Archive for the ‘Photo Book’ Category

Photo Book – My Book

Posted: January 23, 2014 in Photo Book

For instructions on how I created the actual book, see my post on the Japanese Stab Stitch tutorial.

This post is more about what images I used and what I did to edit them into the actual pages for my book.

For starters, I decided on ten words to make signs of. I then took the following shots:

IMG_3545 IMG_3544 IMG_3543 IMG_3542 IMG_3541 IMG_3536 IMG_3535 IMG_3534 IMG_3533 IMG_3532

In my previous test shots (viewable in another post), I was positioned too far to the right. This time, I’m more centred in order to get the arm to pass over into the next page, once the book is made. I then converted each shot into black and white in photoshop (CMD + ALT + SHIFT + B). I choose ‘Darker’ in the drop box, because I wanted my shots to be very dark and grim. That’s what my emotions are at times and that was what I wanted to express in this book.

I then changed the size (CMD + ALT + I) to match the layout I previously made in Photoshop. I had to cut the images in half, at a size of 12.86cm width by 17.01cm height, because when you use a Japanese Stab Stitch method for your book the halves of your image are on separate pages. This is what an image looked like after that:

Nausea-L Nausea-R

I then added these images into the template I had created in Photoshop.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 18.04.28

I did this for each and every page, got the images printed, made the book according to the method posted on my blog before and the result was this:

IMG_0052 IMG_0056


I’m happy with how it turned out eventually. It’s not perfect perhaps, but I don’t feel something as home-made as this should be perfect. There’s the image of me with the word and then the images on the opposite page to go with the word. Altogether it tells the story I wanted it to tell, but in case people wondered what I was trying to do with it, I put a little text at the end of the book, which explains the full story. It definitely wasn’t easy to make, but all the more satisfying when I did it.


Gillian Wearing OBE RA is an English conceptual artist. She was born in 1963 in Birmingham.

The reason I had a look at Gillian is because in the early 1990’s, she started opening exhibitions that contained images of complete strangers that held up pieces of paper with messages on it. This kind of matches what I’m doing, although I’m using myself instead of strangers.

I'm Desperate - Wearing

According to Wearing, she “wanted people to feel protected when they talked about certain things in their life that they wouldn’t want the public that knows them to know. I can understand that sort of holding on to things—it’s kind of part of British society to hold things in. I always think of Britain as being a place where you’re meant to keep your secrets—you should never tell your neighbors or tell anyone. Things are changing now, because the culture’s changed and the Internet has brought people out. We have Facebook and Twitter where people tell you small details of their life.”

The pain and problems I have due to my disability usually isn’t something I like talking about, unless someone asks or they’re people I’m close to. In a way, I’m keeping these issues a secret too. The people in Wearing’s shots, unexpectedly, started writing rather personal things on their signs. That, again, is very similar to the idea behind my project. The difference is that, rather than writing a message, I am only using one word each time. The ‘message’ comes from the images that go with the shots, in my case.

I really like her ‘Signs that Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say’ series. Some of the messages are really personal, which isn’t at all what you’d expect when you ask someone to write something on a piece of paper. This, in turn, makes the images very personal.



I decided to try my luck and create a Japanese stab stitch book. This is a bit more tricky than the concertina book, but also more fun to make. The stitching is rather complicated, but I’ll do my best to show how it’s done. Please don’t have a go at my drawing skills!

For this, you’ll need:

– A ruler

– A Stanley knife or scalpel

– A pair of scissors

– Grey Board Card

– Paper

– Card

– Wallpaper, book cloth, leather or anything else you would want to cover your book with

– A hole punching awl tool (or a fine drill if the paper is too thick)

– A needle and cross stitch thread in the colour of your preference


In my case, I decided to go for A4 sized paper, which will end up being an A5 sized book. With this method, because you’ll be folding the paper down the middle, you have to remember that the left side of your A4 paper will be the right part of image 1, whereas the right side of your paper will end up being the left side of image 2 on the other side. So you basically have to cut your images in half.

Keep in mind that the closed side of the folded paper will be right side of your book. In other words, when you turn a page, you’ll actually be turning the fold. The open part of the folded paper will be in the spine of the book.

Once you’ve figured out in Adobe Photoshop or any other editing program which way and order to put the image halves in, you can then get the pages printed and start folding your stack of paper.


You then take some grey board card ( a hard grey cardboard type) and cut out two pieces, slightly larger on all sides than the A5 size your pages are now. I would go for a margin of around 0.5 to 1cm. This will end up being the cover of your book.


