A note about the content of photobooks

I’ve been thinking about photobooks of late, and how they fit in with what I learned yesterday about mirrors and windows. Recently, I was talking to my partner about possibly printing out a book for each of the last few years as a record of what I have been doing. I’d planned to fill them with some of my better images, most of which I now know are windows, i.e of places and events I have visited. No, he said, they should be about people. I quote “Nobody wants to look back through family albums and see endless travel shots. They want to see photos of people they know and especially family“. In my enthusiasm for travel and improving my technique, I realise I had forgotten that; all my own forays over the years back into the family archive have been to see how the people have changed and to recall memories of events and get-togethers where we were together. So the question for me now is how to reconcile these two polarities in a single book, or whether I should make two for each year, one of mirrors and another of windows. I am going to post this on the OCA forums to see what views other people have about the conundrum, as this is something I want to work through alongside my coursework in the next few months.

 

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11 thoughts on “A note about the content of photobooks

    1. Holly Woodward Post author

      It’s one option, although I’m not sure I have the staying power to keep it up all year. I’m thinking I might bring it along as a question to the TVF. The more I consider the philosophy of what images to keep long term, the more confusing it gets.

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  1. Catherine

    I think the idea of a photo a day is a good one but maybe that could be separate – as a reflection on your work overall. I certainly understand your partner’s point of view regarding family albums. My daughter’s brother-in-law produced a family calendar each year which is all shots of the children so you can see them grow year by year.
    Re windows and mirrors – it’s confusing to me as well because one person’s mirror is another’s window.
    What images to keep is a topic on my mind as well at the moment. I’m considering having a large storage external drive and putting all the images on there so that I can get some more space on my computer. Are you now up-to-date with your Lightroom cataloguing?

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    1. Carol Street

      Hi Holly, re your thoughts of what images I want to keep for the long term I keep all of mine unless they are technically duff. I find that over the years the idea of what I like in a photograph / my photographic direction changes and I’ve been really glad that I’ve kept some older ones. Recently I’ve been re-processing some from 2014. The other point to consider for me is that my processing skills have improved and I also now have access to more advanced processing technology – photos that I changed to mono in LR in 2013 now look heaps better if I run them through Silver Efex. So I just keyword everything in LR and then store all images apart from this year’s on external drives (+ a back-up)

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      1. Holly Woodward Post author

        I take your point about keeping everything, but the sheer number of images was becoming overwhelming and something need to be done. Although I’m not taking as many photos as I was, last year produced over 11,000 and there’s a lot of dross in there. It’s also true that as time goes on, one learns more about post-processing and it’s good to go back over some of the old stuff and re-edit it, but the image must be basically well shot to be worth doing this. So, literally tens of thousands of my older photos have been binned to let me concentrate on the better ones.

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    2. Holly Woodward Post author

      Thanks for the comments, Catherine. I’m busy collating a post with various remarks from different people on what I wrote, which are extremely wide-ranging in content and need some serious thought to bring together. My Lightroom cataloguing is ongoing, although the light is visible as a tiny pin-prick at the end of the tunnel. I’ve completely reorganised the way I tag images to reduce the massive number of copies and am now doing all the grouping in Collections instead of Folders. There’s still a lot to be done though. My current idea is to make a photobook with different themes, including family images, personal projects and OCA material, though I’m also toying with the idea of getting my blogs published by Blurb as I finish them, so that there is a tangible record of progress. So much to think about.

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      1. Catherine

        One of these days I must get the hang of Lightroom. From what I remember, Blurb had stopped printing blogs now but Blog2Print seem to still be going strong. One of the problems I found with Blurb and Blog2Print is that the resolution of images is poor as a result of having to put low resolution images on blogs, plus the images get moved around – as a result, I have PDFs, with some still to be sorted but haven’t had one printed..

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  2. Judy Bach

    I make a family calendar each year for everyone + this year a book They are fascinating to look back on + I always get prints of family get togethers / birthdays etc .

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    1. Holly Woodward Post author

      I’d like to do this too, but there are only so many hours in the day. It’s becoming clear from the comments on this post and also the ones on the thread I put up on OCA Discuss that there’s a real problem with how vernacular photography is archived in the digital age, and if we want to keep family photos, we HAVE to get them printed.

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