Karina Shabanova and Her Risograph Photo Experiments


Athens-based Karina Shabanova is a young graphic designer who currently works as a freelancer and participates in a two-year research programme called “Post Nostalgia” at Vakalo Art & Design College. Her personal projects often involve photography and video, and combine her love for publishing in the creation of self-published zines. She has printed a collection of postcards titled Τ.Κ. ΑΘΗΝΑ (Postal Code Athens), printed on thick cardboard paper and bundled in a box, and more recently has released a new zine with her own photos from Athens and other places. This new untitled publication was released this summer, and was created at the city's only risograph studio. In the following interview we talk to Karina Shabanova about her new zine and the whole idea behind it.

Text by Kiriakos Spirou
Images courtesy the artist

When did your zine come out and what was its subject?

It was printed and was ready in mid-summer, and I presented it for the first time a few days ago. This is a photography zine without title and without a specific subject. The photos have a common aesthetic, and I shot them on film and developed them at home; they are all black and white, and depict urban landscapes, old buildings, snapshots of people in the city and so on.

Where were these photos taken?

These are photos I took in various places I’ve visited the past two years. Most are from a small trip I did last winter, so it has a bit of Budapest, Warsaw, Berlin, Prague and Athens.

Have you printed in riso before? How do you find it as a method?

In general I like trying out new techniques; I’ve done silk-printing in the past, and riso shares a lot of things with that, but it gives you a different and very special visual result. I liked it a lot and I wanted to use this technique for a photographic project sometime. The truth is I couldn’t find someone in Athens who did riso printing, but then I discovered the guys from SleepOnItPress, and I decided to print the zine with them. They were very open to experimentation, so we did various tests on different papers, until we got to this zine that is on very thin paper and is almost transparent and has wrinkles here and there—which I think made a good match with my images and gives them a feeling of old photography.

Is there something special about this publication compared to your previous work?

This is the first project I did which I wanted to distribute, to share with others. I have done a project with post cards in the past, but they weren’t printed in many copies, it was a personal project. I wanted this time for people to be able to find it and buy it if they like it.

So where can we find your zine?

I’ve printed only a few copies for now, so if someone wants to get it they can send me an email at karinashabanova@yahoo.com.

Visit Karina Shabanova’s Behance profile to see more of her work, and also check her out on Instagram. You can find out more about SleepOnItPress risograph studio on their Instagram profile.