"I want to look into your soul" said photographer Chris Boulton as he stared down the camera lens at his subject; 70-year-old adventurer David Lemon. The photo, part of a shoot for new independent magazine, SoulKind, was ultimately to grace the cover, and Boulton's instinctive phrase, in the moment, was to spark the idea for the magazine's title.
Produced with support from Fujifilm, and printed on the Jet Press 750S, SoulKind is the brainchild of Chris Boulton, an experienced Cheltenham-based photographer and Jamie Rudd, a creative director and brand consultant. "We wanted to do something purely for the love of it," says Jamie. "Something not diluted by committee or by commercial concerns. Chris and I have only known each other for a few years, but we have a lot in common and we'd both long-loved the idea of creating a high-quality magazine to express some of our ideas and creativity. Our challenge had been trying to find our niche - a focus to theme the magazine around.
"In the end it was a tragedy that gave the pair that focus they'd been searching for. "In July 2018 I was involved in a life-changing car accident," says Jamie. "It almost cost me my life, and as I started out on the long, hard road to recovery, it crystallised in my mind what I wanted our project to be about: tales of human endeavour and exploration, but closer to my heart - resilience. Finding out how endeavours, no matter how big or small can make us feel alive again. How exploration can enable us to experience everything our wonderful planet has to offer, and how, with the right mindset, we can be resilient and overcome trauma to thrive again."
So Jamie and Chris began approaching, photographing and interviewing inspirational people from different walks of life, from adventurers and explorers to endurance athletes. Why, and how, do they do what they do? What drives them? What inspires them?
In the magazine's first issue, eleven interviewees open up and talk about what they've achieved, and the mindset that took them there. Individuals who have tested their own mental and physical limits, not just once, but over and over again.
David Lemon walked the Zambezi, alone, from source to sea, aged over 60. Lucy Shepard, not yet 30, has completed countless polar expeditions and extreme alpine treks. Endurance athlete Sean Conway ran, swam and cycled around the entire coast of mainland Britain and set a new world record time cycling across Europe from Portugal to Russia. Eleven names. Eleven lives. Hundreds of extraordinary adventures.
And why a magazine?
"News is cheaper, more up-to-date and more accessible online," says Chris. "So print needs to be about much more than mere information. Print is for those important stories you want people to reflect on. The photographs and the words are equally important elements and quality print brings them together in a tangible way and makes reading an immersive experience that can't be replicated on a screen. I used to run a print business myself and I've followed developments in digital print technology in recent years with great interest. It is these advancements that make a magazine like ours - which is produced in relatively short runs at exceptionally high quality - possible. Fujifilm's Jet Press 750S is one of the best examples out there of a new kind of press that can deliver ultra-high quality print in run lengths ideal for our magazine - and we're delighted that Fujifilm shares our vision and is supporting us in getting this first issue published."
Graham Leeson, Head of Communications and Sales Enablement, Fujifilm Graphic Systems EMEA explains why Fujifilm is supporting the project: "As humans, we need to be inspired - we thrive on stories of courage, perseverance and overcoming impossible odds. When we agreed, in late 2019, to help support SoulKind launch its first issue, we couldn't have known what a different place the world would be now. But the current situation means we need stories like this more than ever. Ten years ago, this magazine could not have been made. You could have printed something ultra-high quality in large volumes, or compromised the quality to print shorter runs more flexibly in response to demand, but you could not have both. Digital print technology, and more specifically the Jet Press 750S, has made this kind of high-quality, short-run creative content possible, and Fujifilm is proud to have been at the forefront of that seismic technological shift."
SoulKind is printed on the Fujifilm Jet Press 750S at Emmerson Press in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. Issue one is available now. To learn more, or to order a copy, visit www.SoulKindPeople.co.uk
To watch a video about the project click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1wXwHdxKD0