Having previously edited magazines, I often gravitate towards the newsstand for inspiration. In the context of ‘small-batch’ independent publishing, many of today’s most intriguing titles embody a particular tension between zeitgeist and timelessness. How to address the burning issues of a given moment whilst remaining relevant for future readers – as more than just an historical artefact? It’s a delicate dance I understand and respect.
A celebration of cities and their rich textures – both the grime and the glamour – Flaneur Magazine is a big favourite of mine. With dizzying graphic design, each issue presents a fragmented compendium of stories that dovetail with a specific street in a chosen city. The choice of street is rarely obvious, and the tales that spill from it are equally surprising. Visual essays and poetic reflections sit alongside historical deep dives and artistic interventions in the public space. The magazine’s editors study the fabric of each place they work in, unpicking its layers with invaluable support from local collaborators.
To my delight, Issue 09 – exploring Paris’s Périphérique ring road – was finally published in April after a considerable hiatus. It’s a heavy but necessary edition, touching on divisions in French society that have come spectacularly to the fore in the months since it launched. At its core, the issue considers the shelf life of this tired concrete highway. Is it a portal or a wall, bridging or dividing those within and beyond its limits? And when some are condemned to the exterior – or to the margins of our vision – who in the centre is doing the looking?
Note to the reader. This article is part of Trigger’s 2023 ‘Summer Read’ series. We invited writers, researchers, photographers and curators to share what is currently occupying their mind through one publication they have been (re)reading during summer. What matters to them is now being recast as a challenge for today. Highly personal entries to a diversity of publications (photobooks, studies, monography, essay, historical research) lead us – readers of these readers – to reorient our gaze on (the history of) images and photography.