I would’ve gladly paid for a magazine like that, but Sebastian was kind enough to send me a review copy of Auslöser. Having received it, I immediately fell in love.
When it comes to print, design and material — choices matter; I think that Auslöser made good ones. Their limited selection of topics, featured artists and their works, made a well-rounded publication that’s captivating, full of discovery, and is a pleasure to hold in hand.
Magazine content: text and photography.
I avoid the interview format on this website and tend to skip articles that use the Q&A style (a personal preference I can speak on later). However, the people and the stories that Auslöser chose to feature in that same format were fascinating. I could not put the book down.
An art photographer who creates unreal imagery with paint applied directly to negatives. A former police officer whose pioneering road accident photography looked incredibly crisp and beautifully colourful — despite the grim nature — as if it was shot yesterday with “staged” vintage vehicles, people, and the environment. An Iranian photographer who shared her stories of war, loss, and frustratingly sexist society, as well as love, compassion, and beauty. A serene series, Tree, that features enormous canopies in front of even larger white canvasses within their natural element.
Each interview features a carefully selected set of questions and a subject whose work or credentials made for learning and inspiration I yearned after being stuck at home for over a year in mild depression. I feel a little better having read it; the glimmering hope of making better art has finally got a few sparks it needed to keep me warm.
In addition to artist interviews and their works, Auslöser features a few short stories in a slightly different format. A showcase of Kodachrome memorabilia, a short Camera defunct magazine overview, and a few pages of tastefully modest on-brand sponsor mentions.
Paper, binding, and packaging.
Most photography paper products I own that aren’t hand-made feature coated glossy leaves and come with standard perfect binding. Auslöser chose to use uncoated paper and a loose spine. Given how difficult it is to keep perfect-bound books open, this design made for much easier spreading. Spread photographs would be visible in full with no paint sinking into the crevices; it’s easy to pause and place the book upside down without having it crease or springing closed. Unfortunately, this also means that the front cover would hover “open” after a reading session until the edges settle back in.
The paper isn’t particularly thick or elaborate. It feels like a quality, simple paperback material. I’d say it’s a good choice for this publication as many shiny premium papers tend to make reading more difficult — especially when they’re way too think, made so often just for the sake of it.
I’ve really enjoyed how the pages rendered the photographs in this print; though the blacks aren’t as deep without the gloss, they don’t reflect stray light and read like watercolour.
Aside from the zero-plastic, branded cardboard sleeve, my copy came wrapped nicely into an onionskin silk paper — an effect I intend to replicate shamelessly when my book ships later this year.
Design and layout.
Auslöser is both an English and a German-language publication, with the former printed in black ink on the left side of every page and the latter with a lighter grey on the right. Selected quotations are printed in huge letters in German with a smaller, though still large, grey font in English.
The font choices of the magazine are sans-serif for the most part, with a few serif letterings — reserved for the ads and the “Auslöser” heading.
It felt refreshing to browse a publication that values simplicity and consistency over the disorienting dance of frills seen in many other new groupwork prints. Not that it lacked bold design choices — Auslöser features plenty of white space, clever spreads, and a physical packaging that makes it feel warm and unmanufactured.
And of course, the content that makes the day.
Auslöser [aʊ̯sløːzɐ] — “Shutter Button” / “Trigger” / “Release” in German — can be purchased for €20.00 directly at the publisher website.