Maggie Huber is a mix between the determined Elle Woods character of Legally Blonde and the bohemian spirit of Kate Hudson. She is a local photojournalist that works for the Courier-Journal for a paycheck, but has found that her passion is capturing real peoples’ lives through pictures. A few months ago with the aid of the funding platform for creatives, Kickstarter, she turned her passion into an actual magazine and titled it THIS…is Louisville. I met with Maggie and one of her fellow photographers, Aaron Borton, for lunch at the Main Eatery to talk about this new endeavor. We chatted over vegan vegetable soup and side salads.
Julie Gross: Where did the idea for THIS...is Louisville magazine come from?
Maggie Huber: I have a friend that’s an artist and he was always asking why I wasn’t working on my own personal projects. He was always pushing me and I was always making excuses then one day he just asked me to come up with just one idea for a project. The lay offs were happening at the Courier-Journal and the Neighborhood section began dwindling off and I thought this would pick up where that stopped.
I started thinking about the idea in July and I bought the LLC at the end of September and sent out emails to everybody saying, “Hey guys, I’ve got this idea you want to help me?”
J.G.: Who are the guys you emailed?
M.H.: My friends who went to Western (WKU). We all went to school together and this work is a lot like what we did back in school.
J.G.: What are your goals with this publication?
M.H.: The three goals of the magazine are to help people if we can, to showcase Louisville’s hidden gems and we believe everyone has a story to tell. I told the photographers what the goals were and then told them you can shoot whatever you want to. Everyone comes up with their own ideas. We meet once a week and if someone doesn’t have an idea we may share ideas but I never give assignments. Giving out assignments will make it feel like a job and I don’t want it be something where I’m asking them to do it for free and it’s something they don’t want to do. I feel like the more that they want to do a project the more passionate they will be about it and it will show in their photos. The second you take that away from them, that sincerity disappears.
J.G.: Why is it free?
M.H.: A friend of mine who publishes a free magazine told me “If you start charging for the magazine you’ll loose about 80% of your viewers.” I didn’t want to risk losing potential viewers because what we’re doing is important and the stories that we’re telling are important and I want to reach as many people as possible, even if we’re not making any money off of it.
J.G.: You offer paid subscriptions. Why, if I can get it for free?
M.H.: It’s been really hard to keep it stocked. There’s been such a buzz about it that copies disappear very quickly. The subscription will guarantee that you get it and some people are paying for a subscription to support us.