The Quarantine Zine

Tom Benjamin talks about Quarantine Zine, a world wide collaborative magazine created to bring creatives together so that they can express their feelings and frustrations during quarantine.

During this unusual time photography has been a welcome distraction, even though in a limited capacity. Conversation with other photographers has been another, largely through the #believeinfilm community. This is where I found out about Quarantine.

As Lockdown and Coronavirus took hold of the world an idea was floated. A zine featuring images from around the world submitted by photographers in the film community. Once designed the zine would be printed using the original technique of photocopying the pages in black and white. It would become a document to the unique time we were in with each image providing a different perspective.

Quarantine issue #1

The idea was launched and submissions around the theme of quarantine were called for. I wanted to contribute something that showed isolation and the state of how things were. Shops were largely closed and high streets became empty and desolate, more so than usual, and that’s what I looked for in my image (see featured image).

It was quickly decided that other issues would be planned, each with a new theme that would highlight different areas of the pandemic. The organiser was based in Hong Kong and it took a few weeks for this issue to arrive, I actually got it after the second. This was something that changed for subsequent issues due to Hong Kong’s postal restrictions.

Quarantine issue #2

Saving Graces. During Lockdown face to face conversation quickly became a thing of the past. I am not usually a person to be on the phone but I found myself calling family regularly and even talking to friends that I wouldn’t normally call. To keep those connections I was missing my phone became my saving grace.

Quarantine issue #3

For the third issue the theme was Zone. It was the opportunity for us to share where we were form and the places we where limited to during the last few weeks. Usually I would head into Portsmouth when wanting to showcase the area in which I live but for this I wanted to keep it more local.

I was walking over a pedestrian bridge over the train tracks as the barriers were down. It was my chance to catch the train coming down the tracks. Then another train appeared from around the corner, they converged at the same point. I wanted an image that looked over its surroundings, showing typical houses and other subtle details that could define my local area.

This was my favourite issue so far as I was able to get a glimpse into the lives of the other contributors. It also gave a look into how other places in the world were coping as there were submissions from photographers from around the globe.

Quarantine issue #4

The theme for the next issue has been decided and I have already submitted my photograph, this time even including a short text. It is currently in the design process and has no shipping date as of yet.

These zines will be a lasting collection of photographs and stories from around the world detailing the lives of its contributors. They are individual and unique just like the circumstances we are currently facing. It’s unclear for how much longer Quarantine will continue. Though in some places restrictions have decreased life still won’t continue as it once did and it would be great to see it documented in this way.


This article was originally published on Tom Benjamin’s website, Our Shadows Will Remain. You can buy Tom’s work, including his lockdown-inspired series Essential, here.

Images by Tom Benjamin.

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