I met Angela, whom I knew from film Twitter, and her husband in Toronto about a year ago. They welcomed me to their neighbourhood at a ramen (or udon — I don’t quite remember) restaurant. The couple expressed their kindness with a few small gifts, one of which was a freshly-minted issue of the text-free magazine called Der Pinsel, translating as “the brush” from German.
The magazine features twenty photographs shot on medium format film and printed on thick perfect-bound large letter-sized paper with a medium reflective profile. Despite having only a few pages, the booklet comes with a respectable heft and a wonderful feel in-hand. The pages feature no words other than what you see on the cover, and the brief disambiguation on the back: “Der Pinsel Magazine. A print supplement of ‘what if no one’s watching?’ Issue 02: Unexpected. Copyright 2018 Angela Solis, www.derpinsel.com.”
Angela has been an avid film photographer for a long time, and it shows. There are no sensational shots or visual experiments; the images are honest documentations of the adventures across the island in the Pacific that harbours much of the essence of the Chinse culture, minus the communist influence.
Having spent a couple of weeks there three years ago, I wasn’t able to take home as many photographs as I wanted, other than a few shots on my wife’s Instax. As precious as they are, I feel that there were some moments that I failed to capture in the light they deserved.
Angela’s magazine filled those voids for me in very relatable way, even though I am not the one who pressed the shutter. Seeing her captures of the streets, temples, and outdoors took me back to the days of traveling small Asian countries out of my home in Thailand.
All in all, my experience leafing through Der Pinsel, though somewhat short, was a treat.