I first heard of Jules Le Moal’s zine from a Nick Exposed livestream. In fact, this was the first time I had heard of Jules, and after Nick Mayo’s recommendation, I jumped straight onto Instagram, contacted Jules and purchased a copy of From Montmartre With Love.
When I purchased the zine, I had the intention to completely breakdown the zine. I’m intending to produce my own publication soon, so I wanted to be critical of everything, to fully understand Jules’ choices on layout, paper, photographs, text, binding method etc. But as I received this zine, I automatically had this attachment to it.
If you’re fortunate enough to have purchased a copy, you’ll understand this attachment. There’s a real romanticism to the production of this piece. You can tell that the pages have been patiently and purposefully bound, the images have been so carefully considered to create a cohesive narrative, and throughout the whole publication, you begin to see Jules and his passion for both Paris and photography on display.
To begin with, I am a massive fan of the square dimension of the zine. Unlike most zines, the pages are square, so when you have a portrait or landscape image, there isn’t masses of dead negative space wasted; everything on the page is intentional. The use of black borders is not something I am familiar with, but I feel it makes this production really immersive. Your eye is naturally drawn to the contents of the images, and I have found that the lack of a defined border makes the zine naturally flow.
Now let’s talk about this red thread. This is brilliant. Just perfect. A lot of people will just overlook it - I get it, it’s just how the zine is bound. Sure, but I see much more in it. First of all, it’s red. The connotations of the colour red are self explanatory; in this case romance and love, which nicely ‘ties’ into the title (I hate puns typically, so forgive me). I also love how it’s the only colour in the whole piece. It’s subtle as it’s only visible from the outside of the zine and the inside double page spread, but it’s always there, holding things together. I also feel like it just shows how much Jules cares for his craft. I feel that I have received a personalised gift from a friend as well as a piece of art from a creator.
The images are presented in pairs, which means that there’s a really nice rhythm to the zine. Almost like a heartbeat; once you view an image, there is a related image to follow. It makes for a unique experience as you compare each image to the following one, spotting the similarities and differences. You really have to appreciate how Jules has captured these scenes; some of them really demonstrate his attention to detail, and just how much he exhausts a scene to get the perfect image.
Here’s just a few great examples of this.
The first is the central double page spread. The narrative is obvious: you can see the children drawing the hopscotch, and then the second image shows the said hopscotch. The composition in each image, though, is very different and provide a greater understanding of how the scene actually felt. Talk about working a scene.
This next example is one of my favourites, and I can’t exactly explain why. There’s almost two narratives here. The second image gives the impression that the boys look out of the window and see these two hooded figures, but it could also be the two hooded figures could be reminiscing when they were young together. I have so many questions about the stories of these four figures, where they’re located, what they’re talking about and more, but I am left to imagine. You feel encouraged to find the answers through the pages, thus furthering this attachment to From Montmartre With Love.
So as I conclude this written piece on Jules Le Moal’s From Montmartre With Love, I wish to thank Jules for this stunning piece. I purchased it in an attempt to better my understanding of the medium, but I was treated to so much more. I've since discovered a new love for street photography, my understanding of photo sequencing has evolved, I've gained an insight on paper choices and binding methods, but most of all - I've received a stunning body of work which has been crafted with care.
Jules has sold out of From Montmartre With Love (for now 😉), but he has been working hard on some new projects. He's currently producing something about North Korea. So if you didn’t get a copy, don’t be disheartened, but make sure to head over to Jules’ website and Instagram page to keep up to date with his upcoming projects. And whilst you’re there, make sure you check out his Film Swap Project; an awesome collaborative project he does with shooters from around the globe.