Brayden has been in our regular stable of photographers for quite some time now, and he’s the one we’d most like to saddle up and ride like a donkey (in our world, that’s a good thing). He’s from Seattle, and despite spending the first 21 years of his life in the rain, he isn’t a manic-depressive head case like a lot of Pacific Northwesterners. When he first moved to New York he worked as a photographer’s assistant, schlepping bags for the likes of Angela Boatwright and Chris Shonting. If he looks familiar, you probably recognize him as the guy who dropped acid before going to the Westminster Dog Show in one of our most viral videos. For this issue, Brayden spent time with five of the best Elvis impersonators in New York and New Jersey.
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The editor-in-chief of Indy Week in Durham, North Carolina, Lisa was born in Mechanicsburg, Indiana, population 300. In the early days of her career, she worked at dailies and an alt-weekly in Bloomington before moving to Texas, where she was the editor and senior writer at the San Antonio Current. She has earned more than 20 awards for her work in public interest, news, and investigative reporting, as well as features, food, and profile writing. She also holds a certificate in documentary arts from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. For this issue, Lisa wrote about her gun-loving Aunt Debra, who scared the shit out of everyone around her. If Lisa made a movie about Debra, we would definitely watch it.
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Amanda is a 24-year-old photographer who lives in Los Angeles. She hates hippies, has never been to middle America, wishes Yoko Ono were her mom, refuses to wear denim, and her first word was the Farsi word for “God.” One day she hopes to launch her own magazine, which she says will be a tasteful cross between National Geographic and Playboy. Until that finally comes together, you can check her work out in other publications, including ours. For this issue she took a bunch of photos of her hot, scantily clad friends for a fashion shoot in the desert. It looked like they were all having a very spiritual time, and it made some of us wish we lived in LA instead of cold, uncaring New York.
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Though his main haunts are San Francisco and Ocean Beach, California, McNair also makes a habit of traveling the country on Amtrak trains to photograph and collaborate creatively with fellow passengers, who sometimes have names like Flem Flam. His work draws parallels between the lives of individuals and universal experience, using nuances of light to express these sentiments. McNair is currently a finalist for the John Gutmann Photography Award, and his first monograph, "A Journal of Southern History," will be published this year by San Francisco’s Owl & Tiger Books. You can view more of his work, join his mailing list, and contact him at his website, mcnairevans.com.
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Yoko Ogawa, one of Japan’s most famous living novelists, is the author of more than 20 books, including The Housekeeper and The Professor and Hotel Iris. We think it’s annoying when American critics compare Japanese authors to Haruki Murakami just because he’s the only Japanese novelist they’ve ever read. That said, we still agree with this quote from the San Francisco Chronicle: “Ogawa’s fiction could be as fascinating as that of Haruki Murakami—a very stripped-down, lightly eerie version of Murakami.” Yoko’s amazingly weird story in this issue, “Sewing for the Heart,” is from her forthcoming collection Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales, which is out in February from Picador.