front cover(right) : Todd Baxter back cover(left) : Chris Anthony
Blink magazine a labor of love by Korean native Kim Aram. The magazine features personal work by emerging, established and undiscovered photographers. Issue 5 has just been released.
Heidi: How do you select the images, do you choose a theme for each issue?
Kim: I trust myself. It’s simple, some work makes my heart beat really fast. I study it and ask myself: Are you going to spend $10,000 on this photograph? Even if I think I’d spend $1000, I would select it. That said, we don’t pay for any of the images. I try and make sure that the images don’t bore me, gathering work for Blink is like collecting art for a gallery of sorts. I do have one rule: I don’t accept commissioned work. I accept only personal work. When selecting work, a resume, a career, receiving awards doesn’t affect my choices. I sincerely love portraiture, I think the human being is the most interesting subject in this world. There are no themes for each issues. I actually considered it but thought that giving themes for each issues would put limitations on select artwork and there were already so many magazines doing that format with themes.
How many submissions would you say you turn down?
I turn down quite a few. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like their work. I just don’t want to be a lazy editor. I also have another rule, I promised by myself to include one out of every 50 submissions for BLINK. I try to pick just one or nothing among the 50 It’s just like non-objevtive promising. I can’t respond to all of the submissions. Please excuse me for that, I do respect all artists.
What in your eyes is the most exciting aspect of photography for you right now?
Everyone has camera now. It means everyone is able to take a photograph.
It seems like it’s a fair chance for everyone to be creative. That said, it’s that tiny little thing which not easy to achieve to make your photograph different. That is exciting. Artists need to have their own eye and point of view for creating their own world.
Where can I find a copy of the magazine in the US? Or do I have to subscribe? Do you have a digital version as well?We are working on an ipad version of BLINK, so I will start to publish a digital version of BLINK but I am still examining it thoroughly because I believe in the high value of a paper magazine. You can get your own copy on the website at www.blinkreflex.com We have a safe and fast paypal and can send anywhere in the world.
I am making a distribution list for other countries now. The problem is it’s very expensive to ship. We don’t have a lot of money or a big staff. I do ALL the publishing for BLINK. I do the design layout, select the artwork, contact the artists, direct exhibitions, promotion, business, publisher’s talks at galleries and the marketing. I did send the magazine to art fairs and galleries because I really would love to give BLINK to people so they can feel the paper in their hands, see it with their own eyes. I know if they just grab BLINK, their next move is falling love with BLINK. Some people promised me they would bring BLINK to their venues. I was so naive, after receiving magazines, they didn’t contact me. I was disappointed in them and disappointed in myself. I really need some people I can trust.
Before doing this project, what did you do for a living?
I worked as the art editor for an art magazine called PHOTO+. The publisher of the magazine was crazy about MONEY. He always talked about MONEY, MONEY. He probably still does, and he didn’t respect art or the artists. I thought I was a part of his magazine but he said it’s all his own and I am just his robot. One day I finished all my work and I decided that it’s time to quit. I said to him “bye fucker.” Photographers, don’t send your work to them.
Galleries and media in Korea are so miserable. They built their own art world which puts some distance between the public and art. Someone with money or professors come into power and the result is “boring!” They have to wake up. I am on a mission to build up brand awareness about BLINK.
We support young talented artists who can’t have opportunity to show their work to the world because of boring professors and directors, galleries, magazines here.
Were you always involved photography somehow?
When I was kid, I always trusted that I was an artist. Being a photographer was high priority but I had to let it go for financial reasons. (here, being artist much worse than other countries.) I spent less time making my own artwork, I spent more time appreciating artwork by other people. I began writing about photography too, just some impressions about their work. I did this for free and I kept the focus positive. Art is so much about personal taste and preference. I do think photography is like poetry and one image can speak over a thousand words. Just like the old saying. hahaha”
Do you shoot as well?
Yes, for fun. I take daily snaps which give me inspiration I use my Sony Ericson x1(mobilephone). Sometimes I do self-portraits year after year. If I have more time for myself, I will do my own photographic work but I would never be featured in BLINK. A lot of magazines make me sick. It looks like those magazines exist for their own photographer or art director’s work. MEDIA has to have huge responsibility to the public, there are so many swindlers out here. They have to give the media space to other talented artists and the public.
For your facebook and twitter feeds where is that content coming from? selected artists? fans? Do you feed those outlets in between issues with work you liked but did not select for the printed edition?
I don’t post anything about featuring artists for the next issue. It has to be a secret before being published. Sometimes I use Facebook to help me select an artist. I have so many friend requests from Facebook I am in a panic! I don’t use twitter to search for artists. I tweet information about BLINK and news of featured artists and other happenings in art world, or readers of BLINK. I tweet in Korean so would not be worth it to people who can’t read Korean. You can have a conversation with me about BLINK via direct message, I use that a lot or if you want to update news about BLINK, If you want, like BLINK on facebook at here or see it here
Where is your funding coming from since you have no advertising?
That is the biggest difficulty. I spent 15 years of my savings to create and publish BLINK. I am waiting for sponsors or advertisers. If I get over the break-even point with BLINK, I am going to bring down the price of the magazine or increase its circulation. Last month I recruited donations with Korean version of Kickstarter and I got one third of the cost for publishing ISSUE 5 covered. THANK YOU to all who donated! I was so grateful. You can still donate on the website.If you donate, I will put your name and your message on the bottom the website page. If you donate over $30 your name and message will be in the magazine as well as you will get the issue.
I do offer space on BLINK for ads for a reasonable price. The most I would include is 10 pages advertisement for BLINK and I will be very discriminating about what advertising I accept.
Artists and galleries can advertise and show their own work. I do send BLINK to galleries, collectors and artists of all over the world. I just gather what I love and show it to this world while kicking the boring daily routine out with great artists whom I love, support and take care of. I do this for one simple reason, the photographs make my eyes happy. BLINK is myself and I am BLINK.
What is the best way to submit work to you?
Simple. It’s a two step process: First, see ‘Take a look inside of BLINK‘ videos and sample spreads of images on the website. (I make a video which shows the issue.) Second, ask yourself: “Is my work really harmonious with work of featured artists on those previous issues?” Not all work is right for BLINK. but that doesn’t mean that your work is not good or not perfect, it just not for BLINK. I can’t answer all the submissions, I don’t mean to be rude but it’s fairly impossible. Please contact me via email as well: firstname.lastname@example.org
Olivier J. Laude
information about bookISBN 978-89-965709-5-0
100 PAGES(8mm. both sides covers)
21 X 29.7 CM
text of interviews with artists in english