Holiday 2020: Shipping Deadlines

‘Tis the season for gifting! From custom posters to personalized calendars, MagCloud offers the tools you need to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind holiday gifts for your clients, friends, and family.

To ensure your gifts and publications arrive in time for the holiday fun, be sure to place your orders by the dates below:

For delivery by December 24th* in the U.S., order by:

UPS Ground: December 14th

UPS 3-Day Select: December 16th

UPS 2-Day: December 17th

UPS Next Day Air Saver: December 18th

*Shipping dates subject to change

For deliveries to destinations outside of the US, please check the shipping calculator.

Tips & Tricks for Creating a Zine

If you’re already a fan of zines, you know they are an amazing way to share art and ideas—with total creative freedom. If you’re new to zine culture, welcome to the wide (and sometimes wild) world of DIY publishing.

Zines are basically self-published booklets that are produced inexpensively, in a small print run, for quick distribution. Traditionally, they were handmade, xeroxed, and stapled in small batches, then passed out free or sold cheaply, making them accessible and affordable for everyone involved. Some early zines were created by science fiction fans in the 1930s, but the rise of zine culture is more closely tied to the punk music scene (1970s and 80s) and the feminist riot grrrl movement (1990s).

Today artists, writers, and activists still use zines as a mode of social, political, and creative expression outside of mainstream publishing. Zines are incredibly versatile and made for experimentation. Some are glossy and high-design, some are edgy and free form. At its heart, the zine format is about DIY creation, making your own rules, and a free exchange of ideas. You can start a conversation or share creative work.

Choosing a Theme (or Not)

Zines can be anything you want them to be. You are the creator, editor, and self-publisher, so think about what excites you most. Art. Poems. Comics. Photography. Music. Illustration. Flash fiction. Animals. Portraits. Travel. Interviews. Recipes. Gardening. Doodles. Graphic design. You can be spontaneous (challenge yourself to create a zine in 24 hours) or think long term (collect text and images on a specific topic). There are no limits—unless you want there to be.

Ideas & Inspiration

You may have already started brainstorming, but here are some ideas to build on:

Photo essay: Turn a set of Polaroids or digital images into a visual story, with or without captions.

Music: Use song lyrics or favorite concert photos as inspiration for a series of poems, stories, or illustrations.

Text/image projects: Exciting things happen when you put stories and text together.

Places: Collect stories, quotes, pictures, or ephemera that remind you of cities and landscapes you love. 

Collage: Layer text and drawings with your own photographs or magazine cutouts to create an avant-garde assemblage with cool patterns and visual textures.

Top 10 lists: Funny, serious, or surreal—who doesn’t love a good list?

Nature: Create an ode to local flora and fauna. Scan and collage images of leaves and flowers, to mix in with photos, drawings, and text.  

Weekly or monthly editions: Launch a regular zine series, with each edition featuring writing, drawings, or photos from the past week or month.

Collaboration

Creating zines is a fantastic way to connect with writers, artists, and makers far and wide. Here are a few things to try as you forge your own indie publishing collective:

  • Find someone working in a different artistic medium than you and combine forces (writer + photographer, poet + illustrator, musician + graphic designer). The possibilities are endless!  
  • Invite friends and members of your creative community to contribute work. You might take turns editing and publishing editions.
  • Make sure everyone is on board and establish some basic guidelines (e.g. how contributors are credited or compensated, who owns the rights to content after publication).

Layout & Design

Despite the relatively simple concept of zines, you have some exciting creative choices to make.

  • How will the look and feel of your zine relate to the ideas and images inside?
  • Is there a style, color palette, font type, or visual flow that fits the overall theme? Clean lines and layouts, or cut-and-paste collage? Black and white, or multicolor?
  • If you create a series, will some elements of the cover, design, and typeface be consistent, or will each issue look totally different?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Maybe you just want to print a one-off zine and see what happens. Go for it!

Format

Holding a zine in your hands is part of the appeal, so the size and heft do factor into a reader’s experience. Check out MagCloud’s Magazine, Digest (half-size), and Square Booklet formats to find the right trim size and binding style for your custom zine.

Staying on Budget

One advantage of the zine format is its simplicity, which keeps production costs down. It’s easy to replicate the DIY print model and get a unique look while staying within a limited budget (you can design, publish, and distribute a zine without leaving home). Plus, all MagCloud projects give you the flexibility of print on demand (customers can order 1 copy or 100), so you never risk overprinting and underselling. If funds are tight, set a maximum page count for your project. You can always put the profits from your first zine to fund a second issue.

