by the book

I have finished making up my first book dummy, finished that is except for the binding.  It has taken longer than I expected as I misprinted some pages.  I am printing on plain paper at the moment.  There are a couple of issues I wish to explore now and possible changes that I may make:

The size of the images.  At the moment each image is 99 mm long on its longest side.  Like this on the page:

pages 44 & 21

Above is actually two pages 21 & 44 from a signature.  The two pages are made from folding a single piece of A 4 in two.  So in effect each rectangular image is placed perpendicularly within another rectangle that is the white page.  I could possibly make the images bigger and I will try this out today and make a final decision on size.

Overall the finished book would be small but neat.  I am taking my lead here from two of my favourite photo books in my possession.  One is a book that accompanied an Alec Soth exhibition that I saw in Dublin last year called Hypnagogia.  The dimensions of that book are 110 mm x 180 mm.  The rectangular images are smaller than mine and only 68 mm on the longest side and the book is printed on white matt paper.  Its a neat and tidy display of the images and even though they are small I find that encourages me to look closely at them.

A second book that I came across some time ago by accident is Sea Change by Christine Redmond.  These image are, I would guess, originally shot on medium format film and so are square.  The prints themselves in the book are little bigger that contact prints being only 80 mm square and the book itself is only 130 mm x 190 mm in size.  Again the small size makes for a neat presentation.

Image position:  At the moment I have dispelled the images on each page in the same position as above.  Where I have two images opposite each other they look like this:

pages 4 & 17-Recovered

Again this is two pages from a signature and and these images will not appear opposite one another.  I want to experiment with the image position.  One thing that I have noticed with the book Sea Change is that the images are positioned in different positions on some of the pages and they also change sizes from time to time.


At the moment I have two pieces of text – besides titles – that help to contextualise the work.  The opening text is at the beginning of the book and looks like this:

pages 3 & 18 -Recovered

My tutor suggested that I could consider breaking this text up throughout the book and place it with the images and I want to play around with this too and see what effect it may have.

On the titles, in my submission for assignment 5 I had placed the titles beneath each image however I think I would prefer to place them on their won at the last few pages of the book.  By titles I mean where each image was taken.



On the edge

Lately I’ve been spending time on the edge of an abyss.  It’s a place where anyone can find themselves.  A place, that sooner or later we all end up.  It’s the last refuge before taking the plunge.

This morning I found myself here:



Moving forward

I’ve made a lot of progress since my post yesterday although I dont have that much to show for it.  It took me the day yesterday to figure out the best digital workflow.  To begin with I have begun to drag all of the individual files – the original RAW files –  together into one single file in my SYP course folder on my computer.  My next step is to create a blank document in Photoshop.  I create this as an A4 sized rectangle.  This is a small but, to me at least, significant step.  At the beginning I neglected to do this and found that the final draft print was scaled down between the computer and the print.

I place a grid over the virtual page to help me locate or place the prints on the page.  Next I open my image file.  With each image so far I have made sure to recheck the file for sensor spots or any other issues and then adjusted the contrast using a curves adjustment and a luminosity mask.  Then I save the file as a PSD in case I need to revise or adjust it later.  I then drag and drop it into my previously created blank A4 page.  This automatically creates it as a layer.  I then convert that layer to a smart object as this allows me to individually make adjustments of the file independent of the background page or any other image file that might share the same page.  My background A4 page is actually 2 pages of the book.  An A4 page measures 290 mm x 210 mm.  Divided in two each page of the book then becomes 148 mm x 210 mm.  I have decided for now to make the images 99 mm x 66 mm.  At first I settled on this as 99 mm a little over two thirds of the individual page width – I think I previously said that the golden section had come to mind.  I printed a test page and then increased the file size to 132 mm o the long side but I prefer the smaller size.  The thing about creating my book pages the way I am is that if I decided to change the image size or its position this is a quick and easy adjustment.

page 5 & 16

page 6&15

So above I have shown pages 5 and 16 of the first book signature.  These will be one side of a printed page and on the reverse will be printed page 6 and 15.  It took a few prints to get the pages to print right.  I have to print one page and then reload the page and print the second and one or twice I reloaded it upside down.

On the image position on the page I have played around with this a little too.  Originally I placed the print in the centre of the page but from a design perspective this doesn’t look right.  Each image is positioned approximately two thirds of the way up the page.  I have also considered moving image position so that they are not so reptile and may do so.  Size of image is something I may play with too.  In my assignment 5 submission I included the title below each image and I may still do this however it also occurred to me  exclude the titles all together and include a page or pages at the back with the titles.

Finally it feels good to working again.  I intend to keep moving forward even if it feels like its only a matter of millimetres.  I also need to be cognisant of the fact that I have a lot of other things going on too and to be realistic in my time commitment to this.  It would be a mistake to drop everything and totally immerse myself to get this done, to get it finished.  The nature of something like this, I now believe is that it is never really finished.  At least not until the final print run or the exhibition opening.


Book dummy layout

Today I finally begin again.  Its fair to say that Ive been distracted for a while now with family matters, traveling and generally avoiding moving this project on.  Today I am working on a draft of a book dummy in preparation for the assessment of BOW – I hope later this year.  I have applied for the July Assessment with the caveat that I may miss the deadline.  I intend to give it my best shot but if I over run then it wont be from the lack of trying.

Since my last post here I have had a conversation with my book binder and also the printer that I had hoped to use for the book.  It turns out that despite sending them (the printers) a draft of the proposed book on which he based his quotation, he is unable to print it as outlined.  He recommended that I print on one side only and bind single pages together.  Mainly this was because he has experience of doing this and no idea how to print the book in signatures with images and or text on both sides of the paper.  That makes two of us so I have decided to print the book myself and have it bound by a book binder based in Dublin.

I have bought some double sided matt paper (Epson).  It is 176 gsm and my binder recommended around this weight.  But before I print onto that I am going to layout and design the book and print onto normal A4 printer paper so that I can figure out which page holds which image and or text and also how the signature layout will be.  I have already made a rough (very) dummy and for instance my introductory text sits on page 3.  Page 3 is a single sheet of A4 divided in half and on the other facing half is page 17 which has an image on it.

I am also using some of my tutors suggestions from assignment 1.  This is my first draft of the title/ cover page.  I have, as he suggested and I agree, made the text grey rather than the original bold black.  Working things out in the real world, on paper (literally) always throws up questions you never really consider until you see and hold something in your hand.  As I look at the first print here on my desk the immediate thing that comes up is the text size and placement.  This will take some experimentation and thought until I am happy with it.

cover page

In actual fact I have just realised that if printed as above the text will appear on the back page.  Therefore it needs to be like this:

cover page 2so the next question that I found myself agonising over was the positioning of the text.  Once I printed and folded the the A4 page the centred position just didn’t look right.  The golden section came to mind…..I tried sub-dividing the page and drew a grid etc before settling for this:

cover page 3I have also changed the font from Times to Arial following some consultation with my wife.  Thats it for now.  I have created this document as a PSD so that when it comes to the final print I can still alter or change it.