A whirlwind tour of global creativity, Crack Magazine returns with its bi-annual publication
Crack magazine’s The Collections Volume IV charts the best in culture this past year. We speak to the team to find out how they made it all happen.
- Roz Jones
- 10 January 2023
With the new year in full swing and bringing a host of gilded awards into view, there’s a febrile atmosphere of giddy excitement. And with it comes another edition of Crack magazine’s bi-annual publication The Collections: Volume IV. The issue rounds up the year’s musical rascals, creative malcontents and anyone who might find themselves persona non grata to the culture of conformity. “Put very simply, The Collections Volume IV is an anthology of the best writing and photography that’s been published in our monthly magazine throughout 2022,” says Louise Brailey, editor at Crack.
Started during the hush thrums of lockdown, when a regular publishing schedule was just a pipe dream, The Collections has since surveyed Crack magazine’s prodigious output, looking for the year’s definitive content. “Looked at one way,” Louise details “– the elevated way – it’s a means of impressing a sense of permanence onto the words and images that, months after publishing, risk being lost in the cultural drift.” Looked at another way, Louise’s preferred way, it’s “a neat little on-ramp into the extended Crack universe.” While the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, founder and director of the magazine, Jake Applebee sees the project as a way to honour the “beautiful photoshoots” commissioned over the year. “It’s really rewarding having them printed on higher quality paper stock alongside new designs and features,” he tells us. Thats why, for this special issue, Crack has tapped fan favourites like Stephen Tayo, ONDA and Hayleigh (O-Ke) for behind-the-scenes chats.
Landing on visual storytelling as the currency of this issue didn’t make choosing shoots any easier. “We had some guardrails though,” Louise tells us of the effort between her and art director Michelle Helena Janssen. “We knew we wanted to tip the balance in favour of photography to create something visually impactful.” And they knew accompanying articles had to feel “in dialogue with the moment in time, without feeling too timestamped.” Other features command their own space. “We felt compelled to let the visuals speak for themselves – images that elicit a visceral reaction, or curiosity,” she tells It’s Nice That. And what followed that tug-of-war was a hard-won, timeless selection of work that cuts across the spectrum. “Hopefully it’s a product that our readers will cherish, keep and look back on fondly in years to come,” Jake notes.
Being so close to the action, Michelle recalls her favourite shoots with an intimate awareness of what went into them. “it was great seeing four amazing artists interact in an intimate setting on the Top Boy shoot,” she details. “We wanted to create powerful images that could live in the ‘Top Boy’ world, so we built two entire sets – despite only having four hours.” For Michelle, creating a “genuine connection” with artists lets the viewer “empathise with the world we’re creating for and with them”. This resulted in honest shoots, like in the case of Memphis rapper Key Glock and photographers Ethan and Spencer Brown. “A lot of photography comes down to building relationships and I can see that the photographer is very comfortable with Key Glock.”
It’s also worth noting that the frequency of the publication means it’s “an opportunity to expand on our already distinctive style in the monthly magazine and really experiment,” says Femke Campbell, senior graphic designer at Crack. Associate graphic designer Manu Rodríguez, adds that “we take pride in championing artists who are not afraid to break the mould and that’s what we aim for our design as well”. Why circle the drain when so many artists have taken the plunge? That’s why next year Crack is rolling out a new rebrand for the magazine and launching an app to tie everything together. In the meantime, enjoy this retrospective victory lap of global culture.
CC.co & Plinth: Crack Magazine - The Collections, Vol. IV (Copyright © Crack Magazine, 2022)
About the Author
Roz (he/him) joined It’s Nice That for three months as an editorial assistant in October 2022 after graduating from Magazine Journalism and Publishing at London College of Communication. He’s particularly interested in publications, archives and multi-media design.