Outdoor Photographer Magazine is widely recognized in the world of outdoor and landscape photography as a "must have" subscription due to its solid content, premier photographs, and news in the industry. Christopher Robinson, OP's current editor, was kind enough to explain some of the ways to connect with the world of outdoor photography and a bit about his own path to becoming an editor of the publication.
Pictureline: Tell us first about yourself, your previous work, and your interests. What sort of path does someone take to become the Editor at the nation's premier outdoor photography magazine?
Christopher Robinson: At Outdoor Photographer, I oversee the selection of photography and I put together the overall editorial package from in-house and freelance articles.
I feel a little bit like Salieri in the film Amadeus. He was a decent music composer, but he was no Mozart. I have enough skills and talent to recognize that there are a lot of photographers who are a lot better than I am. I love being out and shooting, and I do it as often as I can, but OP's contributors are the great photographers.
As far as a path to suggest, I think the most important thing is to have a genuine passion for photography and a passion for teaching. For example, my goal with each issue of OP is to inspire the readers to go out and explore landscapes, wildlife, sports action, and travel and also to show them how to get better results.
Pictureline: Outdoor Photographer is one of very few magazines that remains very robust in print media. What do you attribute the success of the magazine to?
CR: I think the death of print has been greatly exaggerated. I for one, continue to read and subscribe to a number of print magazines because I like the sorts of long-form, high-quality writing that exists in print. I also enjoy the experience and simplicity of turning pages. For photographers, I think there's also a real appreciation for physical prints. The print, and by extension images printed in a paper magazine, remains the ultimate expression of a great image. Because many readers appreciate the magazine, but they want the convenience of digital, we also put out a digital version of OP (available through Zinio) which has all of the same content and layouts as the paper version of the magazine.
Pictureline: What moves in the online sector has OP made that readers should be aware of? Are you looking into new projects to increase the readers' ability to connect with the magazine?
CR: Of course we have a very robust website with a lot of outstanding content, and I mentioned that we offer a digital version of OP through Zinio. As I write this, we're getting ready to launch a digital version of OP for the Kindle, and we'll doubtless see other similar versions for other devices. One of my favorite features on the OP website is the Assignments section. Every week I make an Assignment, and I invite the readers to submit images based on it. I look through the Assignment galleries every day and more and more I find images for the magazine there. One of my favorite moments is when I come across an image in the Assignment galleries that is completely 180-degrees from what I expected to get and that in turn inspires me to rethink an article or several articles in the magazine. Social media is all the rage, and I admit it's not something I've done much with, but I just launched a Twitter account--@OPRobinson--and I plan to become active with it. With all of these efforts, I hope OP readers will feel a connection to the magazine.
Pictureline: What is the best way for photographers to introduce themselves to OP? Through the contests or through direct submission?
CR: I welcome direct submissions (please be sure to review the Submission Guidelines on the OP website before sending something) and, of course, contests are an excellent way to get noticed. In fact, we just launched a new contest called The American Landscape which is being judged by Jack Dykinga, Dewitt Jones, Jolene Hanson of the G2 Gallery in Los Angeles, and myself. In the August issue of OP, I'm planning a 6-page article highlighting the winners.
Pictureline: Finally, where are your favorite places to photograph? Do you have any equipment (past or present) that you couldn't live without?
CR: My favorite places to photograph are actually underwater. I have a full DSLR rig for underwater photography, and I get out with it as often as possible. On land, though, I love going up to the Sierra Nevada mountains. I'm planning several weekend trips this spring and summer to Sequoia National Park, Yosemite, and the Mt. Whitney area. In this job, I'm fortunate in that I have an opportunity to try a lot of gear. I don't really have a single favorite piece of equipment, but I would say I'd be lost without an ultra-wide zoom.
Pictureline: Outdoor photographers can't live without the ultra-wide zoom. Best of luck with the magazine and with your travels. Check out the website at www.outdoorphotographer.com, where you can find new Assignments, photography contests, and great articles on photography tips.