For my book, I created a cover with a flap. To do this, you take your two pieces of grey board card and cut out a thin strip on one side. In my case, I measured 2cm from the edge and then measured a strip of 1cm width to cut out. The end result looking like the drawing above.


Because I wanted to keep the home-made feel to my book, I used wallpaper again (just like the concertina book). Place your small and large bit of grey card on the wallpaper and cut out two pieces of around 3cm larger on all sides. This will be what creates the outside ‘look’ of your book.


When you’ve cut your two pieces, place the grey board in the middle of it, making sure you’ve left the 1cm strip in between the two pieces. After that, cut the corners off in the way shown in the drawing. Make sure you don’t cut it right up against the grey board, as you need to take the thickness of the board into account. So leave a little room. The rule of thumb is usually to simply leave a space the size of the thickness of the board.

Once you’ve cut all the corners, fold the flaps around the board. Make sure you do it nice and tight.


When done, you should have your two covers. As you can see in the drawing, it works as a flap because of the space we left in between the two pieces of grey board.


Now take both covers and place your folded paper stack in between. It is critical that your pages are absolutely straight and perfectly lined up with each other.

I actually used some DIY clamps to make sure nothing moved.


Now it’s time to make the holes in the spine of the book, ready for stitching. You can create a template or you can just draw your markers on the book itself. Whatever method you use, make sure the holes are evenly spaced and start around 2cm from the top and bottom. Also make sure the holes are in the middle of the thin spine we created and penetrate the full stack of paper.

Once you’ve measured where you want your holes to be, use the awl tool or a drill (of the paper stack is too thick for the awl tool) to make the holes in the spine. Do this VERY carefully, because you don’t want to rip anything.


Now, take your thread and enter the hole (closest to the top or bottom, to make it easier, unlike my drawing suggests) from the middle of the paper stack. Pull the thread until you have about 10cm left, which we’ll leave in the middle of the book for now.


Now comes the hard part: The stitching. The following example is for when you have four holes. Pull the thread tight after each step.

  1. The first step is to go in from the middle of the paper stack, come out the first hole on the bottom.
  2. Go around the spine and back into the same hole again.
  3. When you come out, take the thread over the corner (so not the spine, but the top or bottom corner, depending where you started) and go back into the same hole once more.
  4. When your needle comes out on the bottom, take it over to the next hole.
  5. Come out the top and go around the spine again and back through the same hole.
  6. Come out the top again and take it to the next hole.
  7. When your needle comes out the bottom, take it around the spine again and back through the same hole.
  8. When your needle comes out the bottom, take it over to the next hole.
  9. Come out the top and go around the spine again and back through the same hole.
  10. Come out the top once more and take the thread over the corner again, just like we did at the start. Then take it through the same hole again.
  11. Come out the top and to the next hole.
  12. Come out the bottom and to the next hole.
  13. Come out on the top and go into the hole we started. Now comes the tricky bit. When we go back into the hole, we have to try and get our thread to come out halfway in the stack of paper. In the exact spot where we went in and left the 10cm of thread.


When we have managed to pull the needle through and out the middle of the book, we need to tie a good knot in the two pieces of thread we have now got left and tighten it into the spine. This will ensure the knot won’t be visible when we open the book to read it. After tying the knot, cut off the excess thread and push the knot into the spine.


Once everything is tightened up and knotted, the end result should look like the drawing above. The following pictures are of the first test book I created with the help of my tutor.


As part of my research as to what type of book to create for this module, I’ve decided to make my own concertina style book from A4 printing paper, cardboard and some left over wallpaper.


Take some A4 sized paper (or other size, depending on how big you want your book to be) and print rows of images of the same size and at exactly the same distance, on both sides. You can also print some images later and glue them on, which is what I did in this case. It gives it an even more home-made look. Then, cut the strips out. Make sure you leave an extra bit at the end in case you want to extend your concertina. You can then glue the end onto the next strip and make it as long as you would want.


Fold the strips of images in a zig-zag way, making sure the folds are nice and neat. If the folds aren’t exactly the same each time, your concertina will end up looking a bit wonky.


Take some grey board (the hard grey cardboard stuff) and cut out two pieces, both slightly bigger on all sides than your folded up strip of images. This will become the outside cover of your book.


In my case, I used wallpaper to cover the outside. You can use anything, from wallpaper to proper book cloth or even leather. Place your grey card pieces onto whatever it is you’re using and cut out two pieces of around 2 or 3cm larger on all sides.


