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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

2018 MagCloud Holiday Shipping Deadlines

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With the holidays fast approaching, you may have already started work on the festive edition of your magazine, or started creating personalized gifts for clients, friends, and family.

To ensure your MagCloud holiday gifts and publications arrive in time for the festivities, 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 12th

UPS 3-Day Select: December 14th

UPS 2-Day: December 17th

UPS Next Day Air Saver: December 18th

For non-U.S. customers, please check the shipping calculator.

If you’re still very much in the idea stage of gift-making, there’s still time to create something special! Especially if you use one of our pre-designed templates. Get started today.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Panta: The Making of a Magazine

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PANTA is an independent magazine by Book a Street Artist that celebrates creative culture around the world. It features the work of emerging artists and writers and focuses on artistic and cultural initiatives that have the power to take on social, cultural and environmental issues. Art is for everyone, but often limited to an elite in the spaces of galleries, museums, theatres and concert halls. PANTA’s mission is to break this ideology and create a platform to support projects by creative talents who use their craft—be it street art, photography, design, illustration, writing, music, performance, architecture and other creative vocations—to try to make a positive impact on society.

 In the same rogue spirit of street art and getting projects out of galleries and into the world where they belong, PANTA is self-published through MagCloud. To find out more about the publishing power they found in MagCloud, we spoke to the creative and strategic minds behind Panta, an independent magazine that celebrates the power of creativity to address social, cultural and environmental issues around the world.

The magazine is beautiful. Who is to blame for starting all this?

Thank you! We work hard on it, so that’s always nice to hear. The culprits are Charlotte Specht, Guille Lasarte and Mario Rueda. Charlotte and Mario created a startup called Book a Street Artist and Guille sometimes took photos of the artists for them. Then one day, the three of us decided to make a little something ‘extra’ for the startup, just for fun and to fulfill our creative needs. And we divided the tasks rather well. Charlotte is in charge of production, Mario is in charge of marketing, and Guille does the design. But we all end up doing a little bit of everything.

The subtitle is “Book a Street Artist Magazine.” What does that mean and how did it drive the launch? 

Well, this is actually a subtitle we’re trying to get away from. The magazine is published by Book a Street Artist, but we don’t necessarily only feature pieces on artists in the agency’s portfolio. We do not—and never have—feature only street art. Since the beginning, the idea was to tell stories of artists of all kinds who have a strong message.

Your blend of ingredients of street art, photography, art, design, music, etc. is such a diverse mix of subjects.  What binds all these topics together?  

What binds them all together is their message and their objective, although sometimes we feature an artist’s work simply because we fall in love with it. We’re now trying to tag the magazine as an “artivism” magazine that showcases the work of artists who are trying to combine their craft with a good cause—be it social, cultural, political, environmental, and so forth. Art is a very strong tool to promote positive change, and we want to bring that to people’s attention, to show that there is much more to art than what we can find in the institutionalized art world. We are more interested in the bigger picture of what art has the power to achieve for communities and society at large. And there are so many artists doing great work out there, we wanted to have a channel to present it.

Art is a very strong tool to promote positive change, and we want to bring that to people’s attention, to show that there is much more to art than what we can find in the institutionalized art world.

Were there fears in starting your own magazine? Were you ever told “don’t bother?” 

No, mainly because we didn’t ask anyone, we just did it. We were ignorant of many things back then but since all three of us are very passionate about this project, we just said we’ll do what we want and learn as we go.

Was there a sales goal from the beginning or was it simply a desire to create your own publication that inspired you to begin publishing? 

Definitely the latter. The independent publishing scene is growing exponentially, and rarely are the publishers/editors solely interested in financial gain when they start an indie magazine. For us at least, it’s more about making something beautiful and celebrating art with a cause rather than making a lot of money. We curate the magazine carefully, and we always make sure the advertisers are in line with the magazine’s ideology.

So many creatives are fearful of starting their own “thing.” What advice would you have for them? 

Don’t ask too many people because everyone has an opinion. We don’t mean don’t listen and try to learn everything you can about something you’re interested in developing, but don’t bother with people who will go down the pessimistic route. Just go for it and, if possible, try to find partners to team up with who are as passionate about the project as you are. You will need them, and they will need you for support for the project to grow. No man is an island!

I would imagine doing your own magazine comes with all kinds of freedom as opposed to say working on assignment for someone else, but what are the limitations of self-publishing? 

