Unpublished is in essence an exhibition of work contained by the pages of a magazine. What characterises this publication, besides the nineteen photographers that are contained within, is the independence of the photographs. A first glance reveals a seductively simple design where there is no exaggeration of style. White is dominant, forming a translucent layer that isolates the images for the viewer and what little text that there is serves to introduce the photographs, rather than placing upon them labels, by which they can be judged.
Consistent with the style of the first issue, the lasting impression is that the pages are themselves photographs of gallery walls, upon which hang the images printed within. One could easily imagine such a scenario, not only for the magazines stylistic qualities but for that seldom appreciated, yet subconsciously understood aspect that is the sequencing of photographs. Here the images have been grouped in such a way so that each photograph compliments the other, allowing the viewer to cross from page to page without any feeling of being interrupted.
The introduction, written by Gabriele Naia, is the only body of text within the magazine that offers any explanation of the work and describes the photographs as “intentionally dwelling on vague and indistinct ground”. Indeed it is true that in all of the images there exists something that succeeds in unsettling the viewer. As a collective this element is magnified and suddenly what might distract or disturb becomes an intrinsic characteristic of the issue itself. Often there is a sense of surrealism which is only complimented by the lack of any explanation; it is as if these pictures are all that is required to understand both themselves and the world they represent. In short they become a narrative of themselves.
In addition to this, many of the photographs contain a feeling of lunacy that cannot be avoided. It is evident in the undefined form of the two bodies that appear on the front cover and in the relationship between a young boy and an open coffin at a car show. What is most interesting is that one could not imagine these abstractions without the existence of the photographs; a man who lies crushed beneath a chair cushion, a fighter jet hiding behind a tree, a rubber boat suspended in a floating world. Each of these sounds as ridiculous as the as the last. It is as if this vague and indistinct world requires an interpretation so that we might make sense of it.
There still remain questions; the magazine is a broken collection of singular images, each offering only itself. It is refreshing to see such photographs but for myself I would like to look beyond what is presented on the page.
Ultimately the significance of Unpublished is in its existence as a real and tangible object. At a time when most photographic literature is in decline it is encouraging to know that enthusiastic individuals are developing new outlets for artists to present their work to the public.
Within its pages, Unpublished showcases some truly interesting work which begs the question of what can we expect next? Although still in its youth, the magazine shows a promising future which we can only hope expands so that the direct line to the photographer’s work, that the magazine hopes to offer the public, is realised. For now, should you be lucky enough to acquire one of the five hundred copies printed, you will not be disappointed.