The PhotoBook

December 16, 2013

Paul Gaffney – We Make the Paths by Walking

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Copyright Paul Gaffney 2013, self-published

Paul Gaffney investigates a regional passion that is prevalent amongst the isles of Great Briton, that of walking. Whereas the walks or foot journeys in the isles are usually of a short duration, Gaffney expanded the scope and range of his visual walking quest to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles). Gaffney’s viewpoint is close to midpoint, essentially minimizing the visual clues as to the actual location. This teases the reader to look closer and deeper into the image. The ambiguous images are contemplative and lyrical, sometimes looking ahead or the passing viewpoint as one might walk by.

A classic, yet well visualized, allegory for the journey of life, that while in transit there lays ahead a separation to the path and one must chose one path over another. For a walker it is possible to walk one path and then return for to the other, but in the passing duration, small atmospheric and chance occasions change. Likewise, a walker does not need to remain on a given path, but create one of their own making. His book ends with a crossroads, with the path in front dissolving into the distance, where the unknown lies in wait.

Reading We Make the Path by Walking just connects with me. The lyrical photographs investigate a journey and the many options and possibilities that lie before the reader, while yet enjoying the view in transit. I found Gaffney’s book to be a wonderful metaphor for the messiness of living life.

Gaffney’s photobook is a text printed stiff cover book that resides in a printed ¾ slip cover. The slip cover design suggests an individual’s pocket, representing a place for the small guide booklets that many walkers acquire to prepare for a specific region.

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The interior book block has exposed binding due to the front endpapers is not attached to the cover. The block is affixed to the back cover by means of gluing the endpapers to the back cover and the end paper is included as a part of the last signature. The binding itself appears to be a Smyth bound and glued, which allows the book to provide a lay-flat viewing, which I enjoy. When I find a book with an exposed binding, I am intrigued as the metaphoric intent. In this case, the photographs, as well as the narrative is open ended and thus the journey is still not complete.

Gaffney complete the design and editing of this self-published book.

Douglas Stockdale for The Photobook

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1 Comment »

  1. […] We Make the Path by Walking, Paul Gaffney, self-published, 2013 […]

    Pingback by Interesting Photobooks for 2013 | The PhotoBook — December 16, 2013 @ 10:12 pm


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