The Big Issue is a wonderful magazine, one that provides readers with diverse and wide-ranging content, opinions and photo-essays. But the magazine is more than just a great read, it is a tool for self-empowerment that has helped over 6500 Australians earn an income in its 20 year history.
The Big Issue was launched (in Australia) in Melbourne in 1996 and is now available in every major city (and numerous towns) across the country. That The Big Issue magazine has survived for so long based on such ethical and social principles, is a testament to the hard working staff and the public's belief in the finished product.
I have been fortunate to work with The Big Issue team as a contributing photographer over the last few years. I have had three Roving Eye photo-essays published, and have had the pleasure to make quite a few portraits of people who sell the magazine for the Vendor Profile section, one of which appears in each issue. However, I am especially honoured to have a full-page portrait featured in the 20th Anniversary issue, of Tim Beard from my series Fowl Play (see here), which was published in The Big Issue in 2014. The Roving Eye section of the magazine has featured some incredible essays over the years, and to have an image of mine printed in this issue is extremely rewarding on a personal level.
It well and truly brings me down to earth each time I listen to a vendor's story. We usually meet over a coffee before the shoot, and each time I hear what life experiences someone has had, it hits me in the guts just how much determination, courage and self-belief they must have to get where they are now. I want to thank The Big Issue team and the vendors for their passion and belief, and for giving me the opportunity to work with them.
The Big Issue should be high up on all photographers' lists, those who are looking to have a series of photographs run as an essay. The quality of the printing is beautiful and the designers always do a really great job of presenting the work. The Big Issue supports photographers in the best way possible, by publishing our work. And in this day and age, getting a good run in print is harder and harder to achieve. I look forward to The Big Issue's 25th Anniversary Issue (and my next Roving Eye series).