The PhotoBook

February 2, 2017

Left Coast News: 2 photobook workshops in February

Filed under: Photo Book Discussions, Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:01 pm

The Epilogue, Laia Abril & book design by Ramon Pez

In conjunction with Art Book LA 2017, there will be two photobook workshops occurring on back to back weekends. One workshop lead is by the team of Ramon Pez and Michael Brown, sponsored by Magnum, which is being held at LACP and the other workshop is being led by Bruno Ceschel.

I am really familiar with the amazing art designer Ramon Pez’s creative photobook designs and I have been in discussions with him regarding his design work for the photographer Laia Abril’s various book projects, including 2014’s top contemporary photobook The Epilogue. Pez also worked on the design of Cristina de Middel’s brilliant 2012 self-published photobook The AfronautsMichael Brown is a member of Magnum.

The Pez & Brown workshop will take place Friday, Feb 24th and Saturday, Feb 25th at the LACP (Los Angeles Center for Photography) facility in LA; 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028. The two workshop leaders plan to spend the bulk of the two day workshop providing the participants with constructive advice in conjunction with group critiques of the participants projects.

The book design workshop by Bruno Ceschel, founder of Self Publish, Be Happy blog, is scheduled the weekend before Art Book LA 2017. His two day workshop is on Saturday, Feb 18th and Sunday, Feb 19th in LA. After a discussion of editing, sequencing & book design, the class will then develop their projects using Adobe In-Design or other publishing software.

As a reminder, my two day workshop, Introduction to Photo Book Design, is scheduled with LACP over two consecutive Saturdays later this spring; April  1st & 8th, at the LACP facilities in LA.

Cheers!

 

 

 

January 29, 2017

Left coast photobook news: Ruscha at OCMA

ed_ruscha_sunset_strip_ocma_detail2

Every Building on the Sunset Strip copyright 1966 Ed Ruscha

Currently OCMA (Orange County Museum of Art) is exhibiting Pop Art Design and included are a few works by Ed Ruscha, but probably the most interesting to those who enjoy photobooks is a very long display of Ed Ruscha’s 1966 Every Building on the Sunset Strip.

This is a deadpan photographic project in which a 35mm motor-drive camera with a bulk feed was used to photograph all the adjacent buildings while driving up and then back again on Sunset Blvd. This street was commonly called the Sunset Strip, thus Ruscha’s resulting photobook plays a visual  pun of the street nickname by creating a long continuous strip of images. On the top of the pages is one side of the street and positioned below this in reverse is the other side of this street.

This photobook design was very innovative for its time with stiff covers and the interior was bound to display as an accordion (also known as Leporello or Concertinas) layout, which is to say each page was connected and continuous. A very long strip of photographic images. As a part of the Pop moment, his book was also meant to be a very inexpensive, which is apparent in the rough and uneven gluing of the accordion page binding.

My photographs of this exhibit were a grab shot and dose not do the Ruchas’s photobook enough justice, thus I recommend for you to go check it out and see the real thing!

The OCMA exhibition runs thru April 2nd, 2017.

ed_ruscha_sunset_strip_ocma_exhibit

December 2, 2016

LACP workshop: Introduction to PhotoBook design

douglas-stockdale-1

Copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

I am very excited to announce that I will be leading an Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop in conjunction with the Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) next Spring 2017. The workshop will be held over two consecutive Saturdays, April 1st and April 8th in Los Angeles at the LACP facilities.

This workshop is intended for photographers preparing to transition their photographic images and projects to book form. I am planning that this two-day workshop will teach participants creative and practical approaches to photo book design, in anticipation of working with a book publisher, self-publishing or creating an artist-book.

My goal for this practical workshop is that everyone will understand the basics of photobook design, book publishing and reasons for a book dummy and should be well on their way to develop a book that reflects their personal creative vision.

Currently there is a 20% early bird registration available, so if you plan to be in the LA area next spring and would like to join me for this fun & challenging workshop, check it out!

If you have any questions, post a comment for me.

Cheers!

btw, if the photograph of the stack of photobooks above look familiar, this was my selection of interesting photobooks for 2013.

