the cult zine capturing ephemeral moments of growing up around the world
For its third issue, 'Collection of Documentaries' broadened its focus from British teen tribes to explore the vibrancy of international youth culture.
Photography Tom Sloan
As British youth plan a mass emigration to greener pastures post-Brexit, Issue 3 of Collection of Documentaries — the print-only magazine rooted in British youth culture — moves with us to capture adolescent experience across the world and beyond borders.
It's not all doom and gloom, though. As one of C.O.D.'s writers puts it, "It's important just to recognize that to be young and emerging culturally here and now, even in this tumultuous and often scary time, is pretty good when you take into account what was happening not-even-that long ago." After all, the most historically significant youth movements were born out of rebellion, weren't they?
This issue features boys riding motorbikes through gravel pits, smoking, taking topless selfies, kissing girls, and all the other things teenagers do in the time in between youth and manhood. We spoke to the biannual's editor Lee Crichton about coming of age outside of Britain.
You moved away from British youth culture to other parts of the world for Issue 3. Where did you go?
We went far and wide. C.O.D will always have strong British undertone, however over time we realized that we've been covering a much broader outlook given that our talent is from all over the world. It was really a natural progression that just feels right; we don't want to limit ourselves or our contributors.
How much of it was shot in America?
A small percentage was shot in America. A lot of our contributors are based in and around Europe.
How much knowledge of worldwide youth culture did you have before you began working on the issue?
That's a hard question to answer. Every issue opens us up to new ideas and visions of youth culture — it's very much an open book and I'm am surprised every time by what we end up with. In the best way.
What specific aspects of youth culture did you find in other countries that differed from those found in Britain?
Youth cultures in other countries and Britain is fairly similar to be fair. We were finding that even though we were focusing on Britain, youth culture really becomes one throughout the world.
Where are the most fascinating places for youth culture today, outside of Britain?
I couldn't pick just one place, the contributors that we have will answer that! In Issue 3 we have images from Belarus, Kosovo, Macedonia, and even the Aegean sea. I think the Dutch have a really good vibe going on at the moment; we featured "Gabbers" from Amsterdam in Issue 2.
What is your favorite collection from this issue? What's the story behind it?
I really like Tom Sloan's story, Gravel Pit. It's a group of boys shooting guns, riding motorbikes, and just generally being lads. It reminds me of my childhood, dressed in tracksuits, smoking — what you're supposed to do as a teen, have fun and be a boy!
The Fanny Schlicter story is very Spring Breakers. What's the story behind it?
Her work really stands out for me. It has this rawness that we love at C.O.D but at the same time it's futuristic, pretty trippy, and unlike anything we have featured before. She has three stories in this issue and each one tells a different story. Her clever use of color and composition ties it all together.
Throughout each issue so far, there's been a slight homoerotic undertone — is that intentional?
I can't say that it was intentional. I am straight and our photographic curator is gay, so our tastes and interests have combined to develop the mood that became C.O.D. It's important in today's world to be comfortable with everyone and everything — our contributors really do what they want with the brief so any running themes have been a natural development. I like to think we are also developing a strong feminine stance in this issue that we perhaps lacked before.
How much do you think British youth culture and our creative scene will be affected by Brexit?
I think youth culture will certainly be affected amidst a whole lot of fear and uncertainty. It's obviously going to change not only Britain but Europe dramatically, and I think growing up now will be living in a very different Britain — a very old Britain. Which could also be very interesting given that we have not experienced that in our generation.
Where do you think you'll go for Issue 4?
Issue 4 will be interesting. There's potential for a lot of recession and a depression, so their may be a slightly sordid undertone which we will naturally convey. But it could go either way! We'll continue to document incredible young photographers amidst whatever their whereabouts, political or social obligation is. We will continue to make C.O.D the stand out magazine on the shelves, thats' the aim — keep creating what we believe is important for the print industry!
Text Felicity Kinsella