julia mejnertsen

Filtering by Tag: workshop

when the rains come (we will fear no more)

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copenhagen, denmark

dear all,

i've been neglecting you. i'm sorry!

after my last post in mid-october (!) i've returned to life in denmark. been busy with trying to figure out what to do next, but i have at the same time been working on a new project. well, new is perhaps an overstatement seeing that i've been working on it for 3-4 years, but it wasn't until recently that i realized that i needed to make it into a photobook.

hence, i signed up for an intensive 4.5 day bookmaking workshop with toscana photographic workshops (or tpw for short) taught by teun van der heijden and sandra van doelen of heijdens karwei. the workshop was limited to 4 participants, and seeing that there were two teachers and two assistents, it was pretty much a 1:1 situation. happy camper i was. the workshop took place in bologna in a room located in a private museum of sorts in the center of the city. we were surrounded by old italian paintings, which made for a beautiful bookmaking backdrop.

my project started off with the working title while we're waiting for the rain, but the book's final title is when the rains come (we will fear no more). first thing's first though, and the whole process started out with finding out exactly what is the story that i want to tell. i already knew that my story had the possibility to go in many directions, but i am not a photo journalist nor am i a reportage photographer, so going into the workshop i had a distinct feeling that i was looking towards a more poetic style (thanks to mette frandsen for helping me realize this). am i getting ahead of myself? - i think i am.

the story: my mother is a big game hunter; a passion that has evolved in later years, and the project “when the rains come (we will fear no more)” began, without being aware of it at the time, when she back in 2012 one day asked me, ‘do you want to go with me to zimbabwe to hunt?”

but what then is the focus of the story? - hunting, killing, my mum, girl power, poaching, animals, nature, africa? you see, many possibilities - and following all of them would make for a rather confused book. the project is not a project about big game hunting as such. it is above all a project about my mother and about finding oneself, about strong women challenging themselves and their boundaries, and about never stopping to grow as a person. i have seen my mother grow into a woman of tremendous format and courage, a person I can admire and see myself in. a real inspiration to me, being somebody, who still can’t figure out who I am or where I belong. i know that hunting is a sensitive subject, but my motive and story is not one of provocation, but one of love and admiration for strong women and role models. my point being, my mum is a strong woman, who has taught me to follow my passion. the second thing i wanted to make a point of with my story is the, from my point of view, misunderstood nature of hunting. people, who do not hunt, seem to think it is all about the kill. but it is so much more. it is just as much about becoming one with nature, understanding nature. what's the name of this plant? what's the name of this flower? what animal leaves this track? do you think those clouds indicate the rains will come soon? it is about passion, it's about challenging yourself, and it's about getting to know yourself, because when all material things are stripped away and your mental and physical boundaries are tested, you get to know yourself really well. and how do you put all of this love into a book of pictures? that's what teun helped me clarify during the workshop. a couple of pointers from teun on editing:

  • your editing depends on what your outcome is going to be - is it magazine, newspaper, exhibition, book?
  • a photobook is like a slow film (visual novel) - sequence, tension building, screen play
  • senses / form / feeling - 3d photobooks play with the senses
  • build narrative layers (this was an eye opener for me) - when you build layers into your book, you often get an extra layer for free. meaning that readers will deduce their own narrative layer, which you had not necessarily intended or thought of at the time your book was made. this for me is key, because i myself love the feeling of getting it, when reading a photobook. whether i actually get it or not doesn't matter in the end, as long as a book can conjure that feeling.
"the speed and rhythm of a photobook is faster than a textbook but slower than a film" - teun van der heijden

the process: first selection of images was made, sequencing. second selection of images was made, sequencing. indesign set up - size of book was decided (which can depend on publishing - see below). diary text was scanned and added as a graphic element, diary text was added in the back of the book. handwritten text with names of plants and flowers were added to pictures. french title page, title page, spine text (this is probably the most time consuming, complicated thing to do!!), and then of course one has to consider the number of signatures (=sections) the books needs. the size of the book and the number of signatures is where the maths come in. let's see:

a printing sheet in offset printing is normally 70x100 cm. that means you get 16 pages of 24x34cm (8 pages on recto, 8 pages on verso). then if you make your pages smaller within the size of 17x24cm), you can get 32 pages on one printing sheet. if your pages are even smaller than that, you get more pages on one printing sheet. hence, if you are to publish your book, it may be a good thing to keep in mind, as the price increases every time you have more printing sheets.

