I have been pondering a number of questions in relation to the layout of a book I might produce:
- Who is the audience for the book? Is it the tutors on the programme, the casual visitor at an exhibition, other photographers looking for ideas, or people seeking an insight into the nature of the Island of Skye? I like to think it is the latter.
- Would it be best to go for an e-book at this stage given the significant developments and changes in my photography over the past few months? A book looking forward rather than back would be more helpful in the development of my photographic practice.
- Which images should I choose? I am still making images so the final editing has not been done.
- Should I keep to one topic or a combination of subjects showing different aspects of Skye arranged into chapters?
- What words should I add? Should they be my own, somebody else’s -writer, poet or philosopher?
- Should I keep the page layout simple and put one image per page with words opposite or use different layouts to make it more interesting?
In order to think more about these questions and resolve how best to deal with them I decided to start creating mock-ups so I can see how they look. I produced an initial book a few weeks ago which gives a sense of where I started from:
In the new version below, I have simplified the presentation with bright white pages. I have moved on in terms of subjects and rather than focusing just on the reeds and water lilies I have added some seascapes to get a sense of what a mixed book might look like. I have tried out a number of different page layouts and at this stage just added some words at the beginning of each chapter:
In terms of using the software I have added a ‘hard cover’ to the book and enabled auto page turning. At this stage the number of pages is restricted to 30 but I am considering upgrading to allow more functionality.
I have also done some housekeeping in terms of creating collections in Lightroom for my seascapes, reeds, mountains, trees and clouds. This will help as I move forward to editing my work more meticulously.
Here is a second version of the e-book now entitled The Ephemeral Hiddenness of Skye:
Developing my Statement of Intent
I have reordered my draft Statement of Intent in response to tutor feedback by moving the last paragraph to the first, making it clear how my work reflects a personal journey which I think makes the statement stronger.
The Ephemeral Hiddenness of Skye
“The soul never thinks without a picture.” (Aristotle)
Focusing on detailed aspects of nature and spending time in the landscape allows me to reflect on my own inner life: the hurt and fracture – confronting the chaos of death and destruction during my time as a police photographer; the remnants and vulnerability of my youth and the solitude of adulthood when parents are gone. I use aspects of the natural world as metaphors for my feelings and emotions and use light and shade, luminosity and depth, shape and structure as a means of revealing the Skye that most visitors and locals fail to notice.
I am driven by a search for the ephemeral hiddenness of the Isle of Skye, and my photography seeks to capture its essence, rather than a simple visual and literal representation. I am not looking for the sublime and romantic depictions of the Island that so many photographers produce but a reflection of my personal experience of this beautiful part of north-west Scotland.
My work is informed by philosophers such as Jose Ortega y Gasset, Harman, Meillassoux and Heidegger and influenced by painters including J M W Turner and Claude Monet. Photographic influencers include Fay Godwin, Ori Gersht, Iain Serjeant and Awioska van der Molen.
Looking through the lens of my experience I see the sea, lochs, mountains and moors – these are Skye’s sensible properties. It is not these I am seeking but those that transcend individual experience – the ‘otherness’ of its geography, the vulnerability of its ecology and its ephemeral hiddenness. I am searching for those passing moments, glimpses, transitory states when Skye reveals itself to me: its mystery, fragility and resilience – its essence.
I feel that I have more questions than answers at this stage but without making a start I cannot move to a considered resolution of each one. I think I must produce more mock up books in order to see the implications of various approaches.