I revisited Marsiling on 25th March.
After the 17th March visit to Marsiling, I decided to revisit it to plan my shoot. Here are the few selected locations:
So, pinpointing these locations, I planned my zine’s Art direction. I decided to go for a spacey theme as I want to depict Marsiling as a strange “planet”, using a pun I got from Marsiling (Mars and iling). Using this idea, I want to try to depict a tourist’s trip to this strange land called Mars iling.
Here’s my mood board:
I want to go for a vacation-esque style stereotypical tourist. So by merging this theme and the space theme, I designed my character — a space tourist.
With these in mind, I prepped my props.
I couldn’t find a space bubble helmet so I got a beach ball from Daiso and started making paper mache.
Afterwhich I used a heat gun to melt a few sheets of transparencies to create the “glass” capsule.
It fits but I really dislike it as it became very crumply due to the transparency sheet not being the proper shape to warp it down to a sphere. Still, I rolled with it since I couldn’t find any other materials.
I also bought some other props: this beach-mat looking canvas and a yellow towel. I also bought an extra beach ball, red umbrella, books&magazines and wine glass to add to the aesthetics.
My model is Jeremy Lim, my good friend from my NS days.
Please follow @j.emery on Instagram 🙂
For the attire, I went for holiday shirt, a straw hat, shades, shorts, and slippers.
I went on a shoot on 30th March. I brought all the props, as well as a DSLR and a disposable camera (Fuji Simple Ace, 39 shots, 400 ISO). The DSLR is a backup to the disposable camera in case the shot did not go well, as do with all disposable cameras. The DSLR is also a really great way for me to test my shots and compose it before taking it on the DSLR. Despite the higher quality, I opt for the film for a more personal effect. I shot halfway and it rained, so I couldn’t continue and decided to go back and shoot again.
On the 1st of April, we went on another shoot and this time, we braved through the rain (AGAIN, it always rains when I go Marsiling) and we completed the shoot by 8PM.
Halfway through, I found an actual fish bowl in an aquarium shop and I went for it! So the second half of the photos are Jeremy with an actual fish bowl on his head.
Here are some shots:
These are from the disposable camera.
The shots from the DSLR:
Although the quality is MUCH better, I decided to stick to the disposable film shots as it really creates some sentimental value and uniqueness.
So in order to get the effect of the “portal” and “strangeness”, I decided to photoshop my friend such that two of himself is in the frame.
This is one example of said edit, but on a DSLR photo. I tried around with editing the DSLR shots before moving to the films.
Here are some examples of the shots I have edited. These are to convey the “portalling” between pillars.
So finally, I went to do on the ACTUAL ZINE!!!
I separated the zine into 3 parts: Space, Portals, and Dimensions.
Space – Showcase the quietness of the location by using spaciousness
Portals – Show the transportation from a world I am familiar with into a different world (Mars iling)
Dimensions – Show the strangeness of Mars iling
Using some inspiration from Rubbish famzine by HolyCRAP, as well as zines from my moodboard, I decided to create a vacation documentary that is not just personal, but also minimalistic.
I started with a few variations of my cover page:
Then, I tried out some spreads:
With these, I consulted and selected my cover page. I also got the feedback that my images are all the same size, which is undesirable. I wanted to try for the photobook effect where all images are the same size, but it seems to not be working. I was more harsh on my image selections and tested out new spreads.
Evolution of my Cover Page
Evolution of SPACE Spread
Evolution of Portal Spread
Evolution of Dimension Spread
Overall, all my images are glitched somewhat to create a more otherworldly feel, although I try not to overdo it so as to keep it subtle.
For the cover page, I chose this image because it embodies everything I want to convey in the zine. It also have the best composition and colours. I really love the pink that the disposable camera created, which reminded me of the photographer nguan. This inspired me to use the pink scheme. I used a mint-green colour to complement the pink, creating a zine that is unconventional, energetic, but strange.
The extra graphics I added are to frame the model, as well as to bring out the pillars.
For this spread, I spaced out the kerning for the word “Space” so that I can get the message across by typography. The whole page was supposed to be very spacious and empty, but it does not fit the other pages. So I added in the complementary colour scheme to make it harmonious. The lines are arranged to look like pillars so I can show that the idea of space and quietness is in the spaces between the pillars and void decks.
