Context: Teaching

During the summer I received a call from Jim Campbell on the BA Photography course asking if I would be interested in being part of teaching one of the units for the second-year students. 

Teaching is something I have often considered as supplementing my income however I would be lying if I said I thought it would be trying it out this early. It did however fit somehow. During my time on the MA I have found more and more that people come to me for advice and though I don’t believe I know any more than most, I really enjoy solving problems related to photography. It always feels easier solving others’ problems, and this can cycle back, informing your own work. In addition to this with my increasing interest in making work about schools and education it gave me another angle of experience to consider this from. 

Starting this was stress inducing! I’m usually fairly confident and although I get the jitters before speaking, I’m able to control it. With teaching there was a new dynamic, probably exacerbated by my thoughts of still being a student myself. After my first session this subsided. I quickly came to realise what I could offer to the students and started picking up on how I would prefer to teach quickly. The unit I was working on was primarily a reading group, a lot of the texts/reading materials given I have read before but made sure to re-listen and make more extended notes than I would have the first time. Coming in to the first session it became apparent that the students were potentially not as engaged with reading what they had been set than I imagined. I had to lead almost all of the conversation, but I did not feel out of my depth at all. Each student had differing interests, but all seemed fairly engaged with their topic despite not reading what they were set. I understand why they may have struggled, at a similar stage I would have looked at some of these texts with a little Sinicism, they are wordy and often not concise. I decided to use the fairly recent experience I had with a similar position to engage them, give them a reason to try and enjoy what was being in front of them. I believe reading is something that you must come to enjoy yourself, otherwise it is plainly just too laborious. From here on in the sessions seems to become easier, it was probably both me settling in and the students being more engaged. 

The next challenge was to create a lecture on Documentary Ethics. Jim had asked if I was happy to do this and that I didn’t have to, but I felt if there was a time to throw myself in at the deep end, it is now. What better way to do it than through a topic that directly applies to my questions around the practice of photography. I know my strength lie in playing off conversations of others rather than simply standing in front of other and talking. I had also been told the students were looking for more engagement in lectures. I took previous experience from running the workshop in Denmark and tried to apply a similar idea into this lecture. I gave my spiel about breaking down ethics within the broader sense of epistemology and how I would approach projects making sure to mention that project can be approached in multiple ways amongst other ideas. Talked about my work and where considerations on ethics may be applied to my work. I then created a workshop where the students in groups looked at different books and interrogated these works through the same process I had used to assess my own work. Some students had to be guided but they managed to come up with some incisive questions but were also supportive of the work in other areas. I ended the session with a more obvious ethical debate around the photographer Souvid Datta. The lecture/workshop seemed to be received well.

Moving forward this experience has given me a lot to consider about teaching as something that supports my practice. I enjoy it and feel I would enjoy working with the students on their practical work even more than the theoretical side as this is where my interest lies. I would be willing to do more hours in a part time capacity, but I feel taking a full-time role would negate my work at this stage due to the importance of dedicating time to educating the students when in a position like that. 

Context: Material Considerations

A key realisation I had during the summer and beginning of the dissemination period was around a question of what exactly I was disseminating. What is the work and what is its physical embodiment? I think this question can be answered on a number of different levels depending on the type of photographer or artist you are. I will attempt to do this and yet retain some integrity to my primary interests and focus attention on those. 

Since beginning the dissemination unit I have begun to think what my outputs were, and the answer was interesting. I didn’t really have any other than the Albatross book. This is not to say I don’t make prints or other objects, I am constantly figuring out the best way to present and show my work, I am just rarely making the final objects themselves. To interrogate the reasons of this further explains this. I just simply haven’t had the platforms to inspire me to make the finished products. They cost money and take time, if you lack an audience then your work can suffer because of this. I made pictures because of a need to do so. I feel the producing of the work comes from a different place inside you, it comes out of a want for that work to be seen. 

