Review: Rear Curtain, Issue 5

(c)JSP_RC Cover_1626

It had been a good day: Good weather, good things happened during the day, had a good lunch with my wife. Wanted to end the day in a good way.

Luckily, what I pulled out of the mailbox helped that along.

Rear Curtain Issue 5.

From The Editor_RC5_0232014_1622

Sitting down with a glass of wine last evening, I dived in.

Issue 5 is devoted to the theme of family and relationships. Ray Ketcham, in his From the Editor letter talks about the upsurging proliferation of family stories. He writes, In the past we’ve collected those stories in photo albums, bringing them out to share with family and friends and today we are putting them together in self-published books and on websites to share even with people who aren’t related to us at all.

It’s an interesting observation, especially since we’re all concerned, I think, with how much we want to reveal online. The Web will continue on. Delete doesn’t mean DELETE. Yet, many of us are sharing our lives, our families, our relationships, with the outside world.

Ray further writes, In many ways the explosion of projects involving immediate family has become overwhelming. This age of self seems to have promoted the inward reflection at the expense of a broader view that looks for understanding of our own relationships in the world around us. I believe it is time to look outward at family relationships, to explore what is common, to see what is different, and to learn from others, a new definition of family.

And looking outward is what Rear Curtain Issue 5 does. A fantastic look, by my estimation.

Here’s a sampling.

All The Same but Different
~ Hilde Mesics Kleven

(c)JSP_RC5_Hilde Mesics Kleven_032014_1628

Excerpt: In Norway, 9 out of 10 people who discover they are carrying a fetus with Down syndrome choose to have an abortion.

But Ingrid, age 11, when observing her 12 year-old sister Marte, see “different” in another way. The most important thing: “She can’t feel when she’s hungry.”


I (Hilde) was led back to Marte and Ingrid by a photography assignment, but it was the love and acceptance in this family and between the sisters that drove me to go back again. And back again. This is the story of family.

* * * * *

Living With The Sea ~ John McPherson

(c)JSP_RC5_John MacPherson_032014_1629

Excerpt: This was the very real and economically impacting effect of climate shift, and these families were at the sharp end of it.

I got only one frame and in many ways it’s an unremarkable image. But I love it. It captures a father and his son each lost in their own thoughts, oblivious to each other and to me and ‘held’ within the circle of their own making.

* * * *

The Gift of William Albert Allard.

(c)JSP_RC5_William Albert Allard_032014_1631

Excerpt: It can be too easy to be satisfied if one’s not careful and self critical to the degree needed.


The difference between a good picture and a really special picture is so often a matter of inches.

* * * * *

Becoming Sisters ~ Mallory Benedict

(c)JSP_RC5_Mallory Benedict_032014_1632

Excerpt: Ji and Jemma Stotts, seven and three, have been sisters for only four months. Adopted into a family from Trenton, Missouri, the girls were once strangers from two different provinces in China.

* * * *

Small Town Inertia ~ Jim Mortram

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Excerpt: It turned a hate relationship – being stuck in a kind of no man’s land – into love. I began to appreciate everything, notice more, listen more, and realize just how much strength there is.

Photography is such a powerful sharing tool: Present that with testimony and you can really share.

Tradition Matters
~ Brian Miller

RC5_Brian Miller_032014_1636

Excerpt: His grandsons, James and Eloy, have just killed his pig, a sizable animal weighing several hundred pounds. James shot it in the forehead with a .22 rifle and Eloy then used a white handled knife to stop its heart quickly. It was a violent few minutes marking the beginning of the matanza.

I mean, if you don’t have your traditions, your family, how do you know who you are.

* * * *

Whew. This is SUCH a strong issue from the team at Rear Curtain: Ray, Sabrina Henry (Managing Editor), Matt Connors (Associate Editor); Emily Kawahara (Assistant Editor), Dorothy Brown (Feature Editor) and Stuart Sipahigil.

Such great photography, so many great stories, all interweaving, slipping, sliding, intermingling to support the theme of the issue. I honestly can’t pick which my favorite story was. They are all so well done, well developed, well shot and well written.

The RC team keeps getting better and better. And it’s at a price. As Ray states in his opening “All of us are working or have other commitments and its a challenge to find the time to pull together each issue but somehow it always gets done.”

Maybe that’s what I continue to love about Rear Curtain. The editorial team, the contributors…their work, their art is done out of love. Something else may pay the bills, but they keep producing fantastic issues of their magazine (which you can get as a hard copy or an e-mag. But if you get the hard copy, the e-mag comes for free.)

They just continually get it done.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add this in: For the fifth-consecutive issue, I’m part of Rear Curtain. They again close their issue with one of my noir images.

(c)JSP_RC5_Mark Krajnak_032014_1639

Not sure how this really plays into the “family” theme, except that, in some small way, I feel part of the Rear Curtain family, the community they are building. They do the heavy lifting. My image just slams the door shut to another issue.

And for that I thank them. And for all the contributors to Issue 5. It’s really spectacular.

If you love great, grassroots photojournalism, documentary photography and great writing, pick up and issue of Rear Curtain. Order it here.

You won’t be disappointed.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2014

3 thoughts on “Review: Rear Curtain, Issue 5

  1. You’re part of our family Mark. We really should add you to the roll call. Pick a title or Ray will assign one to you!

    Thank you for this lovely review. People sitting on the fence about making a purchase will appreciate the in depth preview. We hope they enjoy it as much as you did.

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