before the last weekend of the workshop began, reminders photography stronghold were visited by the small french independent publishing house, chose commune. they were presenting their next project about the indian tale of ramayna, and it sounded tremendously exciting and was a very inspiring talk. i also got a chance to show them one of my earlier dummies during the evening, and while they didn't jump at the chance to publish it (but why?), they did have some valid feedback. they thought the black and white photographs worked well, there was a good flow, but the color images confused them a bit. they thought i should reconsider where and which color images to use, as it at times seemed a bit random, where they were placed. i noted their feedback and when jan came back for the last weekend's workshop, we also ended of throwing out more of the color images, as well as rearranging them slightly.
that was a couple of weeks ago, when we had the last weekend of the handmade photobook-making workshop. we were to finish up our dummies. that means more or less making as good a dummy as possible, before sunday evening. once again we had a very productive weekend, working from morning to night on our photobooks. the atmosphere in the gallery was fantastic and people worked long hours, getting coffee and icecream from the nearest 7-11 and going out for dinner. people were setting up their books in indesign, doing the last editing of images to include, and many of the participants at the workshop had also reached a stage, where their dummy needed binding. jan took us through a variation of binding methods - showing us some of the techniques explicitly, while others were presented in power point and through books already made. the techniques we were taught included saddle stitch binding, japanese stitch binding, and glue binding.
as my book has japanese folded pages, it would be very complicated to do a stitch binding, so glue is really the best option for it. basically it comes down to keeping your pages very straight (you don't want to miss a page when putting on the glue), fasten the book, so the pages don't move and then apply the glue thinly - not a glue stick, but a cold glue. after the first layer of glue has been applied, you take some mesh fabric and apply it on the spine of the book, and put on another layer of glue. then you wait for it to dry and hope you've done well. the whole thing is not overly complicated, but it is difficult to get the pages 100% straight i have learned. although i tried my best the spine came out a little cooked, but i guess, like in any other field, practice makes perfect. my bound book dummy no. 7 is for instance already much better than no. 6 and no. 8 is better than no. 7. i have decided to leave the spine of my book exposed, hence the glued mesh is visible. you could also cover the spine with fabric or bookbinding tape, but i think that the naked spine speaks to the theme of the book. jan says that a meshed spine like that is unconventional, and that he likes it and so do i.
for the cover of my book, i decided on black thick 2 mm cardboard. this is attached to the book after the spine has been glued. the best way to do that is by glueing or using double-sided tape to stick the card board onto min. 200 g paper and then attach that thick paper - again with glue or double-sided tape - to the first page of the glued book. my book is app. A5 in size, but because some of the pages can unfold into A4-sized spreads, some of the pages stick out compared with the traditional japanese folded pages. with guidance from yumi, i have so far decided to let the pages that spread out into A4s not be covered by the black cardboard cover, so they essentially stick out from under the cover. this also makes sense for the story in the book, which is about not fitting in. again, nothing is done without reason. lastly, i want the cover to have a debossed hyphen on the front with glossy black finish. for now, i have settled with cutting out the hyphen in the cardboard, removing some of the layers of the cardboard to get the sunken effect and then inserting some black tape. i looks okay for the dummies.
the 6th dummy i made during the final stretch of the workshop. it was my first manual glue binding, cover attachment and overall finish of the book, but the printing inside was not good, the paper was wrong and some of the images were even printed on copy paper, not the right sizes or placed wrong on the page. after the workshop finished i decided to do two more dummies that would be as close to the final version (for now) as possible. the title page of the book is a silver pager, which sort of has a mirror effect. i first tried to stamp the title and my name on the page. it almost worked. as long as i had the right ink (not all ink dries), but even the non drying ink was solved with spraying the page with hairspray, which makes it stick. all of this took a little bit of time, but while i was working on this, i decided to try and print the title page. that turned out to look even better than the stamp, so now all i had to do was print the title page. easy. no, not really. because the silver paper is coated with something to give it a shiny effect, it seems very few printers can print on it. the coating sort of melts and messes up the paper. i tried printing on different kinds of silver paper, i tried printing on different kinds of printers. different printing shops, but it only worked once. i got one decent looking title page. i still haven't solved this printing issue, but have been suggested to silk screen it. apparently it is really easy to do on your own..... perhaps, but when you've never done it before, everything is challenging. i'll get back to you on how that turns out.
last week i spent doing my latest two dummies, which have turned out okay. well enough to enter into competitions at least, so that's what's next for the photobook dummies for now. for the entire project i still need to figure out how to: deboss the hyphen on the cover as well as silk screen print the silver title page.
all in all the book making process so far has been phenomenal, but tiring at the same time. it is taking one step forward and two backwards with a lot of the creation. so far i'm (almost) satisfied with what i have, but it can get even better. and that is my aim.
over and out for now.