Word from the Editor

We all have anecdotes about the moments when photography made marks on our world, and which compelled us to engage with it on a daily basis as practitioners, critics, educators, champions and the like. Mine began with a fascination for my mother’s camera and the photos that showed her past and her travels. They also include memories of begging my grandmother to buy me a panoramic camera when I was nine (I believed that a few more centimetres would help me capture the magnitude of the landscapes I saw when camping); of Sophie Ristelhueber’s book FAIT, which mesmerized me as a child because the scenes pictured looked both alien and familiar; of never-ending fits of giggles in my CEGEP’s darkroom; and as I began a career in it, of the countless people who propelled me forward—The Magenta Foundation being one of them.

It goes without saying that I’m thrilled to be able to pass it forward. In many ways, I’ve modelled the Flash Forward Flash Back website along the lines of my real-life encounters with fellow photographers, editors and academics. Those conversation often lead to the discovery of new work and new artists, the recommendations of shows to attend and books to purchase, and discussions about approach, ethics, representation and responsibility. I’m hoping that FFFB can be that to a broader, larger and more diverse audience. I want to continue to expand my network, bring new talents into the fold, be challenged, grow. And I’m hoping to provide the inspiration and opportunity for others to do so as well.

In this spirit, Flash Forward Flash Back is very much an experiment. Nothing is set in stone. Columns may come and go, depending on what is of interest and what isn’t. Formats will evolve. I’m eager to try different ideas. A current challenge is encouraging discussion without becoming fodder for vitriolic trolls. How can the virtual world, open to all, be a safe space for exchanges on important and sensitive topics? For the time being, in lieu of a commenting section at the end of posts, you’ll find prompts to mull over. I’m hoping you will take these with you, reflect and engage friends. I also encourage you to share your thoughts with us, as we plan to publish the responses and keep the conversation going beyond the initial article. I also welcome your thoughts on the publication itself. Tell me what you like and what you don’t, what you’d like to see, what you’re working on and if you’d like to collaborate.

Looking forward to our virtual encounters!

Laurence Butet-Roch

Laurence Butet-Roch
Flash Forward Flash Back Editor