Nov 27 2018

Down by the Hudson

Photos by Caleb Stein
Text by Amitava Kumar

I don’t know what post-industrial decline means. It is a vague notion in my head. Boarded-up homes, the husk of dead factories with broken windows and overgrown grass, businesses gone to seed. And the people? The people are missing in this picture of decay in my mind. When I first came to Poughkeepsie fifteen years ago, I was told by an academic that while there were pockets of prosperity in Hudson Valley, this town had suffered from post-industrial decline. I’m not a sociologist and I cannot say with certainty if such a statement is even true. But what draws me to Caleb Stein’s images is that he provides us the people missing from my mental picture. And what’s surprising about these images, no, what’s honest about them is that instead of people, we get faces. Individual lives. Their wealth of stories and secrets are shielded from us—mysteries that we cannot part—but we wonder and ask questions because that is what I think the photographer himself is doing. Hello? How are you? How is your day going? I imagine him asking this over and over again with the same people who then begin to treat him as a neighbor that he undoubtedly is. The photographer as everyman. On the street, in parks, and at the watering hole where we see that his eye is as clear as the water. Consider the remarkable image of the Prom Boy, a picture taken on the street on which I live. This image does fill me with wonder. Such a fine, even tender, mix of contradictions: the large flower in the buttonhole, the bandage on the nose, the slightly askew bowtie, the bruised eye, the stubbornly dignified gaze… I could go on. I don’t know whether I’m right or wrong in saying any of this about the young man. All I can be certain about is that this is what living is about, this tussle with the real, this strange encounter across divisions of race and class, in a rectangular visual space. This is life.

Nov 22 2018

Everybody Street

This is from Chris Leskovsek

I still remember when I landed in NZ back in 2011 and I took my camera out (the studio) for the first time as a sole means to make sense about this new world around me. I was homesick, depressed, and wandering but it quickly became a form of self expression about my fears, what I like and dislike about society, document new places and meeting new people.

Yet it wasn’t until sometime in 2012, while talking to a creative director, when he mentioned to me that some of my photos reminded him of Daido Moriyama. To whom? I said. Then, after reading about this graphic designer turned photographer, the term ‘street photography’ came about. Google didn’t offer much at the time, other than Cartier-Bresson and Magnum, however ‘Everybody Street’ came up as a Kickstarter campaign. I clicked and thought, how interesting.

Fast forward to 2013 when the movie came out and luckily for me it was immediately available to purchase online, so I bought it right there, the whole deal you know with the extras and what not, through Vimeo. Hit ‘play’ and I still remember the opening line from Joel Meyerowitz when he says, “…some photographers go to the street and other photographers go to the studio… some people want to pretend its a movie and some other photographers step into the world and say ‘show me'”.

It clicked with me on so many levels at the time and still does in many ways. I think this is a movie that celebrates photography in it’s pure sense. A bunch of NY photographers, young and old, from different paths in life that photograph the odd, the funny, the bad and anything in between about our everyday life and celebrate the importance of telling our stories not just as photographers/artists, but as human beings and using perhaps one of most democratic mediums we have at our reach, a photo camera.

If you haven’t seen it, well now it’s free and I think its a must regardless if you are or not into the whole label of ‘street photography’. I think there’s something in there for everyone simply interested in the act of photography itself.

So now you know the drill… get some snacks and drinks, don’t forget those one… yeah… no… the other ones, yeah those cheeky ones!… and play it even if you have seen it already, just do it! Now it’s free!

PS. I found about Hamburger Eyes through this movie while researching more about Cheryl and Boogie, true story!

Nov 22 2018


Photo by Olivier Bekaert

Thank you to everyone on this journey with us. We only exist because of all the submissions we get. We only exist because people buy our zines and hoodies. We have come a long way and look forward to the long road ahead. Thanks again and again.

Photo by Reuben Radding

Photo by Caleb Stein

Nov 20 2018

The Shot

Photo by Arthur Pollock

I got a few messages about, “How do you get THE shot?” I believe this is what the life long study of photography is all about. We tried to answer that HERE and HERE and HERE and come to think of it, the entire existence of this blog and our photo zine is the exploration of this question.

A couple variants also came in, “How do you get into these certain situations?” and “How do you get these portraits?” The questions weren’t directed towards me, they are referring to the photos we publish.

I think, my opinion, that you are shooting 1 of 2 things. That is your story OR someone else’s story. It is up to you how detailed you want to tell that story. Some of the most detailed descriptive stories you see in Life Magazine or National Geographic or New York Times took months or years to photograph.

But how? For your story, I say shoot everything. Edit later. Figure out what it is you are trying to say. Even though it is fake as fuck, you could argue that the Kardashians are simply just master story tellers. Something in their story, not sure what, resonates with millions of people.

On the other side, in journalism they call your contact person the “fixer”. So find a story and find the person that will fix you up deep into that story. Figure out where the story begins and where it ends and shoot it.

