Welcome to Detour

From the desk of Chad Ziemendorf:


Welcome to DETOUR, the blog of Intersection Journal.


Here you will find behind the scene info, notes from me, insight from our photographers and commentary about photography, the business of photojournalism and the craft of storytelling.



Watford City sunrise The sun rises over North Dakota Highway 23 marking a new day for Watford City on September 18, 2014.



I have such great anticipation for the relaunch of Intersection Journal. This dream started in 2012 while I worked as an architectural and commercial photographer in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.


While it was a complete joy to make a living for my family with a camera, I wasn’t immersing myself in stories that exemplify the intricacies of being human. I wasn’t investing in something larger than myself and it pained me. I felt like I was playing a part, and that my role was simply to make nice pictures so that other companies could get more business.


Of course, that notion is at the heart of commercial photography, but I couldn’t shake the fact that the corporate world was so fickle. Because of the blistering rate of innovation that we see in Silicon Valley, many of the world-class corporate offices that I photographed were obsolete in a few years because the companies that built them expanded or rebuilt 2-3 years later. Here today, gone tomorrow.





Al Berg of Watford City, N.D., helps the Stenberg family as he holds the rope that opens the chute for cattle to pass through before being given an antibiotic shot.


Human stories are different. When a photographer can invest in the scene and be fully present so that life’s precious moments unfold naturally, the best pictures emerge. These are the pictures that convey a person’s character and reveal new truths that we can take with us and apply to our own lives.  Those truths are as relevant today as they will be tomorrow, not at all fickle or fleeting.


That is why I created Intersection Journal. Because people’s stories are worth investing in.


I have a saying that there’s a difference between real pictures and pretty pictures. Real pictures change lives, pretty pictures sell products.


Of course real pictures can be beautiful too, and many images that fill the pages of the most respected publications are quite striking while bringing awareness to an issue.


The difference is in the intent. Advertising photography exists for one purpose – to entice the viewer to buy. Documentary photography exists to reveal new truths, create awareness about an issue or tell a story that the public needs to see. Documentary photography and photojournalism can change lives.


2014 Harvest, North Dakota

Howdy Lawlar holds the light for Del Lambley as Del’s son, John, looks on while they discuss tomorrow’s harvesting schedule.


Here’s the recipe: when a photographer sets out to tell better stories, their images get better as a symptom to their dedication to a subject.


I, and all of our photographers, are dedicated to showcasing this region in the most authentic way possible. We don’t set out to make better pictures, we set out to tell better stories.


Obviously we hope that you enjoy the images and that they speak to you. But a beautiful image means nothing if it wasn’t true to our subject.


As we count down to May 3, please take a moment to sign up for our email list (below of to the right), follow us on Instagram and share the journal with your friends. If you love what we’re doing I bet your friends will too.


It means more than you know to include you in this adventure and we can’t wait to showcase this awesome region for the world to see.

Intersection Journal May 3 relaunch and Kickstarter

Help us tell authentic stories in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota with photography.  Learn more here.   

We are so excited for our relaunch on May 3, 2016.

Join us as we capture the resilience of this amazing region by entering your email address below.

Our recently published GUIDE TO PHOTOGRAPHY is an amazing tool for you to take your photography to the next level.  Packed with insight from world-class photographers, images from real assignments and TWO bonus sections, this guide is a can’t-miss for anyone to wants to make better pictures.  Grab your copy here for FREE.

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