48 - KARL BAILEY

Welcome to another A LOOK AT article. In these articles, we love to examine the awesome work you are creating. If you’d like to see the other publications we’ve reviewed thus far, you can find them here. Today’s zine comes courtesy of Karl Bailey as we take A LOOK AT 48.

This zine joins a collection of travel-based zines, though it has the added quirk of being 48 images shot in 48 hours. I really enjoy it when an artist produces something under some form of creative limitation. In this case, I adore the selection of images Karl has opted to include. It makes me consider which images he might’ve excluded because of the self-inflicted constraints. It gives each image included an added weight.

Like I do with most A LOOK AT articles: let’s talk about the cover. This cover is brilliant. I love the simplicity of it. The black is clean and elegant, and the “48” sparks intrigue; it does everything a cover should. Something else that is special about this cover is the texture. Karl has invested in giving the cover a soft-touch lamination. Sure, it doesn’t change the look of the zine, and it doesn’t change the images inside, but it feels great in the hand. If you’re in the process of producing a zine and you’re considering doing so with soft-touch lamination, I’d highly recommend it. If you can do anything to make the zine experience more enjoyable, then you should do it, and this lamination is one of those things.

The other materials used are good. The paper inside also feels nice, although it doesn’t support the blacks like some gloss papers might. The colour images look remarkable; they just render so well on this paper. The colours are somewhat muted, but the reds pop so well. The monochrome images look great too. Excellent paper choices by Karl: they feel great and look great. 

The images in this zine are simply remarkable. Karl has opted to do pairs of images. We’ve seen this before in such zines as Jules Le Moal’s From Montmartre With Love, and if you remember my appraisal of that, that puts 48 in great company. Karl’s coupling is genius. I found myself appreciating the varying links one could make between the images; some links were more obvious than others, but all of them made the viewing experience more enjoyable. Let’s take a look at some examples.

This first one help sets up the narrative. This spread shows the two means of transport he has used on his journeying, but more precisely, we see the places where the driver and pilots operate the vehicle respectively. 

This next spread we see two forms of the same transport, albeit one stationary and the other being used. It feels like a natural continuation of the narrative.

Now we begin witness Karl develop the story as displays a less obvious link. We see two packed window displays. There’s a uniformity to the displays, and to see that echoed from one page to the other is brilliant. A great link.

Next Karl shares two images linked by the overwhelming presence of red. I really appreciate how he has managed to see such a similar repetition in two different places.

Then the focus moves from colours to shapes as this spread features two images with similar geometric subjects. 

That was just 5 early examples of the couples Karl has produced for this zine, but you can see how he keeps each spread fresh. I won’t spoil the rest of the couplings just in case you pick up a copy.

I’m not sure I’ve described another zine like this yet, but 48 is fun. There’s something really enjoyable about trying to find the link between the images that Karl has come up with. It’s almost like the opposite of a “spot the difference” exercise: you spend the time comparing one image to another until the common theme becomes obvious. It’s a brilliant mechanic to keep the audience invested that certainly cements this zine as unique.

Karl Bailey’s 48 is difficult to put down. The wonderful imagery, soft touch feel and genius photo coupling make this zine a worth addition to anyone’s zine collection. I can say with confidence that you would enjoy this zine.

If you’d like to experience the fun these pages have to offer, you’ll need to act fast. Karl has only got a handful left! To get your copy, simply DM Karl here. Also, keep your eyes on our feed - we might have an extra copy to give away in a SHOOTOUT soon.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy the other A LOOK AT articles we’ve produced. You can find them here.