Living in the digital days gives us unlimited access to content. With high speed search engines, social media platforms and algorithms improving everyday, finding content has never been easier. However, our brains are cooking from the overload of images, videos and stories. Our undying concentration is being exchanged for a goldfish’s attention span.
The Swiss based zine, Awfull 35, lives to pick through the nitty-gritty scenes of life into a carefully curated package for you. Founded by Marius Eckert, he takes pride with only using unpublished film images, inciting us to slow down and take a looksie of the violent, indulging, real world we live in. They encourage viewers to step back from their screens and enjoy scanning through raw and thought-provoking photos and to simply be conscious of the present.
Tell us about Awfull 35’s heart and soul?
It is primarily the effort to slow down, a countermovement to the daily flood of images. By creating a platform for unpublished, analog, raw pictures we want to give the photographs a place of value – In a time of endless, fast-paced streams of digital images.
Why exclusively film photos?
Because film photography slows down the rhythm of the project. It takes time to shoot, time to develop and time to distribute. Besides that, the material it takes to shoot analog gives the pictures some value back.
Why do you feel their is a need to view images that are considered unpleasant?
During my studies I was a party photographer at a renowned disco in Zurich. I found the brawling and puking guests more interesting to take pictures of than the visitors who were posing and unpacking their fake laugh. So I focused on this “unpleasant” side of the party. In the end I got fired because I didn’t “represent the party well”. It feels like there is not much room to show this kind of interest, although I think they show an important part of our reality.
Also it has been shown that today’s endless social media stream of beautiful, happy – but often staged – images can trigger depressions. So maybe Awfull 35 can be seen as a kind of therapy against that.
What is the purpose of print when we can have an exact digital copy?
Often receiving a magazine feels to me like receiving a collection of pictures I already knew from social media accounts. For that reason, Awfull 35 does not exist as a digital copy – And we only print unpublished pictures.
It is possible to order the magazine online, but by adding a goodie and offering a cheaper price we incite people to get the magazine from the Awfull 35 vending machine which is currently standing in front of the photography store, Ars Imago in Zurich. This machine is one more step in this process of slowing down the project. Besides that, it has the effect of bringing the pictures back to where they were taken — real life. Analog distribution for analog photography.
Why do you think print is important in today’s digital era?
For me, print is the medium in which photography comes to life. Possessing something that is limited and haptic remains different from storing data in a digital folder.
Do you think print is setting back the world’s advancement or preserving reality?
I think depending on the respective situation it can be both – but in my case it’s neither. It was never an aspect of my work to stop something new or to prevent something old. For me, print is just the best medium to tell my narrative.
What’s your take on censorship; can we be trusted to know our limits?
This is a huge question and I can only answer it in the context of my own work. I don’t censor anything – as long as publishing it doesn’t harm the people shown in the pictures. This means that consent is an important part of the project. Of course a picture does not only affect the person shown on it, but also the one looking at it. I think in this case the responsibility should lie with the viewers themselves.
What are the requirements to submit photos to Awfull 35?
Raw. Analog. Unpublished.
Has there been any photos to date that you’ve refused to include because it was too awful?
Not in a sense that a picture was showing something too awful. It was just awfully bad photography haha.
What can we expect in Awfull 35’s current issue?
Consumption, excretions and all the stuff in between.
Cover provided by Awfull 35.
Inset by Sim Ouch, Marius Eckert, Mitrofan Ovidiu, Sam Kuchvara, Nicola Albertin, Reena Unikat and Kamisalak.