Skye Parrott rarely bathes—she’d rather shower—but for us, she agreed to play the game for our series of publisher interviews. The photographer and co-founder of now defunct Dossier Journal is moving forward with a new project. Sitting in the tub of The Standard, High Line’s Hudson Studio, she talks about her upcoming publishing endeavor, Double or Nothing, as well as ocean baths.
Do you shower, or do you bathe?
Very efficient, on the go. But do you like to take baths?
I do not like to take baths. I find them very boring.
What’s your ideal bath? Does a bath in the ocean at midnight sound boring to you?
No, a bath in the ocean at midnight is nice. A bath in a bathtub is a little boring. But I don’t love to swim, actually. I like to go in warm and calm water, but the ocean when it’s too intense, I’m a little scared of. Which is funny because my mom is a really, really serious swimmer.
Don’t you think the bath is a way to of course relax, but also kind of go deep into your thoughts and rejuvenate them?
I don’t, I get bored in the bath. I find it relaxing for a minute but I might move a little too fast for baths.
“I find baths relaxing for a minute but I might move a little too fast for them.”
So you’re not hedonistic?
No, I think I am.
Oh, you are?
I think baths just, I don’t know. Being shot here was fun because Kat was shooting me and we were talking. But otherwise I do, I find them a bit boring.
Do you enjoy being naked?
Yeah, of course. Does anyone ever say no to that question?
Elephant Man would have maybe. How did Dossier get started?
The original idea behind Dossier was to create a publication that wasn’t specific to any one genre. We were looking to do something that took the best of all the magazines we loved and put them into one place. So you would find a fashion story like you would find in Self Service or Purple, along with poems and stories like you would find in a literary magazine. That’s what we were looking to do. What we wanted was a feeling of unexpectedness, so that you never really knew when you turned the page what you were going to find.
“With Dossier, we wanted the readers to never really know what they were going to find.”
When we started Dossier, we were also looking to provide a space. We were looking to provide a really New York view of what a truly independent magazine would look like.
What were the challenges of that, on a day-to-day basis?
Starting a publication truly independently, meaning without a lot of money behind us going into it, you have to be willing to do everything. And we were and we did. But the challenges of that are one of the things that brought Dossier to its close last year. There aren’t a lot of independent publications in New York; the market here doesn’t really support it. We reached a point with the magazine where our choice was to turn it into a business, or to stop doing it, and where we were kind of stuck in between those two positions. In order to do the kind of projects we had been doing, and to be able to have the independence we wanted with it, we couldn’t be beholden to advertisers, yet at the same time a magazine doesn’t pay for itself, so you have to figure out how you’re going to pay for it to make that space.
Dossier was more about day-dream, and inspirations.
Yeah, it was a creative venture and we found that with the structure we had, it just wasn’t the right move to try to grow it. It made more sense for us at the end to say, “This was amazing, we did twelve issues, we were around for seven years, and now we’re going to close it up and it’s going to be this awesome thing we did, but now we’re going to move on to different things.”
What was the piece from Dossier you’re missing the most?
For me the piece of Dossier that was most interesting, and that I found myself missing the most, was the space for collaboration. I loved being able to offer people whose work I believed in space to do a project. I remember sitting with one photographer in particular, where he was like “So what do you want me to do?” and I was like “I want you to do whatever you want to do.” That’s what this space was for. And him being like, “Nobody ever says that to me.” And I’m like, “I like your work, so your work, that’s what we want. I don’t care if there are credits in it, I just want you to take great pictures and we’ll put them in the magazine.” And I think we had a lot of people who found that to be unusual. As well as working with young talent, before they had done anything else. A lot of the people that we worked with over the years then went on to do really awesome, amazing things. That was another cool thing, identifying people whom you’re thinking: “This work is awesome, I want to see more of it, and I’m just going to give them space to do more.” Those things, I think, were both good.
Tell us about your next project?
I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do after closing up Dossier. I found that after awhile that really drew away from the fun of it so what I’m doing next is online. I really started to think about “What can we do online that we can’t do in print, and how can we use this medium in ways that takes advantage of what it can do that print can’t do?”
“Magazines have become a much less interesting format, so what I’m doing next is online.”
Any direction content-wise?
Right now we’re doing what we’re calling multi-media interviews. That’s the core content, along with collaborations with other brands and editorial publications.
When are you launching?
We’ve created a lot of the content already. So right now we’re working on the website. Hopefully in the next month or two. It’ll be this summer for sure.