AMERICAN REVOLUTION: Could there be a better time to launch a print magazine dedicated to America? The London-based American photographer Nicole Nodland has certainly picked an apt moment to launch her new biannual, Us of America, a 260-page magazine that focuses on the country’s life, culture and style.
“My vision for Us of America is not to just be a magazine, but a movement, and a cultural revolution,” said Nodland. “America’s spirit is so battered right now, we need to be brave and tell people’s stories. By doing so, we can invigorate and lift each other up. America affects the world, whether we like it or not. I would like (readers) to take away that we are connected, and dealing with a lot of the same matters.”
The first issue, on newsstands, features Missy Rayder on the cover, photographed by Philip Gay. The magazine focuses on American visionaries as well as everyday people, and includes men’s and women’s fashion. Features include a story on the centenarian painter Carmen Herrera, interview and shoot with Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova in Los Angeles and a story on Rayder and Natasa Vojnovic at Rayder’s home in upstate New York.
“We’ll be dealing with the topics of immigration,” said Nodland of the next issue. “Being transgender in all-American sorority and fraternity communities, modern California cults, and the impact of U.S. pharma culture. There will be even more provocative fashion stories. Our featured state for the second issue will be Minnesota, which is also my home state.”
Nodland said the magazine started as a personal project. “As a child, my mom gave me the record and book, ‘Free to Be…You and Me’ by Marlo Thomas. As I grew older, the values of individuality, tolerance and personal freedom stuck with me. Us of America was born out of this. Today, it’s almost as if we are living in the same era, dealing with the same issues as the Sixties and Seventies. The magazine started out as a personal project for me to have an outlet, and I’ve realized it has become so much more than that. It’s now a place for everyone.”
In each issue, Nodland plans to feature a different state and the first was Florida. Nodland said she spent a week with photographer Bruce Gilden in one of Miami’s roughest and most dangerous neighborhoods. “On the flip side, we sent legendary photographer Larry Fink to a Virginia commune. He’s captured an intimate portrayal of the people there, but also wrote the most heartwarming article about his experience,” she said.
There’s an “American vision” portfolio, where the work of established photographers sits alongside emerging ones. Philip Gay photographed the models and best friends Natasa Vojnovic and Missy Rayder together at Rayder’s country home in upstate New York.
The publication is priced at 10 pounds, or $15, and is sold at U.K. at independent news agents and at Selfridges. In the U.S. it sells at Barnes & Noble bookstores. The second issue is due out in June, with images by Peter Van Agtmael in Guantanamo Bay, a fashion story by Richard Phibbs, and a feature on modern cults in California.
The headquarters are based in London with four freelance members working between London and New York. The launch issue was funded independently and Nodland plans to look into advertising in the future.
Nodland began her photography career in 1993, touring with Prince. She has shot celebrities and industry figures such as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, George Clinton and Lana Del Rey. Her clients include Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Amica, Lula, Nylon, Virgin Records, Sony Records, Mercury Records, Universal Records, RCA and Warner Music.