There must be something in the air. Not one but two erotic photography magazines have launched this year - Baron and Tissue. The first issue of Baron was A5 size, in reference to Hans-Peter Feldmann's book Voyeur; Tissue is slightly narrower than A4 size, but is still finding its format. Issue one, published in the spring, was predominantly printed in monochrome on salmon-pink pages. Issue two, published in the autumn, also uses this shade of paper, albeit slightly more glossy, but adds a lot more colour as well. The magazine feels all the better for it, while retaining an appealingly inky, underground edge.
The editorial is erotic but tangentially so - in issue two Maxime Ballesteros' creepy eight-page story Nude depicts a woman whose features are hidden by a stocking mask, for example, while issue one features Emmanuelle Tricoire's portraits of a transsexual. Issue one also features two gatefold glossy colour pages and a pull-out poster by Corrado Dalco.
The images almost exclusively show female models, a fact the editors reference in their introduction to issue two. "People often ask us: ‘Well you got balls, but where's the dick?'" Even so, it's interesting to see how many of the contributing photographers are women - perhaps the fact that three of the contributing editors are also women helps put a different perspective on things.
Spread from Tissue magazine.
Outpost Journal describes itself as "an annual, non-profit print publication on innovative art, design and community action from cities (or cities within cities) that have been traditionally underexposed beyond their local contexts". It all sounds off-puttingly worthy, but that doesn't prepare you for the visual riot inside. Issue one was made in Pittsburgh and published in autumn 2011, and issue two in Baltimore, published a year later. What they've got in common is an extremely lively approach to art and design.
Text, photographs and colours are overlaid on photographs; text is overlaid on text, run up-and-down as well as across pages, and in a variety of colours and fonts. It's a maximalist, more-is-more approach that's refreshing when compared with the slew of pared-down titles on the market. The editorial team is sizeable, with four in-house photographers - Matthew Williams, Jori Ketten, Clay Rockefeller and Bogdan Mohora.
Issue two gets off to a great start with a fractured photograph of a flower chandelier by Williams on the front cover, for example; on the next spread Williams shows four people messily eating a "traditional Maryland crab feast", and this image reappears several times over the next six pages as a border and in circular cut-out details. It all gives the impression of a journal bursting with content and ideas, conferring the same energy on the under-rated cities Outpost Journal explores.
Spread from Outpost Journal.
The Plant Journal
This "journal about ordinary plants and other greenery" is far from the average garden magazine and includes photography by contributors such as Scheltens & Abbenes, Daniel Riera and Patrick Tsai. It's a fresh take on the natural world that uses a variety of approaches - from raw, overexposed shots of autumnal trees and carefully staged still lifes, to fashion photographs of beautiful models with flowers in their hair. Put together by a team in Barcelona, it's also a place to find image-makers who are off the UK radar, such as Barcelona-based photographer Wai Lin Tse, who shot the series of bleached-out trees in issue two.
Spanish photographer Coke Bartrina contributes studio stories that carefully walk the reader through how-to guides - how to make a macramé plant hanger in issue two, and how to make a terrarium in issue three. The macramé images are shot in black-and-white and this, plus the classic layout, evoke a magazine editorial from decades before; the terrarium shots are in pastel colour tones that summon up a 1980s vibe. There's a whiff of the retro about The Plant Journal in general, although you'd be hard-pressed to pin down an era. In issue three, Aquiya Haibara's black-and-white close-up images, used on matte, coloured paper, evoke a 1950s textbook, while in issue two Luis Cerveró's collages match bright shots of cacti onto what look like 1950s and 60s archive portraits of women.
Spread from The Plant Journal.
There is no shortage of magazines professing to be "a new London biannual publication focusing on the interaction between fashion and art", but Used stands out for its photography. Of the magazine's three creative directors, two - Brendan Peer and Brendan Freeman - are photographers who work together under the moniker Brendan & Brendan and have shot for Wonderland, Reiss and Topshop; the third, Alex Geoffrey, is an art director who also works on Wonderland and Rollacoaster. Geoffrey's creative agency, Useful, is responsible for Used's art direction and design.
This background means the large-format magazine is weighted heavily towards photography, running 10 or so fashion and beauty stories per issue, alongside photo-led interviews and articles. Issue three includes a portfolio of hyper-real images by Petrina Hicks, plus an interview with the artist, while issue two features an interview with Niklas Roy, inventor of the Electronic Instant Camera, for example, and an interview with Paul Kooiker, illustrated by shots from his book, Sunday (2011).
This - plus the use of hip young graduates such as Luke Norman, Nik Adam, Daniel Evans, Brendan Baker and Victoria Jenkins - suggests a savvy knowledge of the contemporary photography scene. London has a plethora of fashion magazines, but this one taps into a much younger generation than many others.
Spread from Used.
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