“All Through a Lens,” issue two, is a different sort of zine from Eric Swanger (of Conspiracy of Cartographers fame), all about photographing while traveling, with contributions from Kat Swansey and Hannah Grace.


The bulk of the zine belongs to Swanger, who writes about traveling and photographing on the cheap, staying in free campsites and cooking your own meals, avoiding souvenirs and other frivolities, staying off the Interstate, and etc. For a three week trip in 2018, he saved up $2100 and had enough cushion to pick up some photobooks, visit museums, stay in a motel one night, eat a couple of meals out, and cover unexpected expenses (like patching flat tires and things).

Compare that to an 8 day trip I took with my darling, adorable wife, up to Chicago and back, which cost upwards of $5000. We were, of course, staying in rather nice hotels and eating every meal out, plus, when eating out, halal food is generally ~20-40% more expensive than the non-halal equivalents. (My brother and sister in law take a small microwave oven and a couple of coolers full of home-cooked meals, and may eat one or two meals out.)

He also gushes about the Intrepid mk. 3 4×5… I have a mk. 4 on the way (as part of the Enlarger I backed), bought with the desire to take it on camping trips much like the ones Swanger describes, and so I’ll be keeping “All Through the Lens 2” handy.

Swansey and Grace talk about traveling alone as a female in the US and the creeps and other dangers they encounter, and Swanger mentions his relative privilege, as a white male in the US, and it’s a reminder to me that I am quite privileged, as a fellow white male, and also a reminder that, were I to undertake similar photo trips, back roads and small towns, regularly trespassing, I’ll be wise to leave my darling, adorable wife at home. Despite being completely adorable and absolutely darling, she is brown and wears a hijab, and so when we’re out together, I get to see some of what it’s like for non-white people in the US, and I hate us for it. It makes me want to stick to cities, even though I feel stressed out and suffocated in them: why give racist islomophobes my hard earned money? At least the islamophobic racists in big cities mostly hide it.

But small towns? Sheesh. My wife and I have been refused service and followed, and regularly draw openmouthed stares and mumbled comments that require me to puff my chest up and act tough and mean, which really ruins the enjoyment of a nice holiday with my darling, adorable wife. I mean, God bless them, my wife has to take off her hijab if she wants to have a good time when we visit my mom in Eureka Springs, AR. Shit. She takes her hijab off when she crosses the Red River, and may God forgive us for our immense and uncountable shortcomings.

But I digress.

Big thanks to Swanger, Swansey, and Grace for putting this zine together. You can pick up one of your own at Swanger’s Etsy shop. I wholeheartedly recommend that you do.

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