15 Sep Safelight Paper – Sun
Surprise Subscription #33
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But as images become more and more abundant, and as they are increasingly used as a simple means of communication, a thousand might seem a bit too much. After all, how many words can you find in a thumbs-up emoji?
Safelight Paper, this month’s Surprise Subscription pick, is an act of resistance against this cultural decline in photography’s evocative power. Where the emphasis in modern image usage is on speed and convenience, Safelight Paper’s is on slowness and the basic fact that good things always come with time. Operating out of the eponymous Berlin camera store and film laboratory whose slogan is “Shoot Film, Stay Broke”, the magazine actively strives to make pictures worth a thousand words again.
Where the first issue of Safelight focused on youth, this one is centered on the sun (which makes sense, since photography’s essential materials are time and light). The magazine seeks to lead photography back to its roots through the exploration of personal perspectives and visual storytelling within one single theme.
And what remarkable tales are found within here! Whether it is hilarious depictions of people enjoying fine weather against post-industrial backgrounds, exceptional examples of the beautiful alchemy between light and skin, or abstract depictions of change against the constant presence of the sun, Safelight Paper abounds in rich and hidden language that is sure to leave an impression.
In his landmark study of photography Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes writes about a phenomenon called the punctum–the intensely subjective experience one can have when viewing particular photographs. Unlike those aspects of a photograph that can be interpreted from a social or political angle, the experience of punctum is one of emotion that exists outside of understanding. You may have this feeling of the uncanny as you slowly flip through Safelight’s pages, and we hope you come away from it with a fresh sense of wonder for the inexplicable power of photography.
Nicolas Blanchadell, the editor of Safelight Paper, took the time to make a short but fascinating video presenting the magazine. :
Thank you, Nicolas!