I am a little concerned that this project has developed into something purely visual and aesthetic.
I have been interviewing each subject prior to their photoshoot and they have been extremely honest and candid in their replies. I need to find a direction to bring this wealth of secrets into the body of work. This project has been collaborative so I need to ensure my participants have their voice as well as their image.
I am little reticent about the use of Zines. While they have a long history they are perhaps best thought of when photocopy shops enabled underground music and political scenes to mass produce thousands of copies extremely cheaply. Their recent resurgence often draws upon this DIY punk aesthetic. If we consider Walter Benjamin’s essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction; he speaks of (photographic) reproductions lacking the ‘Aura’ of the original and this concerns me when I consider creating a zine for this project. The cheap and therefore disposable nature of zines has the potential to reduce the worth of the printed material and as a result, the project itself.
If I throw-away the word ‘zine’ and think of it as a handmade book, then we can now bring back some degree of aura and gravitas to the final object(s).
So now I consider the actual physicality of the printed page and the material and layout that would best suit the body of work. I need to be wary of style over substance – choose a simple layout that allows the images to speak for themselves & have the text as support material to add greater depth. Bear in mind I once spent a constant week trying to decide upon a font for my website this could take me longer than expected.
I am thinking of a square format to counteract the image of ‘square’ sexuality / sexual lifestyles. With cartridge paper making up the majority of the book. I can bring in tracing paper for some one-line quotes of text? Playing with the concealing / revealing nature of the project. Placing larger bodies of text in a cell of a 4×4 square grid just to add an unusual stylistic manner to the book. Do I print the images on cartridge, on quality copy paper or have photographic prints adhered to blank pages? Even the manner of fixing the pages together needs consideration; I came across copper staples which have the advantage they don’t rust & give a nod to arts & crafts movement. But staples could potentially limit the number of pages whereas binder clips allow for a loose & greater number of pages.
Another alternative is to borrow an idea from Daido Moriyama and allow visitors to ‘Make you own zine?’ by leaving out printed pages and photographs they would be able to create their own book that combines the text and images that appeals most to them.
A selection of Handmade Book ideas culled from Pinterest :-