Alternative Realities: Put A Egg On It
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.
Interview by Baylee McKeel
Founded in 2008 by photographer Sarah Keough and graphic designer and illustrator Ralph McGinnis, Put A Egg On It is a bi-annual print magazine, published on green paper, which fuses the art of cooking with the art of photography.
What inspired you to begin this publication, and what’s behind the name?
Sarah Keough: Ralph McGinnis and I are lifelong magazine obsessives who, prior to starting Put A Egg On It, had worked for a bunch of other peoples’ magazines. We’d been batting around the idea to start our own project for a while, something with a universal subject through which we could have people tell the stories of their lives.
The name is a bunch of silliness — we like long titles and we will always take home our leftovers from restaurants and put a fried egg on top in the morning.
You co-founded this magazine with Ralph McGinnis, what do you think the benefits are of taking on this venture together?
SK: I’d say that since he and I are close and have collaborated for years, our vision is tight and clear and our tastes and expectations align very often. On the occasions where we disagree, that provides a nice tension and a place for us to talk through whether or not an editorial choice makes sense. This makes our magazine stronger, I believe.
How often do you publish and how long does it take to put together an issue?
SK: We publish twice a year. There is a couple month period where we’re emailing people and searching for submissions and making assignments and then we have 2-3 weeks of hardcore work to get it out the door.
How do you decide who to feature in your magazine?
SK: We made a conscious choice at the beginning not to fall into the trap that all magazines, large and small, do at some point: cover the same people as everyone else and hire their friends to write for them. This is really hard. You only have so much time and energy and so many resources to gather it all together. We work at finding new writers, new artists, people from all over the world to get involved and published.
Your magazine is an intriguing mixture of art and food, can you talk a little about the goal you have for your readers, what you want them to come away with?
SK: Our relationship to food helps define our culture and is an endlessly fascinating subject for visual and written documentation and conceptual exploration. I want our readers to learn something, get a feeling for other peoples’ experiences, and also there are some great recipes in the back section.
How do you feel your experience with photography has prepared you for the task of publishing Put A Egg On It?
SK: My own type of photography — cinematic, more documentary/journalistic, personal — has driven the photographic style of PAEOI. I also used to make zines when I was growing up. Little photocopied mini-magazines with photographs and stories that I wrote. I think that, more than anything, has prepared me for making Put A Egg On It.
Have you seen a change in your own photography or creative process since starting the magazine?
SK:Hm. Put A Egg On It has taught me a lot about editing and that is something I’ve brought back to my own work. Also the deadline-driven nature of a magazine has stripped away some of my perfectionist tendencies and taught me to try things and try again if they don’t work — to be agile, creative, fast and playful.
What can we expect from your upcoming issues?
SK: Beautiful writing, recipes and their back stories, meals made and photographed in South America, Asia, the Midwest and more.