June 10, 2015

Paula McCartney – A Field Guide to Snow and Ice

Paula_McCartney-A_Field_Guide_to_Snow_and_Ice_cover

Copyright 2014 Paula McCartney Published by Silas Finch

Paula McCartney (b. 1971, Pittsburgh, PA & currently residing in Minneapolis, MN) has chosen a familiar subject for her photobook A Field Guide to Snow and Ice, a natural manifestation occurring frequently during the cold and chilly winters of Minnesota. For those who live in the northern states of the United States, as elsewhere at the extremes of our worldly hemisphere, snow and ice are more like family, not readily chosen but come with the territory.

Similar to her pervious photobook Bird Watching, McCartney purports to provide us a Field Guide on how to recognize the various types of snow and ice. She explores the idea of constructed icy landscapes using scientific practice of collecting, cataloging, identifying, classifying and organizing as a starting point for her work. Also very similar in concept to her photobook Bird Watching, what the reader encounters may not really be what they think it is. She employs a very cleaver sleight of hand in creating many of her photographs of her subject.

McCartney self-published an artist book titled On Thin Ice – In a Blizzard in 2011 which is a sub-series to this more encompassing photobook, in which all of the images were constructed as photograms in the darkroom. She states that this earlier artist book is “a winter of my imagination. Snow begins to fall, grows denser, and obliterates my view while exposing the cosmos. Ice shifts, opening a beautiful black void. A wondrous view as I begin my descent.”

Her subjects are tightly composed, revealing graphic blacks and white masses, the contrast of the snow against the anti-snow, the blackness of non-snow. These are ambiguous forms, if not entirely abstract, difficult to comprehend as to the relative size. She provides little context; these could be small bits found in her back yard or large slabs of free ice wondering on one of the huge inland lakes adjacent to where she resides in Minnesota. Her snow accumulates dirt and debris that over time creates molded form and shape, textures are created by the change of state of the frozen mass of water. Changes are created by the melting and then re-freezing; resulting from the cycles of day and night; warming and then freezing as the sun recedes for the night, the radiant heat slowly dissipates and a chilly wind sweeps away all of the warmth.

I find that I connect with this body of work in a number of ways, one of which is my not so fond memory of snow and ice growing up in the Midwest region of Michigan, where winters can be extremely harsh. I had to endure these freezing elements while trudging to school and back, which left lingering bad memories of blowing, freezing snow (yes, even going side-ways) while attempting to maintain my footing on slippery ice. Not that it was all bad, in fact totally beautiful while looking out on the first morning of a new snow, but regretfully that view quickly turned to nasty slush as I needed to shovel huge amounts caked onto the sideway and driveway. Perhaps a strong underlying reason we live in Southern California and take brief winter ski vacations to “visit” the snow.

This photobook published by Silas Finch is perhaps better thought of as a large production artist book as it does not have the appearance of a traditional photo book. It is printed and bound with a Leporello binding (see below), which means that each page is continuous bound to the adjoining page and the entire book can unfolded to reveal a continuous series of images that extent 34 feet in length. Once unfolded, one side is printed while the reverse (verso) is unprinted. The effect is mesmerizing and yes, I needed both my adjacent dining room and living room floors to display the book’s interior and I was still about a foot or two short of the length of space I needed. Viewing the unfurled interior from my second story studio loft is when I was able to appreciate the slight repetitiousness of the subject’s form, color, mass, lines and shapes.

Paula_McCartney-A_Field_Guide_to_Snow_and_Ice_top_view

A second unusual aspect of this book design is the variation in the width of the interior pages/images. There are three page widths, one that encompasses the entire width of the book, and there are two which are narrower, which creates a variation in the sequencing cadence. While looking at one of the narrower images, the reader can observe the edges of a preceding page. These overlap images are a reminder to the other images that are present and that the singular image needs to be kept within the context of the whole; thus the world of snow and ice is both layered and complex.

