Investigating the various forms that photographic publications can take has proven to be a mixed bag, being both frustrating and informative.
Platforms for the creation of photobooks are not equal. Interfaces are not always ‘user friendly’, and some could be best described as time wasting and ‘ambiguous’: work which you have saved isn’t, changing one menu option takes you right back to the start of the process, etc. Some, on the other hand, are a dream to use.
Notwithstanding the frustration, exploring the publication of photobooks in depth has been interesting. It is a subject for ongoing research – I can see the benefits of using photobooks as a method of disseminating my work and consequently I want to increase my knowledge on this subject. It’s also an area for ongoing evaluation which, at the moment, is taking two forms. Firstly, I eagerly await the arrival of my prototype photobook for analysis, and secondly, obtaining swatches of the various materials available for producing photobooks for appraisal.
The activity has confirmed some strengths: not surprisingly project planning, costing and product development.
It has also highlighted some weaknesses – marketing specific to photographic publications, publishing itself, and graphic design.
Taking an in-depth study of workbooks will provide an additional chance to explore the marketing skills specific to the publication of photographic literature.
Looking at themes both in general, and more specifically for photobooks, has lead me to look at the use of photobooks in relation to food photography – and it appears to be an area which is far from oversaturated.
So, going forwards, how other food and/or still-life photographers have produced photobooks, if at all, is the next port of call.
Research for a future project threw up something noteworthy this week.
Patrick Keast, a recovering alcoholic, was encouraged to take up photography by workers on a recovery programme. His gritty images document the journeys to and from recovery meetings – his work, exhibited in late 2016, really caught my attention this week. In a word, outstanding.