Behind the scenes: MC1R magazine

by Miranda Thompson in March 2015
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Named after the gene that gives redheads their Titian tint, the first issue of MC1R magazine was a resounding success with Germany’s redheads (and their admirers).

Editor and founder Tristan Rodgers has switched from German to English for the second issue, so I caught up with him to find out more about the magazine’s makeover, and why the first digital issue of MC1R will be its only one.


What’s so special about redheads?
Redheads are one of the world’s smallest minorities (they make up approximately 2% of the human population) and I think there’s a lot that ties us together, especially that we’re so often characterised by our hair, either positively or negatively.

What inspired you to create a magazine about redheads?
As a child, I didn’t have anything that showed me what it’s like to go through life with red hair, so I wanted to collect the experiences that redheads had growing up, from children to adults. I interviewed 12 people to get their points of view and I photographed them, and out of interest I looked into how much it would cost to print maybe 20 or so copies as a magazine for them.

It turned out that the print costs for 20 copies was very close to 500, so I decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to see whether anyone else would be interested in reading something like this. It turned out to be very successful – about 200 people placed orders for the first issue! I never really intended to make a magazine, but it’s definitely turned into a matter of the heart for me.


How is the second issue different from its first incarnation?
At first I had no idea that there was much of a culture surrounding red hair, but once the first issue came out I became aware of it. There are so many people creating art about red hair; writers, photographers, dancers, actors, right down to the people I interview. Everyone is part of this big thing!

After finding out about so many projects, I decided to put them together in the second issue and give them a platform. The first issue was really just the interviews and portraits, but this issue is organised very differently – there are over 20 artists featured in many different ways.


Can you tell me more about why you’ve decided to print the second issue in English?
I think the first issue of MC1R would have been too small for the international market, plus I had to learn a few things about making magazines first! Now, with the second issue, I’ve found that the German market is too small for a print magazine just for redheads.

I can’t afford to print a small stack just in German; the costs would have been too much and the magazine would be too expensive. But I’m not sad about losing the German language version – I think every German can speak English nowadays. If they can’t, they always have friends who can translate it for them!

What’s more, making MC1R available on the international market also means it can feature the festivals, art projects and people around the world, rather than just in Germany, and the magazine can be stocked in their local stores wherever they are. There’s never been a worldwide print magazine for redheads before MC1R, so I’m really proud to have been the first  to have done it.


You’ve said that the digital version of MC1R’s first issue will be its only one. Why are you doing away with digital?
I like the idea of getting away from digital media – sometimes I feel like it can take over  your life. You can get totally lost in this digital world! I like the traditional feel of a print magazine; it’s a wonderful piece of art that you can collect and absorb yourself in. And as a publisher, it’s something you can grow with. You see the mistakes you make and learn how to improve with every issue. In the end, I want to create a high-end, professional magazine with fantastic stories and unique content.

What are your hopes for MC1R?
It was a dream for me to have a magazine in German stores like Do You Read Me?! in Berlin or Haus der Photographie in Hamburg, and now I do! I hope to collect a big base of readers who like the magazine – I already receive a lot of letters and emails from people who tell me to keep working on it! And I want to create a huge network of artists who are producing projects about redhead culture across the world. I’m currently talking to ‘Redhead Days’ (a Dutch festival) and the Irish Redhead Convention about the next issue of the magazine, and I’m hoping I can bring people together just like these events do.

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