Timothy Frazier is an American photographer and the publisher of Photographic Bandwidth, an annual bookazine that takes a philosophical approach to the human condition through in-depth visual stories
How was Photographic Bandwidth born? What goal do you want to achieve?
A few different reasons: working with print was something I had a strong interest in for quite a long time. Prior to Photographic Bandwidth, I was making various zines of my own work and sending them off to photo editors / directors of photography / photo agents etc… to no avail. I also had two prior failed attempts at publishing photo mags/zines because I had no idea what I was doing. But that was great because it taught me what not to do.
I’ve grown to have quite the disdain for the photo world/art world (and how it operates) in general. In my experience, so much of the photo world (in America) is so cliquey and quite pretentious. When I was younger, I spent so much time trying to either impress or make friends with certain people in that world who clearly didn’t give a shit about me or the work I was making. So Photographic Bandwidth is essentially my way of breaking away from that and doing my own thing.
When I first started Photographic Bandwidth, it was this online platform where I would sporadically interview other photographers who’s work I admire. I knew that eventually I wanted to transition into printed matter, I just didn’t know how I’d make it work.
So when the pandemic hit in 2020, I figured I might as well go for it. I wanted to make a publication where I could explore my own interests through photography, while also involving other photographers that I admire. All the while not being constrained by any commercial or political interest.
As far as the goals that I want to achieve with Photographic Bandwidth:
I want Photographic Bandwidth to become a household name in the Photobook publishing world. I plan to eventually produce non-annual photobooks, in addition to the annual volume, when I have the money. Lots of other ideas as well, it’s just best not to discuss those until they actually happen.
The current issue “A Spiritual Awakening” deals in-depth with the theme of spirituality, rebirth and following one’s own path in life. They are very interesting topics. Why and how did you decide to treat them?
Each volume is curated and created around a specific theme. These themes are chosen based off of my own personal interests.
Since high school, maybe longer, I have been very drawn to Hinduism. I could go on and on about it for hours. Through various life experiences that I’ve had over the years, I have felt guided or drawn towards that spiritual/religious path or direction in this life.
Over the last year, it became apparent that I was sort of ‘standing on the fence’ with it and not fully permitting myself to commit or dive in head first, when everything in me felt really compelled to do so. So it just made sense that I could use the publication to further explore these interests of mine and dig deeper.
I had the opportunity to chat with world renowned tattoo artist Robert Ryan for the publication and photograph / film him doing a Shiva Puja in his backyard temple. That was an incredible experience for so many different reasons. Robert is extremely knowledgeable and very devout in his practice. His practice is directly tied to his work as a tattoo artist and painter. I really admire his work, so it was extremely interesting to step into his space briefly and have some of that magic rub off on me. For that I am eternally grateful.
I also went up to New York to have a conversation with and photograph Kirtan singer Krishna Das, who was a long-time student and friend of spiritual thought leader Ram Dass. A long time ago they lived in a temple together in India with Maharaj-ji for several years. He has a very interesting life story. I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to hear it, chat with him and learn from his life experiences and knowledge.
I really enjoy the collaborative process of making these books. There are 13 or 14 other contributors included in Volume 2 from all around the globe, who’s work I really admire. From various projects shot in India, Korea and Japan to projects on Sufism in the UK and youth living in rural locations, it’s always exciting to see how other people approach these ideas and themes.
Browsing through the magazine I noticed a strong relationship between images and text. They both communicate to express the message more clearly. Can you explain this choice to us?
At its core, Photographic Bandwidth is a photography publication, so the first volume was primarily image-based with some descriptive text per project.
After spending some time away from the publication, I realized that it would make sense to beef up the text a bit. I feel that helped round things out with the second volume. It’s not overdone and the publication still heavily relies on photographs. But the added text (primarily through in-depth interviews) really helped the publication go full-circle.
Can you give us some anticipation on the subject of the next issue?
No, sorry. There’s always a possibility that things change and I’d rather keep it a surprise. I’ve learnt the hard way not to discuss on-going or upcoming projects prematurely.
How do you search for authors to publish? Do you organize open calls?
Each volume is curated and created around the guise of a specific theme. So once I have a preliminary idea as to what I want to focus on, I’ll usually search through Instagram and other photo-related platforms for photographers who have shot projects or made work (in general) that would aesthetically makes sense with the theme.
Often, before I’ve even started pre-production on a publication , I’ll already have a good idea as to whom I’d like to get involved in the upcoming volume. So then it’s simply a matter of reaching out and starting a conversation.
Sometimes people send me specific projects, with the intent of having them published in an upcoming volume. It’s always a nice gesture and occasionally it ends up being a project that fits the theme.
But generally, as each volume is highly curated, it’s almost always better when people instead reach out with some information about themselves and their work / links to their work, opposed to a specific project.
All in all, I’m just happy to contribute and have the opportunity to make these books. I’m super grateful to anyone who’s ever gotten involved or picked up a copy. I can’t wait to do more.