First Magazine was started in Kingston, Jamaica in December 2004 as a 7×7-inch print magazine.
The magazine published four issues and 40,000 printed copies before shifting to an online format which went on indefinite hiatus in 2010. First was a labour of love which achieved critical acclaim in its brief lifespan. The magazine was impossible to duplicate since it was structure-less; dependent on the unique and unpredictable nature of daily life in Jamaica as opposed to themes or subjects aimed at target groups.
The online version of the magazine can still be viewed at http://www.first-magazine.net
FIRST, puckishly billing itself as "the only magazine in Jamaica" is a small format glossy that has won a hefty cult following among the funkier echelons of the international jet set. Founded last year by 35-year old photographer and editor Peter Dean Rickards and his business partners, FIRST set out to give Jamaicans a uniquely authentic portrayal of their own culture.
Although the magazine, which is available only in Kingston, wasn't designed for tourists, it is informally distributed worldwide by vacationers returning to chillier climates.
"Predictably, the tourists seem to love it, " says Rickards. With its unlikely juxtapostion of ghetto reportage, shamelessly glam fashion shoots and whimsical photo essays, FIRST is an inspired oddity that flouts conventional magazine wisdom while keeping production values high.
"For some reason, people don't seem to think it could have been made in Jamaica - Jamaicans included, " Rickards reports. "I suppose it doesn't look Third World enough."
- Steven Daly, December 2005 (Vanity Fair)