Three new photobooks

I purchased three photo books at the Paris Photo fair. Not for reasons of subject matter, but because of their design – anticipating that they would be helpful when deciding on the structure /edit of my dummy photo book.

  1. Lighting Store – A-Chan.


This soft-backed book measures 10×7 inches, has a black sugar-paper type cover, has 12 double pages and is hand bound. It has 3 holes for the stitching. My copy is number 190 of 700. It cost 12Euros. All the images are black and white, printed on off-white fairly thick paper. It feels rough to the touch. Each image has a white border.

Inside the first page, as the final part of the front matter is a short poem about cleaning chandeliers and other lights in a store. It is written by A-Chan and serves as an introduction to the photographs. Some are close up detail whilst others have a longer focal length. The images illustrate the short poem.

The simplicity of this book is appealing and is reflected in its price. I could make a dummy book like this.

2. 10 days in Kraków – Yuanyuan Yang.


I fell in love with this book as soon as I opened it. The dimensions are 18 x 26 cm. It is a hardback and has 168 pages. My copy is number 249/500, each copy is signed.  The first four pages are the front matter with a short text introduction and two photographs. Then comes the title page, then a quote from T.S. Eliot.

This book is beautiful, with a mix of single images, double spreads, inserts, pockets, and found photography. It has all the elements that I tried to use in my ‘Terry’ project in the previous module (apart from the subject matter of course). It’s appeal is in its intrigue and its tactile nature. In places it looks like a dummy photo book, as if there are actual photographs stuck in – but this is a clever illusion. I definitely am drawn again into creating another dummy book with inserts and fold outs, but won’t be able to manage the hardback and sharp edit without a designer.

I was happy to pay 40Euros for it at the Paris Book Fair, but not sure that otherwise I would have paid that price elsewhere.

I found a vimeo recording of the book online – the link is below. (Details are in the References Page of this blog).

10 days in Kraków video link

3.  Eden – Bernadita Morello


The largest of the three, this book measures 13×8 inches. The vendor sold it to me for 20 Euros because it was the last one and wasn’t bound.  There is no text on the front, and the title is difficult to spot as it’s printed inside the  fold-out which is the first and last page. The vendor couldn’t remember who the photographer was, I eventually found the print on the last page in small text which did not stand out from the deep red paper. However, he did tell me that the book had won a dummy book award, and its publication was the prize. On the last page is the explanation – this work won the Fiebre photobook 2015 dummy award.

The appeal of this book, for me, is in the full-bleed images, and the way the edge of the paper is not a boundary for the print – the images continue onto the following page, as if they overlap and merge into one another.  Some of the images are not full bleed, and there are blank pages too.  The full bleeds form the middle part of the book, with smaller images in the first and last sections.  it is visually attractive.  Although the front page in its size and colour are reminiscent of a scrap book, the insides do not have that same feel due to the high quality of the paper and colourful images.

Guest lecture: Vikki Forrest

Guest lecture: Vikki Forrest, 2/10/18

Unfortunately this lecture coincided with one of my teaching days, luckily I was able to watch the recording. Having seen Vikki’s guest lecture a few months back, I chose to watch this one as a revision exercise – as my work is now veering towards the world of Photobooks.  However, this lecture was different and was predominantly about text and captions – which was incredibly useful.

Looking at three examples of Photobooks, specifically their layout and design, use of text and typography, Vikki stressed the importance of visual clues and the creation of the right atmosphere at the beginning of a book. New to me was the idea of a photo essay, how a series of photographs near the front of the book tells a story through images, in the same way that sentences and phrases do. Maybe this could be the way I incorporate some of Jimmy’s original photos into my book. Also something to consider using different paper for the photo essay than for the rest of the work.

If working with full bleeds, a trim of 3mm should be allowed for. Also consider what part of the image will lie across the gutter. The material used for the front cover is very important. Cloth is durable but difficult to print on. Looser binding can lay flatter than tight binding.

Tommy Hafalla – Ili

This starts with a half title page, followed by a full title page, and then a poem which gives an indication of what the book is about. These three pages are called the front matter.

Simple layout, rigorous. Single spreads / double spreads. However you arrange your photographs with texts / captions, it is important to be consistent throughout

Glossary of terms at the end.

Edmund Clark – Guantanamo – If the lights go out

Clarks’s book is signed, with a dedication to his children. He uses itallics and highlighting. None of the photos have captions. Instead, they are labelled as plates 1,2,3,4 etc; and then arranged as thumbnails at the end of the book with captions.

Angus Fraser – Santa Muerta

Fraser uses a modern approach to text. Starting with a half title page, and a poem, he then launches straight into imagery. This is known as a photo essay, and tells the story through images – photographic sentences and phrases. Pages are numbered. He too has a dedication near the front of the book. Photographs have no text. Fraser’s book has chapters and there are large amounts of documentation towards the end, and acknowledgements.