Linger: an alumni zine

“Linger is an idea to create something that accurately represents the colors and concepts of our minds,” the last page of the first volume of “Linger” reads.

The last page of the second volume adds: “‘Linger’ is an idea to grasp and actualize the summers which make up our fleeting adolescence.”

Photos of crushed strawberries, silver-spray-painted hands and clear skies fill the pages of “Linger,” a photography zine created by TPHS alums Kristian Reese (‘22) and Carson Petree (‘22), along with help from Hank Underwood (‘22). Zines are small-circulation, self-published magazines that stem from “underground culture,” according to Petree.

“It’s common to see a lot of smaller bands that don’t have a lot of recognition make what’s called saddle stitch zines, which are basically printed pieces of paper that are usually some sort of mixed media [and that look] very scrapbook-y,” Petree said. “[They’re] like art books that are stitched together with some sort of string or twine on the spine.”

Reese recalled the moment he first picked up a zine with Petree and Hank on a day trip to Los Angeles.

“We stopped by a surf shop in Newport on the way and saw these two small booklets for sale,” Reese said. “I picked them up and from there we studied them and began figuring out how to make our own.”

Other sources of inspiration for their own zine ranged from Tyler, the Creator’s “GOLF WANG” streetwear brand to surf magazines. Mainly, “Linger” pays “homage to other photographers and films and just the way music makes us feel,” Petree said.

“Ever since we grew more interested in music, film, photography and art in general, we’ve paid more attention to various mediums we thought were cool,” Reese said. “I think we were initially intrigued by how achievable it seemed.”

Using their friends as models, Reese and Petree filled the zine with photos taken in the community.

“We kept our cameras on us and just shot what we were doing throughout the summer, what our friends were doing, almost documenting,” Petree said.

Generally, the first volume is “a lot more ‘DIY’ looking,” Reese said. There isn’t “a lot of intention behind most of the photos,” according to Petree, except for the fact that the first zine is split into two parts — the day and the night.

“The second one was a lot more planned out,” Petree said. “We thought of photoshoot ideas and just had a general idea of what we’d want to shoot for. Almost think of it as a scene. A lot of these feel like scenes, and they’re just various photos from them.”

After developing the photos, Petree and Reese edited them primarily using Photoshop, then formatted them “in an order that we think works the best,” Petree said.

With regard to arranging and printing the volumes, the first one again proved to have a more “disorganized process,” according to Reese.

“We originally wanted to have it printed by the end of summer 2022 … That ended up not happening,” Reese said. “Everything was pretty stagnant for a few months until our motivation toward it peaked again.”

Collaborating even at different colleges, Reese and Petree finished their first volume and printed by winter 2022. They were more efficient with the second issue, curating photographs within two months and editing in two weeks.

“As for the second volume, due to whatever experience and knowledge we had gained from the previous one, we knew what to avoid,” Reese said.

From that point on, both the volumes were distributed at the concerts that Reese and Petree organized for Underwood, who also makes music.

“The concerts are free but the magazines are … recommended to be bought there at the show … so it was an event for the magazines as much as it was for the music,” Petree said.

Beyond the concerts, they have mailed copies to friends, as well as have displayed them at the art bookstore Lang Books in North Park.

“We got to know the owner after a while and approached him about carrying the zine in his shop,” Reese said. “He was nice enough to accept, so now there’s a couple on display there. I don’t think any have sold since being in there, but it’s just cool to know they’re in a more official space.” 

According to Petree, their aim in distributing the zine is not to make a profit; instead it’s just to “get it into as many hands as we can.” 

“We’ve handed them out to musical artists also,” he said. “Kristian gave one to a rap-rock group out of LA called Paris Texas. Those people were featured in the magazines in the music pages, so it was cool to get it into their hands.”

Though Petree and Reese are currently on opposite sides of the country, with Petree now studying film at New York University and Reese in San Diego, they hope they will be able to shoot a third volume in the coming summer. 

“Our friend Hank is working on a small EP right now, and we’re planning to shoot some music videos for him, but I think we’ll do a smaller zine, just documenting the behind-the-scenes of the music videos and the making of the album,” Petree said. “I think we’re planning that it will be way more simple, not sent to a company. We’ll just print them at home and stitch them together — kind of more on cue with original zines.”

In all their forms, zines are appealing because they’re easy to approach — they don’t require extensive experience or resources.

“Anyone who’s into photography, I would definitely recommend doing this,” Petree said. “It teaches you to be more intentional with what you’re shooting, and I think it puts more purpose into photos … than just putting them on social media.”

Zines are an especially ideal medium to promote creative freedom.

“Zines started as this informal medium that was intended to be shared amongst people with the same interests or goals,” Reese said. “We thought that our ideas and end goal perfectly fit into those parameters. There aren’t really any rules or requirements with zines, which is cool.”

Ultimately, the goal of “Linger” is to capture that last moments of adolescence as the trio graduated from TPHS and began to carve out their separate lives.

“It was to document what we were doing before we left, to have fun and take photos of all our friends before they’re gone,” Petree said. “The second [volume] was [to document what] it’s like to be back after everyone goes to college … It’s not the same when you return.”

While adolescence may be fleeting, photos like the ones in “Linger” can act as small time capsules for the TPHS alums. What’s a photo if not to make the feeling, the mood and the color of a moment linger a little longer?

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