Portfolio Events: February 6, 2019

Feb 13, 2019
Portfolio Events

On a cold morning in the whirlwind month of February, our photo editor Molly Glynn and I packed up a case of books for a day trip to New York. Our goal was to showcase some member portfolios. Once we got through Philly’s rush-hour traffic it was smooth sailing to NYC.

Our first stop was at a WeWork space in the Financial District, where we met with creative consultant Socrates Gomez. One of Soc’s clients is AMG/Parade (also known as Athlon Media Group). They publish Parade Magazine, which is a Sunday supplement that appears in over 700 newspapers around the United States. Soc produces AMG’s special interest publications, creating dozens of what he calls ‘bookazines.’ Each is devoted to a particular subject, like the history of Seinfeld, the life of Marilyn Monroe, or the legacy of the Beatles. The final product is essentially a softcover coffee table book, popular with collectors, enthusiasts, or someone looking for an interesting read at the airport or grocery store.

Soc works with freelance photo editors who gather hundreds of historic photos (starting with Getty, Shutterstock, and other major stock picture libraries) to establish a definitive collection of photos for each subject. Once they’ve exhausted those sources, they delve into smaller collections and seek out individual photographers. Soc was intrigued by our Stock Requests tool and challenged us to source an image that day!

Though he primarily uses stock photography, Soc does occasionally hand out assignments on a variety of subjects. So, we brought an assortment of portfolios including Lauryn Ishak, Gregory Miller, and Kyle Dreier. He especially loved looking through Marshall Troy’s portfolio of still life photos, calling the work “spectacular.”

While opening the book made by Japan-based member Ben Weller, he confessed himself a “paper nerd.” People are often surprised to hear that Wonderful Machine still lugs around physical portfolios, but they love seeing them. Soc was no exception: “I personally love it. The tactile experience makes it more valuable.” The conversation turned to the subject of the broader media landscape. As Soc was showing his print publications, we wondered aloud, “What is the future of print media?” Soc said, “They say it’s dying, but I’m still here.” With his passion for paper publication, we predict Soc will be in the print industry for the long haul.

After a lunch of Philly Cheese Steaks at Wogies (I know, right)? Molly and I headed across the Brooklyn Bridge to DUMBO, where we met with Cengiz (pronounced JENG-gis) Yar, the managing editor of Roads & Kingdoms. R&K is an online-only publication covering a variety of subjects starting with travel and food, and including politics and interviews of all kinds.

Cengiz mentioned that 80% of their content comes in the form of submissions from photographers and writers. They receive about 75 submissions weekly. From those, they publish roughly three stories a week. R&K also has a team of editors who help photographers flesh out their stories.

Roads & Kingdoms got its start with investor Anthony Bourdain and managed the online magazine Explore Parts Unknown until Bourdain’s passing. They are also a successful production company, working along-side their sister company and design firm, ANML.

As we discussed the ever-changing relationship between photography and publishing, Cengiz commented on how easy it is for editors to connect directly with photographers on Instagram, and he said readers want to see authentic images, whether in the form of news content or advertising images. "They want relatable photos. They want photos to look like the ones they take themselves."

Cengiz is also an accomplished photojournalist in his own right, having covered the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. So he loved hearing about the process our members use to create their portfolios. Cherry Li’s portfolio always makes an impression, with its unique accordion-style pages and elegant design. He also found Rebecca Stumpf’s book very beautiful.

After a couple of successful meetings and insightful conversations, Molly and I packed up our cases and headed back to Philly. No matter the publication, agency, or brand, we always love meeting face-to-face with our clients and showing off what Wonderful Machine members can do.

If you'd like to learn more about our portfolio events, please reach out