2017 was a defining year for Rogue Collective. Like other photographers and photo collectives, we struggled with the changing media landscape and our role within it. But the biggest realization came when we stepped out of this crazy downward spiral. The pursuit was now focused on other avenues including going deeper into personal projects and allying with agencies that still believe in the power of photography.
Amber Bracken was recognized this year with a World Press Photo Award (and a POYi and several more awards) after repeatedly returning to Standing Rock to follow the story of the Standing Rock Sioux people who were defending their land and water. This led to further work including being tapped by National Geographic to travel to South Dakota. Jennifer Roberts worked with the Globe and Mail to travel across Canada to follow-up on their Unfounded series which discovered that one in five sexual assault cases are dismissed by police. Roberts also had a dream gig photographing Helena Bonham-Carter for Getty. And Christopher Pike worked on a dream assignment with Redbull hanging from the side of cliffs above world-class climber Chris Sharma. A perfect fit for his own passions for high adventures in climbing, scuba diving and deep cave explorations.
Jimmy Jeong headed to his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on a story about the Tran family who had fled after the fall of Saigon and were welcomed by Canadian sponsors. The youngest of the family became a doctor and now sponsors two Syrian refugee families. Cole Burston followed several stories for the the New York Times with their expanding Canada bureau. We predict there will be more expanding international media coverage here as our own publications are sadly cut. Tim Smith continued his focus on small fringe communities including travelling to the dying town of Uranium City, Saskatchewan for Maclean’s Magazine. The once boom-town of 5000 has dwindled to a population of 50 - a seemingly common trend for small rural centres in Canada. Leah Hennel also continued her own personal projects following the stories of communities in rural southern Alberta including Hutterite families and working cowboys. Her photo of a cowboy in the foothills near Pincher Creek won her a National Newspaper Award this year.
So as 2018 approaches we just want to thank our families and friends. A big bow and thanks to our allies and clients that tell such great stories. And a special thanks to this wonderful Canadian photojournalism community.