Welcome to Son of a Gun Magazine!
Son of a Gun is a relatively new magazine, our first article going live September 2015, and my goal is to organically build a genuine and passionate community focusing on emerging photographers from all genres and from all over the globe. I want to provide a platform that can be used by new photographers to promote their work, to learn from established photographers and to be inspired by the amazing wealth of talent that is out there.
Personally, I have been passionate about photography since my early twenties; teaching myself how to use the 35mm and medium format film cameras that my Dad very kindly gave to me. I devoured every book on the history of photography, every monograph on the masters of photography and every photography magazine that was available. Straight away, I was drawn to portraiture, photographing friends and family until they got sick of me! I made sure to see as many exhibitions as possible – I was even a subject in one! This was a pivotal moment for me as the shoot was at the photographer’s studio in London – my first glimpse of a really busy professional photography studio – and I was hooked from that very moment! I knew that fashion photography was my genre of choice and I began researching as much as I could about styles, techniques, lighting, location vs. studio etc.
I quickly enrolled in a part-time photography course. The teachers were very knowledgeable but this was at the time when digital photography and Photoshop were really gaining momentum. The teachers realised that they were behind the eight-ball with this new technology but chose not to pursue it, instead remaining fixed on teaching analogue technique only. The students could see the writing on wall and I eventually dropped out and took up an assisting job at a local commercial studio. This opened me up to many new techniques and other styles of photography – architectural, product, catalogue – and digital! While the formal study did not pan out as planned, I do not regret it in the slightest; it gave me a great grounding in pre-visualisation, handling a camera and working in the darkroom.
I realised that, in order to succeed in fashion photography, I needed to get my images published – that, however, was the limit of my understanding. I tore out as many magazine mastheads as possible and called around to see if I could meet with the editors or art directors – with very limited success. I did manage to meet with one publisher who was also a fashion photographer and he gave me some invaluable advice – he said not to compromise on quality or my ideals, to only work with models who were represented by the best agencies and to work with a solid team of hair, make-up and styling. He also made a few calls to agencies for me by way of an introduction. This was an amazing thing to do for a newbie photographer and this has stuck with me ever since – in fact, it is one of my main motivations with the magazine – to pay that generosity forward.
I started working with a great team and we had some luck with our first few shoots getting picked up by magazines – we even managed to get a few covers. After this initial run of luck, things started to slow down and so I went out to knock on some doors with my folio in hand. I was still very new and the editors gave me very short shrift. Speaking with other photographer friends, it was apparent that this was fairly universal. Fair enough, my work may not have been up to scratch or not quite the right fit for the magazine – rejection I can handle – but what really got to me was the bad attitude that went with it.
So this is what inspired me to start the magazine. I am not bound to a style, I am not trying to sell anything other than the concept of the magazine; I simply want to provide an opportunity for new photographers to see their work published and to develop a network where maybe an editor or art director will see some work that is perfect for their next job. The only attitude you will get from me is a positive one. I’ll be honest, there will be times when I will choose not to run a series of submitted images, but I will dig deeper in to your folio or Instagram feed to try and curate a selection of images that truly shows off your work.
There are now over 100 stories on the site, some emerging photographers, some established – each of them have faced the same challenges with their photography, the same high and lows and are happy to share that experience. Maybe our next featured photographer will be you – drop me a line and we can talk.
Thanks for reading!
Martin – Founder and Editor.
Featured image copyright Mitch Hill.