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Thread: DIY photobook?

  1. #1

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    Question DIY photobook?

    The thread on print-on-demand photo books got me thinking, what about a book from darkroom prints?

    I've seen portfolios of mounted prints in a box or the plastic sleeve portfolios, but what about a bound book of prints that aren't covered with plastic?

    I have plastic sleeve portfolios to "carry around" and casually show anyone interested what my photos look like, but would like to have a "nicer" book, maybe something like a coffee table style book, that displays the prints directly instead of through a sleeve. One that lays flat when opened would be ideal.

    Anyone here ever done anything like this? Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: DIY photobook?

    Find out if there is a book arts association or classes in your area. Making an artist book--which is essentially what you would be doing--would involve learning a few new skills and maybe having access to binding equipment.

  3. #3

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    Re: DIY photobook?

    It's one of the better ways of making one-offs and is not difficult if you have decent bookbinding skills or know a good bookbinder. The main thing you will rapidly learn is the need to compensate for the tipped-in print thickness as you build and collate your signatures.

    The 225gsm weight of Liber Charta from John Purcell Paper is a good match thickness-wise for Ilford MG fibre papers. If you're using processes that are more demanding in terms of paper (non buffered etc), then you should be able to find something suitable - and if you're determined to do something really handmade, no reason you couldn't directly hand-coat suitable papers with liquid emulsion. Essentially you will have total freedom to incorporate all manner of materials as tip-ins if you wish.
    Last edited by interneg; 23-Feb-2024 at 16:49.

  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Tin Can

  5. #5
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: DIY photobook?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    Maybe a little too far up the coast. Try https://www.sandiegobookarts.com

  6. #6
    multiplex
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    Re: DIY photobook?

    There is a person on you tube called "sea lemon" who is fun, and teaches bookmaking. I've been making hand stitched photography books since about 1981, it's really not hard and lots of choices and ways you can do it. from closed spine made with a sewing rack to Coptic Stitched and Japanese Bound ones. look for book making books by Keith Smith, he's fantastic. Gaylord Brothers and Talas sell book making supplies, and materials you might need to make a something. you really don't need a lot of supplies I made my first photo book when I was about 14-15 I made a sewing rack out of scrap wood, I still use it today. Last November I made a 100 page coptic stitched kinetic (ephemeral images that will change over time) book made with 8x10 images and 365 knots. all it took was book cover, glue, book cloth, a drill, linen/cord and a couple of days. the book project I am currently working on is a 1000 image book of cyanotypes ...
    Last edited by jnantz; 12-Mar-2024 at 06:57.

  7. #7

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    Re: DIY photobook?

    Quote Originally Posted by gnd2 View Post
    The thread on print-on-demand photo books got me thinking, what about a book from darkroom prints?

    I've seen portfolios of mounted prints in a box or the plastic sleeve portfolios, but what about a bound book of prints that aren't covered with plastic?

    I have plastic sleeve portfolios to "carry around" and casually show anyone interested what my photos look like, but would like to have a "nicer" book, maybe something like a coffee table style book, that displays the prints directly instead of through a sleeve. One that lays flat when opened would be ideal.

    Anyone here ever done anything like this? Any suggestions?
    As a one-off project you might consider spiral binding.

    Presented here is the preliminary layout of what became an offset printed book of 500 copies. You could probably do something similar with original silver prints.

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  8. #8

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    Re: DIY photobook?

    Bookbinding... what a rabbit hole.

    I guess what I'm missing is how to apply it specifically to darkroom prints. I'm starting to feel stupid, like it's simple and obvious to everyone else but I can't quite figure it out.

    BTW, I'm doing B&W fiber and RC, RA-4 and carbon transfer prints.

    I see a lot of "use a computer to print two pages per sheet then fold in half and sew them together". Doing two darkroom prints on a single sheet sounds like a hassle and just doesn't seem right. Was hoping to put together a bunch of individual 8x10" or so prints. I guess a basic binding of individual sheets is a simple answer.

    I also see a lot of how to make "albums" made up with blank sheets... OK, but how do you get the photos in there?

    I was thinking of maybe dry mounting to some sort of board then hinging / binding those together so the pages are flat. Isn't that how some wedding albums are done? But having trouble finding info on anything like that.

    I would love to see more examples from anyone willing to share of one-off books of prints.

  9. #9
    multiplex
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    Re: DIY photobook?

    one way to make a book of photographs is to make a book filled with blank pages ( like what they used to call a scrap book ).
    you can make this with rag paper, and any kind of binding you want ( even post binding so it is just the covers and metal posts so you can increase the pages ) you affix the images to the pages. besides the Keith Smith series, and Sea Lemon's you tube channel there's also Franz Zeier's book boxes and portfolios. really good basic bookmaking book...

    gluing things to paper can be tricky so leave room to learn from mistakes..

    good luck!
    Last edited by jnantz; 12-Mar-2024 at 06:54.

  10. #10
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: DIY photobook?

    I organized the last 2 group LFPF Print exchange

    I like mounted prints all the same size board

    In archival boxes

    I can wet print copies very fast with my contact printer

    20 wet prints








    So I can hang my favorites

    and change them
    Tin Can

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