Distribution

If you make a collaborative zine, be sure to send contributors copies to distribute. Then it’s up to you whether to sell it online through your own MagCloud storefront or personal website, or hand it out at shops, events, and festivals. It’s all about putting your creative work out into the world, so have fun sharing your zine with friends and fans.


Uncategorized

Cultivating a Creative Life: Photographer Nick Tauro Jr.

For photographer Nick Tauro Jr., creative expression is a way of life—and self-publishing is a big part of it. The process of designing unique, interactive formats for viewers to experience his photography is just as important as the images themselves. He spoke to photographer Dan Milnor about everything from camera gear and musical influences to creating a self-sustaining artistic practice.

Dan: Before we begin, I want to explain to people who you are and how you work. You don’t work full-time as a photographer, but you are one of the most prolific and productive photographers I know, even managing to do nonstop collaborations with other creatives scattered around the globe. Who ARE you and how is this possible? Can you tell us or is this top secret?

Nick: I’m just a passionate creator . . . that’s the simple answer. I do have a day job, which is actually in the world of media and advertising. But my photography, my self-publishing . . . that is all mine. I’m not doing it for a paycheck, which grants me the freedom to do whatever I want with it. I had a bit of an epiphany a few years ago when I was reminded that life is really short, and I did not want to ignore this deep desire to make my art and share it with others. My wife and I both live a creative life. There’s no kids and no pets. My photos, my art . . . these are my passions and what I hope will be a positive contribution to the world. I don’t know how many spins around the sun I have, but I don’t want to leave anything on the table when I go.

Dan: Is there a common goal for most of your projects? Sell a certain number of copies? Recognition? Pure artistic expression?

Nick: I’d say all three, though mostly just to be able to express myself, regardless of whether 2 or 200 people end up buying a book or zine. The more work I produce, the more I realize that I enjoy the entire process of bringing my vision to a tangible finished product. I have a very strong aversion to photos being seen on a screen as their final destination. There is no substitute for seeing a photo in a frame on the wall, or even better, in a book or a zine. Tactile, face to face, having time to pay attention to the photos. After I got bit by the print on demand bug, I realized that the joy of shooting extended into the process of image selection, sequencing, laying out the book design, and finally, getting that final printed piece in my hands.

Photography by Nick Tauro Jr.

Dan: What’s in your bag? Just kidding. No seriously.

Nick: I have way too many film cameras that I like to play with. I usually bounce between a classic Pentax K1000, a Holga, or my sweet Kyocera Samurai half-frame. When I shoot digital (which is a rare thing lately) I like to put a Lensbaby on my DSLR to degrade the pristine image quality and bring some surprise and serendipity to the process. I will say that no matter what camera I use, I never carry more than one with me at a time. My photo buddies like to bust my chops that they never see me with a camera in my hands, so I guess I keep my gear under wraps most of the time.

Dan: For someone like you, the arrival of print on demand must have been a memorable day. What does it do for a storyteller like you?

Nick: I love having an affordable, accessible outlet for my work. Both Blurb and MagCloud make it super easy to pursue an idea and get it into print, quickly and cost-effectively. Even if I only print one copy of something just for myself. It is such a wonderful service, and the quality for the price is outstanding. There is literally no barrier anymore to getting your work out in the world. I’m a big believer in circumventing the gatekeepers, and self-publishing allows me to do just that.

Dan: Even though Blurb and MagCloud are related, they are both very different systems and offerings. What in particular about MagCloud works for you and what doesn’t?

Nick: I think MagCloud is a great balance between price, quality, and ease of use. I’m not too keen on hardcover books, which is really the thing I’d go to Blurb for, that and additional paper choices. That’s the one thing . . . I wish I had a bit more choice of stock through MagCloud.

Dan: Is there one MagCloud format that most resonates? Your favorite?

Nick: My favorite is the 8×8 Square Booklet, usually perfect bound. That’s sort of my “go-to” format. I find that the square format gives me a lot of flexibility to mix and match vertical and horizontal photos in my layouts. What’s really satisfying is when you line up all my books on a bookshelf, it brings consistency to my entire body of work. I also like running the book title along that skinny spine.

