Emma Bowkett, Picture Editor
& FT Weekend Magazine
Introducing the Selectors for the BA Phase of Graduate Photography Online 2015: we talk to Emma Bowkett, Picture Editor at the Financial Times & FT Weekend Magazine.
What is your core role in the job that you do?
We are a small team who work closely together. Most features in the magazine start life as a pitch to my editor. As soon as a story has been commissioned I will be thinking about the photographic approach. It is my job to pair a photographer to an assignment. The photographer I choose determines the feel of that project beyond the words, so a typical day can involve meetings with commissioning editors, art directors and writers, as well as liaising with photographers. A large part of my time is spent sourcing photo stories and new photographers for the magazine.
How do you decide on what makes an interesting photograph or photographic project?
It is my feeling that a good photograph is a good photograph. It will stand out amongst a myriad of other images. In the magazine we use both series, with narrative and story telling properties, and groups of individual pictures which are not at all co-dependent, but are linked by theme. More than being visually stimulating, editorial photography has a role to deliver information. Photographs elaborate beyond the text, to compliment it. This applies to photo stories we discover, as well as shoots we commission.
Did you study photography or something else and how was it useful?
Different photo editors have their own qualities. I studied photography and for me I cannot imagine doing my job without that background knowledge and understanding. I like to build relationships over time with my photographers, and this informs the way we work together.
What's the most interesting piece of work you have published recently and why?
Our January photography special this year was on the theme of the family. We curated the issue, bringing together several photographers across practices who's work addresses these complex narratives. It was an incredibly moving and inspiring experience.
What advice would you have for someone interested in working in your area of photography?
Make pictures, work hard and have passion in what you do. If you are offered an opportunity, take it. An internship is a good way to gain industry knowledge and help you decide what career path to take.