Acufocal: Focus on camera bag brand founder Robert Baggs

Acufocal is a camera bag brand founded by London-based professional photographer and FStoppers.com editor Robert Baggs. Launched after years of exasperation at having to lug around ungainly, unsightly rucksacks, Acufocal released their first design, the Orwell, in Summer 2017. Fashioned from quality, heavy duty black canvas while sporting stylish leather straps and glistening chrome buckles, the Orwell is just as slick and sophisticated as it is rugged and utilitarian.

Modestly priced in the £150 bracket, the Orwell’s stand-out feature is its bipartite design. Splitting the bag into two compartments, separated by a simple zip, means easy access to important gear – imperative for photographers working in testing environments. The fact that it’s beautiful and practical in equal measures is more than just a bonus: it makes it a no-brainer for freelancers for whom image is so important.

 

FAULT: There are a few designers out there trying to offer what Acufocal does. What gives you the edge?

Robert Baggs (Acufocal): What makes us different is the motivation behind the brand: my needs as a professional photographer who enjoys fashion. I don’t need to research what photographers need in this area, I just need to look at what it is I can’t seem to find when buying a camera bag and create it.

 

You’re a photographer yourself, and your website goes into a lot of depth describing your frustrations with having to choose between “function or fashion” in camera bags. Do you think that’s a universal concern among photographers or just for those who work in particularly fashion-conscious environments?

Acufocal: I try to remain as transparent and honest as possible, and the answer to that is: no, it’s not a universal problem. There are, I’m sure, myriad photographers who don’t care how their bag looks and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, I also know there are lots of people like me who would love the functionality and the care for its contents that a good camera bag has, but with a design that looks more like a backpack from a fashion label. This has been confirmed by all the attention the Orwell has garnered and positivity, which has been gratifying. From the start my aim for Acufocal was and is to create products for photographers that don’t compromise fashion or functionality, despite how difficult it might be.

What were your top 3 concerns when developing the Orwell design?

Acufocal: That’s a tough one. Again, in the interest of honesty, the final design was far from the first sample we had made. My number one concern was always “where will I be expected to compromise functionality or style, and how will I get around it?” Second was creating enough space, padding, and pockets to house the plethora of gear us photographers carry, without infringing on the design; that was what changed the most from the first sample to the final product. Thirdly was achieving all my above goals, the highest quality materials I could get my hands on, weather proofing the materials (which takes a week), and heavy-duty zips and clasps, all without causing us to have to put a huge price tag on it.

 

What would you say the “hook” of the design is, functionality wise?

Acufocal: The bag being essentially comprised of two bags with the middle being unzippable to access the bottom section. Rucksacks make for great camera bags because equipment is heavy and it’s the best way to support the weight. However, trying to wade through everything at the top of the bag to get to the stuff at the bottom was so much hassle. To bypass that problem, the Orwell unzips in to halves.

 

Acufocal - FAULT Magazine interview Robert Baggs

 

You worked on the Orwell with the help of a fashion designer, and you’ve admitted that the prototype wasn’t perfect (to be fair, they rarely are!). It sounds like it was a bit of challenge to translate your understanding of how the bag should work into a final product. Did that come as a surprise to you?

Acufocal: Yes and no. I expected there to be problems before I’d received the first sample, but the areas that I wanted changed were not what I expected. The first prototype had a lower grade fabric, rougher cotton inside, cheaper leather, and so on. So, even after we made several changes to the design, I then had to just concede that I couldn’t accept a product that wasn’t the best we could possibly make, and so we upgraded every single element of the bag to the best quality we could get. The difference was utterly staggering and that really did surprise me. They say you get what you pay for and I’ve never seen that truer than in manufacturing.

 

Let’s talk price. For a boutique brand, your prices stack up remarkably well to your more mainstream competition (some of the nattier Nat Geo bags are priced in the region of £200). Is that sustainable for you, or will you be upping your prices for the Orwell or other products in future?

Acufocal: As you can guess from my above answers, money was a real consideration for both us and our customer base. We didn’t and don’t have any investors, it’s just me and my business partner trying to realise my vision for a brand. I have spent twice what our bag costs on an ugly (albeit functional) camera bag and I really wanted to avoid that price tag. The price is sustainable, yes, but it wasn’t set by the business side of my brain, that’s for sure. The price won’t be going up though. I want to see my bags being put to good use and enjoyed, not just something for the elite.

 

Are you planning on developing other products to expand the line?

Acufocal: That’s top of my list. I would like to add more products and more colours of the Orwell, but as I say, this is my passion project and I’m not the front man of a large corporation. As we continue to grow I will put my ideas to our designer and see where we go.

 

What are your plans to grow the business in general? Where does Acufocal go from here?

