Alternative Realities: Adore Noir Magazine
What would compel a photographer to create his own magazine?
Founder of Musée, Andrea Blanch, herself a photographer, felt curious to investigate the drive behind fellow like-minded photographers-turned-magazine publishers.
Created by Canadian photographer Chris Kovacs, “Adore Noir” is an online, PDF based publication, exhibiting exclusively black and white photography. Each bi-monthly issue features six fine art photographers, interviews, and articles that cover issues including “Art VS. Science” and, “Censorship in Photography”. Chris Kovacs was happy to answer some questions about why he felt driven to create such a publication and more about his magazine.
Interview by Baylee McKeel
What inspired the name, “Adore Noir”?
Chris Kovacs: The name "Adore Noir" came about in 1997. Besides photography I also play the drums, I was forming a band at the time and was thinking about a name when a video from the Smashing Pumpkins came on the television, the song was called “Ava Adore”, I liked that title. Later that day I was getting ready to go somewhere and I put on a splash of cologne, the cologne was “Drakkar Noir”, that’s when I thought of “Adore Noir”, the band didn’t work out and in 2010 when I was thinking about a name for the magazine, the name “Adore Noir” came up again.
Your magazine focuses solely on black and white photography, why this focus?
CK: When I began photographing in the early 2000’s I was looking for books and magazines about black and white fine art photography, there was not much choice other than a couple of titles, and even those did not focus too much on the artists, rather they focused on advertising and gear. Fast forward 10 years later to when the first iPad came out, I was excited to find out that there were PDF magazines and Apps that I could download onto the iPad, however, there were no magazines designed for the iPad that focused on black and white fine art photography, that’s when I decided to fill that niche by starting “Adore Noir”.
How many times a year do you publish and why an online PDF based presence?
CK: We publish 6 times per year. The main reason for producing the magazine as a PDF publication is accessibility, I wanted as many people from almost anywhere in the world to be able to have access to “Adore Noir” and if I had started a print magazine, not only would it be very expensive, it would be very difficult to ship to countries other than those in North America. But this way we have a much broader audience, currently Italy is the number one consumer of “Adore Noir”, with the rest of Europe coming in second, followed by North America. I wouldn’t have been able to do that with a print magazine.
What is your process like, how long does it take for you to put an issue together?
CK: We receive hundreds of submissions each month so a lot of time goes into viewing each one, it usually takes up to a month to figure out who we would like to feature in an upcoming issue. Once we have our features in place then we do the interviews by email, which usually takes a week or so before we are ready to begin laying out the issue. The work involved in laying out the magazine using Adobe InDesign usually only takes a few days. Most of the time goes towards communicating with our features, sponsors, advertisers and customers.
You had a counterpart to “Adore Noir”, entitled “Adore Chroma”; was one magazine’s inception driven by the other?
CK: Yes, “Adore Chroma” came about because quite a few people who love “Adore Noir” emailed me wondering if we had any color publications that was similar in content and layout. We began “Adore Chroma” in May of 2014 and ended in March of 2015. I found that trying to do too much at once would sacrifice the quality of “Adore Noir” which has always been my main focus, so “Adore Chroma” was discontinued. A possible re-launch of “Adore Chroma” is not out of the question.
What do you look for in the photographers you choose to feature in your issues?
CK: The main focus is on cohesive bodies of work, preferably ones that tell a story, then we look for things regarding overall aesthetics, how the images make us feel, there are also technical qualities, composition, exposure, framing, impact, style and overall presentation.
Do you ever find it difficult or limiting having a magazine with such a niche?
CK: No, it’s actually the opposite, having a very specific niche is great because I always know exactly who the audience is, they are mostly artists, photographers, collectors and those who generally love the arts. It’s a bonus being a fine art photographer because I also fit the demographic.
Has your work with the magazine influenced your personal work?
CK: The variety of styles and works we feature inspires me to create unique work. The possibilities and styles are endless and seeing our submissions and featured artists creates that awareness for me, anything is possible and being unique is key.