University: Edinburgh College of Art
Statement: Amusement focuses on the world unseen within the amusement park. Hyper-real and mundane functionalities are juxtaposed through the use of frame and colour. This creates a refreshed, ironic, if not slightly awkward, view of a space that we do not usually associate with day-to-day functionalities.
What is your favourite photobook by another photographer? My favourite photobook at the moment is The Open Road edited by David Campany. This photobook is a collection of images by the world’s greatest American Road Trip photographers. From Frank to Eggleston to Shore, it’s all there. This is the first photobook to use the photographic road trip as a theme. It’s a massive 336 page, hardback beauty and absolutely divine to read.
Direction: Originally the plan was to be a costume designer. However, due to a fear of sewing machines and a hate of sewing in general, I ran to the safety of the darkrooms and never looked back. In the third year of my photography degree I went on an ERASMUS exchange to the Academie Minerva in Groningen, Netherlands. It was here that my love for photobooks really kicked off. I took photobook and bookbinding classes, giving me my first insight into the making of the photobook and the book in general. Inspired by these courses I decided to self publish a photobook as part of my final degree show work. Now I’m doing an MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier University, aspiring to be a professional photobook publisher.
Considerations: In making a book, as opposed to prints, you are creating a story. Prints are free to be viewed in any order acting as individual works if desired. However, the book is a bound experience, a visual journey through a stranger’s eye.
Amusement is a hard back, 30X30cm, library bound photobook. It uses a pearl photo paper stock to enhance the colours on the page.
Interior: The images are organised in the order that you might see them as you walk into an amusement park. Moving from outside to inside to outside again. Instead of an introduction there is an introductory image. The only other text in the book is the title at the beginning and thanks at the end. This photobook is all about letting the images speak and allowing the viewer to create their own stories.
Inspiration: Amusement was heavily influenced by William Eggleston’s 21/4, published by Twin Palms Publishers. 21/4 is also square format, containing square colour images without much text. The presence and feel of 21/4 was exactly what I saw Amusement becoming. Eggleston also happens to be one of my favourite photographers and a great influence to my work in general.
Advice and Future Goals: Personally, I think every photographer should try to self publish their work at least once. It forced me to organise my work in a way I had never done before and gave me a better understanding of its meaning and context. I used Blurb to self publish Amusement, and going through the whole process of preparing files for CMYK and image sizing was a big learning curve for me.
If you are interested in photobook publishing, or publishing at all, I would recommend learning how to use Adobe Indesign. It is a powerful tool and has endless capabilities.
Currently I am in the process of making a new photobook with work I created while living in Japan. It won’t be out for a while yet as I am still in the film scanning stages but I am very excited and can’t wait to see how it turns out.