California Sunday Magazine is taking its upcoming December issue to the walls of a New York gallery.
The bimonthly magazine, which is subscriber-only but also comes as an insert with the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle, will have a photo series on display at Aperture in New York during December based entirely on a special issue exploring the concept of home in 10 Western states.
While California Sunday has since its 2014 launch been focused on design and photography (and won some awards for its efforts), this is the magazine’s first photo exhibit and coincides with its most photo-heavy issue yet. The magazine has also developed a reputation for long-form journalism, but for this issue, words take a backseat.
“Photos tell their own stories and we embrace visual storytelling to the fullest,” said Jacqueline Bates, the magazine’s photography director.
The issue and the exhibit will have an auditory element, with the photo subjects — all homesteaders in one form or another, west of the Rocky Mountains — speaking about their homes and what the idea of having one means to them. Bates noted that California Sunday has done special, themed issues before (last year, there was one on the lives of teenagers, and the year before, it was sounds of the West) and even creates “live” journalism, but the combination of such a personal theme with a lot of photography and sound creates “a multilayered experience that feels really revealing.”
The idea of displacement and who is actually able to have a home are also underlying themes, but the issue includes a number of subjects, from a formerly homeless woman living in a tiny house village in Seattle to a wealthy couple in their dream home. Other subjects include a Montana cattle rancher, a woman in Portland who lost her home to foreclosure, an immigrant who was able to buy his first home in Utah and a native of Los Angeles living by the ocean.
“It’s true that the subject of home has never felt more relevant — big, difficult issues having to do with soaring housing prices, contentious immigration policies and unprecedented natural disasters have come to define how many of us live,” Bates said.
As for the desire to display the issue in a gallery setting, Bates said the magazine so often taps fine art photographers “to look at the world in a more story-driven, documentary way,” usually a change of direction for the photographers, that she was “really drawn to the idea of bringing these stories back to the gallery wall, bringing our editorial sensibilities into an art space.”
But the move is also a source of revenue, as Google is sponsoring the exhibit in another new promotion of its Pixel 3 phone. And by choosing Aperture as the space, there’s the hope that California Sunday will be able to captivate readers on the opposite coast and increase subscriptions.
Art always meets commerce somewhere.
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