This Made it In, But Barely
…I’m currently holding two printed proofs of Car Sick, one printed in B&W, the other printed in CYMK. They both look really good, although the CYMK prints out much better than B&W; not even close. The blacks are much deeper, and there’s no obvious color cast. Lesson learned: when done professionally, and not knocked out quick by a POD or some similar vanity press, you can get nice B&W from four-color printing. I’m pleased. The final version is 100 images on 140 pages, 100# weight gloss fine art paper printed at 436 PPI, cloth hardcover with a printed jacket. All the upscaling – four- color printing, heaviest gloss paper stock, dust jacket etc, -bumped up the production costs significantly, although you (and I) are worth it. By time I ship them out I’ll be losing $10 a copy, so I’m pleased I didn’t quit my day job. Full run of books should be in my possession June 1st.
Actually, I’m really pleased with the quality of the entire project, content included. In addition to the photography, I did all the design myself. Before submitting a final I sent drafts to someone I respect for some feedback. This is what I got back: “I was somewhere between delighted and gobsmacked at how good this thing is. I was expecting something good, but not *this* good. You have many excellent spreads in here, and all the photos are strong both by themselves and in sequence.” Even factoring in some inevitable inflation in positive response baked into any unsolicited request for feedback among friends, I took this to mean I was on the right track. Of course, I proceeded to substantially revise it further, taking out a few photos that worked on their own but ‘didn’t quite fit’ into the larger sequence, adding a few which hadn’t previously made the cut, and re-sequencing in light of the changes. I like the final copy better than what I sent out for comment. Readers will have their say, of course, but I like it, and that’s what matters.
It’s interesting how much weight sequencing plays in a successful visual presentation. Properly done, effective sequencing – i.e. placing photos in positions where they relate to one another and create a larger narrative via the relationships created by recto/verso page layouts and beginning-to-end sequencing – makes the difference between a good, coherent work and a not so good collection of vaguely related photographs. The trick is to 1) present a body of photographs that relate to each other and in-so-doing create something bigger than a mere collection of ‘good’ photos; and 2) sequence the work so that it has some narrative structure without forcing a structure on the viewer. Editing for sequence requires a light hand; you want the viewer to retain some imaginative input – nothing worse than force-feeding a point-of-view – while offering something with some fundamental coherence. It’s a variation on the post-modernist question of who determines the meaning of a piece, the author or the reader? I come down on the side of both. That’s why it’s possible that I’ll love the book and you’ll hate it. Who knows? Who cares? You’ve already paid for it, so you’re stuck with what I give you. After coming up against the hard reality of all the work it was to involve, I – just fleetingly, mind you – thought of cranking out some easy POD and then ghosting you all. Couldn’t do it, given how generous all of you who contributed were and are.
This Was Taken Out of a Car Window…But this Didn’t Make it In (Not Shot in USA, Doesn’t ‘Fit’ Any Conceivable Narrative Sequence), Plus, Most People I Show It To Hate It. I love it…But It Doesnt Fit.
On a related note: Within a few days I’ll be posting a bunch of photo equipment for sale, in what has become my usual annual disgorgement of stuff I’ve bought on a whim and now need to unload to scare up some cash. The reason I’ll be doing so is that, as mentioned, I’m over budget on the book, and I need to raise some cash so I can finance sending 90 copies to readers around the world without my wife leaving me.
In spite of my protestations to the contrary, half the fun of a photography obsession is fetishizing equipment, and, true to form, I’ve accumulated a bunch of really nice cameras I thoroughly enjoyed using for the minimal time I owned them but have tired of them and now, in the interests of financial solvency, need to move them along to the next gearhead. Who among us doesn’t secretly covet new-fangled stuff that promises to finally satisfy whatever the underlying causes of our perpetual discontent? Plus, it’s fun to get new stuff, real fun if it’s actually something of quality that works well and not some ridiculous limited edition Lenny Kravitz thing Leica conned you into buying so you’d vicariously feel like a mix of Don McCullin and Jimi Hendrix while stalking your subjects at the corner cafe. Suffice it to say that I wouldn’t sell anything to my readers I wasn’t prepared to buy myself.
I’m looking forward to seeing the book.
Here’s a silly thought: Offer the purchasers of your book the opportunity to kick in for the additional cost. Make it completely optional. Explain the additional production cost and the shipping cost. Your friends and people who enjoy art will understand why. Consider that the purchasers have already patiently waited, without apparent complaint.
It sounds to me that your book is now more than a book of photographs. It is a complete artistic performance.
Kevin: Of course, if folks want to kick in a bit more, I’m not going to turn it down. But I’m not asking for it, don’t expect it and am perfectly happy as things now stand. I’m amazed at the initial generosity of so many people – I say I’m doing a book and people send me $3500, just like that. That’s pretty remarkable.
I am prepared to give Tim any addition funds to cover his book production costs.
Please let Tim know if you would like to contribute some more money.
Interesting, but your website link comes up with nothing on it other than advertising for go daddy…
As a both convinced and confirmed oikophiliac, as indeed from all of your writings are you. I appreciate the work that you have endeavoured to embark on with this continuing project that is, from what you say, an ode from your heart to your local environment.
Whilst I sometimes come across as somewhat forthright in my criticism and critique of both your writings and that of some commenters (you know who you are), I deeply appreciate this work.
Indeed, despite often feeling crushed by some of the more aggressive responses, when I look back, they are mostly caused by my own sometimes, even frequently unwise buccaneering banter. I wish I could excuse it due to my ongoing health issue which causes me to spend perhaps too much time sitting at this infernal machine, rather than travelling and experiencing the wider world. There is, of course, a corresponding shortage of the required spondoolics to put this sort of activity into practise, but I can always dream.
Anyway, I am thrilled both for you and those of us who have handed you the dosh, and sat twiddling our thumbs, particularly during this, I think unwise and ongoing state sponsored terrorism, known as Loch Down,.
So I am pleased that you are now happy with your creation, despite your untimely and unhelpful hiatus and I look forward to receiving my copy, as I am sure will be many others.
I am happy to count myself as one of the growing number of confirmed Leicaphiliacs.
Stephen: thanks for all your kind words over the years. I always look forward to your input.
Health decline, age and lack of spondoolicks are common curses that often come bundled. I think I might just write the book.
Possessing imagination makes the deal worse because you realise what you may potentially be missing. If you enjoy the sofa, the beer and the tv, it’s a time for celebration because you can dismiss the conscience bit about sitting around doing nothing very much. In fact you may be amazed to learn some do have a conscience about it in the first place, and wonder why.
Currently, I want to be Rick Stein and enjoy the European places, the food and the Porsche convertible. Well not actually to be Mr Stein, but to be me in his shoes. He can sit at home and salivate instead.
Tim, your “rejected” shot:: wasn’t it one from Bois de Boulogne? Naughty boy.
Just sent another $15 to cover the shortfall.