To back track I did have digital outputs, primarily because in this I had opportunity and an audience. A social media following, awards, features and grants. Almost all of these operate in a digital sense, and through some sense of industry parameters I was sold down the river of creating my projects in little bitesize digital applications. 200 words and 15 photos, there or thereabouts. It creates parameters in the same way as track lengths are considered in contemporary pop music. Can my work fit into this, sure, but is this an ideal vessel for showing its qualities, probably not? To add to this, during my time between creating larger works, social media (primarily Instagram) felt like my only output and audience. I feel this is a tool that can be used, but I’m less inclined to focus on social media as an output for the work itself.

I know in my heart I see my work in a physical sense. Books and prints suit my practice at this moment in time. This all seems to follow with my rhetoric around elevating the work through the qualities of the material. With material and physicality being integral to my practice then my digital presence should be referential to the qualities of the material work. I can see this idea working in many ways. First and foremost, it does what it should, show the work for what it is. Then it creates an intrigue, if you see a post of a book then you are left wondering what that book contained, what it felt like, and how it would be to look at this book in real life. People enjoy the image of the book, press like, consider it for whatever award it may be judged for, etc, but they are also left not fully satisfied until they have seen the physical object itself. The same can be said for images of an exhibition. I have rectified this by including these sorts of images on my Instagram. Also by adding to my tearsheets sections of my website and changing it’s name to ‘in situ’ to represent the work in its various settings. 

The deliberation around prints came whilst printing my images in the darkroom at the end of summer. I do not believe I went into this thinking that the darkroom would be my primary practice. As I made the prints everyone who walked into the room seemed interested, some offered to buy prints and some just went bin diving for test prints. I realised people want the material in the same way I do, they like owning a part of the work. For the first time I considered my work as something that could be owned by someone else (such a strange realisation for someone who worked in a print lab for four years and makes editions for other people). I think the reason this only became apparent this late in the day was that I had not been happy with the results I had got before, this could be because of the images themselves or the realisation of them in print. I was excited by the prospect of creating what I finally saw as artworks that I would want to stand the test of time. 

If the Albatross books I have made so far are dummy’s, then so are the prints I have made. I set about thinking what my first output could be for the Folly work (Albatross as an artwork is the book, I will talk more extensively about books in a separate post). I had recently come to the conclusion that producing Folly into a book for the end of 2018 was too soon and I didn’t quite see the artwork as a book at this stage. All of the playing with the work in physical form had been in 10 x 8” darkroom prints. These prints actually define the project for me, they are what I have used to create dialogues between the images and when I come to create the book it will be 10 x 8” in size. I feel the images suit individual prints well, I see each image as a relic of sorts and a handmade print by the artist seem to suit the notions of the work.

I have come up with the idea of the black box. This portfolio box would be a selection of the initial images from the Folly work, it’s first iteration in a way. This is primarily what I have been planning and working towards. Through creating final prints at 10 x 8” size I am aiming to make this box in an edition. I do not want to edition these prints as I would like to make prints at this size indefinitely, but the box itself will be editioned. This box will be my voice, my edit, potentially my words, all made by myself. It feels like the perfect vessel to initiate the work, and the funds made from selling it can go towards further shooting of the work/production of a book. At the moment I feel a box of between 5 and 10 prints in an edition of 10 feels appropriate. 

I have now made the prints for these and I am in the process of deciding from the 13 images, which to choose and how to go about housing them. I am going to treat Format festival as a deadline for creating these portfolio boxes. 

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As time goes on, I want to consider material output thoroughly for the work. It bugs me that when coming to exhibitions their always seems to be a rush to produce something. Rather than creating material for exhibition when I find the platform to show the work, I would like to start producing artworks in advance of this. For this reason, I have also been planning what prints will be available from each of my works. As an example of this I have been testing print sizes and production techniques of the images from Folly. I have decided on two print sizes at this stage (in addition to the 10 x 8” work print size). These will be 12 x 9.5” and 20 x 18” and unlike the smaller prints, will be editioned (edition yet to be decided). After many conversations about the various merits of differing types of prints I have managed to realise the images in both hand prints at these sizes and digital files able to be printed at these sizes (there is a difference between the two end results, but it is minimal). This gives me flexibility to decide on whether the practicality of the digital or the considered material of the hand print outweighs the other.  

