Featuring the sprawling, epic story of an adventurous traveler, whose round-the-world journey in the 1970s took him from Britanny to Tahiti, and then to the Philippines’ last frontier, all in search of the perfect pearl.
On the cover: Pearl diver at Jewelmer Island shot by Francisco Guerrero
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YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT WE LOOK LIKE. Save for our executive editor, Paco Guerrero, who already had a career in TV when we found him, the team that puts this magazine together is largely invisible, and that’s the way we’ve wanted it to be.
I belong to the school of thought that people who produce magazines (photographers and writers, most of the time; and editors most especially) should be like ninjas: Our presence should never be seen, nor explained, nor even felt; our readers only feel the effect of our work. The work we put out should be so powerful that our readers are transported into that world so completely that they forget everything around them, and forget the fact that this story was produced for them, and already filtered through the minds of other people.
Sure, we’d like our personal stamps to be on every story we work on, and I think we’ve been able to do exactly that. A story photographed by our photo editor Sonny Thakur will always be different from that of Paco’s, for example, just as my stories (I hope) are distinct from anybody else’s. We also like to work with our pool of contributors who have their own voices and creative identities, rather than working with generic talents.
Given that, I thought it would be overkill to keep bringing up our faces and our personalities; you have our stories—and with them our individual perspectives— and that’s what is important. You don’t have to know who we are.
But that was before the past couple of months happened, when two events helped change my mind. The first was the South Sea pearls story that is on this issue’s cover, where Jewelmer allowed us to live on two of their pearl farms for over a week, so that we may understand how their complex operations work. They all work with such intensity there, with each person completely focused on their task, all the while keeping in mind how they fit into the big picture. “Whowas most responsible for producing the pearl?” I asked. “If you produce a perfect pearl, whose talent was behind it?” No one, they kept telling me. Not one person would’ve been responsible— they all were.
The other event that changed my mind was our first Photographers’ Open Call event in May, where our photographers met and mentored photographers, who for the most part looked extremely relieved and grateful to have met the GRID team.
So, while we still strive to be creative ninjas whose work will always be bigger than our personalities, I’ve come to realize that team effort is absolutely integral to this magazine. The better that we become at working as a team, the better our stories are, and the better your reading experience is. Ideally, each of our stories come from our well- concerted efforts—written with one voice, photographed with another, and then all designed and brought together as one story. We work as a team, though some more visible than others, and we think it’s time you get to know every one of us.
This isn’t the announcement of a sea change in the way we do our stories. We are NOT switching over to those(annoying) first-person stories where both camera and pen are all about the people behind them. This long editor’s note is here to announce the smallest change in the shortest, most overlooked of our sections. This is about the Our Contributors page, which now welcomes a small addition: Meet Our Staff. It takes a village to make GRID, and I would like you all to meet our village people.
Editor at Large