Sunday, 20 April 2014

back to the edit

The book project Estate of Mind is finally coming together and I’ve nearly decided on the final edit. It’s been a roller coaster journey. I started off with the idea of photographing my neighbours which to make more interesting, I decided to shoot on medium format film. Shooting on the college’s Hasselblad on a tripod certainly added theatricality and a slower pace to the whole process of making a portrait. That is once I’d figured out dark-slides and winding the film on correctly at the start.

In parallel I was busy taking digital photographs of the estate, trying to avoid the clich├ęs of decay and grime and instead looking for the intrigue and the marvel of these wonderful brick built pre war blocks. The next step was talking with Chris Jones to see if he might be interested in writing some text to accompany the photographs. As it turns out that was exactly what he wanted to do, and so off we went on a two hour walk around the estate, looking here and there, picking up bricks and chatting. On the back of this Chris then wrote a remarkable text about the estate, bricks, historical figures and community.

Now the project was shifting it’s focus and although I tried hard to incorporate the portraits they just didn’t fit with the pictures of the estate and the text. Well I’d scanned them all already so I’ll print them up and l give them all a print of their portrait, but they won’t make the book. Maybe the start of a new project in the summer? But meanwhile I’ve been buried deep in laying out the photographs. After much struggle I ditched full bleed layout and also running the images across the gutter. Now it’s simple. Images on the right framed by a white border and text on the left. That’s it. But it’s taken a lot of work to get there. And even then there’s the issue of the text: fonts, alignments, line spacings and columns. Next time I must try and team up with a graphic designer. Although my fellow student Christina has been a great help with her sharp-eyed graphic designer’s sensibility. So next week I’ll try some test prints and have chat with the bookbinder about covers and embossed text. Although the book as ‘final BA photography project’ is one thing, I would like to find a way of printing it cheaply and making an affordable version.

And also I’d like to get back to taking some photographs as I don’t want that college curse of studying for four years only to end up not being able to take photographs anymore. Meanwhile it’s back to the edit.

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