Print Is Not Dead: The Beauty Of Independent Magazine Publishing

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The recent print closures of magazines such as Look, Glamour and NME portray an industry on the brink of implosion. Yet things look very different in the independent publishing arena – a place where new titles are thriving, albeit under a different definition of success.

The story of independent mag publishing in the UK is the subject of Somerset House’s latest exhibition. Print: Tearing It Up is an exploration of the indie landscape’s history, from the obscure Blast (the modernist zine halted after two issues by an inconvenient war in 1914), the staunchly scurrilous Private Eye and the game-changing Spare Rib, to the likes of Burnt Roti, The Gentlewoman and Gal-dem – products of what co-curator Paul Gorman calls the “new resurgence of independent magazines”.

After penning a book on The Face, the cultural magazine published from 1980 to 2004, Gorman became aware of the raft of indies emerging from the detritus of the economic crash. Often beautifully produced, the mags provide a tangible antidote to digital proliferation.

“Around 2011, 2012 I noticed these magazines emerging – like The Gentlewoman and Mushpit – and I was quite encouraged by the fact they were being published mainly by young women,” he told The Drum. “They were anti-corporate, and they had all those values that appealed to me.”

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