In 1854, the same year that George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, was born, the first issue of British Journal of Photography landed in the hands of the few brave early adopters of a new-fangled technology. And so the world’s longest-running and most influential photography title emerged in those early Victorian times, with the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and George Bernard Shaw destined to grace its pages.
Over a century and a half later, BJP was one of many publications owned by multinational media company Incisive Media. On a frosty night in December 2012, while discussing their love of photography over a beer, Incisive’s Group Publishing Director Marc Hartog, and BJP’s visionary Editor Simon Bainbridge, hatched a bold plan.
They saw BJP’s untapped potential and dreamed of realising it. On 05 February 2013 they risked everything and led a management buyout, leaving the comforting arms of a large corporation to pursue their shared vision for BJP’s future. Along with the BJP team they launched a new company called Apptitude Media – “App” because they knew that digital was an important part of that future. They wrote a manifesto promising to reinvent the medium, defiantly stating, “The magazine is dead, long live the magazine”.
And it worked. We reinvented BJP from a weekly specialist photography magazine, focusing on cameras and hardware as much as images, into a monthly object of beauty with photography and photographers right at its heart. We built apps and a website to bring BJP to people every day and the largest social media following of any photography publication. In the process, BJP’s audience increased from 30k, mainly in the UK, to a monthly reach of 3.5M+, now inspiring people in over 130 countries. The publishing industry celebrated our success, bestowing lots of awards for innovation in print and leading the way in the digital era.
By 2016, the BJP team had grown to 20 very committed people and the company had begun to head in new directions, such as events and exhibitions, and working with brands, using the power of photography to tell their stories. Things were getting bigger, more complex and nuanced.
That’s when we had an epiphany. Was our purpose clear enough, what bound all of this together — us, our work, our motivations? Making a beautiful magazine and apps and building a deeper relationship with a growing audience are all important, but this isn’t what actually inspired us. These are just a means to an end: what we do when we come to work every day, not why we come to work every day.
We needed to clarify our vision; unleash our true potential and fulfil our higher purpose. And so 1854 Media was born, openly embracing the deeper drivers of our shared passion: a profound love of photography and awe for its practitioners. We realised that what really inspires us is the thrill of discovering groundbreaking new work by artists from far-off lands who no-one’s heard of yet. We savour the joy of sharing that work with the world and championing the inventors and rebels who create it, and in so doing, curating the medium.
We’re much clearer now on why we come to work and why we work so hard. We have a sharper love of what we do.
And we wrote a new manifesto.
Most Innovative Publishing Company – Business Excellence Awards 2018
“The passion, drive, and dedication of this small hard-working team really stood out, their focus on creativity and innovation is exemplary. 1854 Media’s win is a fitting reward for a brave and determined approach”.
Judges named the British Journal of Photography the “unstoppable winner” of Consumer Media Brand of the Year — the “most prestigious and most competitive of categories”.
After the “staggering scale of ambition” Portrait of Britain exhibition was commended as a “superb achievement” and won Digital Innovation of the Year.
2016 Global Excellence Awards – Best in Digital Publishing
Most Outstanding UK Publishing Company – Innovation & Excellence Awards 2016
Digital Company of the year – Business Excellence Awards 2015
Most Innovative Publishing Company – Innovation & Excellence Awards 2015
New Talent Sales Team of the Year – PPA New Talent Awards 2015
Digital Publisher of the Year 2014 – Business Excellence Awards
Digital Publisher of the Year 2013 – Business Excellence Awards
Digital Media Portfolio of the Year 2013 (UK) – Business Excellence Awards
Publishing Innovator of the Year – PPA Awards 2013
Marc Ghione, CMO of the Year 2013 – Business Excellence Awards
App of the Year for British Journal of Photography – PPA Awards 2013
Marc Hartog, Visionary of the Year – Business Excellence Awards 2013
Most Effective Tablet Application – Mobile Marketing Awards 2013
Online Magazine Publisher of the Year – 2013 Business Excellence Awards
Digital Media Portfolio of the Year, UK – 2013 Business Excellence Awards
Photography Magazine of the Year – Lucie Awards 2012
Best use of mobile – British Media Awards 2012