My photography zine of the Asheville zine will release it's 10th volume next year, and I've been planning a stretch goal as far back as June of 2022: a full 120+ page photobook. Shape of the Crowd has always been funded by reader and D.I.Y. business donations, and any donations totaling more than the cost to produce and distribute the zine have always been tallied in a "zine fund" which is pulled from to cover the costs of future volumes. Slowly over time this accrues on average a few hundred dollars per volume. The first time the zine fund was emptied was to fund a solo photography exhibition of my Asheville live music work, which was shown at Harvest Records in Asheville, NC that same June of 2022. Small prints from that exhibition are now distributed for free at random with some copies of Shape of the Crowd. You can see documentation of that exhibition here.
Shape of the Crowd Volume 10 is envisioned currently as a 120 page 9"x6" bound paperback photobook. It would most likely be in black and white, as most of my photography is, and it is more cost efficient. This volume would span the entirety of my career in D.I.Y. music photography, from 2019 to 2024, 6 years of history.
Appraisal of a photobook was done by Hemlock Printers, which I was drawn to after purchasing a copy of Phil Elverum's 2022 photobook "Microphones (details and context)", printed by Hemlock. They appraised the job as being worth $1602 for 100 9"x6" 120 page books at the time, though this total may change by the time production begins. I am also currently researching opportunities to print with small businesses locally if affordable. I am interested in keeping Shape of the Crowd 10 donation-based even in this unique form, though the cost to print and the amount of work it will require, along with undoubtedly much higher shipping costs, could change how I execute the distribution. I may collect donations as pre-orders before shipping to see if I can increase the number of copies printed, the number of pages, or any other quality of the final product. All of this is speculative, as the most likely release date is June or July of 2024.
If you're interested in supporting this project, you can subscribe to get notified any time a new volume of Shape of the Crowd releases so you never miss a volume, and if you're missing any previous volumes, you can order them as well. I have also considered releasing the covers of each zine as full sized posters, or partnering with my good friend Joey Wilson at Mythic Merch to do a shirt run of some sort. All will depend on interest.
Lastly, the eventual release of SOTC10 will probably give me a good excuse to overhaul and standardize the way the zines are designed and distributed. Not much is set in stone, but issues of notifications and online ordering will probably be solved by streamlining via 3rd party systems and functionality on this website in anticipation of this release. The biggest change I'd like to make is a redesign of all the zines I've previously released. The skills I've gained in zine design have made previous volumes hard for me to keep repressing and distributing. The fact that old zines contained less material by myself is a good thing here, as it gives me a lot to expand upon from those early years that I didn't originally include when it comes time to cover that in SOTC10, and I think that depth could be recovered in a re-release. Additionally, I think as much as I love the contributions made to previous zines from others, the fact that my business is now a legal entity really obligates me not to distribute the work of others with any exchange of money, although it was used with permission (all submitted, and sometimes work was even created just to be in the zine). In short, the most recent advancements in content, graphic design, crediting, readability, and overall quality should be standardized. So after SOTC10 releases, future copies of volume 1-9 may be redesigned to be in the collage format, credited in a consistent style, the graphic design standardized amongst them, all mistakes fixed, and (unfortunately) most or all collaborative contributions absent. The original versions of course will all still be available online. I think that the new versions of older material will be a net upgrade, or I wouldn't bother. For instance, if one acquired a version 2 SOTC1 printed later in 2024, they'll find that the zine still covers the same shows and material, but is updated with far more material, more accurate text and credits, better readability, and just higher quality overall. For earlier volumes the changes would be pretty drastic, but for more recent volumes they'd be really minor most likely, like changing the position and exposure of some images, some readability/accessibility focused changed like lines between collaged photos, standardization of graphic design for cover art, or other minor style/creative updates.
Why make such changes, what's the point? In addition to the changes for accessibility and legality previously stated, I expect a shortcoming of SOTC10 to be the feasibility of ever printing more copies than the original run. It would be nice to update and fix a lot of issues with old volumes by redesigning them, while in the process creating a much more close representation of what can be found in the photobook for those who may not be able to get that for whatever reason. The zines also will have double the pages to cover the ground. Each zine has 24 pages of photography to the book's proposed 120 pages, and over 9 zines that leaves a lot of room to go further in-depth. If the goal is to document, preserve, and distribute the imagery and experience of the local D.I.Y. scene, this seems to best serve that.
All of this is more brainstorming than anything, and is both open to feedback and subject to change.
I recently launched a GoFundMe to help me manage the costs of my healthcare and gender affirming care. Between many life struggles, from insurance becoming increasingly apathetic to covering my treatment costs, to my car failing me with thousands of dollars needed for repairs, to the pressure to find new housing, and much more, I've asked that as my finances undergo strain I receive help from the community to ensure that I don't have to choose between healthcare and other necessities. So far the community has raised over $1,600 for my healthcare fund and aid towards my general stability, and the effect has been lifechanging even as I continue to struggle. I am so, so grateful, and although I know it's not expected of me, I want nothing more than to one day pay this money back into the community. Thank you all so much for helping me get this far. If you'd like to donate or learn more, I have a much longer and more detailed assessment of the situation on GoFundMe. Click here to visit.