Publisher Q&A: Michael Itkoff of Daylight Magazine

Today we begin a series that grows from an October post featuring a short, straightforward conversation with Shane Lavalette about Lay Flat, the independent publisher of limited edition photography books and multiples that he founded in 2009. The questions from the conversation with Lavalette have been adapted and given to 11 more publishers and editors that represent a variety of sizes, orientations and audiences in the photography publication market - both on and offline. As a whole, the 12 posts aim to provide a snapshot of the current publishing landscape.

Today's post features Michael Itkoff, editor of Daylight Magazine.

Publication: Daylight Magazine
Location: New York City
Format: Online and print

fototazo: What gave you the drive to create a photography magazine and what is the story of how Daylight formed?

Michael Itkoff: Daylight is a non-profit organization that publishes books, a printed magazine, a monthly multimedia feature and a daily blog. While still undergraduates my co-founder, Taj Forer, and I were inspired to create an organization that focuses on both documentary and fine art photography projects. Originally we were going to publish our own work in a serial publication along with others but when Alec Soth signed up for our first edition we decided to pull our own work and let it stand on its own. In fact, we were the first US publishers to feature Soth's Sleeping by the Mississippi and our debut issue sold out at the Whitney Biennial in 2004.

f: What is your process for deciding what to publish from the submissions received?

MI: Curating the group of artists that appear in each issue is probably the most enjoyable aspect of what we do. In addition to sifting through submitted portfolios, Taj and I spend a lot of time researching work under various themes. We attend art fairs, exhibitions, review monographs and generally keep our eyes peeled for work that might fit. Our list of photographers that we would like to work with in the future is long, varied and growing every day!

f: How do you view the contemporary landscape for photography magazines - on and offline - as a product and as a market in relation to its history? How has the product evolved in relation to market conditions to reach where we are today?

MI: There are certainly more photography magazines, in print and online, then ever before. This speaks to a growing popular interest in viewing photography that parallels the increased accessibility of image-making tools. As more and more people start making pictures on their own they will, most likely, seek outlets in which to share and critique them. As for the market, I find it interesting that there are photography magazines that suit most any budget and exist along a wide spectrum of potential platforms. There are PDF based publications, iPad apps and limited edition print runs that include signed photographs…

f: What has been your highlight in working with the magazine?

MI: That is a tough question. Although not without its frustrations, Daylight has been a very fulfilling project. There have been so many wonderful highlights over the years it is hard to select just one. Without a doubt, the most satisfying aspect overall has been our immersion into an amazing community of peers. All over the world we run into great people who are engaged with the world through photography.

f: What is next for Daylight?

MI: At the moment we are working to develop a well-rounded book program. We recently published two monographs, Bruce Haley’s Sunder and Alejandro Cartagena’s Suburbia Mexicana, and secured distribution with D.A.P. In addition, we just published the ninth edition of Daylight Magazine, which focuses on the Cosmos, and we are about to release a podcast highlighting the winner of the 2011 Daylight/CDS Photo Awards Tamas Dezso. Stay tuned!