This is essentially a brilliantly designed book that is a reflection of McCartney’s creativity and vision, equally supported by Kevin Messina and his Silas Finch publishing team. Likewise, I also find myself looking at snow and ice differently. I selected this photobook as one of the more interesting photobooks for 2014 for Emaho Magazine, as well as here for The PhotoBook.

The photobook has stiff covers with a detachable spine (which can create an installation piece approximately 34 feet in length) and the color plates are printed with UV inks on uncoated paper with Leporello binding of the multiple panels. The interior photographs are printed full bleed, thus no pagination or captions are provided. The spine closure is printed on synthetic paper which includes an essay by Mark Alice Durant and a quote from Roger Caillois printed on the inner wrapper, which requires disassembly of the spine to access and read. The intriguing book design is by McCartney with Creative Direction by Kevin Messina and was printed in Minnesota by the Avery Group at Shapco Printing.

Previously featured on The PhotoBook is McCartney’s Bird Watching

Cheers

Paula_McCartney-A_Field_Guide_to_Snow_and_Ice_1

Paula_McCartney-A_Field_Guide_to_Snow_and_Ice_2

Paula_McCartney-A_Field_Guide_to_Snow_and_Ice_4

Paula_McCartney-A_Field_Guide_to_Snow_and_Ice_5

Paula_McCartney-A_Field_Guide_to_Snow_and_Ice_6

Paula_McCartney-A_Field_Guide_to_Snow_and_Ice_7

September 21, 2014

Tri-Fold Pages

Filed under: Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:16 pm

Laia_Abril-The_Epilogue_top_view_tri-fold_sheet

.

Copyright Laia Abril 2014 “The Epilogue” published by Dewi Lewis Publishing

I just received Laia Abril’s photobook “The Epilogue” and I was surprised by a design aspect of her photobook that is both unique as well as very smart;  interior pages (leaf) that a reader could pull out to reveal a hidden panel. Perhaps this page design has been lurking out there in the designers book of tricks, but it was new to me. It is similar in idea to a gate fold to conceal interior page panels, but with an interesting twist.

I quickly queried both Abril and the publisher, Dewi Lewis, as to what they were calling this design aspect. Abiril and Ramon Pez, her photobook design collaborator,  are calling it tri-fold pages, while the publisher is calling this a concertina fold out. Both descriptions seem applicable, but I am going to defer to Abril and Pez for what this design is called as they were responsible for the initial concept of this design as part of the final object. I do give immense credit to the Dewi Lewis publishing team for advancing this design into the resulting photobook as well as the spot-on printing execution by Grafiche Antiga (Italy) which is already a well know high quality photobook printer and binary.

The subtly of the design and execution lies in the near invisibility of the fold until the reader notes the subtle added thickness of the page and upon grasping, extendes the page out which reveals the hidden panel (see the example below from the photobook’s interior). For this book the revealed panel extends the narrative as well as symbolically “breaking the book” when the subject of the book, Cammy, has experienced a severe break down in her life’s journey. Brilliant!

Looking down on the top view of the book, the tri-folded pages are a bit more apparent.

Cheers

Laia_Abril-The_Epilogue_tri-fold_pages

Laia_Abril-The_Epilogue_6

Laia_Abril-The_Epilogue_7

Laia_Abril-The_Epilogue_cover

Laia_Abril-The_Epilogue_4_tri-fold_pages

 

May 12, 2014

Stab binding – Fukuro Toji

Oliver_Zenklusen-Of_a_Floating_World_Japanese_stab_binding_fukuro_toji

Copyright Oliver Zenklusen, d’un mode flottant (of a floating world) 2013, self-published

Japanese stab binding, also known as Fukuro Toji (bound-pocket books), is a hands-on artist book binding process that can personalize a photobook project. The stab binding results in an elegant bound book that employs one of the basic, if not classic, sewing processes for book binding.

