A friend reached out to me on Instagram the other day to tell me that they were inspired by my journey and how I lived life on my own terms. At first blush, I had to think about whether that was warranted praise, or whether I’d created a social media persona that was a false representation of who I am. It’s arguably both. My public and private social media presences are at once distinct, the same, and not the entire story. Like this book, they are a curation created to provide a specific experience.
My terms mean pursuing my interests and passions and obviously one such pursuit, shared with my business partner and Contempo Media publisher John McGouran, has been the creation and evolution of Sharp. It’s hard to write a column about the merits of the magazine format without sounding defensive, but given that I live life on my own terms, that’s what I’m going to do. (One might contend that there’s really no point in arguing the merits of print, as the very fact that you’re reading this supports my position on the medium, but I digress.)
While I wouldn’t consider myself an early adopter, I’m not a Luddite. Like pretty much everyone these days, I spend my day with my nose increasingly closer to a screen, and then plenty of leisure time reading or watching content on my phone, often with the TV on in the background…and maybe the laptop ready to go if I tire of the small screen. But I don’t enjoy magazines because I’m sick of screens; in fact, it’s sometimes a struggle to pull myself away from them, but a magazine is a different experience, and one I enjoy.
I was reminded of this recently when I purchased, somewhat impulsively, a number of automotive enthusiast magazines. I made a point of taking time to sit down and read them, set them aside, pick them up and read them some more. I might have even read parts of them more than once. And I liked it. A lot. I’d forgotten what it was like to enjoy a magazine as a reader. I genuinely enjoyed the experience of discovery, but also of being guided through a complete experience as opposed to a bottomless feed.
It’s the curated nature of print media — and the fact that this curation must live between two covers, on a set number of pages — plus the idea that it defines a very particular moment in time that makes a magazine so special. It’s not entirely dissimilar to our lives: it’s finite, and there’s one chance to make it great. My terms include doing what we do to the best of our ability. I think my friend who was inspired probably feels the same way. And, because you’re reading this, I know you do too.
Michael La Fave
Editorial & Creative Director