click on the image to see full size

however, i was not at this point going to a publisher to have it printed, but when you set up your files in indesign, you still have to be aware of your signatures, as they should be dividable with 8 for booklet printing purposes.

in the end, i came away with a first dummy of my book that i am very satisfied with. i love that it has a handmade, sort of rough feel to it. i hand-stitched the 7 signatures together (took me 2 hours) and then it was glued to make it more stable. lastly, the cover was added and the book was cut. you will understand the cover, when you look at the last picture in the book. i give all credit of this fantastic cover idea to teun :)

i hope you like it!

it's all in a name - choosing the title for my book

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tokyo, japan

i mentioned in a prior blog entry that i wanted to talk a little bit about my thoughts, as well as jan and yumi's input, on choosing a title for my book. back when the initial bookmaking discussion sessions started via skype with jan, before coming to japan, my book project had the working title 'gaijin' (which means foreigner in japanese). the reason being that i often feel like a foreigner in denmark in the sense of not really belonging. also, i thought the japanese characters for gaijin (外人) looked nifty. i was quickly told however that i should reconsider the title. i agreed to do that, although i didn't understand why initially. i still thought it was pretty catchy and would frame the story well.

when i came to tokyo however, i already had another title in mind. my new title came from the research i was told to do on the subject of expatriation / existential migration etc. i discovered another theoretical field called migratory aesthetics, where i took the new title from. the initial title 'gaijin', a word that has different meanings to foreigners and japanese people, and is japanese, thus incomprehensible to a lot of people in general, was thrown out.  the new title being 'Tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?'. On the first dummy i made, it was actually a little longer (Please tell me, how does one pronounce a hyphen anyway?). As you probably know a hyphen is a form of dash that is used to hold two words together, but also separate a word into two, when a line ends and a new begins. In danish the word is 'bindestreg', which more or less means a line that ties something together. i thought that that title worked well for my book, because it for one is symbolic of something being either held together or separated - if separated, it is done in order for a word to fit in on a line. it is a character merely used for appearances sake. so while you might think that the title is a little cryptic, you should really just take 2 minutes and carefully read and try to answer the question. think about what a hyphen is and what its usage is, and i think you have the answer and understand a little bit, what the book is about.

tell me or don't tell me

after having narrowed in on the title, we tried to hone in on the perfect form for the title. should it be one sentence, two sentences of even three? should i include the question mark or was it superfluous? should i take out the 'Tell me,'-part and just call it, 'How do you pronounce a hyphen?'

1) Tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?

2) Tell me,

    how do you pronounce a hyphen?

3) Tell me,

    how do you pronounce

    a hyphen? 

i decided on the second option. i think that 'Tell me,' is an important part of the title, as it makes it personal and more relatable - like a call out to the reader to help me find out. i also think that visually the second option looks best, and I could not think of any arguments for making three lines. So far, i have also decided on keeping the question mark, as leaving it out, would call for major questions as to why it is not there. At this stage i don't feel there are any good reasons to not include it. but i might not have thought it through all the way to the end yet, so it might change (but i don't think it will ;)).

these were just some of the thought-processes and discussions i've been through in the course of forming this book. as you might have noticed, every detail is thought through and nothing is left up to coincidence or chance. all of this contemplating about all the little details, have surprised me a little, but excited me at the same time. it is fun to do something wholeheartedly, where everything is considered, and you understand, why you choose one thing over the other. i am very happy that i now have a better understanding of the bookmaking process, it really appeals to the perfectionistic / detail-oriented side of me, and for once i have time to consider all the details and not rush, just because other things are demanding my attention. also, id i hadn't done this workshop, i would have made a photobook called 'gaijin', i am pretty happy that didn't happen.

