I will never be able to do justice to just how good these pieces truly are. If you want to feast your eyes on a professional set of promotional materials look no further than Stephen Kennedy’s “Cross Country Camera.” Without warning, two of these pieces landed on my door. With a quick swipe of my trusty pocket knife I was confronted by massive sheets of color, wonderful design and an effortless browse thanks to a well built spiral bind.
Stephen is someone I’ve been in contact with for years but wouldn’t say I know him well. I wish I did as I find him a fascinating character, and I don’t mean character in an odd way just that he seems to be able to exist in his own space without being compromised and I find these people intriguing. I always felt compromised in some way during my career, but I get the feeling he does not. I reached out to ask if it would be okay for me to share his creations and he offered to send several more pieces. Thank you Stephen.
I also reached out to Blurb, which is also MagCloud, because these were produced through the MagCloud platform. Oddly enough, this was the ONE format–17×11 Tabloid— I had never used and for the life of me I can’t imagine why. They are simply stunning, and as a promotional piece for illustrated content I can’t imagine anything better. Not to mention, on the backend of the user interface Stephen can fire these to clients via the platform without having to venture to the post. (Which in America is a very good thing unless you love long lines and bulletproof glass.) My goal is to have Blurb feature these because they are deserving and I feel they will inspire others to make their own.
This project is daunting. Cross Country Camera, which lives on its own within Stephen’s site, a very smart move for anyone doing a major project, covers a wide range of territory and a wide range of artist. A unique URL gives it space and gives it the showcase it deserves. A huge part of the beauty, for me, is the design, and for this he worked with Eimer Creative. A lot of photographers will baulk at paying for design while producing a sub-par looking, or self-published looking object then wonder why they aren’t taken seriously.
Number one, know your limitations but also know how fantastic it feels to work with a real designer who can turn your beloved snaps into something far more. (Every time I’ve done this I’ve patted myself on the back for doing it.) Also remember, if Stephen uses this to land a solid client, well, his ROI on design pays for itself very quickly. Taking the the time to do something as grand as this project means you can’t short change the backend design. Publishing is often a team sport.
I am only showing you ONE of the five samples in my possession, and as you can see by the site, there are many more. This edition is a detailed sketch of Houston-based artist Edgar Medina. The printed piece matches black and white with color, portraits with materials and the artist in action. Knockout quotes punctuate the interaction between photographer and subject and highlight a bit of the artist’s history.
I understand the lure and pull of the digital space. I really do. I write and speak about the evils of the digital world, which I believe are true, but I also know that used correctly–for certain people–the digital space is a key ingredient for professional life. But there is simply no comparison between looking at someone’s work on a screen compared to looking at that same work in a piece like this. Apples and oranges and I prefer the orange.