We introduced Nakedbutsafe magazine to you in our last blog post - it’s a beautiful new arts magazine with a conscience, produced in Greece but available worldwide. Now it’s time to speak to co-founder Stratis Kastrisianakis in more depth.
What does Nakedbutsafe mean and how did you decide upon the name for your new magazine?
Nakedbutsafe means that our magazine tries to be ‘naked’ from any form of ties and connections to standard industry pressure points like PRs etc… which makes it highly independent. I think readers don’t trust magazines and the media in general any more because there is no more news, only commerce. Magazines today (including many so called independent ones) are just sales platforms for major brands. As a freelance photographer I witnessed last minute calls from major brands in Paris to an otherwise quite credible publication, asking for clothing items to be used on the cover shoot even when they had nothing to do with the theme of the shooting. Additionally ‘naked’ means naked from any form of post production that cannot be done in the dark room. This could have made the magazine feel a bit nostalgic, but this is not the case. We celebrate photography and our research into young artistic and photographic talent shows that there is a strong trend towards not using post production. We want our fashion photographers to enjoy the process of taking photos in the moment, and not to rely on the lab. Naked is also naked from any fear of press censure. We encourage freedom and the breaking of boundaries every day, not just in the magazine. The choice of name was a natural decision from the state of mind we found ourselves in at the start of 2011.
Who is behind Nakedbutsafe? Can you tell us a short history about its creation?
Myself (Stratis Kastrisianakis) and my partner Manos Samartzis are the creators and driving force behind the magazine. We do everything in house from design to proofing, and from art curating to monitoring distribution and sales. Happily we are blessed with many talented friends and old collaborators that jumped on the idea of giving a hand to a project that started out shy but now is a full time commitment. One day in december 2010 myself and Manos were so frustrated by a commission that we decided NOT to work for these kind of publications any more. So nakedbutsafe was born out of frustration. Then we started a task of entering into a world that already seems so natural, even though it was all news to us back then. We chose to work with consultants and not actual collaborators so we could keep the schedule under control (it is hard to ask people to work for free under pressure) and so that we would not offend anyone’s artistic expression by rejecting them. Nakedbutsafe is 100% an in house process with 95% of its material shot especially for us. Today things have changed dramatically. Every day we get requests from artists and collaborators of every kind that want to be part of nakedbutsafe. This is all very exciting. Our new roster is a very selected list of young and emerging talent in their fields.
Your press release speaks about living life with intellectually fulfilled integrity, how is this best manifested in the magazine’s content?
Our take on lifestyle aims to show people that we are humans with brains and not just simple forms of life who react to outside influences. We do not need toys and wealth to live a rich life. Wealth comes from bettering our lives. There are alternatives out there that will create conditions for a new experience. We don’t just need things to show off to other members of our circle. Our planet is a wonderful thing and it is ours. Freedom from needing stuff but encouraging new experiences is our biggest tool towards independency from the media promoted garbage that fills our lives. This is clearly stated in many parts of our magazine - we want it to be a magazine that is read and not just a coffee table item. Magazines are not decorative items.
How difficult has it been to launch a magazine in Greece in this time of financial crisis?
Amazingly difficult and challenging. But also this is one of the reasons why we manage to keep editorial integrity. Once you hit the bottom you can only go up. Also the anger that exists inside everyone in Greece right now has transformed itself into a creative force.
I love the statement that you ‘appreciate illustrators, but not the ones who call themselves photographers’. Why is it so important to you to use images that are not airbrushed?
See my previous answer for part of this explanation. All readers, even non industry ones, are so familiar with post production that they have lost their trust in the colours of a sunset, of a fruit and eventually the beauty of human form. It’s a crime. We are living in the era of temporary plastic surgery through imagery.
Nakedbutsafe is published in English. What was the decision about this, and where can you buy the magazine?
English is the most commonly spoken language and the one that suits most of our international team. It was a decision based on practicality. In the future we want to have multilingual articles in the magazine (in their original form) as well as in English, but this will not be the case anytime soon. Pineapple Media and Comag International are the people behind our global reach. We have somehow limited printing numbers (under 15,000 copies) so our reach is global but targeted. In January 2012 we will have full details of where to buy nakedbutsafe but for the moment please check out Where to Buy on our website.
Have there been any difficulties in ensuring global distribution, if so what have you learnt?
Yes. As always a new craft brings excitement and also problems which need to be dealt with. Not knowing the actual distribution locations until the magazine is already in the stores was news to us. Now we know and it’s ok. We are not an urgent magazine to buy in terms of news.
Why is it important to you to create a magazine from 100% sustainable sources?
I will reverse the question; why is not so important for everyone else? There is too much intellectual garbage out there, never mind actual garbage. Let’s all be sustainable - it will make everyone happier.
How did you discover Principal Colour and why did you decide to use them to print Nakedbutsafe?
Their take on natural and ecological printing was a big attraction, but I also like thatPrincipal Colour is run with an informal mood that is in line with the playful (but still extremely serious) character of nakedbutsafe. They are amazing and I have no hesitation in recommending them to others. I received their press proofs by mistake for issue 1 and there was no difference in quality between mine and theirs.
How do the subjects of Nakebutsafe make you feel emotional? What is it about someone who inspires a particular emotion and is there any one person in the first issue who stands out for you? if so why?
I love all the content of issue 1. Even as a photographer I am in love with the art of words, which play a big part in issue 2 - we have a linguistic section that is amazing! Don’t miss it. My favourite parts of issue 1 are an article by Maike Ludenbach about her amazing experience at the Circle of Transformation in Brazil, and Ned Sewell’s rules to hitchhiking in the USA.
How do you find intelligent writers to contribute to Nakedbutsafe?
Everyone is more or less intelligent if they feel like it. There is so much need for expression and either we are blessed or we are just lucky. We could print a 300 page magazine if we were to include everything of worth. We are open to submissions in any written art form; texts, stories, poems, linguistic themes, essays.
You hope to open a dialogue with readers, how are you encouraging this open discussion, for example on your blog?
Our new website will be very interactive and include all modern forms of communication available on the net. So yes this will start with issue 2.
You are now on to your second issue, what can readers expect from it, and what are your plans for the future after that?
More photography, more free speech. More joy and more beauty. In a time of struggle (manmade and fully reversible if only we create an interesting alternative) we need to focus on the beauty of our bodies, our relationships, our senses and our emotions. We are rich and equal within ourselves. Issue 2 is much more daring and more compact than issue 1. It is similar to issue 1 but without the mistakes and with more direction.
It’s an amazing new magazine - make sure you pick up issues 1 and 2 of nakedbutsafe.