Dear Streethunters.net Readers,
This is my first attempt at reviewing a published photo book / magazine. I must admit that it feels like a much harder task than, lets say, reviewing a camera or an accessory. Gear is basically a WYSIWYG thing. You use it, check it, try it, compare it and you can form an opinion by analysing the facts that are presented to you. A book however is something totally different. Of course there are some practical points to examine such as the quality of the publication or the design, but basically the reviewer is called upon to offer his insight on the book and its contents, to determine the quality of the photos, how easy it is to read and how well it presents itself on multiple levels. Reviewing a book or zine in my opinion requires much more dedication and an open mind, which are tools that can help you also understand on another level the people behind the work presented. Up until a short while ago, expert book reviewer Andrew Sweigart would dissect any publication sent to us for review and share his thoughts with all of you dear Readers, but now that he has left the team for personal reasons,, it is time for me to give this book reviewing thing a try. I hope you enjoy it.
What is EYESHOT Magazine
The EYESHOT Magazine series was created by Marco Savarese in 2011 and it focuses on street photography in terms of language and as an art form. The issue we will be looking at now, FLASHGUN, is not the first magazine released by the EYESHOT team. You can see a list of all their mags in their portfolio section on their website. Before I continue, I would like to say that Streethunters.net is in no way affiliated with EYESHOT.
Review of the EYESHOT FLASHGUN limited edition magazine
Flashgun is the EYESHOT magazine issue that many would think is dedicated strictly to Flash in Street Photography as the name implies. However this isn’t the case. As the book’s foreword explains, it is about the super fast quickness of street, the flash. This is what you read when you turn to the magazine’s first page:
“Ever notice how quick the flash is on a camera? That’s how fast other types of flashes are, including the super-fast superhero The Flash.
Whether you’re talking about a flash of lighting or a flash of insight, a flash is quick and bright and sudden. There aren’t any slow, long flashes. Because flashes are so fast, the word is often used for anything that happens really quickly: a flash is as fast as a New York minute, the blink of an eye, a heartbeat, an instant, a jiffy, or a split second.”
This actually explains a lot, because when I first went through the pages of this issue I noticed that some photos were not flash photos and I was a bit confused, but after reading the foreword text I got it. As we proceed I would like to mention that this is a limited edition magazine. Once the printed edition has been sold out, EYESHOT will not be printing any more and only the digital version will be available. If you wish to purchase the magazine you can visit the official Flashgun page on the EYESHOT website. Let’s move on.
When I first picked up this magazine it felt as if I was holding a top quality soft cover photo book. If the guys at EYESHOT didn’t classify this publication as a mag, it could have easily fooled me for being a perfectly awesome book! The cover is printed on thick matted high quality paper, and the nice big black letters of the logo on the top are shiny and slightly protruding from the surface. The striking photo on the cover of the magazine shot by Michele Groskopf has a very good print quality so the guys at EYESHOT sure know what they are doing. Michele’s photo serves another purpose too. It is a precursor of the quality of images that are to follow inside the magazine. Just by looking at her striking shot you know you are in for a hell of a ride! That is what I felt when I first grabbed this issue in my hands. As I felt my grip tighten, I just knew that what I was about to experience would be intense, and I was correct!
I loved it when Andrew came up with this variable when reviewing books. “Shelf life”, meaning how long a book would stay on one’s shelf before it would be picked up again. The longer a book stays on the shelf without being picked up, the lower the “Shelf life” value. Even though I have only had this magazine for a few weeks, I have found myself returning to it quite often for inspiration. I have the highest respect for all the photographers included in this book, and some of them I am happy to say, are people I consider my friends, having shared with them joined street photography experiences and a beer or two throughout the years. The fact that all the work included in this magazine is by contemporary, highly active street shooters makes it even more valuable to me, because I feel that I am getting inspiration from the people who are in the now, making things happen as we speak. The freshness of the photos is what “makes this book whisper my name” when it rests on my shelf, and because I listen to that whisper that is why I find myself reaching for it quite often!
Easy to read
When handling the book with both hands I find that reading it comes naturally. With my left hand I hold the magazine open and with my right hand I turn the pages. But things change when I try to lay it on a table, on my bed or my lap. It gets noticeably harder to handle, especially if I want to use only one hand. The pages of the magazine tend to want to close shut. This makes one handed handling impossible. So, if you are thinking of laying the magazine on your kitchen table and going through the pages while enjoying a snack or a drink, think again. You will be needing both your hands to read through it.
Organization and content
Flashgun is organised in a very logical way. Already from page 4 the reader is greeted by a beautifully designed table of contents. The way the book is organised is by country and then by photographers. So for example if you want to see the work of a photographer from the United Kingdom, all you have to do is look for the UK, check the page number and the names of the photographers and then just jump to that page and check out the photos. Personally I find this type of organisation very good and practical, although I would not have minded if it had an additional, more traditional way of indexing based on alphabetical order of the photographers names. The reason is that I think that not all of us know the nationalities of all of our favourite photographers and even though the way the content is now organised is logical, I still miss the fact that there isn’t a more practical way to find photos by an alphabetical list with the photographers names. As for the actual content, as I mentioned in the “Shelf life” section of this review above, it is of the highest quality. A collection of truly amazing images shot by some of the best street photographers that are actively working today.
As I indicated at the beginning of the review, if EYESHOT didn’t classify itself as a magazine publication, FLASHGUN could have easily been considered a book. The quality of the print and the paper used, even though not the best you would find in other photo books or pricey magazines, is still great and offers the reader a very good experience. The cover is nicely put together, printed on high quality thick paper with a matte finish. The logo is slightly protruding and shiny giving it a more luxurious feel. The inside pages printed on Fedrigoni X-PER Premium White paper are of very good quality and the print work is also very good. Looking at the design of the magazine, I find it balanced and minimalist in style, with very clear focal points and nicely placed photographs that stand out. The fonts used are well defined and easy to read. All in all I would say that this magazine is definitely worth its money.
If you are interested in purchasing a print or digital copy of this limited edition magazine, you can visit the official EYESHOT magazine website and make your purchase from there. At this point I would like to remind you that we are in no way affiliated with EYESHOT and the link to their website is not an affiliate link, which means we will not be earning anything if you choose to make a purchase. However, we do recommend you do, it is well worth the read!