From idea to print – The origins of Concorde Zine : PART I
It was a cold September evening, with a gentle drizzle and the cloudy grey sky threatening to rain. Aditya & I had just gone to an event and were on our respective ways home when we decided to stop for a quick drink at my friendly neighbourhood dive bar. We were eager to get away from the misty atmosphere and stepped into the warmth of the bar. We quickly found a table for ourselves and ordered the usual – a beer for Adi & a rum & Thums Up for me. As we settled in with our drinks (and the obligatory masala papad), we started to slowly discuss the state of photography in Hyderabad as well as the country in general. There were lots of good single images being made but we felt that the country is still yet to break that golden barrier of widespread awareness of good images and conversely, the creation of good images. On one hand, you had the highly artistic images being made which the everyday viewer would find it hard to connect to, and on the other hand, you had capable photographers who were yet to crossover from singles images to a series of images.
In some ways, the internet was a hindrance to this evolutionary process as most of us found it easy to make single good images and stay happy with the ‘likes’ on Facebook and ‘favourites’ on Instagram. We needed a better medium to showcase good work to people, a medium that would have a natural curatorial process to guide photographers as well as allow the everyday person to connect with their images. And what better medium than the age old print. Not print in terms of an exhibition, but print in a format that people could touch and feel, interact and understand. In a format that could be widely distributed and that people could own for themselves. And there came the idea of the Zine. One of the initial inspirations for the Zine came from the “FotoZiti” made by Ricardo Cases that I saw at the Emaho Magazine workshop earlier during the year.
Personally, I’ve had an on and off relationship with print. When I was at University in England, I used to spend a lot of weekends at the campus darkroom, making black and white prints all day and ending up with just one final perfect print. It was a labourious process but I enjoyed every moment spent in the darkroom – constantly tweaking exposure times and filters to get the ideal print, trying my hand at sepia toning, etc. However, after I moved to India, I did not have access to a darkroom or the necessary chemicals and hence, started shooting a lot more digital. And shooting digital meant that I rarely saw my images in the print form. On the odd occasion that I printed some images, it was a liberating experience to touch the prints, interact with them and understand the image more intimately.
Once we decided to create a printed Zine, we were quite excited at the prospect of creating an interesting new medium to showcase the work of photographers across the country. At the top of our list was figuring out how to print the Zine effectively, striking a balance between price and quality. We met endless printers across the length and breadth of the city, trying to find the right person who would help us in achieving this. This was a tedious process (both physically and mentally) but also quite enlightening. I spent hours reading up on various printing processes, the different types of paper and binding. It was vital that every copy delivered to our customers would retain its quality over years to come.
And of course, the next natural step was to create content for the Zine. We unanimously decided upon ‘Chai’ as the theme for the first issue. How we went about the process of creating the content will be the subject of the next blog post! Stay tuned for Part 2.
You can follow us on Instagram @concordezine.