Context: Commercial Considerations

When I think about my career beyond the MA, I do Imagine commercial work as a part of my practice. I believe making this work and being commissioned to make this work can be a sort of validation that offers you perspective on your personal work, allowing you to come to both with a fresh sense of rejuvenation. Again, it is the idea of problem solving for others rather than trying to come up with answers to your own questions. To say commercial and commission covers a broad remit however and I would like to clear up my thoughts around this and focus my attentions with some background of why I had made the choices I have. 

A few key milestones happened across this year before this unit to open up my ideas on this. The first of these being The Great State getting in touch with upon seeing Albatross on Instagram. They got in touch with me out of the blue and invited me in to present the work. They showed great interest as the operate the Navy’s digital communications. Nicholas (their art director) wanted to pitch the project to be used as part of their web content, and potentially commission more as advertising in some form. Sadly, the funds weren’t there as the Navy use their own in-house photographers, something the agency found frustrating. Never the less Nicholas said he would keep me in mind for future projects. I have arranged a meeting with Nicholas in February to show where I have got to and keep him updated on my newer work as well (I know that the HM Prison service are also on their books). 

Receiving and completing the two jobs from 3cc, both on film and making a good (but not great) amount of money gave me a lot more confidence. Both of these can be placed into a growing portfolio of work that looks of a far higher standard than when I started this MA. Most importantly I feel these images are towards how I personally shoot but also satisfy the needs/moodboard of a client. 

Another key moment was my visit to the Tannery. I lived on Coronation Road for two years previous to this summer and most mornings on walking out the door I could smell part of the tanning process. At first, I did not know what I was smelling, but at a glimpse one day I saw an open window in the large warehouse building down the road. There were racks and racks of animal hides hanging with a low orange sunrise lighting them up. It sparked an interest in this place and an idea. 

I have been shooting product and editorial style photography for a clothes shop in Clifton, Bristol since moving here. Though I had an interest in clothes previous to this, the passion and knowledge around contemporary menswear of the shop owner, along with certain friends I have, has crept into my life. I gained an interest in specific brands, quality heritage inspired clothing made in a contemporary way, in a way this mirrors my thoughts on moving forward with photography (Margaret Howell would be a prime example). Referential to history but not trapped in its clutches. If I wanted to make work for someone, it would be someone like this. How could I begin to set the framework to allow this to happen? 

I imagined a body of work made around a designer and their brands process, from making (a lot of these brands use traditional techniques and local workforce still) through to the finished pieces. This is a nice thought, but they would have no reason to consider me to do this, let alone actually pay me. My first thought (before starting my MA) was to consider it as a personal project somehow, getting access through offering use of the work to the brand. Then came my focus on the ship, planning, shooting, applying for the MA etc. However, throughout this I still had two thoughts running in my mind. I wanted to make this work with a designer both for myself and as a portfolio piece to get other work and show to agencies. 

The other idea that never left me was an idea of how I imagined the inside of that tannery to look. I had an image of a place that I would love to make images in. Coming in to this unit I was planning ideas around the making of the Folly artist book and a thought was to use leather for the cover. It was the perfect foil for walking into the tannery (Thomas Ware & Sons). I looked through their scrap section, none of which was suitable for a book, but the manager was happy to show me around. I’m not sure what I had imagined but this place was better. The man said he would happily let me photograph the place and the workers there as long as they didn’t mind. 

To combine these plans, I have decided to make a piece of work on the Tannery in early 2019 using the winter light and hopefully cold conditions. I intend to use this is an example when going to larger designers to give a visual reference as to the type of direction my images may go when working with them. If I could be involved with the types of designers, I intend to work with this would then be an impressive anchor in the commercial world and give me credence moving forward. 

I see this work at the tannery as both standalone and a piece that rounds off my portfolio more favourably to commercial clients and agencies.

Since these ideas I have spoken to Angus about promoting my work both independently and through companies such as Bikinilist. I had a skype session with one of the workers at Bikini list and came to the opinion that they would be a great resource to use, however they are not cheap. It would cost roughly £700 for a year of access to all of their commercial e-mail lists. 

