Finding Focus – A Look Behind SilvergrainClassics
by Doug Richardson
Doug Richardson interviews Charys Schuler about her job as Developmental Editor and the process of selecting the content for each issue: A look behind the process of making SilvergrainClassics.

Yard Boys, by Michael Wilson

How did you get involved in directing a magazine?

It was an organic process. I was first asked to do language and style editing. As I became more involved, I helped to recruit content and eventually became the Developmental Editor.

What does a “Developmental Editor” do, exactly?

At SGC, the developmental editor is responsible for choosing the content for each issue, recruiting portfolios, and organizing submissions. I also write a few articles of my own and continue to edit the language and style for all articles. Fortunately, we have a great proofreader who catches the pesky little mistakes that creep through, and Marwan El Mozayen retains the overall vision of the brand and all its various endeavors. He is also just a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about all things film!

Danse, by Yva

Do you feature up-and-coming artists, ones that don’t have a huge CV?  Do you do anything to help them with their portfolios or marketing?

We feature up-and-coming, or even completely unknown artists in each issue. I help to choose a set of images that not only work well in the issue, but also represent the photographer’s strengths, and I also try to help them in the accompanying text. For instance, if an artist is trying to sell prints or is looking for representation or work in a certain sector, I will mention it.

What about SGC’s articles on gear?

We are lucky to have great staff writers who talk about gear and techniques, so I usually only have to throw out a suggested direction and we get great submissions. But we have also featured articles from contributors that contacted us with an idea and the passion to go with it.

What are your favorite websites/social media sites to visit when recruiting?

I enjoy going down unplanned rabbit holes that start with a google search. There are a huge number of interesting lists of “photographers to watch,” and many unknown photographers that pop up in odd searches. I also follow analog groups on Facebook and analog hashtags on Instagram.

Spotted Hyena, Botswana, by Zana Briski

Which photographer’s work has grabbed your imagination recently? Why?  

I was very moved by the portraits of Michael Wilson, who was on our cover in Issue 9. He captures such authenticity and beauty in his subjects of all ages, ethnicities, and social circles! I also love the work of Zana Briski, who does similar work with animals, capturing their essence with varying techniques. She will be featured in Issue 11, don’t miss it! I was fascinated by Yva, who is in our current Issue 10; not only by her work but also by her story, which required a lot of research to unearth.

What is the best way to submit work to your magazine?

Contact us per email: We consider unsolicited submissions and have featured several “cold contact” portfolios.

Given the incredible volume of photographs that are produced on a yearly basis, what motivates you to select them for inclusion of the magazine?

I think the most important factor in the selection process is authenticity. Too many people are trying to do something DIFFERENT without being really inspired by it. If you feel that you have something to say in a certain genre, say it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get anywhere with pictures of dogs and cats, or landscapes that have “already been done.” I believe that the genre of a photo doesn’t matter as long as it expresses a unique and deeply felt personal vision.