Square Booklet

Dan: One of the things I LOVE about MagCloud is the products are so inexpensive, which means if your goal is to sell something you can still mark it up and offer it at acceptable prices. Do you sell your projects and what has been the response?

Nick: I do sell just about everything I print. I try to be realistic about the size of my audience, so I don’t run too many copies beforehand. There’s nothing worse than having a stack of unsold books in my office. I will say that I have nurtured a small list of subscribers via my website, who form the core of my audience. These are the folks who I can rely on to buy whatever I put out. So that has helped gauge demand somewhat. I also like to print, release, sell, and move on. If I only run 10 or 20 copies of a title, once they are gone, they are gone. MagCloud in particular allows me to produce books and zines that are at a price point that most folks will still consider a purchase that’s not a huge investment, and I’m able to pour any profit into my next project. It has worked out to be a self-sustaining endeavor, for which I am grateful.

Dan: I noticed that many of your projects are based on a multitude of objects: CDs, books, magazines, card sets, etc. Why do this and how do you decide which objects to make?

Nick: I am a big music junkie, which includes owning a ridiculously large vinyl LP collection. I am also very interested in graphic design and packaging. So I try to instill some of these influences into my work. Often my zine titles are inspired by particular songs or bands. I’ll throw in a Pavement or Joy Division reference, just to see if anyone is paying really close attention. I also love playing with different formats, since I want to give the viewer a unique experience when they engage with my photos. The delivery platform is something some photographers might not consider, but I think it’s really just another way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. For example, my latest project comes in a record sleeve, a CD case, and cassette case formats! Also, I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate with a number of great musicians over the years, which has been really satisfying creatively. That was always a dream of mine as a kid when I would have my headphones on and listen to an album, looking at the artwork on the sleeve, and imagine that one day, that could be my work on there.

Photography by Nick Tauro Jr.

Dan: MagCloud offers many different software options for creating your publications. What is your preferred path?

Nick: When it comes to my work, I’m a bit of a control freak, so I prefer to use InDesign to layout my publications. The MagCloud and Blurb PDF export settings make it super easy to go to print.

Dan: What’s on your MagCloud wish list? What do you want?

Nick: I would love a newsprint option! That’s one stock I have yet to print on, but I’m sure it would be a blast. I could publish my own photo weekly gazette, and sell them on the street corner.

There’s nothing like seeing your best work in print. Explore the creative possibilities and discover the MagCloud format that inspires you.

 

Uncategorized

Creative Possibilities in Print: Flemming Bo Jensen

Milnor_Flemming_Loop_-1From travel diaries to limited edition books to portfolio magazines, Flemming Bo Jensen knows his way around the printed page. An interest in photography, journaling, and music inspired his first book projects at a young age—and he has been documenting the world in unique ways ever since. Dan Milnor checked in with him to learn more about his creative life as a photographer and his MagCloud project, Loop.

1. You now work full-time as a professional photographer but you had several prior careers. Tell us about your IT life and your DJ life, and how did these careers influence you becoming a photographer?

I was only ever a hobby DJ, and I still am. I have been into electronic music since the mid-90s, way before I actually started photographing music. It definitely gives me a really important understanding of and connection to the artists at music events. My career as an IT-professional was not something I think influenced me, but it is at times quite helpful because there is quite a lot of software and hardware involved in being a professional photographer these days.

2. When did you really commit to photography and what was it about photography that interested you?

I have been photographing as a hobby since 1997 but it was in 2007 during a three-month trip to Australia that I really decided that I wanted to make photography more than an interest. I wanted to somehow make it a big part of my life. I love the idea of freezing one brief moment in time that maybe no one even noticed when it happened.

3. Did you take workshops, learn online, go to school?

I have done a few workshops and would like to do more. No formal photography education, but I have over the past 15 years or so used online communities and YouTube heavily to learn different skills. The most valuable education really though has been time, continually working at finding my vision, my style, my expression and then constantly trying to be better than the last gig.

4. Travel has also been a huge part of your life. Was photography connected to the travel from the beginning?

My first solo travel was at 18 years old, I went to London for a week. I had a small film point and shoot and I made snapshots and I wrote a travel diary. Returning home I had the film developed and I typed in my diary (on an Amiga 500, that maybe tells you when this was!), printed it out, and glued and pasted together my own travel photo diary from London. I have always dreamed of having my own magazine so I thought this was really cool and it made photography and writing a huge part of travel for me.

