Disruptive Images: an Innovation Lab at LOOK3

We’re pleased to share our recent collaboration with LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Virginia! In conjunction with LOOK3’s educational programming, the Magnum Foundation hosted Disruptive Images, a one-day innovation lab on photography’s potential as digital and site-specific intervention.

Focused on constructive project development, the lab brought together sixteen photographers to collectively build concept maps of each other’s projects.  Throughout the day, the group explored the ways in which photographers can leverage the photograph’s utility - both as an easily translatable and digitally exchanged form of communication, and as an object that can be inserted into physical space and site-specific contexts.  

The day began with introductions, where each photographer gave a brief description of their project and shared a recent source of inspiration. The room held a true array of practitioners - from wildlife photographers to cartographers and multimedia documentarians. This diversity contributed a great deal to our first exercise, where groups of two worked collaboratively to identify and list each other’s project mission statement, assets, stakeholders, and markers of success. These lists were later utilized in the mapping process, where groups of four worked collectively to develop concept maps of each of team member’s projects in rapid thirty-minute sessions. The final maps combined each of these elements through a series of connecting ideas, to reveal previously unseen opportunities, challenges, and goals. The mapping process also uncovered additional resources and insights, as team members shared various websites, grants, influences, and publications.


In reflecting on the lab, participant Gabriela Arp stated that the mapping process could aid her in “finding ways to bring the community” into her process, in order to make her projects more collaborative with her subjects. Furthermore, she shared that she’ll be using the outline as she navigates through the production phase of another project. 


A special thanks to Alex Matzke, Victoria Hindley and Lisa Draine for making this lab possible, and to Mark Strandquist and Lauren Lyon for providing additional support. All images are by Lauren Lyon.

Simone Salvo