Natalie Blom’s ‘Return’ and ‘The Shattered Horizon,’ are collections of beautiful, lo-fi, sub- ex- and urban landscapes, exploring her hometown and places she visits with an eye toward experimentation. The results are beautiful and inspirational.
In ‘Return,’ Blom explored her hometown on short visits home, wandering around at dawn and sunset, shooting the environment she grew up in, but never paid much attention to. In it, she mixes 35mm and 120, straight square shots with a Holga, Holga panoramas, and what appears to be 35mm film, rolled onto 120 spools, and shot through maybe a TLR of some sort: the shots look too sharp to come out of a Holga, but then I’m often surprised by the sharpness I get out of my own plastic fantastic cameras. This is something I want to try. I have spools, tape, and backing paper…
‘The Shattered Horizon‘ is all Holga panoramas, all the time, and the sub- ex- and urban landscapes really take on an interesting character. Some are fairly straightforward and reasonably consistent; others are highly fractured and faceted, like something out of Inception, maybe, though I never saw that movie… Looking through that makes me want to play with the Debonair some more.
Both zines are beautifully printed, low gloss, on thick-ish paper, and are just right sized, I think. Everything works together to make a couple of cohesive bodies of work. The only thing lacking from either is a sense of narrative, some suggestion of a story, even if it’s just a movement from city to country, or from home to town, or from one side of the tracks to the other. I think both would benefit.
That said, both contain beautiful photographs and both inspire me to try out different things, explore other possibilities of the medium, and that’s enough, I think.
Both appear to still be available, but don’t wait: both are limited to 100 copies. I have an Artists Proof copy of ‘The Shattered Horizon’ and number 48 of 100 of ‘Return.’ You can find both zines at her big cartel shop. I wish there was a portfolio site or something to direct you to, but her website redirects to the effbook. She does have an Instagram @14thFrame, and is a member (?) of the Luddites (group?), so there are opportunities to view her work, and you should take advantage: there’s some good, inspirational stuff there.