A Case for Kinfolk

I'm going to be honest. Not a big fan of @socalitybarbie. I understand the thought behind it, and can even empathize with it, but I think it’s gone too far. It feels like things that a lot of people genuinely enjoy have become the butt of a lot of online jokes. (It's not all bad! It does get a lot right. Here’s a link to an article talking about what I appreciate about Socality Barbie’s account)

On the account, it mocks Instagrammed photos of Kinfolk Magazine–usually on a white duvet with a cup of coffee and a pair of well-toned female legs. Honestly, I can see why. It’s a photo that isn't original on Instagram and is, quite frankly, lazy. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve fallen into this lazy way to get likes. But here’s why I’m not as annoyed by those photos: because they are still beautiful. As artists, we are drawn to beauty. So when we see something beautiful, we want to capture it. Kinfolk is a magazine that overflows with art, so of course we want to photograph it. And all the time and energy that was spent making this journal so beautiful deserves to be celebrated. I challenge myself and others to find new ways to visually celebrate it’s quality workmanship and inspiring qualities and to share that celebration with others.

So here's why I’m going to keep buying and reading Kinfolk.

Kinfolk is a work of art. Seriously. When I bought my first copy, I was blown away by the quality, thought, and heart behind it. 

There’s a new movement happening that is actually really healthy for the magazine industry, and Kinfolk is leading the charge. More and more content-focused magazines are gaining popularity–magazines where beauty is at their heart, not money; magazines with no ads, stunning photographs, and real stories that bring all kinds of people together rather than focusing on what’s trending. 

I’m afraid that Socality Barbie might be hindering a product that's encouraging people to emerge from a facade of hipster “authenticity” to embrace true, soul-bearing authenticity.

One of my favorite Kinfolk articles I’ve read is about sunburn. Okay, that sounds kind of weird, I know. But it is simply beautiful. It talks about how consuming spicy foods gives your skin a higher tolerance to ultraviolet light exposure. What I love is that the article is approached in a different way that honors the content rather than turning it into a trendy gimmick. I don't read it as a “how not to get burned this summer” but as an engaging, well-written piece that encourages me to really think. I mean think about it: Who eats spicy foods? Latin American Countries. Middle Eastern people. And Southeast Asian communities. But not only do they all eat spicy foods, but they all live around the Equator...which gets the most sun. Are you following?

Guys, this is beautiful. There wasn’t a group of people that sat down and said, “Hey, let’s try eating spicy foods to see if that helps us get less burned. Oh! It worked! Great! Let’s tell everyone to do it.” No. It was something sewn into our DNA as humans–something that happened naturally as we settled in a new environment. That’s f*cking awesome. Like, woah, humans are a wild work of amazing engineering. That gets me pumped!

What's cool is that this information isn't really anything new. And it wasn't Kinfolk itself that made it significant or any cooler than it already is–they just chose to talk about it. They made their readers aware of a beautiful part of our design and experience that lots of us never stopped to think about. Isn't that what art should do? 

There's something different with this kind of content. It’s not a how-to on living the #thatPNWlife, like many might think, but a celebration of creating and discovering beauty. It is so much richer than other media that keeps us entertained until we put it away. This is something special that can inspire us to do something.

That’s why I like Kinfolk. It inspires me to make beautiful things. To share beautiful things in seemingly unbeautiful places. To share reality in a beautiful way.


Have you picked up a copy of Kinfolk? What do you think of it?
What about Socality Barbie? Let me know, I'd love to hear what you think!

thanks Courtney for helping me turn our rants over text into this post.