* the camera roll *

little snaps from my iphone, among other things

Archive for the ‘magazines’ Category

life imitating art

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saw the newsweek cover, and immediately considered the similarities.


Written by John

August 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm

love it

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i love it.


did i say already that i love it?

the lines between stills and video are blurring.  this, from the behind the scenes look into the project:

This is the first time that video has been as significant as the print portfolio.

Ms. Ryan (Kathy Ryan, NY Times Magazine photo editor) said she knew from the beginning that she did not want this year’s performers simply to sit for a portrait.

“Celebrity portraiture demands reinvention,” she said.

Written by John

December 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm

pretty damn cool

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the ole missus pointed me to this very cool ipad cover HERE called dodocase.

here’s some pics of it in our possession:

dodocase opened up. steves at right.

dodocase closed with elastic band.

dodocase side view of the bamboo frame holding the ipad.

inside cover of the dodocase.

it’s designed to look like one of those cool moleskin notebooks that smarties in turtlenecks and tweed sportcoats carry around.  the ipad slips snugly into this custom-made bamboo enclosure that seems to hold it in nicely.  it’s a pretty interesting marriage of old-time book binding with a 21st century print killer.  kinda ironic, doesn’t it seem?   i think this is by far the coolest ipad cover out there.  so many of the other ones being sold are boring mass-produced plastic sock things.  what i love about the dodocase, is that it takes the company 4 weeks to get one to you.  as exhibited in this video, it’s definitely not a mass-produced thing made in a chinese sweatshop:

walking around the house with the ipad in the dodocase, it feels surprisingly like a book.  when i first put the ipad in it, i found myself instinctually trying to turn pages.

$60 for one of these.  and no, i have no personal reason to pitch these guys.  i have no idea who owns this company.  i just think it’s a good product.

oh, on a side note related to the ipad… interesting tidbit the past couple of days about maneuverings within the print publishing world and their eventual migration towards pad-like devices.  this today about rupert murdoch and news corps’ possible launching of a team dedicated to ipad news content:


also, here’s some stirrings a few days ago about time inc’s apple bartering woes, about their tug-o-war with apple over revenue:


just figure this out, damnit.  i refuse to spend five bucks per issue for a digital version of their mags.

Written by John

July 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm


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had an assignment recently for the 40th anniversary issue of the smithsonian magazine.  it was on jellyfish.  thoroughly fascinating article about how, because of global warming and overfishing, jellyfish are taking over the oceans.  see article here.

interesting shoot.  my assignment was to shoot a mixture of marine biologist portraits and some pics of jellyfish.

now, beyond the one time the ole missus and i found ourselves snorkeling thru a patch of jellies while on vacation, i know absolutely nothing about them.  never gave them a single thought.  so i had no concept about how to shoot pics of them.  turns out, they’re really fun to shoot.  just stick a light off to one side, grab a macro, and go.  absolutely surreal.  like space aliens.  i guess james cameron based the space aliens in his flick “the abyss” on jellyfish.

if you don’t remember the movie, see the kenny rogers version here.

the assignment was primarily at the monterey bay aquarium.  a thoroughly fascinating place, as long as you get past the tourist hell that surrounds it.  i had such a good time there during the shoot, i went back a few weeks later with junior and the ole missus for a belated father’s day excursion.

below are portraits i shot of a couple of the marine biologist-types in the article.  steven haddock from the monterey bay research institute (left), and chad widmer from the monterey bay aquarium.  two heckuva nice guys.