How do you get the portrait? Ask politely. Or don’t. Either way, shoot and move on.

Nov 19 2018


Photo by Caleb Stein

Thinking about being today. I think for a while we are “trying” photography then “doing” photography, but sooner or later you start “being” photography.

Your camera and body and computer with internet become a single unit set to record all thoughts and actions. Mostly because you don’t know what else to do.

It’s ok. Everyone must have a task. That task is to be yourself at all times.

Nov 14 2018

How To Make A Zine

Photo by Nick Jones

There are 100 ways to make a zine. This is the way I do it. 90% of this catalog was produced this way. And if you wanted to make a book, it just a matter of adding 1 or 2 more steps. I’ll write that up too in a future post.

Ok. This is how to make a black and white 40 page zine on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, folded in half, and stapled. You should know what you want the final outcome to look like. Look at other zines. In fact, grab some blank paper and fold it and play with page count and you can start to see it happening in your mind.

It is just a very simple 3 step process.

** If you don’t have a computer, then this way of making a zine will not work for you.

1. Photos.

I use Adobe Photoshop. You don’t have to though. Have all your photos at 300 dpi, at around 11″ on the long side. I like jpg better than tiff. It’s mainly because they preview quicker on my old ass computer. If you are doing 1 photo per page and you know you want 40 pages, I would actually get at least 50 photos ready so that I can have room to play with sequencing more.

2. Layout.

I use Adobe Indesign. I know people that use Word or any PDF editor as well. But for this we are going to use Adobe Indesign. If you need to, look up tutorials on the internet. I probably do this on almost every project because I forget things or am trying something different.

Open a new document and in the size area choose “8.5 x 11 – half”. This means you are making a stapled booklet on standard size paper which is what we are making. Enter “40” in the page count area. Your page count must be divisible by 4.

I only use 1 tool really when making a layout. I don’t even know what it is called. I think it is called the “frame tool”. Use that to draw boxes of where you want to drop your photos into. It helps to have some margins set up so the boxes will be easier to draw. I start with the cover and start drawing these boxes on every page. 1 by 1.

Now I wanna add photos to these boxes. I open Abode Bridge which is a separate program bundled with Adobe Indesign. I find the folder of where all my prepped photos are. From there I just drag and drop my photos, 1 by 1, into these boxes I just drew in my layout. Your photo might not look right in the box. There are different auto-resize tools in the control panel. In particular there is one for auto-horizontal fit and one for auto-vertical fit. Hit one of those depending what your doing.

** The reason I prepped all my photos at 11″ long is just in case I want to do a 2 page spread, then the resolution will be already all good to go.

3. Output.

After you have laid out all your pages, you are ready to print it. The easiest way from here is to output a PDF. You can just find “export” and then export a hi-res PDF. From that PDF, you can now upload to a website where they can print it and mail it to you. Or you can take it to any Kinkos or any local copy shop or print shop and have them make copies. It will be cheaper for you to staple it and fold it yourself, but it is convenient to have it all done and ready to go.

But for this we want to print it at home. Find a double sided laser printer. When shopping for one, look for a feature called “Duplex tray”. That means it can print on 2 sides of a piece of paper. It does this by printing on one side, then that print chills in the duplex while the machine prepares to print the second side. I use the HP P3015. It is a little older but you can find them for cheap. You can find ink for cheap on Amazon and Ebay.

So once you got your printer set up you can print from the PDF that you just made, or you can print it out directly from Adobe Indesign which is what I do. There is a print setting called “Print Booklet”. Hit that, chose landscape, chose double sided, hit print.

Once it is done printing, use a booklet stapler to reach the middle of the page. Put 2 in the middle, then fold the whole thing in half. Done.

That’s it!

You just made a zine. Print out a few more and give them away to friends and family. Maybe they will like it, maybe they won’t get it. Either way you are now a publisher.

Nov 07 2018

5 Phases of Photo

Photo by David Root

** This article is a re-edit and re-package of a previous article. **

I was thinking about how every photographer I know has a completely different path then the next. But what makes them similar? I was thinking about “modes” or “gears” that we shift into. But “phases” might be the appropriate word. “Phases” are stages of development. But you can refer to a “phase” as a “state” or “cycle” as well.

Here are 5 phases that we all shift into, cycle through, and/or embody simultaneously. Maybe there are more.

I. Learning.

Books, teachers, shutter speeds, apertures, etc.

II. Developing.

Experimenting, “developing” your style.

III. Working.

Productivity. Shooting and processing.

IV. Obsession.

There is nothing else. There is no back up plan.

V. Break.

Burnout. Brakes. Rest. Reflection.

When I say, “Working” I don’t necessarily mean being paid. I mean working on your craft. That goes for “Obsession” too. Some of the most obsessed guys I know have a regular day job and shoot after work and on the weekends.

What phase are you in today?