Today’s spotlight is on Meeting New People Isn’t the Easiest Thing, which hands down wins this year’s most evocative and relatable zine title. Read on to learn more!
Meeting New People Isn’t the Easiest Thing is an ongoing evolving photographic conversation between photographers Janna Añonuevo Langholz and Laidric Stevenson which began over 3 years ago. Before the publication of their issue #1, Janna and Laidric had never met each other in person, communicating only through the electronic means of email and Tumblr their shared experiences of Dallas and places beyond.
1. How long have you been self-publishing, why does self-publishing appeal to you?
Janna: Working on the Meeting New People zine with Laidric has been my first venture into self-publishing, and we’ve been working on this project for over two years now. I’ve always liked a DIY aesthetic, which is probably why self-publishing appeals to me.
Laidric: I’ve been self-publishing since 2014, when I flew to Miami for Memorial Day weekend on a whim to photograph the scene down there. When I returned to Dallas, I decided to publish a small photozine (I spent a Sunday in Miami) using those photographs. I had been collecting zines and self-publications from other photographers and artists before then, and I had always loved the idea of publishing your own work, but I never had that motivation to publish something myself. There’s also a finality to it, being a photographer, there’s a sentiment that Print is King, and your photos aren’t photos until they are printed. Self-publishing allows you to do whatever you want, it can be as well designed or as thrown together as you want, no one can tell you what you’re doing is wrong. Plus with digital everything taking over our lives, I think people really appreciate printed materials more.
2. How did you first become interested in zines, can you remember the first zine you came in contact with?
Janna: I’ve been interested in zines since I was a teenager. This was in the early 2000s before social media became a more widespread way to connect with friends. I had a lot of penpals and used to participate in mail art exchanges, through websites that are now long gone (like postcardx, Nervousness.org, and Laundromatic). I received a couple zines from friends during that time, although I never made one back then.
: The first zine I came in contact with was a quarterly zine named From Hell to Highwater
, published by Lisa Mèndez out in San Diego back in 2013. FHTH is a submission based publication where Lisa would accept any type of art from anyone – essays, poems, drawings, photos, and she would curate and publish it. I sent her a couple of Polaroid photographs, as I was heavy into shooting instant film back then, and she published them. I have a number of FHTH issues, as well as some of Lisa’s personal zines published under her moniker UnoFoto Art
. In fact, my first photozine I printed was in response to her prodding notes she would write me every time I would buy one of her zines, things like “Waiting on yours” Lisa’s a super talented and creative person, one of those people who are always making something, I feel special to consider her a zine friend, we trade on a regular basis, in fact, I’m about to send her a package!
3. Tell us a little bit about your work and what inspires and motivates you!
I’m a photo-based artist who explores ideas about relationship to environment and place (more on my website: jannalangholz.com
). I’m a constant wanderer, and I’m inspired and motivated by being on the move or between places. Working on the zine with Laidric has been a great way to connect with another photographer and share our experiences – we call our zine a “photo-conversation”.
Laidric: I’m a photographer, in the traditional sense in that I fully shoot with analog (aka film) cameras. Photography itself motivates me, it’s truly magical in the sense that a photograph is a recording of a moment in time that will never exist again, and that moment can make you ask questions, can make you imagine, can make you reminisce, and can make you feel. I’m motivated by the way photography makes you interact and define the world around you. Working with Janna has been an inspiration as well, our sensibilities as photographers mesh so well together that our zines look as if they were shot by a single photographer.
4. What new projects are you working on, will they be available at Zine Fest Houston?
Janna: We just published the second issue of our zine Meeting New People Isn’t the Easiest Thing, and yes, it will be available in Houston! Laidric may also have a few other projects up his sleeve.
Laidric: Our second issue was just published in September for Dallas’s 2nd Annual Zine Party and it was well received! We’ll have both issues of MNPITET available at ZFH. I will also have some of my personal “city zines” available, these are zines that follow along the same format as my first photozine, where I pick a city in the US that I’ve never been to, take a minimal amount of gear, shoot a ton of photographs, then come home and make a zine. So far, I have one on Miami and one on Los Angeles published, then I am furiously trying to finish one on Las Vegas. The Miami and LA will be available at ZFH, I hope I can get the Vegas one finished in time!!
5. What do you think the zine / comic / self-publishing scene will be like in 10 years?
Janna: I hope it will continue to grow! It’s been exciting to see a scene being established in places like Dallas and Houston, and in St. Louis where I’m currently based.
Laidric: I echo Janna’s thoughts, self-publishing is such a tremendous creative outlet, and with the pace & tone of the world as it is today, we all need something to express our opinions, thoughts, and emotions. I hope it will continue to grow, more people and more places get involved and those that are involved now are able to do it on a larger scale!