Based in Singapore, Your Local Newsstand (YLN) is a small independent photo-zine publisher. Its founders are Huda Azzis (H) and Souher Wahba (S).
“Issue 1: The Dream Issue” (2018) is the first of a series of photo zines in their Portraits of People project, which you can view and support here: http://www.yourlocalnewsstand.com/portraits-of-people. In this first issue, Huda and Souher hit the streets, approaching random strangers with the question, “What is your dream in life?” The replies are paired with their portraits in this zine.
Below is a short interview with YLN’s founders.
1. Please tell our readers the beginnings of Your Local Newsstand (YLN).
H: I have been a big fan and collector of zines for a very long time. I guess the leap for me was when I decided to do a yearly passion project and approached Souher Wahba to work together on this photography zine. There is just so much joy in being able to create something tangible, especially in this digital age. So we decided to call ourselves ‘Your Local Newsstand’, combining zine-making, our love for photographs and the wonders of sharing stories.
S: One day, Huda randomly approached me with this thought and it was an immediate yes! The chemistry was refreshing between us. We sat down, talked about it and knew there and then we wanted to reignite this culture that’s been missing for awhile now.
The zine community in Singapore is very small. The main objective of creating YLN is to contribute to a more engaging and vibrant zine community. In the US and UK where the zine community is big, zine-makers would swap and trade zines with one another. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could do that in Singapore?
2. Tell us the process of creating “Issue 1: The Dream Issue” from your Portraits of People project.
H: The first issue of Portraits of People took us an entire year to document. We went around with our tiny cameras and approached a lot of random strangers. The first few months were slightly disheartening because we had no idea how to approach people and had no clue what we were doing. Above all, both of us are not photographers. Nevertheless, we just had to go and make this zine because we believed so much in the idea.
S: We are not professional photographers. We knew how we wanted our photos to look, and we just jumped right onto the streets–heads first. There were days when we would get rejected repeatedly but we would remind each other not to let it affect us. We pushed each other every step of the way, that to me was the most important part of the process.
3. What are your current projects? I understand you are now working with a few foreign collaborators.
We’re currently working on the second issue of Portraits of People and it is titled “The Travel Issue”. Similar to the concept of the first issue, this second publication is focused on backpackers and travellers. With the help of our photographer-friend Imran who took most of the pictures for this issue, we went around asking people, “If you can wake up anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?”
On the other hand, we’ve also started working on another series of zines, titled “Artiste Zines”. For this series, we’ll be collaborating with photographers from different parts of the world to help them publish zines of their own. These zines could be about anything–a photo series of vintage cars, a collection of photographs from a recent road trip or even pictures of the photographer’s mother. But the key thing we always look out for is the theme of these photographs. It’s very important for us, that these zines not only contain beautiful photographs but are also accompanied by a meaningful and strong narrative.
4. What is the relevance of zines in our digital world of Facebook and Instagram?
H: What’s not to love about zines! They are easy to make, easy to read, easy to carry and I just have so much joy in reading and creating them!
S: Print, it is the new media. It’s finite, doesn’t need a charger. The shared energy, excitement, freedom, intention and care spent in creating the zines, that’s the most important and the best part. It makes it intimate. With a Facebook or an Instagram post, we tend to forget the people behind it, that human touch.