For the past fourteen years, ULTRAsomething has maintained a mostly virtual presence — its photos no more tactile than the code that delivers them to your screen. About a dozen years ago, I self-published a photo book through a print-on-demand service. Its print quality screamed “MAGAZINE!” while its sticker price screamed “ART BOOK!” This disconnect lead me to two simultaneous conclusions. One, was that I would never release another book until I had the means for a luxurious printing. Two, was that as long as I could only afford to produce magazine quality publications, magazines were exactly what I would produce.
Today, twelve years after that first publishing experiment, I still haven’t the means to create the photo book I’d like, but having completed my PhD in procrastination, I’m now publishing the first “brick & mortar” issue of ULTRAsomething magazine.
I hope to produce several such volumes a year. Because each issue will require that I take a rather extensive number of photos in a rather constrained amount of time, chance will play a crucial role in the results. To ensure even less control over the outcome, all photos will bleed off the page — necessitating that each be brutally and unceremoniously cropped to the unwavering dictates of a page’s physical dimensions. Consequently, every issue will result more from purge than plan; more from exorcism than curation.
Every photo in “ULTRAsomething | Exorcism 1” was shot this summer, and without any intent or purpose beyond my desire to gather visual vestiges of my daily life. They are merely accidents of where I happened to be, and what camera I happened to have. In this particular issue, everything was shot on film. Future exorcisms might contain a mix of digital content; or they might juxtapose new and old photos; or even have a more cohesive unifying theme. Predictions are futile — this is improvisational publishing.
The above transcript is the apologia, and is the only text to appear in ULTRAsomething’s premier issue (or “exorcism,” as seems more poetically accurate). It serves to both explain and defend the 60-page publication, and each subsequent exorcism will contain its own apologia.
My intent is for each issue to contain only photos never before published on the website — though any post announcing new exorcisms (such as this one) will obviously contain a few representational shots. Publishing this is crazy enough — publishing it without at least a modicum of marketing would be a step too crazy. Suffice to say, the vast majority of photos will be revealed in print. So if you want to experience them all in full 8.25” x 11” glory (or 16.5” x 11” glory for landscape-oriented shots), then your best bet is to purchase the magazine.
And speaking of purchasing magazines, I’ve hacked together a rather pedantic but effective storefront, accessible from the STORE menu at the top of this page. Billing is currently handled through PayPal (though you don’t need a PayPal account). Eventually, I’ll implement a slicker cart — with the word “eventually” chosen precisely for its indeterminate characteristics. For now, please keep in mind that I’m only one guy, and my name isn’t “Amazon.”
That said, I am like Amazon Prime in one important way: shipping will be free to locations in Canada and the continental USA. Unfortunately, I cannot offer free shipping to customers outside the USA and Canada… well, I could, but I would lose money on every sale. So I would kindly ask all international purchasers to please blame Canada Post, and not me.
As you might expect, I haven’t slept much these past few months — designing the format; shooting/editing photos; building/tweaking the maquette; and establishing an infrastructure for future exorcisms. And all while continuing to hold down a “real” job.
Next month, I’ll have more to say about the magazine, the philosophy behind it, and this new, expanded direction for ULTRAsomething. But for now, why not treat yourself to your very own Christmas exorcism?
© 2022 grEGORy simpson
ABOUT THE PHOTOS: The photos, shown here, appear in ULTRASOMETHING | EXORCISM 01 , but represent only a small subset of the images contained in the magazine — all of which were shot on film, with each of the following cameras contributing at least one photo to the publication: Black’s Sassy; Contax IIa; Contax G1; Fuji GS645 Pro Wide 60; Konica Autoreflex TC; Konica C35; Konica Hexar AF; Minolta TC-1; Minolta XTsi; Olympus Pen FT; Nikon 28Ti; and Pentax MZ-S. Yes, this is arguably excessive and marginally eccentric. But so is publishing a photo magazine in an Instagram world.
REMINDER: If you’ve managed to extract a modicum of enjoyment from the plethora of material contained on this site, please consider making a DONATION to its continuing evolution. As you’ve likely realized, ULTRAsomething is not an aggregator site. Serious time and effort go into developing the original content contained within these virtual walls — even the silly stuff.
Those who enjoy a tactile engagement with photographs are encouraged to visit the ULTRAsomething STORE, where actual objects are available for purchase.