For the past 40 years, HOTSHOE has been publishing work from all over world, and on countless occasions has acted as the springboard for many artists and writers to break into their respective professional industry. With an enviable list of photography’s biggest names published along the way, the London-based magazine has weathered many storms by physically and conceptually evolving to meet new and greater standards accorded by each decade. As HOTSHOE launches it’s Kickstarter campaign to help produce a special 200th commisson-led issue we caught up with Melissa DeWitt, Editor-in-Chief at HOTSHOE to discuss the magazine’s past, present and future.
HOTSHOE is one of the longest running photography magazines in the UK, if not further afield also; how has the publication changed over the years?
HOTSHOE was started in 1977 as a trade and photography gossip magazine. We took it over in 2001 and geared it towards contemporary photography. Over the years the design, production quality and writing in the magazine have greatly improved, but the ethos of showing the best new photography has always remained the same.
The magazine recently moved away from the traditional article-based model to a more focused portfolio-based model that gives greater attention to one artist. What was the thinking behind this shift?
We felt that 12 page portfolios just didn’t get to the point. With a photographer such as Don McCullin we wanted to be able to show the breath of his career, and give our readers a deep insight into a true great of the field.
Do you have any steadfast rules for editing?
No, we like to approach each body of work on its own terms. Our one rule is that we like to place the essay after the photographs. The fun of photography is discovering what it means to you, we wouldn’t want to ruin that discovery.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in keeping HOTSHOE going over the years?
Budgets in independent publishing are always difficult. Keeping our independence, and publishing work that we think is worthwhile, perhaps less well-known work, is important to us, no matter the consequences.
How do you see the future of print photography magazines in a niche industry that has witnessed the powerful resurgence of the photobook and digital publications competing for the same audience?
We seem to find ourselves in a renaissance at the moment with many magazines popping up with beautiful production values. I would think this is due to the digital environment – it’s much easier to get the word out about your product, but you can never beat the quality of print!
The 200th issue is quite a milestone, what do you have planned for this celebratory issue?
We are doing something we have never done before – commission three wonderful British photographers: Sam Hiscox, Simon Roberts and Matt Stuart to make work about what it’s like to be in London in 2017. In addition to this we will be showing the work of a young artist and writer called Victoria Jouvert, which we are really excited about. We are hoping to make the issue gold and much bigger at 200 pages!
You have a Kickstarter campaign supporting the ambitious 200th issue, can you tell us a bit about the rewards for pledges?
We believe in paying for what we commission whether its writers or artists, so we have launched this new Kickstarter campaign to help with the unique commissions as well as the cost of producing an expanded issue. We have some really amazing rewards including editioned prints by Sam Hiscox, Simon Roberts and Matt Stuart as well as portfolio reviews with the HOTSHOE team.