Because You Love It

Blog Author Richard Newman

We’ve been writing in this blog lately about books and how the written word works with photographs. Let’s take it to the next level and talk about a few different aspects of self-publishing.

Example #1:
I think it was 2007, and Texas Photographic Society co-sponsored the Silver Conference at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. I was co-chair, along with Dennis Keeley and Veronica Cotter-Keeley, who at that time represented Ilford photo products. One of our speakers was the founder of Blurb and, together with Blurb, we published a book of the winners from the print competition. Group publishing was challenging because we all needed to agree on a layout, type style, opening and closing statements, etc. But, the best part was being able to give the winners an opportunity to bring their work to life, see it in a tangible and permanent form, hold it in their hands and share it with others. Pretty special indeed!

Example #2:
Maverick Camera by Karen Kuehn. Karen has been a photographer at the highest level since the 1980s. She’s worked for National Geographic and almost every major fashion magazine printed, along with way too many successful photo projects to count. Karen has taken the "bull by the horns" all her life, and this book is a life’s work. I think it's the best photo/coffee table book of the year. And, here’s the surprise — it is self-published! This book is wonderfully printed and designed, loaded with content and every photo holds meaning. The work is career-spanning, from her early work on Saturday Night Live to photos of her neighbors on a neighboring ranch. Every one of them full of depth and communication.

Here’s the rub. Karen did this herself and there are only 1,000 of these books in the world. I’m more than proud of my copy #151. When these 1,000 are gone, they are gone; and I think the value of my copy goes up. Karen went to this extreme labor for one reason: She LOVES it. Karen claims the next chapter in life is to be a visual provocateur, and I can’t wait to see those results.

Example #3:
Your book, by you! One of the best things technology has gifted us is the ability to self-publish. Creating a book poses a series of challenges:

• What work will you include in the book?

• How many images?

• Image sequence?

• Image pairing and/or grouping?

• What’s the size and format of the printed book?

• Black-and-white or color work or both?

• Text? Captions? Book title? 

• How many copies do you produce? 

If you need something to do during one of these upcoming cold winter nights, curating your work into a book would be a great challenge and maybe even a lot of fun. Make a book better than Karen’s. Go ahead, I dare you!

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