Who are you? Where are you based?
I’m Dusty Keeney, and I’m based in London, England. I was born in California but moved when I was young and have jumped around a fair bit since.
What are zines to you?
Freedom! A zine is knowing your work is good enough to see in print, without having to convince somebody else of that. Being passionate about something and wanting to make something of your passion, without worrying about it being a waste of time or not good enough. It doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t have to – it’s just a zine.
What was your first encounter with zines?
I guess the first zine I wanted, was the newspaper Radiohead released in 2011, The Universal Sigh, alongside The King of Limbs. Does that count? It was a flimsy print you could collect for free in bigger cities. I searched and searched for one in my little hometown. I still don’t have a copy!
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
I make one zine: Witness! It’s a photojournalism, documentary, and street photography zine. The first issue was a compilation of just my own street photography, but I’ve got issue 2 on presale now, made up of 6 photographers from around the world, covering a variety of topics. I can’t believe the quality of some of the work people submit.
What are the topics you are covering in issue 2 of Witness! and who did you get to participate?
For the second issue, the topics are as follows:
Aiden Lloyd photographs the national guard and waves of protesters during the Black Lives Matter movement in Hollywood, California.
Marouane Joubba virtually captures her hometown of Raval, Barcelona while quarantined abroad during Covid-19.
Auburn Reed tells her story of drug addiction through an old friend in Encinitas, California.
James Pritchett explores visual identity and ownership through Supreme clothing in Soho, London.
Olivia De Chiara collects varied haircuts across New York City.
Reuben Ross tells the history of Amadou Bamba, Café Touba, and street vendors in Dakar, Senegal.
What inspires you to create zines?
I search my favorite stores on a regular basis looking for new photography books and magazines and am so often disappointed. I rarely find what I’m looking for. So I want to create the thing I want myself, with the hopes someone else out there will be relieved when they find it.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
They can be whatever you want them to be. You can voice any political standpoint, any feeling, any anything, ad-free.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
It’s out of hand. I do everything on my own right now, and sadly that means most of my time is going toward answering submission emails and keeping the Instagram going. I put together my issues on InDesign, which I’ve taught myself to use (I still don’t quite understand exporting and CMYK…), and print through an online service. I’d love to physically bind the issues myself, but I might need another pair of hands first. I do hand stamp each envelope though, which is something at least!
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
Oh boy. I just want Witness! to be an affordable way to own photography, and a new, accessible platform for photographers to have their work in print. If people like it, that’s so great.
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
I am very new to the community but Livor Mortis Zine and Chewn! Zine are both run by very nice people. I also love Doc! photo, which is technically a magazine, but it’s independent so… it half counts.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Don’t worry about doing it ‘right’. Don’t stress about using the right software, printing method, photocopier, paper, what have you. Just make it with whatever tools and funds you have at hand. It doesn’t matter if you don’t make a profit right now or ever – just enjoy it.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Instagram! Dig through everything. Find your nearest zine library. Talk to them. Talk to everyone.
Dusty’s social media:
Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Pictures provided by Dusty K.