Discount Code from Smogranch

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Photo: Napper

I’ve included this action pose for your viewing pleasure. I’m doing PRECISELY what I tell people never to do…….CHIMP.

You didn’t ask for this but I’m giving it out anyway. For those of you about to order something juicy you an use this code to save 25%.

the code: SMOGRANCH25

the details:

to save 25% on print book orders $75+**
Offer good through August 31, 2014
**Offer valid through August 31, 2014 (11:59 p.m. local time). Valid for first-time customers purchasing printed books only. A 25% discount is applied to your product total with a minimum purchase of USD $75, CAD $75, AUD $75, EUR €60, or GBP £50. Maximum discount is USD $100, CAD $100, AUD $100, EUR €75, or GBP £65 off product total. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders

Ebooks

I just got a brand new laptop. Yep, a screaming fast 13-inch maxed out on RAM. It had been a long while since I had a new machine. I got used to all the tricks I had to employ to get my old laptop to actually do the things I needed to do. No two Creative Suite programs open at the same time. If converting RAW files I had to leave the machine alone and prop it up on books to keep it from overheating, etc. etc. Not any more.

One of the things I never think about when I get a new machine is the work required to get it up to speed. I need software, programs, attachments, etc. In the process of upgrading I realized I now I have an operating system that views Ebooks. Hadn’t really thought about adding mine, but suddenly I was staring at the iBooks interface as it appeared on my desktop. I thought, “What the Hell.”
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I stopped adding my books at ten, but I do indeed have a few more. I had no idea. Over the past year it has become second order for me to just make one from any project I’m doing. Oddly enough, I have three iPads, all of which are broken, but the one I have that still retails a faint heartbeat only has ONE program that works….iBooks. But, even stranger is that most of the time when I show my work this way it’s on my phone. Now that I have the new operating system I’m curious to see if this will become a part of my routine. I’m not actually trying to show people my work, but from time to time I need examples, so this works out well.
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If you are prone to showing your work and want options you should at least give one of these a go. I do enjoy stills and audio. Video is okay, but for me three elements are one too many. I’m in the minority here I think, as usual. Have a look for yourself.
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I’m going to blow my own horn here. This last image….I love. So simple, such beautiful light. And one small audio file to give you the SOUND of that place and that moment. What could be better? Free frozen yogurt? Ya, okay, that, but not much else.

Because I Can: The Postcard Book

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Hey Folks,

This is the latest 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 a dozen books already and have eighteen more in the pipeline.

This book was created after overhearing a conversation between two young girls in a Japanese stationary store. They came across postcard material and said “Remember these? I really miss getting these in the mail.” Then they spoke about “giving up” and going with email. I asked myself “Why?” Why do we do this to ourselves. We give in, give up, cave to what is happening these days, as if we don’t have a choice. This book was crafted from found post cards, scanned front and back. Postcards were then sleeved and inserted into airmail envelopes.

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Books I Love: Beyond the Fall

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The latest installment “Books I Love.” The concept is very simple. Find a book in my collection, photograph it, then share it with you. The idea being to share what I love about the book or why I have it. The books will range from traditionally published, POD and handmade. The only stipulation is that I love the book. Most of them have a backstory, which I will also share. Books and photography are forever linked, so why not explore the relationship through my bookshelf. Hope you enjoy.

In short, I don’t think you can find a better book of reportage. “Beyond the Fall” by American photojournalist Anthony Suau is a ten-year look at the former Soviet Bloc in transition. TEN YEARS for those of you who came of age in the “modern” photography world of weekend essays, isn’t an exaggeration or typo. He spent TEN YEARS working on this book, and one look at the images living on those pages and you will very clearly see what that kind of time does when it comes to the quality of reporting. Suau covers it all, politics, family, war, high-society and everyday life. When I think of documentary photography books, it’s publications like this that set the bar. You have to remember something very, very important. This is a book of moments. The vast majority of these images are one frame moments. Just think about that. Just think about how much time and focus that requires. Now think about doing that over a ten-year period. So many of the documentary books I see today are the “abstract urban landscape book” void of people(So no need for interaction or model release) or the “portrait series” documentary book which can be done VERY quickly(There are a few stellar books in this category however). Forget it, this book was like an ultra-marathon.

Now, books like this rarely get the credit they deserve because for whatever reason work like this is considered too reality based and the art world doesn’t seem to know what to do with it(Something that has been written about by a fair number of art-world folks), but for me this work is SO DIFFICULT, so RARE and so TIME CONSUMING it deserves it’s own wing in the museum world. Forget the gallery world, this work it more important than MOST of those spaces(There are worthy galleries.)

