Ben Roberts, One More Night, Self-published, Blurb 2008
This book review is one part the photograph series published by Ben Roberts, One More Night, and another part an assesement of self-publishing and Blurb’s new 100 lb paper. The bottom like, I like both parts! But first, the London club scene of Ben Roberts.
This small, tight hardcover book, with the images running off most of the edges, is the club scene in London. I may not have been there recently, but the overall experience of reading the book provides similar emotional reactions; tight cramped spaces, a blurr of activity, light when you have it and a flow of colors that assult your senses. But without the din of the music.
Roberts photographs have the “subjects” falling out of the edges and almost included as an after thought, again, reinforcing the visual chaos of the club life in London. Not exactly a documenatary in the traditional sense, but a documentary nevertheless that provides you with more of the experience that extends beyond the boundaries of both the printed page and photographs.
The photographs are well sequenced, which build on each other as you proceed through the book. I find that the book has a strong Gastalt essence: where the whole is defined by the elements so that the elements are transcended by the whole. That is the wholestic feeling that I am left with as I finish the run through the pages. In fact, rapdidly fanning the book pages, getting a brief glimpse of an image as it is quickly repaced by the next, is another wonderful way to experience this book.
Another design element of the book is the selection of a corresponding color margins that complement the photograph, bringing out and emphasing essential details within the photographs. As a self published book, this design element is used in a consistent and effect manner. Such that the additional strongly saturated hues continues to reinforce the theme of the book. Well done!
And so to the next part of this review, the opportunity to experiment with photographs and book design when self-publishing, such as Blurb. When a self-published book such as this one is done with fore thought and with the application of consistent design elements, they are a true delight.
One design risk that Roberts faced were the photographs running through the gutter into the facing page. A great way to deal with horizontal images in a square book, but the potential of losing the essence of a photograh in the “gutter”, the area where this hardcover book is bound. This was the principal gripe that I had with the deisgn of the recent Frank book Paris. To Roberts credit, he gave himself an out, with the ability to choose which side of the spread to place the full bleed image.
I feel that this book also greatly benefits from the use of the Blurb’s new 100lb luster paper. The additional gloss factor compared to the Blurb standard 80 lb, allows the colors to really POP, almost to the point of appearing like the book was printed with traditional off-set printers. It provides that needed vibrancey to futher convey the essense of the London club scene. The 100lb paper also has a greater degree of opacity, or less transparency, meaning that you don’t see the images through the pages as their 80lb paper. nice.
Best regards, Doug Stockdale