I just did something I intended to do for some time now…. I made a Photo Book, or rather a Photo Booklet. I’d like to submit it to your critical eyes, but also share my thoughts on the experience.
I have hesitated a long time before launching myself into this adventure, and I took a lot of time selecting the photographs.
What I wanted to do specifically was to recreate the look and feel of the small photo prints of my youth, which were six by four inches (or thereabout) and which were handed around at family gatherings. Which found their final resting place in shoeboxes or photo albums, they are real!
What happens with all those photos humanity snaps nowadays? Nothing! Nothing happens to them apart from being viewed on the phone they were shot with or at most on a computer screen if it’s a decent camera. They are being sent throughout the world, but only as bits and bytes. There is nothing tangible, not even a negative you can hold. But I’m not only talking about film photography. Digital photographs too deserve better than disappearing in the next harddisk crash.
The physical print as a medium is unfortunately disappearing and I want to do something (small, agreed) about that. Why not print out your photographs? Not all, but only the best or those you like the best. They are your pictures! Show them the respect they deserve by printing them or, as I tried, by making a book.
Rediscover the joy of handling those shiny squares of paper, of showing them around, of sending them to people. You don’t have to print ALL your photographs. Print only those that are special to you or yours. Limit yourself! That’s why a roll of film holds 36 frames and why film is expensive.
That’s also why the book contains 36 photographs…. a roll of film. The holy number of photographs!
It’s small, 7 by 7 inches, just big enough to show off the photos in this perfect format. It’s quite slim, but I hope the contents will make up for the small volume. Anyways, I put all my best efforts in it.
My subject is everyday life in Luxembourg. Not the high life of big finance and business my country is normally and falsely associated with, but the street life of the ordinary folk, simple people living their lives as best they can. No cityscapes in this volume, no spectacular buildings (this will perhaps be in an upcoming volume), but just humans as the title says. Just Humans in Luxembourg City. Just street photography to the best of my ability…
The medium: Black and White film (and files…) of course, my favorite for the moment.
The tools I used? I would be happy to say I used only film and 35mm Compact Cameras, but I have to confess that some of the pictures were taken with my iPhone too, and one with a Fuji X30…. sorry. Apart from these, my cameras of choice were taken to test, the Olympus XA2 and Lomo LC-A+, mostly with Ilford HP5+ film.
But this is not about the gear. Anything capable of creating a photograph, even a simple beer can with a pinhole is a camera, a light tight box with a lens or smallish hole and some means to control the light flooding it (might be your finger for a pinhole camera).
This is about the fact that I want to incite people to rediscover the printed image. A thing of beauty that you will take out and admire and show around. I don’t want everyone to become a master printer. That’s too hard a task. It was very difficult in the Darkroom Days and it is not easier if you print on an inkjet machine. But today most photo printers can give you decent quality out of the box and regardless of the medium they were shot with, the end result is a printed image, and that in itself feels positive.
With a bit of luck, this will be the first in a little series of books in this format. The subject might change, there might even be a book with color shots, but the format will be the same: Six by Four.
The finished product is available to buy on blurb here, I’d love to sell a couple, but actually, just the process of creating this has been really satisfying and something I would recommend to anyone!
If you click through to blurb, you can see more pages in a preview of the book – I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading and please, print your photographs or make books and share them!
You can also pay me a visit on www.whyfilmcameras.com