Brown Owl Press Dispatch #4: Nathan Pearce

Nathan Pearce is a photographic whirlwind, releasing zines and collaborations frequently. I wish I had even half of his drive! We chatted to him about photography and publishing a few weeks ago. 

Introduce yourself! Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?
I'm Nathan Pearce and I am a book and zine maker from Southern Illinois (USA)

Your project (and book) Midwest Dirt deals with the idea of coming home. What did you learn while making this work?
The work was about me learning about the home that I had left when I was 18. I was discovering what was interesting about the rural Midwest. I found a quiet stillness here that I have now spent a decade exploring. 

Midwest Dirt has been published in three different editions. Why is this? How did they differ? Any plans for a fourth?
There are three different editions called Midwest Dirt but the work has also been published in several dozen different zines. The work is evolved as I made it and experimenting through bookmaking has shown me a lot about the work. 

You run Same Coin Press with Claire Cushing. How did this start?
Claire and I ran a mixtape trading group years ago. A few years after that we decided that we wanted to collaborate on a  photo zine. The name that we came up with for that was Same Coin because our work was very different in some ways but some of the same themes emerged when edited together in the zine. We said our work was like different sides of the same coin. The name stuck when we decided we wanted to keep publishing other books and zines. 

A lot of publications you've released have been collaborations with other photographers. Is this something you enjoy doing? Do you find it helps you to look differently at your work?
I do love experimenting with bouncing my work off of the work of other artists. It's another way that I learn more about my work about my home here.  There are some artists that I work with over and over again. Rachael Banks most of all and also my nephew Journey, Matthew David Crowther, Tim Carpenter and Claire Cushing as we discussed earlier. I would liken working with them to the collaborations of musicians who have played together for years or (my apologies to the non-baseball appreciating audience) a good double-play combo. We have worked together enough that there is something intuitive about it. 

What are you working on currently?
Tim Carpenter and I have been working on a series of zines called Distant Zine. There will be multiple volumes and several different artists contributing. 

What advice do you have for someone who wants to put out photozines?
Do it. It's possible, grab some prints and paper, glue them on and find a photocopier. If you have any questions along the way just ask someone. There are lots of nice and helpful people in this community. 

How are you coping with the COVID-19 lockdown?
I don't know. It's a weird weird time. I'm glad I have a lot of photobooks and zines. 

Tell us about any artwork/music/podcasts/books you're enjoying at the moment.
I've been listening to a lot of the "Empty Frames" podcast and I've been reading my Bernd and Hilla Becher books a lot. 

If you could interview anyone, who would it be?
Hacksaw Jim Duggan 

Do you feel hopeful for the rest of 2020?
Might as well be.

Upcoming books
We have several books at various stages of production by Hans Nøstdahl, Isa Gelb and the long awaited title by Jenny Riffle. It's coming, I promise! It'll be worth the wait. 

Still available
We recently published Beware of Trains by Brian David Stevens, In Between Breakdowns by Rosie Kliskey and Framework Vol I by Al Palmer. Copies of all are still available. 

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or opinions please don't hesitate to get in touch.


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