Copyright Douglas Stockdale
I just received an update from Colin Jago that SoFoBoMo 2011 dates have been announced for the 2011 event: July 1 through August 31st. I also posted a brief announcement on The PhotoBook, so some more information available there as well.
In a case of rust remover for those not familiar with this blog, I was one of the many who supported Paul Butzi when he kicked off this annual event in 2009. I finished two books in 2009, one of which “Sharpening Photographs for POD Printing” is in its second edition on Blurb. Oh yeah, this photo-tech book was developed in two days. Now you might understand why it required a second edition, the first edition was that bad. All of my SoFoBoMo blogging related to my participation in 2009 is available through the catagory button in the right panel.
So much has happened during these subsequent years, so I can provide my perspective and thoughts on SoFoBoMo. Firstly, I think SoFoBoMo is an excellent opportunity to get fully engaged and find out what it means to put together a photobook if you have never done this before. It helps you get past the procrastination stage, and experience actualizing a concept and vision, what it means to layout a book and experience with type and text, as well as sequencing and pairing of photographs into a meaningful narrative. A collection of photographs that are assembled into a book is not the same as singular images, individual prints or a gallery exhibition.
In 2009 I ran into technical hurdles (self imposed don’t ya know) that made my final book (Places Amongst Us) a not so great object, although an extremely educational experience. I was shooting film, using a pro-lab to process and then subsequently scanning each negative on my film scanner, which required a ton of spotting and tweaking. So after running out of time with film, I had to quickly re-shoot the entire book in digital and finalize the book. sheeeese.
Today, I am using full frame digital and I feel very comfortable with a full digital workflow. So I just might do SoFoBoMo again this year. Although I left the 2009 Places Amongst Us on Blurb for about a month (sold three copies, so a really limited edition book), I thought it so bad that I deleted it. Today, I would consider this a private book on Blurb and use the Blurb books for a book dummy to provide book submissions or discussions with galleries. Since I still have the Blurb book file, this is a possibility. Meanwhile, I continue to think about the concept behind the project Places Amongst Us and think that I would do it a little differently. I would also photograph the project differently and able to work on it while I am in Europe.
My recommendation is if you think that you want to participate, use the time now to think, think, think, and then plan, plan, plan. Yes think pre-visualization about your concept and how you want to visualize it. For me, I will plan to photograph the entire project in one day, maybe two, on the very first day of the event. I have found that even when you have all of the planning, photographing can change things, sometimes in a delightful way that was unanticipated. Likewise, it takes me a long time to get the sequencing and page pairing figured out. BTW, there is nothing that does not permits to use yours friends help, especially if they are book designers!
For me, I also find that as I work on laying out the photographs in the book design, I usually need to re-photograph something, and so photographing on day-one provides the extra time if needed. Also, for the planning, that also means that you can start thinking about how you might use the book layout options if you are using software like Blurb.
At this rate, I think I just might participate in SoFoBoMo for 2011, but that means looking at the available dates and what my options are regarding my European travel schedule. Likewise, I hope you give it some serious thought as well!
Best regards, Doug