Every time we hear about the launch of a new fashion magazine, a confused feeling sets in. Mysterious new fashion titles seem to pop up at our local newsstands every month, and given the well-documented struggle of the long-established glossies, it seems counter-intuitive to launch yet another one. But every now and then, we get it.
Herring & Herring, a nice-looking (and substantially sized) fashion photography magazine launching publicly this month, probably won't be competing with Vogue's circulation numbers any time soon. (For one thing, it's priced at $20 per issue.) But the magazine is really cool, and represents a modern approach to doing a print publication that other publishers could probably learn from. Also, Herring & Herring got Beyoncé to pose for its first public issue (the inaugural issue was only sent out to colleagues), so that obviously means it's doing something right.
In 2008, founders Dimitri Scheblanov and Jesper Carlsen left jobs they weren't particularly happy with and became partners in fashion photography. In lieu of using their real names, they called their business Herring & Herring. Shooting for several international magazines and brands, they focused on unconventional editorials -- the first one they did together involved clothing being projected onto nude models. "We feel that the type of photography that we do and the way that we’ve approached our career is very different from how young photographers approach their work," explains Scheblanov. "Instead of taking one visual style to serve as our signature, we decided to pick a conceptual approach over a stylistic approach." That approach has been a challenge to stick to when clients may want something else. "For us it’s a very rewarding path, but it’s not necessarily the easiest one to sell or to explain." Over time, the duo ended up becoming "more influenced than we would like" by the magazines and clients they worked for. Herring & Herring, the magazine, was born out of a desire to return their original, pure approach to making editorials and put it in the context of celebrity photography.
From a reader perspective, it responds to the gripes many people have about traditional magazines. If you're someone who tends to skip the articles and just look at the pictures, this is the magazine for you -- it literally has zero articles. If you're annoyed that all magazines shoot the same celebrities the same way, this is also the magazine for you, as the founders' ethos is to photograph celebrities in new, unexpected ways.
But what we found most interesting is how the duo has incorporated Internet-age behavior into a print entity.
Aside from not being writers, one of the reasons Scheblanov and Carlsen say they excluded written content was that they noticed a change in how people absorb media. "With the rollout of Instagram, things became more visually based," says Scheblanov. "We've become accustomed to this new kind of user experience, now with digital culture we skip around so much."
This inspired the duo to put QR codes in the magazine. The idea is that the magazine is easy to flip through, letting you look at as much or as little of each subject as you want. But if you do want more, you can scan the QR code with your phone to access additional content. In this issue, Scheblanov and Carlsen had the celebrities themselves choose where the QR codes went, so it might be a song or a website the celebrity likes. The founders say they prefer working with celebrities over models because, being artists themselves, they are more collaborative. "Models are great, but there's never really anything added to the picture," says Carlsen. "Celebrities add their own personalities and ideas," so expect more of that in future issues.
While Beyoncé, whom the duo had worked with before, may be the biggest get, the issue's cutest editorial features Elijah Wood in normal, everyday situations -- the images then covered in surrealist illustrations by Theo Rosenblum. Click through the gallery to see it here exclusively and prepare to swoon.