Folk Syndrome - Cabin Fever Books
Folk Syndrome – Cabin Fever Books


In the field of photobook publishing it’s always exciting to see the emergence of a new publishers Recently Cabin Fever Books appeared on the new Zealand scene. I contacted the publisher Cameron James McLaren for an interview and a commentary on his first self-published title “FOLK SYNDROME”.

Here’s his response …

Cameron McLaren - Cabin Fever Books
Cameron James McLaren – Cabin Fever Books


New Zealand already has a few photobook publishing entities – What will be Cabin Fever Book’s point of difference?

Cabin Fever primarily is a place for collaboration. Initially projects between myself and others are the main focus. It’s a way to bring connection back after a few hard years of disconnection and disillusion.

The core focus of any work we publish will be around the documentary lens although always with the possibility to cross over into different areas. Documentary photography is in a really interesting place at the moment with more and more photographers bringing personal stories into the field.

Will you be accepting submissions from wannabe published photographers?  If so, what your you be wanting to see…? 

In 2023 we will begin to take submissions. The submissions will need to consider if the work fits with our vision of cooperation and partnership. I would very much like to see submissions come from artists in other fields. For instance writers or painters wanting to bond photography with their work. Materiality is an important part of what we want to do moving forward, always trying to avoid static images or stories.

Will you be working with designers …?

My wife Vivien is a designer and partner in the press. She is the first port of call regarding design considerations. However design is very broad and designers may want to make submissions to CFB. I am very interested in typefaces and their relationship to history and photography. I think there’s a lot of interesting space to explore here.

What is your background in photography /design / marketing / publishing …?

My background as a photographer has been connected to documentary photography, some have suggested photojournalism although I don’t connect with that label any longer. I am interested to bring an editorial connection to art photography and the photo book form. That’s again where the possibilities of collaborative projects become very interesting. My work attempts to occupy a form of story telling, looking to a people or place which are usually underrepresented or little known.

Tell us about your first book… What is the background to the book…? How as it been received…?

Folk Syndrome was a collaboration between myself and my family. We used the extended lockdowns in New Zealand to produce something that was reflective of the scenario. Some view the work as being a fun and creative but I see it more as a serious documentary project, one that will take on more meaning in time. I am interested in the psychological effects the pandemic response has had for young minds.  We plan to produce a second edition in years to come which will explore how things have changed since. The work becomes a gauge of time. Public libraries across New Zealand have purchased Folk Syndrome, making the book far more accessible. This is something that’s very important to me and something I am proud of. The response has been fantastic, and the first edition is looking to sell out in the coming month or so.


A launch party for FOLK SYNDROME will be held  at Strange Goods in Auckland on the 24th September 2022.

Folk Syndromme Launch - Invite
Folk Syndrome Launch – Invite



“Click” on the images to enlarge



FOLK SYNDROME is a formal collaboration made between the members of the McLaren family.

This work was made as a response to the recent lockdowns in New Zealand. It intimately represents a sense of personal humanity, relevant to a psychological state. An examination on the effect of isolation in lockdown, in particular on children’s mental health and its consequences. Looking through the lens of the everyday and its connection to documentary photography, this creates a space for compassion and mutuality.

When considering the routine and repetition of the everyday, it is important to understand the significance in the moments of quiet or the subtle details within conversation. When living with young children these moments of quiet are rare and out of the ordinary. The intensity and energy within a household changes into something completely different. The everyday objects around us take on new meanings and uses. Objects find a new meaning or expression, different from their original purpose, reimagined by the imagination of a child, or the frustration of a parent.




 Title:  Folk Syndrome

Author: McLaren family

Published by: Cabin Fever Books
Pages: 90  /  46 plates

Size: 14.8 x 21 cm
Soft cover
Edition: 200
Price:  $40 NZD

Signed by the artists

Printed in Aotearoa, New Zealand

ISBN 978-0-473-64822-0





ThankS To Cameron For RESPONDING TO MY REQUEST for the INTERVIEW, images of the book and opening and the supporting material.

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