Phil is the man behind Of The Afternoon, one of our favourite photography magazines out there. To celebrate the arrival of Issue #6 in our shop we had a little chat with him about publishing and photos.
Phil, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure, I run Of The Afternoon and have done for the past two years. The magazine publishes contemporary photography, with each new issue being launched with an exhibition in London and another in Manchester/Leeds, though we’ll be holding events across Europe in 2015.
Have you always had an interest in books and publishing?
I’ve always been interested in photo books but I’ve never really been interested in photography magazines (with the exception of one or two); I wasn’t interested in reading about camera equipment or the technical aspects of how an image was made, I wanted to read an interview with a photographer and learn about their thought process and find out why they chose their subject and why this is important to them.
What were you doing before founding Of The Afternoon?
After I graduated I spent some time in Helsinki before working in a gallery in London. As the magazine was becoming more popular I moved back up to Manchester to concentrate on it, which has allowed me to work on growing its readership over time. By the end of the year it most likely won’t be based in Manchester anymore though.
What triggered you to start Of The Afternoon and how did you approach it?
I always wanted to work in publishing but I knew that I didn’t want to get an unpaid internship in London, so I decided to start the magazine and see how far I could get with it. It naturally evolved from a blog into a small zine with a limited print run of 300 copies, and as the first issue sold out after a couple of months I increased the print run – it’s now grown into a magazine which is currently sold in 19 countries.
How do you find and select the photographers you work with?
Half of the magazine is made up of images that we’ve exhibited – these are submitted to us when we announce our call for entries and then curator Christine Santa Ana curates an exhibition around this work. The second half of the magazine features more in-depth interviews with 5 or 6 photographers who’s work is innovative with a strong visual aesthetic. I find work for the magazine from visiting exhibitions, finding their photobooks or being sent their portfolio.
Are there any photographers you dream of working with?
I’ve always wanted to publish interviews with Viviane Sassen and Ed Templeton, which I’ll be trying to work on for Issue 7.
What can we expect from you in the future?
We’re going to start curating solo-shows, rather than the group exhibitions that we do at the moment. I’m also working on a couple of projects that are separate from Of The Afternoon, and will be launching a new publication sometime during summer 2015, which will be something very different to Of The Afternoon.