julia mejnertsen

i didn't know research could be this much fun

Added on by hulu_jay.

tokyo, japan

i have not really had a chance to consider how i want my own photo book to look until now. my favorite photo books are like diaries in some way - they are often very personal in nature, and the design and form of those books are very important in conveying and underlining the feelings that the book contains. however, when looking at which photo books i have in my own library most of them are traditional, pretty minimalistic and a decent size that can easily be held and flipped through. i guess i'm not the coffee table book kind of a person.

now i'm thinking for my own book i can go traditional and rely on my pictures to speak for themselves. but then again, traditional publishing is not why i'm doing a handmade photo book workshop in tokyo for (then i might as well "make it on a mac"). rather i have the last couple of days gone on a small research tour around tokyo to look at what's trending in photo books. i have done a fair share of research in my life, albeit academic research, but i never knew it could be this much fun. in my opinion japan has some of the most innovative photo book publishers in the world - super labo, ima photobooks/amana, art beat publishers to just name the ones i've come across during my research, and they're getting me highly motivated to create my own book.

as i am writing this i'm sitting at the café at the ima concept store (japanese photo book heaven with nice coffee and free wifi) and contemplating which of the thousands of photo books i should claim, buy and make mine. yesterday, i went to tsutaya books in daikanyama t-site (also a very decent photo book selection), where i bought "tokyo parrots" by yoshinori mizutani. i was proud that i exited the store with only one book (remember i have to transport them all home at some point..), but i think that one book will not suffice this time. too many books take my breath away and i cannot afford them all - yoshinori mizutani's  "colors", rinko kawauchi and terri weifenbach's "gift", rinko kawauchi's "sheets"  and risaku suzuki's "white", i really want them all, and they all have some interesting feature i wouldn't mind adopting into my own book.

for my own book however, after my initial research, my thoughts are:

  • A4 or smaller
  • japanese binding (special hand stitched back)
  • neutral colors / see through papers / splash of color
  • pages within the book that are bigger (opens up) or smaller than the book format
  • portfolio-type, where one book opens into 2 or 3 smaller books

these are all design elements that my research has inspired me to think about. i would sincerely recommend going photo book hunting, if you need inspiration for photo book making. really, the sky's the limit and it is very inspiring and motivating to see how many options you have.

below i've included some pictures of the books, i found most inspiring in terms of design and formats.