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Thread: The Right Tool for the Right Job - Photo Books

  1. #1

    The Right Tool for the Right Job - Photo Books

    There's a part of me that can't leave the workflow of a view camera alone. 8x10 captivated me in graduate school and since welcomed 11x14 into the fray. However, I feel like I'm leaving good pictures behind due to the sheer size of the cameras. I accept the size as it quenches that thirst for view camera but I also accept it's downsides.

    For the last few years my landing spot for work has left the walls and entered the book realm. I have a passion for the craft that goes into a well made, hand sewn book and the feeling of a good design.

    For those working in books, did you find yourself changing your tools? Moving to a small format? The final destination of the work is so small to begin with that I feel that even 4x5 scans seem to be overkill.

    I just wanted to pick your brains.


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  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Re: The Right Tool for the Right Job - Photo Books

    I don't work in books but do enjoy well done publications.
    I look at the Brett Weston portfolio series done by Lodima Press as well done. Fine printing and very good paper. The High Plains Farm book done by them is even better. All images printed the original size, 5x7 or 8x10. Layout is clean and the printing quality is high.

    Why not work with cameras that give you the image the size you would like the final print - a contact print? Then plan the book with that in mind?

    On the other hand a book I recently got, THIS LAND, An American Portrait by photographer Jack Spencer is one of the nicest I have seen in years. Smaller format printed larger for a book that really sings!

    Have a few small limited edition books that are well done and pieces of fine art in and of themselves. Signed and numbered pieces.

    If you like the format you will find a way to present the images that works for you.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  3. #3

    Re: The Right Tool for the Right Job - Photo Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    I don't work in books but do enjoy well done publications.
    I look at the Brett Weston portfolio series done by Lodima Press as well done. Fine printing and very good paper. The High Plains Farm book done by them is even better. All images printed the original size, 5x7 or 8x10. Layout is clean and the printing quality is high.

    Why not work with cameras that give you the image the size you would like the final print - a contact print? Then plan the book with that in mind?

    On the other hand a book I recently got, THIS LAND, An American Portrait by photographer Jack Spencer is one of the nicest I have seen in years. Smaller format printed larger for a book that really sings!

    Have a few small limited edition books that are well done and pieces of fine art in and of themselves. Signed and numbered pieces.

    If you like the format you will find a way to present the images that works for you.
    I've got quite a few books I admire. I'm close to Meridian Press so I've been able to have a cup of joe with Danny Frank.

    The problem with so many of the books I, and likely we, is that the pictures regardless of format go through the amazing reproduction process and are made with truly beautiful separations and offset etc.

    Perhaps I'm just rambling! I make books on an Epson P800, far from a 2 ton German press.


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  4. #4

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    Re: The Right Tool for the Right Job - Photo Books

    I will be curious to hear more... Since I have realized that our home has too little wall space (and I am loathing to take some pictures down and replace them) I have been thinking a lot about little handmade books as the final object.
    My idea is either kallitypes or photogravures (I have yet to learn making those) bound together with a bit of text - printed in letterpress perhaps..

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    Website of sorts, as well as ipernity thing.

  5. #5

    The Right Tool for the Right Job - Photo Books

    Quote Originally Posted by andreios View Post
    I will be curious to hear more... Since I have realized that our home has too little wall space (and I am loathing to take some pictures down and replace them) I have been thinking a lot about little handmade books as the final object.
    My idea is either kallitypes or photogravures (I have yet to learn making those) bound together with a bit of text - printed in letterpress perhaps..

    Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk
    Books are a very democratic way of working... everything from complex artist books to quick saddle stapled zines. It's a great way of getting work in people's hands. This experience is further heightened by our screen culture so that when someone holds even a zine they feel as if it's something special. I love it.

    However, scanning on readily available flatbed scanners leaves a lot to be desired. Even a digital indigo print job from a good printer is like 8 grand for 150 books. Expensive venture.


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  6. #6

    Re: The Right Tool for the Right Job - Photo Books

    The two extremes come to mind is Robert Frank's small format film/books and Mary Ellen Mark's Prom, shot with 20x24 Polaroid. I think the question should be of intent(photographically speaking), since either end can get you an effective result in book form.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    599

    Re: The Right Tool for the Right Job - Photo Books

    I wouldn't worry about gear so much.

    Think of cameras like cars. Which one will allow you to get the photos you want or are looking for? A honda civic or motorcycle (35mm/digital...quick,mobile,etc) will surely get you to work and back but maybe you need a bit more to work with like a van/truck (medium/large format...DOF, movements, etc)...just choose whichever will allow you to get the photos you want.

    In the end most people will just be looking at the work and are hopefully stimulated enough to think only about the work/artist and not what camera and lens was used.


    4x5 scans don't need to be overkill either. Having a good proof print to send to the publisher is important.

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