OKAY PEOPLE. I WROTE THIS POST WEEKS AGO. THIS SERIES IS GOING LIVE BUT SO MANY THINGS HAVE CHANGED. I’M GOING TO POST THIS POST ANYWAY THEN FILL YOU IN ON THE DETAILS AS I MOVE ALONG. AM AS EXCITED ABOUT THIS PROJECT AS ANYTHING I’VE DONE IN A LONG WHILE. MUCH OF WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ HAS ALREADY CHANGED, BUT THAT IS THE POINT SHOWING HOW STORIES, PROJECTS AND PUBLICATIONS COME ABOUT. SEE YOU OUT THERE.
The last few years were near capacity travel wise. Lots of trips for Blurb. Both foreign and domestic. I’m taking a break of sorts, attempting to spend more time at home but also want to return to the field to create new work, new stories and new publications. The Blurb/Magcloud thing, for me, was critically important to my photography career. My photography/publishing life didn’t start with Blurb/Magcloud but was certainly impacted by these companies, and is still being impacted.
I get A LOT of questions, emails, messages about Blurb/Magcloud, all of which I answer, not only because it’s my job but also because I truly love what these tools do for anyone with a story to tell. There is no perfect publishing platform out there. Believe me, I’ve tried many of them, but I don’t care. I’m not someone who waits. I’m a rabid self-publisher who never feels fear hitting “print” on ANYTHING no matter how trivial, experimental or outside the bounds of what the industry is telling me to do. For me there is no risk, no downside, outside of a few Gilders.(I pay for all my pubs.)
So here is the plan. “ESSAY” is my new series about short photo-essays published in multiple trim sizes. A series if you will. Some of these stories will be brand spanking new while others will build on projects I began but never finished. The goal now is to utilize both the Magcloud Digest and the Blurb Magazine formats. The Digest is small, landscape format and utterly affordable. Magazine is the CLASSIC photography format for anyone with essays on the brain. The Magazine is also portrait format and provides both a larger canvas and a specific design challenge. Finally, each year I will do a “best of” book. An annual of sorts. Oh ya, these pubs will be FOR SALE. I have no monetary goal, but if I can figure out how to donate all proceeds to an interesting charity then I’ll do that. Oh, by the way, I’m going to use Adobe InDesign for the Magcloud piece of the puzzle and Blurb Bookwright for the magazine.
Let’s talk design. The idea is to create a treatment I can use for the series so I don’t need to redesign each essay, episode or issue. I just don’t have the time to redesign from scratch each time I go to print. I was going to hire a designer, but someone asked that I do it myself so that the idea of doing something like this is open to anyone, including those with puny design skills like me, so that’s what I’m planning.
Let’s talk photography. The Leica M4 has been haunting me, so this was one of the things that prompted me to start this creative ball rolling. But, I also have the Hasselblad, the Fuji x100T, my half-frame, the Canon 5DIII as well as a list of other things.
But, I’m really, really torn. I will have very limited time. In the past when I would think about doing a story I always thought in years. Now I have to think in days. Probably no more than 2-3 days at a time if I’m lucky. So, I can’t shoot like I used to. A part of me wants to get a Fuji XT-2, a 35mm and 50mm equivalent and just use that for everything. I might reduce down to Leica(film) and Fuji but I don’t know for sure yet. Using digital here isn’t about ease or laziness it’s about how digital allows me to complete the full publishing circle WHILE IN THE FIELD. It’s also about being able to print in the field. Would I love to have a digital Leica? Sure, but there is no possible way for me to spend that kind of money on a camera. I’m not sure how anyone spends that kind of money on a camera, but thankfully people do. As for the x100T. It’s great for certain things but too slow for projects, at least for me. I use it for my daily stuff, Blurb stuff, etc. and it’s great.
Here is what you should know. The photography is important, surely, but the photography is only a part of what I’m trying to communicate. This project is about ideas, formulating stories, principle photography, editing, sequencing, cover design, page design, choosing materials, publishing, marketing and selling.
Let’s talk extras. Field recordings, interviews and even low key Blurb/Magcloud meetups depending on where I am. Tangible things. Artifacts, scanned and delivered. Handmade, written, tagged and bagged. Exploration. Witnessing. Pointing the hood down a road to the unknown, letting out that clutch and giving it gas.
My goal here is to inform, inspire and share but not in a trivial and insane way via nonstop social. This is about people playing along, chiming in, sharing and learning as we go. So many of you have wicked talent and may or may not know it. All of these things, the things I’ve done for so long, are available and just waiting for any of you to light the candle. There is no better way for me to get this point across then to show you firsthand how it works. I will create the spark and you will make the fire.
ESSAY, Volume 1 will highlight the crossroads of one small section of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This space represents the collision of the tectonic plates of culture, development, the environment and the future of the American West. I’ve made several trips here in the past but never did anything with the work. I’ll return, as soon as possible, to take a new look at this area.
I have several goals. Return to the field. Make the best work I can possibly make. Learn. Explore. Teach. I don’t know how many of you saw “Factotum” with Matt Dillon? A film about a character who is the alter ego of the writer Charles Bukowski. The main character is going from job to job either quitting or getting fired and at one point, at a pickle factory, the owner of the factory asks the Dillon character about his writing. “So, you are writing a book?” “Yes, I am.” “What’s the book about?” “It’s about everything.” “Everything?” “Yes, everything.” “Am I in it?” the owner asks. “Yep.” “How about my wife?” “Yep, she’s in there too.”
THIS is what “ESSAY” is about. It’s about you, me, us, them, there, that and this. Living, breathing, real-time, real-world decisions bound with ink, paper and maybe a little blood. See you out there.