Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wrestling With The Book

Every Body Else Week last week was inspiring....all this great stuff everyone is doing I didn't even have to hunt to find all just presented itself. The economy is tanking but people are doing great things...or maybe because it is tanking that everyone is so prolific? m
My reps at Tidepool had been wanting me to do a Blurb Book of the Echolilia project for them to include when they do portfolio showings at ad a way to show a tangent project. I kind of put them off...I didn't think I was ever at a good stopping point. Right now I'm not wanting to stop but the pictures have slowed in coming and I'm trying to listen to that. TB has been recommending I do one for a different reason: he felt it would help me stop shooting for a bit and evaluate the project...what I have, what is working, what is repetitious. Does it have an arc? Is it all one note? Can someone do a book on just one kid...or on the relationship...and is it really any of these things? And how to start?

The process is an intense changes the context of the shots alot and really exposes the holes and the I think I've said before. When I started a few days ago it really all looked ugly, it struck me as dark and bleak and kind of a photographic crime against humanity. Why would anyone want to do this project?
It's all in flux and I'm just getting used to what I can and can't do with the format. Just thought I'd share some early spreads.


colin pantall said...

"Can anyone do a book on just one kid?"

Probably not but then why does it have to be a book and why does it have to be just about one kid. It's about a lot of things, some of which are brutal, some of which are incomplete, some of which exist in a complete vacuum. Which is what life and understanding others, including our children is all about - it can't be fixed, it can't be stopped, it might be random and it can never be complete.

But you are doing a book - but why don't you do something more organic than Blurb and make the book part of the process, make the page an element in your acts of understanding. I think your work would suit something more handmade, something that has the physicality so apparent in the images.

Jennifer Juniper Stratford said...

Wow It looks beautiful! I say go with what comes natural and be sure to explore your own awkward feelings that come up.

Anonymous said...

Tim- I think the white space you are putting in is definitely taking the book in the right direction. Having some room around the images starts to change them and the two groups of images actually speak to me more coherently using the scale as you have.

All the images of your son you have put up as layouts are nudes. I would be aware of that (not that its bad but that it starts to make a statement). I am sure you are aware of that choice but it will definitely lead to questions from your audience that you may want to prepare for.

Also- seeing the layout I noticed for the first time that your son is never looking at the camera- in any of the images. I think the project would be augmented by at least one portrait with eye contact. Maybe it would take the sort of human/machine element away from the boy but maybe it would be a powerful take?

DSM III (g.a.e.t.) said...

Oh good. I'm excited.

Elizabeth Fleming said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Fleming said...

A crime against humanity? Never. I for one can't wait to see the work in book form. To have something to hold in my hands and spend time with will be lovely. I have to say that doing a magazine instead of a book via MagCloud felt much more freeing to me, so it may be something to consider (I tried the Blurb thing and got so overwhelmed I stopped). Perhaps do the book and then a magazine(s) could be the continuation? This seems like a project that as you say will never have an end point, it will just change and grow, and so I could see there being another book down the road that shows the next chapter. All that said I think it will be a good exercise in organizing the work, as painful as it sometimes is to go through the editing process...


Anonymous said...

As for the nudity, well that's only a problem in the eyes of the viewer and can never be inherent in the image itself. Can it?
Tim, you have so many good and confusing images, and it must be a nightmare putting them together; a book almost necessarily calls for a story line, a beginning middle and end. And there is no end in sight yet, is there? And books make you look at images (sic) in sequence and how do you sequence this life, when your own life is so involved with it (my impression is that this is a dialectic, and that always calls for at least two to be present)?
Recently I was looking at a book by B. Mikhailov, a new production of his "Superimposition" series from the late 60's. Looks just like a regular book, but when un-packed it is actually a 'box' of 50 or so un-bound plates. Typical B. M.: each image is as valid as the next or any other; the impact of one image will change when seen in relation to another, so you can choose yourself how you want to be impacted; the sum of the whole negates the importance of the single image; each image is good enough to stand alone;the pictures can be seen in different ways, one by one, on the table, on the wall, passed around a group of people....; layout is not important unless it is a tool to get a Specific message across, (and of course the usual B.M. references to Soviet era photographic practice, though that's another story).
Have you asked your son how he would put it together?
Can you make a book about one child? Of course. You might as well ask if you can make a book about one street, one town, one junkie, one emotion; if the work is good and well and honest, reflects many aspects, touches at least some others, teaches some others, provokes stimulates and questions ideas, has an opinion and some humility then it will work and the rest are the details.