Well the freedom is what we are after—no censorship, no adjusting things according to someone’s interests. That’s the beauty of independent publishing. That being said, the limits are, obviously, financial. We run a small ship and we want to grow, but it’s a big challenge.

Well the freedom is what we are after—no censorship, no adjusting things according to someone’s interests. That’s the beauty of independent publishing.

Why Magcloud? What would you love to see in the future with this platform? 

We didn’t want PANTA to be an “e-magazine” and exist solely online, but we didn’t have money to invest in a print run either. So Magcloud seemed like a great service to use for on-demand printing. It’s because of Magcloud that we were ever even able to see the magazine in its intended form—the print form—and for our readers to have it available for purchase online.

How do you find your contributors? 

Endless hours of research! And over the years, we’ve created a strong network of regular contributors who form the PANTA family.

What is the dream story you haven’t yet been able to run? Or the dream interview that eludes you? 

There are many artists who are doing amazing work for important causes who are way too busy or simply non-reachable for an interview. We don’t want to mention specific names because we haven’t given up on reaching them yet!

 What is the one thing you need that you don’t have? 

A suitcase full of cash for a larger print run and other PANTA-related investments we’d like to do!

Order your copy of the latest issue of Panta Magazine through the online MagCloud shop, available in both print and digital formats. Feeling inspired? Create, print, share, and sell your own publication with MagCloud. Get started!

Alex Ogle and Kickstarter Success

Alex Ogle is one of our favorite artists, comic book makers, and illustrators, and he recently financed an art book through Kickstarter. We were lucky enough to catch up with him and chat about his success.

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First things first, why do a Kickstarter for a print-on-demand comic book project?

Depending on your success level, print-on-demand can be a great resource. Comics are traditionally printed in the largest numbers possible to lower the cost of each book. With my first successful Kickstarter, I had 214 backers and my lowest level to include books was $18. That is many times higher than the current comic book cover price. This helps cover costs on a quick-turnaround, small run that can be shipped out immediately to your backers. Traditional printing minimums are often around 500 copies and take much longer to get the books in-hand.

The nice thing about on-demand is I can get extremely small runs like 50 copies before my next convention within days, not weeks. I feel like now is a great time to be making indie comics this way.

How did you determine your reward levels?

You should always take into account shipping the books to yourself, printing costs, packaging, and shipping to your backers. This can give you a real cost-of-production per book. But the best way to start is to write out your levels with what feels right to you as a consumer and what would appeal to you. Then, run the numbers and make sure you are covered on all your levels. The most important thing is to make an interesting and fun product.

How much overall planning and number crunching did you do?

I go over the numbers until I feel comfortable. I think it is important to make sure there is enough profit (above cost) to cover the unexpected. If you are prepared, then your project has the greatest chance to be an amazing experience.

Getting backers is key, of course, to success. The big question is: How do you get them?

Do something interesting and tell everyone! I made postcard-sized announcements and gave them out at several comic conventions. I posted on message boards about my art and included info about the campaign. I shared images on social media and even tried some paid social media ads. (I’ve never had much return on any paid ads, so it’s probably not the way to go from my experience.)

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You’ve done four Kickstarter campaigns, and three were successful—which is a pretty good success rate since the overall Kickstarter success rate is reported to be about 40%. What did you learn from that first one that didn’t get fully funded?

One thing you should know about Kickstarter is that you can’t delete the campaign if it fails. My first campaign was about getting back into creating comics. I made a simple campaign about that only. The problem is I didn’t focus at all on the produced product of the campaign. It’s pretty much a perfect example of what not to do.

It seems like you’ve used practically the whole MagCloud arsenal. How many formats have you used, and which is your favorite?

So far, I’ve used Standard, Digest, Tabloid, and Poster. My favorite is Tabloid. I love showing off the 11×17 version of “The Changing Tales” at conventions. It really looks like something special in that scale.

Did you use our Group Ship option for any of your backer levels? (This is the ability to send out books to multiple addresses through a single order)

In the past, I have preferred to hand-sign all the books which have held me back from using the service. Possibly in the future, I’ll give an option for an unsigned, directly-shipped version.

Any parting tips for others looking to Kickstart their projects?

Be entertaining and you will do well!

2016 MagCloud Holiday Shipping Deadlines

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It’s that time of the year again. The time when delivery trucks act as surrogate Santas, delivering joy to the world (and publications to you and yours). In order to make sure those publications get to you on time, follow the order deadlines below. Of course, we live in a world of snow storms, reindeer stampedes, and PO Boxes, so ordering early is always better.

