12D photobooks 2016
The following books were created by members of 12D and published, using a variety of resources, in April 2016.
- Quality of research - You have researched a number of photobooks, identifying key features. I couldn't see any images of/from the books on your web page. In some cases, you could have thought a bit harder about issues such as the sequencing of images. For example, Nick Waplington's 'Indecisive Memento' is the document of a journey. He describes this in the introductory interview. It would also have been useful to know how each of the books influenced you - what did you take or reject from your research?
- Quality of photographs - Your own photographs are very interesting, combining formal studies of objects (particularly pattern and texture) with intimate images of the body - both real and sculptural. The combination of colour and black and white is very effective, as is the pairing of some images. The layout works well with a combination of single and double images across each spread. I like the variation in sizes, full bleeds and crops, and the way some images cross the gutter.
- Quality of published book - The book as a whole looks very professional. You have clearly given the design and layout a great deal of thought. I was initially confused by the title placement (until you explained it to me)! I wonder whether you have communicated your research about book publishing and POD in your evaluation in enough detail? I also feel that you should include a Gallery of all your images and a Gallery of the book spreads (like the one above) on your Photo Book web page. Well done on a very successful project.
- Quality of research - You have researched a number of photobooks. Double check that you have made clear which features of them you found interesting, explaining their influence (or not) on your creative decisions. Make sure also that your evaluation is detailed enough and relates your final newspaper/zine to the photobooks you originally studied. What are the similarities and differences?
- Quality of photographs - I like your commitment to mostly analogue images although I wonder whether this has limited your choice at the selection and editing stage. The photographs you've chosen do communicate the idea of living in the moment. They have an instinctive, unforced, 'snapshot' quality. Your particular way of seeing and capturing experience is engaging - quite a few of the images use negative space, viewpoint and proximity of the camera in unusual ways.
- Quality of published book - I like the pairing of images - you clearly gave this some thought. I wonder whether you could have varied the layout a little more - one of the pages has vertically cropped images but the rest are all landscape format. Could you have used more negative (white) space on the pages by not having all the images edge to edge within the column guides, for example? I really like the newspaper/zine format which suits your images. Keep it safely so that it can form part of your Personal Investigation. Make sure that you have printed out the photographs of the various page spreads (above) and displayed them in your photography C/W book. Well done on creating such an interesting product.
- Quality of research - Your research is very detailed and thoughtful. The writing on your web page would benefit from proof reading, especially with regard to adding more punctuation and paragraph breaks. take care with some of the factual details. For example, Duane Michals' book 'The House I oNce Called Home' wasn't made when he was 17 but in 2003 at age 70! Also, some of the writing sounds a little bit like you have mostly copied it from a web page e.g. "it is a serious work that is generally free form the cuteness and the annoyingly obvious visual jokes that can sometimes push him into the dubious category of humorous photographer." I really like how you have explained the making of your book and the creative decisions you have taken along the way.
- Quality of photographs - The photographs are very skilfully made and varied in composition. You reflect very carefully about how looking at others' work has improved your images. I wonder whether some of the photographs would have worked better in black and white. I like the variety of camera angles and viewpoints, as well as the inclusion of some panoramic images of the city. Given your interest in Rut Bless Luxemburg's photographs, I wonder whether you could continue to experiment a little more with longer exposures, photographing at night and getting a bit closer to the surfaces of buildings and other structures so that the images become a little more mysterious.
- Quality of published book - The completed book looks very professional. I like the variety in the layout which creates a nice rhythm for the reader/viewer. You have carefully controlled picture quality. Did you think about grouping the buildings in any way - age, style, materials, viewpoint etc? I wasn't sure how you had decided on the sequencing of the pictures. Congratulations on the production of a very impressive photobook.
- Quality of research - You have researched the key features of several photobooks and your comments reveal a generally thoughtful approach with an eye for detail. I enjoyed reading about the ways in which each book has had some influence on your creative decisions. There are a couple of typos which need rectifying e.g. "boarders" instead of "borders".
- Quality of photographs - I feel like I had seen a lot of these photographs before and I'm concerned that you are still recycling them rather than making new images. I was hoping you would use this project to challenge yourself a bit more and step outside your comfort zone of posed, street portraits. The photographs themselves are well taken, technically skilled and engaging. I wonder whether it's time for you to begin experimenting a little more either with the way you depict your favourite subject or by exploring new subjects?
- Quality of published book - The book is well designed with a variety of page layouts. It has a minimal feel, like a fashion look book. Did you consider creating a zine instead? Might this have suited your images better? Whilst this is a successful photobook I am very keen to see you stretch yourself a little more with your next project.
- Quality of research - I need to check your book to provide a decent account of your research.
- Quality of photographs - The images in your book are most intriguing. They seem to be in a variety of styles, of a variety of subjects, although the dominant feeling is cold. They appear to be united by blues. The title 'Only' could suggest lonely, alone, single, simple etc. I like the repetition of passageways - bridges, tunnels, paths - of various sorts. I'm not keen on the oversized text on one of the pages, perhaps because it's an isolated example. This double page is the least convincing in the book. I like the enigmatic quality of the images - the more abstract the better in my opinion. There is a slight feeling that these pictures have been gathered from a variety of different times and places and collaged together almost. Did you consider creating a specific body of work for the book?
- Quality of published book - The book is a good size and quality. I like the pages with full bleed images, especially those that cover two pages. The sequencing and layout mostly works. I'm sure, if you did the same exercise again, you might make some changes but I think you should feel proud of this version. Hopefully, the process has helped you reflect on what kind of photographer you are and what you might want to do next. Well done!
