One of the points that Brooks Jensen was making when he was suggesting to work on a body of work as a series/project, is also consider what the end game is (okay, that’s my paraphrase, not a quote). One option is to exhibit the series and another is to publish it. I have a strong interest in doing both for my series Bad Trip – Sad Trip.
I have photograhed and created the resulting images over the last two years to be a cohesive body of work. I know that it has had an impact on many of you and I appreciate your notes and messages to that effect. I have not felt very comportable that this is “sellable” work, I don’t think that these are the images you want in your living room, thus they have not been for sale. This series has streched me intellectually and emotionally, my photographic techniques and reasons to photograph and finally as to who I am.
In a way, I find the exhibiting issue as the easier, for some reason. That may not turn out to be, but that’s another blog series;- )
To publish this series in a book for me is a more complicated issue. To publish this series in a magazine will come with time, much like the exhibits. The complication with the book as I see it is that the book publisher expects to sell enough to at least break even, if not get an out of the ballpark homerun. A lot of publishers are these financial types who need profits, which I can fully appreciate. If they did not make some money, they would not be around and we would have fewer opportunities. Which gets back to my subject matter for this series, not the Top Seller subject matter like misty waterfalls or beach sunsets with lighthouses.
So what to do, eh? First and probably most attractive is to self publish. Next maybe a paperback (perfect bound) by a University press, but I want this in hardcopy, thank you. For a high end hardcopy book, you have the really big publishers and specality photography publishers. Henry N. Abrams and the like are not going to like this series from what I can tell by reading about their interests in Photo-eye. That then takes me to the specality publishers, some of whom are also associated with galleries.
The attractiveness of a publisher is that they are going to do the heavy lifting for the book production such as layout, pre-press, book production and then subsequent sales and marketing. Then I go on to read such quotes from publishers which include “to sabotage your chances, be a jerk and expect that eveyone wants to see your work” (I don’t but I don’t like the tone of this) or “don’t listen and be supremely confident in your doomed-to-fail effort to know everything” (hmmmm, more of the same attitude, different publisher). Then there are the requirments that a certain publisher will NOT consider digital (Opps, I need not apply) or that there is a “fresh approach to sex” (Er, that would be a stretch for my subject, and please don’t go there). But I do read encourangement also; such as work, work, work, edit, edit, edit, persevere, perservere, perserve (okay, I think that I got that going for me).
I also read about why John Sexton is now self publishing his books as well as many others; editorial control as well as a say in design, paper selections and production quality. I have been in sales and business development in my day job for half my career, I had hoped that I could delegate it for this endevor. I would just prefer to spend more time creating images and the other series that I have pending.
So bottom line, I need to finish my book publication homework. I have all 50 images from this series laying on my living room floor and I am now thinking about the pending book design; images paired up or a single image per spread. I did put together a dummy of the book this afternoon and the page count will be determined by the image layout. Another consideration is a second writer to collaborate with for either a Forward or Introduction, which will increase the page count accordingly.
Alright, like eating the elephant, just take one bite at a time, and I’ll keep you posted on my indegestion.
Best regards, Doug
PS if you are a publisher and I did not totally piss you off and you think that my project has merit, would you please drop me a line? If you have read my earlier posts, then you know that I can eat Crow!