Over the course of the past year, I have given my readers updates regarding the progress of my book project about a vineyard. Specifically, it’s about Baltimore Bend Vineyard, near Waverly, Missouri and the seasonal changes and activities over the course of a year. It’s been a fun journey!
Technology has certainly come along way since I started photographing three decades ago. But more importantly, this technology now allows the photographer or writer the ability to publish their books without the hassles and expense of finding a publisher willing to advance your work. On-demand publishing brings to anyone interested in publishing their work the ability to do so without printing thousands of copies. This new technology and business model allows one to print only one copy of their book, or hundreds. The author is total control, which I find very nice.
Below are the front and back covers of my second monograph: Journey Through The Vineyard: A Photographic Year At Baltimore Bend.
A family friend has been cooking up some of the most incredible dishes for quite some time. Julie O is a native Wisconsinite, living in Madison and I’ve known her for well over a decade. Her fascination with cooking goes back to her childhood when she and her siblings would sit on their little colored stools in front of their mother’s oven to watch the magic of baking popovers. Her love for cooking eventually led her to being a part-time pastry chef at Quivey’s Grove on Madison’s southwest side. Today, at her day-job at Wisconsin Education Association Council, she has endeared herself to countless fellow employees with culinary treats. Often times she spends hours baking and cooking tasty morsels for fund-raisers and charities.
Not surprisingly, her friends and co-workers have pestered her for years to share her kitchen secrets. This past fall Julie decided to take the plunge and write a cookbook. Her co-workers and friends immediately started placing orders for a book not even written or produced! After hearing about her project, I pondered at length the idea of possibly getting involved. And so, I volunteered my photographic expertise, which happens to be food photography. Needless to say, Julie’s response to my offer was one of excitement! So, during my winter holiday break at the university, I headed up to Madison with a truckload of studio gear and transformed her dinning room into a Hollywood set! We only had a short time to stay up north (with 1.5 feet of snow and more falling), so we produced 24 food shots in three days’ time. No food stylist or photo assistants like in the old days. Just me and a driven chef! Below are some samples from our endeavor. Enjoy!
The idea of publishing a book of images is something I think most photographers have pondered from time to time. However publishing a monograph in the past was not always an easy task, especially when so many photographers were vying for the editor’s eye. But today, that situation is changing. Now the photographer can become the editor.
What am I talking about? Good question. What I’m getting at is the notion of self-publishing through what’s known as print-on-demand technology. Currently there are a number of excellent online presses offering excellent opportunities for photographers (and writers) to get their work in print. Two that readily come to mind are Lulu and Blurb. Both companies offer an array of printing formats including: softcover, hardcover with dustjacket, and spiral bound. An added benefit with this type of publishing, is many of these companies offer marketing services where you set the selling price and they function as order fulfillment companies, sending you a check for profits on your sales. For and additional fee, many of these companies can provide you with an ISBN so you can market to third parties such as retail booksellers like Borders or Barnes and Noble.
This type of publishing can be useful to photographers in a number of ways. One way is that of providing custom, professional perfect bound portfolios for sending to potential clients. Or, you could simply publish a book and give as holiday or birthday gifts. Many portrait and wedding photographers take advantage of these services in order to present their clients with a beautifully finished product of their event. I also see this as a great opportunity for the fine art photographer wanting to produce a monograph. This is what I’ve done with part of my Incongruity series. I anticipate publishing my second book sometime later this year.
Dustjacket from my monograph Incongruity: found american cultural objects.