Tomorrow Issue #2 of Rear Curtain will be released. It’s been another labour of love for me and hopefully for the rest of the RC crew. Over the past few months a group of dedicated photographers have been hard at work bringing together stories from around the world that show something in common. We will be pushing the boundaries I’m sure with at least one of the stories but then we believe all good stories make us think and ask questions. Enough about the issue; I hope you will experience it for yourself. Today is dedicated instead to recognizing the amazing group of people I work with at RC.
If you are a contributor or potential contributor to RC, you will know Matt Connors. In many ways the stories you see on our website and in the magazine are there because Matt is the person who manages the submissions. He is usually the first point of contact for anyone who wants to share their story with us and he guides them throughout the whole process making sure that we have everything we need–and in the proper format. There hasn’t been a single request we’ve made of Matt that he hasn’t met and that reflects the dedication he has for his role on the RC team and to our overall mission. Matt is a photographer and storyteller in his own right. If you haven’t seen his Tumblr blog “A Girl and Her Pup” you should check it out before he finishes up at the beginning of July. Matt–you know me. I do “subtle” very well but today I want to say unequivocally that we could not have done this issue without you–nor would we have wanted to by any stretch of the imagination. You’ve been with us since the very beginning and we are the better for it. I have loved being on this team with you and hope you will always be a part of the work we do here.
The biggest improvement you will see with Issue 2 is the design and layout. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the newest member of the Rear Curtain team, Stuart Sipahigil. When the first issue came out, we received feedback and suggestions but only one person stepped up to the plate and offered to help and that was Stuart. His keen design sense and affection for stories have helped us transform our look. I recently read this quote somewhere: “A designer has a responsibility to the reader, to the publisher but mostly to the author.” Stuart has taken that responsibility seriously and every contributor to Issue 2 should be very pleased with how their stories have been presented to be shared with the world. If you have worked with me before, you know how demanding I can be and I am sure there were days when Stuart wanted to don his red cape and escape but he stuck with us and I think the results are beautiful. More than that, the stories have come to life beyond a computer screen with such grace and emotion and we owe that all to one person. Stuart–how can I thank you enough for everything? You have taken something that is close to my heart and loved it as much as I do, and made it better. I am pretty sure they broke the mold after you were born and I am thanking my lucky stars that you didn’t think twice before coming on board. Issue 1 might have been my baby but Issue 2 is yours and I will gladly give her to you; she couldn’t be in better hands.
We regularly receive submissions and it takes a discerning eye, heart and mind to decide what gets published either on the web or in print. Not everything we receive is published. Sometimes we work with photographers to help craft their stories in a stronger way and they still do not appear on the site or in the magazine. The stories you do land up seeing are curated by Ray Ketcham and while it is easy to publish great work that has already been acknowledged, it takes someone who is willing to push the boundaries to lift up photographers whose work should see a wider audience. Not all of the contributors are well-known and in fact most are not but one of Ray’s favourite pieces of advice is to go too far and then go further. This issue is a bit of a testament to that philosophy. The common notion of a “compelling story” is challenged and Ray is one person in whom I have complete confidence to do this and to do it well. Ray–not a day goes by without me thinking about photography and you are huge part of that. As my mentor, colleague and friend, you have given me so many opportunities to learn and grow. Looking back to when we first started on this part of my journey, I marvel at your patience with me and I smile knowing that no-one could have survived my constant questions and debates as you have. I just hope in the end, I can be worthy of the investment you’ve made in me.
Enough of the sappy stuff! Please visit the Rear Curtain website tomorrow and check out Issue 2. We encourage you to enjoy the print version as we believe the stories come alive when you see them on the printed page. Please feel free to leave suggestions or feedback on this issue or better yet submit a story for us to consider publishing. We’d love to see your work in the next issue.