I’m hugely pleased to announce that Ailsa McWhinnie, of Brighton, UK, has agreed in principle to join the staff of The Online Photographer part-time in 2015, with the goal of eventually becoming full-time.
Ailsa was the founding Editor of the UK’s Black & White Photography magazine, over which she presided for more than 100 issues. She was my editor for some 80 columns I wrote for that magazine. Although we haven’t yet met in person, we always worked together extremely well and got along famously, becoming very good e-friends during that time, emailing often and talking and Skyping occasionally.
For me, Ailsa is to the concept of “assistant” what “Ferrari” is to sports cars or “Annika Sorenstam” is to women golfers. I’d actually actively daydreamed about one day having her help as Managing Editor of TOP, always believing it was just plain out of reach.
Although we both think it’s feasible now, the transition is going to be rocky. She keeps very busy with freelance work for various publishers in London, with varying commitment requirements. For my part, when a company with 350 employees or 35,000 employees hires one more, they are only increasing their workforce by a tiny percentage. For me to do it requires doubling the number of employees…currently just one, me...which a company of any size would have problems doing. I cannot begin to afford to pay her a full-time salary right away; we will need to work up to that. Can TOP’s earnings support it? Very much remains to be seen.
The hope, of course, is that Ailsa’s participation will turbocharge the site and help make it much better (and help it earn more, which in turn will help pay her). She is great at all the things I’m not good at, and having her help will free me to do two things: do more (and better!) writing (and actually keep more of the promises I make), and do more of the things I need to do to have something to write about: namely, shooting, printing, seeing shows, meeting photographers, using lenses, reading photography books, and all the other photographic activities that would make excellent grist for my daily mill. (She will also do a little writing, effectively as editor-at-large for the UK.)
We hope to begin working together part-time in November and to have a more formal announcement (with press release) at the beginning of 2015.
TOP turns 10 later next year—and I hope won’t be standing still!
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Terry Letton: "Excellent. Black & White Photography was and is my favorite magazine. I still buy the print edition every month. It was a big change though when Ailsa left, but it still is the type of thing I like to read, lots of great pictures. Welcome Ailsa."
Geoff Wittig: "That precise issue of Black & White Photography magazine is my all-time favorite. Catnip for landscape photographers. Dang it, now I'm going to have to dig it out of my 'stacks' and re-read it. Shouldn't take me more than a week to find it. Congratulations, and looking forward to seeing more of Ms. McWhinnie's excellent work."
Christine Bogan: "It's a joy to read about her. I was a subscriber to Black & White Photography for several years. I remember when she bought her Mamiya 6 and was so excited about it. Still have all my issues. It was that good in those days. Later it lost quality after Ailsa went away for other tasks. I'm very happy you have the chance to work together with her at TOP. Congratulations. And welcome to Ailsa!"