Like many photographers who admire the work of others and/or enjoy seeking out inspiration, we're big fans of photobooks and self-published photography 'zines' (and a bit poorer for it!). BUT We want to see more!
The explosion of photography websites, podcasts, blogs, galleries and resources online these days is fantastic - no doubt about it. We've never had it so good. But going offline, going out making new images and coming back to select, process and curate fresh work is where skills develop and the mojo happens in our view. Posting any resulting new work to your own website or social media platforms is relatively quick and easy. But you're still itching - so what else? As we've stated at many of our Ffoton Social events, the low number of suitable and/or affordable gallery spaces available to photographers to show their work in Wales is frustrating but it needn't be the only route to exposing new work - or even work in progress - and getting it into the hands of new audiences.
Print is nothing new. Unique and high profile photography books can be very expensive to produce and, for that reason, typically sell out quickly and become highly sought after by collectors. However, the ongoing advances in printing technology offer new and affordable print opportunities for professionals, enthusiasts and student photographers alike. Many photographers are already experimenting with digital print solutions for work prints and single images; materials for book dummies and one-off personal books; and print-on-demand and completed small format 'zines'. The A5 (148 x 210mm) format in particular has been popular for a good while - but is now rapidly earning respect as a valid and collectible staple in the photobook world (here in the UK, Cafe Royal Books are an excellent example - building a unique and accessible documentary series on social change in Britain through publishing the work of both established and lesser-known documentary and Press photographers).
To that end, Ffoton considers the weekend of this year's EYE International Photography Festival ( 5-7th October 2018 ) as the perfect opportunity to have photographers bring along and show, swap or sell their own self-published photography zines or photobooks. Think of the Festival as a target or goal to aim for with your existing or new projects! We'd love to see any photographers attending the festival bring along new work (completed or in-progress) in the form of a photobook or zine.
What if I can't attend the EYE Festival?
That's a bummer. We'd love to see you and your work in Aberystwyth (they have sea, sunshine, beer and wine there) but if you can't make it, we've had an idea...
The EYE Festival is the starting point for a new ongoing Ffoton effort: we're starting an online gallery of self-published zines.
Yes, it's been done elsewhere to varying degrees but we want to bring together and present in one place the best of what's happening in and about contemporary Wales and the UK. We'd love to see you present your own work to the world, so we're asking photographers to send us YouTube or Vimeo links; images of spreads; or post a physical copy of the zine for us to review/film. We can't guarantee every submission will be added to the gallery - but we aim to show as many of the best creative new works.
What should I submit?...
Ideally we'd love you to create a short overhead video of your Zine, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo and then send us the link. Alternatively, using the same overhead process (example below), photograph stills of the front, back and each spread of your book and send us a download link for the stills. Try and shoot/frame the stills in widescreen/16:9 as shown below.
If you'd prefer to send us a copy of the actual Zine instead, we might consider filming it ourselves for a new review - and we're happy to add the print version to the growing Ffoton library, selections from which we'll be taking to our own and other photography events. (Submitted books/zines will not be returned).
Whilst YouTube is brimming with examples of photobook and zine video flip-throughs, the very talented Marc Vallée has been doing it for a while with his own (very collectable) work and does it with aplomb in terms of framing, lighting and timing. See an example below.
Note the jaunty angle at the end: on par with the best Birds Eye Fish fingers packshot...
Tip 1. Background
Film your book or zine on a flat surface with a neutral colour or one that contrasts with the cover and content pages.
A tabletop is fine - just clear the dishes first.
Tip 2. Lighting
Flat and even lighting is best - try next to a window
on a not too sunny or overcast day.
Get your zine mojo working with some help from our new Zine Resources page - we will be adding more tips, links and mojo inspiration on a regular basis, so check back on this new section of our website regularly!
But here is where Ffoton wants to make our new curated gallery of photobooks and photozines interesting...
In those instances where we see a really great submission, we'll be asking guest photographers to go through the book or zine on video and narrate their review. Ideally, we'd have a physical copy of the zine to do this - but not essential. These will be honest but hopefully interesting!
When you feel you're ready and have something to show - a video or the actual book - and would like to send it to us for possible inclusion in our new online Zine gallery, complete the form below and hit submit.