My current situation after receiving recent work and the QEST grant allow me to see myself through till roughly the middle of next year. I have decided I do not think I could fully commit to promoting my material until I have this more commercially minded piece from the tannery made in some form. My other reason for this is if I really push marketing and get offered lots of work, I will most probably have to take that work. At the moment with the time and space created by the grant and recent paid work I have done I would really like to put my all into producing and maybe finishing Folly, rather than allowing it to run on for too long. 

Submissions: Upcoming

  • Arts Council DYCP

  • Grain Bursary

  • Zeiss

  • Magenta

  • Belfast

  • Magenta

  • Aperture Portfolio

  • Mack First Book

  • Humble Arts Winter

  • Blow/Fuse

  • Lab Verde Residency

  • Fence

  • Center Project Launch/Development

  • LPA Futures

  • Sam Lessinia Residency

  • Libraryman Book Award

Meetings: Visiting Lecturers

Each of these visiting lectures and reviews provided me with valuable information and advice. I will attempt to recapitulate these encounters and where they have left me. 

Victoria Forrest

I was excited to see Victoria as I have spent the last four years looking through the anthology book she designed for Paul Graham which has been a huge resource for me. A few things stood out about Victoria’s talk. The simplicity with which Victoria produces her design and the pragmatism of her business is something to admire. I always think that limitations can inspire things to be greater, and I feel this may be the case with her design. Another point that stuck with me was the want to be involved with projects that are not entirely complete. Victoria was keen to have a say in what the book may or may not need. 

Following this I showed Victoria my work. Less interested in the Albatross work Victoria seemed positive about turning Folly into a book. Various points were made. She thought the images were successful, that the edit made sense, that it tapped into something she understood and would potentially be interested in working with. Her positivity was encouraging. We talked about further steps, opportunities that may help push the production of the book and how quickly it could be turned around. I did not have much time to think on the spot but I said I was more than interested in working together and that I would arrange a meeting to sit down and go through ideas. I will follow up on this in more detail in my passage on book making. 

Rodrigo Orrantia

Rodrigo’s inclusion as a visiting lecture ended up helping me out logistically. I had been in contact with him after Francesca had told me to get in touch. We had arranged a meeting in London but as it fell on the day after his talk in Bristol, we cancelled it and just looked through my work on the day. 

I felt a synergy between some of Rodrigo’s thoughts and mine through his talk. A belief in the craft, handmade, material and bringing it back into photography and a more than normal obsession with birds are both ideas that I share with him. I also have the note written – making spectacle out the ephemeral, a lot of my writing on photography has revolved around these ideas. In our time together, Rodrigo talked around the work in a way showing understanding. He was calm and collected and I tried to give him the space to look through it. I explained thoughts towards publishing Folly, but also my reservations about rushing it. He seemed very sure about not rushing the work and had a strong belief it would be published eventually.

Something had started to appear across this review and the previous one. I was presenting a body of work that when showed to these individuals there was no advice about how to change the method, or presentation, they simply seemed to enjoy it. I do think this partly arises from being calmer about what I am producing because I am genuinely happy with the pictures, but potentially the work is also something that people feel they can get on board with. 

Jem Southam

Showing Jem my work raised two key points. We had an extensive chat about printing, which I had to steer the conversation away from eventually to talk about the work itself. This arose because when looking through the images Jem was editing some out because of the print (I only had work prints at this stage). Through this I recognised the importance of consistency in a series of images. Any drop in quality or change in sensation when viewing images can take away the suspension of disbelief. Following this Jem seemed particularly interested in what the title was. I explained my ideas around the Folly which he nodded in agreement at. I then said about trying to find the right phrase around this word. He said it was important, and to give it a lot of time. I agreed. 

Maria Salvati

Maria Salvati’s personal brand and spot of beauty is a very interesting way of looking at a culture of marketing within photography. It also raises very important questions regarding branding in relation to artistic practice and its importance versus its relevance to the work. Without interrogating these ideas further (minefield) I believe that Maria has a good grasp on what it takes to promote your ideas and work in the contemporary industry framework. 

