New “Field Magazine” for New Mexico

I just ordered this thing and received it in less than one week. The doorbell rang and I looked through the glass to see yet another Blurbish box, the 157th time this has happened to be exact. I actually didn’t know what it was because I had only ordered the magazine a few days ago and didn’t think that could possibly be enough time. Apparently it is. BOOM, it’s here. I did one of these months ago, a small one, 20-pages, which I’ve been using in the field. This last trip, which was mostly wasted replacing the entire sewer line at my house, I used the magazine while working just outside of Santa Fe. The response to having the magazine was as good as you could get. In fact, it was what prompted me to do this version which is 80-pages and has more of the full story of why I’m out doing what I’m doing.

Smogranch_Milnor_New_Mexico_001

Making a publication like this, and then showing it in the field, is evidence you are not messing around. In fact, after I showed the previous version, the person I showed it to referenced the magazine later the same day and then again a few days later. I think it also had a lot to do with this person saying “You guys are okay,” and “I think you have good intentions with what you are doing,” and in that neck of the woods trust is essential to do any kind of photographic business. As for making a tool like this I don’t over think the matter. I see a need and I just go. So far this methodology has worked out pretty darn well, both commercially and now entirely and joyfully on my own.
Smogranch_Milnor_New_Mexico_004
As with many of the things I create these days, I didn’t have a lot of time to obsess about the meaning or particulars. Even with limited time the creation of this tool forced me to spend focused energy in regard to editing and sequencing. This is NEVER a bad thing even when after doing so you realize how LITTLE good work you actually have. Sob, sob. I think it has been four years and counting on this project, but a very, very light part-time at best. Doing this particular kind of work you realize the world isn’t a small place at all. You realize that even one state, in one country, on one continent would take a lifetime to really get to see and understand.
Smogranch_Milnor_New_Mexico_006
Smogranch_Milnor_New_Mexico_008
Smogranch_Milnor_New_Mexico_012

Full admission here…looking at this magazine makes me FEEL really good. It FEELS great to find a bit of clarity in the photographic clutter of life. I carry this thing in my bag and hope I can show it to others. It makes me think about what I’m doing and how the people IN the photos would respond to this. How would they feel? What does it mean to be included? What will it mean to those who have yet to see it? Having this magazine also makes me feel like there are A LOT of photographers in the world who could do amazing things with this tool. The magazine represents a very special place in the heart of generations of photographers. We all know the current state of the editorial world, so when you think about doing a magazine on your own, and running work the way it was intended to be seen, you realize just how powerful a tool like this can be. If I was a better designer I would love to create a collaborative, quarterly publication showcasing good photography with enough real estate to allow the work to shine.

Australia Bound

It appears as if my dream of going to Australia might come to fruition. At least one version of one version of the dream might come to fruition. Years ago I came close to venturing down under but the trip was thwarted at the last minute. This time we are all systems go.
SR_Books_Tools_029
This isn’t a vacation. Far from it. In fact, by my estimation we, meaning myself and the other Blurb crew members, will do something like twenty or twenty-one events in about a fifteen-day time period. If this sounds crazy it actually is, so the description “crazy” is accurate. I know this because a few short months ago we embarked on a similar venture which took us to four cities in less than two weeks with five events in each city. At one point in the ordeal I did ten hours of presentations in one day. That IS a bit much, but like anyone who has been training for a while, you get used to it. And, I think being in front of people, showing them examples of what you can do with the tools of the Blurb platform, is the best thing I do for the company.
20130416_182710
Many people know the Blurb name, many have used the system, but few have fully explored the potential of the platform and the range of possibilities. This is where I come in. There is nothing better for me than to hear a seasoned photographer say “Man, I would have never thought of that,” after I offer advice, direction or suggestions. We are all products of learned behavior, whether that means learned in the direction of our friends, family, beliefs, or in the direction of being photographers. I know I was, and I suffered under the system before I realized the system didn’t feel right and I needed to invent my own.
grab_005
Over the past few weeks I’ve been creating a new presentation called “The Tools of Modern Storytelling,” which is a look at one project and the multiple lives that project lives via the multitude of modern formats at my fingertips. Book, magazine, short-film, PDF, Rich-Media, as well as the channels in which these formats take flight. The traditional channels of information exchange are changing, and in many cases, limping along(Which I think is just normal change). If you are professional, have training, create unique work and have the trust of those following your work, then why do you need those traditional gatekeepers of information? There are reasons why you need them, or would want to work with them, but you need to determine your plan first and we are no longer limited by the system.
grab-002