5. You currently shoot for Red Bull and a variety of other clients. I’m guessing that the vast majority of your images are used in digital form, online, social, etc. So why continue to print?

Exactly because all my work is mostly used online. I love big wide-angle scenes with lots of things happening in one frame and they need big projections or big prints to really work, not a tiny phone screen. When I really got into music around age 10, I bought several music magazines every week. I love magazines and wish they were still around. I used to dream of having my own magazine. Fortunately, we can do that nowadays!

6. What does going to print force you to do as a photographer?

I don’t print as much as I would like. But you can get away with doing so much crap to the image on screen (I should know, I do it a lot) but this won’t work on print. Print is where you can tell if your picture actually works and you have to be much more careful with processing. And if I am making a book or a magazine, editing for print is so much more fun and harder because the sequencing and the number of pages really means something. And not just for the cost, it means something for experiencing the book.

7. How do you utilize your print pieces once you have them in hand?

I make books or magazines for different reasons. Some years ago I made some big book projects to sell and I sold out both limited edition projects. That was great, but lately, I just make some magazines for me so I get to have my dream of having my own magazines. They are just one-off prints, just for me. I do also make printed portfolio magazines to carry around, it looks a million times better than having someone browse your Instagram feed.

8. What is the response when you hand out a tangible item?

It is funny that handing someone something printed now almost makes people look and ask “how is this possible!” As if pictures can only live digitally. Just that fact makes people look and appreciate the pictures more. Lots of people ask “can I have/buy this?” Hmmm, maybe I should make another for sale book!

9. Tell us about Loop, your MagCloud piece. What was the goal?

I remember using MagCloud ages ago to try out the magazine format. Then about a year and a half ago, I wanted to do a small inexpensive portfolio magazine that I could just give away. The MagCloud Digest is absolutely perfect for this. Somewhere I got the idea of doing a book that was half colour and half black and white but flipped so you “loop” the magazine and start over in either colour or black and white. So it has two covers, and the same intro at both ends of the magazine. Now that was fun to watch people figure this out! I gave them all away to a great response from artists, friends, managers,  etc. I am not even sure I have a copy myself anymore. Bonus when doing a flipped magazine: You get to stand on your head to proofread half the PDF!

10. Your print experience took on new relevance this year as you landed your first traditionally published book. First off, congratulations, that is a huge accomplishment. Tell us about this book and how it came to be.

Thank you, yes this a major dream come true. It is not my book though, I was the photo-editor on the project and I also have a fair amount of my images in it. The book is a visual journal of a very popular Danish band called The Minds of 99, from their start in 2012 up to now. It features the work of many outstanding photographers and also features all their lyrics and photos of lots of memorabilia, notebooks, old drum sticks,  etc. I have been working closely with and documenting this band for years, and last year this idea about a photo book really kicked into high gear. I was asked to be the photo-editor so I had the big and exciting task of creating, organising, and editing down a huge library of images gathered from many photographers who had worked with the band. Finally, I had an edited library of amazing pictures (all titled, keyworded, etc.) covering everything from their very first recording session in 2012 up to 2019. I could then deliver this to the band and book designer, who then sat down together to design the book and create the final selection of the bands very favourite images. I am super proud of having been a part of this book, it is a huge coffee table book that looks amazing. But as I said, I just played a part in it, many fantastic people contributed to it. The very best part of it though is that it is a book for the fans. This is a book that will be seen and worshipped by thousands of fans. This is very exciting because it takes it out of the closed world of photography, I am not so much interested in making pictures or a book just for other photographers to like, this one is for the fans, fans who are not into photography as such but appreciate the incredible pictures of their favourite band.

Travel journals, photo books, and magazines give you a unique way to organize ideas and preserve memories. Do you have a personal or professional creative project you’d like to see in print? Find the perfect format today!     

Uncategorized

Format Spotlight: Tabloid

Written by Dan Milnor, photographer and Creative Evangelist for Blurb.

Before I get stuck into singing the praises of MagCloud’s Tabloid format, I have a confession to make. I distinctly remember myself saying this. “There is NO WAY I will EVER print anything that utilizes a wire bind.” I also remember I said this with authority as if I actually knew what I was talking about. Well, I didn’t, and I stand corrected. Feast your eyes on the MagCloud Tabloid.

