As part of our series of customer interviews, today we’re joined by Dominic Smith.
His Analog zine series caught our eye, so we got in touch to find out more about his creative pursuits…
Tell us about yourself…
I’m an artist based in the North East of England. A lot of my work up until recently has been high concept, digital artwork exploring new technologies in creative ways. But recently this has shifted towards experimental film and darkroom based projects.
What have you printed with Doxzoo?
I’ve had a few things printed by Doxzoo over the years, from exhibition catalogues to books made at book sprints that I have organised (a book sprint is where you bring a roomful of people together and work to a tight deadline to try and produce a book, often in 24 hours, but it can happen over a few days also.) I just found Doxzoo to be no fuss, high quality and well priced for small runs so they have always been my go to printers!
When did you start making zines/using analog photography? What inspired it?
About a year ago I felt like I was stagnating in my work, projects were getting bigger, but as a result I felt like I was having an idea and then spending half a year project managing it into existence, meaning time in my studio was more about email and spreadsheets than being creative. I realised I needed to do something to change this. Then one night I picked up an old film camera and went out for a walk. I took some really bad pictures! But I knew straight away that I had found another path I wanted to explore. Making zines for me has been a way to share and record my progress as I do this. It has also had unexpected results. The zine swapping community is strong and as a result I tend to swap half the zines I make and I have made some excellent contacts and grown my networks as a result. I’m also building an awesome zine collection. It is a real confidence boost when people buy them and give great feedback.
What has been your favourite creative project to date?
I think my favourite project to date has been my recent one. ‘Near Earth Objects’ It started as an idea to make a zine about the Cyanotype printing process and meteorites, but it ended up becoming a full exhibition shown at Gas Contemporary Gallery. I sold some prints and others are being shown in two upcoming group exhibitions. Yet it just started life as an idea for a zine.
What are your creative plans for 2019?
I am going to continue to explore printing processes and will be making some Gum bichromate prints next I think. For the Near Earth Objects project I built an A0 contact printing frame so I can now produce super large format prints. I am also picking up a new telescope. I’m really interested in capturing some true colour images of the moon (the moon is not grey like you see it in most pictures) and building a zine and print series around this. I’m also thinking about making a set of ‘How To’ zines as well..
Any advice for those looking to get into zine making/analog photography?
It is very affordable to get into both zine making and analog photography. An amazing camera that would have cost you £1000 pounds in 1990 can be found on ebay for £50 these days. Maybe pick up an old soviet range finder like a Zorki 4 which you can get for around £25 (they get called a ‘poor persons Leica’). You can learn the basics in a few days and you can even get light meter apps for your phone these days. It isn’t hard to develop film yourself, in your kitchen and then scan it into your computer (again you can pick up an inexpensive scanner on ebay that will scan film) and it is like magic. There are lots of open source, free image editing apps and layout tools like GIMP and Scribus that you can use to prepare your work into a zine. But I think the best advice I can give is to be prepared to make mistakes, even be prepared to be a little bit bad at it at first. But if you keep doing it, you will get better and you will find your voice. You will find a way to express yourself that is unique. Also, it is great fun to go out on shoots with friends, and then develop and scan your film on an evening with a beverage or two.
Any recommended zines/books/videos etc. on the topics?
It depends what your goals are, but if you are getting into photography, it helps to learn about other photographers. Find out what gets them out of bed in the morning and why they make the work they make. I played in bands for years when I was a bit younger and the best advice I was ever given was to find out who influenced the bands that influence me. Learn who your influences, influences are. And YouTube is a treasure trove of artists talks.
Any final thoughts or links you’d like to share?
My final thought is don’t over think it. The world will be a better place if you are creative and make things. Zines are a brilliant way to build and become part of a creative community that will appreciate what you do. Online, social media isn’t going away and I use it like most people. But when someone buys your zine or wants to swap, it will make your day. It is like a thousand thumbs up for your work.
Stay in the loop with Dominic’s latest projects: