Alternative Realities: Positive 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
Positive Magazine is a print publication, with a PDF past, published in both Italian and English. Founded by photographer Giacomo Cosua, it focuses on showing the world through different points of view, through photos, stories, reportages and more, making itself a truly global publication.
Why did you start Positive, and can you talk a bit about the name?
Giacomo Cosua: I started the magazine in 2007. I was working as a journalist for a local newspaper but I wanted to expand my network of articles. So, with some friends we decided to create a PDF magazine to be able to show the work of young photographers, artists, and etcetera. The name is connected with the photographic meaning of the word, where you have a film that represents the color and luminance of objects in a scene with the same colors and luminance.
For sure we could not have called it negative, it would not have the same effect.
You offer both print and PDF editions of your magazine, why do you feel it is important to offer both?
GC: Well, it’s not like that. We have been doing the PDF in the past because we didn’t have enough time, energy and in particular money to start the printing. In 2015 we finally got enough sponsors to be able to start our print magazine and we stopped to producing the PDF.
How often do you publish and what are the criteria for artists to be featured in your magazine?
GC: We try to publish one article on our website almost everyday, and every 6 months the print issue. We want to give space to the artists, which to us have something to say, in terms of quality, production, and ideas. We try to scout young, emerging artists because our goal is to be a platform, which gives space to them, and a chance for them to be discovered by others. But, if we find something cool, age is not so important. I remember some months ago we published some amazing photos shot by a photographer who was 84.
What do you feel is photography’s most important role in society?
GC: I think there are different ways to see photography. Photojournalism has one specific role, which is to be able to tell true stories and to show us the beauty and the ugliness of our world. Art photography is something different; it needs to be entertaining, to open our eyes and let us dream a bit. But, probably today, we need better photos: that’s the key. Because we are overwhelmed with so many bad images, that it is time to narrow our selection.
In what ways, if at all, has working with your magazine influenced your own photography?
GC: I don’t think that having a magazine influenced my work so much. But it was a good opportunity to keep shooting what I wanted and also to be able to produce my own content without filters. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not, to have different feedbacks. But I have my magazine partners that are also very selective on my work, which is always good to keep a high-standard quality and focus less on just my pride on what I produce.
What have been some highlights in working with Positive?
GC: I started the magazine with my mates Livio and Marco in 2007, and for us it was just like a hobby. Today we are so busy with the magazine that we almost can’t breathe.
I think when you get feedbacks, articles and proposals coming from all over the world, it’s already a big achievement, because it means that you have been working in the right way. Probably, anyway, the big step for us was to be able to finally print our fist issue. It’s like having a new baby you always wanted, but to make it takes a lot of time, effort, and money.
What do you hope to achieve with your magazine, what do you want your readers to come away with?
GC: Our message is “different views around the world”. We want our readers to be able to be happy to spend some time reading what we produce and afterwards having the knowledge that they learnt something new. They have a new photographer in their mind, new photos to think about. We speak really about anything, but always in a quality way: it does not matter if it’s a reportage or a fashion editorial, for us the visual impact must always be strong, something you don’t forget after 5 minutes. I hope we have been able to reach that goal.
What can we expect from your upcoming issues?
GC: Our next issue is going to be out in March. We have been focusing on the U.S. elections, but also we wanted to do a lot of interviews with photographers, actors, and designers that have something strong to say. If you buy Positive you are sure that you will find upcoming actors. For example, in our first issue we have been featuring Damien Chapelle. Last summer he was in the movie “Planetarium”, with Natalie Portman. I think we saw something in him and now he’s growing a lot as an actor. I think that’s what you can always expect inside Positive: to see the new faces of tomorrow, in therm of photographers, designers, photojournalists and artists.