All photographs copyright of the photographers, courtesy of TheGuardian
I had essentailly stated a couple of days ago here, that with the advent of the Print on Demand (POD) book, we can have a book in print almost 10 days after an event has occurred. With the recent election of Barrack Obama as President of the United States, I am going to review a couple of these “hot off the press” books about his election.
The first review is the hardcover 7″ x 7″ book published by Guardian News & Media in late 2008, titled A Message For Obama. This 120 page book was developed by the Guardian staff, as a collabortive with the visitors who posted messages about their thoughts and feelings to either their site or a Flickr site. They state that they were able to commission, complie, edit and print their book all within three weeks. Not bad, not internet or a newspaper speed, but it is amazing to have a published hardcover book available in that short amount of time, eh?
One of the interesting aspects of this small book is that the photographs were contributed from folks located through out the world and that it was edited by a staff in the U.K. Such that it might be considered to be a more unbaised and objective assessment of the US policts and the election of Obama.
Regarding the photographs, probably the vast majority were non-professional photographers, but made by individuals who passionately hoped to pass a personal message to Obama. There is that Flickr rawness to them, direct and unpolished, sometimes literally wearing their message on their sleeve, forehead or on the back of their hands. The lighting is sometimes poor, compositions weak, images very grainey and overall bad technical photographs. But the photographs carry the big emotional impact, ranging from the totally dedicated, to the non-believers and skeptics.
The book design and layout reflects the edgness and rawness of the photographs within, but respectfully not loosing anyone or anything in the gutters, and it is not apparent that any content is slipping off the full bleeds. The book is not monantonus to read and has a nice pace, using a variety of the layout templates to provide variety. Will it be on someone’s best of 2009, very doubtful (well maybe the folks at TheGuardian), but perhaps this may be a book that may have a lot of intest in 10, 20 or 30 years, after Flickr is long gone and folks who are interested in what did happen with this election and how did the global community react.
It is also very nice that the proceeds from the sale of this book are going to TheGuardian’s long term aid project for Katine, more info here.
Best regards, Douglas Stockdale