NYC's only skate mag serves up a beautifully photographed slice of the city's scene.
43 Magazine is NYC's only skate mag and serves up an authentic and beautifully photographed slice of the city's scene in irregular installments.
43 Magazine was born out of a frustration with the declining quality of skate media and a desire to give the New York scene a strong voice. Allen Ying arrived in the Big Apple aged 18 to study photography and communication before going on to freelance for a number of skate magazines. This experience left him alienated by the commercialised world of mainstream skating and convinced him of the need to do things more authentically. His response was 43 Magazine, lovingly crafted in a Brooklyn apartment since 2011 and raising the bar with every issue. Huck spoke to Allen about the challenges of killing it in the world of independent skate publishing and the future for 43.
When and why did you start making 43 Magazine?
“I started working on it slowly around 2008 or 2009. After jumping through a ton of hoops I got the first issue out around November 2011. It was just long overdue to have a nice quality skateboard magazine with a mission and purpose, and one based in New York City. There are a lot of changes that 43 is looking to resist: the watering down and commodification of skateboarding and the influence that has on youth counter-culture, as well as the falling quality of photography, which seems like it’s been on a downward spiral.”
What are some of the toughest challenges you’ve faced?
“What isn’t a challenge? We’re trying to maintain our integrity while publishing a skateboard magazine so we have a small crew working out of a Brooklyn apartment. There is a lot of amazing feedback, but it’s a lot to keep up with: a lot of sitting and computing. That doesn’t necessarily feel as great as skating and photographing out in the world…”
What do you like about the print medium?
“That’s such a strange question to me. I guess I could state the obvious and say it’s nice to hold something with a great print quality, without requiring some special technology to look at. It’s not like everything printed is automatically amazing, so to me it’s like asking ‘why do you like looking at things?’”
What do you say when people say ‘print is dead’?
“‘Oh cool,’ if I don’t feel like discussing things with a clueless or ignorant person making some big generalisation.”
What do you make of the state of the skateboard media today?
“It’s a mix. It might have been worse a few years ago, but now there is some great skateboarding, photography, and video. You just have to get past the tons of bullshit being thrown around. The overall standard of quality has dropped drastically, so what people then have to reference for inspiration sets the bar pretty low.”
What do you do for a living and how does publishing fit into your life?
“Publishing takes over my life and it doesn’t actually make me a living, so I sell prints through the 43 Magazine site and occasionally freelance. There is a lot of time between issues but it’s all consumed with producing art shows, selling prints, producing the magazine, sales, answering emails and press requests, etc. etc.”
What magazines do you have on your coffee table/bookshelf/beside the loo?
“Grey Skate Magazine from London, Fluff from the Netherlands, Kingpin from Europe, and Transworld Skateboarding from the US, which has some of the best skateboard photographers living in the US. Other than that I have a large stack of skate mags that I don’t take the time to look at because they might bum me out too much.”
Why is being independent important to you?
“It is the best way to keep integrity with the mission, purpose, and goals of a project.”
What does the future hold for 43 Magazine?
“Mostly a bunch of question marks. We’re working on a fourth issue which would be accompanied by a photo show in San Francisco. Whether or not it will happen and any other specifics… well, I kind of like that it’s a bit of a mystery, for me and for our supporters.”
Issue 003: The New York City Issue is out now. Head over to the 43 Magazine site for more.