BJP Photobook Breakout session

British Journal of Photography breakout sessions on Photobooks June 30th 2017

Jenny Lewis

Editorial photographer living in Hackney talked about her personal work and two photo-books. The first book was ‘One day in Hackney’ where she photographed women within 24 hours of the birth of their child. She advertised for women with local leaflets pinned up at strategic sites and befriended  local community midwives. She set up a blog and put images as they arrived on her website. This had lots of hits from around the world which suggested that the subject matter resonated with people. This helped sell the book to a publisher.

Her second book ‘Hackney Studios’ is about the work spaces of artists working in Hackney. She approached artists after personal recommendation by the artist who then recommended another sitter. No clear to direction at the beginning but as many of studios have closed due to gentrification it has become a historical document. I tend to interview people but she was more informal and went back for quotes.

What stands out is her passion for her projects. Used a designer. Made the fall of light a feature of the page.

Recommended Barry Hughes photo blog.

Sian Davey

‘Looking for Alice’ by Sian Davey interviewed by the owner of Trolley Books. About life with a Down’s child. Used a designer. KickStarter to raise money for the book which cost 30K

“I just photographed where I was.  I photographed my world.”

There is a pattern here about building up your work over time and using other people to help you – your network

John McClain

He has Self published eight books.

‘Home Towns’ latest book. Photographs of the hometowns of artists that he admires. The images link to the hero and his contemporary work and have initial titles such WE for William Eggleston.

 ‘Tokyo and my daughter’ photobook by Takashi Homma influenced his work. No text in this book. He was an outsider in  Japanese photography.  Soft gentle but intelligent pictures.

Small books of 40 pages economical to produce. Making a book draws a line under things.

‘A to B’- looked at this book – about his journey to work. Follow your eccentricities.   

You develop your style by looking at other people. Otherwise you will stagnate. Make the work your own.  Advice: Never lose the momentum. (Quote by Richard Avandon).

What did I learn?

  1. I was inspired by the books that I saw. They were of high quality and with good design. I have decided I can produce a book myself of high quality for A5 and will do so
  2. A ‘handmade book’ is simply that, but there is something about the fabrication of an item which will make my book personal.
  3. John McClean impressed me the most as he was not always shooting for years to produce a book.
  4. I am thinking of starting my personal projects now and not waiting to year 2.
  5. Maybe I can win an undergraduate prize?