'A Nice Magazine' Does What It Says On the Cover
We talked to founder Hanna Moon about shooting naked girls with Tyrone Lebon.
If you really sat down and tried, you could turn a lot of pages in the space of 30 days. While we've spent over a decade providing you with about 120 of those pages every month, it turns out there are many more magazines in the world other than VICE. This new series, “Ink Spots”, is a helpful guide on which of those zines, pamphlets and publications you should be reading when you’re not staring at ours.
First up is A Nice Magazine, which does what it says on the cover, serving up a nice – and satisfyingly weird – mixture of photography and fashion from young artists based all over London. Hannah Moon, the magazine's founder, told us a bit about how it all came to be, her love of naked girls and her collaboration with photographer (and her former boss) Tyrone Lebon, as well as kindly sharing some of her and her contributors’ photography work from the first issue.
VICE: Hi Hanna. What’s the outlook behind A Nice Magazine?
Hanna Moon: It's essentially a fashion magazine, but we wanted to have a different perspective on fashion, to inject everyone’s specific personalities into every editorial and select brands depending on who we were featuring. It’s a very photography-heavy magazine, with some interesting projects from friends and contributors. I tried to keep it fun and keep an experimental spirit through the whole thing. And it's pretty sexual, too.
How did you get started?
The magazine was originally a part of my final year project at Central Saint Martins. I didn’t plan for it to be a proper magazine right at the beginning, I just started propositioning friends with my ideas and asked interesting young people I knew to get involved – whether they would contribute as models or writers, etc, or if they were going on trip I asked them to take pictures and give me a story.
Left, cover image shot by Hanna Moon; right, Moffy shot by Hanna Moon.
How did you decide on the title?
Actually, it’s kind of a twist, as I didn’t want it to be just one of many nice magazines; I’d rather it be a not very nice magazine, you know. Maybe naughty?
Naughty is nice! So how's Tyrone Lebon involved?
I started working for him about two years ago, and now we're really good friends. I suggested an idea of shooting my friend Cammy in the nude for the magazine, as we both love naked girls and I liked the idea that the boss and assistant could take pictures of same subject and put them together. He liked the idea, too!
Photo by Joyce NG.
Did you run into any difficulties making the mag?
Hmm... I found my interview request email in [artist and photographer] Mark Lebon’s junk mail when I visited him. He thought it was from some random Chinese magazine and trashed it [laughs].
You have an essay about normcore in the first issue, and it seems like throughout the magazine there’s a kind of fascination with regular people over fashion models.
Yeah, I guess me and people around me are all “normal people”. But yes, I intentionally didn’t want to use any professional models for the sake of fashion stories. I tend to like realism, but at the same time I'm also drawn to totally made up narratives as well, so maybe what you see in the magazine might not be what you first think.
Moffy shot by Hanna Moon.
You have a great shoot with Moffy. Can you tell me about the direction for that? And why her?
I met her when Tyrone was shooting her for POP. She wasn’t a professional model then and I was really fascinated by her. I begged Tyrone for her contact then did a very small portrait shoot with her myself. Since then we occasionally saw each other, and one day she told me that the Daily Mail wrote an article about her saying: “Cross-eyed girl is challenging model industry”. We laughed about it so much. Because she is who she is and she wasn’t really challenging anything.
So we said, “Why don’t we do a shoot based on your actual personality?" So I did a small interview asking what she likes, etc. She's really into Russian literature and classical music. Then I contacted Stussy to see if we could get some clothes to customise, and we customised the clothes with the stuff she likes and shot her in her house.
The pictures of French transvestites at the end came as a surprise.
As the whole process of making this magazine was pretty open-minded, people just started suggesting ideas. One day Tyrone forwarded these images taken by his friend Hugo Scott, who works for Marc Jacobs in Paris, and they were amazing! They were perfect to keep the balance between genders, as I felt the magazine was more inclined to lesbian/female side back then. So yes, we added some penis as well.
How regular will it be? Are you making another issue?
It's supposed to be a bi-annual magazine. However, as you know, making an independent magazine isn’t a very easy job, especially for a recent graduate. But I'm getting interesting suggestions and feedback on the magazine, so let’s see what happens.
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