Senior Lecturer in Photography, Noel Bowler, has been working on an 8-year project inspired by research referring to the “downturn” of newspaper journalism in 2012. Noel embarked on a self-funded international photographic project spanning four continents resulting in Above the Fold.
The project documents newspaper newsrooms including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LeMode, The Hindu, The Independent, The Sun, The Guardian and The Financial Times.
Using his signature medium format film camera to photograph newspaper newsrooms, Noel’s unique project shows us the physical space and the structural layers that have formed the foundation of our modern press.
Noel said “For most of my career I have focused my camera on workers, workspace and the labour market as a whole. In my previous book Union I spent many years photographing the offices and leaders of trade unions from around the world. So, for me, turning my attention to the newsroom and its workers, feels like a logical progression towards a subject matter that has always been close to my heart.”
“In 2012, influenced by a piece of research I had read, I began to explore what was then being called a ‘downturn’ in the newspaper newsroom. It existed at a time when newspapers were cutting staff as organisations looked to the future of online news distribution and I began to visit local and national newsrooms to research this idea. At the time I was living in Dublin, Ireland, so my first port of call was to the Irish Times newsroom in Dublin City. By 2014 I began reaching out to journalists and building relationships that would see me to make regular visits to newsrooms in Ireland, the UK, the United States and as far afield as India and Japan where I primarily focused on print newspapers with the highest distribution by paid circulation.”
“In recent years, I, like others, have observed the overt attempts to systematically undermine the processes of print media. As this trend continues it seems timely to offer my small counterpoint to this troubling narrative by using the images that I have made so far.”
“Above The Fold has become a story about legacy and the future of an industry and its workers, through an evolution of technological change and political upheaval in which human input still remains the cornerstone in the production of legitimate news today.”
“These photographs offer us a glimpse into the places where the decisions and policies that affect so many are created. While these places may be separated by geography, culture and politics, they are all inherently linked by one fundamental attribute; the commitment to inform, educate and reinforce the importance of a free and trustworthy press.”
“In 2016, I felt that there was a seismic shift in the understanding of how we not only consume news, but what we see as news. In this time of change and misinformation, the role of the journalist has never been more relevant.”
“Above the Fold is also about the strong personal connections and relationships that I have formed with the people, and with these spaces. This body of photographs continue my ongoing consideration of the political forces that shape our world.”
Noel is running a Kickstarter campaign, to find out more please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/942340106/above-the-fold-0
To find out more about Photography at the University of Suffolk visit https://www.uos.ac.uk/courses/ug/ba-hons-photography
University of Suffolk Press Office