não vão daqui a pensar mal disto - RUI ESTEVES

This article is part of the A LOOK AT series. In this series, we examine the work of someone in this wonderful community. This article is relating to a unique zine by our very own Rui Esteves.

não vão daqui a pensar mal disto is Rui’s take on the Island of Corvo, Azores, Portugal. In a similar fashion to Jules Le Moal’s From Montmartre With Love, Rui’s zine shares his experience of a visit to some where we might not have personally experienced. This way, we learn about the place in question, but we also learn about the artist and their vision. I’m a particular fan of these sort of zines; I like the depth they share.

This is part of a series that Rui is producing from his various travels. For the sake of this article, I’ll refer to não vão daqui a pensar mal disto as a zine, but it’s worth noting that Rui considers this series to be more of a book series. I don’t think it’s disrespectful to consider this a zine and not a book, but I can certainly respect that this zine has things that separates it from the average zine.

This zine is unquestionably the best presented zine I’ve seen: a wax seal? Please - that’s as cool as it gets. As I’ve collected many zines since the launch of this website, it takes exceptional packaging for me to be impressed, and this, without a doubt, got me excited. It’s just so unique, and there’s a sense that I’m receiving something personalised. I love it.

Once you break the envelope, you’re greeted with a beautiful monochromatic zine with this graphic of Caleirão (Cauldron in English), which is the volcano that lives on the Island of Corvo. I personally think the cover is one of the most important parts of a zine as it’s meant to entice the viewer to enjoy the contents. This certainly does that: it’s clean and elegant.

The back of the zine speaks of Rui’s motive for shooting this project. We have a translation of it here:

A Lisbon in the singular. A small chunk of Portugal stretching out to the west. A county without parishes.
In here everyone knows each other, if not by name, at least from sight. Few are the ones that don’t say hello every time they cross path with you, even if they don’t yet know your name.
They make you feel welcome.
Those that are no in a hurry, walk, those that are, drive. The Cauldron is their presentation card, but it’s their welcoming manner and hospitality that will endure in your memory.
You can eat in two places, a meat sandwich in the Fireman’s bar or a fish soup and grilled fish at the local restaurant. The hassle of the first set against the tranquility of the second. Both a delight in their own way.
At the end of the day it’s the sound of the ocean, the dancing of the waves and their dialog with the volcanic rock that will enchant you.
As a goodbye Mr. Manuel says – Don’t go away thinking ill of here.

Island of Corvo, Azores, Portugal

It’s quite a poetic dedication to the Island of the Crow.

Before we consider the actual images, I wish to reflect on the production of this zine: I’m a massive fan. The cover is a bit more rigid than the inside pages, and the pages are perfectly bound, so there’s a premium weight and feel to the product. The paper has a slight texture to it, which compliments the black and white images inside. It all comes together to make a wonderful zine.

The images in the zine are spectacular. There’s a delightful variety of subject matter, textures and compositions that makes the zine more immersive. When viewing a zine that refers to a location, having this variety helps to build a picture of how these places feel, sound, and smell. A few great examples of this are the following images. This first image features the fierce seas on the coast. There’s a violence to the image as the water reaches towards the viewer. It’s a busy scene as the water sprays out. This is then balanced by this vast scene of a near absent road. The image is less textured in comparison, and is more calm; the juxtaposition of these two images.

Lastly, I want to recognise the sequencing in this zine. I don’t want to spoil it for you, as I wish for you to experience the zine for yourself, but it’s wonderful. The zine can be appreciated in both ways: forwards, and backwards. I haven’t experienced a narrative like this before, but it is thoroughly enjoyable, whichever way you decide to experience it. Similar to that of Jacob Murphy’s New City, New Life., this zine can be experienced a number of times, and you’ll find new relationships between the images, depending on the way you read it. It’s wonderful.

In closing, this zine has shown me new things within the medium of a zine. From the unique presentation, to the reversible narrative, there’s a lot to be appreciated in this production from Rui Esteves. Better still, it’s incredibly affordable. Rui is selling this for 6€ plus shipping, which I think is a more than fair price. I would encourage you to contact him via email here to purchase a copy. Make sure you follow in on Instagram here.

Finally, if you enjoyed this article, then why not check out the other A LOOK AT articles here.