Acufocal: My end game is to comprehensively fill the void of fashion-conscious bags for photographers. I will continue to weather the headaches in order to never compromise on function or style and it would make me very happy if one day we’re the go-to for photographers who care what they look like when they’re out and about.

 

What has been your proudest moment working on Acufocal so far?

Acufocal: Without question it’s seeing top photographers enjoying the bag. After all the work, time and effort that has gone in to transitioning from a dream of mine, to having the bags on sale, to having a photographer tag me in a picture of his Orwell was so rewarding. One of our customers is a videographer working on the Olympics opening ceremony and for whatever reason, that was particularly pleasing!

~

For more information, please visit:

www.acufocal.com
www.facebook.com/Acufocal
www.instagram.com/acufocallondon

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The Best Upcoming Rock Festivals of 2018

Source: Download Festival via Facebook 

The festival season is almost upon us, and the UK is one of the best places to enjoy music from all genres. There are more than twenty music celebrations taking place across the country this year, and among them are some awesome offerings for fans of rock music. Here we take a look at three rock festivals that are not to be missed in 2018.

Download Festival

Did you know that listening to rock music is actually good for your health? In this article by Lottoland, it notes how research discovered that heavy metal fans were happier and less regretful. So, if you want to avoid depression this summer, it might be wise to take a trip to Download Festival, the ultimate heavy metal event in England. It takes place at Donington Park in Leicester, and has been in existence since 2003. It quickly established itself as the most popular British rock festival and has featured world-renowned artists such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and Thin Lizzy.

This year the Main Stage headliners are Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, and Ozzy Osbourne. Popular acts such as Marilyn Manson, Black Stone Cherry, and Bullet for my Valentine are supporting as well. Famous for its use of facial recognition technology to ensure that criminals from a European database are banned from entry, Download is also one of the safest festivals to go to.   

Isle of Wight Festival

The Isle of Wight festival began as a counterculture event which ran for three years between 1968 and 1970. Acts like Jefferson Airplane, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix played in those days, helping the festival to go down in history. It returned in 2002 and has occurred every year since then. The major musical event has been a magnet for some of the world’s biggest artists over the years including the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Amy Winehouse, and Kings of Leon.

This year, the event will run for four days, and there are some seriously impressive names on the bill. These include the Killers, Van Morrison, the Wombats, Kasabian, Liam Gallagher, and Depeche Mode. This award-winning festival is an event that all rock fans should attend at some point in their lives.

TRNSMT Festival

TRNSMT Festival is the youngest event in this list and took place for the first time in 2017. Last year there were appearances from Radiohead, Kasabian, Biffy Clyro, and The View, helping the young festival to get off to a barnstorming start and achieve instant fame. It was named Best New Festival at the UK Festival Awards in London.

The event in Glasgow this year doesn’t include overnight camping, but it does run for five days. Once again, there are some hugely popular artists playing. These include Stereophonics, Liam Gallagher, Arctic Monkeys, and the Killers.

Rock fans in the UK are going to be treated to some exceptional music this summer from a number of world-renowned musicians. Being spoilt for choice, why not choose one you’ve never been to before?

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FAULT In Conversation With RuthAnne

 

With more and more fans falling in love with RuthAnne, it might be surprising to hear that the award-winning Dublin-born singer-songwriter is behind some of the largest hits from acclaimed artists such as Niall Horan, Britney Spears and even FAULT 26 cover star Martin Garrix. Today with the release of  ‘Take My Place’ we caught up with the young songstress to find out more about her inspirations, process and of course, FAULTS!

 

Hi RuthAnne, who has been your biggest inspiration?

Hi! My biggest inspirations have been people like Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, Carole King, Jeff Buckley, Coldpay, Kings of Leon, Destiny’s Child, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Justine Timberlake.

 

You’re about to head out on tour, favourite thing about performing live?

I think my favourite thing about performing live is just having the interaction with the crowd, something you don’t get if you’re in a studio. And getting to see how different songs connect with people, like you can see it in their face and their eyes. And I actually love making people cry – I kind of want tears. Just being able to talk to the crowd and then just sing, that’s what I love.

 

Is there a different process when you go from writing for other people to focussing on your own music?

I used to think it was different but it is actually pretty much the same. The only think that’s different is when you’re writing for someone else, when they’re in the room with you, you’re trying to tell their story – so I’m not gonna tell my story with the artist in the room, I want to tell their story so I have to kind of be the therapist for them but for my process I have to be my own therapist and pull out my own stories, but it is the same process.

 

What’s the biggest challenge that you encounter when writing for yourself than writing for other artists?

The biggest challenge used to be that I wasn’t really sure what direction to go. I always knew I wanted to do soul, but when you’re writing for other people you’re just used to doing so many different genres, so the problem comes when you’re writing for yourself – how do you just stick to one genre? Cos you’re so used to switching. Writing this album sort of happened by accident – it was through heartbreak and a lot of things fell into place and it kinda just came out and then this sound just formed naturally, which was just all my biggest influences fused together. So the only challenge now is just having my own identity and not always being compared to my songwriting identity, y’know.

