Interview with Paul Joyce
Zines are a fantastic way of promoting a photographic series by easily wrapping images and text together into a small magazine or event simple book. It connects images to give them a broader and more cohesive background. The tool of storytellers and creative minds.
Just recently Paul Joyce, an English photographer living in Germany, sent me a very beautifully made zine called M U C. I was immediately hooked by the beautiful layout the smart yet simple idea and the compelling images. Paul agreed to answer some questions regarding the zine and his creative journey as a photographer and aspiring publisher.
Paul, I feel very honored to hold a copy of your MUC zine in my hands. Can you tell me a bit more about the idea of the zine and how you came up with?
I've always been a big fan of zines as I prefer to look at photographs in print rather than on a desktop or smaller screen. Each format has their own uses but there is something special about holding a printed copy of photos you've taken. There are quite a few people creating zines right now which sell out fast but I wanted to create one for myself first to see how it would come out and if anyone else was interested it would just be a bonus.
I gave a few copies away to get some feedback and I was very surprised that Daniel Milnor (Editor at large for Blurb) had some very nice and kind words to say about my zine. Reading the words from him gave me a good feeling about going forward and producing more copies in the future.
MUC is the airport code for Munich, the area I have lived in for the past 25 years since moving here from the UK. Together with my website the aim is really to show Life in Munich, Bavaria and beyond so I want issues to be bias towards life that I have experienced since moving here but also broader topics.
The Munich Oktoberfest is probably one of the first answers you would get if you asked a tourist what they think of when someone mentions Munich, so it seemed appropriate to start off the first issue about this famous tradition. Some of the photos in the zine were taken a few years ago when you could gain more easy access before the event started, whilst the building work was going on. Due to more strict security at the event now it's very difficult to gain access to an empty tent to take the type of photos that are in this zine.
In the introduction you mention that there will be more issues published in irregular intervals. Do you think we will soon be seeing a second issue?
There will definitely be more issues and I have plenty of ideas, I just need a bit more time to think about collating images together. With family life and two small children, I don't always have as much spare time as I would like so I try to work on photography as/when I can.
The topic of the zine is Munich the capital of Bavaria. What do you think is unique to this city and why is it worth to dedicate a magazine to the city?
I can't speak for every German city but Munich is a very international place and has a long history. It's famous for it's beergardens, river surfing, the Englischer Garten (which is bigger than New York's Central Park), the Olympic Stadium (where the 1972 Olympics were held), it's close proximity to the Alps and a lot more!
Just those topics alone would cover quite a few zine issues :-)
This is quite interesting as I think the photographs of the empty tents as well as all the other images without people add a very special mood to the whole zine. How long have you been working on the project and what kind of equipment did you use?
I was working on the project for a couple of years as I couldn't always gain the access I wanted to take specific shots, so I tried different tactics a year later to sneak in! The empty tent images are a kind of 'the calm before the storm' as most of them hold anywhere between 6-12,000 people and the tents are then in full party mode when the festival starts.
All of these images were taken using digital cameras with the majority of them taken with the original Fuji X100, others with an Olympus EM-10 II. I don't restrict myself to any particular format and shoot both 35mm and 120 format as well. It all depends on what camera I have with me at the time as you can never be sure you will be able to go back to the same place again, so it's always better to get the shot there and then with whatever you have with you.
Tell me a bit about the print process, the edition and the form of the zine?
Initially I created the zine via Blurb using their Bookwright software, which I found easy to use and I was happy with the output. However, I also wanted to try Blurb's sister company Magcloud but there was no real easy way of exporting a free high-res version of a PDF file from the Bookwright software. I played around with a few of the software packages Magcloud has templates for but I found they were lacking in features. I didn't want to spend lots of money on either InDesign or Photoshop so looked for an alternative, which is when I came across the free open sourced Scribus. I did some reading on the web and stumbled across a forum post from 2014 where someone had kindly created all of the Magcloud format templates to be used with Scribus that were still valid today. I then took my time and re-created the zine in Magcloud's Digest format and was able to easily export as a PDF.
The Blurb 6x9 Trade format is very nice and the quality of the print is high. The Magcloud Digest version is also very nice and they are pretty much equal. The Perfect Bound version has a thicker cover so makes it feel a little bit more special. The Saddle Stitch version feels good and has the feel of how original zines were created in the first place when people used to make them using a photocopier and stapling them together.
I'm still undecided which formats I will stick to in the future. I want to be able to make a zine using the same piece of software but produce different formats/sizes as easy as possible. The only thing I would say is that for us European's the shipping costs from both Blurb/Magcloud can bump up the price quite a bit so I'm not ruling out looking at alternative print options and perhaps getting a batch of copies printed up front and then trying to sell them. It all depends if anyone is interested in buying a copy.
Can you give as a little insight on what we can expect next and maybe also where to get hold of your zine?
Right now I'm leaning towards Issue Two containing only black & white photos. I just need a bit more time to start work on it. Once I get going though it should be done relatively quickly.
Issue One can be bought via Blurb and Magcloud. You can find direct links from the Books/Zines section on my website. The prices are at cost and I don't earn anything from any sale. Depending on future interest I may review this to get a little something back for my time it takes to make one. I would recommend checking the Twitter feeds of both print on-demand companies as they often have promotions and discounts so you can save yourself some money.
Thank you very much Paul for answering my questions and allowing a nice insight into your creative mind. Good luck with the zine and all your future projects!
Please make sure you visit Paul´s very nice website and if you are interested in purchasing a copy of M U C issue no.1 please feel free to contact him.