Acts of Natural Magik presents Pokémon landscape photography in the post-Giovanni era
On a crisp Tuesday morning last week at the It’s Nice That studio, we received a package containing a mysterious book. As you might know, we receive a lot of mail here in the studio – from countless annual graphic design collections to design projects masquerading as an NHS prescription bag. But this one seemed more ominous. The cover, in cool grey card lush with maze-like organic patterns, boasts its title in glistening gold: Acts of Natural Magik by Todd Snap. “Where had we heard that name before?” we wondered.
Upon opening, the project itself became clearer. An introduction, supposedly written by the editor-in-chief of The Vermillion Post, Cedric Kinsey, sets the scene: this is a collection of photographs by Todd Snap on a research trip to Pokémon Island. Set in a Pokémon future, where Professor Oak was appointed as the Minister of Science of Team Rocket leader Giovanni, who has reigned supreme and burnt most of the world’s books and artefacts, including the original editions of Acts of Natural Magik.
“Oak’s paranoia spiralled out of control. The project eventually became known to Oak, and I (of all people) was ordered by The Herald to write a slanderous piece to deride it and humiliate Snap. My refusal would cost me my job, and for several years my career seemed on the brink of collapse,” writes Kinsey. The book, containing 22 landscape photographs of the island, devoid of any Pokémon, has been revived as a tribute to Todd Snap’s life.
Of course, this book is a completely tongue-in-cheek publication that has its roots in Pokémon Snap, the Nintendo 64 game from the year 2000 whose protagonist is Todd Snap. Published by south London publishing platform Bronze Age, it’s a collaborative project by designer and educator Luke Overin, editor J.A. Bæblade with an introduction ghost written by former It’s Nice That news editor Josh Baines. Rich in Pokémon mythology, including a relocation of Bermondsey-based printers PageMasters to “Factory 9, Route 12, Lavender Town.”