I’m a big lover of social media! I love connecting with other creatives, sharing my own creativity and all around feeding the hungry beast that is Instagram, Twitter & Facebook. I try to post on these platforms consistently throughout the week, which means most images that I’ve deemed worthy to share, make it onto the socials shortly after I’ve done the developing and scanning process.
In my recent post, grieving the death of yet another rangefinder camera in my collection, I shared the fact that Emily and I just returned from a creative stint in Maine. We had the incredible pleasure of attending the Golden Apple Artist Residency with the sole purpose of creating artwork for two weeks straight. I entered into the residency with a couple objectives. The first was to finish the branding and website of my new Film Apparel Line, which I proudly accomplished while out there (More about this in the future). Equally important on the timeline, I wanted to complete a photo book project from start to finish. That is what I am here to talk about today.
I’ve been extremely focused on printing my work as of late. My office walls are beginning to be plastered with prints, both framed and unframed. I have much to say on the topic of printing your work, however I will leave that for a different time. The point I want to focus on is the idea that I went into the residency with a book in mind. Not just photos… not just prints… but a book. Apart from Emily and I shooting weddings with albums in mind, I have never approached a project from the start with the sole purpose of making a book.
As I was out at the residency I began to think just how important it is to me that this project be viewed in whole as a book. I quickly came to the conclusion that none of its photos were to be shared in any digital form until after the book was finished and released. This is an absolute first for me. And to be honest, the idea that I have a TON of images that I so desperately want to share with everyone but can’t just yet is killing me! But its so worth it.
I shot loads of film at the residency. Bulk loaded a ton of black & white, which I have developed and scanned all but two rolls, and shot nearly 15 rolls of color which will be getting shipped off to Indie Film Lab in the next week or so.
So why go through all the hassle? Why not just share the photos as I go along with building the book? A couple reasons come to mind. First, it lights a gigantic fire under my rear to get things going and in motion! Now, I’m to stubborn to admit to being a bit of a procrastinator, but I will admit that personal projects tend to get pushed aside for client work quite often. So having the extra urge to move things forward sooner than later doesn’t hurt. Second, I want there to be a certain je ne sais quoi about the whole thing. A romance… a mystique… a build up to something that is hopefully worth while (at least as a first project). I don’t want the art to be watered down by the idea that it’s already been consumed and digested on the webs. I mean there’s a reason I shot it all on film in the first place. The artwork was made with the tangible in mind. Something that is meant to be experienced by multiple senses, not just sight.
So far, apart from developing all the B&W film (both 35mm & 120), I have began printing off 4×6 proof prints of the initial bw selects. The title image shows the stack of prints so far, with a conveniently placed print on top the stack that has nothing to do with the project. Im so excited to begin laying these out, and have began sharing them with a small group of creatives to help me in the final culling process and initial layout of the book.
My goal right now is to get the final 2 rolls of bw scanned by this next weekend, so I can begin seeing how the photos will flow together. Not knowing what the color images look like right now has me wondering if they will work well with the black and white or not. I will say the bulk of the b&w film I shot was long expired and gave for a certain aesthetic, which may clash with the clean colors of the fresh Portra 400 that was shot. We will just have to wait and see.
What are your thoughts on this idea? Have you ever worked on a project that was specifically meant to be in print? Did you refrain from posting on the socials?
I will keep you guys updated on the progress of the project as it begins to come together over the next few months. In the meantime I do feel comfortable sharing images I captured on my phone from the residency. It was quite the experience! If you are following me on instagram you may have seen one or two of these photos already. They will give you a small glimpse of the scenery I was shooting for the project.