At the Auckland Zinefest 2014, photographer/lomographer Mike Kumagai took to the event to explore the indie world of self-publishing. Unique, eccentric, and with an attitude of doing something different - zines and Lomo share the perfect analogue lifestyle.
As an outsider to the world of zines, Auckland Zinesfest’s modest location at the Old Folk’s Association building, along with a couple of small groups of enthusiasts outside, didn’t set me up for what was happening inside the hall. It was was packed with stalls and stall holders, cartoonists and publishers, devotees and collectors.
It was a rousing sight: some zines were half the size of my hand, offering perhaps 10 words of poetry; others were unashamed, hand-drawn political propaganda. There were booklets entirely crafted from the author’s own printing press, as well as large intricate illustrations. Some told stories of superheroes with strange powers, while others were simple messages of social awareness. Each and every author was proud of their work and eager to tell me of their processes. It was a collective of people with a shared passion for zines.
But as I squeezed my way through the crowd and began to take pictures, I realized something so obvious but completely overlooked: the world of zines and the world of Lomo share the same attitude.
At the heart of zines and Lomo, there is a shared exploration of art through analogue form. Some like to take digital pictures, write on their laptops, or print with a copier, while others enjoy film emulsion, handmade printing, and illustrations.
In choosing to create art in an analogue way, we say and create things that many others can’t. There’s something special and unique in handprinting your own illustrations into a zine – in pretty much the same way that a photographer does when he or she soups their roll of film or develops at home.
The analogue process is what distances us from a world where digital is king, patience is irrelevant, and satisfaction is instant. The art is in the process, as well as the final product, and at the heart of it, we’re creating something unique and different.
P.S. The irony isn’t lost that I wrote this for the Lomography website.