Milnor_Magcloud_Tabloid_0001

What you are looking at here is an 11×14, 8-page, wire-o bind Tabloid. The cost; a little under five bucks. My first impression; it’s huge. I’ve often wanted a larger portrait-style book and this tabloid works well to satisfy this need.

Even though I knew I wanted to use this to help promote my Blurb magazine project, I created this tabloid with no specific use in mind. I knew that once I saw this little creature I would find a use for it, and I have. My plan is to use the tabloid to catalog all the covers, so by the time I get a dozen issues under my belt this Tabloid will reflect the entire life of the magazine in single page replicas of each cover.

Milnor_Magcloud_Tabloid_0002

The Tabloid is a true lay flat. In fact, it bends back on itself like a true wire bind. You could run images across the gutter but I think it works best with single-page images. The size is fantastic and really makes a statement when you place it on a table or desk. The pages are thick and the entire artifact feels super sturdy.

Milnor_Magcloud_Tabloid_0003

How will I use it? I’ll use this when I’m at an event where I’m teaching or helping fellow book-makers understand how to best use the options at their disposal. I’ll have the magazines themselves, in multiple formats, and I’ll have my flyers to hand out, and my Tabloid to highlight all the covers and the history of the project. It’s a great size to pick up and flip through and it’s large enough for people to really see the detail of each cover.

Utilizing MagCloud in support of Blurb is not only strategic and affordable it’s also a lot of fun. Combining both platforms offers a nearly endless variety of creative expression.

 

Uncategorized

Format Spotlight: Digest

MagCloud Digest book made by Dan Milnor

Photographer Dan Milnor explores why setting creative limits is no bad thing, and why the Digest format is a great place to start.

Sometimes what we need to be successful book-makers is a good set of limits. Yes, you heard me, limits. We’ve been taught to believe that “no limits,” is always the best way, regardless of your pursuit, but I’m here to tell you otherwise. Setting limits, for some of us, is the only way we will ever see book-making success. Let me explain.

MagCloud, as I’ve written in the past, is a remarkable self-publishing platform. It really is. But MagCloud also offers a near-endless set of options. Magazine, 8×8 Square, Digest, Tabloid, Poster, Flyer, etc. Where do we begin? Why not make all of these things? Right now, like today? Well, that is one approach. But I find that many people get stymied by too many options and this is where our beloved limits come to life.

Make a Digest

I’m going to set a limit you for today. Digest. You are ONLY going to make a Digest. But why Digest? Well, for one, it’s my favorite of all the MagCloud offerings. And secondly,  it’s also the only small landscape format option you have, and my guess is that many of you shoot mostly in landscape format. Now, you do have the option of creating a portrait version with either saddle stitch or perfect bind, but these are the only options I’m leaving up to you.

Digest2 586

The Digest is a 5.25×8.25 in. publication that’s perfect for a portfolio, a mailer, a giveaway, or in my case, a business card. Yes, I use a MagCloud Digest as my business card. I created a fifty-page Digest that showcases the range of photography I create as well as some of the writing I do. When I meet someone I want to work with, I hand it over. The return has been remarkable because the Digest shows I can encapsulate an idea, that I can edit and sequence my work, and that I have an understanding of basic design principles.

Digest 586

So, the next time you’re feeling stuck because you just can’t make up your book-making mind then think about setting a few limits. One format, twenty-pages, softcover, etc. This can be the spark that lights your creative fire and finally allows you to see your work in print.

 

The Difference Between Blurb and MagCloud

Magcloud_Digest_3Written by Dan Milnor, photographer and Creative Evangelist for Blurb.

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me the difference between Blurb and Magcloud I would not be rich. Let me make that very clear. I would not be rich. However, I would be able to afford a mid-sized sedan. Maybe not the top-of-the-line package but the one with air conditioning and power windows, yep, that one for sure. I understand the curiosity which is why I’m writing this post. Let’s talk a little about the similarities, the differences and why I think Magcloud is such a wonderful platform.

Blurb acquired Magcloud in 2014, so the companies have been intertwined ever since. I’ve heard Magcloud described as the sister company to Blurb but I think any family member analogy works just fine. Cousin, brother, uncle or maybe even biological twin. Blurb and Magcloud are both printing platforms that allow for the user to make a variety of publications, in a variety of sizes and styles, with numerous material options. They both also offer a variety of design tools and the ability to sell your book or magazine through an online store from where your items can be shipped to destinations around the world. This is the kind of talk that gets bookmakers salivating. I know, I’m right there with you.

