An image from Mary Frances Lindstrom's forthcoming 'Shadows of Empire' b&w tri-tone book. More information below.
PHOTOBOOK MENTORING & PROJECTS
** Details of how the mentoring works, including costs, are at the bottom of this page.
Over the coming weeks and months I will be updating this page on an ongoing basis, providing information about the photographers and their photobook projects that I'm mentoring.
The intention for this section of the website is to act as both an inspiration and a resource for other photographers who are interested in making photobooks.
First off, some information about Mary Frances Lindstrom's inspiring book SHADOWS OF EMPIRE. Her book features in my current B&W Photography photobook making article.
SHADOWS OF EMPIRE
MARY FRANCES LINDSTROM
In Mary Frances' own words:
Origins of my photobook
(Including the motivation for my photography and photobook making)
Shadows of Empire originates from extensive professional and personal engagement in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia at the end of the Soviet period and then through the years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. I had several opportunities for commissioned projects and exhibitions in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and then decided to edit the images from these projects into a portfolio to publish as a photobook.
My photography derives from a keen interest to explore and record layers of history which are written, overwritten, and rewritten through processes of social transition, transformation, and change. Shadows of Empire explores the legacies of the Soviet period and the inter-connectedness of history, time, and borders.
Evolution of Shadows of Empire
I shoot film and print in a chemical darkroom in my flat, so the foundation of my photobook was months and months with boxes and boxes of negatives, then in my darkroom, and then with boxes and boxes of work prints. A friend of mine who is a filmmaker in Mongolia sequenced some of my images into a running order of ‘cinematic stills’ which became an experimental prototype of possible book designs. Although it flowed as sequence of images, I subsequently realised the concertina format itself detracted from the images, and so we had a re-think.
In the final design, we retained a bit of the cinematic flavour in the editing of the final portfolio; we introduced meaningful white borders around the images to acknowledge my photography’s basis in darkroom prints; and, we sequenced the images to encourage the viewer to engage with the book by moving between horizontal and vertical image formats. I’m especially keen about this design element because after all this is a story about people’s lives, and people’s lives aren’t static.
Audience for my photobook
My images have been seen primarily by people who lived in the socialist and communist systems and in the various forms of transition of the past 25 years. Older people say my images convey a feeling of their times which is important for the younger generations; younger people say my images give dignity to their grandparents’ lived experiences of the socialist and communist past.
I’m hopeful this photobook will be of interest to people who are familiar with the Soviet Union and the aftermath of its dissolution either through personal experience or travel as well as to people who may not be familiar with this particular context, but are interested in historical and social change and lived experience.
Josef Sudek, Ara Guler, Eugene Atget and Edwin Smith
WHEN I WAS 19…
This is an Indesign mockup of the outer sleeve and cloth covered case binding of Ian Macilwain's delightful, soon to be published, When I Was 19… Ian has decided to print his Romanian travelogue as a first edition of 50 copies, each with an original signed and numbered print.
Readers of B&W Photography magazine may remember that I travelled to Romania with Ian back in May 2015, to see for myself what inspires him about the country. I can't say I was enamoured with the local delicay of air-dried pig fat, but the place, its people and the largely unchanged landscape were an absolute delight. One thing in particular that struck me was the almost complete absence of farm boundary fences or hedges. This gave an endless, uninterrupted feel to the landscape – quite a contrast to back here in the UK.
More details to follow soon
Some of the current photobook mentoring projects
More details to follow soon
AN ELEPHANT CALLED ZAMBEZI
JOHN O'GROATS TO LAND'S END – 78 DAYS ON A HORSE
IN THE SHADOWS OF THE DON
THE ENCHANTING PLACE
PHOTOBOOK MENTORING – LONDON
How does my photobook mentoring work?
I work 1:1 with photographers at my NW London home studio. Also I like to meet mentees on location – for example in photographic gallery/cafe bookshops, where we can talk and look at books and exhibitions for inspiration. Also, I work with mentees over the phone and I like to get photobook mentees together in small groups of 4-6 people at my home studio.
Working 1:1 enables direct progress to be made, while the group sessions offer a nice balance, providing shared insights into each others' photobook projects. The feedback from other group members is fantastically insightful and generous. The group sessions also provide a vital sense of community in a photographic world in which we are expected to work alone at our computers. Collaboration is key – besides, working together is great fun.
Depending on the nature of the book, the mentoring typically runs over a three month period, culminating in the production of the book. Before then we will have gone through all the key stages of photobook making, including concept development, picture editing, sequencing (typically laying out printed images on the floor, as well as working on-screen), writing any text, design, colour management, choosing materials, proofing images and hand-binding
a prototype together.
The prototype is great for feedback and once this has been discussed, and any changes made, the book is ready to print. I manage the printing of the book. If the book is being Indigo- or offset-litho printed, I work in close collaboration with the printer, drawing on our many years of combined experience. For larger edition, offset-litho books, typically I print at EBS in Verona and go there to pass the book on press. Clients are always welcome to come on press.
Early on in the photobook making process I'll put together a spreadsheet detailing the print-run production costs and anticipated revenue. The approach I adopt is to ensure every photographer can see how they will make a profit from their book. I see this as an important part of the creative development process, yet at the same time it is a challenge for almost every photographer to think there are people who will like – and want to buy – their book. And they do.
Every book has something unique to offer. The mentoring process reveals what this is and, like photography, book making is an ongoing process of development. Almost every mentee goes on to make other books, often as part of a series, seeing book making as an integral and expressive part of their photography. What better way to develop and showcase your photography?
What does the mentoring cost?
For a typical book mentoring project, I charge an across the board flat rate of £700.00 (more if the book is very involved). The print cost is separate. Every book I work on is designed and printed to a budget, so that it makes a profit for the photographer. A good profit can be made on Collector's Edition books that come with an original print.
Half the mentoring fee is payable on signing up, the other half on completion of the book.
There is no VAT on making books.
Please use the Contact Me form or give me a call on 07973 720 641
I look forward to the possibility of working on your book together.