I KNOW there are so many of you out there living under the ultra-romantic notion of photographer. The loner walking the back streets of a crumbling empire, Leica in hand, pouring their life into their contact sheets. Well, in this case, that is in some ways what you had, but I will remind you of the DATE these images were taken, and the reality that this lifestyle is EXTREMELY rare today because the industry that supported photographers at this time is basically gone. Even during the time this book was made it was a supreme struggle to do this work. Today, nearly impossible. The time isn’t being spent, the work is made digitally now and it just doesn’t have the same cache or impact, nor do folks want to slow down and actually appreciate the work. The reason I’m telling you this is to slow YOU down when you consider a book like this. This is a treasure. A gem. Give yourself, and the photographer, some respect and sit down alone, sans mobile phone umbilical cord, TV, laptop, iPad, etc., and just look at the work, start to finish, front to back. Trust me, it’s worth it.

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I simply can’t tell you the range of what this book offers. I’m not even going start with design or materials, which are both very good, because I still can’t get over the quality of the photographs. The alarming thing is that each photograph represents what has to be an archive of other work. You see an image of a destroyed downtown Grozny during the height of the Chechen War and you think “What ELSE does he have?” You realize to get that one image there had to be MONTHS of preparation and sacrifice. This work is “classic” in all the right ways, and could or should be used in photojournalism schools to illustrate the kind of work being done by one motivated individual with time and resources. Perhaps not as much as he would have liked, actually don’t know, but I’m guessing. This book gets better with age.

Don’t walk, RUN, and go by this thing.

Edition of One: Australia 72

Yes, another book. This one is slightly different. Based on a variety of nouns. People, places and things. For those of you who are new to Smogranch and don’t know me, then you should know that illustrated books are a big part of my life. I work for Blurb as “Photographer at Large,” a strange and mysterious title that allows me get away with a lot. I’m very, very fortunate to be in this position. A great job. Challenging and ever-changing. Consequently, I make a lot of books. I’ve made over 170 publications with Blurb. Books, magazines, Ebooks, etc. And I’m just warming up. I’ve got an entire series of “Edition of One” books, which I’ve posted about before. They are books that will live their entire lives as ONE COPY. I call them “Because I Can” books because print-on-demand has allowed us to do things we’ve never been able to do before. The scarcity of these books is what makes them interesting, and as a collective, fifteen so far with fifty being the goal, they become something entirely different as a gaggle.

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Not all of them are Blurb books. I wanted to share my latest creation which actually has the guts of a Japanese journal. One, long, foldout publication, entirely blank. Small. The book is titled “Australia 72″ because the idea to do it came from a trip to Australia where I was introduced to two every important things, street-art and the color of Western Australia.

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The “72″ reference comes from the fact that I shot the entire project with a Yashica Samurai, which is a “half-frame” camera and allows for 72 images per roll as opposed to the traditional 36. The book itself is 72 consecutive images, from one roll of film, sequenced in the order they were made. The first roll was made with color negative and focused on bait fish moving in their native, shallow surf. The second roll was made of sharks in their environment, and these images were made with black and white film. Within the sequence of the book there are TWO images of the sharks, dissecting the color imagery.
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Taking from what I learned from my street-art exposure I then sprayed the entire book with three colors I thought best suited the project, but also several of the colors that reminded me of Western Australia. Black, white and blue. The prints were made 3.5×5, matte surface with a black border that anchors each image. I realized I wanted to trim the short ends so that it would further act to make the book appear as one flowing piece.
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Finally, to give the viewer more of an “undersea” feel I created an “Undersea Viewer” which was made with a single roll of transparency film left uncut so that I could use the strips of desired length. I then had two pieces of matte cut to fit the dimensions of the book, placed the strips inside and sealed the two pieces together. The viewer comes in an envelope, also sprayed with the same triad of colors.
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This book smells like paint. Rightly so. My office now smells like paint. So does my shed. I like the smell because it is a reminder to get off my ass and make things. I find that in the age of promotion people are actually making far less than they did before. Why? Well, cause we promote all the time, and I mean ALL THE TIME. I often find myself in conversation with photographers who are about to donate six to eighteen months of their life to the traditional book route, with entirely unrealistic goals and expectations accompanying them(not always but often) and I always ask “Are you a photographer?” And when they say “Yes,” I say “Go make photographs.”
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The unfortunate thing is we don’t have much time. Any of us. So the productive years, let’s say eighteen to fifty-five, we need to be working, and I mean WORKING. Relentlessly. All the greats did. And do. They pour themselves into their work, and they don’t look up until it’s done. If they looked up after two weeks they simply wouldn’t be great. Personally, I find working this way a complete and total relief. Not having to say or prove anything until I’m ready.
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Now, will this book change the world? No. Not even close. Will it get much attention and elevate my status in the book community? No. Not even close. Will I sell thousands of copies? No. Not even close. But it was fun. And it taught me a few things. And it’s personal. And it smells. What other reason do I really need?