The World of MagCloud

Formats

Even though Magcloud has been connected to Blurb since 2014, the platform is unique and works not only as a stand-alone system but also as a wonderful companion to Blurb, or vice versa.  Magcloud offers a line of formats that are native to the system and entirely different from the Blurb offering. Magcloud offers Magazines, Pamphlets, Flyers, an 8×8 Square, Tabloid, Posters, a Digest in both landscape and portrait formats, and even a digital offering. Yes, quite a lineup, and within some of these categories there are even further options. The Flyer for example comes in five trim sizes!  The Tabloid comes in three different trim sizes and the Magazine is printable in both landscape and portrait format! Did I mention that Magcloud offers perfect binding, saddle stitch binding, and wire-o binding? And I’m only scratching the surface here.

Let me make a few suggestions about these formats. A Magazine could be used for telling a long-form story, or collaborating with other creatives on a specific theme or topic. You could use the Pamphlet format for a real-estate need or a newsletter. The Flyer is great for handouts, a program for a gallery show, or even as a mailer to your top clients. The Digest, which is my personal favorite, is wonderful for a portfolio, a look-book, or catalog. The Square also works as a portfolio or even as a photo book style publication. The Tabloid works as a cookbook or calendar and the poster is great as stand-alone artwork, or to accompany a book launch or signing. And finally, the digital option is great for a technical manual, a guide book, or even as a companion to a printed book or magazine.

Tools

Magcloud is also unique when it comes to its creation or design tools. If you already have a PDF ready for print then you can upload it directly. If you’re at the start of your project, Magcloud offers a wonderful template system which makes it incredibly easy to secure the right look for your precise publication style. You simply choose the format, the binding, and your software of choice then download that template and begin your masterpiece. Your favorite software could include Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Pages for Mac, Microsoft Word for both PC and Mac, Microsoft Publisher and for those of you who prefer to go old-school, and I mean REALLY old school, you can even download a template for Quarkxpress.

How I use MagCloud

But what does all this mean? Why is Magcloud so important, so interesting, and so strategic? Let me share with you why I have been a consistent Magcloud user since 2007.

First, the quality of the printing. Magcloud printing is beautiful and utilizes acid-free and FSC-certified paper, which means it’s from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled sources. Magcloud publications are also recyclable, making it easy on consumers and the environment.

I also love the fact I have multiple binding options with Magcloud. Maybe I’m in a perfect binding mood or maybe I’m in a saddle stich frame of mind. Doesn’t matter because I have the options.

Then there’s the template system. I have no design background and even I can use these templates! The template system assures me I am working with precise dimensions regardless of what I’m attempting to build.

Next, I love the format options. My personal favorites are the Digest and 8×8 Square, but I have used just about every offering in the system and they all have strategic uses.

Finally, the cost. Magcloud is so inexpensive it can be astounding to see just how little you have to spend to get something that looks so great. Hint, there is a pricing calculator on the site!

Like any other printing platform, my advice is this. Start small, be fearless, and make a test book or magazine. An 8-page, Magcloud Digest is $1.28 per copy.  Yes, you read that correctly. And these are beautiful, strategic little objects that work well as a portfolio or even a business card. And again they are $1.28 per copy. What’s not to like? Learn from your test book and then move on to making your full scale opus.

Magcloud lives in a unique space in the printing world and should be on the top of your list for any print project that fits the platform. Blurb and Magcloud are related, yes, but each system offers its own pathway to book-making success.

The Perfect Project: Make a Poster

 

MagCloud Posters

When I was a young boy, I shared a room with my older brother Nick. The walls were covered in posters. Mine, if I remember correctly, were mostly Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris with maybe a solar system recap thrown in for good measure. My brother’s posters reflected the motocross and skateboarding icons of the day. And there was a Kiss poster. Yes, I distinctly remember a Kiss poster. The posters we had were beautiful and significant for two reasons. First, the size. The posters were large, not crazy big just larger than what we would have seen in a magazine, or a television screen. And two, the posters were simple. The images chosen were chosen by someone who could identify iconic images. And when you have a strong image you don’t need much else.

