Issue two of German photography magazine FOG stands out from the shelf for two reasons: it’s curious 24o x 200mm size immediately makes it something that you want to open up and explore, and the striking sideways cover image has a slightly disorientating pull. In some ways, the documentary photography magazine is a bit like a vinyl box set: it’s beautifully and carefully produced, it comes with a hand-made C print of the cover image (below), and when you buy the magazine you also get a special code with which you can access the FOG online archive.
Inside, the spreads are beautifully simple, and explanatory text is printed sideways so that it doesn’t distract from the power of the images (above). Emily Ducke’s photographs of the breakaway state of Transnistria, where Soviet structures are still in place, boldly captures a place that seems to be locked in time. The crisp, inoffensive layout makes the work all the more immersive.
A small design flourish has text wrap around the body of one of the photographic subjects: this is another example of how FOG uses layout to be discreet and unassuming – a way for the magazine to bolster or frame a picture. Claudio Rasanos’ portraits of South African garbage collectors are stunning and deserving of the kind of careful contemplation that FOG’s design encourages.
Other powerful documentaries of note: ‘Kobyla’ features private images from the post-war life of a ruthless female WWII war criminal and also interviews the Austrian Man who found the images(above); the ‘Trigger’ photo series poignantly documents seven ex-soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (below). Ulrich Hagel’s slanted shots of inmates of the Berlin-Plötzensee Prison – the series that the cover image comes from – is also particularly memorable.
FOG affirms the great power of photography to document and to tell stories – when I came to the end of issue two, I felt as if I could have been reading a book of dense, evocative essays because there was so much to be gleaned from each of the spreads. There’s a lot of thoughtful detail – both in the design and in the showcased work - and the additional writing adds much to the photography rather than just explaining or reiterating what you can see in the image. There are many photography journals around at the moment, but as a magazine showcasing documentary photography, FOG has found its own thoughtful niche.
Editors: Kevin Fuchs, Robert Funke, Jakob Ganslmeier,Ulja Jager and Roman Kutzowitz
Design: Sebastian Jehl