The image used was a 4R image of the tourist sitting on the beach mat enjoying himself. This is to convey the idea of a vacation right from the beginning so as to set the mood. The poetry is used to explain what I am trying to do with the space to depict emptiness. At the same time, as this zine is supposed to be personal, I want it to be expressive and not just informative. I want the information to be understood through expression.
The text at the right side is spaced to not just amplify the idea of space, but also to create the idea of the texts aligning to the pillars.
Finally, the image on the right is another image that I want to show to depict the holiday-ness that goes together with the spaciousness.
This spread talks about portals. Although the background does not have much to do with it, I really liked it as I think it have a lot of potential to be an image that covers the entire spread. I instead use the difference between an outdoor and an indoor area to suggest the idea of portals. The odd placement of the circular HDB void deck window in the middle of the spread is to add on to the idea of portals and strangeness. The usage of the complementary green/pink is very present here. This is to expand on the idea of duality in portals. In terms of placement of texts, photos, and colours, I have played around with increasing the space between linked objects to distant them. eg, distancing a single image with 2 colours, but they are linked in the same image, or distancing two sentences, even though they go together.
Another thing I did here is to connect the photo of Jeremy holding the selfie stick with the background. The grass and buildings align with the background, creating a separate, yet interlinked relationship between the image and background.
The poetry and the subject’s touristy action is a representation of the tourist. Again, I made sure to make him very stereotypically touristy. The background of the image is also a suggestion of emptiness as there are nobody there. I also purposely made the poem pretentious so as to convey the pretentiousness of stereotypical tourists.
Finally, I added half an image on the bottom right side so as to link the spread to the next page, conveying another idea of portals. In this case, it’s the portal from one page to another.
This spread is about dimensions. I combined the first two spread together to create this page — a combination of space and portals. Repeated and glitched “pillars” are created to show the idea of space, but also in a different world. I try to arrange everything vertically, so as to construct the pillars like in the first spread. The usage of all images present here are images of Jeremy entering from one pillar and exiting another pillar. This helps convey strangeness, and some sense of portalling.
In the 4R image, Jeremy is holding a telephone. This is to represent tourists’ curiosity with strange object, specifically objects with heritage like an old telephone. It suddenly clicked in me that phone is a representation of a transportation of sound. I tied everything together like this:
- Jeremy is going through a portal through space
- the phone represents sound, which is the main thing I am focusing on actually about Marsiling, which is that it is quiet
- At the same time, this telephone is old, so its also a link in time
- Combining everything together, I formed the poem.
The colours, again, I used the complementary scheme that is consistent to my other spreads.
At the bottom right, I added a ziplock containing two 10 cents coin, which I labelled as “souvenirs”. This is a representation of tourists keeping souvenirs found in foreign lands. This concludes what I think about what tourists in Mars iling will do, as well as concludes my perception of Mars iling.
On the last page, I included credits and contact details, as well as a map. In the map, I try to label the different parts of Mars iling, categorising them into zones that I find define each area best. In specific areas, I placed the few significant images that I took at the area to let readers know which image is from which zone. I try to make it as if Mars iling is a planet, which is why I added “stars” and a label “space” outside the map.
And that’s my zine!
I’d like to show off all my disposable camera photos. I REALLY LOVE THEM.
Takeaways & Reflections
I really enjoyed this project, even though it was really tough. I am really grateful of my friend Jeremy for carrying all the camera equipment and props around Marsiling with me for two days. I enjoyed shooting with an intention in mind and directing the shots, as I have never done it before and it’s about time I actually do something that helps me to train my assertiveness and decisiveness. I also enjoyed thinking about the art concept and direction, and generally love the idea of having props and weird props around. There was even once I wanted to buy an inflatable flamingo float just for this shoot and I held back. I REALLY LOVE THE BEACH I GUESS?
OH. and I was also exposed to like a lot of different zines and that PUMPED ME UP a lot. They are really nice to look at and inspiring.
I also have discovered a new love for film and I really would love to go do more photoshoots from now on.
About the zine, I have relearnt how to use InDesign, and it’s quite good even though I disliked it at first. I was a bit reluctant to use it as I was too comfortable with illustrator. After a while, I decided to bring everything to Indesign so as to try it out. That was when I realised that the guides and spreads in InDesign actually makes everything easier.
One more thing is I learnt about composition, layout, and colours. These are always important, but I finally knew how to control it in pages.
I am proud to have created this zine even though I could still improve it, and even though I am not pursuing graphics design, I believe I’ll continue making zines for fun!