New publication Field Guide elegantly combines the resources of its two parent magazines, magCulture favourites Pop-Up and California Sunday.
With the former undergoing a lockdown-enforced withdrawal from its live shows, and the latter ceased production for good, Field Guide arrives to remind us of the publisher’s storytelling skills. Here we take a look over the new project in five images.
The print part of Field Guide encourages the reader to get out and look at their environment. Split into four sections, it leads with stunning commissioned photography from an eclectic group of artists. They explore Water, Walking, Trees and the Night Sky, each section with its own carefully art directed character. Here, in Walking, Dionne Lee groups objects, spotted while walking, by colour.
By contrast, in the Trees section, Rinko Kawauchi combines poetic text and a more abstract style of image to gently portray the idea of forest bathing—the Japanese way of experiencing forests for relaxation. A completely different mood ensues, with words flaoting across empty pages. The commissioning and art direction is as strong as that of California Sunday Magazine, but the new magazine benefits from a different level of print quality due to its lower print run. Printed on heavy, matt paper and bound with smart green cord it’s manufactured to the highest standards.
The issue opens with Water, and a series of images from a two-week trek by photographer Will Matsuda. He followed the journey of water from a glacier high on Mount Hood, across Oregan, along the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. His images are matched to a recurring map graphic mapping his journey spread by spread. A later part of Water is titled ‘Thirst’, and shows the carefully placed barrels of water left in the Californian desert to help refugees from Mexico as they cross the US-Mexico border.
We move to Arizona for part of the Night Sky section, where Emily Margaret Mason shares a collage of cacti and cereus flowers, known as the Queen of the Night since the petals only reveal themselves at night. The vast majority of the images across the 74 pages are photographic, with illustrations used sparingly.
The print edition of Field Guide offers the joys of the featured locations and ideas, but as the introduction suggests, ‘We invite you to listen.’ The accompanying website features a series of inspirational podcasts, one for each section, featuring spoken word and audio that build on the printed inages. These can be listened to via Spotify as you go out and walk—as the magazines suggests, ‘For the full experience, grab your phone and headphones, throw Field Guide in your backpack, and get out—explore.’ The whole project is an inspiration to get out into your won spaces, not just follow those featured.
The print and audio elements of Field Guide each work on their own—both are produced to the highest standards—but together they make a really special package: calm, gentle and subtle, and held together by great editorial storytelling.
Editor-in-chief: Douglas McGray
Editor: Jacqueline Bates
Designers: Rebecca Chew and Leo Jung