Grey Magazine – Henry Kingsford Interview
In the light of our entry to the Converse x Grey Core Store Challenge we grabbed a quick few words with Grey Magazine head honcho Henry Kingsford about the history of Grey and how the Core Store Challenge came about:
So what year did Grey Magazine start and what was the motivation behind it?
We released our first issue in May 2010, just over five years ago. The motivation was initially just to create an outlet for my photos, as Document had recently been cancelled leaving only Sidewalk in the UK, and lots of photographers trying to get their photos used in just one magazine. I was also really inspired by Staple magazine from Perth, Australia and Anzeige Berlin.
Did it take a lot of work to get it off the ground or were people pretty receptive from the start?
It was a lot of work and a steep learning curve. We had some problems with our printer the first couple of issues but there was a good reception from the start. Lots of advertisers helped out from the first issue, which I was very grateful for, as I wasn’t an established name or anything. Back then free magazines weren’t so common. I think people liked this aspect, shops especially.
What’s the highlights and lowlights of running a skate mag?
There aren’t many downsides to be honest. I really enjoy what I do. It’s great seeing my own photos in print and it’s cool to be able to publish other photographers’ work, especially people I’ve looked up to for a long time. Opportunities to travel are a big highlight too – I’m in Croatia right now for the Vladimir Film Festival where I’m doing a retrospective exhibition celebrating 5 years of Grey.
Moving onto the Core Store Challenge, how did that come about?
Jerome from Converse approached me about it early this year looking for a media partner and the idea sounded cool. We had already agreed to go ahead with CSC when the Sidewalk / Mountain Dew Store Wars competition was announced, which was a little unfortunate as there are obviously some similarities, but hopefully ours is different enough. I was really happy that shops agreed to take part in ours after working on Store Wars.
We were delighted and somewhat surprised to be included in a line up of such well-established skate shops considering we’re essentially still the new kids on the block so to speak. What was the criteria for picking the 10 stores to take part?
To be honest that was all Jerome at Converse. Converse is taking care of the organisational side, and Grey is promoting the competition. I know the list was kept small for the first year, to see how it all went. The intention is to grow the competition next year and have more shops involved.
I’m assuming you’ve already seen all the edits, without giving anything too much away, do you think it’s going to be tough for people to pick a favourite?
I was really surprised and happy about how much effort the stores put in. The edits are all really strong. They are quite varied, so I think picking a favourite will be easy, depending on what you’re into.
Am I right in saying that the winner will be decided via voting on the Grey Magazine website for the week following the premiere this Friday?
We’ve actually been working on a dedicated Core Store Challenge site, which will house all the edits and allow people to vote on their favourite. If all goes to plan, this will launch Saturday morning, after the premiere Friday evening.
Cool, thanks for your time, we’ll let you get back to whatever it is your doing and we’ll see you at the premiere.
Photo by Sarah Graley.