There are plenty of magazines out there struggling with defining their identity and purpose. Developed Images, ironically, one of Emerson’s oldest publications, with a lifespan of four decades, is one of them. It’s ready for drastic changes in layout and image selection.
DI is an annual publication of mostly film photography that has featured works from students across majors since the ‘80s. By not limiting itself to a certain trope, DI has become an eclectic and unique platform, acting almost like an orphanage for those outcast photos that don't fit nicely into assignments or series. This inclusion of misfit images, and their sometimes diverse techniques, worked to DI’s advantage, because each picture in the publication has a distinctive and timeless personality.
Zaji Zabalerio, a senior visual and media arts major, is the current president of DI, and his definition of what makes a good photo holds true in all the images featured in the magazine.
“The pictures I like the best are the ones that in their own way tell a vignette of a story,” Zabalerio said. “You see a little piece of themselves in each photo, whether it’s through the composition or the subject.”
Wanting to democratize the editing process, Zabalerio has made the image selection process open to the public. At the end of every month, DI will host an event where Emerson students can come and collectively select the best pictures among the submissions and explain why they chose said pictures. Students can submit their work to DI’s email at any point throughout the semester. Information about the location of the image selection event is shared via email. This process of selecting photos allows amateur and experienced photographers alike to further develop a critical eye—that is, the ability to conceptualize the compositional and emotional significance of a picture. Once a critical eye is established, a greater appreciation for the technical aspects of a photo can be found.
“The difference between a good photo and a great one is just how you frame the shot,” Zabalerio said. “The same subject can be photographed hundreds of ways, but it’s the job of a photographer, who has a critical eye, to find the perfect shot that conveys the right emotions.”
As far as theme goes, DI proudly admits their adherence to none. They believe there is a certain freedom of expression and diversity of style when you don’t fall into the label of one aesthetic.
“Publications at Emerson tend to be pretty reductive, limiting students to a certain trope,” Zabalerio said. “But what we’re really trying to do here at DI is cancel the limits.”
DI has, for years, showcased the talents of Emerson students and now, under the leadership of Zabalerio, promises a fresh, democratized way of not only selecting their photos, but also presenting them.
One of the largest changes DI is currently undergoing is its presentation. Not too long ago, DI showcased their photos in a layout similar to that of a postcard, featuring a quaint size and sharable print. But now, they have modified their layout to that of a pamphlet, with no words, just pictures.
“It’s a strictly photography magazine and that means a lot these days,” Zabalerio said. “There’s plenty of publications that use photos only to support their articles or themes. Not here. We let the images speak for themselves.”
DI is a far reaching platform, meaning the photographers featured in the annual publication are often contacted by not only their peers, but by local photographers outside of the school. Nydia Hartono, a senior visual and media arts major and the marketing manager for DI, has been featured in the publication before.
“One of the greatest things about DI is to have your photographs stand out amidst the ether of the internet,” Hartono said. “There’s a special feeling you get when someone recognizes your name from a picture you took. It’s like they already know something about you.”