top コラムRecommended photobook15 Two Lives Two Zines: Cats, Love, & Sneakers 2つの人生、2つのZine「愛、猫、スニーカー」

Recommended photobook

15 Two Lives Two Zines: Cats, Love, & Sneakers

John Sypal

Instead of one hardcover book, this week I’d like to share two longtime favorite A5-sized zines by two A-1 photographers that incorporate photography as not a lifestyle, but as part of life itself.  





① Sean Marc Lee "NEKO NEKO AI NI"(Self-published, 2017) 

ショーン・マーク・リー『NEKO NEKO AI NI』(2017年/私家版)



It’s frighteningly easy to find oneself overwhelmed by the unending deluge of global issues and uncertainty that we beam into our eyes with dull regularity. It’s likewise just as easy to get caught up in the things we read about online as if we are an integral member in the predicaments at hand. It’s tiring feeling personally affected by so much beyond our control.

This is why I find myself drawn closer to the personal in photography. Not that slick, ideal, performative “lifestyle” thing that’s become a parody of itself now- but an approach to photography where intent doesn’t need to go beyond “this is how my life looks sometimes”. 

Sean Marc Lee, a very talented photographer and friend of mine, self-published a wonderful little full-color zine in 2017 titled Neko Neko Ai Ni. In it we see how his life looks a lot of the time-  a life populated with Carina, Susu, and Bao.  Susu and Bao are the stray cats which the human couple rescued- Carina, while human, comes across as sort of a casual feline herself- often not wearing much more than the cats themselves do. The pages reveal a playful domestic life set against their turquoise walls in an apartment in Taipei.   


Neko Neko Ai Ni revolves around love and cats and humor and photography and the acts of domestic life which they are all intertwined with.  This zine is a joy- you’ll find that time spent with it is a far better experience than refreshing SNS pages online. 









非常に才能のある写真家で私の友人でもある、台湾在住のアメリカ人Sean Marc Leeは、2017年『Neko Neko Ai Ni』というタイトルの素晴らしい小さなフルカラーZINEを自費出版しました。このZINEを開けば、彼の人生が、カリーナ、スス、バオに囲まれた時間が広がります。





『Neko Neko Ai Ni』は、愛と猫とユーモアとカメラと写真、それらが絡み合う家庭生活の営みを中心に展開されています。





Jordon Cheung "IS THIS IT" (Self-published, 2019)

ジョードン・チャン『IS THIS IT』(私家版/2019年)



In 2020 photographer Jordon Cheung gave a great little zine he titled "IS THIS IT". I went through it once, and then immediately flipped through it several times more.

In his brief text which opens the book, he explains that after a final breakup from a rocky relationship, everywhere he went he had started noticing the same checkered Vans slip-on sneakers that his ex wore. Googling “What’s it called when you notice the same thing everywhere” told me this is called Baader-Meinhof phenomenon- a term that’s not as good of a description as its other names: “frequency illusion” and “recency bias”. 


Whatever a psychology textbook might call it, the combination of this phenomenon and a compact camera became as a way for him deal with his feelings and her memory. Through pointing-and-clicking his camera at the many pairs of black and white canvas sneakers which started appearing in his world, he built up a collection which I assume provided some sort of closure, in its own humorous way. "Shoe-gazing" it literally is, but man, I tell you, I'll take personal, directly-seen, film-shot, cleverly introspective photos over another broadly political/socioeconomic-morality-of-the-moment Big Picture Important Themed kind of series any day. (I'm not against such work- thankfully photography's big enough for everyone.) 


For me his zine does exactly what interesting Art should do- make the viewer aware of something around them after they’ve encountered the work. I can say this- in the past three years since I’ve had this zine, I've noticed a LOT more checkered Vans out in Tokyo.  A shift in perception, a small shift in the world.

Is this it? It is- but there’s always more. 



2020年、カナダ人写真家のジョーダン・チャンから『IS THIS IT』と題した素晴らしい小冊子をいただきました。私は一度目を通した後すぐ、また何度もパラパラとめくってみました。





「どこへ行っても同じものに目が向く現象」をなんというのかGoogleで検索しました。これは「バーダー・マインホフ現象(Baader-Meinhof phenomenon)」と呼ばれるそうです。「周波数錯視」「再帰性バイアス」とも言うそうです。













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