Kevin O’Meara has a new zine out… ‘You might be right.‘ weaves together instant photographs with snippets of conversation, and it feels like a narrative I lived through, more or less.
“Everyone who said I had potential was wrong.”
I don’t know how many “adults” gave me some bit of self-deprecating advice, some “woe is me” type grousing in the guise of cheerleading. I’m now a bit old for that, I think, but oh, the memories. And it seems like it all came from people stuck, like their choose-your-own-adventure life just didn’t quite lead where they hoped, and now all they have is a work-a-day job, scraping by, paying bills, flipping channels at night, planning and scheming for when they win the lottery, and meanwhile mostly play-acting through life.
I know that’s a very simplified and dismissive view, and I know most everyone’s life is as complex as mine, as important as mine, and I know I’ve lived a privileged (and somewhat charmed) life thusfar. But it’s hard to listen to older people whine about their lives, while knowing that they spend ~$80 or $100 on Cable every month, so they can sit, night after night, staring blankly at the television, that the steak finger basket at the Dairy Queen is a regular part of their diet, along with bags of potato chips, boxes of cookies, Chef Boyardee and TV dinners, and that if they spent a bit more time cooking, eating decent food (even from frozen veg), and a bit less time watching tele, maybe go for a walk or sit outside, read a book, that a whole load of that pain and disappointment might be a bit more bearable.
But, then, I also know that it’s way easier to point out the speck in my brother’s eye, while ignoring the log in my own, and may God guide me to better.
“I don’t think you understand the opportunities you have in your life.”
The Instax Wide format is really lovely, and O’Meara used it to great effect here. The limitations of the cameras and qualities of the film are really great at capturing the details of things, the fake wood paneling, (un)gracefully aging cabinetry, recycling bins overflowing with large tubs of Era laundry detergent, dogs playing, gnarly bruises, and they give a softness to landscapes, muting colors, and giving everything a misty, nostalgic feel.
The layout for “You might be right.” is really interesting. It seems that O’Meara did a layout or mock-up of the zine, hand-writing the text and taping Instaxes to the paper, then, instead of scanning and laying it all out in InDesign or something, had it the mock-up scanned and printed. The photographs all have a bit of ragged tape holding them in place, and in several spots it looks like you could almost pull one out and move it around or tack it up on the wall, and I’ve run my finger over the handwritten statements more than once, needing tactile confirmation that it was a print, and that it wasn’t actually written by hand.
“I’m open to the possibility that I’m not always one hundred percent right.”
With it’s stiff, all-black cover, and stapled spine, “You might be right.” is no-frills affair, albeit with really high quality paper and good printing. My copy doesn’t want to stay closed, so the binding isn’t quite what it could be, but I can’t really fault it. And O’Meara’s Instax photographs are as wonderfully evocative and pleasantly familiar as the black & white film photographs in his Second Best zine.
Overall, I’d give it a solid 4 stars.
It’s a shame it’s out of stock, now, but not surprising. If you want to get in on the next one, keep an eye on O’Meara’s shop (and his Instagram), and maybe you’ll get lucky. I’m certainly looking forward to what he comes out with next.