No Idea – Project and Zine by Allan Lewis

There’s something about a chronicle that can make it extremely personal. Don’t get me wrong, it can also be something that is a record of an event or thing that is widely shared among many people. But in particular, I’m speaking about a photo project or publication that is a chronicle of not just a slice of one second, but the slice of someone’s life. Allen Lewis sent me his zine No Idea a couple months ago. No Idea reflects upon the road trips he took in his twenties. One could interpret this zine as a visual journey, or a travelogue of scenes witnessed along the way (current day) to points unknown. His color images were shot in a contemporary documentary style with a variety of analogue and digital cameras. He has captured landscapes, scenes both inside and outside buildings and homes, and a person or two – one of which might be a self-portrait. I am firmly middle-aged, and the idea of a road trip lasting more than a couple days is only something I’d do tons of advance notice. Allan includes text at the back of this zine with comments much along the same lines. When I look at his project with this in mind, a different frame of reference is applied to the images within. It’s like wanderlust with the promise of a comfortable bed you know is waiting at the end of the journey. Some crazed experience like going to summer camp with Hunter S. Thompson is not in the cards. Let’s leave it to someone else to create work based on that premise. No Idea is poignant for me – and that’s perfect. It’s a personal project that has found form in print, and in some sense, this is a great entry for me writing about a photo zine. I made little books on Xerox machines in the ‘90s and they had all the wistful reflection of a dumpster fire. Lewis takes careful consideration of what is going on right here, right now – and contrasts it with his younger self. The work is well crafted and presented. This zine is far more than a snapshot or quick vignette of a singular theme. Ultimately Lewis takes the opportunity to chronicle and explore concepts and ideas reflecting on what one might not understand in the reckless abandon of youth. As he says in the zine, “I wish I’d had a camera back then. When you were younger you have no idea what you’re witnessing. But does that change as you get older?” No Idea Photos and text by Allan Lewis Copyright 2018, Allan Lewis www.allanl.com

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