Meet Magoozine, the unofficial paparazzi of London’s queer nightlife scene

Brummy expat Shaun Evans tells HUNGER all about Magoozine and capturing the capital’s queer scene on their nights out

There is no denying that London is a fun and exciting playground for the queer community, just go up Kingsland High Street on a Friday night to see London’s next generation of queers stumble in and out of Dalston Superstore, myself included. With a catalog of queer nightlife to pick from, it is clear to see why London is called home to queer folk from every corner of the planet.

Brummy turned Londoner, Shaun Evans, the founder of self-proclaimed ‘nightclub paparazzi’ Magoozine, has captured the likes of drag royalty, Bimini Bon Boulash and Tayce, as well as the many faces that fuel the excitement of London’s queer nightlife scene. The rising photographer allows us a brief but lasting insight, through the lens of his 35mm film camera, into the hedonistic, thrill seeking and often popper-fuelled world.

Here, HUNGER catches up with Evans on the tail-end of a busy London Fashion Week to discuss all things Magoozine.

HUNGER: First of all, being queer and enjoying nightlife, what inspired you to start capturing what you saw?

MAGOOZINE: Once we were released back into the wild after lockdown, I fully immersed myself into all things club culture. I started meeting the most beautiful and inspiring people in the sweaty walls of Birmingham clubs and I just had to document it. Through meeting each of these individuals, consciously and subconsciously I was learning my own identity as a queer person. Having photographs was a way of documenting that journey visually.

H: That’s amazing! So did you always want to be a photographer, or was there something else that called to you?

M: I really just fell into it and followed my gut! I found a way to connect with like minded individuals and express myself creatively and ran with it. 

H: So how would you describe your work?

M: Magoo reminds you of your new bestie that you met in the loo, the person you’ve just lipsed on the dancefloor and the stranger at the afters who you just received life altering advice from. My work captures the beautiful fleeting moment of a club encounter. 

H: Obviously to approach people for photos in the club you must be quite charismatic, would you say this something that carries through into your everyday life?

M: I’d like to think so! I just love people and I’m a right nosey bastard so striking up a conversation with new people is a wet dream for me. I also really love to make people feel good and connect on a deeper level, Magoozine is the perfect way for me to exercise this.

H: For sure and how do you actively go about making the people you capture comfortable?

M: It kind of comes naturally as I am genuinely interested and excited about everyone I photograph and I feel each person can tell it’s not just transactional. I think having a conversation before taking the photo really puts the subject at ease and that connection is then translated through the image. 

H: And then, on a more serious note. Do you feel as though London is a safe place for the queer community?

M: I think London is a beautiful city with some of the best queer vibes in the world. Having met so many of my friends in queer London venues and at Pride / Trans Pride events there is a real sense of community here. However, the increase in attacks against our community has been really apparent. In particular the violence towards Trans people is very alarming and needs us as a community to come together to fight against. 

H: Saying that, is there anything you hope would improve for the future of queer spaces? 

M: More of them!! They are crucial to us as a community and vital to how we as queer people discover our identity. 

H: Are there any photographers that inspire you? Building upon that, is there one photographer that holds a special place in your heart?

M: Nelson Sullivan. He documented the 80’s New York Club scene and did it so effortlessly. I learnt from watching his videos not to try too hard and not to force it, document what you see from your POV and then the real beauty is captured.

H: Of course! What inspired you to shoot on film, when much of the landscape now is dominated by digital photography?

M: I love how “in the moment” film is. I don’t know how the photo turned out and neither does the person I just photographed. It takes away the opportunity for either of us to analyse the final image for mistakes / flaws and instead just stay in the present and carry on dancing. 

H: As you started Magoo in Birmingham and are now based in London, what inspired the move down South?

M: The opportunities! London has been calling my name for as long as I can remember, the buzz and energy of this city keeps me so inspired and has not disappointed me yet. I’ll always love Birmingham though – it really does feel like home. It’s populated with some of the most creative people I’ve ever met and it’s really important to me that I visit often and stay connected with the scene there.

H: So London for now, is there another city in your radar that you’d love to expose to Magoo?

M: Berlin and New York 100%! I’d love to get stuck in within the scenes there and see which nightlife creatures I could capture. But currently I’m working on living in the moment and I feel really fulfilled exploring what London has to offer, after being for less than a year I feel like I’ve barely even scratched the surface!

H: You’ve shot the likes of drag royalty such as Tayce, Bimini and Pandemonia, but is there one icon that you’d love to shoot for Magoo?

M: There is a big long list of Club Royalty that I am dying to shoot and I’m very thankful that so many people have taken the time to pose in front of my lens already – but the diva who tops it all is Grace Jones. 

H: Grace Jones without a doubt! What’d you think she’d comment on the Magoo cards?

M: I think Grace would eat the Magoo card whole and tell me to fuck off! Which would be the most iconic response yet.

WriterLucas Ind
PhotographerShaun Evans