When considering the printed dissemination of this project it would be tempting to take the lazy route and use one of the online publishing services to create a ‘pretty’ photobook which could easily get lost amongst the plethora of self-published books that these companies rely upon. Assuming as always that they would be comfortable with my subject matter. Of course there is nothing wrong with these books as long as your work is strong enough to stand on its own. But these days you need to have a unique selling point and the reliance on something like Blurb loses the chance to create a publication that really stands out and integrates with the work to make for a stronger article.
Take for example Alejandro Cartegena’s “Before The War” project which documents the effect the Mexican drug wars have had on the local people. The publication is created with a mixture of printed media, text and images held together in a folder, so that it reads more as a police file than what we would normally consider a photobook to be. The sum, then becomes much more powerful than its component parts.
Thinking back to the book I created for the Ed Ruscha mini-project we were challenged with over the Easter Break. (Link) Much of the creative decisions were made in direct reaction to the contents of the pages. The title and font were used to parody Ruscha; the size of the book related to the size of an average condom packed. It opened from the top so that each page hung rather than turned over…as a subversive reference to the subjects; and the whole was housed in a protective sheathe that not only warned of its contents, but also created another subtle referent to the subject of each of the shots. All of these aesthetic choices were not made simply because I liked them but in order to relate to the subject and therefore create a more unusual and unique piece which, hopefully makes the book stand out.
When it came to a publication for my main research project things did not flow quite so easily. I considered the images & their story and tried to research what could be the best way to publish them. Many of the ideas I brainstormed seemed to be too staged – like I was searching for a gimmick just for the sake of uniqueness rather than something that would feed into and strengthen the body of work. I had a distinct idea of how I wanted my images to be laid-out for the exhibition so it seemed a logical choice to create something similar for the publication and website as well…to create a style that flowed across all forms of distribution. I decided to utilize an unusual page size so that I could combine each mini-set of images together. No image is to stand alone as each naked portrait has at least one other to support and reference it. So a long narrow landscape page gave me space to layout the images as I envisaged them. Each pair of pages would have one for images while its facing page could contain a pertinent quote to give the reader room for consideration. The size of the book and lightweight paper used makes it awkward to simply pick-up and flick through as many would browse most books; forcing the viewer to place it on a surface and therefore take time to read. The disjointed placing of the images on the page also creates visual full-stops to make the reader take their time to reflect upon. Rather than staple or glue & enfold the book in hard cover I should like to bind the book using red ribbon (a reference for HIV awareness) and wrap it in velvet (as a reference to the velvet subversion I employ in this project) making the reader unwrap beforehand to connote the preciousness of the article.
Before The War Alejandro Cartagena 2015 – https://vimeo.com/128518011