Strongbox Magazine


For a number of years STRONGBOX Magazine was a quartlery magazine released as a free downloadable Portable Data File (PDF). Thank you Dan Buczynski, Editor-in-Chief for this labor of love.
Content is from the site's archived pages.

In late 2008, I accepted a job in which I didn't think I would get to use many of the graphic design skills I'd built over the years. I didn't want those skills to go down the toilet completely, and so I wondered how I could force myself to keep using them on my own.

Since I've been into photography most of my life, I knew photography had to be the fuel to drive whatever projects would keep me going. My initial thought was to simply assign myself deadlines to shoot new photo essays and post them to my personal website. This wouldn't really have helped me to grow my page layout skills, though, and so that went right out the window. For that reason, I thought that I would put a pdf file together using my photo essays and throw some text in there and put those on my site.

One night while chowing down on some wings with Todd, I was thinking out loud about my ideas. He suggested bringing other people into the project. If I was going to be doing this anyway, why not include some other people who might want to flex their creative muscles?

At first, I was a little reluctant. We'd both been part of a group that organized local photography shows on a monthly basis, and we learned the hard way that when too many hands rummage around in a cookie jar, it becomes more work than fun. I didn't want this to be another job, much less one that costs me money rather than brings it to me.

After I thought about it some more, I agreed that he was onto something. If there were other people involved, not only would I feel more pressure to meet my deadlines and keep working, but other people would be actually looking at it, and therefore I would be pushing myself to grow my skillset.

More importantly, I wouldn't be the only one benefiting from this undertaking. People that were looking for an outlet for their work would have a place to turn. This wouldn't be some closed-door joint only open to established "artists." If you had something to say, you would be able to say it here.

So, over many more beers and wings, it was decided that we'd start a photography-based, online magazine that would be open to anyone with the desire to be more creative. Now we needed a name. Several were thrown around, but none stuck. We briefly settled on Confluence, in part because it would be a place where ideas converge, but mostly because we live in and are in love with Pittsburgh, famous for the confluence of the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. I did an early mockup of a website and front cover, but stopped short of registering any domain names because it just didn't feel right.

Then, one morning on my way to work, a line from Goodfellas jumped into my head for no reason at all. The scene where the 'Fellas are hijacking a truck and Tommy shoves his gun in the driver's face and asks "Where's the strongbox, ya fuckin' varmint?"

Strongbox. Hm.

It sounded cool. It had weight when I mocked up the first cover. And where do you put things that are valuable or important to you? In a strongbox. Yes. It worked. I registered the domain.

We've got quite a few issues under our belts now, and I've never been happier to be working on this project. Creativity doesn't always come easily for me. At times, it's damned hard work. Having so many talented people take part in this project over the years is an honor and a constant inspiration. I look forward to seeing many more for years to come.

Specifically, I look forward to seeing yours.




Winter, 2014

Volume Six, Issue Four
Winter, 2014
Cover photo by 2wenty

Photographic works by Isa Gelb, Roy Kienitz, Chris Litherland & 2wenty| Photographs and Prose by Melissa Crouch



Volume Six, Issue Three
Fall, 2014
Cover photo by Darren Pearson

Creatures of the Light by Darren Pearson | Poison Ivy by
Angela Butler | West Virginia State Penitentiary by David Grim | Prose by Melissa Crouch


Volume Six, Issue Two
Summer, 2014
Cover photo by Michael Paul Smith

Chasing Ghosts: Relics of Rust Belt Days Gone By - Derek Chase  |  Selected works from Richard Wohlfart | Building a Better Past by Michael Paul Smith  |  STRONGBOX talks to John Welsh (Director) and Alana Mauger (Co-Producer and Writer) about their upcoming documentary film Beyond the Breaker  |  Breaking Through - Leigh Hilbert  |  Pin-Up: An American Tradition by A Surprise Guest

Glimpses: Mike Thurston
Volume Six, Issue One
Spring, 2014 ("The Black-and-White Issue")
Cover photo by Scott Fisher

Not a trace of color photography from Jakub Jasionek, Scott Fisher, Richard Gadd, Mark Regester, mkc609 & Michael Smith

Also, a rockin' Illustration by Roberlan Paresqui
Volume Five (2013)
Volume Five, Issue Four
Winter, 2013
Cover photo by Scott Speck

