Visions, vol I — now available in print

For about two years now I have had an idea in the back of my head that I have been waiting to realise: printing and binding a small selection of my photographs to be kept in my bookshelf and looked at whenever I (or anyone else) felt like. This was motivated by a couple of things; generally by my love for film, and specifically by those early experiences of seeing my photographs in print, holding them in my hand, perceiving them as somehow more meaningful entities than pixels on a screen.

Visions vol 1 front cover

Image-wrapped, hardcover, 12″-by-12″ photo book.

Visions volume 1 title page

The title page (like the rest of the book) is set in Garamond.

For this to ever happen I would need a good pool of photographs to pick from and it was decided sometime in late 2015 that I would wait till the following before browsing through every photograph I ever made between 2013 and 2015 and picking fifty of them to be part of a collection. The set was intended to highlight my best work while embodying my personal style of photography.

Example one-page spread.

Example two-page spread.

The collection does not differentiate by technique or device, including photographs made with my dSLR and iPhone, and, further, does not identify the device used to make a photograph. I decided upon this to truly conform to my belief that the camera itself matters far less than the photographer.

The selection process was complete by late 2016, and printing and binding was complete a week later; I received my first official copy, somewhat pleasantly, right around the new year. The first volume covers the years 2013 to 2015 and the next will be out in early 2019, covering three years from 2016.

The book is a square-foot and is printed on premium matte paper, one of the best qualities possible. Titled Visions, the book now available on Amazon for $125 if you wish to procure a copy for yourself. And if you decide to, thank you.

Thoughts on Artifact Uprising

One of the many questions I faced while planning Visions was whether I should get it printed through the small VSCO subsidiary, Artifact Uprising. I heard from many who had used AU before that the print quality was second to none, but the fact that they used recycled paper (which, of itself, is a good thing) meant whites were always tinged yellow. I cannot vouch for this, but AU offered to print twenty of my photographs on square card stock for free and when the photographs arrived they were really good.

A small selection of my photographs printed on square card stock, from Artifact Uprising.

The card stock feels great to touch, and looks beautiful too; the colours are accurate and the blacks are acceptable. But can this form of printing (even if not on such thick card stock) challenge matte paper predominantly used in photo books? For me, for now, perhaps not.

Would the card stock or recycled paper replace the traditional matte paper we are used to seeing in photo books (such as the kind Visions is made of)? I doubt it, at least for the time being. In the end, however, the reason I did not go with AU was not the paper itself but because they did not have a full-fledged design suite for their book and I had no intention of letting what would be an extremely important collection of my works conform to anybody’s design ideas but my own.

Lovely packaging from Artifact Uprising: ‘with gratitude’ says a card inside.

Over all, this has been a great experience and I will echo what I said at the start: holding your photographs in your hand is an experience unlike anything the digital medium offers, whether as individual photographs or published as a book. Both publishing and selling on Amazon, and getting the square card prints from AU have been great experiences; experiences I hope to recreate and better sometime down the line.

Read more essays in the journal