Mono - Garth Murphy

I absolutely love writing articles for the A LOOK AT series. It is my opportunity to sing the praises of those of you that are producing great work. It could be an exhibition, stickers, prints, zines, stamps, or whatever else you can think of! Today I’m sharing you the zine of Garth Murphy of Murphys Film: Mono.

If you saw the article I wrote in February titled Film Photography YouTube Channels, you’ll know that I spoke fondly of Garth and the content he produces. His videos are informative and entertaining. Some of my favourite videos are the photo walks, but he’s also produced a number of videos about gear and the techniques of developing. You can check out his YouTube channel here.

This zine was bound to appeal to me; I’m a sucker for monochromatic work. The zine features the best black and white images that Garth captured during 2017. It’s designed to document the city of Liverpool and the people that inhabit it whilst recording his progression through the medium of monochrome street photography. 

I really love this style of narrative. I love getting to learn about places through the eyes of somewhere else, particularly someone that lives there. I feel like the things that Garth notices would probably be different to a visitor, so it makes it more interesting; he captures the atmosphere of what it is like to actually be there. This narrative tends to work well as demonstrated by another Murphy (not related) with New City, New Life. To learn about Jacob Murphy’s zine, click here.

The other things that makes this narrative interesting is that it not only documents Liverpool in 2017, but Garth too. It serves as a reminder to who he was as a photographer a couple of year ago. I think we all somewhat do this with our Instagram feeds, but I do like that he’s done this in a printed medium. 

The zine itself is of nice quality. It’s a staple bound booklet on what feels like a silk litho. It’s not the most premium feeling of materials I’ve seen in zines, but it works exceptionally well carrying the contrast of these images. It’s also thick enough that you don’t see the images bleed through the pages. This makes it an excellent choice. The zine does not have lots of pages, which means that the zine is lightweight. It’s a nice change to some of the more rigid ones we’ve seen in recent features.

Before we reflect on the images on the inside, can we take a moment to appreciate this cover? I feel like it’s a fitting representation of the narrative. We see a black and white image featuring the branding of “Murphy’s” and a reflection of him taking the image. I think it’s genius. Whether or not he took this image with the idea of using it as a cover or not, I have to applaud Garth for a brilliant cover. It gets my approval.

Let’s take a look at a few key spreads that I have enjoyed, shall we? 

I particularly rate this first pairing. Garth’s playful coupling of these two figures with shades is genius. It makes the zine have a heart beat, as the narrative appears to be represented in twos. This second coupling demonstrates that well too. Besides the fact that these are great environmental portraits, I love that we’re invited to learn of the people that roam the streets of Liverpool. I can’t help but make ties between these two figures, and it begs the question whether this second figure will still be rocking a beard at the first one’s age.

The following spread is extraordinary. I’m not sure what you all read into this coupling, and I’m not going to assume Murphy’s political stances, so I won’t make any statements. I’ll merely highlight this spread and let you enjoy it for yourselves.

As this zine doesn’t have lots of pages, I don’t wish to spoil any more of the surprise of this charming zine. Instead, I urge you to consider supporting Garth by buying one yourself. This zine is a worthy addition to anyone’s collection. You can do so here by DMing him.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the other ones in the A LOOK AT series. You can find them here.