Huda Azzis, Why is the Zine Culture Important.
After a short “People. Not Pages” interviews built on standard questions we’re curious to have a deeper look at the aspects of artists’ work. Today we talk to Huda Azzis and her passion for photozines.
Interviewed by Jaime Molina.
Huda Azzis is a freelance video editor based in Singapore, with an incredible passion for zines and photography, and storytelling alike. Huda’s latest zine was hito-bito which celebrates the everyday japanese folk.
Huda has also materialised her passion for zines in the shape of Your Local Newsstand. An independent publishing house whose main goal is to provide a platform for photographers to showcase beautiful, yet strong storytelling around the human narrative.
JM: To introduce our readers. What is a zine, and why are they so important?
HA: The most fundamental, zines are self-published works and are mostly printed in small units. Zines are the opposite of magazines. Whereupon magazines are managed by a professional editorial team and are printed in large quantities, zines are mostly managed by a small group of people.
There are various types of zines in different formats and genres and all of them serve a different function and purpose. That’s also why zines are so interesting to me. Each zine is a voice of its own — either from an individual’s perspective or from a collective of people.
JM: What inspired you to produce Hito-Bito? And was always the intention to make it into a zine?
HA: Hito-Bito was an accidental zine. I never set in mind to publish my own photography zine. Firstly because I’m not a photographer and wouldn’t refer to myself as one and secondly because these images were just a bunch of photographs from my trip to Japan. But the idea of having my own zine was a tempting one so when the opportunity arose, I indulged myself on that idea.
JM: How has the creation and love of zines affected your photographic practice? And what have you learned from working this way?
HA: Like I said before, I wouldn’t call myself a photographer. I’m just someone who owns a camera and would occasionally take photos. But having published zines from other amazing photographers and having the chance to talk with them, I do learn a lot. I love talking to photographers on their projects and their inspirations, techniques and in particular their approach to photography. I feel that everybody will always have something to say. That is just human nature — to own a perspective and being able to fully experience other people’s approach to photography is extremely exciting. Some people utilize photography as an escape, some love exploring and mixing techniques up. For me at this point, when I’m out taking photos (and this mostly happens when I’m traveling), it’s a lot about documentation. And that’s the amazing thing about any kind of medium — that it can be used for different purposes.
JM: Let’s talk about Your Local NewsStand. How did you decide that a Zine publishing house was a great Idea?
HA: Your Local Newsstand started as a way to share photography stories in a printed manner. I’ve always been a fan of zines and photography so the Your Local Newsstand was sort of a gradual culmination of many years of interests. I obviously think it’s a great idea. Everyone should do it and everyone should create their own zines one way or another.
JM: Do you think Zine Publishing houses are the way forward in the creative world?
HA: Yes and no. For me personally, its always about the stories existing within each and every one of the photographs and how printed zines enables a different kind of way for these photographs to be shown, expressed and shared. An independent publishing house, we don’t answer to anyone. So it really gets down quickly to photography in its truest nature. There isn’t a long chain of command between the published material and the artiste so we get straight to business right away. We also give total control to our artistes to create what they want to create so that’s the really cool part about it. Total artistic independence for them. On the other hand, financing an independent publishing house is expensive. And since we are working with tactile materials, there is always a limitation to how creative we can get with our publications in regard to its cost. Of course, I’d like to explore with more materials in the future — possibly experimenting with different types of printing techniques and hopefully publishing a hardcover monograph for instance.
JM: And lastly, any piece of advice for people who want to produce printed content but don’t know where to start?
HA: I’d say figure out what you want to say. And if you feel strongly about what you want to say, go for it. The rest will come naturally. If you want to print a comic, just go ahead and print it.
Don’t worry so much about the technicality of it, that will come with experience, mistakes and a ton of trial and error. Don’t worry about the finance part of it, do what you can afford and see how you can work the limitations to your advantage.
There’s a lot of ways to get things done so don’t feel like just cause you’re not an ‘expert’, you shouldn’t do it. The best part about printed imprint is the tangibility aspect of it. So if you print something and you get super excited to share it with your friends or your mum or your cat then you should definitely continue printing more.