University: Norwich University of the Arts
Statement: Sleep Deprived explores the transitional phase of growing up between youth culture and adulthood. It was shot in a mix of 35mm and 120mm film, and the book combines imagery with lyrics, movie quotes and book extracts that felt personal and poignant to me.
What is your favourite photobook by another photographer? I would really struggle to pick a favourite photobook by another photographer. I took so much from such a variety of books; whether it be the layout, the colours, the bind or simply the feel of the pages which all helped inspire how I created my own. But one of my favourites is Between Two Mysteries by Carl Bigmore. It’s utterly stunning. I also own book 05 by Lina Scheynius, but covert her whole book series.
Direction: My route into photography was fairly natural, just initially wanting to capture beautiful things I saw around me, this progressed into more of an obsession when I received my first 35mm SLR; which I still shoot almost all of my 35mm work on. This desire to capture beautiful things around me really formed the basis of this project at its heart, it’s about the people, places and moments in time. The direction of creating a book flowed less easily, I initially toyed with the idea of a magazine, knowing that I wanted something physical to express it. But a magazine seemed to be less fitting for this body of work the more I considered the process, and a book seemed to perfectly encapsulate this period of my life into one physical body. Self publishing was really the only option for me with my budget, but also so fittingly allowed me to make it totally personal as I created and designed every aspect.
Considerations: The extent of the elements you have to consider gets pretty overwhelming. I made most of my decisions on gut instinct and what just naturally felt right to what I was expressing. Most of the design choices I made in this very instinctive way, but binding was something I struggled with more. I went through multiple tests of different types of binding, considering the feel and aesthetic they gave the finish of the book. But in the end it all came down to simplicity and keeping the images as uninterrupted as possible, leading me to the choice of a perfect bind. I have only made one copy of this book, which makes it as unique and personal as possible - this suddenly became reflective of the imperfections of my subject matter when I soon got a dirty mark on the white cover, and a blood stain on a page from a cut on my finger. As initially frustrating as it was I had almost instantaneously ‘ruined’ my creation, I made peace with it accepting it as just another moment in time.
Interior: The design and layout of the inside of the book came together very quickly for me. I had collected a variety of text from different sources that I felt totally encapsulated feelings I had during this period of my life I was exploring. They seemed to support the imagery to give the viewer another element to build their understanding with. The pieces of text from these sources, and the list of their credits is the only text that appears within the book, I didn’t want to force ideas and concepts onto the viewer, but for it to be a more organic process of their understanding building throughout the time. I wanted the book to be a raw and uninterrupted viewing of these images, which is why I kept the layout consistent and simplistic.
Inspiration: My list of inspirations can go on for days. I spent countless hours of my university life looking through books, journals and websites. I tried to immerse myself in as much as possible. I also watched films, read novels, listened to music, and went to galleries, and that all ended up feeding into my work. Really this body of work is an extension of the life I was living at the time, and I think this is apparent from the things I was interested in and engaging with. Photographers Jamie Hawkesworth and Harley Weir had a profound inspiration on me. Not just their work itself, but their process and their relation with art.
Advice: The advice I would give to anyone thinking about making a photobook is to trust your instincts, and to wholeheartedly make it for yourself. If you make it for anyone else you will not have the same attachment with the finished product. Be true to yourself and what you want from it. I would also say, make practice copies, make mistakes and make something you’re proud of.