• Mark Murrmann Photo

    Mark Murrmann

    Mother Jones
    Photo Editor
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
    Nationality: American
    Biography: Mark Murrmann is photo editor at  Mother Jones  magazine. Mark came to  Mother Jones  in 2007 with a background as a photojournalist, working as a contract photographer with ZUMA Press. He studied photography at UC Berkeley's... read on

HELPFUL HINTS FROM A PHOTO EDITOR

Friday, March 10, 2017 | News

TO DO OR NOT TO DO

Director of Photography at Mother Jones Magazine


Consider the medium in which you're pitching work. Establish a relationship. Working is long-term. Yes, there are exceptions for all of these points. This is beyond the basics of, spell the editor's name correctly.

Be Selective when Tagging. Carpetbomb tagging an editor in every photo you've ever posted on Instagram is typically not an effective way to pitch your work/yourself to them.
Respect the Story. Are you pitching a story that is important to you? Do you want it to get published? Pitch it with a little respect to the story – a Twitter thread doesn't cut it. Tagging a photo editor in a Facebook post doesn't either. Neither does a text message.
No texting. Does the editor work at a magazine with a staff? Unless you hear otherwise, it's is probably best to email the editor at editorsname@magazinename.com. If you find their personal number on their personal website (some editors freelance too), it's not a great idea to drop them a text to see if they got your photo essay proposal that you sent a couple hours ago.
Share your work. Do not send an email to ask if an editor wants to see your work. Just send it. They're expecting it. Happens every day, all the time.
Put your name on it. If you make a photo zine – or any other kind of promo – put your name on it, especially if you send it to editors without any note or return address or anything to indicate who it's from. And while you're putting your name on your promo, may as well add where you're located and some contact info. The "but I'll travel anywhere" doesn't really cut it. It's helpful to know where people are currently located.
Expect to get paid. Do not pitch a story and tell an editor you don't expect to get paid for it. You should always expect to get paid for your work. If you feel comfortable giving your work away for "exposure," let the editor broach that. But DO NOT offer you work for free right out of the gate.
Show specific projects, not a walkthrough of your website. While meeting someone face to face is always good, if you meet with an editor and just show them your website, you’re wasting your time and theirs.
Know what the Magazine recently published. If a magazine just did a large story on a particular subject, they most likely won't be able to also use your story on the exact same subject.
Know who you're pitching to. Are you a lifestyle photographer who shoots happy white people running through golden, sun-drenched grasslands, and you sometimes dabble in yummy food photography? While it's good to be open to all kinds of photography, you're likely not a photographer we can work with. Don't get bent outta shape about it; and definitely, don't argue with the editor.
A warning before shocking us is advised. Are you taking naked pictures of vampires drenched in "blood" in bathtubs? A NSFW warning would be welcome. Also, HARD PASS.
Give the editor time to respond. Following up on pitches is good, but give the editor a little time to get to it. A week or more is good. And rest assured – if you send a story and the editor likes it, they're going to get in touch.
It's all about perspective. Don't take everything a photo editor says as gospel. They're all opinionated, they're all busy. Some are kind and constructive; others are grouchy and some are just assholes. Use common sense and take everything a photo editor says with a grain of salt.
Remember editors are human. Do not pitch stories via social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), particularly if you don't already have a relationship with the editor. If you feel inclined to do so, DEFINITELY don't do this when it is 5 a.m. where the editor lives. Not every editor silences or turns their phone off at night. Being woken up early by a Facebook messenger pitch is a quick way to get your work rejected.
- // -

Mark Murrmann is photo editor at Mother Jones magazine. Mark came to Mother Jones in 2007 with a background as a photojournalist, working as a contract photographer with ZUMA Press. He studied photography at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and then in London as a student winner of the Alexia Foundation Photography Grant.

By Mark Murrmann
Director of Photography at Mother Jones Magazine
Follow Mark
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Interview with Peter van Agtmael about his new book, "Buzzing at the Sill"

Sunday, February 26, 2017 | News

A short interview with Magnum photographer Peter van Agtmael about his new book on Kehrer Verlag, "Buzzing at the Sill." It's his third book, the latest chapter in what he calls, "on greater book."

You can here it HERE.

