Alternative Realities: Shadow & Light 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.
Interview by Baylee McKeel
Tim Anderson created Shadow & Light Magazine hoping to reach and expose emerging artists. A bi-monthly, subscription-based PDF publication, Shadow & Light focuses on photographers of all levels across a range of varying subjects. Each issue includes a featured photographer and interview, showcase portfolios along with individual works, and advice to upcoming photographers on marketing their work, as well as tips and techniques from established photographers.
What inspired you to create a photography publication, notably one with an exclusively online (PDF based) presence?
Tim Anderson: A few years back another photography magazine I was publishing fell under the 2008 financial crisis. It was just too expensive of a venture, and it would have been exceedingly difficult to continue publishing it. With that magazine, however, the writing was already on wall.
I then turned back to photography and a started a photography-based e-newsletter, Red Dog News, which at this time is still in publication after almost nine-years and 192 issues. It provides news and information about photography. Its tagline is: All about photography, all the time!”
In 2004, I began to think about publishing a fine art photography magazine again. I knew I didn’t want to publish a hard-copy magazine like I had in the past. It was just too expensive and very damaging to the environment, with more than half the copies trashed if they were not distributed appropriately. That’s simply too much waste.
Still, the thought of doing something entirely different in publishing photography was intriguing. So I did quite a bit of research and found that there wasn’t anything like what I wanted on the web. I also didn’t want it to be able to be viewed on the Internet. After much deliberation I came up with the idea to publish a PDF magazine that could be downloaded to any device for viewing whenever and wherever the reader wanted.
What it is about photography that you find particularly compelling as a medium?
TA: Even with all the technological advances in photography, it is still a medium of the moment. A moment that has happened in an exact period of time or one that had already passed. A moment soon to be forgotten, if it is not recorded.
What is Shadow & Light Magazine about and how do you feel it sets itself apart from other publications?
TA: As is stated in our Mission Statement, “the primary objective is to introduce new voices in photography by featuring them in a nationally-distributed fine art photography magazine.” While we do our best to find that talent, we will also feature established photographic artists who seek to explore and evolve their work.
There are very few magazines that feature mostly photographers who aren’t represented or have a lengthy résumé or who were primarily unknown. I found it very rewarding to locate these artists, and see what they are doing. Many times their work is so fresh and without limits, that it really amazes me, as well as our art director.
What is your process for deciding which photographers to feature in each issue?
TA: That decision is usually made by my art director and myself. We both spend a few hours reviewing submissions, going to websites, Pinterest, Facebook, and other avenues. Our best source, however, is websites. That’s where we can tell how well-developed the artist is and whether or not they are serious about their work, and want to be seen as professionals.
You favor the “unique in a setting”, how do you set about finding the right subjects for your photography/magazine?
TA: In the process of doing our research for future issues of Shadow & Light Magazine, we look for work that is not derivative, work that is fresh and not “of the moment.” There is so much out there that is more-or-less a copy of something else. I can tell you of the many times I have attended very highly regarded shows and/or exhibits only to be bored by similar work displayed from booth to booth. We look for artists who move us in some way and have a unique or inspiring story to tell.
In the examples below, you can see the breadth of our creative pursuits, including cover art by Susan Burnstine (September/October 2016, cover artist), and Kamil Vojnar (January/February 2016 cover artist), as well as single images from portfolios by Kevin Horan (September/October 2016, Ben #1-goat), Niki Boon (January/February 2016, untitled, girl in water), and Aline Smithson (January/February 2016, Charlotte with Fan)
There are a couple of names you might recognize, Burnstine and Smithson, but the others were relatively unknown at the time they were published in Shadow & Light Magazine.
You also work with Adore Noir Magazine, how do you alternate between the two?
TA: What I do for Adore Noir is write an article occasionally for them. It is interesting to see how my ideas resonate with a different audience. The publisher, Chris Kovacs, and I operate kind of like cousins, we lend a hand every now and then to the process of publishing. It is very mutually beneficial.
Do you ever pull influence into your own work from your magazine or vice versa?
TA: I really don’t know if you would call it “pulling influence,” but of course one influences the other. It is very challenging for that not to happen. Artists (writers included!) are influenced by everything they see, hear, read, or experience. It all comes together to create “that” image.
Where do you see Shadow and Light Magazine going next?
TA: As it moves into its third year of publication I would like to see Shadow & Light Magazine reach a much wider international audience. The staff has worked very hard to produce a visually compelling product, with intelligent, thoughtful, and provocative writing. We also love to get submissions that sometimes take us places we did not know existed.