Suburbia is often portrayed as being bland – not the city and not the countryside, it's seen as somewhere where nothing much (especially culturally) happens. But for some, it has a special charm. Wendy Huynh obviously thinks so, and her magazine Arcades shows another side to life in the suburbs, both home and away. We caught up with her just before the second issue launches at Protein Gallery…
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I grew up and lived in a small town in the Eastern suburbs of Paris and later went to London to study Fashion Communication at Central Saint Martins. I am now working as a photographer between Paris and London and launched a print publication on the culture and life in the suburbs called Arcades.
When and why did you first decide to publish ‘Arcades’, and where does the name come from?
I launched Arcades last year and it actually started as my final year project at Central Saint Martins. Each student had to produce a magazine and I wanted to push the project a little further so I raised funds on Kickstarter in order to print 300 copies. The name comes from the shopping mall « Les Arcades » in Noisy-le-Grand, eastern suburbs of Paris, which was the place we all used to hang out on the weekends as teenagers. It also refers to the atmosphere and boredom we can find in actual arcades / game centres.
What is it that fascinates you about suburbia? What’s your favourite (and least favourite) suburb?
The suburbs have always fascinated me and are a subject I feel very close to. When I was younger I always hated my town and dreamt of living and studying in the capital. It was when I moved to London that I started being interested in the town I grew up in. Taking distance from my hometown and the experience of living in such big and vibrant city as London helped me realised how special the suburbs are in terms of architecture but also in the way suburban people live, play, dress and speak. The suburb has its own culture and way of living.
My favourite and least favourite suburb is where my parents still live, Bussy-Saint-Georges. A green suburb, with look-alike houses and not much to do. But this is also what inspired me to create the magazine and talk about this variety of suburbs you can find in cities.