The evocatively titled 'Black Scabbard Research Centre' is one of the few zines I've actually bought - more substance than promise in this case.
It's a stapled booklet with a slightly thicker perhaps 120 or 130gsm ivory cover. There are about 43 or so bxw images, ranging from full spreads to thumbnail images.
Ramos goes for variety... a non-linear freeform collage-like string of images. 'Black Scabbard' refers to a fish - a delicacy, albeit gruesome in appearance - found around the Madeira islands, Ramos's birth place. An internet image of a man holding one of them appears on the first page, though difficult to work that one out due to the zine-style quality.
The images are novel and interesting; a kind of diary of oddities: skinny dipping girls, camping in the hills, nature, young love, a gigantic building named Atlantis in the midst of demolition. There's water pouring between closed doors... why? A sharks heart, a man who can weirdly invert his arms, a scary precipice with a bus right on it's edge, a tot riding a dead shark, human bones in a box.
Black Scabbard Research Centre is a snapshot diarist's narrative. It's fun to look at but I guess has it's flaws... maybe it's tainted by the idealised young and free youth theme, a little too common, these days. Every Joe and Harry loves his film camera and his girlfriend, I went through that stage. Thankfully, though there are no bloody knee wounds, vomiting revelers or naked youths climbing trees.
I like it - it seems to be made with passion and it got a few more eyeballs from me than a good many of my dusty ol books.