At the end of this trip I’m hoping to drop everything, except my camera, and head out into the bush for as long as I can get away with. I can’t go to Australia and NOT photograph something, someone, anything, anywhere. The images here are a few from my new presentation, just random things that all fit together in my twisted little mind. I know the image of my bag and contents will cause heart palpitations amongst some people, but just know within arms reach of my laptop are several different cameras, all of which I use for specific reasons, but this post is about Australia, storytelling and the potential of the unknown not what is in my bag.
SR_Books_Tools_009
What is so interesting for me on a trip like this is the fact I get to branch outside of photography and work with designers, bloggers, students and also get to connect with the festival world. I think there are no less than THREE major festivals going on in Australia at this time, Head On, Reportage and Analogue/Digital. I’ve already begun getting emails from photographers from all over the world saying, “Hey, I’m going to be there too.”
I have much, much, much to do before embarking on this little voyage. Several of the presentations I need to do are more about my photography than my job, which is new for me. I don’t normally lecture, talk, speak about my photography, so I need to invent new and interesting presentations that are outside of what people are expecting. I’m always amazed at how much work these are and how much time they actually take to produce.
I have a sinking suspicion I will be in Australia JUST long enough to wet my appetite for more, more, more. Hey, I’ll take what I can get. My goal, at some point in the distance future, is to ride my bike across Australia. This is, of course, after I have ridden it across the United States and from Alaska to Patagonia. The odds of this actually happening are SLIM but a guy can dream.

If you know people in Australia who would be interested in these events please alert them via the links below. The great thing about our plan is that regardless of your skill level there is something, potentially multiple things, that are suited to your needs.

Melbourne
Photo Safari – http://melsafari.eventbrite.com
Blurb-Meet-up – http://melblurb.eventbrite.com
Tools of Modern Storytelling – http://meldesign.eventbrite.com
Pro Photo Books workshop – http://melpro.eventbrite.com

Brisbane
Photo Safari – http://brisafari.eventbrite.com
Blurb-Meet-up – http://briblurb.eventbrite.com
Tools of Modern Storytelling – http://bridesign.eventbrite.com
Pro Photo Books workshop – http://bripro.eventbrite.com

Sydney
Photo Safari – http://sydsafari.eventbrite.com
Blurb-Meet-up – http://sydblurb.eventbrite.com
Tools of Modern Storytelling – http://syddesign.eventbrite.com
Pro Photo Books workshop – http://sydpro.eventbrite.com

And in case you need a little description….here you go.

Photo Safari: Urban and mobile photography enthusiasts and bloggers will be led by professional photographers on a free, three-hour photographic exploration of each city’s visual beauty.

Tools of Modern Storytelling: Professional designers and creatives are invited to breakfast to learn new ways in which creative minds and businesses are leveraging tools and technology to tell stories in both print and digital formats.

Pro Photo Books Workshop: Suitable for aspiring and professional photographers, Blurb’s most popular three-hour workshop provides a complete picture of the book-making process within the context of a quickly changing photography and publishing industry.

Blurb Meet-up: All interested book-makers and photography book-lovers are invited to check out an array of beautiful Blurb books and share a drink with the Blurb team and other like-minded DIY creatives.

20130411_132736

White Sands “Magazine”

SR_White_Sands_Magazine004

Guilty.

I’ve done it again. I’ve spawned another publication. This particular item from a brief encounter with White Sands National Monument, which is one tiny piece of my New Mexico opus. I can’t really call this a magazine, but I can call it a magazine format, which it is.
SR_White_Sands_Magazine007
There was some confusion about this, but what I do is open InDesign and under the file menu you will see “Book Creator.” This allows you to punch in relevant information about specifics and then the plugin generates your files automatically, complete with bleed and trim lines. In short, if it works for me then it HAS to work for you. My design skills are puny, something I acknowledge up front to set the appropriate expectation levels.

