Bell-Roberts, a South African publisher that brought out the visual arts journal Art South Africa in 2002, launched a new publication devoted to photography in Africa in February 2008.
In the wake of its launch, we wanted to take stock of the project with the publisher, Mr. Brendon Bell-Roberts.
Why did you decide to create a journal on African photography? I mean, what was the context, the reflections that made you decide to create Snapped? In the editorial introducing the first issue, you said that it took three years to make Snapped a reality. Can you please tell us more about this long adventure? And if so, what kind of obstacles did you have to contend with?
With everything, there is always a right time. I felt that the local and international market was ready for such a magazine, besides there is a dearth of such publications that deal with photography in an artistic way.
> What is the editorial line? The theme of Snapped # 1 is « Migration », with works by great South African photographers like Guy Tillim, Jodi Bieber, David Goldblatt, Andrew Tshabangu, David Southwood, etc. What kind of photography would you like to promote?
We try to source photographers of all standings (preferably more younger and unknown photographers) from as wide a spectrum as possible in Africa. The first issue showcases a lot of well-known or established photographers, which highlights one of the challenges we face in finding younger and unknown photographers. The migration issue is our first and already we have a wider range of photographers in our second issue, which takes as its theme « Affluence ».
> How do you create Snapped, both in terms of its graphic structure (it‘s a very beautiful magazine) and contents?
We sent out a call for submissions for content to a database that we are constantly working to expand. We work with interns who do research and the whole team researches and searches for new contacts and possible content whenever possible.Once we have a substantial amount of content, we evaluate the quality of submissions (visual strength and production quality) and make a final selection. It is this final selection which drives the design process.Snapped deals with a visual medium and this is exactly the focus we wanted for the magazine. We emphasize the visual and underplay the editorial.
Where is it possible to find Snapped, in South Africa and abroad? For each issue, how many copies are printed?
The publication is still very new so we are still finding and securing new outlets. Distribution is the most difficult aspect of publishing and even though we have been publishing another magazine, Art South Africa, for many years, we are still struggling to get Snapped magazine into the same stores nationally. It is currently available in about 15-20 outlets in Cape Town and a handful in Johannesburg. Shipping internationally is very expensive so, at this stage, it is not available in any outlets internationally. We will be supplying international outlets soon and in fact as we conduct this interview, I am in New York searching out distributors and specialist bookstores that are prepared to stock Snapped.Snapped is also available locally and internationally by subscription and copies can also be ordered online via the website snapped.co.za and can be posted to you.
> What kind of public would you like to reach?
The magazine is meant as a forum that will highlight photographic practice from the continent of Africa. This is also where we hope our website will play a big role in highlighting this and help to promote the print magazine.We hope that museum curators, galleries and the international market as a whole will use Snapped as a resource and reference point when researching or searching for new and interesting photographic content from the African continent. We also hope that it will appeal to photographers and any enthusiast who happens to enjoy photography.
> How Snapped has been received in the (South) African photo network?
Snapped has been very well received and been a great success on the local market considering that it is new and still needs to be marketed and become more widely known in South Africa. Just like our previous magazines, it takes time for such a publication to become widely known. After all photography is a specialist, niche market.
> How does Snapped work financially?
We try to keep our production and printing costs down to an absolute minimum and sell as much advertising as possible so as to try and cover most of these costs. Thereafter we drive our subscription sales and sell as many magazines in as many outlets as possible.
> The 2nd issue will soon be released; can you please present it?
The second issue of Snapped focuses on Affluence, both the presence and lack thereof and the photographic work showcased in this issue explores the aspirations of people from many walks of life.
///Article N° : 8096