 

How did you come to working with Niall Horan?

I had written some songs on the ‘Four’ album for One Direction, but I’d never met him. Actually wait – I met him drunk one time at The Brit Awards and I spilt a drink on him, so I met him then and then my co-writer Matt Rad, who he’d previously written a lot with, was having a session with him for the new One Direction album, and so he asked if I wanted to go and write with him and Niall. I was like yeah. Went in and wrote with him, the stuff didn’t really work for One Direction but we became friends and then when he was doing his own stuff he just sent me a text saying he was doing an album and did I want to come and write with him for it. On the first day together we wrote “You and Me”, which is on the album. On the second day, we wrote “Seeing Blind” which is the duet that’s on the album. So it just worked and we’ve been really good friends ever since!

 


Releasing my album because it’s been a long time coming! Getting to perform more, sing more. Getting to just tour more – see different places and travel. I love travelling. And just taking some time to be the artist, as well as spending some more time back in Ireland which will be nice.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Relax and enjoy it! I got a lot of success as a writer really young and I didn’t really know how to enjoy it. I was stressed all the time because I was like “oh when you get it you have to keep getting it”, but I think I would tell myself to just relax and enjoy and trust the process. When I was younger I used to think I had to rush and do everything in the now, but now I realise everyone’s journey is different and everyone has different times where things are gonna happen for them. So just trust the process and grow into yourself and find and be your true authentic self.

 

What is your FAULT?

I get impatient. That’s my fault I think. I’m the type of person who will distract kids to skip queues at Disneyland, because I hate queuing and want everything now!

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North London crooner Latir channels fuzzed out R&B sounds with “I’ll Be There”

Ready to take Summer 2018 by storm, North London singer/songwriter Latir returns to the scene with his refreshing new single “I’ll Be There”. Inspired by a past love, for whom he desires to show his utmost love and care. “I’ll Be There” is a light-hearted, feel good reminder, that just as much as she is there for him, he is also there for her, especially in her specific periods of personal dismay.

Produced by Danny George, “I’ll Be There” showcases Latir’s vocal range over a slacker pop beat, fuzzed out synths, and jazz-influenced piano. Listen in below.”

Latir Socials:
Soundcloud
Instagram

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FAULT Issue 28 – the Structural Issue – is now available to order

We are pleased to announce that FAULT Issue 28 – The Structural Issue – is available to order NOW.

FAULT Magazine Issue 28 - Janelle Monáe and Macklemore

FAULT Issue 28 cover star Janelle Monáe was shot by David Yeo and styled by Rachel Holland. Macklemore was shot by Miles Holder and styled by Rachel Gold. Click here to pre-order your copy of this issue!

Official release: 23/04/17

FAULT Magazine – the Structural Issue – proudly presents exclusive shoots and interviews with:

Janelle Monáe (front cover)

Macklemore (reversible cover)

Daniel Bruhl

Tory Lanez

Dylan Sprouse

Tom Walker

Lottie Moss

Rhye

Until the Ribbon Breaks

Isaac Gracie

Ady Sulieman

Plus our usual FAULTless selection of the finest Film, Fashion, Music & Photography, inspired by the aesthetics of structure and the tenets of structuralism as we expand our horizons in 2018

This is your FAULT

 

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 28 – THE STRUCTURAL ISSUE – IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40

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Macklemore covershoot and interview for FAULT Magazine 28

Macklemore X FAULT Magazine

Macklemore FAULT MAgazine Miles Holder.jpg

Photography: Miles Holder | Stylist: Rachel Gold | Groomer: Lauren Griffin using MAC Cosmetics | Photography Assistant: Chloe Ackers | Fashion Assistant: Alexx Dougherty | Grooming Assistant: Bethany London

 

Words: Miles Holder

Macklemore’s road to success hasn’t been a smooth one, despite the runaway success of 2012 album ‘The Heist’ with then collaborator Ryan Lewis – behind the scenes the pressure caused the artist to slip from his addiction recovery and withdraw within himself.

In 2017, Macklemore released album ‘Gemini’, his first solo album in twelve years and for many, the first time they’d seen him without his longtime companion Ryan by his side. With a brand new track ‘These Days’ currently sitting at number one in the UK charts and the announcement on daughter number two ringing in our ears, we sat down with Macklemore to learn more about his solo journey, fatherhood and the ever present elephant in the room, white privilege.

 

Around 2012 with the release Can’t Hold Us and Thrift Shop many journalists referred to you as “new kid on the block” and as a “runaway newcomer” despite you already having a decade of music releases under your belt. Did that label annoy you?

