FFO: PERSONAL + ATMOSPHERIC B+W LANDSCAPE SHOTS PHOTOGRAPHED ON FILM IN THE STREETS BERLIN!
CONTEXT BEHIND THE ZINE (IN THE PHOTOGRAPHERS OWN WORDS):
This is somewhat subjective as I feel the images can affect each viewer differently, but for me, the idea of ‘Lurking’ was to convey a sense of loneliness. I moved to Berlin 2 years ago and didn’t know anyone, which was a contrast to what I was used to when I was living in London. I had less confidence to shoot directly at subjects so I went about shooting in a way in which I was less visible. I ended up enjoying this ‘lurking’ approach much more, it creates a more abstract, mysterious atmosphere in my opinion. I’m massively influenced by cinema (Michael Haneke, the Dogme 95 manifesto, Chris Marker to name a few) and the way directors and cinematographers create atmospheres within scenes, so in some way, I’m trying to recreate that within my photographs.
THE TITLE AND THE CONTENT:
As previously discussed by the George, the title ‘Lurking’ was formed out of the photographer’s own feelings of isolation and loneliness that greeted him as he moved to Berlin; a place far from his previous home in London. The small 18-page zine follows the photographer’s initial exploration into his new home city, using the process of photography to photograph, interpret and lift his feelings of unease whilst most likely attempting to be more accustomed to becoming familiar with this new local landscape. Though Wigens does not include supporting text describing the context of the zine, instead the decision was made to contextualise the concept of the zine through imagery and imagery alone. Without adding text to the zine, the viewer is allowed to interpret the concept in whichever way they decide; possibly creating their own narratives by simply examining the photographs in reference to the unnerving title ‘Lurking’.
The phrase ‘Lurking’ similarly reminds me to the photographer Daido Moriyama’s process of shooting on the street in Japan; though Moriyama is familiar to streets he shoots in he often compares himself to a ‘stray dog’ – lurking, wandering, exploring and photographing the landscape and those he meets on his travels. Though Wigens and Moriyama both shoot using black and white film, Wigens’ images appear much more gentle and greyscale in comparison to Moriyama’s harsh aesthetics. Wigens’ similar approach instead has created visuals that are considerately thought about – through the thoughtful use of light and shadow especially.
Though the images I’d say document nothing, in particular, Wigen often uses viewpoints that often look down onto the floor or up to the sky which I think encourages the viewer to imagine that they were present also at the moment that the photograph was taken; taking in the environment through their eyes whilst seeking for familiarity in the new.
Within the photo zine, a lot of the images are placed on a double page spread at full bleed, and I feel that this layout truly compliments the detailed landscape shots. This design choice also often allows the viewer to concentrate on the one single important image designated to a page at one single time.
DESIGN OF THE ZINE:
The photographer also designed the photo-zine himself, and despite the design not being too much of a difficult job created an 18-page typical A5 zine, Wigens edited, sequenced and created the front cover design very pleasingly and considerately.
The front cover image is a cropped version of a full-scale image featured within the zine. Though I feel again the image is of nothing, in particular, the photograph includes a side/back of the head portrait of a faceless man carrying a beer and looking off into the distance; this subject again being distracted by the surroundings and the landscape.
The corner design front cover text coloured in yellow is overlayed on top of the image on the front cover, though the empty spacing and shadow within the photograph effectively gives enough room to the text titling the zine, along with the words ‘photographs by George Wigens’.
When asked where the zine was printed, Wigens stated that he printed the zine as a small print shop in Berlin that allows creatives to get more ‘hands-on’ with the publication. This very DIY approach works extremely well in this situation, as it allowed the photographer to have full control of the printing and production stage of his very personal zine.
If there’s one thing you could add / change in relation to the publication/project, what would it be? Or would you not change anything at all?
GW: “I’m pretty happy with it. It’s the second zine I’ve printed, and it’s a learning curve. I’ve had a feedback from people saying they had wished it was longer, which I think is probably a good thing. I have a few more projects I’m working on, the first one that completely jumps out at me will be what I focus on next.”
FEEDBACK – KEY STRENGTHS AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
- Simple yet fitting minimalistic design of the zine. The photographs incredibly suit being full bleed. This allows the photographs to go undistracted and remain the sole important feature, though experimenting in the future with supporting text (even if it isn’t much) may interest the viewer more.
- Excellent DIY approach to making your own zine, which is especially appreciated when the project is personal
- 18 pages of very pleasing images though the zine is small and definitely leaves the viewer impatiently wanting more very pleasing photographs!!!
YOU CAN KEEP UP WITH GEORGE’S WORK // BUY THE ‘LURKING’ ZINE VIA CONTACTING GEORGE ON INSTAGRAM!