Therapy Through Self-Portraits by Paula Ohmann / Take the Moment by Sebastien Lebrigand / Beams of Light by Scott Speck / Sweet Feast by Elle Hanley / Last Days by Johan Entchev / STRONGBOX Interview: Anna-Lena Kempen (Babes on Bikes Pittsburgh) - Interview by Todd Hryckowian / The Dirty Dozen by Dan Buczynski and John Davis / Big Little World by Kim Leuenberger

Glimpses by Colin Brown



Volume Five, Issue Three
Fall, 2013
Cover photo by Petra Postma

Spain's Second-Hand Dogs by Petra Postma / Selected Works by Haley Frost / It's a Small World by Austin Greene / Selected Works by Alexis Mire / Directionally Challenged by Dan Buczynski



Volume Five, Issue Two
Summer, 2013

The Changing Face of East Liberty by Nanci Goldberg / Just Three Questions: Interview with Daniel Picard by Todd Hryckowian / Tarots and Body by Gildardo Gallo (Contains Nudity) / Of Feathers & Frogs by Megan Lorenz / Having Made the Leap by Scott Hunter / Those Eyes by Michael Bender

Cover photo by Daniel Picard


Volume Five, Issue One
Spring, 2013
Cover photo by Josh Buck

Fly on a Barber Shop Wall by Josh Buck / Our Lady of the Mundane By Shelby Marie Skumanich / Endangered Species by Dominic Bugatto / Selected Works by Johnny Joo

Glimpses by Sidonie Zellner


Volume Four (2012)
Volume Four, Issue Four
Winter, 2012
Cover photo by Steven Meyer-Rassow

Stereoscopy by Sascha Becher / Pencil vs. Paper By Ben Heine / The Escapist Diaries by Steven Meyer-Rassow (Contains Nudity) / 1980s NYC by Steven Siegel

Glimpses by Joey Kennedy and Roger Lim


Volume Four, Issue Three
Fall, 2012
Cover photo by Dan Buczynski

Spooky Dioramas by George Landon / Queen of the Rabbit Family By Michelle Brecher / The Tongue and the Restless by Eric Harvey Brown / Columbus Pride by Joshua T. Buck/ Run for your Lives by Todd Hryckowian / Real Mature by Dan Buczynski (Mature-yet-Hilariously-Juvenile Content)


Volume Four, Issue Two
Summer, 2012
Cover photo by Dan Buczynski
Cover model: Taylor Rebisa

Biking the Gap by Brian Krummel / Me, Myself and Mefloquine - Flash Fiction By Case Yorke with Photos by Tim Notari / Firewood by Jessica Tremp / Unplugged by Michael Bender / In Loving Memory: Oak Point Sir "Trouble" Macintosh by Dan Buczynski


Volume Four, Issue One
Spring, 2012
Cover photo by Dan Buczynski
Cover model: Jen Buczynski

The Boy With The Russian Camera by Mark Sommer / Look Up, Pittsburgh! by Rick Szymanski / Vacant Lots by Michael Goodin / Wire Walker by Charissa Hamilton-Gribenas / Hamilton Fubar by Kathy Toth

Glimpses: Nino Cannizzaro, Michelle Brecher


Volume Three (2011)
Volume Three, Issue Four
Winter, 2011
Cover photo by Dan Buczynski
Cover model: Will Ferlich

STRONGBOX INTERVIEW with Matthew Buchholz: Alternative Historian by Todd Hryckowian / "One Little Bird" - Illustrations and design by Leanda Xavian / "Slugfest" by Dan Buczynski / Future Classics of American Literature: "Me and My Pencil" - Story by Wendy Davis; Illustrations by Semson Jesús Nip, Alyse Poole, Zach Beresh, and Jen Buczynski / Portland Vignettes by Keri Friedman / Bobbinwood by John McNally / Flash Fiction: "I Met John Lennon" by Daniel Buccigrossi (Accompanying photograph by Martin Palmer)


Volume Three, Issue Three
Fall, 2011
Cover photo by Dan Buczynski
Cover model: Meaghan Miller

