Photobooks in a Digital Era

Photobooks in a Digital Era

Digital Era:

We are digital natives, although this doesn’t mean we have an understand it

We are a fish in water

We have the ability to share through linked digital devices

Information is KING

We have the ability to find, share, edit, copy and produce information

We use linked digital devices

Convergence culture

In the digital age we can read an article, highlight, email the link etc and share

However with a physical book it becomes harder to share

Photobooks are not linked digital devices

Books are meant to be read

They are changing


“Noun: a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers”

“A book is a sequence of spaces. each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment”

“A book is also a sequence of moments”

“A book is not a case of words, nor a bag of words, nor a bearer of words”

Ulises Carrion

‘The New Art of Making Books’

“In everyday use books have a highly standard form. they are made of rectangular pages, attached together on one side, and covered with words and images which are intended to be read in sequence”

Karen Raney



Dick Higgins Quote: “I’d suggest: a book done for its own sake and not for the information it contrasts. That is: it doesn’t contain a lot of works, like a book of poems. It is a work. Its design and format reflect it’s content – they intermerge, interpenetrate. It might be any art: an artists book could be music, photography, graphics, inter medial literature. The experience of reading it, viewing it, framing it – that is what the artists stresses in making it.”

Alex Sweetman Quote: “Photoworkbooks are a function of the inter-relation between two factors: the power of the single photographs and the effect of serial photographs…

Alex Sweetman “These elegant presentations of photographs fall short of being bookworks…”

A project in its self

Hans-Georg Gadamer

“Horizons” theory

Artists Horizon:  Vision/ Ideas/ Agenda

Viewers Horizon:

We bring our understanding of the message, our upbringing, our thoughts

We bring baggage

It’s why we have different opinions

When we view this work, the horizons fuse

We want to come together

See the work through the artist’s eyes

However this doesn’t always happen

When we leave the artwork the horizons will leave each other again

However it can change the way we see things

This is really powerful

Viewing something changing the way we think

This will then change our baggage

It will change how we see the next artist work ( or what ever it may be)

Horizons: Our presentation choices must reinforce the communication of our message or theme

Nobuyoshi Araki “sentimental Journey, Winter Journey”

Its housed in a little red booked slipped into a slipcase

It seems private


It invites you to sit down and spend time on the book

“Broken Manual” Alec Soth, Steidl 2010

About escape and hiding

The book itself is hidden away in an inconspicuous book

The ideal addition

Eikoh Hosoe and Yukio Mishima, “

Reminds us of a memorial

“Every building on the sunset strip”

Echordian book

We can pull it out and see all of them in one go

The photobook became more of a message

It becomes more than just a container of images

Physical photobook to digital photobooks

The photobook:

x-Expensive to produce and buy

x-Difficult to distribute

x-Hard to produce

x-Takes many people, photographers, printers, publishers, art work managers, reviewers etc


x-Space is an issue

+ They can’t be taken out of context, a self contained Artifact

+A physical object

+In 100 years time it will still work, it will still be there as a physical object

+Self contained



Kevin Kelly- “Better Than Free”

Generative qualities

Everything in this digital age can be copied

It will always be online

We cant get rid of it

We need to find what people value

People value things that cant be copied

These are generative qualities

8 generative qualities


Lucas Foglia

Why is this work so popular at the moment?

People don’t necessarily want to rebel; however they like the idea of communities

Escaping the digital age

Designs of books are changing

Becoming more generative

Embossed, design to look good.

Why else would we pay for a physical book when we could get it all for free online

It’s about the experience

Indie photobook library

Even more hyper generative

They have a life to them

Challenge the physical qualities of a book

Craig Atkinson “Bits”

Photobook club:

The digital ages lets us discuss books


You wouldn’t think this would happen in a digital age, however it is

It isn’t a good moneymaker

But its does get the work out there

If I was to produce a physical book perhaps I want people to get together, and discuss the physical book, to share their experiences and for it to become more of a social interaction, a support network. Could have interaction digitally, however I like the idea of actual face to face interaction and support, like a club.

David Greene, “Comfortable walking Socks” 2011

Alex Leme, “Small Town” 2011

X- Do not use an animation of a page turning!!

Digital platforms can be updated

However books cannot be updated

It will become out of date

Between pages and screen

A bit of a gimmick

Welcome to Pine Point

A digital publication

Images, audio, Video

-Kevin Kellys “Better than Free” (good read)

Quick task about a photo book:

It’s a sequel

It won’t quite rival the original

Its red- the colour of power

The shiny graphic symbolizes the tables inside

Size and weight demonstrates to the viewer its importance and power

It took a while to gain access to these boardrooms, which adds importance to the work

The limited edition had a walnut cover: ties it all in with the boardroom tables


Having looked over some books in class I plan to look at more in my free time.

