Culture

Quarantine Publishing

Words by Megan Evans

Artwork by Sian Hopkins

The Corona-virus pandemic well and truly has affected the market of art and culture drastically. There hasn’t been a lot to document as the world closed itself off from the marketing, the lifestyle, the boudoir of high society, from rags to riches and the mundane documentation of daily lives of not only celebrities, but the everyday people that we all love to hear about. The world became inundated with the death toll, the reality of mental health becoming our crutch but also accepting that the shows, productions as well as festivals and holidays that keep us all excited across the academic year to standstill. 

We have all had to immerse ourselves instead, with the little things that give us pleasure, whether that be new music, painting, DIY, cooking, and for me, I took a lot of time in reading material that was created in lock down.

With laptops in front of us, and the time ticking but not much movement from the outside world, it was hard to be focused on the positivism around us. I found some very inspiring material that has benefited me not only positively, but created a culture within my home that has made me think differently about the future, and how much appreciation should be taken for the quality of the written word and photography.

Image by Megan Evans

I was casually browsing Instagram, and I got drawn to this magazine entitled ‘Aether’, produced by the amazing Mia Saki. Their latest issue looks into a lot of featured artists that are not as well known, but deserve the written articles they deserve, as some don’t really fit the mainstream categories of ‘popular culture’. The front cover stars ‘JGrrey’, whom I adore. It is such a weird time for not only new music, but as a woman in the industry that has faced so much criticism, JGrrey has only found her feet in the urban world at such a tender age, and produced quality tracks that strive that soul flavour that some are missing. 

I was drawn to these articles as not only were they insightful and not just focused on the gossipy side of the media, it really showed the power and emotions that went through these artists to produce their music/fashion pieces. 

The writer of the magazine herself, has spent 5 years getting the magazine to 21k in followers, in writing this, on Instagram. With so much published daily online, it is hard to stand out from the crowd, but I found this independent publication designed specifically for young creatives extremely enticing and inspiring in a world dominated by so much negativity in this field at the moment. 

Another publishing that I came across during the pandemic that deserves a voice, is ‘Safar’ magazine, a Lebanonese independent design and visual culture magazine, curating contributors art and debaters from across the country on a chosen theme. Their most recent, entitled ‘Migrations’, goes lengths discussing some really deeply thoughtful articles, from ‘The Meme in the Age of Viral Responsibility’, unpicking the realistic and underlying messages behind the way we cultivate memes within our daily conversations, to ‘On Design Authorities and Imposter Syndrome’, an interview with Steven Heller, an American artist on the creative outlets he uses in his daily life, and the nitty gritty in his thought process of being an artist in this generation of thinking.

 I found that this work truly inspiring to have been written, particularly in a country that has faced so many barriers in more recent news, but has the necessary flair and voice that it truly deserves for readers across the world to show this talent and spoken word on topics, and creativity that should be shown. 

Their cover stars are two women who have had to share first hand experiences living under a system exploiting young migrant Lebanon workers, which is so mind-blowing and proves that the world may have stopped, but the raw stories are still there and need to shed light and inspire our generation of thinkers and communicators.

Vogue, is one that I’m sure many have heard of. However, the way that they have more recently conducted their front covers to suit the lockdown and every-day life, has really added more value to one of the more prestigious magazines on the market.

Our attitudes, and particularly the editors of Vogue once day in the offices, to then having to work from home, their August issue entitled ‘Reset’, really resonates with the ethos of Quarantine and publishing in general, as it had 14 front covers, one of the first opportunities of this kind for this magazine as it is a major theme that has been acquainted to us in our daily lives during this chaotic manner from photographers capturing original landscapes. A lot more moving features from the everyday to the celebrity based around mentality, escapism and the observations that are of the uttermost interest for a time like this, I have really engaged with this material more so than I have ever done before.

It would be hard not to mention Delayed Gratification, a slow journalism magazine that has everything you could want in one magazine, which highlights a roundup of the year so far, in issue 38. With its charismatic approach and warmth, these articles lay out to the world the right way journalism should be, by investigating closely in cases that have been lightly washed over, such as the early cases that were discovered in Wuhan, China, to Parasite and how to ‘win an Oscar’, to the coral reefs that are being destroyed in Jamaica.

This insightful take on the world’s leading stories, has been made so much easier to read and understand, and shows us not only the headliners, but the personalities behind these people. It makes journalism seem less ‘critical’ and much more personal when you compare the differences between these four quality magazines, from independent to leading brands.

It shows us all that during a quarantine perspective, as long as the stories are being told, the photography is being captured and the personalities are thriving through the writing and craft, our culture will continue to diversify and preserve in these strange times.

Featured magazines;

Aether magazine; @aethermagazine

Safar Magazine; @journalsafar

Vogue Magazine; @britishvogue

Delayed Gratification; @dg_quarterly

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