There are no words

Most photographers have to wait to be commissioned before their work appears in a magazine but some photographers have their own free-spirited way of doing things. Andrew Hobbs launched Centrefold, a beautifully-produced A3 format magazine, to showcase his work and that of other creatives whose work he admires. Issue 5 – ‘The Vintage Issue’ – launched a few weeks ago and was guest-edited by art director Tom Lardner. It features the work of Hobbs alongside the likes of Ben Weller, Iain McKell and Clare Shilland, with all shoots predominantly styled using vintage clothes. The result is a collection of 70s-tinged stories that speak for themselves.

Thinking beyond the traditional magazine format, Centrefold is bound by a single elastic band which can be removed, leaving a collection of standalone A2 posters to pin on a wall or perhaps put in a frame. Or the issues can be collected, with each one neatly folding inside the next.

I had an email chat with Andrew Hobbs…

Disneyrollergirl: When did you start Centrefold and why?
Andrew Hobbs: Centrefold was founded in 2003. I was working with creative director Warren Beeby on Nike, Orange and Levi’s. At the time, Warren designed a series of posters for Christies that folded like a map. I thought the design would make a great showpiece for my work as a mailout. The concept evolved into folding posters that would wrap around each other to form a building collection over time and we began collaborating on Centrefold.

DRG: Were you inspired by any other publications?
AH: When I started there weren’t any other A3 or “ folding A2” format magazines as far as I’m aware. The only other conceptual publication was Visionaire, by Stephen Gan. Their format was changeable for each issue whereas ours is fixed in terms of format but changeable in terms of design.

DRG: How is it financed?
AH: It started out as a self-funded project then we began to get sponsorship as more people became interested in the magazine.

DRG: How do you choose the art directors for each issue?
AH: Centrefold is mailed to creatives within the industry, so often people approach myself to work on the magazine. I choose them based on their ability to make an issue work, whether that be through their vision for a particular issue or what they can bring to Centrefold in terms of a creative team who understand the concept of the magazine and can bring the most out of the format.

DRG: Do you have your own shoot in every issue? Did you set out for this to be a platform for your own work too?
AH: I like to be very involved with the magazine so I do a shoot for every issue. It’s interesting to see what an art director will come up with as a concept but also to offer my own interpretation of their theme within my shoot. It’s something that works out very well for everyone involved. As I said, the initial Centrefold concept was a kind of showpiece for my work that then turned into the magazine. As a photographer it’s imperative that you have that outlet where you can push the boundaries of your work and experiment. You also want people to see the fruits of your labour which is why we mail the magazine out, put it in shops, make sure the right people see it and keep it going.

DRG: Volt and Kai Z Feng’s new project, Name Magazine, are both magazines run by photographers, is this an emerging trend?
AH: Not really if you consider Andy Warhol and Interview, Steven Meisel’s relationship with Italian Vogue, Rankin and Dazed/Another/Intersection to name but a few. I think the most interesting style/art magazines are run by photographers, stylists, and art directors, rather then corporate-run publishing houses. I’m looking forward to seeing Kai’s new project. He did a great shoot for us on issue three.

DRG: What do you see as the future of paper magazines in this digital age?
AH: Centrefold. Bespoke publications designed for a specific market.

Centrefold is available at £7.50 from ArtWords, Magma, RD Franks and The Serpentine. Don’t miss the Centrefold blog and this atmospheric behind-the-scenes video featuring Alice Dellal…