When we first wrote about Cameo in September 2015, it was a small photography zine about the lives of refugees. The title had a straightforward concept behind it: a portrait photograph was printed on one side of a spread with a letter written by a refugee and translated into German on the other. Founded by a group of photography students, Cameo was essentially a way to self-publish and distribute the results of a long-term documentary project.
Now, Cameo is an ambitious, full-blown magazine. Themed ‘arriving’, issue three features over 70 participants and brings together long-form stories, comic strips, interviews and an array of documentary pictures.
Despite all the changes, the title has importantly retained its collaborative sensibility; as with the letters from the first two issues, refugees write a lot of the content. In Germany there’s a major conversation going on right now around how a project could not just raise-awareness about an issue but actually productively contribute to relieving that issue too. As Cameo is a space of collaboration, it creates the opportunity for coming-together, sharing knowledge and mutual understanding; the very process of making the magazines encourages networks between otherwise segregated communities.
Essays include an op-ed on LGBT rights and religion (above), a first-hand account of the problems between the urgency of a newcomer’s needs and the German’s bureaucratic system (also above), and a guide to unleashing the ‘creative power of cultural diversity’ (below).
The next step for Cameo? Finding a strong, cohesive visual voice and then considering translating more of its content into English as well as German, so that these important stories can be shared, read and distributed to as wide a network as possible.