Reflections: An Interview with Water Journal

As far as niche publications go, Water Journal may be the most enigmatically specific. Born from a love of water and print, this independent publication is the brainchild of digital designer Eddy Bruzas. Launched in 2016 via Kickstarter, Water Journal is “a quiet exploration of all things water, celebrating its undeniable beauty and complexity.” The biannual publication is independent and entirely advertising-free, relying instead on honest stories written by contributors from all over the world. Its pages explore our world’s ever evolving relationship with water, and the enigmatic pull it holds over the creative mind.

Water Journal is quite a beautiful publication, with moody photography and essays that explore the multiple facets of this most essential element. Though water is its founding theme, past issues have explored topics that relate to but also diverge from water, like the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard or the foggy urban landscape of Florence. Each story is accompanied by stunning photography - in fact, you would be remiss to find one unappealing image in its current three-volume lineup. Story by story, each new issue proposes a seemingly impossible task: to see an element we encounter daily in a completely new light.

To learn more, we spoke with Eddy himself, who led us through the making of Water Journal and his role as the publication’s founder and editor-in-chief.  

RIKUMO: What were you doing before founding Water Journal?

EDDY BRUZAS: I've been working as a freelance print & digital designer on various projects as well as an editorial designer and art director on other publications. Besides that, I mostly spent my free time daydreaming about Water Journal and slowly taking all steps with a goal of making it a reality.

Water Journal presents itself as "a quiet exploration of all things water, celebrating its undeniable beauty and complexity". Why did you choose to dedicate an entire publication to water as opposed to another element?

As much as I am passionate about all that surrounds us, I find water to be the most captivating and mesmerising, which provides a natural drive to explore our connection with it. Having discovered and shared so many different stories from all around the world I'd say we do in fact discuss other elements too. That goes back to the concept of "all things water" which could be very vaguely related to it but still connected in one way or another.

The visual identity of Water Journal is really strong throughout every issue- each story has accompanying imagery that really stands out as its own story, and you frequently publish pieces of stand-alone photojournalism. Did you envision a connection between water and photography from the beginning? What makes water such a fascinating subject to photograph?

Thank you! We really do take pride in strong visual storytelling and couldn't be more grateful to have worked with such talented creatives. I've always been a visual thinker, not only passionate about but also practising photography, so using imagery to translate our ideas and share stories was a natural decision. Whether it's used to accompany a written piece or is featured as a visual essay, it carries a lot of weight in terms of storytelling as it encapsulates author's ideas and, in our case, their personal connection to water. I often find the beauty of it really lies in detail: angles, colours, overall atmosphere. We try to showcase it in a way that allows readers to enjoy it with no distraction, meaning that design elements are more supportive than dominant. We also work closely with our contributors to make sure their story is portrayed correctly in order to achieve authentic storytelling.

Who are your collaborators, and how do you work with them? What do you look for in a collaborator?

It's truly the most inspiring collective of creatives from all around the world who happen to share a passion for water, print or just storytelling. Since the launch of Volume 1° we've seen our readers and contributors grow into a small community who we keep in touch with and continue to work with to this day. We collaborate with creatives on certain stories and also accept submissions which allows us to introduce new topics and continue to grow. There isn't anything specific that we seek for in a collaborator but it's important to get to know our contributors and understand their perspective. We admire everyone with a passion for their craft and always look forward to new connections and encounters.

Even though the publication centers on the element of water, it seems like a few stories actually expand on the topic to include the environment around us, like mountains, clouds, etc. Do you think water can relate to human nature?

Absolutely! I'm always thrilled when readers make this observation and start discovering all things in connection, no matter how small. People naturally have unique interpretations and sometimes pick up on certain things that I haven't even noticed myself. Water without a doubt relates to human nature and it's something we are affected by every day, usually ignoring it as we go along, which is why I'm happy to offer our readers a platform where they can pause, enjoy and reflect.

What is one of your favourite stories from Water Journal's 3 (now almost 4) volumes?

Ohhh... Tough question. I must say that making final decisions on which stories will be published is always the hardest part. We aim to showcase stories that are strong on their own but also to have a coherent collection of features that makes the volume feel complete. As a result, all published stories are my absolute favourites and very unique in its own way so I couldn't possibly choose one but I'd love for anyone reading this to let us know theirs? Always happy to discuss!

Where do you hope to take Water Journal as it continues to evolve?

I hope to fulfill our readers' expectations and also surprise them as we continue cover a wider array of topics. There is a lot more out there left for us to discover so we're eager to continue exploring and dive deeper. Every story adds a new layer to our journey and every contributor broadens our horizon so there's a lot more work to be done and we're genuinely thrilled to do so.