Process 010 ☼ How To Make A Photo Book
Giveaway: Five Rolls of Kodak Film
Welcome to the tenth issue of Process. Our first tiny anniversary!
This week is an update about how my photo book Notice is coming along and some of the lessons I’ve learned so far throughout the process of making it.
For our giveaway my friends at Kodak Professional Europe have generously donated my favorite five rolls of 35mm film.
Consistency (Small Steps Every Day)
Back in May I shared that I had started a new photo project based around my daily photo walks in Vancouver during the pandemic. At that point I was 45 days in and had shot around 9,000 photos.
By the time August came around, it gotten a bit out of hand. I had gone on 99 daily photo walks, totalling around 100 hours of walking and shooting. That is roughly 600 miles (900km), which is like walking from NYC to Toronto, stopping for lunch and then walking another 100 miles. Over that period I shot nearly 40,000 images.
Correction (Nov 5, 2020): Turns out I miscounted and the real numbers are 123 daily photo walks, 1234 km (764 mi), which is like flying from Vancouver to Saskatchewan, and over 34k images shot.
These numbers sound crazy, even to me, which brings us to the first lesson I learned from the Notice project:
Take Away: If we do something consistently, even just for an hour a day, it adds up to something significant over time.
It’s easy to be intimidated by big goals we set for ourselves, but if we consistently take a small step forward every day and keep our eye on the ball, we will get there.
Selecting Images (And Asking For Help)
After my last daily walk the Notice project really started in earnest. With 40,000 pictures in hand I needed to figure out if there were enough good ones to make a zine or possibly a book.
At this point the idea of looking through 40,000 images was completely overwhelming but present day Wesley suddenly remembered that past Wesley had been smart enough to organize these images after every daily walk.
At the end of each day, I would dump the images into a separate day folder and edit my favorite shots. This meant that instead of having to look through all 40,000 images, I only had to go through the 1,500 I had already marked as favorites! Yay for good archiving practices.
Next up, I narrowed down my selection from 1,500 to 250 photos. Once I got to 250 I got stuck. I realized I couldn’t quite see the forest for the trees anymore. I needed help.
Queue The Beatles - With A Little Help From My Friends
I set up Zoom calls with a bunch of photographer friends. During each call I would run the remaining images by them in an Adobe Bridge screenshare, watching for their response to every image.
With each Zoom call I whittled down my selection a little bit more. By the time I showed the work to Willem, see above, I was already down to 134 images. At this stage my goal was to land somewhere between 80 and 100 images.
Take Away: As creators we are often too close to the work to be able to distinguish between a great photo or the great memory we have of taking that photo. Consult outside opinions.
Sequencing and Pairing Images
Throughout this process my friend Dan Rubin, a trained designer and photographer, has become a close collaborator. He graciously agreed to take on the roll of designer for the book and has been working with me on everything from layout to image selection, materials, printer choice, and more. In the picture below Dan shares a suggested image pairing over Zoom using small test prints.
During the image selection process we made an interesting discovery. We found a number of unintentional echoes and recurring patterns throughout this body of work. This has turned sequencing into a really fun mysterious puzzle with my own work.
Sometimes a pairing is immediately clear, but other times Dan and I spend a few days moving things around. For example, the image below with the basketball rim went through a number of pairings. Nothing felt quite right until Dan matched it with a close up of a plant (on the right side, below):
We decided on the second option thanks to the echoing textures between the leaf and the garage door. Dan laid it out below with printer marks in the B5 book format we might be moving forward with (still figuring that out).
There is still so much to do to make Notice a real book that you can hold in your hands.
This week we’re working on cover design, printer outreach, building a pre-order page (if you’re a Shopify expert, hi! help?), video editing (help!), partnership outreach, and a few other things. It’s a crazy time, but we’re having fun.
I’m very grateful that you’re following along with the entire journey of Notice, from a tiny seed of an idea all the way to a physical book on your shelf. This is easily my most ambitious project yet and I couldn’t do it without your help and support. Thank you! More soon!
My friends at Kodak Professional Europe have been incredibly supportive and I am so pleased we’re giving away FIVE ROLLS OF 35MM FILM, each roll being one of my personal favorite Kodak stocks.
This batch includes: Ektachrome 100 (slide film, stunning, especially with snow), Color Plus 200 (my favorite 35mm color film), TMax 400 (gorgeous b/w for portraits), and TMax 3200 and Portra 800 since it’s getting darker out this time of year.
ONE winner will be randomly drawn. For Process subscribers only.
To enter hit reply or email me at email@example.com before October 21st 11pm EST and answer the following question:
Which topic can I write about that would most help you grow as a photographer/creative?
Answering this question will help me make Process the most helpful and inspiring newsletter around. Also, it would mean a lot if you’d share Process on social media and with your friends. The more the merrier!
Congrats to last week’s winner David Fitzgerald, who will receive a copy of Frank D. Young’s zine Huemanity.
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