Migis Lodge, Maine. Photo by Evan McGlinn
Interview by Everett Potter
Evan McGlinn is a photojournalist for The New York Times and The Boston Globe as well as a contributing editor for American Express’ Departures magazine. I met him standing at a bar — well, we are journalists — at the famed Yellowstone Club in Montana nearly a decade ago. It didn’t take long to discover that we shared a similar sardonic take on the world. That was a good thing, given that the Yellowstone Club — a member’s-only ski club for billionaires and mere multi millionaires that has run into countless financial troubles — was one of the most exuberant examples of trophy egos that I’ve ever seen anywhere. A special sense of humor was as essential as the capacity to drink fine wines and enjoy miles of perfectly groomed corduroy skiing with those who had drunk the Kool Aid.
Evan McGlinn, founder of Tripmagnifica
McGlinn has traveled the globe for more than 25-years, from the Atlantic salmon rivers of Russia’s Kola peninsula to New Zealand’s South Island to the Relais and Chateaux castles of Europe. Simply put, he covers the world of high-end travel. He recently started Tripmagnifica.com, which is a one-of-a-kind photography service for busy clients who travel on high-end vacations and adventures anywhere in the world. He takes all the photos on a trip — so you don’t have to — and makes bespoke photography albums that will preserve your memories for generations to come. I recently had a chance to ask him about it.
Migis Lodge, Maine. Photo by Evan McGlinn
Everett Potter: How did you come up with the idea for Tripmagnifica?
Evan McGlinn: My family and I have been spending a week in August at Migis Lodge in Maine for years. The same families visit at the same times every year and they all knew that I was a photojournalist who shoots for The New York Times. All of them had photography questions for me on a daily basis and they asked me why their photos didn’t look like mine. I loved helping them! It occurred to me that people would benefit to have professional photos of their vacations and adventures. After all, there is no way you can photograph yourself skiing, mountain climbing or hooking an Atlantic salmon.
EP: The concept seems like an extension of the kind of editorial work you’ve done in your career. In short, a client is hiring you — a professional photojournalist — to create an ultra-personal magazine or memento. Is that the idea?
EM: That’s correct. I am a firm believer in the power of photography, not only to document world events, but our personal lives. Also, maybe it is my Irish blood, but I am keenly aware that life is short. I want my kids to have an incredible archive of their lives and I make a book for them at the end of every year with photos of all our adventures together. I think giving a loved one a Tripmagnifica experience is the ultimate gift. Also, books last forever. Hard drives don’t.
Migis Lodge, Maine
EP: How long does it take to document a travel experience for someone? Would you need to travel with them the entire time, or simply parachute in for a few days to get the essence of the experience?
EM: I could do both depending on what people are looking for. Clearly, if a family is going to Jumby Bay or St. Barts for a week and sitting on the beach, I can understand why a full week with them might be overkill. In that case, I could come for a couple of days. Bigger trips – fly fishing in Montana or African safaris, for example – are much richer experiences and have lots of opportunities for in-depth story-telling with images. I love to capture everything from the camaraderie of the meals to the thrill of landing a trophy brown trout or the drama of a lion hunting its prey. Those sorts of trips require time and I typically shoot 1,500 images a day or more. People joke that I am on vacation too, but it is hard work carrying two cameras and spare lenses and being on top of your game for 10-hours or more.
Bingo. Photo by Evan McGlinn
EP: Give us an idea of the kinds of trips where this might work best.
EM: Any trip where there are a variety of locations and interesting visual stories to be told. That would include ski trips, wine and barge tours in France, and fly fishing trips. I will photograph anything, anywhere. I recently returned from a Tripmagnifica trip to Scotland with a group from Moscow who were pheasant hunting on The Duke of Roxburghe’s estate south of Edinburgh. It was terrific. I setup remote-controlled cameras so that I could photograph them in the front while they were shooting.
EP: Can you give us an idea of a ballpark estimate for a Tripmagnifica shoot? And what the client gets at the end of a Tripmagnifica experience?
EM: I charge $2,495 a day plus all travel and accommodation expenses and I have a 3-day minimum. All clients receive a digital copy of the final images which I have personally edited in Adobe Lightroom and have adjusted for things like color saturation, sharpness and cropping. I make the images sparkle. If clients would like a book I can make anything from one on Blurb.com to a handmade leather photo album handcrafted in New Zealand by one of my partners. Books range in price from $2,000 to $5,000 or more. So, a three-day trip with a Blurb.com book of 200 pages or more would about $9,500 plus expenses. I know all of that sounds very expensive, but remember, this is inexpensive compared to most wedding photography. Weddings can cost well over $15,000 for just one day. And that doesn’t include a book.
Tripmagnifica – Your Personal Trip Photographer from Evan McGlinn on Vimeo.