Guidelines and style guide

What’s Trigger?

Simply put, it’s an annual magazine produced by the FOMU photography museum in Antwerp and designed and published by Amsterdam’s Fw:Books. It’s got an online component that publishes articles printed in the magazine as well as some digital-only content throughout the year. Put more complexly, it’s a deep and thematic dive into the politics, philosophy, aesthetics and history of photography and the arts. Since our first issue in 2019, we’ve published a chorus of leading voices, with mind-expanding contributions from people like Ariella Azoulay, M. Neelika Jayawardane, Donald Weber and An van. Dienderen.

Here are links to two of our many favourite essays.
A Trip to the Supermarket: Coronavirus Codes in the Global Iconomy by Wilco Versteeg
The Impact of the Camera on Wheels: The Moving Gaze in the Modern Subject by Sara Dominici

We loved working with these writers, and if you think you’ve got a good idea, we’re excited to love working with you as well. Read on.

How do you find out about the themes we’re planning for the magazine?
You just review our open calls. We announce them here in late February or early March.

What kind of online contributions are we looking for?
We’re looking for contributions that are critical, essayistic and comparative, and we’re looking for work that strives to offer insights into photography’s tendencies and practices. That means we’re looking for more than just straightforward reviews. Dig deep, really deep – then come up and tell us what you found. We’re also interested in responses to previously published essays and contributions. We love a good debate.

Having said that, we do like reviews if they’re surrounded by urgency or some other kind of justification that’s both clearly stated and clearly connected to broader challenges and trends in photography or visual arts. We also welcome researchers who want to publish examinations of certain collections and archives, but again, we’re looking for urgency.

Finally, we welcome writers who aren’t photographers or even all that familiar with photography but want to write a short historical or critical exposé of an image or photo, famous or obscure.

Okay, so you’ve got a pitch. Now what?
If you’ve got a pitch and you want to run it by our editorial board, don’t hesitate to contact Tom Viaene, our publications coordinator, at He’ll help you refine your idea and get it in our pages or on our site.

Artists and photographers can submit visual stories, documentaries and reflections via PDF or individual image attachments. Written contributions for the magazine are typically about 2,000 words. Those for the website tend to vary between 2,000 and 3,000 words. It’s important to note that a long essay isn’t necessarily a better one, and we tend to prefer works that hover around 2,000 words.

Payment is 0.2 euros per word for writing, with a cap of 400 euros. This includes a 6% VAT. Visual arts and photography contributions range from 200 to 400 euros; the final fee is negotiated. Once we accept your work, you can send us your full name, address, banking details (including your IBAN or BICC codes) and your VAT number, if you have one.

We’ll be looking for ideas that fall into the scopes of our annual themes; in 2019–20, we examined the impact of our discipline, and in 2020–2021, we explored global uncertainty and how it interacts with photography. At the same time, we’ll be looking for work we can publish online.

Trigger isn’t an academic journal, which means we don’t have an official peer-review process.

Nevertheless, we value rigour and look closely at all the pitches we get – and we keep looking closely as they go through our publication process. Will this be annoying? Well, yes, sometimes it will. But stay calm and draft on, because in the end, we just want to make sure the final product is the very best it can be.

Finally, we work in British English and blend it with the conventions of The Chicago Manual of Style, and we’re all about plain language. We strongly urge our writers to review our style guide very closely, absorb as much as possible and revise their work to make sure it adheres.

(Written by Paul Carlucci, final editor)