Last order dates for delivery by December 23

UPS Ground: December 12

UPS 3 Day Select: December 14

UPS Next Day Air Saver: December 16

Happy Holidays!

 

 

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How to Publish a Bestselling Magazine

This month we bring you an interview with Colored Pencil, one of the bestselling publications on MagCloud. We asked them about the keys to their success, their favorite formats, and what keeps them going. And they really impressed us with their use of adwords, Facebook, MagCloud’s messaging platform, and the MagCloud app. But it’s not just their business acumen that we like; Colored Pencil is a beautiful and high-quality monthly publication that offers readers exactly what they’re looking for: Expert drawing instruction and inspiration.

Q: First, congratulations on being a MagCloud bestseller! Can you briefly describe COLORED PENCIL Magazine?

A: The mission statement for COLORED PENCIL Magazine is “inspiration for the passionate colored pencil artist” and I think that sums it up best. Our goal is to produce a monthly magazine that will excite artists enough to pick up their pencils and create!

Q: How many people are involved in each issue? What’s your production schedule like?

A: We include on average about 12 contributors per issue. We have a 20 day turn around to design, edit, proof, and print.

Q: How do you market your magazine?

A: Most of our audience has found us through word-of-mouth but we also do a lot of contests and giveaways each month—partnering with other companies to cross-promote brands. We also try to optimize our ranking in the search engines in part by using Google Ad Words and taking advantage of Facebook’s target marketing by using their advertising tools and insights to track our progress. Social Media plays a big part in customer acquisition so we try to stay active and involved where we think our artists are.

Our goal is to produce a monthly magazine that will excite artists enough to pick up their pencils and create!

Q: How many different MagCloud products do you use, and is there one that’s more successful for you?

A: We basically order the Standard 8.25×10.75 Saddle Stitch binding magazines. We love that we can have our readers buy direct, link, and even pin our products to their social media pages like Pinterest! Not only are we available in the MagCloud store but also on the MagCloud iOS app. It is great to be able to view all our Sales Statistics to see exactly how much our profit is and where our revenue is coming from.

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Q: Do you keep in contact with your customer base? Any tips you have for others?

A: One of the first things we do when we publish is send a notification to our MagCloud followers so they are among the very first to know when the issue is out. We also produce bi-weekly newsletters to promote our magazine and let our readers keep up with all our news, contests, and updates.

Social Media plays a big part in customer acquisition so we try to stay active and involved where we think our artists are.

Q: How do you decide on pricing?

A: Comparative pricing at first was difficult as many magazines at the newsstands were being offered at lower prices then we could but in recent years, as digital has become increasingly popular, not only does it give us a competitive level playing field when it comes to digital sales, but we have seen other print publication prices rise allowing us to compete in print as well. Being a niche magazine also gives you the advantage of having limited competition and being able to pack our pages with content that is highly desirable, giving it a higher value all around. I must note also that the high quality of MagCloud print on their thick 80# paper also makes each of our long lasting issues a collectable!

Q: What do you do besides publishing COLORED PENCIL Magazine?

A: Our Editor-in-Chief, Sally Robertson, started off as a BlurbNation book designer, then turned publisher. Currently we have all of our focus on our successful monthly COLORED PENCIL Magazine.

Q: Any parting words for other publishers?

A: We have heard all the statistics of failed magazines and the difficulty facing the publishing field but with companies like MagCloud assisting you, you can really compete in ways never before possible and take lower costs risks then you ever dared to dream. If you start with a good idea and a passion to pursue it, anything is possible!

Real Time Publishing

 

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There are many ways to self-publish a book or magazine. Many of these ways are somewhat time consuming, a bit laborious but are also filled with enticing challenges that keep many of us coming back again and again. Self-publishing is a puzzle and it’s also addictive.

But there is another way to publish. Let’s call it “Real-Time,” where you create your publication while the event or story you are covering unfolds. This is fast, fluid publishing and if you haven’t done it then you have a surprise in store.

Self-publishing is a puzzle and it’s also addictive.

Real-Time publishing offers a fresh perspective by allowing the speed of working in real-time as a test of your organizational skills, design and even your photography. Several months ago I embarked on my own experiment with “Real-Time” publishing while on assignment for Blurb in Australia.

