Create: Albania Magazine, v1

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Okay, now things are beginning to feel complete. Not quite fully complete, mind you, but we are getting closer. I’ve already posted in regard to my Albania project and the methodology, technique, and ideas I deployed to bring this baby home, but I’ve yet to share the most important part; the document.

Coming Albanian full circle. Blurb, Premium Magazine, 92-pages.

Well, the first copy has arrived. I’ve unboxed this baby, consumed it, made a bevy of notes and I’m about to order the second copy. For me personally, a project isn’t real, isn’t truly committed to until it lives in print. There are literally hundreds of excuses for NOT putting your work in print. I’ve heard them all and really feel like I should have kept a running tally from the last ten years, but then again, that might make my spleen fall out.

I don’t know a better way to determine what you have and don’t have. I don’t know a better way to encapsulate your idea. I don’t know a more affordable way to come full circle. An online gallery isn’t full circle and don’t even mention social media. Please. A half-second after the thumb swipe nobody cares or remembers?

This 92-page magazine cost me approximately twenty dollars. Them are American dollars people. If you live in some strange land with a strange currency then you will have to do some quick math. Good luck, I can barely remember my age.

Twenty dollars. Let’s think about what we spent on our camera equipment, our computers, software, hardware, airfare, food, lodging, and transportation not to mention the COPIOUS time we spent in front of the computer getting the images edited, sequenced and designed and you realize how absurdly low the cost of putting your work in print really is. (If you don’t think your screen time is costing you then you are about to go out of business. Heads up.)

One of the double exposures with a knockout quote.

But most importantly, putting your work in print is entertaining and challenging. I never shrink from a challenge, unless it does involve math, then I run squealing with my fingers in my ears yelling “Nah, nah, nah, nah I can’t HEAR you.” But otherwise, I’m totally down for an epic ride, epic hike or epic print project.

Sitting down to make a book is difficult. We like to say it’s super easy but it’s not. Bookmaking requires critical thought, something in short supply these days, as well as commitment, decision making, and editing and sequencing skills. It also takes patience. Remember patience? That stuff we had before the Internet? Back when we used language and face-to-face communication? Come on, think back. You might remember some black and white news clips. Things were swell back then.

One of the stand-alone images. I do these to see if I can still make something good enough.

I made mistakes on this first copy. Yes, I just admitted to making mistakes. Gosh, and I’m still here. My life is a parade of screw-ups. Why would my magazine be any different? IT’S OKAY PEOPLE. IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES. You will survive. You will fix, delete the original copy, make a second, upload and hit print. I know because I’ve done it literally hundreds of times.

I made a type size mistake.. This was my first time using this font, so I wasn’t quite sure what I could get away with and I went one click too small. Hard to read. A simple fix. I also made mistakes on the small, vertical time stamps that run on the pages with oversized copy. Fixed. I also misjudged the type size on my half-title page. Fixed. Something else that bugs me is the front and back matter aren’t really fleshed out enough. However, my life is a mess and I don’t have the time to really build either of these things out. So, this magazine will forever live as a “B” at best. To reach “A” status would take time I don’t have. But I don’t care. This thing LOOKS INCREDIBLE. And if forced to describe this thing I would label it more Albanian portfolio less Albanian book. In other words, it’s really about the images and less about the story because I really wasn’t there long enough to tell anything in depth.

They trash their wooded areas just like we do. What’s wrong with all of us?

Blurb Magazine is one of the best products you can possibly buy. It’s a sleeper product because so many people feel they HAVE to make a photobook when in reality they would be better off with a magazine. And for those of you photographers who aren’t making your own magazine series….what the heck is wrong with you? I can only berate you because I DO have my own magazine series. And I stopped working as a photographer ten years ago! Yes, that urgent pressure you feel on the wall of your bladder, that’s peer pressure.

Lots and lots of partially built structures. An important part of the story.

And here’s something else to consider. If I wanted to, IF I WANTED TO, I could use this single copy to get work. I know with certainty because I’ve done it before. I could use this magazine to get assignments, shoots, jobs or whatever else you want to call professional duties. A magazine like this cuts through the noise cuts through the bullshit. A magazine like this is confrontational. It forces people to put their phones down and confront this mysterious, tangible object in their HANDS. You can’t look at IG and this magazine at the same time, and if you are someone attempting to do so then I really don’t want to work with you anyway.

What will I actually do with this magazine, outside of printing another? Nothing. Exactly nothing. I have no need. But I know what’s INSIDE the magazine. I know what went into making it and I know what that work represents, and for me, that’s plenty.

Having a notebook to record an overheard conversation is essential. If you are me.

Comments 8

  1. Love Blurb mags, I’ve made three so far documenting recent travels. Questions when you shoot are you shooting with the mag layout already in mind? Meaning perhaps shooting your subject off center so the gutter doesn’t kill it in print?

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      That is a GREAT question. The short answer is, “I used to.” I don’t anymore. Reason being, do one thing at a time. I found that too much thought of the final product hampers the ability to really focus and really connect while photographing. Sometimes it’s a difficult habit to break, so from time to time I will change my framing for a magazine page.

  2. Thanks Daniel, again! 🙂
    It remembers me to concentrate more on a story as on a single image. Printing is a huge part of my work. For most jobs, I print my results and present them to my client. So much more fun and satisfying to have the image in my hands and not on the computer screen. One word, REWARDING and it shows that I care. Hmmm maybe that me! I will try to find a small story on my trip to Puglia and put it in a magazine format. PROMISE! 🙂
    By the way thanks for taking the time talking to me over skype!
    See you… Wim

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      Of course, loved catching up. I’ve been cursed with the story gene all along. Never been able to do the one image here, one image there. I wish I could. Same for street. I suck at it. It probably stems from my love of reading and writing. Don’t forget about MagCloud. Might work well for you.

  3. Awesome Dan! Looks like a very interesting magazine. LOVE this post and will defiantly be keeping this in mind for promo pieces. You make a very good point about cutting through the noise!

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      Thank you. Second copy has been ordered. Don’t forget about MagCloud too! Great for promos.

  4. This is the post I’ll be coming back to. Again and again as I work on my current magazine. It’s a low stress project that I mentioned in a previous comment. I have been taking photos of the staff and regulars at my local watering hole for about four years. These photos aren’t works of art and they don’t need to be.

    I have two objectives.

    1. Do my best not to leave anyone out.
    2. Capture some of the feeling that makes it a special place. That mainly comes down to the people who work there. In an industry that understandably sees loads of turnover, this place has managed to hold onto a tight-knit crew. People leave and often return. A person gets sick, a former employee is there to jump in. Trust.

    The tricky part will be design. Because I suck at it. I could put two photos on each page, slap on a title, call it a day, and it would be well-received. I’m aiming higher than that, but it’s another thing I like about the people there. They’re not going to say, “Gee Scott, you should have left more white space on page 15.”

    I need to bookmark this page…somewhere I will remember haha. Anyone else absolutely awful at using bookmarks effectively?

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      Get them to write how they feel about being in the project. Then scan those and add them in. Or scan other things you pick up along the way. maybe.

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