Maybe I could include some of these qualities that I have come across in my book…

Perhaps by creating an interesting front cover, an acetate window and orange ribbon, ribbon bound, and acetate text over the images.

These qualities will help the viewer understand and grasp what my book is about; self injury awareness.


Sequencing a photobook/ making a brownie

Sequencing a photobook/ making a brownie

It’s like making a brownie…

We need the ingredients and the recipe ( a sequence of events, instruction)

We need to apply that sequence

A good photobook

Covers, captions, images, etc

Alex Sweetman referring to Cartier- Bresson’s “The Europeans” and “The Decisive Moments”

“..these elegant presentations of photographs fall short of being book works. The art here is the single images, not the expressive actions of the whole. And this is true of the bulk of photography books, monographs and exhibition catalogues with remain merely collections- portfolios between covers.”

Optional ingredients…

Who is your audience?

What makes something interesting is that it is different

A successful chef, tastes things on the way through

Tested, checked and reviewed


“Sequencing the photobook is not a science, it’s an art. Its like making an abstract painting, a matter of intuition of a good artist is a most powerful, a most intelligent and frequently underrated tool”

Gerry Badger

“sequencing the photo book is not a science, its and art. Its like making an abstract painting, a matter of intuitive trial and error. But remember that the intuition of a good artist is a most powerful, a most intelligent and a frequently underrated tool”Read photobooks

Read books

Watch films

Narrative Structure:

Flats, Arcs, Clusters and Scatters

Flat: Beginning, middle and end (start cover and back cover)

Paula Mc Cartney “Bird watching”; field study guide

Arc: The story Arc

Build up story, a peak, and then return to normal

Tzvetan Todorov-


A disruption to the equilibrium

A recognition of this disruption

An attempt to restore the equilibrium

A restored/new equilibrium

Ed Van Der Elsken “Love on the left bank”

Cluster: Allows the art to be split, almost chapters

Each section should work on its own, as well as in the larger narrative

“East of a New Eden”

It’s more rewarding to the viewers to make sense of it themselves

Scatters: a struggle (although rewarding)

Can use text or a motif to inform our horizon

Ryan Miginley

Ethereal editing

A sketchbook feeling

Rinko Kawauche “ Illumanance”

Alec Soth “Looking for Love”

Perhaps my motif that informs my viewer is the orange ribbon linking and making connections together


Stephen Bury

“Narrative as we have seen, is not confined to written text : one image next to another sets up a metonymic chain, the ‘reader’ carrying some memory of an earlier image” – Stephen Bury

Make connections

Alec Soth “Niagara”



Reading should have a pace

Traditionally, the image is on the right hand side

As this is where our eyes naturally fall

Using different paper and background colour can change the flow of the book

Rests: giving your viewer some time to breath

Cannot be constant

Jammie Hilton “Dead Evil Trail”


Something that recurring

Something to keep us on the right track

Jammie Hiltons “Dead Evil Trail”

Windows, strong light coming through the window (4-5 images)


We bring our own experiences, knowledge, and memory to the viewing

Information can make us make new sense of the image

Joel Sternfeld: “On this site” changed the meaning of the image by using text. The image goes from being a landscape, to being a cold and eerie crime scene.

“The Pond” by John Gossage

Narrative structure, rhythm

“A criminal Investigation” by Watabe yukichi

Rhythm and text

“The Present” by Paul Graham

Rhythm, Pairing

“Swarm” by Lukas Felzmann

Rhythm rests

Where to begin?

What am I doing?

What is my message?

Who am I targeting?

Document changes and choices

Make dummies

Nathan Pearce “Mid West Dirt”

Home, Away, Adventure, Return

Baby being left, not coming on the adventure, in front of white cladding

Sense of leaving, the long car journey

Used a triptych page to show the length of the journey


The shooting and the contrast with the countryside they are in

Clock gives a sense of time

Then we get a space

Before the adventure and fast pace comes to an abrupt end

He is back at the house, in front of the white cladding

Maybe on a second draft, we could consider using more white space in our long journey, it is too over emphasized.



This lecture has helped me develop and think about sequencing of my own book. I intend to use chapter markers to break up the shoots. I am also going to use a motif of the orange awareness ribbon throughout my shoots to link them together.


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Story Boarding 12th feb 2013

Story boarding



More time efficient

Editing more efficient

Cave paintings 15000/10000 BC

Key points

Story boarding

Aboriginal cave paintings

Stephen Schweickers tips about story boarding

Can we tell a story in a list of still?

