An open apology from the beginning of our 20 Year Anniversary Edition.

Sorry for cropping your photo, and for drawing on it, flipping it and burning it. Sorry for making it black and white, or for making it look like Instagram. Sorry for saying someone else shot it or someone else did it. And sorry for not using it, even when we promised we would.

Sorry for changing what you said or what you meant. Sorry for spelling your name  wrong. Twice. Four times. Or was it five?

Sorry for never calling you back (contributor). Sorry for calling you too many times (advertiser). It’s okay when you say you can’t, we won’t get offended (contributor).

Sorry for not sending you stickers. We know how much you like stickers.

Sorry for last minute deadlines. Okay, I’m going to outright apologise for deadlines. They are horrible, even if they are useful.

Sorry for never sending you your free mag, seriously. Sorry for not sending the one you paid for, sincerely.

Sorry for using stars in your article. We didn’t know you wouldn’t like stars. Honest.

Sorry for using that photo. We thought it was your good side.

“Sorry for not sending you stickers. We know how much you like stickers.”

It’s hard to go for 20 years and not have any regrets. It’s hard enough to commit something to print knowing you could have checked it one more time, kerned it better or crafted it with more care. What’s another sleepless night or another sleepless week, anyway?

For us, opening a new copy of the magazine will always be laced with a mix of excitement and dread. Hoping that the painstaking hours and careful intent from everyone involved translated perfectly to the printed page, and that you’d done justice to every person who featured in, advertised or contributed to the magazine. Sometimes that’s just not possible.

Nothing really compares to the feeling when you get it right and readers feel the same way about it. Even better when their response is unexpected—when they find joy in a detail you thought might get overlooked. Not so great when they find the mistake you thought no one would ever find, or the one you didn’t know about.

In this issue we pay tribute to the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into Manual over the last two decades. Both in front of the lens and behind closed doors. We asked our community—the friends and family of Manual—what their highlights (and lowlights) were. The following issue is a dedication to those moments, to the hard graft that made them possible, and the sometimes questionable decisions that made them what they are. There’s no going back, only forward. But you need to know your history so you never repeat. Given the chance, would we do it over? Probably.

Photo Credit: Matt Georges’ photos come pre-manipulated, so we don’t have to do it. Tyler Chorlton, method, Chile.

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