Zine Review: She Shoots Film No. 1

A while back we wrote about She Shoots Film: a special analog photography zine put together by a number of designers and photographers using money from an IndieGoGo campaign. The magazine, which has won quite a bit of acclaim thus far, is a continuation of the underground photography culture’s progression into moving off of the social web and back into a distraction free environment. Spearheaded by four women, She Shoots Film may excite some photographers and turn others off simply because, well, we live in a marginalized world. Though if you remove the fact that the magazine is put together by women and features exclusively women, then you’re bound to be amazed by not only the quality of work presented in the first edition, but the very subtle details put into the actual production of the zine itself.

She Shoots Film fits somewhere between a DIY zine and an actual full blown magazine. She Shoots Film takes sponsorships; and it’s going to need it in order to pay for the costs and the crew who works on the magazine. A lot of this is evident in the simple feel of the magazine. Unlike the Vanity Fairs of today with glossy pages, She Shoots Film takes a more reserved stance with matte paper. It’s a whole lot unlike a number of other zines I’ve looked through when traveling and matte paper makes reading it simpler than looking away from reflections you’ll get from overhead lights on a train or coming through a window.

The magazine will also appeal to the photographers in the crowd who love composition. In fact, there is a very big emphasis put on both photo features and pagination. Where you’re more likely to see text sprawl around a magazine, She Shoots Film tends to keep it tight and boxy–sort or more being akin to reading a book than looking at a magazine. This would have been absolutely incredible if the font wasn’t so darned small. Sometimes, it feels like you’re trying to read fine print on a legal document you’re about to sign. Making the typeface stand out more from the page would have also been a welcome addition.

But then you get to the actual heart of the content. Once you take a magnifying glass out to read the first edition of She Shoots Film, you start to get into the nitty gritty of things. The first edition contains very psychological interviews that read a whole lot like the ones presented here on the site. The answers are thorough and tend to go in depth to explain a photographer’s creative vision–like one’s obsession with Detroit after moving from Germany.

Through the magazine, you’re also likely to find short photo features of one artist after another, short poems and prose, and first person accounts. The first edition is honestly a lot about mindset–and that’s evident from not only the content, but the cover’s pinkish appearance.

The work inside is obviously from female photographers, and is leaps and bounds different than all the VSCO inspired stuff you’re bound to find online. Instead, every woman in the zine has a creative vision all her own and goes through her own processes. In fact, a lot of this work is stuff you’ve probably never seen anywhere else. The editors surely do justice to each woman and her creative vision. But with that said, I wonder how glossy pages would have made the images look under the right light.

I’m a big fan of She Shoots Film not because of the fact that it’s featuring analog photographers, but because it’s in many ways a slap in the face to the traditional magazines that tend to put the artist last in order to make advertisers happy. I hope the publication continues to grow as I too understand through running La Noir Image how difficult it can be to run a small publication.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of She Shoots Film yet, you surely should.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.