finishing the workshop and my 6th, 7th AND 8th dummy

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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.



choosing paper, test printing and binding

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tokyo, japan

i guess it's time for another update. although i can hardly find time to sit down and write it. so many things have happened since the last post, and right now i should be back at the gallery test printing. well, i needed a coffee and so i've ended up at starbucks in the skytree (not due to the quality coffee, but rather the free wifi).

paper and test printing

i have been incredibly busy the last week. while i was not expecting handmade book-making to be easy, i seem to continuously run into new challenges that need to be overcome. while printing in denmark leaves you with little choice of paper to choose from, this is not the case in japan... in fact i find myself rather overwhelmed. last week i went back to takeo paper shop to look for paper. i posted earlier all the multitudes of great paper they have in that shop, but after spending the better part of an hour i finally departed the store with 10 different kinds i wanted to test. all within the white/eggshell color scale, from thick to very thin. all in a4 size and with two sheets of each. i think it cost me around 1500 yen (10 euro) - very reasonable i think. but come on, 10 sheets of paper doesn't even begin to cut it..

thus, i ventured off to ginza, where i had been told that another japanese paper maker, oji, has a store. the rumors go that you can actually take all the sample paper you want for free (they have printed facts and test prints on one of the sides, but the opposite side is free to test print your own stuff). anyway, who gets anything for free these days, so i thought it was definitely worth a visit. as it turns out, the store wasn't a store, rather it was oji's administrative HQs in a fully owned oji high rise. although a little intimidating to enter, i quickly found myself in the reception of this pretty awesome looking office building. here all of oji's 100s of different types of papers were available in drawers. please go ahead and take as many as you like. i think i snatched around 50 different types, as i thought it could also make good referencing in the future. out of these 50 sheets of paper, i couldn't really tell you the difference of many of them, but there are some that are glossy, some are matte, some are glossy on verso and matte on recto and vice versa. some weigh 40 grams and some 90 grams, so you see, the options truly are endless.

i thought that now i had spent a day securing all my test paper, all i needed to do was a couple of test prints to see which looked the best, and then just go and buy that kind. no no no no, think again. today i went to kinko's printing services to do so. firstly they screwed up my double sided prints, so that two images were printed on top of each other rather than recto/verso. remember i only have two sheets of each kind of takeo paper, so one sheet was lost. their fault. i gave them sheet number two. they print them, it looks horrible. why? they are using laser jet printers obviously (read about the difference between laser and inkjet printing here), and it doesn't penetrate the paper properly. my own fault. so now i have no paper left and no useable prints to judge from. after that experience i needed a coffee and that is why i am currently sitting at starbucks. 

what will you do then? you might ask. well, here is my game plan. i am going back to the gallery to use the gallery's inkjet printer to print the recto pages on the pages kinko's screwed up and see how it works out. then, i'll probably rely on my gut to take me the rest of the way. i'll get back to you on that.

update! i printed on the back pages and it looks much better than kinko's - so now i've managed to cut down on paper and will choose between my 4 favorites for the b/w printing.

