So over the years I have made a variety of books. In October I will be in New York presenting a program on book publishing. Now I’ve never had a book published with a mainstream publisher, but I hope to do so one day. I have however showed work to mainstream publishers with the idea of getting published. While there was much promise, it was this experience of showing work that led me to self publishing.
Today we have so many options in terms of publishing, but a few short years ago…not so much.
These books you are looking at are dated from the 1994 period on, and although some of them would be considered “outdated” I think they are all still very viable in today’s world. Viewing work electronically is one thing, but having something tangible is something else.
As you can see, there are a variety of “book” types here. I pulled these from my presentation, which is basically a walk through of my history making books. These are just a FEW of the many things I’ve dreamed up over the years. Some of these ideas came from my head and others came from suggestions from friends, fellow photographers, etc, And, some of these, some of the most basic, were real hits with those I was trying to gain access to or gain work from. I think today, in the electronic world, the idea of “making” something still hits home.
In fact, I will sometimes make something unique for one client or another, if they are at that level of importance in my work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got MANY electronic versions of these things. I think we need all of these choices today.
And as you can see, some of these are not traditional books. I have everything from over-sized color copies, small spiral bound flip books and even print boxes. I still consider a print box a book, and in fact, sometimes these boxes are referred to as “books.” I think making these is as important as a book because they make you edit your work. No sense in printing junk pictures, and when it comes time to print, typically you will really edit. Sometimes with my electronic portfolios I’ve found myself not going far enough on the edit. But, that might be just me…
A few days ago I made three new books in one day, all for clients. They were all the same style of book, and I’ve done many of them before, so the system-Blurb in this case-is also very familiar. Blurb is my preferred system, and there are several reasons why, product, cost, software, bookstore, visibility, etc, but there are many choices out there. If you haven’t made a book, my advice, MAKE ONE. And, don’t think that first book has to be a world beater. Just make one and learn the process, not only the mental process, and the editing process, but also font, page count, design, software, etc, THERE IS A LOT TO LEARN.
A few days ago someone mentioned another photographer to me, and mentioned they had a book of the photographer’s work. When the name of the photographer hit my brain I thought of his work, and also his book. The work is great, the book was not. A great book is far beyond the sum of the parts. A great book is not just a book of photographs. It takes on a life of it’s own. Don’t believe me, go online to Photoeye or Radius or Twin Palms and take a look. I’ll just say this, book design doesn’t happen by accident.
Believe me, I’ve made a ton of crappy books and a few good books. I’ve still got a lot to learn. So whether you are making handmade jobbies or using a modern bookmaking process, give it a go and see what happens. Again, if you are going to be in New York for Photo Plus, I’ll be there going over some of this stuff in more detail.