‘Various Shades Of’ and ‘In the Middle’ are the first two zines in Nate Matos‘ new “Color Theory” series. Like the Blandscapes, each issue contains a group of photos on a single theme: ‘Various Shades Of’ chronicles the brown that pervades manmade landscapes and ‘In the Middle’ features trees and shrubs in urban settings. The Color Theory zines are larger and somewhat more finely finished than the Blandscapes, with stiff covers and slick, machine-cut paper, but they’re still inexpensive and properly zine-y.
‘Various Shades Of’:
‘In the Middle’:
Both of the new zines are ~8 x 5.5 inches, more or less, and publishing notes indicates they were handmade. The covers are screen printed, and marginally larger than the internal pages, which are smooth, neither matte, nor glossy, with a sortof eggshell finish.
If you’re familiar with Matos’ work, the straight photographs will come as no surprise: all empty landscapes, old buildings, and details of cars, with only faint traces of humanity. I’m sympathetic to this style, and appreciate it. There’s something of Shore, Eggleston, and that group in the work, and it’s right in line with a bunch of photography that I’ve seen lately, from the likes of Jason Lee, Nathan Pearce, and others. There’s probably a name for it, something like “straight photography” but without all the High Art of the f/64 group and all that, and with a sort of nostalgia and focus on the old, the faded, the decrepit, without any irony and with some sense of detachment.
Anyway, I like the work. It’s straight ahead, simple, and descriptive. It’s also a bit repetitive and familiar.
‘Various Shades Of’ is available in an open edition; at time of writing, ‘In the Middle’ is still available in it’s first, limited edition. Both are $12, direct from Nate. Go pick them up and support some good work.