I remembered getting upset when somebody mentioned the word 'contrived' at a photoshoot one day. I didn't understand the word and, because English is not my first language, at the time I found it a really condescending word. I googled it and even asked my Australian husband it's meaning. Now I understand that it isn't condescending, it's actually an accurate description of a lot of what I'd been seeing lately including mine.
After weeks of soul searching I finally decided the direction I wanted my photography to go. A part of this soul searching was a rampage of deleting some wedding photographers I was 'friends' with in Facebook and also in Twitter. I deleted a whole lot of noise, a whole lot of boring 'sameness' or a whole lot of competition as to who can shoot the highly styled wedding.
In a sense I was getting very agitated, very uninspired and very bored of it all. So I looked at photographers outside of the wedding industry and was instantly refreshed by the amazing photographers who capture images for their simplicity, honesty and never contrived.
Welcome Synonym Journal. "A project began out of boredom from mental and visual exhaustion. Realisation of feeling lost in our former 'escapes.' Something had changed: shiny magazines and blogs were still fun, but less potent." This general observation answered my longing to simplify and slow down the amount of information we take day in and day out.
Don't expect highly styled images in this journal but rather curated works of artists and writers who challenge you to think, rather than just expect you to flick through a magazine for it's design and photographs. For me Synomym Journal is like watching a French subtitle film, hard to understand yet enigmatic, artistic and evokes wonder.
Design wise? It made me question it's aesthetics. I like things carefully placed in a layout. In a way I kind of find that it doesn't make sense but after some time with it I found that I do like it… because once again it's challenging my thought process, it's purposely designed like an abstract art, a mixed medeia collage, but simple with an honest beauty.
Here's a few of my favourite Synomym Journal essays:
'Things I Like' by Leah Finnegan I liked that the answers are weren't edited to what people would like to hear. Honest. I love the random dislikes: period dramas, mayonnaise, running, French food or fluffy pillows.
'Brian W. Ferry' In every sense speaks true to heart
'In Transit' by Debbie Carlos her photo essay made me missed catching public transport and the luxury of daydreaming 'in transit'.
'Expectational ennui' by Jessica Stanley & Victoria Hannan "Perhaps without external validation in the form of a book deal or exhibition, the only thing keep us creating is how awful we feel when we don't." Finding out other creatives pondering the same question I've been wondering about these last few days. I found myself questioning the style of images I like to capture whilst thinking Brian Ferry's words versus the number of repins on 'perfectly styled image' in Pinterest. Trying to analyse, study and finding the happy medium.
Synonym Journal is a biannual print journal created by Amelia Giller & Leigh Patterson. Issue 1 is printed in a limited edition of 300 copies only.