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Mico Toledo, Quilo
At work with

Mico Toledo, Quilo


Mico Toledo was born in Brazil, and works in London as a creative director, publisher, photographer and ‘anything in between’. He’s just launched Quilo, a beautiful photography magazine documenting his home country.

 

Across 320 pages, Quilo presents multiple views of Brazil via the work of 38 photographers and six short stories. Produced as a riposte to the extremism and intolerance of the Bolsonaro government, it also delivers a rare and unique insight into an area of the world we see little of on our magazine shelves.

Mico tells as how and why he produced Quilo, as he shares his working week.

 

What are you up to this Monday morning?
This morning I went out to get a coffee outside (with a baby sling wrapped around my torso) and just came back to write emails and organise my working week.

We just had a baby, he’s two months old, so my morning ritual is a bit chaotic at the moment. Once you have a kid you come to terms with rituals being thrown out of the door and you just learn to go with the flow.

 

Home office with painted floorboards, desk and laptop, large sash window
Where are you?
I’m at home, in Hackney. I also have a studio in Shoreditch where I work from Tuesday to Thursday. It's a good excuse to get out of the house and socialise with other fellow human beings.

 

Boxes of Quilo magazine waiting to be shipped, next to window and view of garden.


Sometimes working at home I feel kind of isolated and stuck in my own head, so it’s great to share a space with other creatives and just bounce some ideas around and work on commercial projects outside the scope of my own personal projects. 

 

Front cover of RayGun magazine


Which magazine do you first remember?

The first magazine I really remember that made an impression on me was probably David Carson's RayGun. I wasn’t into surfing, but I really loved skateboarding, and I’d never seen anything quite like David’s design before in a mag.

The experimental type, the scattered design throwing away all the design rules I’d learned at the time, embracing the punk and surf aesthetic just blew my mind. I didn’t know you could do all that to type and design and break all these rules.
That definitely made a mark on me.

Front cover of Aperture magazine issue 250


Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?

Probably Aperture’s new edition, ‘We Make Pictures in Order to Live’. What a mantra to live by. It is a nod to Joan Didion and looks at photography’s relationship to storytelling and life.

I’m actually also reading Joan’s ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’, and to see photographic projects which live by the same dogma, depicting stories that surprise and illuminate our daily lives is such a treat. This edition makes me think of her quote ‘We live entirely, especially if we are writers,’ I’m also really into Emergence magazine these days too.

 

Front cover of Quilo magazine issue one

Describe Quilo in three words.
Power. Colour. Community.

 

So you’re based in London! What’s your connection with Brazil?
I’m originally from Brazil. I left when I was 23 years old, so my family is still there and I try to visit every year but haven’t been back since Covid blew the world apart.

I am absolutely in love with the country, its culture, the music and art scene, so in a way this publication is a love letter to my country, and a way to realise an epic and impossible road trip through the eyes of other incredible photographers.

I knew some of the photographers featured in the publication beforehand, but most of them I've met through research and asking for recommendations. We did a big deep dive into the photographic world of Brazil and I’m so happy about the incredible and diverse talent we put together for the magazine. I feel really lucky to have created my own little community in Brazil even from far away.

 

Inside the cover page of Quilo magazine, showing the open binding

 

What do you hope to achieve by publishing Quilo?
The initial goal of the magazine was to create a modern archive of contemporary documentary photography in Brazil. I graduated from an MFA in Photography in the US last August, and most of the photographic references—with some exceptions—in any American Grad program are either American or European.

So I thought I could expand on this canon by creating a publication that featured mainly Brazilian photographers or photographers that documented a community in Brazil.

 

 

Title page from Quilo magazine, a series of images of black queer men.



Secondly I wanted to feature stories that went against the previous four years of the intolerant, conservative government of former president Bolsonaro. I always saw these photographic stories as weapons against bigotry and hatred, hoping that the more people get exposed to these diverse stories communities, the more open they'll be towards others.

Our audience so far has been really mixed. We've got orders from Qatar, Mexico, Japan, Brazil, Europe, America, Norway, and all over the place. The reason Quilo is published in English is exactly because I wanted people outside Brazil to be exposed to this work and the incredible talent in my country, and so far the response has been great. The magazine has been featured in the British Journal of Photography, Dazed, LensScratch and HypeBeast amongst others and we already sold almost 200 copies! I think that's a good start for an independent publication that’s focused on a niche such as Brazilian documentary photography.

 

The contents page from Quilo magazine, showing thumbnails of all the images in the issue.



It took a huge team to pull together Quilo. Talk us through the process.
This is my first magazine project ever. I’m totally green and was completely out of my comfort zone while doing this, kind of figuring it out as I went.

I was lucky to collaborate with great people along the way, including my friends at the design agency PortoRocha in NY. They’re a Brazilian design dream team that really jumped on board and got excited with Quilo from the get go. They designed the whole thing with me and really put in a lot of effort in creating this beautiful publication. It was really important for me to work with a Brazilian designer that could get the nuances of my country without me having to explain things.

The process from idea to publishing took roughly two years, including research, writing, design and clearing all the incredible short stories featured in the mag. I had no idea how to do any of that before starting this.

I was super pleased with the final product, but I had to put a lot of trust into all the collaborators, including the printer NPN Drukkers in Amsterdam. I hadn't seen the final dummy until I received the 500 copies, so I was holding my breath until I opened the box and saw what an amazing work they've done. I also have to thank writer Joanna Crewswell for the amazing write-ups for each artist and Luis Campagnoli for the copy editing and research.

 

A spread from Quilo magaizne, each page a single headshot of a man.

Lastly, a design detail… we love the green tint across all the pages. It really makes the pictures stand out. Tell us more!
I honestly don’t know the origin story of this light minty green tint in all the pages haha. For ages it was how we looked at the PDF and probably it was a way to create a page feel to a digital PDF.

But once we got the proof from the printer and we compared it with the plain white pages, we immediately thought it actually helped ground the pictures and created a really soft and mellow framework for the pictures, in a way we never seen before in photographic publications. So we kept it, and now we love it.

What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
Hanging out with my baby River and my girlfriend. And shipping a few copies of Quilo around the world :)

jornalquilo.com

 

Buy your copy from the magCulture Shop

Quilo #1

£40.00
Sorry, not enough stock!
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