Inside Senta Simond’s “Intimate and Personal” New Photo Zine

Photography by by Senta Simond. Courtesy of Innen

Published by Innen, Senta Simond’s first zine pulls from test shots, screenshots and research from her iPhone – or, as she puts it, “weird things that I get excited about”

Geneva-born photographer Senta Simond’s oeuvre has always been delicately attuned to the connections – between people, places, memories, objects – that give life texture and the feeling of “realness”. It only made sense that for her first zine, From my telephone, Shampoo girl, Flower bed, she chose to collaborate with Aaron Fabian, of the legendary independent publisher Innen. “I don’t think there’s another publisher I would do it with,” she explains. “I’ve known Aaron for a long time, not intimately, but there was a connection. It just felt very natural.”

The two had spoken of producing a zine together for some time, but it wasn’t until the photographer attended Innen’s 18th-anniversary book launch in Paris earlier this year that she was inspired to use archival material – test shots, screenshots, research, “weird things that I get excited about” – pulled from her iPhone that had never been shown before. Entrusting her material to Fabian, the publisher edited and selected the layout of images, engaging them in progressive, raw dialogue. “I think it’s good sometimes to leave your material to other people,” Simond reflects, “and the way [Fabian] is editing things, it’s often not about a final, finished project. It’s more about the outside things that you often wouldn’t see with an artist. He is just really interested in going into the intimate and the personal.” 

Accordingly, the tender zine – which borrows its “poetic and strange” title from three of Simond’s favourite songs – is about bare process, rather than a glossy final image. To patiently sift through her personal photos, which date from as far back as 2017, was an exercise in being soft and vulnerable with herself. “It’s funny because some images, I thought I’d never use – I didn’t even like them,” Simonds muses, “but I find them so beautiful now and I’m happy to look at them … Never throw anything out!”

Printed on blue paper, “an intuitive choice”, the black-and-white tones of the photocopied images instinctively place each “on the same level as each other.” Like the process, the materials used are duly raw and allow for an honest, unbridled discourse between and across the connecting spreads. “Even if there is not a specific subject, it’s funny how it’s very consistent,” says Simond of the layout. “I think my research and my images are often about women, representation, faces … to gather all of it like this kind of makes sense.” In this vein, the zine and its frank aesthetic is, unexpectedly, fitting for Simond’s work: “I don’t think my work is fantasy. I like to find something true in my work. I like to make connections with the things I’m living with.”

From my telephone, Shampoo girl, Flower Bed by Senta Simond is published by Innen in a limited edition of 100 copies.

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