Saturday, August 20, 2016

How Not to Design a Photobook - a workshop with designer Stuart Smith

Harvey Benge - Paris work-prints

Aperture will host a two-day workshop with Stuart Smith on September 17 and 18, 2016. Intended for photographers who are prepared to transition their images into book form, the workshop will focus on editing, sequencing, and pairing photographs, as well as how to design a successful and thoroughly considered photobook.

Designer Stuart Smith has worked on over forty books with Aperture’s Executive Director, Chris Boot, at Phaidon, Chris Boot Ltd., and, now, at Aperture. In advance of Smith’s first workshop for Aperture, September 17–18, Boot talked with the designer about “how not to design a photobook.”

Smith: Because photographers are visual, they usually assume two things: that they can design and that they can edit. But they benefit by letting someone else in. It doesn’t matter how well-known a photographer is, the fact is all photographers need a good editor, someone who they can trust checking or proposing picture and sequence decisions. It’s probably the most important part of putting a book together. Often the photographer is too close to the work, or to certain images, and they have a tendency to want to use more images, when they should let some of them go. The reverse can also be true. A photographer can become fixed on particular pictures. I usually want to see a wider edit than the photographer initially has in mind, and quite often between ten and twenty percent of the final picture selection will come in from this broader selection. This doesn’t seem like much, but it can make the difference between the mediocre and the sublime. 

You can read the complete Chris Boot, Stuart Smith interview HERE

Back in March 2012 I made a blog post - The Photobook, some thoughts on editing and sequencing. The piece makes 17 points about the process, talking about the importance of having a compelling idea through to the notion of throwing away the rule book. Must have said something right because to date the post has had 14,760 reads. You can go to that post HERE.

Harvey Benge - an edit continues...

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