All these decades later, as I begin to embrace my life as a 50-something, I still have posters on my walls. Sure, I have other things as well including a lot of artwork. Paintings, graphics, and a seemingly endless number of photographs, both large and small. But the posters remain as well. My posters now reflect my current work projects. You see, I realized something. MagCloud offers posters. They are beautifully printed, arrive on stout paper, and are the perfect size for accenting my office and surrounding area.

MagCloud posters are either 12×18 in., or 18×12 in., depending on your preference and come with a standard UV coating, assuring their presence on your wall for quite some time. And they are shockingly inexpensive, coming in at just $2.00.

Why You Should Make a Poster

Posters, for me, are a reminder of my accomplishments. Sure, they add a visual element to my workspace but they also remind me of what I’ve been able to achieve. For example, my (so far) four-issue magazine series is represented by 4 different posters.

A poster is also so simple to create. When I need something simple to get me over the creative hump, the poster steps in nicely. One page, simple design, done, hit print, wait by the mailbox.

My goal? A wall of posters each reflecting an issue of my magazine. Sure, I’m still a great distance from realizing this goal but each time I inch closer the reality will be reflected in a 12×18 in. gem tacked up for the world to see.

Get started on your poster project today

2019 MagCloud Holiday Shipping Deadlines

MagCloud_Shipping

‘Tis the season for gifting! From custom posters to personalized calendars, MagCloud offers the tools and templates you need to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind holiday gifts for your clients, friends, and family.

To ensure your gifts and publications arrive in time for the holiday fun, be sure to place your orders by the dates below:

For delivery by December 24th* in the U.S., be sure to order by these dates:

UPS Ground: December 11th

UPS 3-Day Select: December 13th

UPS 2-Day: December 16th

UPS Next Day Air Saver: December 17th

For deliveries to destinations outside of the US, please check the shipping calculator.

Photography in Print: An Interview with Frank Jackson

Frank Jackson is a self-taught photographer, natural poet, and the artist behind these beautiful MagCloud books. In the run-up to his latest photography exhibition at the University of Groningen, we caught up with him to find out how he takes moments of inspiration from the camera to the page.

20191118_MagCloud_1000x586_v1-01

01. Tell us about your creative process. Where does your inspiration come from? How do you decide what to photograph?

I take pictures because I can’t draw. I’m completely self-taught and I don’t believe you need a degree on a piece of paper to know what good photography or art is.

I don’t have a clear cut process or end goal when it comes to creative projects. Sometimes I happen to photography, sometimes photography happens to me. Sometimes I’ll go for weeks without taking a picture. Photography is all about understanding and mastering the light. How it falls, how it moves. You need to be ready to capture those moments of light when they happen.

I like to take photos that represent humanity, community, connection, or that remind us that someone was here. That’s why I first started taking photos of the elements that are left behind on the tables of coffee shops. These are always unposed images, taken just as they are. My books, double shot and triple shot combine these images with the deliberately posed photos I take with a specific coffee cup, which I’ve kept with me since I picked it up from a coffee shop in Berlin. The cup reminds me of me. It has cracks. It’s been through something. I carry it everywhere with me.

02. So many people are fearful or unsure of starting their own creative projects. What advice would you give them to help them take that first step?

Fear is an excellent motivator if you use it in the right way. And look at it this way. I feel fear about my upcoming exhibition. I don’t know who will show up or how it will go. But, I’d rather feel fear because I’m having an exhibition than not. And remember perfection doesn’t exist. So there’s no point aiming for it. Mistakes and imperfections are often what makes work interesting, even good. The trick is to like what you do, and to not be unhappy if other people don’t like it.

Words, yet no deeds
A poem by Frank Jackson, 1999

Fear
we spend most of our lives
trying to be
something else
somebody else.
then…(hopefully)in a clear moment(some clarity) you find yourself(?) somebody(YOU!) must learn to love even when it seems no one
else does.
in a small way everything is a collection of gestures toward REALITY.(is there a real world?)
FEAR/reality=REALITY/fear.
to believe the truth is understanding true fear.
BECAUSE to believe the truth is to admit we can no longer be strangers to reality……….
and that is the most frightening THING in the world.
WHAT! are you afraid of?
who you are
who you want to be
who you will never be
who you have become.
LOVE and MONEY don’t make the world go ’round
fear does.
(faith is common sense management of fear)
who do you love
what do you love
DO you love….you(?)

