Upon their debut in 2014, we fell in love with Four&Sons magazine; a biannual print publication focusing on creators and their canines (or canine inspirations). The profiles within—incorporating charming visuals—were more than a celebration of dogs. Each touched upon the intricacies of relationships artists have with their pets, oscillating between intellectual and emotional. The magazine is now on its fifth issue and they’ve come a long way. From a profile of fashion-photographer-turned-dog-photographer Paul Croes to an eerie survey of dehydrated dog treats, the content is uncommon but delightful. Here we present an exclusive look at the spreads of artist Langley Fox and her dog Zeppelin, but we also spoke with Four&Sons creative director Marta Roca to best understand what this issue means for the brand as a whole.
Beyond the publication’s general theme, there isn’t a strict theme of each issue. As Roca explains to CH, however, “When I write the editor’s letter, I try to bring some sort of thread that doesn’t connect every single story but puts much of it into context.” She continues, “This time it was all about serendipity. Things that just happen thanks to the relationship between people and their dogs. It brings a bit of a back story.” Any dog-owner or dog-lover can understand how the term “serendipity” is applicable.
The content, altogether, does feel stronger than their debut. Roca attributes this to “developments with the quality of the photography and our engagement with contributors.” She acknowledges that being such a niche publication requires a deeper dive into finding both interesting and inspiring content. “And we are becoming more and more adept at finding all these beautiful things but we would love everything we publish to just be created by us. We fall in love with amazing projects and photographers and we publish their work but some of it is work that has been created independently of us. It’s our goal to have the whole creative direction come from our team.” While that’s still a dream, the through-line to the publication is so unified that even though not all imagery is exclusive to them, turning the pages does feel like a cohesive exploration.
“A big part of our continued inspiration is like, forgive the comparison, being a dog with a bone and not wanting to let go. In a way, every time we start an issue we put our bar a bit higher and we have to go and do it better. We must find content that we think is fresh or new or even a bit controversial.” Roca adds that they do receive many submissions, among which they find hidden treasures. Therein, they’ve also realized takes and angles on content that they couldn’t have ever imagined. But most importantly, what’s made the magazine better as a whole, she notes: “As our circulation and awareness has grown, we can approach people with more confidence. The whole magazine speaks for itself.”
Images courtesy of Four&Sons, with photography by Curtis Buchanan and words by Jane Helpern