Zineland by Antoine Soubrier: Un demi
In this weekly column, Antoine Soubrier will review his favorite photography books, magazines, revues and fanzines. It’s a market that has seen an undeniable rise in popularity over the past few years, owing in part to the public’s increased interest in photography and their desire to have access to pictures without having to pay the exorbitant price of a print. Their rise is also a sign that visual artists are moving to isolate their work from the overflow of images on the Internet, thereby reviving the appeal of limited prints. These artists take great care in their production, varying between the state-of-the-art savoir-faire of Steidl to the distinctly homemade.
Our overriding concern is the rarity of the publication: its number of copies, its targeted content, the singularity of the publication, and the quality of its contributors, who often number among the great visual artists of tomorrow.
With reviews of publications, reports and interviews with artists and publishers, Zineland will cover this vital field of exploration in today’s world of photography.
Un demi #5
½ is a fanzine created by four visual artists scattered across Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Rennes and Vienna: Laure Boer, Anne-Pauline Mabire, Lucie Pindat and Chloé Thomas. Each issue is printed in 200 numbered copies, A5 format, and around 50 pages.
Every photography fanzine has to strike a balance between a “light” format to keep prices down and the “heaviness” in the content that makes the publication unique; there’s always the risk of it being lost among the stacks of other fanzines.
Un demi strikes the perfect balance. The wild crayoned images on its starchy cover announce its rich, unforgettable content. Inside, readers discover a mystery that’s better left unsolved: painted and photographed images of textures and natural settings, crystalline underwater scenes followed by mountainous blocks photographed on one side and sketched on the other.
We see few human beings, but we feel as though we are present at a gathering held on velvety paper, offering hints of the secrets of the world. An extract from Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums (1958) presented in a booklet and photographs collected in a small envelope confirm the impression of correspondence between the reader and the waking spirit of its authors. The photographs, with a very contemporary aesthetic and never the same size throughout the fanzine, surprise on each page with their arrangement: they pass from black-and-white to color, from still life to archival images, in an uninterrupted flow of ruptures, always with an organic link to the world but never having to rely on words for explanation.
The power of Un demi comes from the integrated character of its creation, from conception to publication, by the four artists. We take our time looking through it, what we see stays with us, and we only close it with the promise of getting our hands on the other half.