On Jan. 11, 2000, Noah Kalina, then 19, began photographing himself in the same pose with the same expression every day. In 2006, he posted the Noah K. Everyday project on YouTube. Within a week, 1 million viewers watched as Kalina’s face— and fashions —changed via a fast-moving, six-minute montage of six years of daily photos shown in sequential order. (12 million have viewed the video, to date.)
Kalina became a cyber sensation, which led to international media coverage, celebrity appearances and commercials and, in perhaps the highest form of flattery, seeing his video parodied in an episode of The Simpsons.
Today, the Brooklyn-based freelance photographer is frequently on assignment for New York Magazine, Blender, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Forbes, VH1, MTV, Sony, Neiman Marcus and other high-end clients, photographing fashions, musicians, interiors and any number of advertising campaigns.
While Kalina takes great pride in all of his work, his collection of images from a popular T-shirt campaign are among his favorites — so much so that he began looking for ways to publish them aside from their commercial use.
“I’d been photographing this particular model for more than three years, and there was just something I saw in the photos,” Kalina says. “The images were used for advertising, but I couldn’t stand not to use them for something else. I wanted to find a place to put them — a place where they’d fit.”
Kalina was hoping to find some casual and accessible medium — even something that would allow him to experiment a bit. When he came across the MagCloud Web site, he recognized right away that a print-on-demand magazine would be the perfect vehicle. “I especially liked the fact that MagCloud had no set-up fees,” he says. “I don’t have to worry about selling a minimum amount of magazines. Plus, it’s got me thinking of project ideas that I can pull off in only a few months.”
Kalina decided to give MagCloud a try, with the idea that each issue would center on a single theme or concept. He enlisted Jeffrey Docherty, one of his favorite art directors, to create the design. “I went over to Jeffrey’s house and said, ‘We’re making a magazine,'” Kalina recalls. “He created the Kalina logo and designed the whole magazine. It took just a couple of hours of design and tweaks, and then we had what we wanted.”
With that, the first issue of Kalina, titled Why Wouldn’t You Love Me?, was born. The 60-page issue, featuring those favorite model photographs, came out in February 2009 ($17), with Bean, a 44-page issue devoted to photographs of Kalina’s cat, following in April ($12). He plans to publish a new issue every two to three months.
Kalina promotes the magazine by email, his blog (blog.noahkalina.com), Twitter, Facebook and his Flickr site (www1.flickr.com/photos/noahkalina). He also created a Kalina Magazine site (kalinamagazine.com) where visitors can view sample pages before clicking over to the MagCloud site to purchase copies.
Not surprisingly, Kalina’s promotional efforts spread virally, with other bloggers and social media users helping him get the word out as each issue becomes available.
Most buyers of the magazine are existing followers of his photography, but Kalina believes those interested in art and photographs in general will be attracted to the magazine, as well. The print medium, he says, is a perfect complement to his online popularity — especially with the high print quality that MagCloud delivers.
“People still like objects and they like to collect things,” he says. “I’m a fan of photography as much as I am a photographer, myself. I like to collect photography books and prints, especially by artists who strike a particular chord with me. I think most people who enjoy art are like that.”
Kalina finds the magazine a useful promotional tool, too. He mails copies to specific photography editors and art directors he’s worked with in the past — or would like to work with in the future, using magazine sales proceeds to cover the postage costs.
Kalina’s advice for other artists thinking of creating a magazine?
“I get asked that a lot — there’s really not a right way or a wrong way to do anything in the art world,” he says. “Make the work that you like, and if you like it and put it out there, chances are other people will like it, too. These days, most things will work. You just have to devote some time to it. It doesn’t hurt to try new things.”
To prepare for an upcoming issue, Kalina plans to reach out to other artists he likes and invite them to contribute. He’ll then select his favorites for publication.
“I can see Kalina evolving into an open magazine and making other photographers part of this,” he says. “One of the things I love about MagCloud is that it’s given me a new medium to think about. And I think it’s inspired a lot of people to look into magazine self-publishing and try it for themselves.”
Kalina, by the way, continues to photograph himself. While fans clamor for more of the Noah K. Everyday project in video form, the daily self-documentarian has yet to commit to a second installment. But he doesn’t rule it out.