Publisher: Dans le matin
This is a thing of beauty. A simple collection of conversations with four different sets of people, but created with such love and attention that the end result is something worth treasuring.
Non Fiction is the result of a collaboration between writer Seb Wheeler, photographer Owen Richards and illustrator Matt Walkerdine and is awesome. Each element sits within this little colour booklet in perfect equality with each other. Matt’s typography and Owen’s photographs are allowed entire pages to breathe and exist and be taken in as part of the overall end product.
This is key to what makes Non Fiction really work, everything is allowed it’s own space and it’s clear that real thought has gone into this. Your standard cut and paste this is not! It’s designed, but subtly, there is a simplicity that downplays the obvious amount of work that’s gone into it. Each interview, far from being just a set of questions and answers, reads as half prose with a strand of the interviewee sewn through it. And they are allowed some length for once, edited to a set of 3 pages of text and 3 pages of image for each conversation.
Seb has edited and arranged his meetings with each person so that they achieve more than the standard format would in terms of actually getting a sense of what they do and who they are. And it’s a good cast of characters too, with Pete Simonelli of Enablers, Jimmy and Eleanor of The Bobby McGee’s, David Thomas Broughton and the proprietors of San Francisco art-shop Needles and Pens all getting the Non Fiction treatment.
Collaborations are often tricky to navigate, but these three have worked together beautifully, bringing together all the best elements of their individual output (all three have individually produced zines available too, from Matt Walkerdine’s typographic illustrated Junk and art-poetry Predictive Text, to Owen’s self-published photography zines charting tours with Ted Leo and his editorial work for Plan B and Loud and Quiet and Seb’s poetry zine The Popes Head Exploded).
It’s great news then that the three have a zine collective called Dans Le Matin, devoted to bringing back high-quality DIY productions that espouse effort and love rather than the ‘that’ll do’ notion that tends to run through a lot of lesser zines. It’s living proof that DIY needn’t mean a bit shoddy or a bit rushed. Real time and effort pays off, and this is the result.