"Across the Salton Sea" by Jody Miller / "Phonetography (Camera Phone Photography)" Curated by Dan Buczynski / "Ask A...Stand Up Comedian" with Gab Bonesso / "Faux Fashion" by Elle Hanley / STRONGBOX Interview: Mettookonet by Todd Hryckowian / "Untitled" by Sarah Allegra (Contains Nudity) / "Lost and Found" by Todd Hryckowian / "Familiar Abstractions" by David Ranc and Marion Guiral / "Transient Views" by Patrick Joust  / "Welcome to the Footprint" by Ryan LeCluyse  / "Self Portraits" by Nevena Popovic 


Volume Three, Issue Two
Summer, 2011
Cover photo by Dan & Jen Buczynski
Cover model: Jessica Morrison

"Pushed Aside" by Arash Khodabandeh / "Dodging Butterflies: A Travelogue" by Dan Buczynski / "The Unlikely Groupie" by Wendy Davis / "Apocolypse Metropolis" by Michael Bowman / "Delivering the Message" by Pierre-Etienne / STRONGBOX Interview: Simba by Todd Hryckowian / "Open Yards" by Laura Ainsley


Volume Three, Issue One
Spring, 2011
Cover photo by Sohail Khwaja
Cover model: Molly McDaniel

"HERT Locker" - STRONGBOX Interview by Todd Hryckowian / UNTITLED" by Demetrius Gonzalez (Contains Nudity) / "Adopting your Inner Kid" by Semson Jesús Nip / "Street Cred" by Dan Buczynski / "Beauty, More Than Skin Deep" by Sohail Khwaja / Marquee Remix: A collection of fan-made movie posters by Chris Thornley, Viktor Hertz, David Marsh and Mat Bond

Glimpses: Star Romano, Pierre-Etienne


Volume Two (2010)
Volume Two, Issue Four
Winter, 2010
Cover photo by Dan Buczynski
Cover model: John Suhr

"Coal Country" by Michael Bowman / "Environmental Portraits" by Nathan Ward / "Rust Belt Deliverance" by Randy Fox / Advice Column: "Ask a...Jeopardy Contestant" / "Miracle at 5th and Smithfield" by Dan Buczynski / "A Lesson in Creative Trespassing" by Adam Ryan / "What’s So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding?" by Todd Hryckowian


Volume Two, Issue Three
Fall, 2010
Original Cover Art by Kill Taupe

"Private Collection" by Edward Olive (Contains Nudity) / "Forte dei Marmi" by Francesca Palazzi / Amazing Haloween Creations by Pumpkinrot / "Centralia" by Dan Buczynski / "Finding Yourself Far Away" by Jen Dobberstein / "Holding Court" - Interview with tattoo artist Michael Patrick by Justin Rivers / "Public Works" by Todd Hryckowian / Advice Column: "Ask An...Angry Broccoli"

Glimpses: Jessica Heberle, Lindy LaDue, Todd Klassy, Adam Ryan


Volume Two, Issue Two
Summer, 2010
Cover photo by Dan Buczynski
Cover model: Tiffany Solomon

"Dumb Luck: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Camping" by Dan Buczynski / "KIDS: A Rememberance" by Todd Hryckowian / "City Under a TAK" by TAK / "Soundtrack: 'Summer Nights'" by Dan Buczynski / "Leaving" - Flash Fiction by Saul Goodman / "Every Shoe Has a Story" by Juliette Elbaum

Glimpses: Mandy Witmer


Volume Two, Issue One ("The Film Issue")
Spring, 2010
Cover photo by Dan Buczynski
Cover model: Elizabeth Conti

"Torino in Black and White" by Emanuele Cauda / Advice Column: "Ask A...Tattoo Artist" / "Sunshine State by Jeffrey Shay / "Lest I Mention Religion" by Dan Wetmore / "Soundtrack: '3x5'" by Dan Buczynski / "Photographer in a Box" by Todd Hryckowian / "Swinging My Mother's Sword" by Juliette Elbaum / "Happy Accidents at the State Fair" by Eric Petersen

Glimpses: Joshua T. Buck, Martin Barratt, Marco Ferrari & Arianna Maiello, Sarah VanTassel


Volume One (2009)

Volume One, Issue Four
Winter, 2009
Cover photo by Todd Hryckowian

"Still" by Sohail Khwaja / "A Brief History of the Carrie Furnace" by Robert Dorsett / "John's Corner" by John Davis / "Some Thoughts on Health Care Reform" by Joe Indovina / "Your Childhood Heroes are Drunkards" by Todd Hryckowian / Untitled Flash Fiction by Tim Notari / "A Graffiti Tour of Pittsburgh" by Juliette Elbaum / "Not East Side (a preview)" by Stephen Grebinski

Glimpses: Kelly Burns, Chris Hall, Vincent Lee, Mike Goodin, Lisa Toboz


Volume One, Issue Three
Fall, 2009
Cover photo by Dan Buczynski
Cover model: Katy Timko

"2009 BMX nationals" by Matt Sabbath / "PA's Abandoned Turnpike" by Dan Buczynski / "Into this House We Are Born" - Flash Fiction by Tim Notari / "In My Life" by André Carlos de Mendonça / "A Conversation with Tim McCue" - STRONGBOX Interview by Dan Buczynski / "The 'T'" by Brian J. Krummel / Advice Column: "Ask a...Pregnant Lesbian / "Start, Stumble, Step" by Todd Hryckowian / "The People's March" by Juliette Elbaum

Glimpses: S.M. Kriebel, Joe indovina, Micque Li, J Ruberto


Volume One, Issue Two
Summer, 2009
Cover photo by Eric Petersen

"Waiting to Happen" - Flash Fiction by Blindspot1330 / "Night Light, Night Bright" by Eric Petersen / "Inside Man" by Freddie R / "Disposable Heroes" by Jim Semonik / "Code Orange Kids" by Juliette Elbaum / Advice Column: "Ask a...Guy Sitting next to Todd"


Volume One, Issue One
Spring, 2009
Cover photo by Jill McCorkel

The very first STRONGBOX Interview with Detroit-area artist Kill Taupe (interviewed by Dan Buczynski) / "You Are Beautiful" - Photo by Tiffany Komac / "1971 World Series Aftermath" - photos by Bill Rizzo / "Mass Incarceration" - (collaborative photo essay with 27 prisoners incarcerated in Pennsylvania’s Graterford prison) Photos and intro by Jill McCorkel with text by inmates / "Corner Crackups" - Photos by Chris Bail / "A Spot of ProperTea" - Interview with Pittsburgh street artist Proper Tea





STRONGBOX Magazine is a quartlery magazine released as a downloadable Portable Data File (PDF) free of charge at Its sole mission is to help the spread of creativity and improve with each issue. While firmly rooted in photography, we welcome any creative expression. Painting, illustration, writing (both fiction and non-fiction), graffiti / street art...anything you can think of.

Everyone is encouraged to sumbit work, whether you’re a seasoned professional or just getting started.

While we can’t promise we’ll use each and every submisison, we will certainly work with you if we can. Again, this is a labor of love and all we want to do is keep our creative muscles flexing while supplying an outlet for everyone else to do the same.

Submitting your work:

STRONGBOX is a mashup of all the magazines we love to read, so there isn't really a specific type of piece we're looking for. We've published short fiction, interviews with people we find interesting, photo essays, travel and recreation pieces and so on. We don't have advertisers or bosses to please here. If it's compelling, let's see it.

Begin by shooting us an email with an overall description of your project. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or in-depth, just the something to whet our appetite. If you have your works displayed in a blog or on a web page, be sure to include a link so we can check it out.

If we feel that your project is a good fit, we’ll assign you a deadline and ask that you send your files via dropbox, which is a free data transfer service. This way, our inboxes won’t get flooded with large files. We may edit photos or text as we see fit, but if any changes are made, no matter how small, we will be sure and send you a proof for approval before it goes into the magazine.

It’s important that you supply us with files that are suitable for print. Why is this? Someday we may want to make print-quality versions of the magazine available for those who want them, and it’s best to have them set up that way from the get-go.

Vector Illustrations may be supplied as Adobe Illustrator (.ai) files, or as an EPS (version cs2 or earlier. software is out-of-date, I know...).

Photographs or scans of artwork can be sent as JPG, DNG, TIFF or RAW files. Images should be 300 dpi for a minimum final print size of approx. 8 x 10 inches.

Articles can be simply emailed, or supplied as text documents (.txt, .rtf or .doc)

If you have any further questions or comments about the magazine, please feel free to holler.

Dan Buczynski