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Garry Trinh, Blurb’s staffer in Sydney, is a well known photographer and designer. We found ourselves with two free days and I suggested we do a Real-Time publication using Magcloud Digest. Two days. Total. Shoot, edit, make small prints, design, upload and hit print.

Our styles are very different. I’m more of a classic reportage style photographer who works mostly in black and white.  Garry normally works in color and is one of the most observant street photographers I’ve ever seen.

Real-Time publishing offers a fresh perspective by allowing the speed of working in real-time as a test of your organizational skills, design and even your photography.

We devised our plan then hit the beach for the first shoot. Later the same day we had the edits printed at a local lab then placed them on the floor of my hotel room where we made our final decisions regarding edit and sequence. Garry did the bulk of the design work while I wrote copy to round out the story. At the end of the 48-hours we uploaded the Digest and hit print.

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Several days later I flew home, unpacked, suffered through my normal jet lag then heard my doorbell ring. There it was. Our “Real-Time” book in physical form, delivered before I had even archived the images.

Publishing in Real_Time isn’t for every situation or assignment, but it is a wonderfully entertaining way of embracing the fluidity of what platforms like Magcloud offer.

MagCloud: More than just magazine

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I first heard about Magcloud in a hotel lobby in Atlanta during a photography conference. A young photographer created a serial portfolio of sorts using the Magcloud magazine, and when he placed the publication on the table in front of me my first thought was “That is a real magazine.” I was instantly hooked, flew home and built my own Magcloud series. For those of you who don’t know, or those who didn’t grow up thinking about photography, the magazine holds a special place in the heart of most image-makers. As young photographers we dreamt of seeing our images on the pages of the big magazines. A cover was beyond comprehension.

Over the years I’ve made many different Magcloud magazines. I’ve created issues to sell, others to promote and others for fun, but Magcloud is far more than magazine. The platform offers a diverse range of publication from the flyer and pamphlet size piece to a wire-bound, 11×14 tabloid style publication and even a poster if I find the need. They also make two of my all time favorite trim sizes. The digest, a 5.25×8.25 in portrait or landscape, as well as an 8×8 square. As a storyteller, retired journalist and residual photographer these two pieces, combined with magazine, keep me very, very happy.

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Digest is the perfect size for a mailer or promotional piece, but also plenty nice enough for a small run, art publication or something to sell as a compliment to a larger book or magazine. The one you see here details my website and the range of work you would find if you visited the site. I buy stacks of these then hand them out to people I find inspiring or those I want to collaborate with.

The 8×8 square is a perfect, modern format. I don’t know about you, but the vast majority of images I make with my mobile phone are in the square format. Plus, I’m still a diehard Hasselblad user, so all my portrait work is square format, which lends itself perfectly to the 8×8.

Both of these formats offer saddle stich or perfect bind, discounts for volume and both domestic and international shipping. And remember, with print-on-demand you only need to order one at a time, so experiment, test, tinker and see what format fits you best.

-Dan Milnor

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What happens after you order your MagCloud magazine?

Ever wonder how your beautiful magazine is printed and put together? In this post we’ll explore the printing, binding, and trimming steps that goes into each and every magazine made at MagCloud.

In an age of high-tech machinery and robotics it’s easy to believe that everything is automated and is accomplished with the minimum of human touch. In actuality, modern printing is rooted in classic techniques. While the process has become incredibly streamlined and print on demand delivering higher quality and more consistent results, it still requires the talents and skills of an incredibly dedicated team to create your latest issue.

To begin, MagCloud transmits your print-ready PDF, along with publication metadata, to one of our finely tuned printers. At the printer your publication is queued up and scheduled according to the product’s dimensions, attributes and routed to the appropriate press for printing. When it’s your publication’s turn the printing begins with the “guts” or the inside pages of your magazine. The printers used for magazines are sheet fed. Every printed sheet will contain both pages of a spread with space in between for folding or cutting (depending on the binding) and additional space around the edges to be trimmed off later.

Our printers use HP Indigo brand printers. Image from HP

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Like your printer at home there are trays behind the printer for collecting the printed sheets. For smaller print jobs (less than 10 copies) and inspecting print proofs, there’s a special tray at the top for technicians to easily access and inspect a copy of the current print run.

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For larger orders, publications are collated in the trays at the bottom.
Cover sheets are likewise printed in the same way.

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However cover sheets use a higher stock paper and are treated with a protective satin UV coating.