When talking to Maria it felt jarring. I get the feeling her tactic for understanding what a photographer’s work is about is to be a provocateur and to look for the blurb that summarises the person and subsequently their work. I have a genuine belief that there is scale that works around the understanding of my photos in particular. I do not believe in giving people too many answers, or really allowing them to go ‘oh yes, I get it now’. I want them to keep looking and to keep finding. I tried to put this across, but Maria disagreed. So I followed her protocol and gave her my personal information, feelings etc, or at least as much as I could in 5 minutes. This led to Maria agreeing, the less I say the better. Whether this was because she agreed with my original statement or because she simply didn’t get it I could not figure out. 

This talk and review with Maria has been another important step in understanding my questions around context through text, imagery and personal story. All things I seem to contend with regularly. 

Tim Clark

It was great to see Tim again, and I’m happy I got to hear more about what he does and his motivations behind this. I think his ideas around creating different types of magazines, critical thoughts on how reviews and text around work can be made and marrying up of his experiences with potential underlying reasons were enlightening. I also enjoy the consideration that goes into how Tim speaks. 

I did not show Tim Albatross again as it had hardly changed since he last saw the work, so we had an extended time with Folly. I talked about it in a similar way as I have before, integrated a bit about my thoughts on how I feel the work is dense, and thick with history, primarily in relationship to the English landscape. Tim seemed to understand this and agree, also saying he had not seen much work like it. I was pointed towards the work of Bill Henson. He talked about how it felt like a mood piece, which I find a good explanation of sensation when viewing it. I also suggested looking for more of an urban presence in the pictures to come to balance the work out, something that Aaron suggested, and I felt was a good step, this also seemed to be something he thought would be a good idea.

Context: Next Body of Work

Moving forward I am still looking towards working in a school. A rough outline of my intent can be seen in my application to the Jerwood prize here. I have been going about getting access in my usual manner. I don’t enjoy blanket e-mailing as something about it feels very forced so I singled out three schools/ways in to try to begin with (specifically related to boys boarding schools).

Marlborough

Marlborough run an artist in residence programme which I have been in touch with their head of art about. They have darkrooms and Mr Twohig (the head of art) seems positive towards the idea of having a photographer there. The applications open in February through March. 

Bloxham School

When on HMS Daring I became friends with an officer in training called Oliver, we have stayed in touch and he is helping me to put on an exhibition in the men’s clubs in London. After asking him about his experience of school Oliver seems to think that he could put me in touch with someone at Bloxham School, this is ongoing. 

Harrow School

Harrow school looked like the type of place I would find interesting to shoot. It was the first on the list so I thought I would get in touch with them. I am awaiting a call from the head teacher that I will follow up on come February if I don’t hear anymore, but I do not feel rushed in this. 

I am open to whatever direction this work may go in, the work doesn’t have to be in an all-male boarding school, it could be in any type of school, I am just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. It may be the case that I cannot get this straight in my head until I have fully resolved Folly and its constituent parts, but I am continuing with thought and initial steps around this next work. Working with the Tannery has also relieved some pressure from rushing this process, meaning I have something to work on in the meantime. 

Context: Exhibition Considerations

When creating work for an exhibition I feel there are thoughts that are both site and audience specific and as such it is hard to make an outline of how an exhibition could pan out. I would like to attempt to describe how I have been making decisions in advance that should both allow for the works to be shown and sold.

I mentioned early in the folder about a want to create the pieces (or artworks) in advance of being given opportunities to exhibit and sell. This is something I stand by and have been moving forward with by both making the prints myself and beginning to make decisions about presenting the work. I had already learnt the basics of frame-making off my dad in the past and have spent some time researching and learning new techniques. My frames for the MPF were a last-minute botch job, quickly made with cheap materials. This is not to say they looked this way, I was happy with the way the exhibition panned out, but I do not believe in last minute rushing. With the smaller size edition of prints from Folly already well under way and the larger sizes coming soon I wanted to start considering putting frames together ready for any future exhibitions or potential sales of the works. 

