Pinch me hard. Page after page of Poetry, Prose, Photography & Journalism. I knew Low Light Magazine would attract some furious talent but this read has gone way beyond my expectations. The cover itself, its layout, represents for me a beautiful industry of minds inside. Smokin’ hot and ready to share and encourage the creative factory that is Hi Vis Press.
Now Hi Vis evolved from a nicked paper, scissor fun, sensibility. Hand Job Zine was brilliant and brought together a plethora of underground writers fit to burst. I was sad to hear that Jim & Sophie were moving on from that, but new collaboration with co-editor Ben Williams and the pooling of ideas has spawned a brilliant monster.
“To truly understand what is out there, you must investigate the darkness as much as the light”
The contrast in these pages is gobsmacking and beautiful. Sophie’s Pitchford‘s design and style is a standout. The index page itself a work of art. This shows the care and love these guys have for their contributors. They know the drive of unheard voices, their work complementing each other as each page is turned. Even the paper stock is class, with a font size fit for these old birds eyes is perfect. I haven’t touched a magazine so intimately in so long.
Murmaid’s Purse by Anneghem Wall is the first poem to dwell inside. Instant transportation, salt and a seadog’s smirk. Nieves Mingueza’s photography is fascinating at every angle. It’s not until you get your bearings within the dream do you turn and see the truth, mesmerizing. Whitehawk by Jack Fleming is a photographic series exploring masculinity, incorporating inspiration by the recent works of artist Grayson Perry. With memories still fresh in my mind from Grayson’s My Pretty Little Art Career here in Sydney, I see the tapestry of connection, the same faces glazed on vases in the semi gloss of black and white.
Jamie Thrasivoulou‘s recent poetry collection was an excellent read a few months back so it is a great pleasure to find him here with a short story that returns me to his way of seeing. Stevie Slash And The Party Tricks isn’t a new band from Derby, it is a story about glass tables, glassy eyes and a night of violence via the rip-snorted oogled brain of Mr Slash who takes down some toffs and shares his charm amongst the party of shocked onlookers. No lessons here, just a slice of night via a drug fueled rampage. You can find a copy of Jamie’s The Best of A Bad Situation through Silhouette Press.
I have watched JJ Fiction’s photography evolve from the sidelines for a few years now. These shots chosen and interspersed throughout the mag compliment the aura of low light. Jesus on the wall is an evocative image, I can hear J’s gasp when he found it, CLICK! He gets another shot in, this time through graffiti smears into the night. Check out Jason’s blog and twitter for more outstanding words and images.
Cover shot honour’s went to the amazing A Routine Search’s Alex Brown. More work through the flicks reveals Happiness, a noir suburbia of angst that pierces through the page. This work is breathtaking in its everyday minimal realism.
Joy of joys, Joe’s back. A Little Bit Of Soap is more travel yarns from one of my favourite underground writers, Joseph Ridgwell. Complete with another batch of pirate acquaintances, in another paradise lost. Business is bad and the “long hot night of oriental futility” has lost its sheen. This seems like a quick bite, a deep fried cricket, not the Royal feast I’m used to when it comes to Ridgwell. His book Burrito Deluxe available through Leamington Books is on my classics shelf and hope more gems like that will materialise in 2018.
Low Light Magazine offered some nice earners with submissions. A tantalising boost that will surely stand them out and inspire contributors for future issues. Best Poetry Prose inside this here goes to Brenda Birenbaum for her extraordinarily woven reality of family, addiction and truth with Obituary. Nieves Mingueza sits side by side within an haunting friendship. Ewan Waddell takes us on a longer journey with his story about hitchhiking with his mate Ollie from Burgas to Plovdiv. Being a bit of spontaneous, not quite thought out madness, they find themselves stranded with little hope of getting to their destination without spending the night in unfamiliar territory. He soon finds out that a moment with the cosmos can remove ones thoughts from the negative and materialising an angel. The black & white holiday snaps adds even more beauty to this wonderful travel yarn.
There is a sprinkling of Henry Miller love in Prey by Raif Mansell. Stored writing influences can manifest into a fresh way of thinking. I knew I would dig his way with words. Paula Chatterjee’s Terraced House is compact and yet deceiving in size “in big houses words slip and sink into the sofa” surprised by how this piece had me lingering down the whole row. Three Poems by Hannah Whitlow shares a certain sense of youth, with a smattering of social commentary, short sweet and gets their points across. Terence Corless is back to taunt and haunt again with more from the 18th Weekend, his style easy on the eye, his mood persistent and in search of some way out of the funk of life.
There is a powerful burst of poetic reality that guards the stark textual depths of Rob True‘s story inside a psychiatric hospital. King Of The Mad Men‘s mania is relentless. The fight out of his own “irritable bone cage” is all engaging. If this is a taster of what Rob is releasing in 2018 through Burning House Press, I am all eyes.
