Today on C41 Magazine we host a special feature by Francesca Spiller, founder of Reading Room, “a new space in Milan entirely dedicated to the dissemination and understanding of independent magazines”. Every month, more or less, we will discover the best printed issues from our favourite publishers. Enjoy.
Télévision is not a magazine of writing. This is a purely visual treat, a fascinating mix of visual storytelling and fashion photography. Télévision is a delightful example of a type of conceptual publication we’re seeing more and more of at the moment; visual entertainments that reference found photography as much as more orthodox forms of art, fashion and advertising photography.
The Butterfly Lovers by Xiaopeng Yuan
The cover image shows a young girl, head bowed while a blue cotton headdress falls down her neck. It’s an intriguing and beautifully soft photograph, a quality that is distinctly Xiaopeng’s. Given free rein by Télévision to interpret its latest theme, “legend”, Xiaopeng has created a series based on a famous Chinese fable titled The Butterfly Lovers. Xiaopeng was first introduced to the story as a young child. “It brings a very romantic feeling whenever I think about this story, and some of the plots left a deep impression on me, so I took some plots from the story for this shoot, as well as some other fascinating entry points from research I did, such as their clothes, or gender identities.” As a result, the images in The Butterfly Lovers emulates the uniforms the boys – and Zhu in disguise – wore at their school, but it also emulates the drama and romanticism imbued throughout the tale. In order the ground the series in more contemporary times, however, Xiaopeng opted to keep the camera within the composition for several of the images. “I was quite worried about falling into the storyline, reproducing images only based on the story,” he explains of the decision. “Then I decided to keep the cameras in the photo, which echos with the media of how I heard of the story – television.”