Every Photographer {or Artist} Should Do This At Least Once

DSCF9608

Here is how I make a book:

  1. Spend Several Months (or Years) Taking Photos
  2. Dump 1000’s Of Photos On My Computer
  3. Brew A Couple Pots Of Coffee
  4. Start Culling Down Images (Set A Goal, 100, 200, 300 etc)
  5. Print 100 Photos
  6. Sort & Cull Those 100 Prints Down To 25, 30, or 50 That Will Make Up My Book

I’m working on my 2nd photo-book of the year. My goal is to make 5 before 2021. I don’t know why I picked 5—I suppose it seemed like a good challenge. Making books is a love/hate thing. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience and at the same time—an absolute torture fest. The following are a few bullet points on why I think every photographer or artist should make a book.

Why Every Photographer {or Artist} Should Make A Book

DSCF9607

It Teaches Us Discipline

DSCF9759
A Stack Of Prints Can Be A Daunting Procrastination Inducing Force

Making a book is a long process that requires us to delay gratification. This is an uncommon skill in the era of the social media empires. Every day artists & creatives break their necks to post their latest work in order to get that thumbs up dopamine high. Might I suggest a different type of reward—something permanent, something tangible. Something that you can share with your friends in person rather than an imaginary world of memes & political discourse.

Making a book of your photography or art is hard work. It requires us to confront the terabytes worth of images we have carelessly dumped on our desktops or crammed into external hard drives. We must spend hours perusing our archives, hacking away with a scythe and separating the wheat from the chaff——KILLING OUR DARLINGS. In doing so we are rewarded with the cream of the crop—the best of the best.

Making a book is HARD——and nobody is asking you to do it. If we are to finish our book we must set goals, we must show up and do the work. After all, our books aren’t going to make themselves.

It Works A Different Set Of Creative Muscles

DSCF9757
Patterns Begin To Emerge From Your Body Of Work When Making A Book

Putting together a photo-book {or book of artwork} demands that we flex a set of flabby, poorly used creative muscles. The Pairing Process is my favorite part of making a book. I start to see patterns, colors, shapes, juxtapositions, funny coincidences etc.

It’s a whole new creative experience. 

As artists, we have this amazing opportunity to mold and shape our body of work into a narrative. Which brings me to my next point.

Single Images Become More Powerful

DSCF9754
Alone These Images Don’t Mean As Much, But Paired Together Tell A Story

Sure, some themes are obvious, but the coolest part of the pairing process is that your images begin to take on a whole new identity. Often when we are out shooting we are focused on making one great image. When we pair photos or works of art in a book, a weak image becomes part of a story—making it more relevant than if it stood alone.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a photo that I thought I would never use—until I found the perfect photo to pair it with.

DSCF9755
Two Images That Tell A Greater Story When Paired Together

That’s the fun of making a book. You’ll begin to see your photography/art in a different way. Snapshots that you never thought would see the light of day——come together in some ironic way and tell a story.

For me this is the most rewarding part of the whole process. I’m getting excited just thinking about it.

DSCF9756
Another Example Of Two Photos Taken Weeks Apart, But Somehow Fit Together Like A Puzzle

In The End You’ve, Made Something Tangible

DSCF9254

DSCF9255

Like many things in life—the reward is often in the journey—not the finished product. Don’t think just because you’ve made a book that you’ll sell 100’s of copies and be adored by the local community.

DSCF9753

The most gratifying part of making a book is finding a story, shooting every day, pulling out the greatest images, & finding creative ways to put together each photograph like the words in a paragraph. It’s hard work—but in the end you have something tangible. You have something that you can pass out to friends & family. Something that you can be remembered for.

Something that may in time—out live you.

I think as artists, that’s the ultimate goal. 

Thanks For Reading—Now Go Make A Book!

P.S. My goal is to finish the work on my latest book by the end of June. I’ll share more details about it when I’m closer to having it published. 

In the meantime, check out my other books here.

1 Comment

  1. Awesome blog! I love seeing your excitement and satisfaction when you finish a book. It’s short lived of course. Maybe you should write about that…savoring your accomplishments.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s