 

03. What is your go-to photography gear?

I always travel with at least two cameras on me.

I use a Sony A7r III because its small yet full frame and gets me wonderful detail in the digital files…but wait there is MORE!

I’m still also shooting with a number of film cameras:
Hasselblad 503cw medium format
Hasselblad Xpan panoramic
Leica M6 35mm
Baby Crown Graphic 2×3

Linhof 4×5

If I’m taking a shot that involves plenty of highlights, I will under-expose and then work on the shadows in post-processing to bring out the look and feel of a film photo.

20191118_MagCloud_1000x586_v1-02

04. What would you say the role of photography is? Why is it important?

People today have a very short attention span. We are so visual. We want all the lights and the action… Only people who like to read will take the time to sit and pore over a publication. So a single image can be powerful. There’s a reason why the front cover of a magazine is so important.

Words illustrate the world and make you feel. Photos show you the world as it really is.

05. How has the industry changed over the course of your career as a photographer?

One of the biggest changes has been the rise of what I call social mediocrity. People post photos on social media just for followers and likes. They don’t know if the work they’re putting out is any good, they just rely on social feedback from their followers. People also seem to take more pictures of themselves or their food, which I don’t understand. I eat my food.

It used to be that you had a darkroom in which you processed your photos. You would have to wait. And film was very unforgiving, there was nowhere to hide.

06. What is your relationship to print? What role do you think print has in a digital world?

For me, photography isn’t alive until it’s in print. There’s nothing like having something to hold, something tangible. Printing your images means you don’t just love what you do, you like your work too. You want to share and celebrate it. Printing is the final act of photography.

Printing makes you a better photographer. It makes you examine your work in ways that you can’t on a screen.

Photography isn’t alive until it’s in print.

07. How do you approach the making of a photo book? Do you think photo books need to have a narrative or can they be a loose collection of images?

When I was making double shot, I scattered images all over the floor, stood back, and looked at them. Any images that didn’t stand out and catch my eye, I turned them over; they weren’t going in the book.

When I’m making a book I usually start with the cover. Once I have that, I know I’ve got a book in the making. For example, I already know what the cover of my new project ‘Twist of Fate’ will be.

There’s a difference between a portfolio and an Art Photography book. A portfolio is open-ended; images can be swapped in and out, it’s never really finished. An Art Photography book is a finished piece of work. Interestingly paid work is often won on the basis of these finished, curated pieces of art work, rather than your portfolio. In fact, that’s exactly how I ended up photographing Stevie Wonder!

20191118_MagCloud_1000x586_v1-03

08. Why choose self-publishing as opposed to a more traditional route through a publishing company?

Look, I’m not Lenny Kravitz. No one is asking me to make a photography book, and make 500 copies knowing that it’s going to sell out before the exhibition. So if you don’t have that pull, self-publishing is the route you go down.

09. As an artist who self-publishes your own books, how do you market and promote your work?

I’m terrible at this aspect of self-promoting. But to be honest I want people who are drawn to me to find me. I do exhibitions and interviews with people in the industry, and I have prints, books, and postcards for sale. But I don’t push it.

10. Why Magcloud? What drew you to the platform?

Mainly it was the quality of the black and white printing. It’s something that people comment on whenever they look through my books. They think it must have been really expensive to print. But it wasn’t.

I also enjoy the Digest book because it’s not too big and not too small. It’s easy to look through. I’ve been in situations where I’m pitching for work, draw out the Digest book and the potential client is so happy to see something small and accessible rather than an oversized, cumbersome book.

11. What software do you use to design your books? Do you use the MagCloud templates or upload PDFs?

I use the Adobe InDesign templates for MagCloud projects. Outside of that I also use Affinity, which I can use on an iPad. I’d like to see some MagCloud templates for Affinity as it’s a popular tool amongst photographers.

12. How much does profit factor into your book-making process and decisions?

Money doesn’t mean anything to me. My advice to people looking to make a living off their creative work would be to keep doing your day job, so that money doesn’t have to factor into your creative process at all.

13. What project would you love to work on next?

I’m working on a book called Twist of Fate which will be a combination of photography and poetry.

Find out more about Frank’s projects. 

GO
A poem by Frank Jackson, 2010

go: here, see there…wander wide no corners cut. 

go: to be gone…make your past a face in the crowd. 

go: because it’s all behind you now. 

go: and take the long way home.