binding

another thing i have been trying to figure out is which kind of binding i want on the book. here's the tricky part, my book doesn't give a shit about what i want. instead it is about what is feasible and doable. yumi-san of reminders photography stronghold has been a great advisor, spending amble time with me discussing what can be done and what will work the best. to start with i really wanted some kind of stitch binding, but because my pages are japanese folded (fold a piece of a4 into an a5 and have the binding of the book be in the end of the opening - really it's the opposite of normal pages and you kind of get two hidden pages. however, it is not possible to stitch them traditionally. since there is no reason for my book to be japanese stitched and a japanese stitching would result in the margin eating about 1 cm of the book, which i'm not interested in, i won't do that either. eventually yumi-san and i ended with glue binding probably being the best option, and we decided to try it on one of my dummies. however, yes there is a however, because my book consists of different types of pages i.e. japanese folded pages in a5, a4 pages as well as normal a5 pages, the glue binder told us that the result may not be satisfactory and thus was reluctant to do it. we were invited out to his small factory (douchi-do, murayama book binding) to see the process, so we could better understand why he was hesitant. sunday morning, yumi-san and i biked through eastern-tokyo to get to the small factory, where we should try to glue my dummy. it was a simple process, but with a lot of steps. one would normally cut all four sides of the pages of the book at the same time to get them even and completely straight for gluing. because of the many page formats in my book this cannot be done, and only the side where the glue was to be put was cut. the end result looks pretty good anyway, and i'm sure that when it is the final copy and not just a dummy made with copy paper, it will look even better. one thing to keep in mind though, is that the glue might work differently depending on the paper type I use. that means that while the copy paper works fine, it might not end up working as well on my chosen paper. yes i know, it is a continous battle to get this right.

i just have to mention though that this guy, who did the glue binding was absolutely amazing. not only did he glue my dummies for free, he also made two notebooks for me while we waited for my glue to dry and gave us samples of both glue, mesh and tape to take home, so we could experiment with the glue binding ourselves at the gallery. totally worth spending sunday morning this way, and once more i am humbled by the warmth and service level of the japanese!! plus as you can see from the pictures below, a lot of the glue binding process is still made by hand at his factory. pretty cool! 

all the other stuff 

the past week i also visited a printer that can make blueprints from drawings and copies. it looks pretty awesome, so i got my architectural drawings made as a blueprint, as well as my 'blondes in denim shirts' grid (that doesn't look as awesome as the architecture drawings though). i also visited my next stop in tokyo - 3331 arts chiyoda - to have my first meeting with the staff, who will help me out during my residency. this i do not doubt will be an equally amazing experience as the bookmaking workshop has been so far. i am learning a bunch and feeling very inspired. the area i live in (sumida) is old tokyo, cultural and historical - apparently i'm right in the middle of an old red light district - many old, traditional japanese houses and small shops, restaurants and factories. 

i haven't been anything but happy for the past 3.5 weeks, while i've been in tokyo. just when I think that an experience cannot get any better, it gets a little better. miki hasegawa has taught me japanese stitch-binding and hajime kimura has spent a day teaching indesign. the weather is great, the food is great, the beer is fantastic and the company is pretty cool also. 



getting to the point of creating a dummy

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tokyo, japan

last weekend the handmade photo book workshop began full speed. 3 days of intensive book-making from morning to late night. the aim: to create one or two book dummies (if you don't know what a book dummy is, please refer to this previous blog post) that can be used as a starting point for our photo book creation. the next 2 weeks i'll fine-tune the result of the first weekend of workshop before the workshop concludes with one more weekend of intensive creativity on may 29th - 31st. 

just to recap, the workshop is run by belgian photographer jan rosseel and gallery owner yumi goto of reminders stronghold photography in tokyo. we are 10 participants in the workshop; 8 japanese, 1 new york-based spanish woman and then me. it is a bilingual workshop conducted in both japanese and english, and as confusing as that may sound, it actually works quite well. people come from diverse backgrounds working with photography, but also film-production, translation, dark room printing and so on. the projects accepted into the workshop contain subjects of great diversity, such as the tokyo rockabillies, dealing with the suicide of one's parents, the dutch japanese children of the 2nd world war and the development of williamsburg, brooklyn over the past 2 decades. before coming to tokyo and starting the workshop, all the participants have had two skype consultations with jan to discuss our projects and clarify the main story, its points and the feelings that we want our books to convey. this proactivity and preliminary research ensured that last friday, when the workshop began, we were all clear on the direction in which to take our books. 

