos, the team works across a number of individual offices and AI is starting to make its influence felt. If you have a long career in journalism you will definitely have to reinvent yourself several times along the way.
People are surrounded by advertising all the time but don’t necessarily understand what goes into the process of producing it, and the effort that goes in behind-the-scenes to bring it to fruition.
As a member of the Epica Awards jury, how do you approach evaluating and selecting the best creative work from around the world?
Not every section is relevant to me, but it’s really interesting to see the full cross-section of entries and to understand more about the advertising and commercial side of the business. I look for originality and concepts that make me stop and think, and which I might not have seen before.
How important is the relationship between journalism and the creative community, and how can it be further strengthened?
It’s very important, and I think the creative community deserves to have its achievements discussed and shared. People are surrounded by advertising all the time but don’t necessarily understand what goes into the process of producing it, and the effort that goes in behind-the-scenes to bring it to fruition. Giving a platform to talented agencies and individual creatives is something that I feel is hugely important.
What are the most memorable campaigns or creative projects you've covered and what made them stand out for you?
We’ve run a lot of features on projects where photographers have collaborated on projects whose aim is to raise awareness for areas that are very dear to their hearts. For example, our next issue contains a feature on ‘The New Big Five,’ the aim here being to establish the top five species that professionals want to photograph, rather than the Top Five being the animals that people wanted to hunt as trophies. The book that has come out of this involves work submitted by wildlife photographers from right across the world, and particularly sets out to be inclusive in terms of those who have been approached to be part of this project.
How d’you stay informed and updated on the latest trends and developments in the creative industry?
Mainly through online research and extensive reading. As we’re a photographic magazine our main area of feedback is through professional commercially-orientated photographers and filmmakers, and I pick up a lot through interviewing those we’re featuring in Professional Photo.
What is your take on the recent leap in AI generated images? How do you see it affect professional photography now or in the future?
It is going to be a huge thing, and not surprisingly it’s unnerving a lot of people who can see it putting them out of a job. We’ve already run several stories that have focused on this, and I talk regularly to professionals who are taking a particular interest in this area and the work they’re able to produce is certainly strong enough to be up to professional usage. So there is a very real threat to not just photographers but designers, writers, even the likes of composers and so on. Our take is that it’s better to be talking about what’s on or over the horizon, and we’ll do our best to fight the corner for our readers.
What role do you see journalism playing in promoting and advocating for diversity and inclusion within the creative industry?
Obviously we all have a part to play in encouraging diversity and inclusion in our respective businesses. I’ve seen the photographic industry change a lot over the years and it’s become much more welcoming to minorities and to female photographers, who are now coming into the industry in ever greater numbers. We’ve always had a number of female columnists writing for us, and they’re very much involved on merit, and we also run a regular annual ‘Top 50 British Wedding Photographers’ award, which is richly diverse, and which seeks to throw the spotlight on the full spectrum of photographers working in this area of the business.
Who is the most fascinating photographer you’ve ever interviewed?
Has to David Bailey. He had a fearsome reputation and I was terrified of meeting him, but he turned out to be by some distance the most fun photographer to be with, and he was very kind and giving towards me. We worked together on a series for Amateur Photographer magazine and so I met him several times, and we just basically had a conversation about his pictures but also lots of other random things, and it’s one of the great privileges of the job to get to spend meaningful time with people such as this, and to be trusted to put their story across in your publication.
Who are your role models or mentors in journalism and the creative world? And what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve worked alongside a wide variety of people throughout my journalistic career, and have taken a lot from several of them, particularly in terms of how to stay calm when deadlines are approaching and everything seems to be going wrong! I also picked up the need for integrity and in standing your ground when necessary, even when it might upset the advertisers. In terms of career advice, I remember talking to a journalist who had had a long career, and he told me that it was important to be nice and to try to get along with fellow journalists, even if they happened to be working on a rival magazine at the time. His reasoning was that, if you worked in a specialist field, you could very well end up working alongside someone who was once a deadly rival, and if you’d burned your bridges in the past it could be a very uncomfortable experience!
We all have a part to play in encouraging diversity and inclusion in our respective businesses.