You may remember back in February, I did an interview with Ian Walton (aka The Musette) – an up-and-coming cycling photographer based in Barcelona. I’m a big fan of his work, so I’ve kept in touch with him throughout the year and earlier in the summer, he told me about his new project with Paul Wood (Woody), The Walton Wood Journal (TWWJ).
They’ve produced two issues so far – TWWJ:01 is on La Volta a Catalunya (photographs we also featured in two posts) and TWWJ:02 on the Tour de France. They sent me copies and I have to say, I love it. So I thought it definitely qualified for a Friday Feature. Here’s what they have to say for themselves…
Kitty: So, the Walton Wood Journal – tell me about how it came about. What was the catalyst?
Ian: The catalyst, as with many of the best things, was a dash of ale, a twist of friendship and a small, very brief dose of melancholy.
Woody: I went to visit Ian in Barcelona and he was having trouble getting his photos printed. He’d just had a situation where a publication had used his editorial, but someone else’s photos of La Volta a Catalunya. I have a background in print so I came up with the idea for The Walton Wood Journal to get Ian’s photos into the light of day.
During my stay I designed the logo and made a good start on the InDesign template. I then finished things off in London, negotiated print costs, carefully proofed and revised TWWJ:01 at my desk, then sent it to Mixam for print.
Ian: That original logo is still proudly pinned to the kitchen lamp!
Woody: Once we saw how it looked, we decided to get 40 copies made, try to pull in some sponsors and do TWWJ:02 based loosely around Ian’s photos of Le Tour. All on the assumption that we had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Kitty: I love the size you guys have picked for this – it really showcases the photographs. Talk us through how you decided on the size and the paper.
Ian: After the simple idea of making a publication was floated, then the creative juices started flowing and it got even more exciting. From my side, I was very keen to try and create something different, something collectible. Also, I shoot mainly landscape orientation – even with portraits, if I can – so that influenced my thoughts towards the format.
Woody: I didn’t seriously consider any other formats. We weren’t planning on much editorial so didn’t need acres of blank space around the images themselves. Having an image span two A5 pages doesn’t require the reader to pan too much so it works well.
I thought a really raw, uncoated paper stock would complement Ian’s style and the texture of his photos. How the journal feels in your hand as you open the cover then turn the pages is really important for me.
Kitty: Being a bit of a print geek myself, I have to agree about the paper. It really brings out the best of Ian’s style. I love it! It feels special. So, how did the sponsorship of Look Mum No Hands come about? And your other sponsors?
Ian: Back in February, I had a piece published in The Ride Journal. It was a piece about my dad’s garage and growing up in that paradise for a kid tinkering with bikes. The launch of that particular issue was at LMNH’s. We went to the launch, felt the vibe of the place and the people and how they supported small cycling projects.
Woody: I then went to LMNH with a couple of copies of the journal and asked to have a chat with one of the owners and was directed towards Lewin. He was in the middle of taking apart benches and packing a truck to go down to the Orbital Cycling Festival at Goodwood. I got the journal into his hands, he looked at a few pages, sat down, gestured me to do the same, then said immediately that they would sponsor the journal and throw us a launch party!
Lewin has also helped me to select and approach potential sponsors and LMNH will be distributing TWWJ:02 in their cafés. I was introduced to Jay at ColourBolt and Sandip at Black Forest Beers by Lewin and set to work convincing them to come onboard. Jay sold the idea to Max at Kinoko.
Ian: From the Barcelona side, Javier from Pave has been supportive from the very beginning. His shop in El Prat de Llobregat, just south of Barcelona, is more of an emporium than a bike shop and he has a real sense of style and design with all things he does around Pave. I also ride with them occasionally so it was a natural fit.
Looking at it now, the quality of the sponsors we have already makes us very proud.
Kitty: Do you plan your issues out and then shoot to the brief or do you shoot races and then find the story within that to tell in TWWJ?
Woody: The ethos of the journal is to let the photos tell the story. I think trying to make the process too structured would detract from the charm of the journal. Ask me again in a week, though, and I’ll probably give you a different answer!
Ian: It’s quite holistic and organic – but not random and lucky. TWWJ:01 was La Volta a Catalunya as I wanted those images to see the light of day. Also, Woody and I met in Catalunya and I still live here and I think La Volta a Catalunya deserves much more coverage than it gets.
TWWJ:02 – Le Tour – was a little more planned. I had a vague idea of the sort of story that I wanted to tell, but I was open to – and wanted to – be influenced by the events as they unfolded. One of the keys though – and this is where Woody’s designs are crucial and brilliant – is to leave the images free to create a story for each viewer. My story might be very different to a story you create from the pictures, which might be different to the next person. I have seen this sitting with a few people with TWWJ:02 already, vastly different interpretations of little details, creating their own stories.
Kitty: At the moment, the journal is mainly digital but you are printing a limited run of each issue (thank you very much for my copies, by the way!) Are you looking to up that print run? Where do you hope to be with it on its first year anniversary?
Woody: July 2014: We’ve sold TWWJ to a major publisher for an obscene sum whilst retaining full creative control over its output and I’m working remotely from Northern Portugal two days a week. Ian is getting paid a princely day rate to follow every race that the cycling calendar has to offer and has finally seen sense and moved over wholesale to digital!
Back in the real world – if 200 people actively went looking for TWWJ every quarter and we had a loyal band of subscribers, sponsors, distributors and digital followers that would be a nice place to be and make all the effort worthwhile.
Ian: TWWJ will be an acclaimed collector’s piece, sought after the world over and seen as the epitome of a fine eye and a creative mind. We will have swanky studios in Barcelona and London and possibly another in Italy (maybe Buenos Aires as well, where I will dance tango occasionally). It will be influential and we will be able to showcase events in cycling and beyond that we both think deserve much greater attention.
Or I won’t have gone broke and we will just still be creating lovely pieces that are appreciated by people who pick it up, download it or support us. Still, the showcasing deserving events will be valid from the dream line above.
Kitty: Well, I think it’s wonderful – I’ve always been a fan of your work, Ian, and think that Woody’s design really does your photographs justice! We’ll be watching your progress!
To subscribe to the digital version of TWWJ, go to www.thewaltonwoodjournal.com and subscribe for a download PDF link. All issues are online at issuu.
Limited editions of the printed version are available at Look Mum No Hands and Rapha Soho in London and PAVE Barcelona and Bike Gracia in Barcelona. Alternatively sidle up to Ian or Woody and demand a copy!
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