Am I selling this little beast? No. Am I professing it’s beauty? Only it’s size, shape and material. Am I claiming it makes a profound statement? No. Am I claiming it forced me to edit my day’s take? Yes. Did creating this force me to think critically and make decisions? Yes. Am I going to make more? What do you think?

SR_White_Sands_Magazine014

Over the past two weeks I’ve created at least three magazines, several books, a few letters and an assortment of handmade objects, both from the road and from here at home. It’s been a strangely productive time, but the pull of the unknown is creeping into my subconscious once again, which can only mean one thing. I must make more images. The monkey on my back is undeniable, insatiable and can’t be reasoned with.

BOOK 161: Why it’s possible

I need to preface this by saying this post is a direct result of being asked 546,867,847,746,635 times “How do you make all those books?”

Some people think I’m possessed, and perhaps I am. Since 2006 I’ve made over 160 unique titles with Blurb alone. This doesn’t include all the “other” things I’ve made in that time, and believe me, there is an oddly sinister assortment. I’ll admit, that’s a lot of publications. Often times I’m confronted by people wondering how I do this. I’ve even been accused by a few of trivializing the process of bookmaking itself, as if books have to be incubated like embryos or a chicken pot pie.
P_6_front
All IMAGERY IS FROM THE UPCOMING BOOK 161
The reality is I know what I want, am driven and also possess the ability to focus pretty darn well for as long as I need to without losing my mind. I learned this from a very young age, from my father, and from a few others I needed to work for at that time in my life. “You never sit down on a job, ever.” I still try to live by this today. I also don’t have any children. Nothing against kids. In fact, I really enjoy being an uncle and I spent the better part of seven years photographing kids, but not having any of my own has allowed me to do many of the things I do.
P_10_front
But there’s more. I also don’t surf the Internet, spend time on social media or watch TV. Let me state this again for those of you not paying attention. I don’t surf the Internet, spend time on social media or watch TV. And no I’m not a communist. I have a TV, and believe me it’s a stunner. I think it’s about 12-15 years old and looks like a Russian satellite sitting in my living room. Most people think it’s some sort of art installation. It gets approximately 17 channels, many of which are in other languages and provide programming that is a cross between a game show, dance contest, strip club and mental health service. I also have several computers, all of which are tied to our beloved Internet, which we all know is endless. I don’t surf it. I use it when I need it and then turn it off. Lastly, we have social media. I’m on a social media fast. It’s true, I have Facebook, Google + and Twitter accounts, probably more if I could remember what they are. In short, I’m a jerk. I turn them on, post what I think is relevant, then turn them off. I WILL respond to certain things if the chatter created by what I posted is enough where I can’t stand myself for NOT responding. These times are rare. I believe social media, and the technology required to deliver it, namely mobile phones, are a physical addiction for many people, the EXACT same as alcohol, drugs or gambling. I’m telling you this now because I know a lot of people who appear to be addicted to their phones and social media, and over the past year and a half I’ve been studying, informally of course, what people do on their phones when I’m out and about in the great public world. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. In that order. When the plane lands the odd man, or woman, out will call a loved one, send an email or make a dinner reservation. The VAST majority of people go straight to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The addiction part comes when the pilot comes on and says, “We are eight minutes early for our gate, sorry about the inconvenience but we’ve got eight minutes to sit.” and the woman next to me turns on her phone, punches in the code, then checks her Facebook account 24 TIMES in eight minutes. Yes, I counted. Before you go thinking this is rare, don’t. It’s not. The average person looks at their phone 150 times per day. It’s commonplace, even in adults and people you would LEAST think capable of this. I believe these social media outlets do very little to actually connect us, but do much when it comes to fracturing our thought process, fracturing our ability to focus and they also consume VAST amounts of our time that we have somehow convinced ourselves is being spent in this critical pursuit of “being connected.” Most of the time what this translates to is being at home, alone, in the dark on our computer. I know what you are thinking. “Milnor, you have a phone.” Yes, it’s true, and I like my phone, it’s a fancy Samsung model and it works like a dream, but I have learned to use it with control. I was not always capable of this but I am now. My phone is in my hand when I need it, ONLY when I need it. I realized if I eliminated Facebook, Instagram and Twitter I suddenly had a lot more time to do things like…..actually make photographs which I could then turn into books and magazines, or rich-media or whatever else I could dream of. In other words, I had time to create tangible things and then turn them into more tangible things.
P_7_front
And before I go any further, don’t go thinking I’m a zen-Jedi of some sort. I’m not, not by a longshot. I feel the same crazy urges to waste my time as you do. Want to see a definition of sloth? Put me in a hotel room with a hundred channels and access to food and a bathroom. I KNOW how Rome fell. We are hanging by a thread. So, in short, I don’t put myself in those positions. ANYTIME I feel the urge to waste time with the forementioned pursuits I instead write something, read something or make something. It’s really that simple. I’m surely not saying I’m better than anyone else, but what I am is conscious of what these pursuits will do to me if I venture forth.

