Melbourne-based photographer and designer Beth Wilkinson launched Lindsay online in 2017, following up with a first printed edition in 2018. The magazine celebrates culture and place, something reflected in the international team of writers and photographers that contribute to it. We spoke to Beth as issue three, with Lebanese film director Nadine Labaki on the cover, arrives in shops.
Tell us about your typical Monday journey to work
It’s pretty simple, actually. I just walk downstairs and I’m there! I work from home in Collingwood, Melbourne, from a desk in the corner of my living room. A lot of people ask me when I’ll move out to a studio but I actually love it here. I live in an old warehouse apartment in a great area – almost everything I need is within walking distance – and I have a beautiful open space here that almost feels like a studio, but at the same time it feels like home.
Describe the state of your desk and what you can see in your office
I try to keep my desk pretty tidy since it’s in our living room, but I won’t lie, when things get busy it can become pretty chaotic. There’s almost always a cup of tea there, and I have the three issues of Lindsay in arms reach, so I can refer to anything whenever I need to.
And because I work from home, my workspace is surrounded by so many personal things: a sculpture by a friend and amazing artist Anna Varendorff hangs above my desk and I have a shelf that is lined with ceramics: some my grandmother made, some I made, and others I have collected in my travels, one of my favourites being my Hermannsburg pot. And then there’s the best part of the space: my dog Thomas, who rotates between the couch, the armchair and my lap.
Which magazine do you first remember?
I remember when I was about 13 and my mum had a subscription to Vogue. I’d always take them and cut out my favourite pictures and paste them in my scrapbooks.
Which magazine matters to you the most right now?
I would be lying if I didn’t say Lindsay. I pour so much of what I have into this magazine. But of course there are other titles that matter to me for all different reasons: The Gentlewoman for its profiles, Apartamento for its photography, Luncheon for its feel… The list goes on.
Can you describe your magazine in three words?
Culture. Place. People.
What inspired you to make your own magazine?
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I’ve always had an interest in the world – I travelled to some pretty interesting places growing up – and then I studied design, so Lindsay became a way to pair those two things together.
The magazine is named after my grandfather, Lindsay James Stanger. He was an incredible man, and an incredibly curious man. He was always watching documentaries or reading National Geographic. He taught himself how to use a camera, built his own darkroom and from then, was forever photographing the people and places he’d encounter.
I inherited his many analog cameras and have been taking photos ever since. I hope Lindsay is a magazine that is as open-minded and curious about the world as my grandfather was. And I hope it can teach other people about parts of the world, the way he taught me.
Your editorial is quite politicised, and you reference colonial and political struggles, especially in reference to women. How important is it to you as an Australian to address these issues?
It’s interesting that you say this. Before I started Lindsay, I remember speaking with another editor about how I wanted it to be a celebration of place and I said something like “I don’t want it to be political” and he said “everything is political”. And as I’ve commissioned and edited content over these past two years, I’ve realised this is true.
The world is a political place. And while I want Lindsay to remain focused on sharing the parts of cultures and places that are worth celebrating, and stories that give readers an opportunity to learn about and appreciate different cultures, sometimes it’s important to acknowledge the larger political landscape to give that story context. Some terrible things have happened in the world, and continue to happen. Those things aren’t necessarily our focus, but you can’t have a magazine that celebrates different cultures and not ever acknowledge the complexities and struggles that are a part of them.
What’s the independent magazine scene like in Melbourne?
For a small city (relative to London), there’s a surprisingly strong independent publishing scene. And there is a strong arts and culture community in general. I think this is one of the reasons Lindsay has built such a strong community so quickly.
We’ve partnered with places like Heide Museum of Modern Art and ACMI to host talks and film screenings and have discovered that our readers enjoy learning about the world in print, but they also want to learn about the world in real life.
This is why we launched the Lindsay Readers Club, so we can continue to program interesting cultural events where like-minded people can meet and learn about the world.
What’s going to be the highlight of the week for you?
The NGV Art Book Fair. It opens this Thursday and runs for four days. It’s certainly the biggest event on the publishing calendar for us here in Oz.
What are you doing after this chat?
I’m going to start working on an event we’re hosting later this year in New York. I can’t disclose too much information yet, but after launching issue two there last year at McNally Jackson, I’m super excited to be going back. It will be quite a different event though—more specific and intimate. Watch this space.
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