Photo © Oliver Bekaert (detail)
“The number one thing going for me is the email. We get so many submissions. That’s the most fun part. I’m in constant contact with people from all around the world everyday. They’re sending me photos no one has ever seen before,” Ray Potes, the publisher of Hamburger Eyes, reveals. “I feel like I’m not putting them out fast enough.”
With this great wealth of content, Potes decided to make a change. After 16 years of putting out one of the greatest photography zines ever made, he switched it up, launching Hamburger Eyes as a monthly for 2017. The first two issues (No. 24 and No. 25) officially debut at Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair from February 23–26, 2017.
Still providing the high-quality selection and sequencing of classic and cutting-edge street photography that has established the zine as the spot for fresh street photographers to come off, the monthly editions are distilled to the purest essence of the form, each featuring five artists who are given twelve pages each. All the work is black and white, creating a timeless effect, reminding us that the beautiful, strange, surreal, and silly moments of life are for the ages.
As the editor and art director, Potes has developed an eye for quality and consistency, mastering the rare gift of delivering on the expectation of the unexpected. Every issue provides an exquisite blend, expertly sequenced to symphonic effect. There is a rhythm to the images that creates the perfect flow, so that you find yourself paging through it, over and over again.
The zine’s motto, “The continuing story of life on earth,” gives space to those moments we rarely see shared by the mainstream media. The photos chosen manifest the spirit of the people who create them. “I like when I see a photographer in a photograph. You can recognize their work right away. There’s a quote, I’m not sure who said it: ‘Every photograph is a self-portrait.’”
A search reveals there is no attribution for this quote, which makes it a proverb of photography that has existed for so long it’s simply the rule. The monthly issues of Hamburger Eyes allow us to get to know a fresh crop of photographers by looking at the world from their purview, giving us a new way of seeing, feeling and understanding—for sight is truly our most powerful sense.
Potes has an intuitive ability to give the people what they want, to whet their appetites, and keep them coming back for more. Hamburger Eyes just celebrated its sixteenth anniversary on February 14th. It’s come a long way since it’s early years, when it was made the old fashioned way: Xerox. The photographs were just as compelling then as they are now, speaking to a vision that stands the test of time.
About the LA Art Book Fair:
Dates & Times:
Preview: Thursday, February 23, 6–9PM
Free & Open to the Public:
Friday, February 24, 1pm-7pm
Saturday, February 25, 11am-7pm
Sunday, February 26, 11am-6pm
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Whitewall, Dazed Digital, Jocks and Nerds, and L’Oeil de la Photographie. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.