BERLIN — Weighing in at over 4 pounds and encompassing 404 pages, Zoo Magazine is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a special Berlin issue that features many of the city’s most inspiring players and places. Wim Wenders, Nadja Auermann, Daniel Brühl, Barbara Sukowa, Rammstein and Nina Hoss — each featured on one of the issue’s six different covers — offer telling interviews and star in photo spreads that, in Zoo’s signature freewheeling style, are allowed to stretch out to up to 28 pages.
Also in this Zoo lineup: Berlin’s most famous facades, or where the likes of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Marlene Dietrich and Albert Einstein once slept: the Berlin-Potsdam musings of Wolfgang Joop; photographer Miron Zownir’s shots of Berlin in 1979 and his personal take on the city now; Q&As with, among others, Peaches; visual and literary visits with artists and photographers including Adrian Ghenie, Will McBride and Martin Eder; unexpected views of the Brandenburg Gate and three removable maps of the city’s key neighborhoods.
A few hours before the issue’s launch party under the stony stare of dinosaurs at Berlin’s Natural History Museum, WWD caught up with Zoo cofounder, lead house photographer (he shot five of the six covers and seven of the tome’s major spreads), official “Zookeeper” and Canadian rock star Bryan Adams to talk about the quarterly magazine, Berlin and a decade of changes.
WWD: How does it feel to be 10?
Bryan Adams: Actually, I’m still amazed we got it off the ground in the first place. When Sandor Lubbe and I started Zoo, there wasn’t anything like it in Berlin or Germany.
WWD: And now?
B.A.: It’s a different publishing business than it was 10 years ago. People are more Web-conscious, and while the tangible aspect of a magazine is still important and people like it, it’s not as important as before. But we can thrive, no matter. Having an equal balance between ’Net and print is key, but print is particularly attractive to people interested in photography and to advertisers, as well.
WWD: Have the past 10 years changed your eye as far as how you look at people or what attracts you?
B.A.: No, not with people, but style — good, bad or indifferent. It’s not for me to judge, and sometimes, you know, bad is good.
What’s happened is that the digital age has made photography more accessible to people. Everyone is a photographer. But to do it [photography] at a certain level, well, there’s a skill to it. Still, it’s a good time for photography now.
The thing about this magazine is that it’s slightly alternative. It’s more of a cultural magazine, not straight fashion, which is what differentiates us. And it’s a little more raw, even if this [pointing to the anniversary issue] is glossy.
WWD: Zoo was launched in Berlin, and this huge issue is Berlin-centric. What’s your relationship with the city? Do you spend much time in Berlin?
B.A.: I sure did this year. I’m one of the few artists, as a musician, who’s played East, West and middle Germany. I played in East Germany with James Brown, and, on the other side of the [Berlin] Wall, there was a concert with Michael Jackson. So, every time there was a break in the program, you’d hear “Thriller” or “Billy Jean.”
I was introduced to the East German public by [former East German ice-skating champion] Katarina Witt and by Roger Waters [of Pink Floyd] in the West. And then, after the wall fell, I played in no-man’s-land [the buffer zone between Ukraine and Russia], so I have a bit of history in this town.
WWD: Most of the interviews touch on the positive and negative changes Berlin has undergone. What’s your impression?
B.A.: There are still such a lot of underdeveloped areas, and everyone is still trying to work it out. It’s such a puzzle. But the city planners are really trying, [and] there’s a concerted effort to pull it together.
And don’t forget, it’s only been 20 years [since the wall fell]. It’ll take another 20 years to unravel that and 20 years more to push it forward.
WWD: How has Zoo changed after 10 years?
B.A.: I started Zoo with Sandor, and he brought in José Klap a few years ago. José is the tour de force in keeping it alive — she was the missing part of the puzzle to keep it afloat. She’s always pushing to make it visible. This issue is the biggest we’ve ever done. It’s a cross between a magazine and a book.
WWD: And where do you go from here?
B.A.: An interesting question. I’d like to see the magazine have more distribution in Germany and partner with someone with a like-minded vision, to take it further. There’s value in an alternative magazine. The mere fact that we’re here 10 years later is the beautiful jewel in the crown. We’ve had people on the cover who don’t exist anymore, like Amy Winehouse, just because we were there. It’s a playground for me, and I needed a place to play. And Sandor, after finishing [fashion and arts magazine] Dutch, needed a place to stay.