As I mentioned in my last blog piece on the C-scapes zine, during coronavirus and the lockdowns in 2020 I had two additional artistic releases for my creativity. One was the C-scapes zine, the product of the collaboration between us that led to the pixels and grain collective which I wrote about last time. The other was the Covidsweats zine. Both led to some incredible work by amazing photographers, and both had some important lessons about community, collaboration and how covid couldn’t stop us from creating.
The Covidsweats zine project arose out of pure boredom. I knew covid was a ‘special’ or ‘unprecedented’ time in our age, and medically speaking there were many interesting factors to this virus – and similarities to living in a real life zombie apocalypse movie! However, photographically it was incredibly hard to get out there. Previously I’d really treasured photowalks with the photographers_anonymous gang in Sydney run by Jackie. We’d done walks, coffee catch-ups, workshops, and they were just an awesome gang of like minded lovely amazing people to hang out with! Of course in lockdown this was going to be impossible. Also, working in healthcare we were constantly reminded not to mingle, go to crowded areas, basically have no life, so it felt irresponsible to hang out with others even when the restrictions started to ease.
I soon caught myself shooting to document this new life in lockdown – the kids doing homeschool and the boredom on their face, the amazing light outside the house we were stuck inside, my wife doing exercise at home, and just the little moments of our new life together. It helped me to remember this time, but also appreciate the positives of our changed life – working from home afforded me the ability to ditch a 2 hour commute for a morning run and afternoon home gym session. Being around my kids could be annoying but also lovely watching them learn and grow. I felt less tired from work.
This has been her general reaction to homeschool, homework, any kind of work involving neurons firing at home…makes me feel sorry for her teachers!!
Staring forlornly out the window during lockdown on a foggy morning, fully dressed up (including hair!!) with nowhere to go….
Not being able to go out and shoot was a drag, so I thought of an idea to collaborate with my friends online to make a zine project! We could document the effects of covid on our life, both locally and abroad, and it sounded pretty interesting – hence the covidsweats project was born! Of course, if you’ve seen my first attempt at a zine – untitled2020 published earlier in the year before lockdown – you’ll notice my ability to set layout, fonts, etc was fairly rudimentary (actually extremely bad!!!). I had no designers eye, or idea how to make an appealing zine, so thankfully my friend Jackie helped! She’s an amazing graphic designer, leader and coordinator of photographers_anonymous, and just all round awesome inspiring person. According to my kids she is my ‘photo boss’ but I like to think of her as my photo mum…haha. With her skills ideas and energy on board, the project took a life of its own and I’ll always be thankful for how she lent her amazing talent to this humble little project. Soon she had graphics and a logo designed, layouts, ideas on collabs, and brought a whole new welcome energy to this. She has made awesome zines for our photo group in the past, so I knew it was in good safe hands.
Yeah, a real logo!
This is our insta page. Designer’s touch much appreciated Jackie!!!
Several months later, we had over 50+ collaborators, and took their best 100+ images, tagged on Instagram for us to find, for this project. Ranging from UK, USA, NZ, Europe, and Australia, we had amazing photographers joining us!! I knew many of them from film photography forums and groups, and with their talents on board I knew this would be a winner. Soon Jackie had everything laid out, designed, zine quotes, and it was born! Haha, it makes it sound really easy but 2020 wasn’t exactly easy for anybody, and it took a lot of hard work and sweat, and most of it on Jackie’s part!!
This project really speaks about the power of collaboration, and also the uniqueness of our times to bringing people together. Isolation brought out new creativity and energy to work together across distance, and I’m amazed at the work that has been produced. We also wanted to give back from this project, since COVID has disrupted, destroyed and affected so many lives and livelihoods, so a large proportion (around 35% or more) of the Feb 2021 zine sales will also fund research in COVID-19 at Sydney University.
I’ve pasted a few grabs of the zine below, but really it speaks much better in real life as a printed product!
If you’d like to purchase a zine, and support COVID research, please do contact us. It’s AUD$15 plus shipping, and the best way to contact us is either via our Instagram site (www.instagram.com/thecovidsweats/) or email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the list of collaborators!! It boggles the mind!!!
A few sample pages of Jackie’s amazing layouts, and everyone’s incredible work.
More examples. You’ll have to buy the zine for more!!!