- Quality of research - You have researched a couple of photobooks, identifying the main features. I was expecting to see more evidence of research on your web page which also needs an introductory paragraph about the project. It's not clear how your research has informed your creative decision-making. More work needed on the documentation of the photobook project I think.
- Quality of photographs - The photographs appear to have been taken in the same location on a particular day, hence the references to a journey. I like the way they function as a kind of memento of a trip. almost like picture postcards. Colours and patterns seem to have caught your eye mostly and there are very few people. You seem particularly interested in shopping and signs (typography). The square cropping of the images works well and I like the way each image fills the page. You seem to have thought fairly hard about the pairing of images, hopefully influenced by the mini project on diptychs. These decisions, the photographs, the making of the book etc. plus a final evaluation all need to be evidenced on your web page about the project.
- Quality of published book - It's a great little book. The format is good and the images are all bright and well saturated. I'd be interested to know what you think about it. I wonder if your next project could delve a bit deeper though?
- Quality of research - Your research is impressively detailed and thoughtful. I think your web page needs a bit of an introduction about the photobook - its importance and history - to provide some critical/contextual information. Why have we spent so much time thinking about and making photobooks? I like the way you have recorded your feelings about Berlin, the way it has changed and your reactions to having visited it.
- Quality of photographs - The photographs are beautifully done. In only a couple of cases the file seems too small to cope with being enlarged quite so much but, generally, the choice of black and white and the combination of street snapshots and more considered formal abstractions works beautifully. I like the decisions you've made about layout and position of images. You use the white space of the page intelligently to provide the viewer with occasional breather/rest. This is a very sophisticated response.
- Quality of published book - The book is gorgeously printed and I love the larger size. It gives the images room to breath. The abstractions work particular well at this scale. I like Polly's introduction which provides a useful context and some clues about what's going in in the pictures. It's a book I wish I had on my bookshelf so I could return to it every now and then. Your evaluation of the project is good. I'd like to see these spreads and a bit more information about your decisions whilst making the book with some screen grabs perhaps? A very exciting, professional looking and beautiful product. Well done!
- Quality of research - Your research is great - a combination of photobooks, artists' work (that influenced you) and photobook production methods. I like the fact that you have provided an opening paragraph with some historical/cultural context. I wish you had included the images you used for the completed photobook and spreads like the gallery above. Even some screen grabs of the book in the process of being designed would have been very useful. can you add them?
- Quality of photographs - I like the experimental quality of your images. Working at night with long exposures in low light isn't easy. I like the connection with artists like Luxemburg and Brassai. The photographs you've made are atmospheric although I think it would have been interesting to get a bit closer to the subject in some cases. The subjects all seem quite distant.
- Quality of published book - The finished book works very well. It has a consistent design, with images all printed the same size. This makes the experience of looking at it quite harmonious, if a little predictable. You should feel very pleased with your work on this project Joe. Well done!
- Quality of research - Your research is reasonable detailed, both in terms of photobook examples, artists' work and methods of creating photobooks. You need to proof read and edit some of the text to remove typos and spelling errors. I like the way you tell the story of the making of your book.
- Quality of photographs - I really enjoyed looking at your photographs. You have a good eye. The images are subtle, well-composed and poetic. The book is well-designed, layed out and sequenced. I like the contrast between the angular, linear, geometric subjects (e.g. telegraph poles, ships masts) and the more organic, diffuse, atmospheric subjects. The mixture of interior and exterior shots also works well.
- Quality of published book - The book really works and makes for a satisfying and coherent viewing experience. It's a lovely product that is a pleasure to 'read'. My advice would be to make sure that your documentation online is of an equally high standard. You may need to get someone with an eye for detail to read through what you've written and help you with the editing. Well done! I'm interested to see how you develop this idea in your next Personal Investigation project.
- Quality of research - Your research is relatively detailed, focusing mainly on specific examples of photobooks. I do think it might be better if the research and the work contributing to your own book was all on the same page on your website. Check your spellings carefully. At one point you refer to your "phonebook"?
- Quality of photographs - Your photographs are engaging portraits of friends and family. You identified a common theme quite early on so the pictures are pretty consistent, although you do experiment a bit with camera angles and point of view. I'm particularly fond of the close-up details of clothing or tight crops of the face or body of your subjects. If you were to edit and lay out the same photographs again for a new version of the book, what would you do differently?
- Quality of published book - The book works well as a collection of images. I like the varied layout. I'm not totally convinced by the sequencing - I wondered if the pictures were placed randomly or if there was some kind of underlying structure. Some of the photographs are much stronger than others and there are some strange repetitions - was this because you didn't, in the end, have enough photographs you were happy with? Altogether, you should feel very pleased with the outcome. I hope it's given you a sense of direction for your Personal Investigation. Well done!
- Quality of research - Your research is very good and I really enjoyed reading about the whole process of you finding out about photobooks and making your own. I wonder whether a slightly more detailed general introduction to the history of the photobook and some notes about the video might work well at the top of the web page.
- Quality of photographs - It's great that you took so many images for the project and have them (mostly) on your website. I could really see how your practice developed during the project. You are great at describing the creative decisions you took and referring back to your stimuli in the evaluation. The photographs you've chosen for the book are all successful in their own right and work together as a sequence. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of portraits with street photographs and still life images. I like the variety of angles and proximities too.
- Quality of published book - You've managed to balance the design of the book very successfully, combining full bleed with cropped images. The occasional photo crossing the gutter also really works. There is a great rhythm to the book and it feels well considered and deliberate. I hope you feel very pleased with the outcome and I look forward to seeing how this idea (and others) progresses as your Personal Investigation develops. Well done!
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