This Magazine 'Ain’t Bad'
A young, Savannah-based photo publication forecasts the future of fine art photography.
Cadillac, Central Avenue. By Whitten Sabbatini b.1990
Founded in 2011 by five tastemakers nearing graduation, Ain’t-Bad Magazine was conceived out of necessity. Fueled by a desire to expand constructive critique beyond the classroom, the group developed to showcase work from all over the world. Six years later Ain’t-Bad’s core members, Carson Sanders, Taylor Curry, Kory Kingsley, Taylor Kigar, and Lisa Young, maintain the magazine. Tackling themes that range from "Grand Illusion" to the proverbial selfie, every contributing artist is handpicked by a dedicated staff that spans from New York to Portland.
But what sets this humbly selective photo publication apart from others of its kind is the curation: like, who the hell is Whitten Sabbatini? This intriguingly named Mississippi native shoots journalistic scenes on a Canon 5D MKII with 50mm lense. His eye for composition delivered a symmetrical glimpse into the rural South though his aptly titled series There’s Worse Things Than Being Alone. His clean style and attention to color make for a raw, circumstantial, almost Eggleston-esque aesthetic that leaves you thinking, how did that dusty pink Cadillac find a matching house and bushes?
Ain’t-Bad Magazine doesn’t aim to feature well-known artists for the sake of growing popularity—instead, it takes pride in granting talented unknowns well-merited exposure. A consistent eye for pivotal work has allowed the five-year-old photo publication to produce 10 captivating issues, and boundless web content. A-B’s recent launch party at the MoMa PS1 in Long Island, NY was only a testament to its accelerated success. The magazine features an artist a day online, maintaining a steady update on burgeoning photographers around the world. And despite the consistent online presence, Ain’t-Bad urges people to “hold art in their hands—to spend time with it and revisit it, [because] it’s always nice to look at photography without having a retargeting ad to distract your eye,” says Sanders, one of the magazine’s founders. You can cue a collective sigh of relief, because there’s something special about opening a crisply bound piece, smelling the pages, and feeling the printed fibers on your fingertips.
To further enhance your sensory experience, Ain’t-Bad has introduced more writing to shed light on some of its most thought-provoking images. On the A-B website, you’ll find interviews, photo book reviews, and other timely news and events in the photo community. Sanders explains, “for this we actively seek artists from different backgrounds and cultures. Words and photography are really the best pair and we’re always looking for new ways to mesh the two.”
And now, through June 1, Ain’t-Bad has a call for entries to be included in their upcoming print issue based around major American Metropolises—LA, New York, and Chicago. “A-B is interested in artists who have uprooted and displaced themselves from home in order to continue working in the industry, or artists who have seen their very homes in these cities change from the constant influx of people seeking a new life.” If you’re a photographer who can identify with this ever-changing struggle, and you think you ain’t half bad, submit your work here.