WHILE MOST PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE DECIDING WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM
offers the best way to get their latest images in front of potential clients, several
photographers are going against the stream of screen-based sharing, and are producing their promotions using the original medium of mass communication: newsprint. Multi-page promos printed on uncoated paper are getting attention for more
than just their novelty. Tabloid-size mailers allow photographers to show lots of images, and to print them large.
Maggie Brett Kennedy, photography director at the magazine Garden & Gun, says
she received three newsprint promos this fall. Among the most ambitious of them
was photographer Jonathan Chapman’s 17 x 23-inch, 24-page mailer, which he calls
the JCP newspaper. On the cover is a table of contents listing six “articles,” each devoted to a different photo project Chapman has shot. “The ‘stories’ are a clever way
to organize Jonathan’s multiple styles of work,” Kennedy says. “He was able to include
Opposite: The 17 x 23-inch newspaper folds for mailing, then opens to spreads of Chapman’s work.
Above, inset: Jonathan Chapman. Below, left: An image Chapman shot for an elementary school.
Below, right: The mailer shows personal work and images from still and video assignments.
© ANDRE W KAMIN
commercial, editorial and personal work within one
piece without it being overwhelming or distracting for
the reader.” Kennedy says the promo inspired her to
look at Chapman’s Web site, and she met with him to
review his portfolio.
Chapman, who frequently shoots corporate image
libraries, video and stills for commercial clients, saw
the large-format mailer—the first of four he plans
to send out over the course of the year—as a way to
show that he covers assignments from many perspectives. “My work involves a lot
of storytelling,” says the Minneapolis-based photographer. “You could never do that
justice with a postcard or even a trifold mailer, where the image is always small.”
He got the idea for the JCP newspaper last year when he saw a newsprint cat-
alogue for Quiksilver, the skateboard and surf retailer, featuring photos of skate-
boarders. “It wasn’t perfect,” he says of the catalogue’s image quality, “but it had
an esthetic I liked.” He sent a copy to designer Nathan Strandberg of Eight Hour
Day, who has worked with Chapman on all his branding for the past eight years.