My edits from Wiki: Japanese bound-pocket books are also made by stacking sheets of double-wide paper that have been folded individually (also known as a folded leaf), but unlike glued or sewn books, the stacked pages (the block) are bound by stabbing holes and then sewing the loose edge opposite the crease together with either thread or tightly wrapped, thread-like strips paper. A front and back cover are applied before binding. This binding method means that each double-wide piece of paper has only two printing surfaces instead of four, but by eliminating the need for double-sided legibility, bound-pocket books enabled publishers to use significantly thinner paper than was necessary for glued or sewn books. This binding style also allowed for a much greater variety of appearance than either of the other forms of bound books, as the pages could be sewn according to any number of traditional and fashionable methods.

A variation of the folded leaf is to print a flat color or pattern that is concealed within the interior two pages of this quarto, such as Pietro Mattioli’s Two Thousand Light Years from Home. Another option is to use a single leaf, printed on both sides, to create two pages bound in a similar manner. The Japanese stab binding is similar to the pamphlet stitched bookbinding process. Using threads, strings, and sometimes even leather, separate pages are sewn together. Using an in-and-out technique you weave the string through the pages from top to bottom and then tie it off with a knot (see photograph below of the back of the book). It is a beautiful, unique and natural way of making a photobook.

There are a very wide array of design options are available for this binding process, from the very basic box design (the standard pattern) to extremely complex patterns, such as the tortoise shell or hemp leaf. A substantial margin (at least an inch) is necessary down the left side of the (two-page) leaf for the binding. The stab binding utilizes one long strand of thread that eventually doubles back on itself and then tied off.

For Zenklusen, his project d’un mode flottant was an investigation of the Japanese natural and urban landscape; as he describes the fragility of a place and a society and ways of living within it. He chose a Japanese stab binding to create a handmade object to include the imperfections of this form. For me, this binding echo’s his classic and elegant black & white photographs of Japan.

Cheers!

Oliver_Zenklusen-Of_a_Floating_World_Japanese_stab_binding_back_cover

April 11, 2014

Naked Bound

Filed under: Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:36 am

Laura_Braun-Metier-Small_Businesses_in_London_naked_bound_with_dust_jacket

Naked bound with Dust Jacket, Laura Braun, Metier, copyright 2013

Okay, for some of you I’m guessing that the title of this post might not be exactly what you were expecting, eh?

For some time artist, photographers and graphic designers have been pushing the conceptual design envelop of a photobook as an integral extension of the published work.  Thus questioning how a published book should be designed and constructed as to how the resulting object might possibly expand/extend the narrative.

As the traditional photobook becomes morphed into a contemporary photobook, how do we describe the changes that beget the new look and function?

One aspect of the book’s design that has been getting some attention is focused on the spine, the section of the book which holds all of the signatures (pages) together. In the past, the spine had elaborate covers and enabled the publisher to identify the book title and author to allow recognition on the book seller’s shelves. Now book designers have been allowing the spine to be unconcealed, or naked bound as Laura Braun describes in her book’s description and the underlying reason for this post.

My first brush with this open spine design concept was in 2009 with Lee Friedlander’s photobook New Mexico, which the open spine was described as revealing the book’s skeleton (I have since found out that this book design style is call Tape Binding). In an exchange with Darius Himes, who was a principal of Radius Books and the publisher of Friedlander’s book, he stated discussion in response to my question;

No, you’re not going insane. The book is a very intentional object:  no end-pages, the book block “sits” against the raw book boards, naked and exposed on the rough terrain of those boards, if you will.  The back of the book block is secured to the back board as a structural device.  This very raw object is clothed in a very elegant dust-jacket with a debossed and duo-tone printed, inlaid image.  Again, the effect is a raw object clothed with elegance (kind of like New Mexico and Santa Fe itself).  So, no, the book is not supposed to have front end-pages and the spine is not meant to be glued to anything…. you’re seeing right to the skeleton of a book.

In retrospect, I guess I should have paid closer attention to Himes description of this design (…naked and exposed…) and probably Braun’s description for Metier would not have struck me as it did. I have deferred to calling this spine design an open thread stitching and included this in my photobook definitions (sidebar).

