I started this in January 2015. I looked at different photobook sites, blurb seemed the most professional. I tried different types of paper and sizes and how best to present my photos. I wanted to get the cost down to £10-£15, but the black and white paper they offer is basically only good for text and monochrome, for subtle changes in tone it can't do it. The economoy colour paper is the same. I like the soft grey rough look for some photos over the shining look of the thicker paper, but if it's ruining a lot of shots i couldn't use it. Also, the book build wasn't great, the paper was easily being torn out. So standard colour is what I went for, the base price is something like £22 with shipping. I did a book of 480 pages but the paper is thicker and it's softcover so it's this chunky thing you can't bend to see the full photos. At that point i thought i could include every photo ever. I mixed in animals with people to make a blunt point, and thematically there's continuity there and creates the kind of contrast i want. But it becomes a kind of collection with no rhythm or sense. So i thought of how best to anchor everything: by year, by country, city, subject. I don't think i can get enough for a book if i visit a country. I can't do France, a book. Then Spain. Unless I spent a year there. So...i decided on going by alphabet. I wanted to have a series of books going by code names that you know how far through by the first letter. So it can easily correspond to year. I think i can do 24 before I die. One every 1 or 2 years before reaching 75. yeah. Because Sufjan Stevens' states project went so well for him. I like made up words. aehii, d ebolenk, pervent aline perio grow death, do hoxem bend crisis, nukile backering, odlein luip, loik v credern. No photo has a name, so they can fall under these. The cover i absolutely wanted to use was of the dragon that's turning, it had a circular mark that when high contrasted as black and white and if you aren't aware what you're looking at like it's more alien planet than dragon. I showed it at work. What's that? 'A mess'. Great reaction !
So aehii is the first book name. Manchester is largely the place. 2013 largely the year. They'll be no text inside, the first photo will be sat on its own. I made it so you turn a portrait book to the side and open the landscape shots upwards. I liked the idea of picking two photos that sit vertically next to eachother and bleed into eachother. I like the idea of the top shot of being of a street from a distance and the bottom of being of a face. So that distortion of scale. I went mad with that at first, trying to team up the two most contrasting photos. Gradually, i've tried to form a more cohesive whole. Even now i don't like how it flows, i don't want to set the scene and then show 3 pages of photos of just that, because they're just single shots, it's not an exploration. And it'd get repetitive, samey. I want contrast but a consistent mood. That 480 page book cost about £45. So cutting to 280 pages costs £35. Profit set at £3 lol. It's still too much. You don't pay VAT when you buy your book (you have to before you sell), but the public does. You decide whether public or private with a link, decide on tags, what pages you show. I picked 19 photos spread throughout. My whole interpretation about art is that you present a glimpse of something and it's interesting and different enough that it intrigues enough that you are excited about seeing more. I mean, I am. I would be. That's it. The subject doesn't change, it's never gonna be more than people, animals and structures. So book 2 would be more of the same and the style will change, there won't be multiple exposures, hopefully the same thing will evolve and become more sophisticated. They'll mainly cover a year or two. I have a lot of zoo photos i like, and thought it'd be neat to do a zoo book. When i put tigers and turtles in with people shopping it shifts your focus so much there's no established sense of place. I think that's it; you can reduce everything to shape and mood and the subject is secondary but it gives it an amateurish scrapbook feel of an overall best of collection. I thought very late to put them in the middle. I have a dozen old photos at a different ratio in the middle to represent the past. It could be with every book you have some zoo photos in the middle. But i prefer the middle to be other stuff, animals outside of a zoo, placed in an environment around manchester, or the place represented. I've been to a lot of zoos now that can be presented as a distorted tourist guide. When you decide on a subject like that you're allowing for a huge chunk of time to get the required amount, 279 photos. Then you decide never to go to a zoo ever again?
Generally, If i commit to having to fill up books and need variation, less people more buildings, it's the best motivation. Some shots are alright for edit if you can flatten the things in the shot but in the moment i can never tell, the inability to learn is astounding.
I spent obscene amounts of time going back through every single photo, finding some i missed, re editing them. I tested how dark they should be, whether to use greyscale or desaturate, tried to remember and handle hundreds of photos so some wouldn't be missed. They'll bleed over into book 2, a transition that by the end will move on a bit more. £35 though? Too much. I don't know any other site who can do them cheaper. I think with photobooks I like i prefer photos to fill the page. My stuff is so forced attempt at composition, a graphic design sensibility, it's none of the authenticity that breathes through natural full page film shots of actual environments.