‘A Day in the Life…’ A Photobook.

I wrote a bit last month about my intention to produce 12 zines, books or physical releases (of some sort) of my pictures over twelve consecutive months. Having decided that we’re emigrating next month, that might prove difficult, but at least I got as far as number four…

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After ‘No Constructive Conclusions‘, ‘Nighttime Adventures in Neopan‘ and ‘Fabryka‘, it was time for something a little different.

Last year, I’d spent a rainy Sunday in February following my daughter around the house for the day, recording what she got up to. I gathered these pictures into a Blurb book that I printed as a Mother’s Day gift for my wife. I thought I’d do the same again this year and produce a book for her and also contribute to my twelve in twelve plan. However, I didn’t fancy the Blurb option, instead wanting something a little more personal and individual.

I’ve read for a while in Black and White Photography magazine about various methods of presenting ones work as handmade books either in concertina form or using hand-stitching. I’d also received Adam Fowler’s fantastic hand-made book Carving Up a City, about Glasgow’s urban motorway, a subject very close to my heart. Adam generously offered advice and information on how he had created his book and the materials used.
He’d learned the process properly and comparing his end result and mine, you can tell (although I’m pleased that the difference isn’t as great as I thought it might be).

A few YouTube videos and craft websites later, I was ready to go. I bought papers and a really useful hand-binding starter pack from the Vintage Paper Company (on Orkney believe it or not). All I needed now was to get out and take the pictures.

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The middle Sunday in February this year was to be a family visit to Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. It’s a National Trust property and has the catchy tag of being ‘the un-stately, stately home’ as the house and grounds are maintained in a state of disrepair. It’s a lovely place for a wander, especially with a camera.

To add another level of difficulty to the project (and to cover another niche), I decided to shoot the day on film. The night before, I grabbed a handful of rolls of Agfa Vista 200 (Poundland special) from the fridge and loaded up the first roll. What I didn’t spot was that one of the rolls was actually and old roll of Precisa 100 slide film. I realised when I unloaded it and had to rely on AG Photolab’s push-processing abilities to get me out of trouble.

As soon as I had the rolls back, I scanned (still hate the process) and edited the set down to 30 pictures (that I printed on my newish Canon IP8250, that I’m very happy with. More on that in another post…). I’d bought card for the cover and wrap, and some tracing paper to make interleaves (I believe that’s the term) I borrowed a guillotine from work and was good to go.
The books were smaller than A5 (same width but not so tall) and so I could print the same picture twice on each sheet of paper. The idea was that by making two, I’d have a ‘dry run’ and could give my wife the second, hopefully better looking copy.

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With a little attention to detail, the process is pretty simple and I’m very pleased with how the books turned out. I could have done with a better guillotine to get more repeatability on the page sizes, but on the whole, for a first attempt, I’m happy.

Gosia seemed to be happy with it too when she received it as a Women’s Day gift.

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