It all started with a quick conversation I had with Jordan Stokes a good friend and fantastic designer. Our conversation centered around books specifically photo books and the imagery within their pages.
Those photography books that I loved so much and spend so much down time pouring over.
I have on a number of occasions vented frustration about wanting to create a body of original work that I could be ~~happy with~~ proud of. Not just disposable images that I often make to keep social networks full and followers “engaged”. Instead I wanted to create something tangible that could be held and that took more then 35 seconds of Adobe Lightroom to process and output.
I really wanted to create something with substance that you could touch and feel in the true tactile sense of the word.
Jordan a very successful creative in his own right suggest that I think about creating the work before I thought about creating the book. His argument centered very correctly around the assumption that it would be very hard to create a book without knowing what the content would be.
This is a familiar theme in my life, trying desperately to create the beautiful packaging without have the amazing product that goes inside.
It is a painful thing to be so frustrated by the work you try to create and the reality of the output.
I took it as a personal photographic challenge.
I knew that some of the best photographic work I had ever seen had come out of series of images that told stories that tied vivid visual themes and narratives together.
My favourite photographer Trent Parke is very very good at this and I believe the process to drive professional and highly personal work forward.
Well if you are here then you are at the beginning of my journey and if you are up for it I would love for you to come along.
Some initial considerations came to mind regarding book quality and materials where would I get it printed and how? How many? How much would it cost? How?
But these ~~were~~ are the wrong questions when one sets about making a book.
Absolutely and categorically the three questions you must ask yourself when setting out to create a photo book is: Question 1. Why? Question 2. What? Question 3. How?
## Question 1. Why?
### Why do I want to create a photo book?
Right now in my photographic career I feel stunted. Hindered by the tools and the platforms and the networks. The noise of everyday photographers that I let creep into my photographic reality. Viewing thousands of images a day and not feeling any true connection with any of them.
I want to make images that have meaning.
Images that I can stand by from when I pull them out of the rodinal to when I hang it in a gallery. Images that have sweat and tears in them. Images that have a real and tangible cost to them.
Images that cost time and money and shoes soles to make.
## Question 2. What?
What do I want to capture?
At this stage I am certain that I want this book to be based on the Australian lifestyle in its current state. The busiest economic time in our history and the seemingly endless prosperity and opportunity.
## Question 3. How?
Format is a very important part of photography.
People often argue that it is not the camera that matters and in nearly all cases I would have to agree with them. But in this case the camera matter very much. Not from a megapixel point of view but from an emotion and very emotion family connection.
Eva’s grandfather got up to give a speech at our wedding reception in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
He spoke with shaking hands and tears in his eyes. He spoke about his time as a young photographer during world war II photographing test flights for some of the German armies latest aviation weaponry. He learnt photography during the war and photography was his career ever since. With palpable regret he spoke of what his country had been a part of and that they still tell the stories in great detail not to relive the despair but so they did not forget their history and to ensure it never happen’s again.
With tears in his eyes and joy in his heart he reach into his bag a pulled out his pride and joy. His Rolleiflex 2.8. The camera he had done his apprenticeship on.
Franz Filntrops Rolleiflex 3.5
It was with great pleasure that Eva and I accepted this gift. We were shocked that he had given up such a prized possession with an 80 year history as long as his photographic career so adamantly.
This is the camera I will be shooting with.
Now with the broad ingredients for my book journey in place I must seek out the content and the vision that will power it’s creation.
Below is a list of some of my favourite photography books that are currently keeping me excited.
My Top 10 Photo Books
4. Steidl – Saul Leiter
5. Cuba: Island at a Crossroad – David Allen Harvey
6. The Americans – Robert Frank
10. Chromes – William Eggleston