Creative: Cuba Workshop Update Three

Still obsessing about the Cuba workshop. The gear has been sorted, the foundation of a technique is in place and now we wait….

But I wanted to touch on the idea of what this workshop might look like because of the Blurb angle. Blurb is letting me go, letting me teach and will also hook the students up with books. I’ve taught bookmaking travel workshops before, in Peru, so this isn’t my first rodeo with this idea. Photography and the printed page are a magical pairing to say the least.

Let me share a few reasons why bookmaking and travel workshops go well together. First, students tend to go crazy and shoot thousands and thousands of images. Not everyone, but some. This can be a good thing, but often times shooting this much makes the editing process so difficult and time consuming that students get buried, and believe it or not, often times NEVER actually truly edit their work.If you shoot 22gigs of files in ONE morning the idea you are going to sit down and plow through that is pretty slim. Not to mention when you do that eight days in a row. Yikes. Bookmaking is like shooting film, it makes you THINK.

Second, bookmaking FORCES you to edit, and I mean REALLY edit your work. The entire book might have 30-50 pictures, so that 22 gig morning session begins to look a bit unnecessary as you realize the book demands ONLY your very best.

Third, bookmaking forces you to sequence your work. Ah yes, sequence. The forgotten uncle of bookmaking. Editing gets a lot of talk but the sequence holds some of the most important keys.

Next, bookmaking forces you to begin to understand all parts of a book. Cover design, trim size, typography, borders, materials, paper type, etc. Bookmaking is a skill, one that requires practice, knowledge, patience and the ability to make mistakes, brush them off and keep trying.

When you shoot and design in real time you will IMMEDIATELY see what you have and what you don’t have. You will see where the holes are in your story. For me personally, chronic bookmaking has made me a far better photographer.

The spreads you see here are typical sketches I do while I’m bookmaking. I’m a big fan of creating multiple designs, tweaking, living with them and then ultimately deciding on what I like the best.

The hard part for me now is not obsessing over what I MIGHT see. What you think you are going to see and what you actually see are rarely aligned, do dreaming about a location is great but dreaming about specifics can be dangerous. The job is to simply observe, react and collect.

4 Comments on “Creative: Cuba Workshop Update Three”

  1. Think harder about the gutter.

    The gutter can also suggest an alternate crop. Or it can divide a picture into two pictures. Or, or, or…

    Sally Mann’s Immediate Family taught me, literally, everything I know about the use of the gutter. I probably got 10% of what she had to teach, but what can I say, I’m slow.

    1. AM,
      Get your head out of the gutter. My new book came to me yesterday. All of it. It’s going to be a blast. I know the design, the materials and the feel. Now, I just need the images.

  2. Man. Now I want to make a book that’s entirely in the gutter. 10:1 verticals, printed bang on the gutters. Lots of blank space, with a little sparse text.

    Tell me to get my head outta the gutter, I’m just gonna jam it in farther, while giving you the finger. You knew that though. Right?

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