Keeping it Classy with PhotoKlassik International

(32 min, 30MB)
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A common mantra on the show is, “Because of the digital, we have a gap in analogue knowledge.” This is true. Often times, I see young photographers in Facebook groups asking questions about old film techniques. Techniques that have seemingly been lost on the next generation of photographers due to the fact that there has been a void in the transfer of knowledge. But one German company is trying to fill that void: PhotoKlassik International.

PhotoKlassik International is a print magazine with a strong focus on analogue photography. Unlike many other photography magazines that focus on making you feel GASsy on that latest camera lens, the successful German publication is taking their popular publication international. Their mission? To educate their readers with a 100+ page quarterly subscription loaded with high quality content using high quality paper.

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I had the pleasure of interviewing  Editor-in-chief, Marwan El-Mozayen, to discuss the goals of his Kickstarter. He has often been told, “print is dead.” However, he strongly disagrees with the sentiment. Film photography was an important role in his life. When was younger, he was often amazed by his father’s Minolta camera. Over time, his knowledge expanded and he spent much of his time in the darkroom creating prints. Recently,  he joined the PhotoKlassik team and published their first publication in Germany to great success.

I asked when they realized that PhotoKlassik needed to go international. Marwan said it was only a couple years ago at Photokina, when they were approached by several people from all over the globe expressing interest in receiving their publication, despite it being solely in German. With international interest, they’ve decided to run a completely different publication in English for the entire world.

To get a better understanding about the publication, I proceeded to ask about the quality of the paper and to discuss about the content he plans to build into the magazine. According to Marwan, analogue photographers will enjoy the experience of high quality images and articles printed onto a high quality physical medium. To Marwan, an image and a story do not come full circle until it is printed onto a physical medium. PhotoKlassik International’s publication completes the cycle and shares it with the world.

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All was not sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. In 2017, PhotoKlassik International launched their first Kickstarter to take their publication international. It was an uphill battle. One of the biggest costs in creating a publication is the paper, printing, and mailing. The endeavor could not occur without support from the community. Unfortunately, they fell short of their goal. However, they persevered and have a fully funded campaign this time around. The Kickstarter is open to donations.

As we progressed through the interview, I asked about the subscription costs. I was pleasantly surprised to find the expected cost for a 1-year subscription is approximately $57.00 (not including shipping). This breaks down to less than $15.00 per issue.

The timing of my conversation with Marwan was perfect. I recently read an article at the New York Post that Vogue’s September 2018 publication “is dead.” The belief is that large magazine companies have lost their voice. While I understand running a publication is incredibly expensive, advertisements are too invasive and quickly turns readers off. To a certain extent, I believe the author of the article is correct. Publications seem to have forgotten their message and focus on making money first and not on quality content. Their lack of focus on quality content will allow grassroots publications like PhotoKlassik International find mainstream success.

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*All images used with permission from PhotoKlassik International.

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