One of the favorite parts of my magazine career was writing case studies about entrepreneurial photographers, artists, and designers who were early adopters of new technology. They began experimenting with pro-model digital cameras and printers long before all of the technical bugs had been worked out.
Feedback from these pioneering creative pros helped technology developers figure out how creative pros might want to use the new technology. The input from early adopters also helped tech companies determine which features should be automated in order to encourage non-techies (like me) to start buying new cameras and printers en masse.
One of the most enterprising creative pros I have worked with is Wayne Cosshall, an Australian photographer, writer, instructor, and entrepreneur. He started publishing the Digital ImageMaker International website in 2005, when online publishing was new and blogging tools weren’t nearly as simple as they are today.
The content of Digital ImageMaker was geared toward creative hobbyists and professionals who had mastered image-editing tools and had begun to experiment with everything that was possible with digital imaging and printmaking.
Recognizing that digital tools would enable photography, art, and graphics to converge, Wayne started writing articles about photography, web and graphic design, digital art, illustration, video production, editing and special effects, computational art and photography, and 3D graphics and animation (both 2D and 3D).
Wayne and I haven’t met (yet!), but he has been a regular contributor to the HP Pro Photography blog that I helped launch in 2006.
Recently, Wayne has been experimenting with different self-publishing platforms for photography-related publications. He has self-published different forms of e-books and recently produced the first issue of his print-on-demand magazine.
His self-published book “Photography Wisdom” in available in five different forms:
- A print book from Amazon
- An ebook for Kindle from Amazon
- An ebook for Kindle and other ebook readers
- An ebook from Apple
- A video-enhanced version of the ebook as an app for the iPad
The print-on-demand magazine is a compilation of some of the best articles from the Digital ImageMaker website.
To avoid having to pay for a large print run upfront, Wayne used HP’s print-on-demand MagCloud service to produce a magazine filled with stunning photographs and art.
MagCloud can produce saddle-stitched or perfect-bound magazines from the pages you upload as print-ready PDFs. To lay out your pages, you can use Adobe InDesign, Quark Xpress, Microsoft Word or Publisher, Apple, or any other software that can output a suitable PDF.
Wayne describes his experiences with the MagCloud service in a post on the HP Pro Photography blog. He says that “Before I started on my own project, I bought a couple of other photography publications from MagCloud so I could examine the image quality and the paper. Happy with this, I moved forward.”
After previewing and approving a sample copy of the first issue, Wayne released Digital ImageMaker magazine for sale on the MagCloud website.
Cosshall says the print quality of the magazine is impressive: “Color is great, image detail is excellent, and the print is crisp and lovely. The paper feels good to handle, and the cover stock works well.”
The 60-page inaugural issue of Digital ImageMaker magazine includes lengthy, lavishly illustrated articles, including:
- an article about computational artist Don Relyea, whose Generative Flowers II exhibt was displayed on two 50 x 30 ft. HD outdoor screens in Victory Plaza in Dallas.
- an interview with Austalian artist Jane Davenport who works on a mix of photography, drawing, and painting projects and creates products ranging from books to clothing
- an interview with wedding/portrait photographer Nadia Salameh
- a profile of photographer/psychotherapist David J. Bookbinder who produces mandalas from images of flowers.
- an interview with mixed-media printmaker Bonny Lhotka, whose ground-breaking work in inkjet image-transfer printing is included in the Digital Darkroom exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
- a profile of the Digital Art Guild, which is dedicated to advancing the concept of digital fine art while promoting public knowledge.
Reading the magazine provides a real sense of how diverse the “image-making” community has become. It’s exciting to see how many digital techniques creative pros are now using to either create or enhance their art.
An Ad-Free Photography Magazine?
While I understand why publishers must sell advertising to support the production of magazines, it was notably refreshing to read a photography magazine in which the articles aren’t interrupted by a clutter of “look-at-me” ads.
When advertising headlines and product photography aren’t competing for attention with the visuals on the editorial pages, you can appreciate each artist’s work in a different way. It’s like visiting a museum where the works on the gallery walls aren’t displayed side-by-side with advertising posters.
Personally, I have always loved magazines (which is why I studied magazine journalism in college). But Wayne’s self-published version made me regard the possibilities of the magazine format from a fresh perspective. It looks like I’m going to have to give it a try!