Ryan James Caruthers is clearly not one to sit around clock-watching. Still basking in the glow of winning The British Journal of Photography Breakthrough Award for his strikingly tender portraits of unconventional male athletes earlier this year, the young photographer is back at it with a new magazine. Close is the result of a collaboration with stylist Shawn Lakin, who Ryan met when working for Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent while the pair were still studying at New York’s artist incubator Parsons School of Design. An “interdisciplinary print magazine”, Close zooms in on the creatives heading up their game. On the day of the magazine’s launch, we caught up with the pair to find out what we can expect between the pages.
When – and why – did you decide to start Close?
Close began about a year ago. I think we were seeing an abundance of print in the market and there was a lot that we couldn’t relate to or sink our teeth into.
Before our readers start asking, is Close a reference to Peter Saville’s album cover for Joy Division’s Closer?
It’s a nice comparison… We are not true Joy Division listeners so truthfully we haven’t seen this before. So no, it is not related to this cover in any way. We kind of like the coincidental nod though. Our logo type was based on a hand drawn sketch Ryan did, which then made its way to an original digital design by McLayne Ycmat.
The name “close” came to us based on the way our relationship as creative partners functions. We are opposites in a lot of ways. Ryan more focused, sterile, and beautiful, Shawn more radical and creative. This combination is the driving force of what makes our work and we craved to curate other artist’s to combine regardless of their fields to try to make the same magic. We tried to pair our contributors to recreate the closeness that we share.
Run us through the highlights of issue one.
Our cover story is a celebration of queer youth in suburbia, photographed by myself and styled by Shawn, following a group of queer-identifying teens in suburbia. In our current political climate, we believe that this is the cover story our world needs. One that will hopefully be told far more often than less. It’s a story of friendship, comfort, and hope.
In his final interview, the late George Pitts (artist and former photo director of Life magazine) goes head to head with photographer Torbjørn Rødland, collage artist Kalen Hollomon creates new works on sport and masculinity, photographer James Tolich brings us through the Sydney suburb, Cabramatta and so many more!
What do you look for in a Close contributor?
We sought out individuals who are creating waves in their respected disciplines and create collaborations that might not exist without our guiding hand. We really wanted it to feel inclusive. From the conception of Close we dreamed of including Tobjørn Rødland, and his eagerness to work with us was incredible. We would love to work with Bruce Weber and Jamie Hawkesworth.
Final word: as print publications jostle for attention on the mag rack, what’s new, or different, about Close?
Close stands out with a mission of hope, new art and understanding.