Angst: Art, Photography & Counterculture

Editor Fiona Bryson talks to us about the bi-annual art publication, her love of zines and why the current issue is themed 'Movement'

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Angst is an A5 publication focusing on art, photography and counterculture. Self-published by Berlin and New York-based writer and editor Fiona Bryson, who launched the first issue to critical acclaim in Spring 2010, the magazine is now preapring to publish its second issue this month. Taking the format of a small zine, Angst is staple bound and printed on matte paper. Hidden behind its modest cover is a treasure trove of emerging and more established artists. Mainly photography-based, each issue is set around a loose theme with the recently released Issue 2 entitled ‘Movement.’

Celebrating well spent youth through Joseph Szabo’s ‘Teenage’, ‘Almost Grown’ and ‘Rolling Stones Fans’ series and lost youth in Leigh Ledare’s images of his elderly mother posing seductively for the camera in ‘Pretend You’re Actually Alive’, there is a suggestion of movement through time as well as an element of social critique. And amongst other features, Hanayo’s playful and subversive images picture his daughter Tenko from childhood through adolescence and Miles Standish’s emotive images present 80s Melbourne underground that once was. The issue opens with the beautiful poem that perfectly encompasses what is to come:

Move me tonight

Through the passing of time, the changing of reason

After those who have left us, our friends who can’t be here

Before those who'’ll join us, the good times we’ll have

The trains to hop, the mountains to climb

Sunrises to see, and tears to cry

Move me

Here, we speak to Bryson about what inspired her to start Angst, how she curates its contributors and the recently released second issue – which is definitely sure to move any of its readers.

Dazed Digital: What inspired and motivated you to start Angst?
Fiona Bryson
: The urge to self-publish what's going on in my head and to steer towards quality over quantity. In the past magazines have reflected generational moods and subcultures, my effort is more to curate things from the past with those from the present. Angst is also something to hold onto and not throw away, unlike so many publications right now. Apart from the obvious absence of longevity, it's also a huge waste of paper.

DD: How would you sum it up in just a few words?
Fiona Bryson: Move me.

DD: What dictated the publication's A5 paper, zine-like form?
Fiona Bryson: I was inspired by zines and I liked the format. It has a do-it-yourself, punk feel about it, which I'm into.

DD: There is an underlying theme of teenage angst running through issues one and two - what informed the publication's title?
Fiona Bryson: I'm half German and there the word means fear, in Scandinavian languages it has similar but not the same connotations, and I found it to be quite a versatile word depending on the language. Also, Angst means a feeling of fear towards something strange coming up. We live in unsettling times, so it's an exploration of that as well as what you go through when you're growing up and how it influences you in later life. Social critique, counter culture and a strong element of nostalgia are definitely involved.

DD: Featuring a wide range of emerging and more established contributors - how do you curate what goes into each issue?
Fiona Bryson: I would say it's a gut feeling, things I'm interested in, that inspire me, people I know or come across. It's a very organic and also personal process. A publication should attempt to be a visual and textual space that creates meaning and above all feeling, if it's just assembling information, it serves a purpose but is not that interesting.

DD: Please explain Issue Two's 'Movement' title.
Fiona Bryson: On the one hand it's about moving on in your life, moving from one experience to the next, life and death. It's also about movements such as subcultures, which is a theme that I'm exploring heavily.

DD: Ranging from Joseph Szabo to Miles Standish and Leigh Ledare, there is a feeling of lost youth in this issue, what did you want it to evoke or what emotions did you want it to arouse?
Fiona Bryson: Yes that's true. The media are obsessed with youth, but of a heavily stylised often vulgar and distorted kind. The images I'm showing are focusing on a more natural depiction of youth, something that I don't see much of right now. And youth is something that we're always chasing and idealising, right?

DD: What is your favourite feature in Issue Two and why?
Fiona Bryson: I can't pick a favourite, rather I like how all of them blend together, even though they are each telling their own story.

DD: What are your plans for the third issue?
Fiona Bryson: To find more inspiring things, and to stumble upon new contemporary photography or art. At the same time discovering someone from the past who I didn't know about previously is exciting to me. My collaborations are a natural process and aren't planned too much. I have no restraints in my choices either so it's purely whether it feels right or not.

DD: Which photographers and artists do you tip as ones-to-watch?
Fiona Bryson: 
The artists I've featured so far are from varying levels of recognition – I think they all have their unique qualities otherwise I wouldn't have chosen them. However, I'm always searching for something I haven't seen before, something surprising and of course beautiful - you'll see in the next issue.

Angst Issue 2 is available in selected book stores throughout New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, London, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, Moscow and Tokyo.

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