(photo by Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos, from "Buzzing at the Sill")
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Mother Jones is Hiring

Thursday, February 23, 2017 | News | Job Listings

Mother Jones is hiring a managing editor (SF) and an early-career documentary filmmaker for a new residency (NYC).

We're looking for a Managing/Production editor in the San Francisco office.

http://www.motherjones.com/about/jobs/managing-production-editor

Are deadlines in your DNA? Can you manage up, down, sideways, and across time zones? Are you quick with an edit and graceful under pressure? Mother Jones is looking for a managing/production editor to coordinate and corral the work of reporters and editors in three bureaus, including overseeing the production of our award-winning print magazine. You should be a workflow genius, a skilled negotiator, ridiculously organized, flexible, meticulous, and a born collaborator. Your previous boss should call you charming AND ruthless. You should be comfortable managing staff bandwidth, overseeing fact-checking and legal review, calculating page counts, and rooting out errors. Pushovers need not apply.

And we've created a new, year-long documentary filmmaking residency (preferably in NYC):

http://www.motherjones.com/about/jobs/mother-jones-documentary-film-residency

If you're a filmmaker interested in partnering with an innovative newsroom focused on accurate, point-of-view narrative storytelling, the new Mother Jones documentary film residency may be perfect for you. This unique new program, supported by the Ford Foundation and Just Films, will give an emerging or early-career filmmaker a yearlong opportunity to embed in the newsroom, with a full-time salary and benefits, and the wraparound support of story editors, fact-checkers, social-media mavens, and crack lawyers.


Please see the links for the full job descriptions, qualifications and how to apply. I have nothing to do with hiring or vetting for either position and don't really know any more than what is on these pages. I'm just spreading the word. 
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Stacy Kranitz Takes Us to the Home of King Coal

Friday, October 2, 2015 | News

I had the please of getting to work with Stacy Kranitz on a great piece by Tim Murphy, looking at Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, the company responsible for the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in 2010.  Blankenship grew up in the area around where the disaster happened. In addition to the main piece we got to run a nice, big selection of her work from West Viriginia and Kentucky. Stacy gives us an unparralleled, up-close look at life in Mingo and Boone counties. Check it out in the November/December
issue, out next week. 

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/09/life-mingo-county-home-king-coal

ACP + PhotoNOLA

Monday, September 28, 2015 | News

Quick note that I will be reviewing portfolios in Atlanta, at the Atlanta Celebrates Photography festival, Oct. 10th. If you missed the sign-up for that, I will also be at PhotoNOLA this December.

Two trips to the South! It's been too long since I was last in the area. Come say hi. 

The War On Women is Over – and Women Lost

Thursday, September 10, 2015 | News

Donna Ferrato shot a story for the Sept/Oct issue of Mother Jones on the steady dismantling of women's health services across the United States, written by Molly Redden. It's a crucially important story, particularly now. And of course it was a real treat to get to work with Donna on this piece.

Hurricane Katrina Aftermath

Friday, August 28, 2015 | Awards & Features

A rare occassion: running some of my own work on the Mother Jones site, some old photos I shot of the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, a few months after the Hurricane.

Justin Maxon: Chester, PA

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 | News

It's been a longtime in the making, but I'm proud we finally got to run Justin Maxon's powerful work from Chester, PA in the May/June issue of Mother Jones as part of our extensive gun package. This piece came about as part of the Mother Jones partnership with the Magnum Foundation.

Justin also wrote a piece for us about his seven years in Chester. It's a story in which he's invested a lot of time and a lot of himself, and it shows.

Cost of Gun Violence

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 | News

Big, new package in the May/June issue of Mother Jones with a opening photo by Carlos Javier Ortiz and inside portraits of gun violence survivors by: Brandon Thibodeaux, Preston Gannaway, Jon Lowenstein, Sim Chi Yin and Peter Earl McCollough. BIUT WAIT! There's more: a knock-out photo essay by Justin Maxon on unsolved gun murders in Chester, PA.

ASMP Panel

Thursday, February 26, 2015 | News

Tonight in San Francisco:

ASMP Norcal presents: The Future of Editorial Panel at Left Space starting at 6pm with a social gathering, then a panel of SF's finest magazine's editors including Wired, Via, Mother Jones, Stanford, Wines & Vines, SF Chronicle and Sierra Club. 6-9 pm.

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