Oklahoma City native Morgan Tepsic turns disposable cameras into a music magazine

Tepsic Magazine is a poster-size print periodical. Its producer mails personalized disposable 35mm cameras to musicians and celebrities and uses the results in the magazine.
By Becky Carman, For The Oklahoman Modified: June 26, 2014 at 4:49 pm •  Published: June 26, 2014
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Anthony Bourdain and his wife, Ottavia Busia. The celebrity chef and author has contributed photos, including this one, for publication in Tepsic Magazine. PHOTO PROVIDED
Anthony Bourdain and his wife, Ottavia Busia. The celebrity chef and author has contributed photos, including this one, for publication in Tepsic Magazine. PHOTO PROVIDED

It’s been an unlikely path for Oklahoma City’s Morgan Tepsic, to say the least. An early adopter of new technology and media — from Nintendo at age 2, to AOL at age 6, and then on to blogging, Flickr, Tumblr, Kickstarter — 24-year-old Tepsic has now positioned himself at the helm of a creative endeavor that relies on one dying analog medium, sent via another, to fill the pages of yet another.

Tepsic Magazine is a poster-size print periodical that mails personalized disposable 35mm cameras to musicians. They mail them back, and the developed photos, curated by Morgan Tepsic, are then used to fill the pages of the magazine. There are no writers, no interviews with the artists or reviews of their work. The magazine’s fourth issue is currently available for presale via Kickstarter.

The concept of a magazine that contains only photos doesn’t seem so far-fetched for Tepsic if you consider his lifelong interest in photography. At age 6, Tepsic’s father gave him a handful of disposable cameras, which he used to take photos of his family. After they spent years in his childhood garage, Tepsic developed those rolls of film just one year ago.

“It was a very full circle experience,” Tepsic says.

Early exposure

At age 18, Tepsic moved overseas for a year and started documenting his travel through film photos. It was around this time also that he started developing his Lomography, a trademarked name for a community movement for off-the-cuff film photography, ideally using relatively inexpensive Lomo-branded cameras, which are known for their vivid photo colors and inconsistent exposures.

He kept photographic records of his travels, including a road trip across the United States funded by a private art grant, and he published his developed photographs via online media-sharing sites like Tumblr and Flickr, though there was some notable online news outlet coverage when Tepsic’s Flickr account was hacked and thousands of his photos were deleted. During this time, he also started what would become the precursor to Tepsic Magazine’s current incarnation, publishing a handful of issues before deciding on the current size and format.

“When I approached the concept of this magazine, I wanted to create a premium-quality product on a startup budget,” Tepsic says.

That meager budget is a primary reason why the disposable camera idea was born.

“There just wasn’t any money to spend on digital cameras, and I am not interested in printing Instagram pictures, so I got creative and decorated the most affordable cameras I can send out,” Tepsic says. “I try and tell Kodak and Fuji that I can save this failing market for them — all you have to do is make it look cool.”

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KICKSTARTER

You have less than a week to support the fourth issue of Tepsic Magazine. For details, go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/142772529/tepsic-magazine.

People are drawn to the magazine because it’s an incredibly simple concept that completely supports each artist.” — Morgan Tepsic

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