Friday, July 29, 2011

Raymond Meeks - some thoughts on making photobooks

Raymond Meeks is a photographer based in Portland Oregan. He makes wonderful hand made photobooks. What follows are a few points Meeks made, taken from an extended conversation with Joerg Colberg, about the process of making photobooks.
These are wize words..... read and don't forget!

The Material
I tend to be a photographer who appreciates the contents of my backyard. I believe there’s a universal story that can be told in your own surroundings without needing to necessarily travel or take on social documentary by going where these large social topics are acting out on a large scale. They can also be told using metaphor in my neighborhood, which is a place I’m familiar with and have developed an order or understanding.
The book as Object
The thing that’s most important about the object for me is that it have presence. I think that’s accomplished by bringing care and attention to it. And that happens in the way that I care for the book, the handling and printing of pages. My daughter, a tenth-grader now, comes to my studio after school. She’s developed a final act of kissing the title page after the stitching and tipping-in of loose prints I package all the books myself. My hands go into everything. For me, it’s a privilege that I get to make this book for somebody who is drawn to my work and this form of expression, which I happen to love. None of this is a given or something I take for granted.
The Intention
In fiction and storytelling, I prefer a narrative that lays out a straight story without embellishment. I agree with you. I think there’s no substitute for intention, there’s no substitute for somebody really caring for something. I was skeptical of that personally until I started receiving emails after people received their books. They were overwhelmingly gracious. Break the books down to their spare essence and materials… it’s not the finest printing, these are laser-printed sheets of Mohawk paper. But when you care for a work, it is transmitted.
What makes a book Great
I think any book or work of art that I appreciate the most is one that calls for involvement, interaction. You have to work to understand it and you get to bring something to it each time. It’s a constant metamorphosis. The work itself, or the subject, is changing because you are changing. The way I look at a book today and the way I look at a book a year from now - if the book is good, if the book isn’t static, isn’t solved and isn’t a one-liner, then based on where you are in your life you bring something new to the narrative. And if it’s not solved, you don’t close the book and feel “OK, I understand, this is done.” Those are the books you never pull off your shelf again.

The images: pages from where objects fall away, 2011
You can read the full conversation here:

And more of Raymond Meeks here:

1 comment:

Australian Photograph Collector said...

Hi Harvey
I have the referenced work 'where objects fall away' in my collection. its one of my favorites.
I had bookmarked the reference on your blog from way back and have just located it. Raymond has just recently emailed me and he has relocated to New York. He looks to have a big year ahead. Cheers Bill