Following with my work stylistically and ideologically I have an idea of dark wood or black wood frames for the Folly work (whilst also putting together white stain versions of the same sizes if it is required by specific spaces). I’ve considered woods such as black walnut or dark stained ash as a cheaper option. I then intend to make these by hand using a method involving a dowel and not underpin. Not only is this the most archival method of creating a frame but the visible lighter wood dowel in the four corners of the frame reference the hand-made and craft. Another option I am trialling is charring an ash frame with a flame-thrower (I get to use a flame-thrower!). This creates a really interesting black wood frame I am excited to see alongside the Folly prints. Once a full edit from the series is framed this can then be kept and exhibited at multiple venues.

These types of frames would be costly to produce if paying someone however by only paying for materials and using my own labour, I will keep the price very low. Even so I must consider my time as money and as such resale (if these would even be used for resale rather than just exhibition purposes) would be a higher amount of money. Another question raised from this would be around not taking onus away from the work itself, something I believe strongly in. The frames I am describing are subtle, thin and with the exception of intrigue around the black charred frames, not something that would take too much attention away from the image itself, just complement it.

If I was to choose how to present the work I would try and make the images play off each other, creating a sequence or block of images that felt like a conversation on the wall. Each image would be framed as roughly described above and once the work is fully realised, an artist book of the work could be included. I would love to see how curators would choose to show and present various images from the series, my aim is to make a body of work that could be shown in a number of ways with different selections of images but still be coherent and successful. 

Submissions: Magenta/Flashforward & Miami Photo Fest (TBA)

As an example of my most up to date submission please see the image selection and text below.

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Bio

Jamie’s work centers around the notion of storytelling. Drawing on ideas from history and folklore, he is interested in the persistence of stories and their relevance to humanity. Looking towards an expanded understanding of documentary within contemporary photography he feels it is important to engage with subjects in a number of ways, not being afraid to confront, collaborate with and record the experiences he has. 

Jamie has worked on long-form bodies of work for the past five years since graduating from the Documentary Photography course at Newport, UK. These have included work looking towards the military, sports culture and incarceration. He is now finishing my MA in Photography at UWE, Bristol and also works as an associate lecturer in photography. 

Statement

This work came about through a series of conversations with individuals who have been incarcerated. Within these conversations the ex-prisoners spoke of what led them to punishment, how they navigated the prison environment, and their eventual transition from institution to freedom. 

Less interested in a traditional documentary approach I instead wanted to hear the stories told by those who had experienced prison firsthand, an approach more akin to a folklorist. The works made include portraits and other images informed by the stories told.

Talk: Documentary Symposium

I have been asked to take part in a symposium on an expanded sense of documentary. This will take place in Bristol on the 18th January. I intend to talk about the various notions of storytelling in relation to the record of history, and its relationship to visual and written art and language forms. Other speakers will be Chris Hoare, Emily Graham, Aaron Schuman, Nadav Kander and Emily Bowkett.

Context: Bookmaking

Albatross

Coming in to this unit I had previous experience of making my initial Albatross book. I used this book to exhibit at the MPF, as a portfolio piece at Photomeet and throughout all my other meetings from this point. Finally, I sent this dummy to the Unseen Dummy Award, it was not accepted. 

After all of this travelling around the dummy itself has become quite worn (not to mention the dent from Martin Parr dropping it). I have decided to resign this copy to my bookshelf as it means quite a lot to me. During the summer I also had time to consider this book and what changes may need to be made to create a slightly amended book. I still had the printed pages left to make three additional books and I thought about what the most pragmatic way to go about this was. I needed one copy of the book that looked impressive in terms of craft for the QEST Scholarship interview and I need two copies to act as dummies/submission pieces. As such I made one hardback with sleeve and a specialist binding that is slightly visible and highlights the craft of the book, and then two copies of the book without the clothbound hard cover which can make the work appear totally finished and a little precious. These copies have more of a feel of a dummy. One of these is included in my hand-in. The other dummy was used to be included in my submission to C/O Berlin talent Award. 

