I like to think of Yuri as my street photography partner in crime. We spur each other on, bounce ideas of each other and I know I’ve learnt a lot from him. So when I saw he had put out his own self published zine (called City Web), I thought I’d interview him about it and find out a bit more of his reason, process and some advice for other people looking to make their own zine.
For people who don’t know you, why don’t you introduce yourself.
I’m Yuri. I am originally from Kazakhstan and at present I reside in Montpellier, France. I got serious about photography about 4 years ago and since then I’ve been mostly shooting on streets. Having said that I don’t put myself in the box of street photography and like to try different things. In general I like to tell visual stories.
Why did you decide to make city web?
I want to see my work on print. And I mean not just in 6 by 4 random images. I wanted to make it in the book/zine format. I have thought about it for over a year, trying to find a good idea or a concept and once in a while I would start and then tell myself – “it’s not good enough, nobody will get it, images are not good enough”. I had the wrong frame of mind. Finally, I had enough of coming up with excuses and got on with it. I had a good idea. I liked it so it was all that mattered in the end. So I would say the main reasons were:
- experimenting with zine and seeing my work in print,
- looking and judging my work and thinking how can I improve from that,
- finishing the project
- and transferring my thoughts into a physical body of work.
What’s the theme from City Web?
The theme is kind of in the title and I don’t mean an online web by the way 🙂 I think the idea came to me when I was looking at some of my shots from previous months and finding a common pattern. I thought – wait a minute… It all looks like a giant spider web with people caught in it. So that served as a metaphor. It’s also up to the viewer on how to interpret it.
Which is your favourite image from the Zine?
I have 2 or 3 that I love but my favourite has to be the cover photo. I think you can interpret it in many ways, I really like the natural spider web framing in it and two figures right in the centre. I connect with it both visually and emotionally.
How did you find the process of making a Zine?
I found it pretty smooth as it’s not a handmade zine… I used Bookwright within Blurb to create it. I already had an idea in my head and how I wanted the zine to feel like so all I had to do was upload the selected images and sequence them which was the hardest part. The idea for the layout is that every time you turn the page, you spin the book ( similar to how a spider spins its web ). I also didn’t want to put too much text in the zine as I wanted the viewer to have a complete visual experience and interpretation. However I included a little excerpt from the poem by A.Ammons as I thought it fitted the theme and also touched on a subject of identity and unpredictability.
What advice would you give someone thinking of making a Zine?
You have a good idea that YOU like? – just do it! Especially with Blurb and their available tools, it’s quite easy to make a zine and you don’t have to be a computer genius to do it. Bookwright is very simple to use so I would advice to just do it, try it. Plus, Blurb often have promotional offers of 20% to 40% off when you make your book/zine so that’s pretty great. I think zines are a great way to experiment, learn how to edit yourself, finalising a certain project, getting it out there (even if you don’t put it on sale), that’s not the point. It’s important to print your work, especially nowadays, when we consume images from our screen 24/7. Plus – it is an excellent present!
What’s next for you?
I have a bit less time for photography now but it’s all about saying No to things and focusing on your important goals. I need to make the time… I’m already thinking about the next zine. This time with my colour work. Meanwhile, my long term projects are still in the making (no rush there).
Where can people get a copy?
If you’d like to thank Yuri or ask him some more questions then head over to his social media accounts or website.
Also published on Medium.