Happy birthday to dog magazine Four&Sons
It’s the weekend so plenty of time to sit back and relax with a great read. It so happens that I’ve got my hands on the 10th edition of uber-stylish dog magazine Four&Sons. Four&Sons say that their content happens where dogs and culture collide. And today, I am being treated to read pieces from people like David Shrigley, Julia Christe, Martin Usborne, Bruce Weber and Andrew Knapp. And while I sit back, you get to read our interview with Creative Director Marta Roca who talks about the magazine’s journey…
Four&Sons looks at creative arts through the eyes of inspiring canine muses. If Four&Sons was a dog – which one would it be?
Tough call! We probably morph into different dogs at different times: sometimes we channel the badass attitude and dry wit of Brian Griffin, sometimes we are a pack of rough-and-ready mutts, and others, we feel as stylish and slick as a Weimaraner. Pushed to choose just one breed, I would settle for the curious stubbornness (and a big heart) of a beagle.
Issue 10 is a homage to creative people you have collaborated with. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since starting this project?
As ‘cliché’ as it may sound, I have learned how rewarding (and necessary) is to stay true to your vision, even if only for your own sanity (maybe is that beagle instinct kicking in). Each one of the artists featured on Issue Ten brought a solid and unique point of view. Some of them pioneered what you would today call ‘contemporary dog photography’, although they transcend any labels. Others explore playfulness and joy. In any case, their work is rooted in a ‘realness’ we really appreciate and admire, one that spurs us on.
From portraits of flying dogs to William Wegman’s pictures of his ‘pack’ of Weimaraners, your dog magazine depicts the zeitgeist of being a creative and a dog lover. How do you go about finding your heart-warming stories?
There’s a real mix. I am a bit like a sniffer dog (beagle, again!) when it comes to following up leads. I research and research and keep folders with ideas to develop and artists I would love to feature. The amount of sources keeps growing, especially with platforms like Instagram. As an editor, you learn to ask around, and most times than not, people are super generous with their time and work. We are lucky, dogs are such ‘party crashers’. They tend to break barriers down and bring the best out of people. That’s how many pieces kickstart, by approaching an artist we love. For some creative types, to talk about their buddies feels more comfortable than to talk about their work. That’s how we lure them in! Now we are more established, we receive more and more pitches directly from artists and photographers. The random nature is exciting to me, you never know what’s waiting on your inbox. Some features have landed pretty much completed and so the focus shifts to how to best curate a story for our readers, which is a part of the design process I really enjoy. Most of our ‘dog people’ stories are commissioned through our network: ‘friends of friends’ sort of thing, where serendipity plays a part. I feel this adds warmth and intimacy. And we are always happy to discuss collaborations, of course!
A picture says more than a thousand words. Having created your fair share of image series, do you feel that you’ve got dog photography all sussed out?
Not at all. I have learned to let go of any illusion of ‘control’. We still get a real kick seeing photographers push boundaries and telling us about their mad experiences.