SOUTHEAST and beyond

Lockdown has been many things for me.


Firstly it has been a nightmare. Having left a staff job months earlier I had teaching and exhibiting opportunities lined up. They evaporated. And not having filed self assessment tax returns for a few years due to being PAYE, I was ineligible for government assistance. 

Secondly it was an opportunity for recalibration. Like for so many of us, I had time to think seriously about what I would like to do next and how I might restructure my photographic activities. My handmade book, SOUTHEAST became my main lockdown project. It has been a success for me. I sold many more than I thought I would. I have material left for only six more books out of 50. They were slow to make which suited being in lockdown. The crafting of each book allowed for much thinking time. It also allowed time to listen to many podcasts that were on my radar and to learn from them. 

Thirdly it was an opportunity for establishing new friendships. As a member of The Photobook Club on Facebook I got to attend and present to the group during thrice weekly zoom sessions chaired by the incomparable Tom Broadbent. This was massive for me. To see how my peers in the photobook world went about things and to present my own photobook making endeavour was a substantial opportunity for deep reflection.

I should single out Jack Lowe who threw a question at me at the end of my presentation that shook me up some. It was brilliant. 

Fourthly it allowed for quality family time. Slow meals. Copious table tennis. Some football. Countless movies. Delightful conversations at the kitchen table. But also some serious work on the house. 

Back to the book

The way I make SOUTHEAST is unsustainable at the price I charge (based on what the market would likely allow) so this project may well be a one off. It has been an opportunity to establish the beginnings of a market for my work, to showcase my crafting skills along with my photography and to think about how I might self publish in future. I learned about commercial printing and I developed a hybrid style approach to book making, utilising a commercial printer in combination with my own crafting skills.

In future I may commercially print my books and fund the process by making limited edition hand crafted versions at a premium. 

Or I might make smaller books / portfolios with actual c-prints in short runs. This is something I am working on at the moment. I may do this too for other photographers.

In conclusion 

Who knows how the photographic community will emerge from this lockdown. All I can do is try to figure out a sustainable way for me to continue to make work and earn a living utilising the particular combination of skills that I have and I’m beginning to figure out how that may play out. 

Thank you for your time. 

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