Nowhere Newsletter 06: Static Age

Interview with Pete Falkous

Static Age, set out to produce and publish contemporary photo zines but that soon changed when other opportunities came about to release other titles which seemed to make sense to not limit what they could do and what was possible. Based in Newcastle UK, they work with various artists/writers/illustrators/photographers from around the world. With a huge love and passion for design and publishing they hope to be able to release zines by showcasing the amazing talent they collaborate with.

Static Age works with the artists to share their vision and produce something which has its own uniqueness and longevity. This collaborative effort ensures that both the artist and the publisher walk away with something they can both be proud of.

What are ‘Static Age Zines’ and what is the story behind?

Static Age (S/A) is a zine and book publisher based in the North of England. I think like nearly every zine publisher, it started purely as something to release my own work and from that things just grew quite naturally with either people reaching out or with finding photographers who I just found and loved their work. The person for me is just as important if not more so than the work itself.

S/A is all about supporting amazing talent and also about having fun. I don’t do this for money, if I did then I would have none, as some releases might sell out a run of 200 but other might struggle and take a year to sell 50 but that somehow isn’t that important. I don’t put work out with the thought of ‘oh that’s going to sell and do well’ I just put out work I like by people I like and if someone sold one copy I would be just as excited as selling 500.

I think S/A has a range of styles of photographers and that’s what for me makes things more exciting and interesting. Having been around for about 3 years now we are coming up to 30 releases which is crazy to think about and maybe that’s too many in a short time period but again I put out what feels right. There are at least 2 more coming out this year but maybe more who knows. 2021 is already getting pretty stacked so it’s exciting to see where we can go.

I know S/A doesn’t have a huge following on say Instagram however the people that do are all genuine people and each title that gets released always has a great response and I would like to think a genuine network of like-minded people who love being active and creative. I have also made some really good friends and spoken to some amazing people who have influenced me and my creative path.

I think this story of how and why S/A started is very similar to a lot of publishers as my background is in hardcore/punk and skateboarding. Skateboarding got me into art and photography which lead me in the world of design and art direction and hardcore gave me a platform to learn and show me how to apply those things. The entire DIY aspect of both those cultures are so prominent and are huge learning curves. Doing your own flyers for gigs leads to doing artwork for bands and so on and so on then you’re hooked and the world is yours but you have to work for it and realise if you want something go do it as nothing is handed to you all your life. I know not everyone has this in them which is fine but I would be bored if I didn’t have something to work for and on. 

S/A is a huge platform for me to express how I feel and how I see things regardless if anyone cares or not, if you don’t like what I am doing great then if you feel that strong about it go do it yourself just have fun and don’t worry about what people think.

Which upcoming photographers / titles would you like to mention?

It’s hard to think of more than just one to be honest so let’s stick with the next few titles coming out. I have loved every release so far and yeah; I might have the odd favourite but if I don’t love what I am putting out then I would be doing it for the wrong reasons.

Look out for the next few releases:

  • ‘Urban Immobility’ by Sebastian Schweers is up for PRE-ORDER and should be out in a few weeks.

  • ‘Cooking With Gas’ by Brandon Lasko has been out a few weeks and I love his work.

  • ‘21’ by Jason Connelly is an incredible body of work, all black and white.

  • ‘Battlefield Blvd’ by Jason Hunter also just out a few months and Jason is a machine with his work.

  • ‘Iceland’ by Nils Karlson, well if you don’t like his work then you should defo go get checked out by the doctor.

David Collyers work, made an incredible book and as a photographer got huge nationwide coverage this year and well deserved.

Also new zines/books from Bob Price, Brandon Lasko and Roberto Vitali.

I could go on for ages as so many to name but one out really soon is an incredible body of work ‘Internal Combustion’ which was shot at the California 500 Ontario Motor Speedway September 1977 by Danny Carroll. The boxsets alone are just limited to 25 copies they will sell out pretty quickly. 

What advice do you have for aspiring book publishers / self-publishers?

Have fun, and don’t be a dick. If someone reaches out for help, try and help them anyway you can. I get around 5 to 10 emails now a week asking for people to look at their work and also ask for advice on things and I do what I can but I am honest as you need to be. Might take me a week to reply but I will always make the time.

You will probably get knockbacks but take that and use it to develop what you’re doing as a photographer and creative. And the biggest things I would say is just do it yourself. If the work is good then people will be interested and if they don’t? who cares just make sure you have fun doing it.

The industry is full of people who think very highly of themselves but ignore the bullshit listen to advice and constructive criticism and just keep doing what feels right. 

S/A releases a variety of work from different people from all over the world and sell them worldwide as well and I am forever grateful that people what to work with me and also the people who buy anything from me as well.

To be honest I find it strange that people refer to me as a publisher and I have for over 20+ years designed magazines and books but this is something I don’t consider to be a job, it’s fun and that’s how it should be. Also, if it was my job, I would have lost my house and had to sell my car to keep putting things out. (Just sold a lens for some up and coming releases).