This takes training. I’m not joking. Breaking these habits is not an easy thing, but you will be AMAZED at what you can get done when you cast them aside and focusing on making real world things. This week alone I’ve been asked multiple times about things like if I noticed what so and so posted on Facebook, what happened at the Grammy Awards or if I was watching the hostage standoff in Los Angeles. Short answer….no. I simply don’t have time for any of it.

Now, it helps to be really busy. Blurb makes sure of that, so what time I have left over is even more cherished. The fact of the matter is if I don’t behave this way I will not get ANYTHING done. I’ll give you an example. Last night at 5:45 PM I had been working since 7:45 AM, a good day. My wife wasn’t home yet, and I knew she would be stuck in traffic until about 7:30PM. It would have been SO nice to amble in to my “living room” and turn on the old boob tube(All 17 channels), crack open a nice 40oz brain grenade and begin to forget my day, but I didn’t. I knew I had a little less than two hours to make something. I could have done a blog post, written in my journal, written letters (Yes, I still write letters) or even made some scans, but I quickly opened my list of “To-Do” books, a list that currently has nineteen titles, and I went to the first one on the list and dove in. The basic concept of this book had been in my mind for a long while, so I had a vague plan in place as to design, typography and book size, paper type, etc. At 7:30 I had a sixty-page book mostly complete. There are many tweaks remaining, a few fixes, a few small copy blocks to draft, but essentially I have book 161 on the launch pad. Wife comes home, I turn off my “work” mind, make dinner and the rest is history.

Maybe this is about discipline. Maybe this is about desperation. Maybe this is about frustration. Maybe this is about drive, motivation or passion. I don’t really care. All I know is I have a limited time on this rock and I’m not going waste one second in pursuit of empty calories. This is how I made all these publications. This is how I am able to work fulltime and still pursue long-term projects, foreign workshops, etc. This isn’t the right method for everyone, and look, sitting still and reading, or meditating for ten days straight is, at least in my mind, MAKING something if it leaves you with something tangible in the REAL world, NOT the cyber world.

There are no tricks and there is no luck. I felt the need, made a plan and am doing whatever I can to stick with it. If you choose to follow me then I wish you good luck. There will be pitfalls. It might be a gallon of Rocky Road and a rerun of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I get it. We all slip and fall, but it’s what you do when you get back on your feet that’s important.

Magazine x 2

SR_Uruguay_Magazine_002

I love magazines. I don’t actually read them, or subscribe to them, but when I hold them in my hand it’s nothing but love. Sometimes if I’m facing a long flight on an airline with no inflight entertainment I’ll buy an Economist, catch up on the world, but that is about it. Just listen to how we describe these little jewels. “Magazines, periodicals, glossies, or serials are publications that are printed with ink on paper, and generally published on a regular schedule and containing a variety of content.” Damn, what’s not to like?
SR_Uruguay_Magazine_007
SR_Uruguay_Magazine_011
Now I can make my own, and people this is a grand experience, one that SCREAMS for collaboration. In my Blurb travels I’m continually amazed at how little collaboration I see. I keep crossing my fingers, hoping the world would appear more as an open door rather than a locked bunker. Perhaps the magazine will set us free?
This little film is about the same work, in the same format, but with a very different look and feel. Done simply to show you how basic design changes will greatly impact the look, feel and potential success of your project. My advice, venture forth.

SR_Uruguay_Magazine_014

SR_Uruguay_Magazine_021