Since 2009, I have seen this open thread stitching become more common. I will admit that I am unsure why some book designers have included this particular aspect in their book design perhaps other than gain some attention as the open thread stitching did not see pertinent to the published work. Perhaps it is the cool thing to do for a book. I prefer to think of how form follows function. You should have a reason for ever aspect of your book design; paper selection, layout, text, captions, sequencing, binding, etc. if you desire to present a cohesive concept.

Okay, that said, I will readily admit that there are some interesting aspects of Braun’s naked bound book Metier worth discussing. First, the dust jacket conceals the open thread stitching, thus he book’s design concept is not blatantly revealed but you have to remove the jacket to find out that her book is naked. hmmmm, perhaps I need to think about that aspect a bit more…..

Up until recently, the open thread stitching also included a layer of glue to finish the binding, while Braun’s naked bound does not. As a result, her photobook’s binding is more vulnerable to handling and damage. Early books were notorious for the spine to break which resulted in the pages falling out, which is why the spines were glued after stitching to further reinforce the spine. One result of not having any reinforcing glue is that it allows her book to fully open into a lay flat condition. A wonderful attribute to aid the reading of her photobook.

The second subtly, but more apparent as the reader spends time with the book, is that she has selected multicolored threading for her naked bound book. Thread color is usually selected to appear close to the page color so that the thread does not compete with the interior images and text. In Braun’s book the variety of brightly color thread is hard to miss and the color shifts though out the book. Thus Braun’s book is naked bound with a delightedly colorful flair.

So from time to time I will spend a little time discussing contemporary book designs as another aspect of this blog.

Cheers!

Update: The awesome photobook designer Sybren (-SYB- ) Kuiper pointed out to me that the book design above also falls into the book design category of Swiss Binding: The book cover is not attached to the face top edge, completely detached from the text block. Accordingly, I have added this to the blog sidebar of Photobooks:  definitions and terms.

February 3, 2010

Edizioni Punctum – A Maximum Gatefold

Filed under: Book Publications, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:44 pm


Edizioni Punctum – Guy Tillim’s Roma, Citta di Mezzo

While I was researching Guy Tillim’s 2009 Roma, Citta di Mezzo, published by Edizioni Punctum, I came across a really awesome image, above, that was posted on photo-eye that I feel elegantly illustrates the complexity of this Concertina folding (Note: At the time of this post I had erroneously thought to be a gate-fold). No mention of the photo credit who conceptualized this illustration, but I am guessing that it came out of the creative photographic studios of Marco Delogu in Rome.

Yes, if you follow the single white line, you should find that it is one very long, continuous and extensive concertina (also called a leporello), as I tried to vainly illustrate in this earlier post. Truly, a fold to the max.

For those with a roll feed on their inkjet printer, one long continuous gate-fold might not seem like such a big deal. But this photobook was printed on a commercial four-color (minimum) off-set, sheet feed printer and then the sheets (multiple pages per sheet, OR you could say that the book has only two pages, the front and the back of the single concertina fold) were bound seamlessly to create this book. A beautiful testimony to the craftsmanship of both the printer and bindery shops located in Italy (Verona, I believe, as I am traveling right now and will have to confirm when I return to my studio). Even when I knew where to look, it was almost impossible to detect the glue and splicing of this monster concertina fold. Then add in the numerous creasing steps that allow this concertina to provide the two-page spreads for each photograph and all of this in commercial quantity, e.g. over 300+ copies. A daunting task even for a hand made artist book of ten copies.

This photobook is already on my short list for innovative and creative photobooks for 2010. Even though it was printed and bound in 2009, I only recently became aware of it this year.

It remains to be seen how durable this concertina book will last, but it has held up very well so far in my globe trotting travels the last couple of weeks. Which is the same trip that I tore the belly band of my Hornstra 101 Billionaires, and slightly frayed the corner of Isturbide’s Le Banos de Frida, and the previous trip I ripped the corner of my outer wrap of Goldberg’s Open See. Yes, although I collect photobooks, I also use my photobooks and have few qualms about carrying them about with me.

So expect my book review of Tillim’s Roma, Citta di Mezzo (Rome, Media City) in the near future.

Best regards, Douglas

Blog at WordPress.com.