Last week a smart gay gentleman from Manchester visited the magCulture Shop and dropped off a sample of his mag Homo Alone. It was the perfect surprise: the cover is somewhat non-commital but behind it is a wonderful set of self-portraits recording life in Covid isolation, delivering plenty more reasons to be cheerful.
The man beind the mag is photographer Mike Plunkett, who has taken advantage of a slowdown in paid work to turn his camera on himself over recent months.
The 64 pages are packed with images of him and his life, pictures that share the saturated colours of Toilet Paper magazine. They might easily have been cloying and repetitive but instead a combination of humour and self-exploration allows multiple moods and intertwined themes to create something really special.
Many images note common isolation concerns – running out of toilet paper and drinking too much – and sit alongside self-examinations of masculinity. This mix of the general and very personal contributes to the success of the publication (Mike’s written intro provides context for his self-reflection). There’s a cat, a kitchen table turned work desk, and several images with repeating Mikes emphasising his solitary existence.
The various zines and publications that have appeared over 2020 in response to the Covid pandemic offer a case study in the power of print to respond to events in different ways. After collections of creative responses (Bleached and Isolate Zine), interviews and photo reportage (Post) and written humour (Quarantimes), Homo Alone adds wonderfuly engaging visual wit.