Place your grey card in the middle of the pieces you cut out and take off the corners as illustrated. Make sure you don’t cut it right up against the board, as you’ll need a little bit of extra room to take the thickness of the board into account.

Once you’ve taken the corners off, you simply wrap the flaps around your board. It’s almost as if you’re wrapping a present, although it’s likely you won’t cover the full inside.

To finish this part off neatly, I’d suggest covering the open space with some black paper or the more sturdy card type. This way, the grey board and folds will be covered nicely by the black card and give you a nice flat surface to attach your image strips onto.


When you’ve done this, glue the covers onto each side of your image strips and let it dry.


The final product will look something like the one above, which is the one I created as a little experiment to see whether I’d want to use that for my final project.

I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. It’s very simple to make, but looks pretty fun. And because I used such small strips for my images, it’s really pocket sized. Great fun.

Photo Book – Test Shots

Posted: December 27, 2013 in Photo Book
Tags: ,

For the photo book, I’ve been taking test shots and created a basic layout example for the actual book. I decided to go for black and white, simply because it’s about the problems I encounter on a day-to-day basis with my disability. I’ve had two back surgeries, one of which left me disabled. So I wanted a kind of grim look, because my life isn’t always nice and colourful.

At the time of writing, there aren’t a lot of disabled people that use photography to express their feelings and to focus on their problems. That’s why I want to do this. Make people aware that although I might look fine on the outside, on the inside there’s a lot of different things going on that affect me in a bad way.

So the following images are the self portrait test shots. The idea would be to use these images over a two page spread. I want to try and make each image look almost identical, with a different sign. So the signs on the right page will show the emotions, feelings or even side effects and then on the left page I want to show images that express why I feel these things.




The following image is the actual idea for the two page spread.

Photo Book Sample

As you can see, I’m holding the word ‘anger’ and on the left I’m showing two things that make me angry. One is a lift that’s out of order, making it impossible for me to go up or down as I can’t walk the stairs. The other is a flight of stairs, which leaves me stuck. These are just two examples of things that anger me sometimes.

So that’s the basic idea for now. Going to be shooting more images of course. I’d love to create this as a Japanese Stab Stitch book, so that’s what I’m going to try. Will hopefully be able show on here how that’s done.

So that’s it for now, more to come!

Photo Book Module… Another Idea

Posted: November 21, 2013 in Photo Book

A new idea! I got this idea of doing self portraits, with me holding paper/cardboard signs with different emotions and feelings related to my disability.  This would also include the side effects from my medication. Might even write them on my forehead or something. Not quite sure yet. Also not sure about the location yet.

Doing this would allow me to express everything I feel and/or struggle with on different days. Hopefully I can make it work the way I have it in my head.

Got a little list of words that spring to mind when thinking about it… will probably be adding things as I go along:

  • Sciatica
  • Nausea
  • Discomfort
  • Pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Immobility
  • Frustration
  • Depression
  • Cold Sweats
  • Numbness
  • Isolation
  • Disadvantage
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Determination
  • Hope

Photo Book Module Idea

Posted: November 21, 2013 in Photo Book

As I’m struggling to come up with ideas, mainly due to lack of inspiration, I began to wonder why that was. I came to the conclusion that the thing that holds me back in photography could very easily become an inspiration for this module.

My ‘Familiar and Every Day’, which is the title of the module, is very different to most people. My every day is determined by my physical and mental state at the time because of my back problem. I’ve decided to use exactly that: My physical and mental state on any given day. I’m incapable of doing everything that I would want or like, simply because my back won’t allow it. Before my disability, most of my experience came from the outside world. Now, that has been taken away from me at times when I’m bed bound or incapable of walking far enough.

My basic idea was to show this constricted life. I’m not sure how yet, but perhaps by putting my walking aids in places usually unreachable for me. So it could be a walking frame on a mountain side or something like that, obviously portrayed in a beautiful way. Watch this space for more on this or other ideas!

Photo Book research: Typology

Posted: November 20, 2013 in Photo Book
Tags: ,

Typology is a collection of images of the same type. Above is my example. I choose to slice fruit in half, so the insides are showing. I am fascinated with the shapes and patters that emerge when this is done.

Typology is starting to interest me more than I expected. The work of Bernd and Hilla Becher is a great example of typology done in a fantastic way. The subjects may not always be the most interesting to everyone, but the results are amazing each and every time. And that’s what so great about it. It just works, even when it shouldn’t. You can pick any type of object and the chances are that you’ll end up with something beautiful.