CREATING A PHOTOBOOK (Part 1)

family affair

It’s a Family Affair – everyone gets involved at some stage.           Photo © Sam Harris

The Middle of Somewhere – Creating a Photobook (Part 1)

Last year I was fortunate enough to start a collaboration with ceiba foto to publish my book The Middle of Somewhere, 12 years of family diary work. Little did I know of the roller-coaster ride that lay ahead: the making of a photobook!

To add to the challenge we are spread over three continents… and so we started by meeting in the middle, and what a better place to start than at the inspiring, Photobook Museum in Cologne, who kindly allowed us to use their studio space. We worked there for a week and dreamed and schemed, brewing up the initial concept.

Working at The Photobook Museum, Cologne. Photo © Reimar Ott

Dreaming and Scheming with Eva Maria Kunz at The Photobook Museum, Cologne  Photo © Reimar Ott

I’ve self-published a book before and even been lucky enough to win some awards with it, but nothing could prepare me for the intensity required to produce a photobook of such fine quality and nuance.

Printers Proofs: Whilst running a workshop in India i received proofs printed on various paper stock. Another important decision. Photo © Sam Harris

Printers Proofs: Whilst running a workshop in India i received proofs from our printers in Italy, printed on various paper stock of the finest quality . Another important decision. Paper weight, density and finish plays an important part… Not just with the look of the images but also the feel… Photobooks are a tactile experience as well as a visual one.  Photo © Sam Harris

Prints on the wall, prints on the floor, prints in my sleep... for 9 days i lived in the Ceiba studio, Italy. With so much material (12 years worth) breaking the book down into small sequences helps. Strings of images... hopefully come together like poems. Photo © Eva-Maria Kunz

Prints on the wall, prints on the floor, prints in my dreams… for 9 days i lived in the Ceiba studio, Italy. With 12 years worth of material, breaking the book down into small sequences helps. Strings of images…  come together like poems. Photo © Eva Maria Kunz

Eva Maria Kunz from Ceiba has been my partner in all this, leading the way, bouncing every idea and pushing and pulling us all to the limits. Long, intensive days, week after week, for the last 6 months… 

It’s been extreme. Often challenging and frustrating, but equally inspiring and exciting. Every now and then we catch a glimpse of the book to be, images and design in flux… and as we do, we know it’s all worthwhile.  

 

And born out of frustrating situations, last-minute inspiration can appear! and I can tell you it tastes all the sweeter for its serendipity. And so the book, slowly becomes…

 

The pre-dummy dummy: Once a sequence has been established it's important to stack the rough prints and check the flow, in a rough book form, turning pages, flipping back and forth. Only when we feel happy with the flow can we commit to making the dummy.

The pre-dummy dummy: Once a sequence has been established it’s important to stack the rough prints and check the flow in a crude book form. Turning pages, flipping back and forth. Only when we feel happy with the flow can we commit to making the dummy. © Photo Sam Harris

Eva working tirelessly, stitching our handmade dummy. Photo © Sam Harris

Eva working tirelessly, stitching our handmade dummy at the end of my time in italy. Photo © Sam Harris

IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR

It’s not just Ceiba and myself riding this roller-coaster, it’s a family affair… This book is a diary, a family album about Uma and Yali growing up. I work at home most of the time, so everyone becomes involved. It’s not just the edit that takes over our small home, there are cover materials, art work, graphics, paper types, colour choices, texts and all sorts of ‘special’ things i can’t talk about yet 🙂 All these things have at some stage engaged all the family in the process.

Stay tuned, we’ll be revealing some very special news soon!!

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3 thoughts on “CREATING A PHOTOBOOK (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: The Middle of Somewhere – On Press, The Making Of, Part 2 | ceiba

  2. Pingback: Birth of a Photobook! | SAM HARRIS

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