I’ve bought photo books in the past, but never what I would class as being more of a zine. I’ve got a hardback book by Simon Phipps and I’ve got a fairly wide array of different graffiti hardbacks too. Oh, and a graffiti journal! Even a graffiti zine. What I’ve never had though, is a proper, out and out, creative photography zine. So here’s the first: ‘Madrid’ by Chris Neophytou.
I should point that this isn’t a review. I’m nowhere near knowledgeable enough on photography yet, to pass too much judgement on someone else’s work. It’s more about my inward and more personal thoughts after taking a look through.
Despite what I think, ‘Madrid’ isn’t technically a zine. It’s a book, and it’s a 28 page, A5 collection of Chris Neophytou’s black and white impressions of the Spanish capital. For your £7 you’re treated to an array of different subjects, including candid street shots, seemingly floating cable cars and plenty of contrast between nature and city bustling. It’s a great little collection and it does the job that all good photo books should do, and that is inspire the consumer and the photographer in you.
I read a post on another blog recently regarding the logic behind buying photo books instead of yet more equipment. Whilst I know for a fact that I’ll struggle to shake off the temptation of buying a particular mirrorless camera in the near future, I totally understand the merits behind buying photo books at almost any price up to a reasonable extent rather than camera after camera and lens after lens.
What we’re all looking for is inspiration. Whether it’s a great new idea or simply seeing someone else doing the thing we want to do and get great results while we pluck up the courage.
I’ll hold my hands up, as a massive introvert I’m not much of an adrenaline junky. I used to be, but it got me into a lot of trouble when I was a child and latterly when I became a teenager, so I withdrew a little. You can understand, then, that candid street photography would no longer come naturally to me.
Taking the time to turn the pages of a photo book or photo zine strengthens my desire to push myself and try new things. I want to be able to get up in a stranger’s face and capture a scene. I want to be comfortable with the practice of setting up a tripod in a train station for a long exposure urban shot. I also want to eventually put my own photo zine out there. I’m still trying to discover my forte, but I’d like to think I’m edging closer to it.