Only recently, a couple of gifted photographers started American Reportage, a collective devoted to telling tales about the American experience. Founded Kathleen Flynn, Justin Merriman, Brian Plonka, Jeff Swensen, by photographers Pete Marovich and Adria Malcolm, the Aim is for its members to produce stories of communities and people whose voices often go unheard.    

We talked with two of the heritage musicians, Justin Merriman and PhotoShelter manhood Pete Marovich, regarding the inspiration behind the job.

[Feature Picture by Pete Marovich]

What prompted American Reportage?

Justin Merriman: I’m a product of this present climate in papers. Later 16 years working in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I took a buyout in September of 2016 as soon as the paper was producing drastic cuts and could shortly be cutting its own printing product and moving to all digital.

Soon after leaving the newspaper, Pete Marovich spoke to me about his idea for the collective. I jumped on board and was interested. Having spent a great part of my career working on jobs that were overseas, travel to other areas, and Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ukraine, I believed it was time for me to tell the tales in towns and my communities.

About the 5th Anniversary of the crash of United Flight 93, Wally Miller, the Somerset County Coroner, plus among those very first on the scene of the crash site, finds birds sing for the first time since the wreck. 88 percent of those remains of those passengers on the flight still rests over the woods. Photo from Jeff Swensen

I’d always felt as though my abroad work wasn’t completed, partially because at some stage I needed to come home, leaving the narrative behind. Now, in the tales, I Reside within American Reportage. I understand these people and I know them, their customs, their habits, their concerns and cares. This is home to me.

Presently I am working on many jobs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia, such as stories on health care, coal mining, and the market.

George Gonzales prays in a little chapel atop a mountain afterwards he carried a heavy wooden cross for many miles into a calm spot on his land south of Santa Rosa. He practices the Lenten ritual at the days leading up the Easter holiday. Photo from Adria Malcolm

Pete Marovich: The thought was stewing for quite some time. The tightening of magazine and paper funds, the number of areas to have work financed and the dearth of print spacestorytelling, was nagging at me.

I also believed, and the election was a prime case, that we as journalists were somewhat out of touch with America as a whole. So photographers appear to wish to go to operate, and again with all the of distance and book budgetsvisual storytelling regarding the issues are being underreported and voices are going unheard.

Supporters of Democratic Party candidate Donald Trump cheer as he talks during a campaign stop in the Cambria County War Memorial Arena on October 21, 2016 at Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Trump continue to effort as Election Day nears.   Photo from Justin Merriman

Since the collective develops, what is your expectation for it going ahead?

Justin Merriman: I am thrilled to become a part of American Reportage. I believe we have made something special and I am honored to be a part together with much more notably and these journalists people. We’ve got a good deal of thoughts for the future of this collective and jobs which we are going to work on as individuals and as a team.

My expectation with all American Reportage is exactly the exact same hope I have carried with me throughout my whole career behind the camera — to make people believe, to make people care, to respond, to question, to laugh, to cry, to smile — to really make a difference.

A mommy’s day next line in the 7th ward in New Orleans on Sunday May 10, 2009. The “primary line” is that the principal part of a parade, which comprises the brass ring. People who follow the ring to party and dance are known as the “second line.” The line was known as the jazz funeral. Photo by Kathleen Flynn/St. Petersburg Times

See American Reportage to remain updated with their tales. Additionally follow along on Instagram @americanreportage(**Twitter and) @amreportage. (****).