Canada’s Little Brother
Little Brother is a small-format, Canadian magazine filled with ‘Essays. Stories. Photography. Art. Et cetera.’ The bi-annual’s art director Charles Yao, who also designed the short-lived print editions of Random House’s Hazlitt magazine, gives the publication a bookish, paired back aesthetic dotted with film photography and other analogue imagery – like Jay Shuster’s iPhone photos of house plants reinterpreted and reprocessed by Jesjit Gill on a Risograph machine in issue four (below) and Christine Kwan’s photo essay ‘Effervesco’ shot on a Leica M6 in issue three (also below). These bursts of colour break up the black-on-cream essay pages like well-placed punctuation.
The magazine’s photo essays (judging from issues three to five) are the easiest stories to engage with and provide appropriate amounts of abstraction, intrigue and narrative direction. Staff photographer Elissa Pearl Matthews’ ‘The Taste of Rust’ (issue four), with text by Bardia Sinaee, is a particular favourite.
But most of Little Brother is written – diary format pieces, travel writing, short fiction, thought pieces, ‘Feel-Good Futurism’ horoscopes – some of which has been nominated for the Written Awards of the 38th (Canadian) National Magazine Awards under ‘One of a Kind and Personal Journalism’ (winners will be announced 5 June). Emma Healey’s ‘How To Be Content’ from issue five, one of four nominees, is a humorous, well-crafted account of being an SEO ‘content creator’ by day and a poet by night.
In comparison to publishing hubs like London, Toronto is a relatively small player but Yao thinks that there is a growing community of like-minded people invested in good writing and good design: ‘The scene is very youthful but also has some maturity. There are successive generations, and always new design school kids who are getting into print. It’s actually a GREAT time to be an indie print enthusiast in the city. Magazine launches, art openings, and a handful of like-minded stores – all coming together in one place, at one time.’ Little Brother adds to the Toronto publishing scene with quarterly events that allow them to meet their readers face to face between issues.
Little Brother’s next event, ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Selling Out,’ will take place on 9 June 2015 at the Drake Hotel, Toronto.
Full details of the National Magazine Awards