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The UV coating is applied and passed under a drying light on a conveyor belt.

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After drying the coating the cover sheets are stacked and prepared for trimming. Special contact paper is kept on the machinery to keep the sheets clean.

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Wooden “joggers” are used to press the sheets together to align the edges before trimming.

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Light guides are used to align the trim cut precisely.

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Separately, the interior sheets are trimmed. Because perfect binding was chosen the interior sheets are cut in half. If it had been saddle stitch binding only the edges would be trimmed and the sheets folded.

The spine edge of the sheets are fed into a machine that grinds down the edge making it adhere better to the binding glue.

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Below the inner pages is the cover sheet. Again lasers are used to position the cover precisely before it’s joined with the inner pages.

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The cover needs to be pre-folded before attaching the inner pages.

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The cover sheet moves below the guts and the guts drop down in the binding machine.

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After the cover and guts are bound together there is a final trimming cutting the pages flush so that the guts and cover are precisely the same dimension. The finished magazine emerges!

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But we’re not done yet, we still need to wrap them up. The magazine is enclosed in a shrink wrap plastic and heat sealed.

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Then the sealed magazine is packaged according to its quantity and sent to its new home.

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As you can see there’s a lot of love and hard work put into every magazine sent to you and readers of your magazines!

 

Uncategorized

Why I like Magazine

Not that you were asking but I’m going to share my magazine thoughts with you…again. Why? First, I’m amazed at how many people don’t know we make a magazine. Second, this format is SO unique in how it looks, how it can be designed and what it means to those who receive it. And third, there are SO MANY people who have the drive and talent to be publishing their own. How do I know? Because I did it. On a small scale mind you. I shot, edited, sequenced and designed a short run magazine, back in like 2009, and sold my allotted number.(100) And I’m pretty sure I could have sold a lot more.

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Now, am I going to support myself on magazine sales? Probably not, but I will tell you within a week of “announcing” I was going to do this I was getting calls from people who wanted to advertise. I ended up not doing any advertising, didn’t really need it, but had I chosen to go down that route I think I could have managed it. The magazine has ALWAYS been one of the Holy Grails to documentary style photographers, going back to the days of Look and Life. HOWEVER, all of this died back in the mid 1990’s, and yet many of us are still pretending like these magazines are the keys to “getting work out.” Please. They aren’t, and they haven’t been for a long, long while, but the magazine is still very alluring because of what it means.

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First, it’s designed to be discarded, in most cases that is. We all have friends who have every copy of National Geographic or Rolling Stone or Off-Road Buckshot Mudder….come on people I grew up country. To some the magazine is SACRED ground. Most people get a magazine, read it, leave it around until they look at it and ask “Why am I keeping these?” then toss them out. But why? BECAUSE THEY KNOW ANOTHER ISSUE IS ON THE WAY. People this is so fantastic. Ever thought about a subscription list? A simple email database of those who want in? How easy is that to compile? Wait for it….I’m doing this precise thing. Stay tuned for a subsequent post.

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Also, magazines are informal in comparison to books. They are treated differently, taken poolside, used to mop up the puke of sick kids and probably still read, but I would need independent verification from you parents out there. Magazines travel. They are given away. My wife gives her’s away on airplanes. “Hey, wanna read this?” she asks and they are ALWAYS taken. Try giving a book away on a plane. It might work but people might think you are creepy too. And for all I know you ARE creepy. You’re here aren’t you?

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These last two spreads are from a new project, Whistleblower, which is a look at the modern surveillance culture and the changing terminology of modern warfare. The images were made in various places around the world.

In a way this was a trial run. Just another test in a long, long line of tests. I made mistakes, even after proofing so many times I almost threw up. It happens. To everyone. Don’t sweat it. Correct and move on. Live and learn. Enjoy. When I see this magazine I think to myself, “What are the limits here, the possibilities?” and what comes back at me is…..there aren’t any. What are we waiting for? Permission? An editor to assign something then embargo the work after running ONE image? If you are a wedding photographer why not run a quarterly run of your best images which then goes out to your top vendors, planners and former clients, via print or “E?” If you are a editorial photographer why not run an issue on what didn’t run via mainstream channels? If you are an amateur who shoots for fun why not do a run for your family to keep them up on what is turning you on in the visual world?

We all need to get hip and get hip NOW. This isn’t 1975, or 1985 or 1995 or even 2005. This is a blank slate. A playing field where everyone gets in the game.