Mikko Takkunen, who recently joined TIME.com as an associate photo editor based in London, has run PhotoJournalismlinks.com, a curated source of the best photojournalism around the web, since 2007. Starting today, Takkunen will be rolling his efforts into a new PhotojournalismLinks feature published bi-weekly on LightBox, TIME’s photography blog. LightBox producer Vaughn Wallace spoke with Takkunen about his site and his plans for the future.
What led you to create PhotojournalismLinks? When was that?
I was doing a BA Photojournalism course in Swansea Metropolitan University in Wales and I found out that while the university library — where I spent enormous amounts of time (I even had part-time job there) — had a lot of great documentary photography and photojournalism books on its shelves. Classics by likes of Fusco’s RFK Funeral Train (still one of my favorite photography books) and Salgado’s Workers, as well as more contemporary books by photographers such as Pellegrin and Bleasdale — the most contemporary photojournalism work was most accessible on the web. I was visiting the websites of all the great agencies such as Magnum (I especially loved their Magnum in Motion features) and VII pretty much on daily basis, on top of which I was digging into any other sites that had great photojournalism on offer, Foto8, MediaStorm and the kind. I was constantly emailing with my fellow photojournalism students about the latest links we had found and pretty soon I had this massive bookmarks folder on my browser and I realized that instead of just sharing the links with some of my classmates, I might as well put them online, so that others could benefit from them as well. So I started a WordPress blog to be able to do that and that turned into Photojournalism Links. It all happened late 2007. For the first couple of years I was doing the site almost daily, then weekly, and for the last year or so, I’ve been doing monthly updates.
Who are your readers?
Based on the emails I’ve received, the readership consists of wide array of photography enthusiasts and professionals, from photography students to educators; professional photographers and agency representatives; and photo editors. I often felt I was spending far too much time working on the site, but knowing there were loads of people visiting the site really kept me going.
You’ve recently joined the staff of TIME as an associate photo editor based in London. What are you looking forward to most?
Well, first of all, I’m very much looking forward to joining the rest of the photo department in New York later this year! I’m having a great time at the London bureau, but to really grow as a photo editor, I would love to be in daily face-to-face contact with my colleagues.
I’m extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to join TIME. It’s a title I’ve read for years now, and I always had a great admiration towards the photography on the magazine’s pages and now on LightBox. I feel extremely lucky to be part of the team where everyone is so driven and talented. I just hope I can keep up!
My main role is to edit news photos and photo galleries for TIME.com, especially on international topics. For the most part, this involves getting pulling photos from the wires, and I’m most looking forward to the challenge of trying to make sure that we have the best photography available to accompany TIME.com articles, as well as making the highest quality photo galleries possible, with the aim of providing even better content for our readers. I’m quite the news junkie myself, so being able to immerse myself in the news and news photography daily makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. My favorite thing in the job so far has definitely been the realization of how much I like making photo galleries: the thought process that goes into choosing not only the visually but journalistically strongest photos of a given event, and considering how well will they go together and putting them into a sequence that makes sense. Sense to me anyway! Hope our readers will agree.
How do you see PhotojournalismLinks evolving and growing as part of TIME?
Anyone who has been following Photojournalism Links for a while should know that LightBox, since its inception, been one of my favorite places on the web. Once, I think I even wrote that I didn’t mean to always highlight LightBox content the most, but I couldn’t help it, since I just often found it the strongest. So in the light of that, it’s pretty amazing that I can actually bring Photojournalism Links to LightBox.
The ‘Links’ will obviously have a lot more eyes on it from now on, so that’s great. The site will also look better than the old one, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. The main core of PJL will remain the same I’m sure — sharing links to great photo essays, articles, interviews, et cetera. But I’m also looking forward to doing some extra content like photographer’s interviews. It’s all still a little up in the air, but I have no doubt that Photojournalism Links can only get stronger by having its home on LightBox and me being able to bounce off ideas with my TIME photo colleagues. I’m very excited about the future.