Zine Review: Alone in a New City 1 & 2

Alone in a New City 1 & 2
Allysha Webber

Alone in a New City 1 & 2 are A5 sized black and white photography zines.

I love black and white photography. I feel like there’s something about stripping an image of colour that makes it feel like you’re revealing something new.

“Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.” – Confucious

Alone in a New City 1 opens with that beautiful quote from Confucious, and it speaks so well to photography and most any art, really. From there, both zines take you through a collection of images taken in and around Melbourne. While the first zine focuses a little more on people and the second seems to focus a little more on street art, they both have a varied collection of images. They give more of an ‘observations of the world around’ rather than focusing on one element in particular. (Though one could certainly argue for Melbourne/Melbourne suburbs being the element.)

Each photo is granted a page and a title of its own, and most of them are accompanied by a quote as well. I love a good quote, and I like the added layer of context and consideration for the photos. However, there were a few pictures where just the title alone gave me a different perspective of what I was looking at.

I should note that I do have a bias in this because I quite like Melbourne, and it’s a place that holds a lot of good memories for me. These photos had an added element for me of knowing this place or that. So, like any form of art, I can’t say as to whether they will have the same impact on you.

I did wonder what different paper and printing might have done for the clarity of the photos or the little details, but it’s entirely possible that it’s intentional. That perhaps you don’t always see things with crystal clarity when you’re in a new city.

I enjoyed Alone in a New City 1 & 2. I didn’t feel lost or confused as to what I was looking at. I enjoyed views in and around Melbourne, and I will definitely be flipping through them again.


Zine Review: Submerging

Edited by Brian Cogan, Brett Essler, Mike Faloon, & Brendan Kiernan

Submerging is a full colour half-fold literature zine that also features photographs.

“Euphoria is a trail of exclamations points that you follow off a cliff.”

Despite what I imagine was a typo pluralisation of ‘exclamations’, there is something darkly amusing about that quote.

Submerging is a zine that contains four stories that I am assuming are all nonfiction. They read as non-fiction, but there’s no indication or introduction in the zine that makes that clear. (Though the website does mention that the zine includes personal essays.)

We start off with an interesting diary-style piece that starts with anti-anxiety medication, wanders into the realm of analysing politics in the United States, and ends on a sad note in the Philippines. The pieces that follow cover a heart attack, a slightly stranger (in structure) piece about memory and health heartbreak (no spoilers here, zine friends), and a piece about aging.

I finished the first story a little confused and feeling like perhaps there was something in it that I just wasn’t understanding fully. However, I settled right in with the pieces that followed. The heart attack fascinated me (as strange as that is to type. The structurally stranger piece was still intriguing, and the piece on aging? It felt a little sad because of the inevitability of everything (and because of the age I’m at), but it ended on an unexpectedly cheery note that left me feeling good.

While writing exploring health – both mental and physical – may not sound appealing to you on the surface (it’s definitely an interesting topic to me, so win there), the personal element to these pieces draw you in.

Submerging is a nice zine to look at and touch. It’s made with smooth, glossy paper, and everything looks very clean and crisp. The typography choices are nice, and little things like the drop cap at the beginning of pieces adds to the overall package. I like the inclusion of photos as well. They break up the text, but there aren’t so many that it would confuse this being primarily a literature zine. (I can’t decide whether the cover photo or ‘En Route’ is my favourite picture.)

The writing voices in this zine worked well together, and I can see myself going back to read some of the stories again. If you’re looking for a literature zine with a taste of photography to check out – or maybe even submit to – then this is a zine to have a look at.

Zine Review: The Brokedown Pamphlet: war some of the time

The Brokedown Pamphlet: war some of the time
Mark Renney & Christine Renney

The Brokedown Pamphlet is an A5 colour zine collection of writing, drawings, and other images.

Well, pickles, zine friends. I’m not sure how to get started with this zine. I’ve been paging back and forth, lingering on the images and words, but is it flying over my head?

The written pieces in this zine are like poetry to me in that they use interesting language and create strong images in my mind. I can think about them for ages… but ultimately, I’ll always wonder if I understood what the person who wrote the pieces really meant. One piece actually is a poem, but it is no more or less mysterious.

The images are a curious collection of drawings and photos. They leave me feeling like the writing – somewhat intense, but do I really understand what I’m looking at?

The artistry of this zine extends to its physical aspects as well with a nice cardstock cover and slightly textured paper for the interior. I’m coming to really appreciate lightly textured paper. Running my hands over it while I’m reading a zine helps calm and focus my otherwise somewhat scattered mind.

In the end, I’m not entirely sure what to make of this zine. It’s definitely a curious one, but the world is better for things that make us think.

Zine Review: A Teenie Weenie Write-y Zine-y

A Teenie Weenie Write-y Zine-y
Jessica Maybury
IG jessica.maybury

Today we have an itty bitty – or rather, teenie weenie – zine of photographs featuring writing and writing spaces.

It could be a bit of narcisissm on my part (I write fiction), but I absolutely love seeing others’ writing processes and spaces. (To the point I actually started a blog where authors showed off and talked about their writing spaces.) I could stare at this collection of tiny black and white photos for ages thinking about the way people write, what they use to write, and the spaces they occupy.

This zine gave me the ‘why I love zines’ feelings with the intro:

“I don’t know why I feel the need to photograph the writing experience but I do.”

Isn’t that lovely? Jessica felt compelled and did – because you can with zines whenever you feel the urge. Beautiful!

This is a very specific topic sort of zine, so I think you’ll know whether you’re interested from the get go. I for one, will be opening its pages again to ponder writing spaces and places…

Zine Review: Botanical Photography

Botanical Photography
Jessica Jane
IG: @jessicajane.illustration

For me, photography is like art and poetry: I don’t know a lot about how it works, but I know what I like and what I don’t like. Everything else gets lost in wondering what the creator intended…

Botanical Photography is a photo zine featuring pictures of flora around Victoria, Australia. There are flowers, trees, sunshine, and lovely little things that make this state beautiful. I may be a bit biased, but if you’re going to take pictures of nature, Victoria is a great place to do it.

While I do really love photo zines, I felt like some of the impact of the photos is lost in the production quality. The pictures were a little washed out sometimes or a little too dark. I found myself thinking more than once that a little higher GSM could go a long way, but…

Therein lies the problem for me: intention.

Were the photos meant to be a little blurry or washed out? Is this meant to be the mark of someone still learning? Or perhaps it’s all due to the paper and ink used in printing. The slightly washed out quality of the last photo adds an ethereal quality to it, so it’s harder to guess than you might think.

If this wasn’t the intention, the suggestion of higher quality paper isn’t necessarily a simple one. With the zine already at $7, I don’t know what better printing would do to the price.

I really liked the touch of the sewn binding. With a zine that’s all about nature, I may have not really thought about staples, but the sewing adds to the ‘closer to nature’ feel in a way that metal staples wouldn’t.

I love photography, and I like to see a beginning (I think) photographer’s work. I think Jessica caught some truly beautiful shots, and I’d like to see more. But I must admit I’d also like to see it printed in a way better suited to photos.