Screengrab of the Luceo website, with image shot for the summer issue of Fader magazine.
Luceo was first established in 2007, when photographers David Walter Banks, Kendrick Brinson, Matt Eich, Kevin German, Daryl Peveto and Matt Slaby came together to share their expertise, resources and talents. "As a freelancer, it's important to have a network of people who have my back," Brinson told The New York Times' Lens blog in 2010. "It's financially more feasible to share the cost of marketing and distribution. But it's the emotional support that's most important."
Last week, however, the collective lost three of its founding members – Eich, Brinson and Banks – who have decided to pursue their own personal projects. The departure coincides with a change of direction at the collective, which is now being dubbed Luceo 2.0.
"The digital revolution has exceeded our wildest expectations," said the agency in a press release. "In 2012, stories are about participation, integration, conversation, taste, touch, sound, smell... and visuals. The interstitial space between the world we inhabit and the web, where we express ourselves, has reframed the creative box in which we operate. And we love it. Our proudest accomplishments of the year have pushed the boundaries of how stories can be told and we've reformatted our web presence to highlight them.
As a result, Luceo is restructuring its site to suit its clients' needs. "Our new galleries are sorted by theme, fully embeddable and shareable, and include optimal viewing controls that allow for both side-scrolling and click-through navigation. We want you to be able to see the work as you please and share it as you are inspired."
The goal, the agency says, is to make it easier for readers "to participate in the conversation that helps create the work you love, and watch those projects develop right before your eyes".
As the collective announced its new plans, Eich, Brinson and Banks chose to leave to refocus their efforts on personal endeavours," says Luceo. "We would like to extend our wishes for continued prosperity and luck to newlyweds David Walter Banks and Kendrick Brinson and expectant father Matt Eich, as they leave our organisation this month to refocus their efforts on personal endeavours. Their vision will be deeply missed."
"We wish Luceo the best of luck with its new direction," Banks tells BJP in an emailed statement. "As for me, I'm looking forward to continuing in the tradition of personal work and spirit of collaboration with all the creatives out there I know and love. And, of course, nurturing relationships with my editorial and commercial clients."
Brinson adds: "I am working to home in on all the ideas that have been the backbone and heart of my career, such as focusing on long-term projects and supporting and engaging the photographic community. While we are branching out with a new outlet, storytelling has always been the core of my photography."
Eich will be keeping busy as well. "I'm working on three book projects – one in Ohio, one in Mississippi and one in Virginia," he tells BJP. "This work spans back to 2005 and for parts of these essays I have gathered audio, video, artifacts and more so I can distribute different facets through unique channels, hopefully opening up more entry points for the stories. The idea in the end is that there will be a boxset of books, with accompanying web presentations and exhibitions that are site-specific for the communities that are documented."
Luceo is quick to say the collective won't suffer from the departures. "These changes will not affect the quality and responsiveness our clients have come to expect. What's more, it will not affect our core values that our fans and friends have come to love. Our project fund will remain central to Luceo's business model and our regular crowdfunding giveaways and annual Student Project Award will not be interrupted as we go forward and continue giving back to the photographic community."
For more about the collective, visit luceoimages.com.
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