Because I Can Series: Book Two, Saturation

Hey Folks,

This is the second post in the “Because I Can” series about making Blurb books in an edition of ONE. Yes, you heard and read correctly. I’m making books with the intention of capping the print run at ONE book. Why? BECAUSE I CAN. We have really only had this option since about 2006, yet photographers ALREADY seem to take this for granted. I know, there is so much change on a daily basis that we are perpetually thirsty for the new, always wanting the latest and greatest. I get it. However, I for one cannot overlook the power in having the ability to make a single book. I wrote about this in a previous post, so if you want the background then go back and have a look. I pulled a selection from that prior post to set the table for this one. This is a series people. I’ve made at least seven books already and have eighteen more in the pipeline.
Several months ago I got a call from a photographer who was asking me technical questions about color management. Now for me I equate color management with that gymnastics thing with the ribbon. I know there is an audience for it, but no matter how long I try attempting to comprehend its real meaning I always remain puzzled. Color management, if you are going to print anything, is wildly important, no doubt, but it’s just that I find it really boring. And, I think if you are too fixated on color management you will miss the idea of making the book in the first place. I equate this scenario to the famous Bruce Lee quote of “It is like a finger pointing to the moon. Concentrate on the finger and you will miss all that heavenly glory”
So, after this phone conversation, and after my urging the photographer to calibrate, use the ICC profile and to keep monitor brightness in mind, I realized my good intentions had been lost on someone still occupied almost entirely with color. I hung up the phone, turned to my wife and said, “I don’t think he gets it.” After further consideration I began to realize that perhaps I needed to be an example. If I MADE things that illustrated my point then perhaps the idea of the final product would outweigh the things that might keep people from feeling all that heavenly book glory. I made a decision right then and there to make ANY book that came to mind, NO MATTER HOW SILLY, STUPID, RIDICULOUS OR UNREALISTIC THAT BOOK IS. Am I selling these books? No. Am I putting them forth in the world and telling everyone how great they are? No. Are these the only books I’m making? No. But let me tell you something very critical. These just might be the most important books I’ve ever made.
When I quit working as a photographer at the end of 2010, unexpectedly, an entirely new world opened up to me. The same exact thing happened the minute I made the first book in this series (The RGB Book). Talk about a lightbulb going off. And it isn’t just me. I’ve done seven of these books so far, have a list of eighteen more I’m working on now, some good, some silly, some I don’t know what, and I’ve also shown them at some of the presentations I’ve done. Each time, after showing these books, I’ve had photographers come up and say, “Seeing those books jarred something loose.” This makes me feel like my idea of being an example was perhaps the right move.

By the way, if anyone out there is experimenting in this same vein then please let me know. I’ve seen some prime examples over the past few years and would love to see more.

14 responses to “Because I Can Series: Book Two, Saturation”

  1. Mathias says:

    What i like about conceptual work like this or the RGB-Book, is, that it teaches us something about books (how they work, what they can do, what they can´t do) and our perception of books (what we think how they work, what we think they can do, what they think they can´t do). They aren´t doing that in a way of explaining (which would be similar to what i do here) but in a way of just being what they are. So, in a way, those are books about books without »containing« information about books. How cool is that?

    Also, keep it up Daniel. Always enjoy reading your posts.

  2. Hannah Kozak says:

    Always love reading your posts. I love that you are printing books with one copy Every time you create a book, we learn something new.
    I’d love if you could send a link to the UK company making those boxes. Thanks so much.

  3. Harold says:

    I agree you have to demonstrate ideas. People are used to buying a product and respond much better to something tangible than trying to sell them on ideas and concepts. [ lightbulb moment ] In my design business when I talked about what was possible, their eyes tended to glaze over.

    Saturation is a hit… and it gets the point across.

    • Smogranch says:

      There is always a reason NOT to do something. I’m not someone who dwells on those things. I just make stuff. Images, copy, books, art, whatever I have on hand.

  4. rbraden says:

    Thank you again for letting me know that I can too. Thanks for the comment a couple posts back that if you’re gonna shoot with a phone that’s cool, just commit to it. Here’s my lil’ aha moment, just because I could. I’ve been playing around with a concept for a personal project about the economy, discount stores, discount shopping, trying to make it, etc. and just messing around with my phone. Anywho, just because I could, and I could in just a couple hours time, here I go…

    Thanks for the swift kick in the britches

    • Smogranch says:


      Nice to see. You should turn on the preview on your book, which you can control a bit further down the page. You can show entire book, first 15 pages or a custom view. You can make pictures with the phone that you can’t make with anything else. I crack up when security sees a photographer with a “real camera,” hassles them, while throngs walk by taking pictures with their cell phones.

  5. shana says:

    hi daniel

    i’ve been trying to get a blurb book together for awhile. i’m finding the details of scanning/sizing/color profiles a bit overwhelming. i love how you share the process of getting your books together – i really appreciate this. and i love what you said in the comment above, “There’s always a reason for NOT doing something…” i think i need to print that one out!

    cheers from shana

    • Smogranch says:


      I run into folks all the time who have been grinding on a book for years. I get it. I’ve actually got books running in the background, things that I’ve been working on for several years, but not all books have to be this way. In fact, I think it REALLY holds people back most of the time. Free your mind and the rest will follow. Calibrate your monitor, keep in mind your book won’t look like your screen and you will be fine. Where things get complicated is paper choice, book materials. I print different kinds of work on different kinds of paper. There is no right and wrong, it’s personal preference and that takes time to explore.

  6. Ian says:


    I was wondering what software you use to create Blurb books? I’ve been using Apples Aperture with a workaround because the book module is pretty great, but I’m tired of waiting for Blurb integration within Aperture. Is Blurb’s standalone software any good?

    Kind regards,

    • Smogranch says:

      The software is great. Easy to use, free, create your own templates or use what is there. You can also use InDesign, which I have been using a lot lately. It’s more complex, but also more design rich. For me it depends on the book, whether it is text heavy, or if I need more design I’ll look at InDesign, but if the book is mostly photographs I’ll use Booksmart.

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