I like magazines. I mean I really REALLY like them. They pile high in my study, they accompany me whenever I sit in a café on my own and reading them is an established part of my weekend routine. I also buy new magazines each time before I board a flight in order to kill time or as a souvenir during holidays. That is why I decided to add another hobby of mine to this blog next to photography and travel. In the future I will use the tag “good reads” to give reviews on books and magazines I find worth reading.
I heard the name Jedidah Jenkins for the first time in an article about his journey from Oregon to Patagonia by bike. I was curious about what somebody has to say who cycled over 11.000 kilometers at a stretch. As it turned out, Jenkins had a lot to tell. He quotes Muir and Thoreau and in the same breath philosophizes about adventure and travel. I started following him on Instagram where he publishes lots of interesting content and found out that he is co-publishing a magazine with the melodious name “Wilderness“, a title that instantly arouses a deep longing for loosing yourself in that very wilderness. As soon as shipping to Europe was available I placed my order to get my hands on the magazine.
The description of Wilderness on the webpage reads as follows: “Imagine if McQueen, Kerouac, Muir & Whitman started a magazine. Let’s make Wilderness; a men’s mag about exploration, character & grit.” Even though that sounds more than promising to me, I know plenty of women who are too claiming their share of “men’s” wilderness.
Enclosed in the envelope came a patch with the words “The Wilderness Makes You Better”. Little details like that often make the difference for me whether I just like a product or company or if it manages to reach me emotionally.
The first thing that meets the eye is the fat black bar of the binding. At first glance the binding reminded me of something like a scientific paper but the beautiful typo on the spine managed to appease that impression, on second thought I think it is this very resemblance to a scientific journal that give the whole magazine that wholehearted appearance I value so highly. The uncoated paper feels good in my hands and underlines the natural look of the photography. The aesthetic of Wilderness reminds me of typical indie-coffee-table magazines.
On the inside Wilderness is well designed with carefully selected images, beautiful fonts and varied layouts. What I liked most were the big headlines and quotes. Small irregularities in the layouts will hopefully be ironed out until the next issue.
Due to the binding some space on double-page spreads is getting lost but on most pages this is hardly an issue.
Travel reports, photography, interviews, literature and some history. If I had to describe Wilderness in one word it would probably be diverse. The magazine was written with the aspiration to inspire and encourage self-reflection. I’m not entirely sure if the archaic and close-to-nature tone of the magazine is for everyone but I certainly enjoyed the articles. Overall Wilderness has a thoughtful tone but mostly gets by without moralizing too much.
Wilderness is the kind of magazine where I would love to see my own photos if they were being published. I am curious to find out if it pays out to largely forego classic reports in favour of more timeless topics. I am also looking forward to the next issues because I will certainly order another one.