Stefan Wachs

Who printed it?
I had the promo printed by Smartpress (www.smartpress.com). They sent me a paper sample book from which to choose paper stock and paper weight and then I got a digital proof made of the zine before putting in the order.

Who designed it?
I worked with Jasmine DeFoore, a photo consultant based in Austin, Texas. She helped with the selection of the images and the sequencing. The layout and type were designed by Emily Kimbro, the design editor at Texas Monthly. The three of us went over several different layout designs and versions.

Tell me about the images.
This project is about falconers and falconry in the American West. It started with an assignment I did for New Mexico Magazine a couple years ago about an author and conservationist who also happened to be one of the main experts on falconry in the United States. We only spent a short time out in the field flying his hawks so that I could get some pictures for the magazine article. But it was enough to get me hooked. I started contacting various falconers throughout New Mexico and then started going to falconry meets in Texas and Wyoming. At first my fascination was primarily visual. But the more I learned about falconry and the more I got to know the falconers, the more I was interested in the history and the culture of this ancient form of hunting. The project is about the falconers, about their relationship with their birds of prey but also about the various environmental and cultural aspects that affect current day falconry such as environmental degradation, drought and the rapid decline in bird population. Falconry season is limited to the fall and winter months and the project is almost exclusively shot in medium and large format film so I work slowly and it has taken quite some time to put together this sequence of images.

How many did you make?
I only printed 10 initially so that I could view them first and make changes if necessary. The advantage with printing with Smartpress is that once you upload the printable PDF you can always order more at a later point in time. I have since ordered another 50 copies.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is actually my first time sending out printed promos. I didn’t start working as a freelance photographer until about 4 years ago, most of my assignments so far have come through referrals.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I always wanted to do a printed promo. I still believe in the power of a printed photograph, something that people can hold in their hand and revisit over time. I do think the printed promos can have more of an impact than simply sending out emails. It is also just nice to see my own work printed and be able to show it to friends. Most of the images we make never leave our hard drives these days….

I was talking to Jasmine (photo consultant) about the effectiveness of sending out printed versions of the zine in view of the current situation with the virus. A lot of editors are still working from home and may not receive the mail sent to their office address. So we decided to also do a “flip through” digital version of the zine on Hey Zine (www.heyzine.com). The flipbook can be sent as a link in an email and allows people to view and flip through the promo online as with an actual magazine. But if I know that the person will actually receive the printed version, I will send it. I think it is more effective than viewing the images on a screen.

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