Create: Slack Tide (Magazine)

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If the title of Alex Palumbo’s “Slack Tide” sounds familiar it’s because I just did another post about him and the original version of this material which began as a series of MagCloud Digest pubs.

What you see here is the magazine, collaboration version of this project with a list of fourteen contributors. A few things to note. First, kudos to Alex for pulling this off. Apparently, I was part of the inspiration for this project, and if that is the case then I feel like I’m doing my job. Yes, this is a Blurb magazine, but I feel like my job is to get you to be creative, make work, and then print that work.

This does not look at good as what you would see at a newsstand. Why? Well, in terms of edit, design, depth and space it looks WAY BETTER than what you would see. There simply aren’t many magazines left that would pay to showcase this work, so if you want total control and you want it seen then do what these folks did and do it yourself.

I also love the fact this is affordable especially when you consider you would split the cost with contributors. Then each person uses this magazine as a promo piece to send to their top twenty clients. Sure, you are sharing the work of other creatives but that is not a bad thing. You are creating a collective of cool.

Finally, he collaborated. Connect. Share. Curate and move on. This took me far too long to understand. The power of working with others makes my work, or yours, that much more powerful.

Now, I hate to have to say this but I’m going to anyway, and yes, this is tough love. There is a subset of photographer who sees something like this and says “Oh ya, that’s fine but how is he going to make any money from this?” First, you suck and are missing the point. But more importantly, you have to ask yourself, directly or indirectly? (Why I have to even bring this up is disheartening.) I know Alex has sold copies of this, and could probably sell more if he took the time but where and with whom this publication ends up is what matters. Who sees it? Random people online or curators, editors, art buyers, and those who have the budgets to make decisions? Create your own weather system.

Comments 16

  1. Daniel,
    I’ve asked Blurb for help building my photo book. I sent 2 questions to the help site 5 days ago and repeated the request 2 days ago. No response as yet.

    Sorry to use your Shifter site for this purpose but I don’t know how else to get help.
    Darrell Dearborn

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      Just know COVID has impacted everyone, including CS. So, be patient. Help is coming. They are working through sizable numbers.

  2. Fantastic. This is what I will do while I wait 😃. Engage some friends and be creative. Create a magazine just for ourselves. Beautiful.

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      Truly amazing how many professionals talk themselves out of doing projects like this, instead of waiting for the old, traditional, faltering models to tell them what to do. So nice to see someone like Alex take the initiative.

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  3. Congratulations, Alex: the magazine looks fantastic.
    I love making magazines but, unlike the examples shown here, I prefer to photograph in horizontal orientation rather than vertical. Blurb magazines are great for showing verticals on one page but horizontals need to be over two pages to have impact, and perfect-bound magazines lose a lot of the photograph in the gutter (It reminds me of a quote, from William Albert Allard, that the gutter of National Geographic could lose a family of four).
    I’ve noticed that Magcloud offer a magazine with saddle-stitch, do you know, Daniel, if this provides a better view of photographs printed across two magazine pages?
    I’ve looked at the Magcloud website and, although proficient with Blurb Bookwright, can’t even get started in Magcloud. Just no idea how to proceed. It seems to need third-party software like Adobe In-Design to produce a PDF to be uploaded to Magcloud – and I don’t want to be paying a monthly subscription to Adobe.
    Blurb offer Lay-Flat books but they are expensive and not really suitable for the try / test option that Magazines offer.
    Any help and / or links to Magcloud magazine tutorials most welcome, Daniel.

    1. Mike,
      There are free basic photo to pdf apps out there, at least in the ipad universe, and I would think also desktop versions. I have had good luck using one of those to upload to Magcloud.


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      Yes, MagCloud is odd in the software paths. InDesign isn’t odd but some of the others are somewhat hilarious.

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      Just remember, every single magazine at the newsstand is in portrait format. Nobody prints magazines in landscape format never have, unless you are talking about a one-off somewhere. So, the idea you can’t have impact without running across the gutter isn’t accurate. My head is filled with National Geographic images that completely floored me, and many of these were less than half a page. A magazine, like any other publication, needs great design to be impactful. I love the MagCloud Digest, and you can run across the gutter no issues, but it’s a small format in comparison. And, MagCloud offers a ton of software options so have another look. Now, some of these options are insanely old but some aren’t. LayFlat books are gorgeous but are designed for things like portfolios. I have one in the works now that is 110 pages and will cost me a pretty penny. I am asking myself if I really need it as I don’t need a portfolio anymore. But, I haven’t seen a sample of the new offering so I want to see what it looks like.

  4. Thanks, Daniel, and Chuck.
    I do like two-page photographs in Magazines, simply for the impact that they have: it’s good to see your photographs in print and at a decent size, but I do take the point that smaller photographs on one page can have impact too. What I need to do is to make a magazine with photos just on one page – no double spreads – just to see for myself how it looks in reality.
    Page design is something I really enjoy doing, so I just have to get my head around the fact that a smaller photograph doesn’t mean a less-worthy photograph.

    Thanks again to you both.

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      Study what has been done. Look at old Life Magazines from the 80s and 90s. Look at fashion mags from the 70s-90s. Life-changing….

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  5. Thanks Paul, I’ll check out the links.
    Daniel, I was the only person at the factory I worked at who came to work with a copy of Vogue. Made for interesting conversations on the smoke bench. This was late 70s.
    I remember being shown a photo of a naked woman in a ‘men’s’ magazine and I deconstructed it – ‘notice the ring flash in her eyes, slightly blue cast: probably Ektachrome’ etc.
    Can’t remember the exact reply, but it ended in ‘off’.

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