Written by John

July 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm


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here’s a few pics from the very last issue of its 68-year life, a beautiful rural pennsylvania thanksgiving spread shot by roland bello:


friggin beautiful spread.  so classy.  it’s simple, as if you just happened upon this little buffet.  very random, but not.  i especially like the quad detail photos of the plates.  it’s could be a pretty version of what william eggleston might have done.

so this is the way they’re going out, huh?  a bit anticlimactic.  and to continue the thought i had from a few posts back, i wonder what the gourmet staff would have pulled off had they been able to plan for a finale.  not saying that the work in this issue isn’t good, just seems very down-to-business.  not very celebratory.  very abrupt.  if they were going to end their 68 years right, they should have gone out with a bang like hunter s. thompson did, when his ashes were fired from a cannon.

strewn throughout this last issue are ads for gourmet subscriptions:  “12 issues just $15”.  maybe they should have upped the price a bit.  maybe those few little extra pennies from raised subscription fees could have made their books look better and pushed them just past the axe.

funny little tidbit about my efforts to get a copy of this final issue…  i guess it came out on newsstands on oct 20th.  i spent several hours running from newsstands to bookstores to supermarkets throughout san francisco looking for a copy of this final issue.  seemed that others had the same idea i had.  i finally found a few copies at a crappy barnes and noble in the city of colma, where the dead outnumber the living 1,000 to 1.

oh well.  sorry to see you go gourmet.  i was just getting to know you.

Written by John

October 22, 2009 at 10:54 am


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interesting tidbit in today’s nytimes about magazines contemplating raising their subscription prices.  SEE HERE

i wholeheartedly agree that many should raise their subscription rates.  it has always boggled me when i would see a magazine like esquire charge $18 for an annual subscription.  (now thinking about it, i think i paid like ten bucks the first year i subscribed.  i think i’m now paying the prevailing rate.)

i’m a guy who is willing to pay money for quality magazines.  and it’s not just because i can write it off on taxes.  i appreciate the effort it takes to pump out quality journalism/content on deadline.

now, the operative word here is “quality”.  i’m willing to pay an appropriately fair price for something if i feel that it is of sufficient quality and effort.  i’ll gladly pay more for a magazine like esquire, because they generally do smart things to fairly trivial subjects, with the occasional really great piece of journalism.  SEE HERE (i pick esquire as an example because, quite simply, i don’t have the patience to regularly read magazines like the atlantic monthly, the new yorker, the paris review, etc…  after all, i’m a photographer…)

but then sometimes i wonder about other mags who actively hack away at quality content all in the name of saving a few bucks.  yeah, the economy sucks, and there’s less and less advertising dough.  the knee-jerk reaction so many publications have is to just hack away at the budget.  most newspapers are doing this, and look where it’s taking them?

one of my long-time local sf mag clients is 7×7 magazine (named after the dimensions of the city of san francisco).  the photo editor there was the first mag editor to meet with me and look at my portfolio four years ago, and she was the first editor to hire me.  they pretty much have trusted my instincts and have let me loose to shoot how i’ve wanted.  as a result, i’ve spent my freelancing days filling a great deal of my portfolio with pictures from their assignments.  i have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for them.

so recently, 7×7 performed a redesign, reshuffling, and a change in their physical size.  they made the dimensions a bit bigger — from 9×11 inches to 10×12 inches.  but they’ve apparently cut the number of pages, so now it feels noticeably thinner.  they’ve also changed it from perfect binding (spine like a book) to staple binding (a couple of staples down the spine holding the pages together).  hate to say it, but it somehow feels less substantial**.

seems like they’ve also changed the content a bit.  less articles, more small bits and pieces.  a paragraph here, a list there.  with lots of little pictures of expensive things for the pac heights ladies to buy in between pilates and lunch.

the most distressing thing, though, is that they’ve recently laid off like half the staff.  so the remaining staff essentially has double the workload, all the while mulling over the state of their own jobs.  gotta say, not so great for morale and employee efficiency, if you have to constantly look over your shoulder to see whether there’s a “for rent” sign on the front door of the office.

so let’s do the math:

diminished editorial space + cheaper binding + less content + significant staff cuts = not so good.

i hope the economy picks up, so that 7×7 can rehire some folks back.  this town could use more than one mag.  would be a shame if dallas-based luxury media’s local offering (san francisco magazine) was the only game in town.

** okay okay, there has been some great mags in history that use staple binding, like the new yorker, old rolling stone, the new york times magazine, time, etc…  but one thing is consistent with these mags, is that their content has always been good, with an emphasis on QUALITY writing and photography.

Written by John

April 13, 2009 at 11:54 am

Posted in magazines, sea change