How I Went About Making a Zine With a Collective

All images of the zine creation process by James Moreton

Back in May I responded to an interview with Chris at the Phoblographer about making zines, why photographers should make them, the drive behind creating zines and some of my experiences of the creative process. The premise of the article was centred on a zine I created last year (Figments), but I hinted at what was coming from the Collective I am a member of – that project is now complete; AllFormat Issue 2. For this issue we wanted to create more of a collaborative photo book, so we thought what better way to do that than to take the reader on a journey through our collective psyche.

Editors’ Note: This is a sponsored post from the AllFormat collective. If you would like a copy please check out the AllFormat Collective store.

This project took 10 months to complete, but shooting the images we used was done before we started this process. Essentially, once we agreed on the concept and what we wanted to achieve, we all threw multiple images into a shared dropbox and started to play with pairing images and the flow. In the previous article I explain how pairing and sequencing is vitally important:

“Pairing of images and the flow images in a sequence is crucial. Sometimes you really need to study and think deeply in order to pair images and sometimes it hits you right in the face. Two good images that are well paired can be transformed into something altogether more powerful – the best photographic books manage to do this.”

All members shoot very different styles and formats but all are actively interested in pushing work out to a wider audience; and one of the reasons we came together to form a collective in the first place was to produce a collaborative zine. We published our first zine – Issue 1 last year, but it was much more of an introductory concept – each photographer had three images and a small amount of text to put out in order to establish the collective. We also interviewed Jason Lee (yes, that Jason Lee) in order to give some variation to the content.


When the flow was agreed, the next step was to import the images into InDesign and start look at how the zine was going to work in book format. Multiple PDFs were created and shared with the members for review and discussion (one of the challenges we had was the international nature of the collective – we are based in the UK, USA, Italy, Japan, Finland, Australia and France), so getting together in person wasn’t going to work. One of the hardest things was purely getting 9 (we have since grown to 12 members) creative people to agree on decisions and wait for them to feed into the process! This is the main reason the project took so long.

We used the same printer for Issue 1 in the UK, to print the zine. We loved their high quality paper and quick turn around – we can’t say how important it is to get a proof made before your final print! When the first proof came back for Issue 2 it was obvious some of our double page spreads needed tweaking as the image was disappearing into the spine too much, we also changed some of the layout very slightly now we knew how the zine felt in the hand.

AllFormat Issue 2 ended up being 64 pages with 54 images and included an interview with Renato D’Agostin; who is a prolific photographer, book maker and darkroom printer. We asked him about his process and mindset when approaching the different projects he has been working on… If you don’t know his work you should go and check him out.

AllFormat is a diverse, global collective of twelve dedicated photographers who came together through a mutual love of film. All our members choose to work with the medium of film for aesthetic, artistic and process-centric reasons. We prefer the the look of film, the grain and the tones. We believe film pictures look like they have soul and aren’t as clean, crisp or sterile-looking as digital. The process is also very important; not seeing what you have makes you work harder. The tactile nature of traditional photography – loading the film, winding on the camera and developing the photos afterwards is all part of it; we love the process. Let’s face it, film is cool.