PERMANENT PRESS EDITIONS
ISSUE 02 "BLACK & WHITE' March 2017
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PERMANENT PRESS EDITIONS
SHANA FAUST & ALEXA MULVIHILL ARE THE FOUNDERS AND CREATIVE DUO OF PERMANENT PRESS EDITIONS - AN ONLINE PRINT SHOP THAT CREATES ORIGINAL ARCHIVAL QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHS THAT ARE GROUPED INTO “EDITIONS”.
WHILE WORKING IN PUBLISHING AND SPENDING MANY YEARS TOGETHER AT MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS (ALEXA AS THE MAGAZINE’S DESIGN DIRECTOR AND SHANA AS THE DEPUTY STYLE DIRECTOR) THEY DEVELOPED A WONDERFUL COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIP THAT EVENTUALLY TURNED INTO PERMANENT PRESS EDITIONS.
We interview Shana to get more information on their fun and unique style.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR STARTING PERMANENT PRESS EDITIONS?
When we worked in editorial, we loved coming up with story ideas then conceptualizing the photography and styling. We are both passionate about photography. At MSW [Martha Stewart Weddings], we were lucky to work with amazing photographers and to learn from each collaboration. After leaving magazines, we both had full freelance schedules doing design and styling work but missed the collaborative image making.
In addition to loving photography, we share a passion for interiors. We wanted to come up with a business model that would encompass these interests. In the end, we decided to create photographic editions—each developed with a singular focus much like a magazine story—and to launch an e-commerce site selling prints for home decor. Neither of us has experience in business, so we have been learning as we go.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE NAME PERMANENT PRESS EDITIONS?
As we thought of potential options, we realized that it is challenging to name a business. We left magazines at a pivotal moment when the world of print was shaken by the advent of on-line publishing. We both love print and, considering its potential decline, liked the playfulness of naming our company “permanent press.” At the time, we were shooting a series of vintage objects for our first edition. We photographed a few garments from the 1950s and liked the clothing labels asserting that they were “permanent press”—the height of technology at the time. Hoping that our business would be both wrinkle-free and enduring, we adopted the name. We like to approach things with levity. We hope people will look at our work and see that humor infuses much of what we do.
EACH “EDITION” IS PAIRED AROUND A THEME, AND “EDITION 1” IS A VERY FUN COLLECTION. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT TO PULL TOGETHER?
As we develop an edition, we begin with a basic theme then build a color palette and start to gather materials. We like to create complimentary and contrasting images to invite lots of potential parings. We hope people will have fun mixing the photographs.
Both of us are drawn to narrative. When we started work on Edition 1, we decided to photograph vintage objects—to create a tribute to ordinary things. This was driven less by nostalgia than our interest in subjects showing the patina of age. Whether carefully preserved or bearing the scars and imperfections of years and use, these artifacts hint at the character of their owners. We selected a range of objects from bathing suits to transistor radios. They relate to things we love. Some are inherently quirky. Most remind us of people we have known. We like to hint at a narrative. We photographed the woman’s bathing suit from behind to show it structurally. It is both seductive and restrictive. We shot a handful of tattered party horns peeking out of a bag. Though worn and shedding fringe, they still feel animated and festive - resisting the captivity of their plastic confines.
ANY NEW EDITIONS ON THE HORIZON?
We are always thinking about new editions. At this point we have a range of ideas for Edition No. 5 and are working to edit and refine a couple. Our process is fairly organic. We sketch, hunt, gather, sort and then shoot test images. Usually after we shoot the series, we spend time working with the collection, then do a final edit to refine and reduce the number of images.
DO YOU BOTH DO THE PHOTOGRAPHY? Yes. Neither one of us is trained in photography though we have been around it for years in editorial work. Professional photographers spend entire careers honing their craft. We are humbled by our entry into their world. While we have no shortage of ideas, the technical part of shooting is the most challenging. We are patient and willing to photograph images multiple times until we are satisfied with the results. We are learning as we go. ¶ CATHERINE BIERI All images are printed with archival quality pigments on acid-free matte cotton rag paper. Their frames are made from 100% wood molding and shatterproof Plexiglass, with 4 ply custom-cut white mat. Hanging hardware included.