Meeting 22 September 2014.
Our meeting last Monday night was devoted to photobooks, and produced a goodly number of ideas and some novel approaches. Most of us had brought with us books we had made, a majority commercially printed, but several handmade books as well. We had about a dozen books to look at. We were all agreed in discussion that photobooks offer a special way of dealing with images. The fixed relationship between images that a book makes possible allows pictures to speak to one another in ways that loose prints or even prints on a gallery wall cannot do. So combinations of images can achieve a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Books permit an intimate relationship between image and viewer that is not otherwise achievable. Images in a book can be held close; considered in solitude; looked at again and again; are retrievable at any time; and can be studied, individually or collectively, at length. That much established, the meeting brought forth different ways of achieving the overall goal. Keith has compiled some of his photobooks in electronic conversation with a few carefully chosen colleagues, whom he invites to comment on successive iterations of the book as it develops online, and many of their comments are incorporated into the final version. Andy makes of his books a meditation on the rivers and shorelines of England, via beautifully printed images put together meticulously by hand between handmade covers, so that the book is more than just a container of images and becomes really a thing of beauty. Derek is currently working on different methods of incorporating images into pre-existing books found in second-hand bookshops, choosing such books as complement the images in their text or printed illustrations. Others of us have been content with more conventional approaches, using software by Blurb – www.blurb.co.uk, Bob Books – www.bobbooks.co.uk, Wilkinson Cameras – www.wilkinson.co.uk, and Vanilla Photobooks - www.vanillaphotobooks.co.uk, any of which will provide a high quality product. We all agreed the importance of varying the presentation of the images within the book by a judicious use of blank pages and different image sizes, and even different colour backgrounds where appropriate; but we probably didn’t spend enough time discussing the all-important matter of image sequencing. All in all, it was a useful and productive meeting, and if it encourages some of us to try who have not yet explored the potential of the photobook it will have achieved its purpose.
There was further news of our planned exhibition. A date towards the end of 2015, which we had favoured at our last meeting, is unfortunately not possible for the Lytham Heritage Gallery, so we agreed to go for April 2016. Subsequently, the Gallery has confirmed that this will be feasible. As yet they cannot provide specific dates. We decided that there will not be a single theme for the exhibition, but we will each do our own thing, so we are free to start thinking now about our own individual contributions. The amount of space allotted to each of us will ultimately depend on how many of us wish to take part (at a cost per person of £20, based on an assumed ten exhibitors). More about this in due course.