We interviewed Mark Manahey previously about this cover
Mateo Gómez García
California Sunday Magazine
Creative Director: Leo Jung
Photography Director: Jacqueline Bates
Photography Editor: Paloma Shutes
Production manager: Thomas Bollier
Designer: Annie Jen
Have you kept with the same format since you launched or have you introduced any new sections?
We are always open to experiments and trying out new formats. In September, we published our first-ever themed issue, in which we asked writers and photographers, “What do California and the West sound like right now?” We gathered stories about entertainment, criminal justice, science, design, business, music, sports, culture, and technology. We asked our contributors to record the sounds they wrote about, and these snippets appear throughout the magazine as audio footnotes — readers can play them on their phones as they read the print edition. We divided the issue into three chapters, each with a separate table of contents, beginning with the quietest stories and ending with the loudest. It was a really fun challenge, and we are gearing up for another themed issue later this year.
How does Pop Up complement the magazine and are you also photo directing that as well ?
Leo Jung (our creative director) and I work on all the visuals for Pop-Up. He and his fantastic new designer, Annie Jen, commission all the illustrations. Paloma Shutes (our photo editor) and I work on the photography. Pop-Up is a multi-sensory experience, and there are so many ways to craft a story for a live audience rather than the printed page– we have to think about the pacing and the sequencing of images in combination with the dialogue, when our live orchestra should play. It’s a fun complement to making a magazine.
What are some of your favorite photo essays from the last year, and why?
We’ve published so many stories that I’m proud of this year, from a four-part photo essay centered on youth homelessness (as part of a coordinated effort by more than 80 media outlets to shine a light on homelessness in the Bay Area), to a Natalie Keyssar project documenting political unrest in Venezuela, to an underground LA music scene shaping modern jazz and hip hop, photographed by Coley Brown.
Underground LA music scene shaping modern jazz and hip hop, photographed by Coley Brown
Congrats on the ASMEs—which categories did you win?
Thank you! We won the National Magazine Award for excellence in photography in 2016 and 2017. This year we also won for design, and were finalists in the single-topic issue and magazine of the year categories. It was a huge honor to be recognized among such iconic magazines. We are still in disbelief.
How if at all are you evolving the photography?
Four months ago, we hired a fantastic photo editor, Paloma Shutes, to join the photo department (For our first few years, it was just me). February was her first full issue at the magazine. I think it’s so important so have a coworker who has different sensibilities and distinct photography interests—it will only make the magazine more dynamic, and help it evolve. I’m so lucky to work with her and learn from her every day.
What has been the biggest surprise creatively this past year?
I never could have imagined we’d win a National Magazine Award two years in a row. That hasn’t happened since 1992, when National Geographic won a second consecutive award. This sort of recognition validates a young brand, and it also proves that when you have a boss who believes in you, anything is possible. Leo and I feel so fortunate to have Doug McGray as our editor. He adds so much value to our process and gives us breathing room to dream up things we are immensely proud of.
What has been the best lesson that you can share with other PDs?
I think it’s so essential for editors to share knowledge and to not work in a bubble. I’m really excited about the recently launched-site Women Photograph, a database of female photographers that features work from more than 400 women from 67 countries. It’s an incredible resource. We need more of these. I always tell photographers to slow down and research everything about the particular subject they are interested in shooting—and I think editors could do the same. Whenever I have a story in a particular region that I might not have any photographers in, I research everything I can about that world —we always try to hire local photographers whenever possible because of their close connection to that place.
How many photo essays or visual shorts do you get pitched in a typical month?
We get pitched a significant amount, and Paloma and I have weekly meetings to present ideas to our editor-in-chief and senior editors. Photographers are welcome to pitch unpublished projects or ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org