Macklemore: It didn’t annoy me, I think that in a lot of ways I was an underground rapper and then six months later I was this international Pop Star, so it was a very different role very quickly, so I understood why they said it. People don’t see the work that goes into this stuff. I think mainly with the internet and social media; kids get famous quickly now, and for a good bulk of my career the internet wasn’t a thing that was accessible to a lot of people as it is today. It happened extremely quickly when it did, but it was a good decade before that that I was honing my craft.

Macklemore FAULT MAgazine Miles Holder.jpg

You’ve been active in trying to explain your white privilege, even releasing a song of the same title onto your 2005 album ‘The Language of My World’. While commendable, why do you feel it’s essential for you to get the message across (possibly to the detriment of your fan base)?

Macklemore: To me, it’s the truth, and I want to acknowledge the systems in which we operate under in America. We are all under the system of white supremacy, and I do benefit from the colour of my skin in numerous ways, and that plays a factor in how I have an advantage regarding my art and concerning my career. To take from specific cultures and not acknowledge what’s going on is disingenuous. If I know the truth about it, it’s crucial for me to speak on the subject matter.

 

In that vein, why aren’t more artists doing it?

Macklemore: I think in a lot of ways some artists find it easier to stay quiet and think it’s easier for them not to say the wrong thing if they’re ignorant of the matter. There’s a lot of unpacking to do, and it’s not a subject where artists can say “oh I get it now” you’ve got to have conversations and do your research first. You’ve got to go back to the origin of America to see how this isn’t a philosophy or an ideology but that white supremacy has a history and has impacted the laws and systems in place today. For some, it’s easier just not to educate themselves.

Musicians and other media personalities often get called out for taking a political stance or are told to “shut up and dribble”, why is it essential for you as an artist to make your political opinion known?

Macklemore: I think that we as artists have platforms and we have the opportunity to engage with our fan base. I also don’t believe that it’s essential that all artists do that. Often people ask me “do you think that more people should be speaking up?” I feel that if you’re compelled to, and it comes from a real place, and it’s in your heart then that’s amazing. Music has always been a weapon of resistance for the people. There are songs that I wrote for Gemini which are much heavier but ended up not making the album because I didn’t feel like I was hitting it from the right angle. The songs weren’t saying what I wanted them to say and I don’t think that anybody should ever think that “ok now we have to have a political song to hit that quota”. These songs should always come organically should not feel contrived, or like you’re pandering. If it feels like I’m pandering, then I stay away.

 

What has been the hardest moment of your musical journey so far?

Macklemore: Adjusting to the fame in a condensed period and not staying sober has been the worst. There was a rapid transition and to have the world’s eye on me all at once with back- to-back number ones, and all the accolades that came with it – I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t know how to adjust, so I escaped. I think a lot of that peak season when I was around a bunch of people, doing sold out Arenas across the world was me isolating and using drugs. I used drugs to cope it and to get out of my head. Dealing with the love, criticism and outside public perceptions is a balancing act. Over the years I figured out how to deal with it, and it’s by not giving a fuck. People always say, “I don’t care what people think of me” but we all care! We are all insecure, and it’s a human fault that ties us all together, but when you can acknowledge that, you can work consistently in a spiritual practice that lessens how much you care. When you realise who you sincerely are, and not through somebody else’s eyes but through your soul and your spirit, all of a sudden there’s inner peace. It takes work and maintenance, and if you’re paying attention to the media and you’re on social media all the time to look for validation, it’ll never come. There will always be somebody that’s disagreeing with what you’re saying; you have to be at peace with yourself.

Is it a lot of pressure to have a newborn child and suddenly having to leave to be on tour?

Macklemore: I don’t know if pressure is the right word, but it’s strange to spend eight days with my newborn and then to leave and go on tour. It’s tough to look at pictures, and O feel like I’m missing something, and in a way, I don’t even know my baby yet. I’ve been away from her more than I’ve been there and it’s hard, but FaceTime is a beautiful thing in the meantime. My baby wasn’t planned so we’re adjusting, and people have been doing this forever so I am looking forward to eventually slowing down and just honing in on family life and being a dad for a good while.

 

What is your FAULT?

Macklemore: Addiction. I think that’s the thing that always reminds me that I could lose all of this at any minute. If I stop prioritising the daily recovery program that I do to maintain sobriety – I will lose it all. It’s bigger than my career and more significant than record sales – it’s my family. It’s my happiness, my life. A lot people at the beginning of the recovery wish they were normal and asked, “why can’t I just drink and do recreational drugs like other people?” I don’t think like that anymore; I think my program has been a way for me to get closer to god and for me to figure out who I am. Recovery helped me discover my character defects and my shortcomings and how I can progress to become a better version of myself. It’s there to remind me that this life isn’t permanent and I can lose it if I don’t work to maintain that sobriety on a daily basis.

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