The Tactile Argument for Photography Zines

One photographer explains why digital marketing for photographers leaves a huge gap to fill.

Photographer James Moreton has thousands of followers on Instagram and other digital channels to help market his work. Yet he still believes that print is the best channel for his art, and in particular, print “zines,” book-style magazines.

“The ability to create impact by pairing, juxtaposing and sorting pictures into a flow in order to tell a story or instill an emotion in the viewer is unsurpassed by any other photographic medium,” he riffs in an interview with Photoblographer. (Once again, we see the value of print as a way to curate the endless digital stream.)

“Having something tactile in your hands that you can keep and look at on your own terms is also very important,” Moreton continues. “A zine is an accessible way for someone to create this object and they can take on many different forms – from a very DIY aesthetic to high-end magazine print quality.”

Moreton speaks about the freedom that a printed piece allows, and the importance of creating something tactile to express one’s artistic vision – which just doesn’t happen on digital. He has created both his own solo print zines, and has been part of a collective project called the All Format Film Photography Collective (allFT).

His work, which you can view samples of in the article, is striking – full of high contrasts, shadows and light that seem destined for the printed page. For himself, and others in his field, the photography zine is an accessible way to explore this media, without the financial pressures of putting out an entire book.

However, he has a valid caution to photographers who would pursue this route.

“You should only be thinking of making a zine if you can think in a bigger context than single images. You must think of the whole concept and what you want to achieve,” he advises.

The rise of branded print in the art and design world is creating some truly inspired and beautiful pieces while creating permanence for digital media.