Week 7 What is a zine ? and how can they help

What is a zine ?

A zine is usually a non – commercial, non professional publication, kind of like a magazine but with a twist. The main difference between a magazine and a zine is that zines are not out there to make a profit but, rather, to add other, often unheard voices into the mix. Zines are usually made out of interest and passion and are often self-published by the writer/artist/creator. Typically zines are made using collage techniques and are then photocopied since these are means available to almost everyone.

A brief history into the zine.

Before zines became what they are today there was an amateur press movement in which publications were created by people who then distributed them to a larger group of people through mail. Many of the first zines were science fiction fanzines created in the 1920s and 1930s through which science fiction fans would speculate and discuss various topics. Later on, in the 1950s with the Beatnik era, poets and other artists would make small leaflets with their poems as means of self promotion. Many avant-garde movements, including the Dadaists and the Situationists, also self-published pamphlets and manifestos. The 70s saw punk zines being created as part of the punk movement and in the spirit of the DIY (do it yourself) culture that came along with it. In the 80s, a zine called Factsheet 5 began reviewing zines, thus creating a somewhat more formal zine scene. In the 90s, many zines were made as part of the Riot Grrl movement.

An example of a photographer using a zine effectively.

Digital marketing isn’t always the most effective method of marketing your photography. That’s why photographers have been creating zines for years. Of any of the photographers in the stable of the Phoblographer, James Moreton perhaps understands this the most. He’s a man who is all about something that’s tactile, film, and aesthetics. And he’s also collaborated on and made zines. In an interview James was asked " What makes you want to use a zine?" his response 'I believe the photographic book is the best medium for photography. The ability to create impact by pairing, juxtaposing and sorting pictures into a flow in order to tell a story or instill an emotion in the viewer is unsurpassed by any other photographic medium. Having something tactile in your hands that you can keep and look at on your own terms is also very important. A zine is an accessible way for someone to create this object and they can take on many different forms – from a very DIY aesthetic to high end magazine print quality.'

Examples of James' Zines.


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