Huge highlight for me is The Dead Queen Of Bohemia, an interview with Jenni Fagan. I’ve been living under some rock cause I’m new to Jenni’s writing and will need to rectify that soon. Once I started delving into her work I discovered Jenni has way more then just books on her mind. A beautiful artists eye, delving in photography, art and film. Though Hi Vis editor Sophie Pitchford‘s questions aren’t terribly probing, what they achieve is a respectful discussion, giving Jenni full reign to talk about her achievements, passions, goals and motivation with a kinda perfect ‘tips for young players’ feel. Splashed with Jenni’s own photography and info on where to discover more of her work, this piece evokes a gentle mystery instead of the usual author pic. Unlocking all the keys passed out through this piece to discover more from this encouraging writer, ultimately a most inspiring encounter.
Jenni talks alot in Scottish colloquial but no one has done it better for me lately than A.G Kayman with his Scots laid thick to dance on yer tongue. Once you start The Procedure you cannot leave until the whole yarn is complete. Kayman draws you right in, in his own wry kinda way, as if any minute it’s gonna go arse over tit into an abyss of furphy. Loads of blagger bites and ya cannae believe how well he sucks you in. Not all light, he does still manage to start internal conversations on ethics and debates of the mathematical kind. A real fave storyteller of mine.
I breathe again and flick to see an astonishing photograph of age, hardship and strength from photographer Chris Ward. Colours that match the most perfect dreary, natural and evocative which acts as a companion to Milk by Hannah Bradridge-Jackson . I Can Be Anything Me by Amber Agha fills me with instant warmth, her power lines follow, her fight defiant.
Photographer Jim Mortram‘s focus inside Small Town Inertia is the documentation of life in his local community and insights on when one becomes the sole caregiver, in this case to his mum. In the UK and in fact all around the world, care givers feel more like they are being “punished for that love” and “paid a slave’s wage” instead of being praised. Society is a very different place as extended family, sense of community, compassion seems to have left us. This interview reminds one to look around you. Selfless acts in their true meaning don’t want to be recognised. But what can be acheived is the spark that this piece triggers, to look around yourself, to help others and the realisation that your creative drive can still be explored no matter where your life takes you. Extraordinary document, Small Town Inertia is stark and beautifully emphatic. Sophie Pitchford’s understanding as a fellow photographer shines here with intelligent and probing questions.
Poet Gareth Culshaw Memorial Days and No Man’s land sits powerfully side by side. The beauty and comparisons of life on the felt from youth to our end of days. Glove Lit Zine‘s very own Ian Cusack whips us up into a frenzy with Hard Brexit. Tony and Linda are deep in the mire of struggle street, his thoughts mixed up in nationalistic politics hers with the embarrassment of it, their future quite frankly fucked.
More accolades, this one for Best Photography/Journalism goes to Jamie Sinclair and his documentation of friend and hoarder Brendon. It’s not a matter of just grabbing a gang to help clear and clean. There is also the psychological pain of parting with memories. Jamie hopes to raise funds to help Brendon get back on track.
I was emotionally drenched by Sarah Evans story Versions of You. Her characters life time struggle with self image, self esteem and the chance to not let the pain and behaviour be passed onto your own next generation. A few more poets, Florence Lenaers Untitled Beet Poem skats wonderfully through the supermarket of her mind while Yahoo, I’ve Been Hacked by Christopher Iacono takes computer security questions to its ultimate level.
I see Low Light Magazine continuing as the messangers of those new projects, collaborations and other literary happenings that share their ethos. That same passion to explore and promote more authentic voices within the creative community. Disappear Here written by Adam Steiner is one of many artists involved in the Disappear Here project which combines poets, video artists exploration and response to the concrete monolith which is the Coventry ringroad. Next to it is a full pager that I think belongs to the Disappear collaborative is just mesmerising. Milk Teeth cuts in and through the high rise and terraced rows of words on the page. You read and swirl above it with an angelic advantage, a bit of brilliance, author or authors unknown but somehow feels so familiar.
Hopefully a regular contributor to Low Light Magazine will be its Lit Zine Round-Up. In this issue there is an informative blast of six of the best currently spied by ‘Professor of Zineology’ and publisher at Paper & Ink Zine, Martin Appleby. I will surely be dipping into a few that may have missed these peepers in the future.
Hi Vis Press hopes to continue to be “a platform for under-represented artists. The press has been born out of the ethos of authentic voices and doing things differently“. For submissions, advertising and general enquiries you can connect with Low Light via firstname.lastname@example.org
You can purchase the latest issue here while stocks last.