Copy that. Roger. Copy. And stop calling me Roger. So, what have we covered so far? The main dish, double exposures. The appetizer, the stand-alone single images, and now we move on to perhaps the most important and most personal of parts; the copy. Copy? Roger?
Copy, historically, scares photographers to death. Why? Because a lot of people fall prey to the urban myth that “photographers can’t write.” Or, they are just lazy. Writing good copy takes a different skill set than making images, and often times writing is much more difficult than making images. Writing takes a clear brain, which some people equate to the terror of staring at a blank canvas.
Now, wanna see a photographer who can write. Check out Charlene’s work. She’s my idol. She went from zero to sixty in the photography world and now lives and works from Iraq where she is writing solid pieces about a range of topic far more important than anything I’m involved in. Me on the other hand, well, I just do whatever I feel like. Consequently, I’m not telling you to copy my writing style or my substance. But what I am telling you to copy is the fact that I write on a daily basis, regardless of how awful my writing actually is.
Albania was a combination of three types of writing, all of which come into play in the final project, which at the moment is a Blurb Premium Magazine. I JUST ORDERED THE FIRST TEST COPY. NINETY-TWO PAGES OF PURE BLISS.
First, stream of consciousness based on observational analysis of my surroundings. I decided to take these passages and break them out into oversized, full-page streams. Almost like a full-page knockout quote. I’ve done this before in my magazine-style publications and it worked well, so why not use something I know works? I truly love this style of writing because it’s all about freedom and speed. I typically write three to four of these passages a day. This is one way of making it FEEL like I am making progress.
Second, quotes. I overheard a variety of REALLY solid quotes while in-country, some humorous others super serious and very to-the-point in regard to the Albanian view of life. I decided to run these quotes OVER the top of certain images. Now, when I was in school, back in the day, this would have been considered blasphemy. But today, when attention span is SO short, what I’ve realized is a good quote will slow the reader down. That’s it. That’s why I designed it that way, and that is why I think this works.
Finally, I wrote a single paragraph of history. Not Albanian history, my history with landing in the country. It’s short, it’s not that important but it MIGHT answer a question or two about why I went and frankly it looks nice.
The copy is a HUGE part of the design. Speaking to this, in particular, I also took the title of the piece, “Deklasifikuar” and created a vertical type element that runs along with each page of copy. This element contains the title but also the date and time of where I wrote the specific piece. This small, vertical element adds something to a spread that would otherwise be fairly bare. I used a grand total of three fonts.
I hope by now you are beginning to see and understand how a project comes about, and how I try to make sense of something far beyond me. I’ve done this for my entire adult life, but that means virtually nothing. This style of work takes practice, a lot of practice, and even then there is no guarantee of success, whatever that may be. By the way, if you haven’t used the “manage pages” feature in Blurb Bookwright you are missing the boat. It’s a GREAT tool for editing sequence.
For me it’s personal. Albania was a new experience, a new chapter, and I’m organizing this experience into a printed piece that will outlive me. Hopefully. Maybe some space kid will find it in the rubble of our civilization? How cool would that be? The final post on this project will be about the magazine I created. I also plan on creating a Layflat book from this as well as a Trade version of some sort. Stay tuned my friends.