Work in Progress book mock-up

I am no graphic designer but I needed a professional way to collate my images for the Work in Progress Portfolio hand-in. A website would look too loose and a video would not allow careful consideration of each image as I would be dictating the speed at which they were seen. Powerpoint would look too amateurish so I considered Adobe InDesign to create a mock-up book layout. The way my work has been progressing it would seem to fit either an exhibition or book for the best way of dissemination. There is a plethora of self-published photography books available so I am a little loathe to throw my bait in that direction, but for this hand-in I can combine the layout of a book with an exhibition catalogue to explore how my work would look finalised.

Cobbling together some design elements from my website for the cover using sharp straight lines as a contrast to the contents which are more soft-focus and far from ‘straight’. The working title of ‘A Place for Broken Things’ is a reference to the struggles we face negotiating our way round the heteronormative world. I was looking for clean crisp fonts to use that are subtle yet easily read & decided upon Quicksand for the image titles and I like the reportage inference of Courier for the title page. Initially the cover looked a little stark so I wanted an image that hinted at the content inside without offending casual viewers. Taking a close crop from one of the featured images; adding the warning sign to cover any offence then bringing the saturation of the background down I feel I have created a cover that should intrigue the reader to know more.

Treating the empty pages as if they were the gallery white walls I wanted little or no distracting design elements or text; preferring my images to speak for themselves. I have always found the early exhibitions of Wolfgang Tillmans work to be an interesting format to display his images. By using prints of varying sizes; some close together and some more loosely spaced it creates a dialogue between these disjointed shots and forces you to read them in a different manner to single images or grids; creating a narrative in the mind of the viewer. My intention is to use a similar method to set up dialogues between my images. I originally toyed with the idea of pining each image on a painted white wall along with its printed caption then re-photographing them to place in this format; mixing gallery and book in the same object. This is an idea I may revisit, but time constraints made it impractical for the moment.
By avoiding the central placement of images on the page; moving them to the edges or off-centre and using different sizes and alignments it disrupts the eye making the reader question the relationship between these (mostly) pairings. This breaks down the voyeuristic aspect of the body of work and forces you to see the naked form and question it’s meaning in relation to its pair on the page. As the body of work progresses I envisage more of the subjects requiring anonymity therefore the banal shot will act as stand-in for the portrait the person is unable to show while the naked portrait will become more questioning. I am still a little determined to place some kind of title to the shots, the intention being to use single words from song lyrics to create a further ambiguity and a third point to the triangle. Were this to be an exhibition then I have more single banal shots to draw on to accompany the naked form, but for the purposes of a book layout a simple pairing seems to work best as detail is lost when trying to combine too many images on a page and these simplistic shots are all about the subtle details.
For the edit I printed the images and laid them on a table to move around and see which shots were the strongest and which paired together in my mind to then drop in to the InDesign layout. Keeping the banal possession shots on the green/blue/purple spectrum it allows the rich colours of the naked portraits to stand out.

I struggled to find the correct positioning for the first image. I had it in mind to close the book with it, but could not use it as a back cover (it is a little too full-frontal) and placing it at the end of the sequence made it appear out of place as if it were thrown in just to make up the numbers. It is too strong a visual to be treated this way so I moved it to the front of the book to open the dialogue. Due to its portrait orientation this then left a blank page that needed filling. It may not be the best compromise but I decided to include a ‘Table Of Contents’ to fill the space which then gave me the chance to include dates for the image sequences and remove them from cluttering up the image pages. And also left me space for a dedication to the models involved.

The next double page spread is taken up by a single image. The brief for this submission precluded any accompanying text with the images so I could have left this image its own voice but after discussions with my tutors it was felt a subtle quote could be used if this were an actual publication and the Wilde quote I have included sums up my intent for the project without overpowering the image. This first image is deconstructed here –

For the next spread. Even though I have decided to stop concentrating on the Polaroid project that started off my studies I still find the grouping of them to be a strong example of my practice, therefore I would be remiss not to have included them in the portfolio. I like the uneven drop-shadow created when the prints were scanned as this hints at the family album which these images subvert. Again these are discussed here –

The rest of the layout is taken up with my most recent work all of which are analysed as separate shoots in the following posts –

The back page I have included just to finish the publication in a professional looking format.

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