In 2005 I flew to Cody Wyoming in the summer, rented an apartment and a car and made pictures. When I got back I made some prints and made one of my first books, an Apple iBook.
The book was 6 x 8 inches and positively primitive by today's standards. I can't tell you when the last time was I saw the actual prints from that trip, a combination of very early digital shot with a Nikon D70 and 8 x 10, my last dedicated time shooting that format, ten years ago. But the book? I just pulled this little book down off the shelf and looked through its pages, as bad as they are. There is classic Neal Rantoul poor design, lousy layout and awful color reproduction printed on cheap thin paper. Doesn't matter, the efficacy of the book is the point here. The book works, it is real and not cumbersome like a big portfolio I have to go to the studio to first find and then see. The book is not pretentious, nor contrived. It is clearly not art nor is it trying to be.
The cover picture was a good choice, I think. It showed that I was making landscape photographs with the 8 x 10 and actually showed the image thrown upside down back there on the ground glass. It is clearly a snapshot of something going on that is far more serious. Some sort of "real" photographs being made with the big camera. Of course, that's bullshit. The format doesn't make the photograph. Bad photographs can and are made everyday with all kinds of formats. Was I making something really significant that day with the 8 x 10? No. Was I trying to? Yes. This is going out on a limb here, but I would even venture to say that this photograph shot with a very early digital camera printed on the cover of this crappy little book is a lot more interesting than the final black and white print of the scene in front of us taken with the big camera.
Did I make good work with the 8 x 10 on that trip? Yes, a few. Did I make good work while there in Cody? I think so. Take a look at Old Trail Town. My point? We are complex creatures, capable of thought and creative process along several fronts simultaneously. I made some predictable pictures while there that summer, some pictures that broke new ground for me as an artist (the Old Trail Town pictures) and I made some that forecasted a new and less formal approach to making photographs with an early generation digital camera. Many of those I made into a book that I can look at very easily, pulling it down off a shelf.
Make a book. Books are good. Easy to do these days.
Get your files together, follow the instructions provided by Blurb, Mag Cloud, My Publisher, iBook, etc. Make your payment and send out your files. Wait a week or so and you will have your book in your hands. It won't be perfect but don't worry. Hint: something I've learned by making many this way. Don't think of the first book as the final book. Think of the first one as a proof you buy that you'll learn from. Make the necessary revisions and corrections and send it out again. Hopefully the second one will nail it. Finally, don't be timid about complaining if you think the printing isn't up to your high standards. Let the publisher know and give them a second chance to make it right. Usually, they do.
Make a book. Books are good. But don't ask me to show you mine from Cody as it's really bad.