Call for Submissions — Monochrome at Home

Stay Home. Shoot Film. Help Others Do the Same.

6 min read by Dmitri, Martin Beech, and bill.manning.studioc41.
Thank you to bigheadtaco, Em, Chi, JapanCameraHunter, Dan Rubin, Film Ferrania, Silvergrain Classics, and everyone on Twitter/Instagram/elsewhere who helped me spread the word  about this call. Thank you, Bill Manning and Martin Beech, for letting me share your photographs here as examples of great submissions.
Are you feeling cooped up at home, surrounded by film cameras, negatives, and Polaroids with photos taken indoors? I have a creative challenge just for you!

This summer, Analog.Cafe will be releasing the first issue of the “Monochrome Unbound” printed zine. As such, I am announcing an open call for submissions for black and white photographs taken indoors. Everyone whose images are published gets a mailed copy of the zine, printed on unbound, 100% recycled paper spreads.

The winner gets to keep my stash of the excellent Ferrania P30 black and white film and have their photograph featured on the cover page.

The participation rules are simple:

1) Prepare any number of photos taken on any date by you. The images must be taken indoors or on your home’s property on monochrome film, any format, including instant film or plates. Please ensure the scans measure at least 1,800 pixels horizontally.

2) Add 10+ words describing your subject, process, and a title: here.

3) Submit your photos for editorial review by Friday, May 1st, 2020.

There are additional release and disclosure details at the bottom of this article which apply to your submissions — please take the time to review them as well.

Here’s an example of a simple yet beautiful monochrome film photo taken at home: “I took the 4x5 out the front door… a simple macro shot of junipers with CatLABS X-Film 80. Developed with left over CineStill DF96.” — Bill Manning.

About the project: “Monochrome Unbound” printed zine series.

Analog.Cafe got its start in 2017 as an idea for a community publishing platform. Having published essays and articles of almost a hundred film photographers from all corners of the world, it has become just that.

From the web design influenced by best principles of typography, to a growing collection of printable PDF resources, print has always been part of the Analog.Cafe DNA. In fact, the first few photo essays were released as part of a printed zine, back when I used to live in Thailand.

“Monochrome Unbound” series is my attempt to return to printing stories, photographs, and guides on paper.

As a professional web developer by day and a modern human being, I recognize the value and convenience that comes with being able to publish online. The analogue community’s remarkable ability to do so is in-part responsible for the revival of film.

Some items in our homes may appear enchanting on film, particularly if they emit light like this: “This is Mabel, my partner’s daughter, ‘reading’ a novelty light book that I use as a bedside lamp.” — Martin Beech.

Still, there are advantages to physical print, even if gone through a digital process, which this website alone can not deliver. Like the paper’s immunity to the technical issues, including service outages and the readers’ devices’ ability to reproduce high-resolution images on small screens. The readers’ hard copies do not self-destruct if I stop paying my hosting fees. The paper content does not change like this article, for example, which I’ve already edited five times. The privacy features of a paper copy are often way more robust than anything that could be offered online. Of course, paper also feels different, and the experience is consistent for all readers, unlike the infinite variability of computer screen sizes, pixel density, colour, and light transmission properties.

Before Analog.Cafe, I’ve been running another creative project, ArtSocket, which revolved around selling quality paper prints. During which I’ve learned real costs of print production: on the wallet, the environment, personal time, and the end-experience. As a result, for the best chances of success of the new print venture, I’ve adopted a few changes to how things are going to work.

Monochrome is a deliberate technical and creative limitation. A good colour print is far trickier than it may seem. Despite the easy availability of colour inking solutions, reproducing the right temperature, hue, and resolution is a time-consuming and challenging task, even when scanning negatives, let alone preparing the results for print. Monochrome-only printers are cheaper and faster, which allows me to own the production step, instead of having to submit files, wait for proofs, correct, etc. The time and dollar savings can then be passed on to the reader.

Unbound is also a design choice. Having tried and researched various binding options, I’ve made a decision not to. The first two zines I made featured a brochure layout, where sheets of A4 or Letter paper are folded in half and stapled together at the spine. The downside of this approach is half-sized images and product quality that’s reminiscent of math notebooks from grade school, rather than an art project. Having loose sheets is a risk, but I’m willing to take it in favour of being able to produce larger prints. This method is also more sensitive to the materials I have on-hand at the moment.

The overall quality of the first run of “Monochrome Unbound” zine will not match that of, for example, Silvergrain Classics magazine, neither is it meant to. MU is a homebrew operation, printed on a consumer monochrome inkjet, promising better results than a typical laser printer but not on-par with top-level reproduction results.

With this setup, I am hoping to achieve significant savings in cost and for the environment. I am well aware that the hardware, ink, shipping, and packaging create additional waste and greenhouse emissions. Still, my choice of 100%-recycled core paper product made south of the border from locally-sourced discarded coffee cups is likely a step in the right direction.

Submit your photos for editorial review by Friday, May 1st, 2020.

“Monochrome at Home” submissions’ additional release and disclosure.

1) All proceeds from the inaugural issue of “Monochrome Unbound” magazine sales will be donated to a charity helping creative individuals suffering losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2) The winner will get five rolls of 35mm Film Ferrania P30, and a cover page feature in the inaugural issue of Analog.Cafe’s “Monochrome” printed zine series. Everyone whose works are selected for print will get a free copy. Complete zine design and content are TBD.

3) I will choose the winner and print participants based on my interpretation of creative merit.

4) By participating in this call, you are giving me the non-exclusive permission to publish your images on the website, in the first edition of Analog.Cafe’s Monochrome magazine and share on social networks — all with a clear credit to your name as listed on your Analog.Cafe account. The account will be automatically created for you when the submission is sent — make sure to update it with your mini-bio, name, and profile picture.

Submit your photos for editorial review by Friday, May 1st, 2020.

If you have any questions, need help, or just want to chat, please feel free to reach out to me via email: d at analog dot cafe.