09/25/2015

Keeping up with Kinfolk

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Nathan Williams, the indie OG, lets us in on the secret to living slow and a tap-worthy feed.


One could say that food photography has never looked as homogenous as it does today. Imagine taking the ideal foodstagram: natural lighting, wooden table, napkin folded on the side casually. The dish and utensils may change, but the mood remains the same. If anyone’s responsible for this almost uniform look, it’s food and lifestyle indie magazine Kinfolk.

Based in Oregon, this magazine is arguably responsible for the global movement to promote slow living, a lifestyle that advocates taking one’s leisure time in order to feel more fulfilled. It’s a magazine chockfull of minimalist clothing, obscure hobbies, and casual food photos that make you wanna gather your friends by the hearth. (It doesn’t even matter if you have no hearth to begin with.)

Kinfolk has become so popular that all over the world, Kinfolk gatherings — where friends come together to dine in a communal table — from New York to Tokyo happen regularly. In fact, not even Singapore is oblivious to the pseudo-hipster madness; it was there that we caught up with Kinfolk editor Nathan Williams during an indie magazine symposium early this year. Taking a few moments of his time, we asked him about staying true to living slow and what people should do more often.

YOUNG STAR: Did you expect the sort of response that you had with Kinfolk? You can see on social media that a lot of people curate their work to look like Kinfolk.

NATHAN WILLIAMS: It was definitely an unexpected response. I think it continues to change, and we continue to evolve that style of photography. I think a lot of the photos, we styled them to focus on the social aspect. It’s focusing on the meal, on the relationships, on people interacting. It’s something unique, I think.

You’ve mentioned that advocating a slow lifestyle in a magazine takes a lot of work. How do you stay genuine in that direction?

I think a lot of comes down to the text and stories that we commission, the types of people we have working on them, and encouraging them to keep it casual and loose.

You personally update the Kinfolk Instagram account. What would be your favorite filter?

I don’t use any filters. I use Snapseed, and I just edit them.

What is something people don’t do enough to relax?

Probably they don’t invite people into their homes and cook meals for them. I think too often we go out to eat in restaurants.

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