Issue Two opened this morning, and I’m just kind of basking in a cozy sense of delight and satisfaction right now.

Photo by  Steven Cordes  on  Unsplash

When Issue One launched, it felt big - like a hot air balloon lift off. I guess it could feel a bit anti-climactic to launch balloon number two (ONE hot air balloon is great, and a DOZEN hot air balloons is great, but two is kind of a transition between ONE and LOTS…) except that in this case, the second balloon is carrying some damn fine work that I’m really excited to bring together in one place and feature. And the second balloon is a signal: we’re here, and there’s more to come. If we can do this once, we can do it twice. If we can do this twice, we can keep doing it.

This issue pushed me in so many good ways. There were some hiccups to overcome, and overcome them we did. I don’t actually know what magazine editors do. It’s on my to-do list to find out. Me? I keep long detailed to-do lists.

Starting weeks back (literally a couple of weeks after Issue One launched and I’d completed the to-do list of typos to correct and links to fix from that…) my to-do list included responding to submissions and reaching out to talk to photographers about their projects. In some cases, I invite photographers with projects I’ve seen glimpses of to submit. Once the projects are selected, the to-do list shifts to logistics. Receiving images; securing a guest curator who’s a perfect match for the feature project; getting images to that person; getting the selects back and into the hands of our captions writer; editing the other projects and getting captions and essays back from those photographers; putting everything into the right folders so I’m not hunting in three different places to find stuff when it’s time to start building the Issue. As projects and writing begin to come together, it’s time to have some conversations and interviews to add to the Editor’s Journal, to deepen the conversations we’re having about the work we’re making. And asking for bios, and reminding everyone to send bios, and reminding again. After that the to-do list becomes about building the issue on the website, and the checklists feel really long - every photographer and contributor credited and linked; images resized, uploaded, put in order and captioned; essays formatted and entered into the website; typos caught and corrected; links double checked/fixed; interviews transcribed (I do many of them in FB chats, oddly enough) and posted and linked; SEO fields filled out properly (?). And finally, finally… enabling that Issue Cover Page! Oh right, then half a day of social media posting to let everyone know it’s here!

So you can see why I take a minute to just… bask in the delight and satisfaction. A whole lot of things got done, by me and by the photographers and contributors, and helpful feedback givers and even the spouses who gave all of us the time and space to accomplish those to-do lists. Bask, all, we’ve done well.

I really love Issue Two.

I’ve been following Adrienne’s project on the bees for several months and did such a little happy dance when she submitted it, and working with her to bring it together for this issue (along with Kristi Odom who edited it so gracefully) was inspiring to me. I could really look at her photos all day long, especially the gorgeous wide aerial shot of lush trees, a cloudy sky and the beekeepers and hives below, as small to our eyes at this scale as bees themselves, and also oddly, from a (high flying) bee’s eye view.

Nadia’s project is so arresting and I’m captivated with the idea of documentation through portraits. Portraits are generally considered non-documentary in nature, in that they’re often directed or planned. But there’s a certain sense to this project that while each portrait stands alone, collectively they are documenting this girl’s journey from girl to woman, and her mother’s sense of that journey.

Heidi’s project is also one I was pretty exuberant to see come through the submissions process and accepted at once. She’s deeply dedicated to this project and has been photographing it for more than 3 years now. This work is exactly what Confluence is for. And shortly before Issue Two published, Heidi’s project won third place in the Series category of the Documentary Family Awards, which means we’re publishing an award-winning project - congratulations, Heidi and thank you for sharing this work with Confluence.

Lauren Mitchell’s Space Coast work is simply outstanding. Her quirky photographs invite you to an insiders view of a Florida both exactly as you expect it, and somehow still completely surprising. She very much reminds me of Lee Friedlander and Martin Parr, in her ability to form images of startling familiarity and nostalgia from things that on the surface seem unappealing. She’s playing a brilliant visual trick. And when you read her essay on life in the Space Coast, I think you’ll realize the trick works because there’s an unconditional affection behind every image.

I’m so glad you’re here. Look around.
Then, go make some great work.