ALERT, the next paragraph contains little information on dummy-making and more information on the research process leading up to the dummy creation. 

i don't believe i have shared with you exactly what my photo book is about. it is my personal story of 'existential migration' (a term coined by greg madison). i didn't know this term before i started my research for the book - all i had to go on then, was this feeling i had of being misplaced and not really belonging. this is a feeling that has hunted me for a good while, but it really reared its ugly head once i moved back to copenhagen a year and a half ago. the theory of existential migration hit the nail right on the head and aided me in putting that feeling into words. further research let me to 'migratory aesthetics' and lily markiewicz, which is from whom i borrow the working title of the book 'tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?'. the title of the book and how to decide on that, is a whole other subject that i think can be covered in a later post. anyway, i don't mean to bore you with this stuff, i just wish to highlight the fact that clarifying my subject, researching it, putting words and sentences on a feeling, visualizing it through mind maps and doing the leg work in general, helped me a great deal with moving from a hazy, introverted feeling towards a story that others can relate to as well. and in the end, it makes the dummy-work so much easier.

and now, back to the topic at hand: dummy-making. the workshop began with editing down the photos that were brought to the workshop. with the help of jan, we reduced my images from five distinct photographic series to two. archival material was discarded along with the series of blondes in denim shirts (see picture in grid below). all my digital images were taken out, leaving me with two series of images - a series of analog photos of static places around denmark and the black/white dynamic images from my dark ops series, which were to be combined in the book. the idea of combining these to series is to create a dialectic feeling of my world. i also brought to the workshop architect drawings of my childhood home, which i thought might underline the idea of home and help ask the question whether home always comes in the form of a physical structure. these drawings were piled in with the selected images.

next, i was left to do the sequencing on my own. along with the editing process of choosing images, this is probably the most difficult task. but after spending a couple of hours of consideration by laying out my test prints in sequence on a big table (this is the best way to get an overview and adapt the sequence easily), i felt that i had something viable. again this is absolutely the beauty of dummies - a dummy is just a dummy, nothing is final. so you just try things out. the first dummy was really nothing but a trial. i changed the sequence a little, after having put it into book shape, and when i felt it worked as a book, my first dummy was done. i wrapped the dummy in architectural drawings and tried to imagine that as the cover for the book. for the second dummy, i printed the images on different kinds of paper and in general tried a little harder. i included a lot of the architectural drawings (even more than in the first dummy). i tried using the drawings as back drops for the pictures and as inner liner for the japanese folded pages. i have pages in different sizes and pages that fold out. many things are happening in the second dummy.. when day 3 of the workshop concluded, i had finished two dummies. with the help of jan, the design and images were revisited and a few changes were made - among others the architectural drawings might have to go or at least be reduced quite a lot.

if we look back at my considerations regarding my book before the workshop started, it was, among other things, to have more smaller books in one. that idea was discarded quickly. the different sized pages and the fold-outs still live, as do the different paper types. but let's see, things change quickly, when making dummies, i've found out. the most important thing i've learned in this first part of the workshop is that you can make as many dummies as you want - better to try out your ideas than not. another thing i've learned is that the decisions you make for your book should be made for a reason, not just because they look good. everything needs to be considered and be in accordance with your story.

i got some assignments before next part of the workshop. before part two of the workshop, which is in 2 weeks, i need to:

  1. do a third dummy - start all over! use all the same images as in dummy 1 and 2, but change the sequence and layout completely.
  2. use white dummies (basic white copy paper folded into a book) to help decide on the binding of the book - try different binding methods on the white dummies. bindings i'm considering are hand stitched japanese binding or stud or screw binding.
  3. test print images on different kinds of paper to check, which kind to use. whoop whoop, this means i get to go paper hunting at my new favorite paper store.
  4. take the series of images 'blondes in denim shirts' and make a second book. glad to get this assignment. would have been sad not to use these at all..
  5. have an architectural drawing printed, as a building blueprint or in indigo coloring.  

so you see, i really have enough to do. besides all of this, this week's schedule goes something like this: tomorrow i'll be indesigning the layout of the book, on wednesday i'll go material hunting for paper, card board and different binding accessories, and on thursday i'll visit 3331 arts chiyoda to talk about my residency, which is coming up after the workshop is done.

life is good, i'm very happy, and i don't want to be anywhere else in the world, but here!



i didn't know research could be this much fun

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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.