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I ended up taking a slightly different approach to getting my work published than I set out in the proposal due to a meeting with Victoria and the various thoughts that spawned from this meeting. Having spoken to Victoria initially after her presentation to the course I came to realise the importance of the Folly work to me and my practice. Above and beyond Albatross I felt like this work was very much my work in a much more complete way. I prefer the work and I feel it has more potential to be published by the level of publisher I am aiming for. When starting this unit I set out creating a list of publishers I would like to work with that I have included below (In rough order of current importance to me).

 

-      Steidl

-      Mack

-      Stanley/Barker

-      Silas Finch (now closed down)

-      J & L 

-      Nazraeli Press

-      Morel 

-      Twin Palms

-      Skinnerboox

-      Libraryman

-      Journal

 

These eleven publishers were selected from a much larger list however as I have not moved through them as options, I will focus on these. Although getting Folly published and out into the world is more important to me, I still wanted to exhaust the most important of these options. The only option to get the work across to Steidl was their PDF submission, so I sent a PDF of the amended book and I am yet to hear a reply. From the initial meeting with Victoria I had followed her advice to only contact one publisher at a time to avoid any frustrating situations where two publishers may offer opportunities, this could end up in burnt bridges which I am careful to avoid. 

Following from not hearing a reply in over a month I will submit the amended/well-made artist book to the Mack First Book award. I did submit a very early iteration of Albatross to the previous Mack Award however I feel the changed edit/text and huge increase in quality provide a good reason to submit again, especially at a time when Folly is not yet ready to send across. 

 

Folly

In my second meeting with Victoria we spoke about Folly. We had made the Mack First Book award an aim and getting the book made before Christmas the timeframe. Within this meeting I felt very rushed and certain things that were said jarred with my ideas of how I would like to go forward. It came to light that Victoria was pricing this dummy creation project very high, even including costs for things that I personally could do myself like the binding and print proofing. When I said I could do them Victoria seemed frustrated and that they would have to be done properly. I understand Victoria is a professional and is probably used to dealing with people with much higher budgets. In an ideal world I could pass on everything to others and pay out thousands of pounds. However, this is not my situation and I have to be considered in how I work through it. It seemed that if I was to use Victoria the book would have to be published one way or another (even planning for a crowdfunder in advance of trying with publishers so the project could be completed). I know the reason for this would be to assure that the book would be published, and Victoria could get her fee, however I was not sure how inclined I was to crowdfund the book. The meeting left me feeling a little disenchanted with the idea of working with Victoria, there was much less interest in the work, and I was not sure that she would be the right fit for the design. I did however want to take some time to consider this. 

I understand the importance of being pragmatic in the business side however before meeting Victoria I was very happy to take more time with the work ( A thought echoed by both Tim Clark and Rodrigo Orrantia). The collection of images across the summer had really expanded the work and given me a better idea of the scope of the work. I felt I could add photos to give the work a little more presence and if I was going to get this together for the Mack First Book award and if I was to rush this it would bely the searching nature of the work itself, it could become rushed. In addition to this I also was given professional work which I had to take because of my financial situation, this took up a lot of the days I had free and made the idea of putting it together quickly untenable. I got in touch with Victoria to let her know and said that I would be in touch in the New Year with my position to talk about future plans. 

I have spent the last few months doing what I can towards the work. Gathering a few more images, testing papers and materials for the work and starting to consider sequencing. This now feels a better pace to finish the work. 

I have been thrown a curveball in that I have only just been told that Louise Clements from Format Festival would like to exhibit the first artist book of Folly. This means I have been given a two-week turnaround of an artist book for the festival. I am going to set limitations for the book that I can create because of the limited time I have. 

I will aim to make a book that is roughly 15 – 25 pictures long. This book should feel like entering the world of the ex-prisoners through the images, feeling somewhat like a conversation. It will be called Folly. It will be black with some form of design or image on the front. It will be 10x8”. 

This is a perfect opportunity to try and get the work published. I will be able to use the exhibiting of the artist book at Format as an excuse for going to publishers with the work to consider it for a wider reach publication. This could either be considered as the length it is in the artist book or ideally a larger edit of images (if I was to have more time to shoot). At this point I will take the Folly work and go to each publisher systematically to see if anyone would be interested in publishing the work.