This new magazine from London is packed with thought-provoking writing and imagery. So it may seem perverse to focus our attention on a blank page in the issue, our latest Page 23.
The page in question is one of a few blank pages in Fieldnotes; blank to the point of not even having a page number. They act as breaks in the run of pages, sometimes on the left, sometimes on the right, adding pace and emphasising a shift in tone.
It’s something we’ve seen a lot of recently; the latest issue of Beauty Papers uses as many as six blank white pages between different photo stories, the type of spacial punctuation seen in photography books. And the recent blank front cover of M Le Magazine du Monde helped its 500th edition stand apart from the bright, colourful 499 covers that preceded it.
There are some magazines for which such a seemingly casual use of empty space would seem a waste, but these examples all have enough ‘full’ pages that waste doesn’t come to mind.
In the case of Fieldnotes, the art direction and design is a really smart example of how to draw together disparate types of story. Our blank Page 23 sits opposite the final page of a series of ten excerpts from a book, each piece with its own complexity in the from of being a list or having numbered paragraphs. They come from the book ‘The Hundreds’, where each piece is composed of a hundred or multiples of one hundred words
The text presents the excerpts concisely and clearly, but a couple of blank pages (page 24 is empty too) help the reader move on to the next story, a series of uncaptioned colour photographs by Wytske van Keulen. Both stories have their own strengths, made the better by the blanks separating them. The technique also echoes the issues’ theme, The Third Thing, ‘There is always a third thing between two things that are known; we are interested in whatever there is between translations/transitions…’
Elsewhere in the issue, space is used just as purposefully on individual pages.
Almost every story uses a different form – the magazine promises to provide a test site for ideas and research – including longform prose, poetry, concrete poetry, graphs, conversation and email, as well as photography. The layout neatly adapts each time without becoming confused. There’s always room to breath in this very assured launch issue.
Editor: Bella Martin
Art direction and design: In the shade of a tree