Living on the edge of appropriateness

Local zine publishes photographs that shock, amuse and offend

Who wants to wait to be discovered when self-discovery is right at your fingertips? Daniel Pelissier sure doesn’t.

“I’m not going to wait for someone to ask me to publish my photos, I’ll just do it myself and have fun with it,” said Pelissier, co-founder of Young Healers, a local photography zine that opts for a DIY esthetic. The zine publishes photographs of emerging artists Pelissier deems worthy of attention.

“I’m publishing [Young Healers] and I enjoy doing it and the challenges that come along with it,” said Pelissier. “But also, it’s a way to get [emerging photographers’] work out there so people can notice them.”

Daniel made his move to Montreal in 1999 as an 18-year-old interested in the punk, hard-core and metal scenes. His love for photography sprouted from these sub-cultures and led the way to a project pre-dating Young Healers.

“I used to take a lot of pictures at shows and then an ex-girlfriend of mine broke my camera and then I stopped for a while. When I started up again I was like, ‘What am I going to do with all these photos?’”

The answer? Society Suckers. The zine began as a platform for Pelissier to expose his photography. By the third issue, he was asking friends and photographers he admired to submit to the zine and experienced overwhelming interest, completely selling out his first six issues, totalling 250 copies per issue.

Pelissier then decided to embark on Young Healers, whose objective is to publish monthly issues that coincide with a gallery launch for the corresponding edition. Young Healers is more of “a book that features one photographer’s work” as opposed to Society Suckers, which “featured multiple artists.”

Young Healers moves to further underline the DIY esthetic and the importance of zines as a direct, accessible medium, seeking to provide support for the chosen artists and their respective themes and ideals.

“Everyone that has pictures in [Young Healers] are people who have photos that speak to me,” explained Pelissier. “I feel like their vision is something that I can stand behind.”

The first issue of Young Healers was launched two weeks ago featuring photographs by Dana Goldstein. Her photographs are raw and capture youth culture in its self-destructive but impossibly tantalizing nature.

Pelissier sees this publication as “beginner steps for publishing.”

“I kind of hate people who are like ‘I’m going to do something one day but I’ll just wait for somebody to find me.’ Why wait for someone to publish [your art]? Just do it yourself and get it out there,” he said.

With the emerging trend of online zines, Pelissier wants to keep it real in the 3-D world. “There is nothing wrong with doing stuff online, but I like being able to physically touch a book and flip through it. It’s so much more rewarding. I think you get so much more out of a three-dimensional relationship with print culture.”

Issue 2 of Young Healers launches at Off The Hook Gallery (1021 Ste-Catherine St. W.) on April 27 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The issue features the work of Alexis Gross.

This article originally appeared in Volume 30, Issue 30, published April 13, 2010.