Photo Zine, Marc Calvary, thecarbonbasedmistake.wordpress.com, $1
I like to think that one our unifying traits as a western society (maybe even globally) is our desire to hide or conceal our most intimate rituals. I’m not referring to drinking coffee or yoga or whatever, but rather rituals we perform to hide or disguise the primal dysfunctions of our bodies — be it odour, warts or rashes. These are common ways in which our body fails us, and no matter how modernized we become as a society and a species, our attempts to hide these flaws will continue in one form or another.
Undercover Ablutions bring these dirty little secrets to the forefront in the form of a photo zine. Its impossible not to consider what resides in our not-so-secret medicine cabinets of tonics and potions. Looking at other people’s toothbrushes and various creams makes you wonder what is revealed about us depending on how organized or dirty, packed or sparse our hiding places may be.
Unfortunately this concept is fairly overdone and doesn’t generate shock. My main issue with the zine, however, is its execution and presentation. The photos are rushed and it seems little consideration went into their arrangement. The photos are lack lustre, not only because of their haphazard arrangement, but more so due to the quality of the images. I think a serious opportunity was missed here; he could have easily gotten some shitty flip phone from the ’90s, and maximized the graininess to achieve something interesting; or gone in the opposite direction and gotten especially sharp, artistic images rather than using your average low quality iPhone photos.
Overall, Undercover Ablutions has the right attitude and potential, but the execution needs to be reworked majorly. (Andrew Melanson)