DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

The end of the future

I've held off for a week talking about the demise of Future Snowboarding Magazine but it's sunday and I have a minute, and I've had some time to digest the news. I've spoken to most of the people there and although it was a huge shock, they are all moving forward - life goes on. That office was a really amazing place, it was full of some of the most interesting people I've met through snowboarding and it feels like beyond losing something we built, people are most disappointed that the "band" is getting broken up and won't get to play together anymore.

When FSM started, it was going to be the centerpiece of a group of action sports magazines, and Future US, the parent company, set up infrastructure to support that. The Solana Beach office was in a brand new building and was big enough to run several titles. That never happened, in fact the skateboard division, run by the incomparable Adam Sullivan never even became a viable division and was shut after the first season. When people read in the blogs that the reasons for closing FSM were financial, they assume that the magazine was failing, however that simply isn't the case. The magazine itself was growing again this year, it had new advertisers and bigger commitments from some of the existing advertisers. It was continuing to push forward with creative and interesting content and taken without the context of the action sports "group", could only be seen as a success. However...

Future US looked again at how much it would cost to build an entire action sports division, and decided they were no longer willing to spend that kind of money. Publishing is going through a transition right now, and you'd have to be blind not to see how precarious the magazine industry in general is. Money is getting pulled off the table every single day in favour of online, and other non traditional outlets and many people are waiting to see what the next big thing is going to be instead of investing in traditional print publications. Combine that with a really shaky world economy and you have the recipe for conservative decisions when it comes to expanding business.

Despite some incredibly challenging hurdles I was proud of what we did at FSM. The magazine wasn't for everyone, nothing is, but we worked really hard to put out something that was useful and entertaining and I would say that we accomplished that. We tried to subtly push the sport in directions that we wanted to see it go, and whether or not we accomplished that, I like what is going on in snowboarding now more than I did when we started FSM. We may never get credit for some of the changes, but if you look carefully at what trends emerged during the last three years, and look at the philosophy of our mag, you will find a lot of commonality.

So the public reaction has been interesting, a good friend of mine said to me this week "trust me, a magazine is never more popular than on the day it closes" and i guess we're seeing some of that. People have been very kind and generous in their assessment of Future's legacy, but I guess only time will tell how history views FSM. Somebody asked me this week "do you regret moving down there now that it's closed?" and I have to answer no. I worked with people who i will call friends for life, and I saw the other side of magazine production, which has made me a far better editorial photographer. It allowed me to have one of my most successful shooting seasons this past year, and I'm grateful for that.

It also made me trust big business less, which I didn't really think was possible, and I understand now how sometimes good people make really bad decisions, and how bad people are almost sociopathic in their lack of empathy for the humans surrounding them. Definitely the most tumultuous years of my life, I appreciate life now more. I'm a better photographer and a better person for having made that mag, and it all started in a shitty office in San Marcos looking like this:

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I should note that I have been out of the office for just over a year, and was no longer privy to the day to day goings on of making FSM. I was still in close contact with the team though. My opinions are my own and if I've posted anything spurious, feel free to comment and correct me.

D.
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