Was the Christmas task

Salavdor Dali + Luis_Buñuel 1929

“Un Chien Andalou”

Surrealist movement

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Pyscho 1960

Master of suspense

Important parts:

-a man (setting the scene)

-man takes off painting to peep at woman through wall

-woman getting ready for shower

-man leaves wall

-man leaves house

-goes outside

-through another door

-walks down the hall

-sits down

-woman sitting down writing about finance

-rips it up

-looks behind her

-walks into the bathroom

-flushes it down the toilet

-gets into shower

-shower curtain across

-head and shoulders, in shower, turns on water

-enjoying shower

-shadow appears (music changes, tells us something terrible is going to happen)


-stabbing, but no view of stabbing

-blood in water

-woman slides down wall dead

-pulls down curtain

-water coming from above


-water down drain

-shot of a single eye, zooming out to reveal her face flat on the floor

-pan of the room to a newspaper


click image to see link


1.      Choose a 3 minute extract from a film

10 screen shots that sum up and tell the story

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.53.19 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.53.25 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.53.54 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.54.12 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.54.32 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.54.40 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.54.53 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.55.04 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.55.13 Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 12.55.29

2.       Using the pre blank story boards

Sketch out my story board

Scan0056 Scan0057 Scan0058




This lecture has made me realise how useful pre planning is when producing a video. The story board I have sketched out above was a great guideline to use when filming. I knew exactly what shots I wanted and could therefore use my time wisely.

Making digital books workshop and Making physical books workshop friday 15th feb 2013

Physical books:

We started by trying out japanese stab binding and made our own little book. We then carried on to make a miniature concertina book.



Digital books:

Scan0060 Scan0061 Scan0062 Scan0063

Follow this link to see my digital book:


This was really helpful to see how to make both a physical and digital book. I have chosen to make a physical book for this project, however I am sure I will use the Digital photo book skills in the future.

Digital Workflow lecture 8th feb 2013

Digital Workflow


A good practice guide:



Manage using adobe bridge and adobe Photoshop

Usually best to have shot in RAW

Always aim to get it right in camera

Importing-can put files straight on computer, or import via software

Card reader is the best way to transfer

Bridge is a viewing tool

Great way to managing photography


Decide on a good place to file pre-edited images consistently

Consider how you will name them

-Metadata and copyright, key-wording and searching


Adding copyright to metadata


Can search

-More refined selecting

Star ratings

Give yourself time

Bare in mind editing for different uses/outputs

-Correcting with Camera RAW

Unprocessed and uncompressed

Primarily: white balance, highlight recovery, shadow deepening, general exposure, contrast etc

Bridge “open in camera RAW”

Can “synchronize”

-Different File Sizes

Always keep original RAW, medium size hi-res jpeg, low-res jpeg

Folder of portfolio work, highlights, strongpoints, medium jpegs

Resizing in Photoshop and batch editing

Remember “Bicubic Smoother” to size up, “Bicubic Sharper” to size down

-Back up and storage

Back up both original files and your finalized edited images

As a standard aim to always keep at least 2 copies of your work

An external hard drive will be worthwhile purchase

Archiving can be done both offline and online


For print, web, sending etc

-Using the print Bureau, preparing the files

-PDF, TIFF, or JPEG format

-flatten the layers

-300 ppi at the exact output size


-Preview monitor to check colour depending on paper

-But worth testing different papers before final print



Going over the basics of Digital work flow, helped me rectify any mistakes that I had been making in the past. I wasn’t sure what the Camera RAW software could do for me, and now I understand that it can rectify small errors before I even open photoshop fully. I will use these guidelines to aid me in future with my digital imagery.

Donovan Wylie

Donovan Wylie

Is an Irish Documentary photographer from Belfast.

His work has evolved from the conflict in Ireland to taking imagery of military architecture to illustrate the conflict.

Donovan Wylie joined Magnum Photos in 1992 and became a full Member in 1997.

– One of the youngest members

– First book “32 Countries” produced when he was a teenager still

– “This is a highly personal and emotionally charged examination through photography of the people of Ireland.”

British Watchtowers

.                     Donovan Wylie

.                     25 May to 3 August 2007 Belfast Exposed

“The watchtowers were landmarks in the thirty-year conflict in and over Northern Ireland. Like the Long Kesh/Maze prison or the gable end murals in Belfast and Derry, they mark the site of conflict, define a frontline and are a component of an architecture of war, which has also become a representation of that war. 
Louise Purbrick, British Watchtowers, Steidl, 2007”


Maze Prison Belfast 2008 by Donovan Wylie (click to see link)


Outposts by Donovan Wylie (click to see link)



Looking at other photographers work is always great practice. I think that this linked to this module as it was interesting to see how images link to text. This will help me link my work with the information I give people.