Final Evaluation and Reflection of AD5803 on Migration

A final reflective evaluation about the process of bringing the book/project together.

This project has been challenging because of the way in which I have had to work in collaboration with participants. It was a new concept for me to understand, especially when I realised that I would not have as much control over the photographic outcome as I usually have.

There have been plenty of highs and lows throughout the project that have influenced my final outcome. I have tried to be considerate of my participant’s wishes throughout the project because of the participatory nature which meant it wasn’t all just my own ideas and influences however I did find this particularly hard at points because I had a significant lack of control.

Bringing the book together was quite a hard process for me because of loosing communication with my subject at a point that was quite critical for the development of the narrative. I was at first finding it quite difficult too when I was told I could not use a specific image or I needed to change something in the design and I think I found this hard because normally I have the control over this process and can use images I like in orders I want, whereas with this project I had to consider what my participants wanted to include or not include.

Having reflected on the process it is easy for me to see that certain parts of the project were easier for me and more enjoyable whereas some were more of a struggle. I managed to get a story fairly easily that I could write up, but getting photographs to accompany this was quite a big struggle because of the communication issues I had with my subjects.

Having completed the entire project over email and no other form of communication, this in itself was very interesting and at times frustrating. It is a process I have never had to go through before and actually one that I have now discovered is quite difficult because trying to convey what you would like to a subject can often be misinterpreted or not understood, whereas a phone or Skype call or a meeting face to face can iron out these issues. Despite this, I did manage to get the information and photographs I needed after a while to convey their narrative successfully to some extent. I do feel there is a great deal more that could be expanded on in regards to this project, however this is dependant so much on how much of their story my participants would want to share with me about their life because a lot of it is quite personal. I feel I was lucky to get the information I did get from the project, despite not being able to talk to or see my subjects in person or take my own images.

I found that once my subjects understood what I wanted from them, I was able to get all the information that I needed so designing the book was much less tasking. I really enjoyed creating the layout and working out where the photographs and text would sit within the pages, despite it being a bit disheartening when certain things weren’t liked by my participants, but I am aware this is necessary to the process and does give me a more well rounded view to work in a collaborative manner as I understand there are going to be things like this that need to be changed and worked on.

My favourite part of the whole project was seeing it all come together in it’s physical book format. I really loved being able to gets hands on with the book and see how it looked not just on a screen. It was a fantastic experience because I felt that it brought the whole project alive and enabled me to contribute something to the project where I felt I hadn’t been as none of the images or text were my own. I understand as the facilitator of this project, I didn’t have to play such an active role in the creation of images and wording, but it did feel good to be able to contribute to the final outcome by making their book into a functioning physical book and helping to direct the direction of their story to some extent.

Despite having highs and lows, I think the project has actually encouraged me to look more deeply at migration and the reasons that people might migrate and what their actual stories are, not just what is seen in the media. It has also been great to work in a different way to how I normally would by involving more people into the process and giving away some of my control. I think that it has made me question representation and how I go about showing people to a wider audience. Pulling the book together has made me really proud of the work I have produced and I am really happy with my final outcome. Despite a few hiccups, the project has actually been very enjoyable and I think the results show this.

Overall, I think the project has been very positive and has allowed me to explore photography and narrative construction on a different level. I am really happy with my final outcome and I think the book has come out really well. I created two books so that I could give one to my participants, Andrew and Lynn, which I hope they will love. I enjoyed exploring the parts of their lives they were willing to show me and think the overall project is very reflective of this. If I were to progress the project on further, I would want to go out to France and speak to them face to face and see how much more of their story they were willing to tell me so it could become a much fuller book and look at their lives. However, for the time being with the access I have ben granted to their lives, I am very thankful for. I feel the project has turned out really positively and I feel positive with what I have achieved and feel I have learnt so much about photography practice, collaboration and representation along the way that will help me to be more considerate in future projects.

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Book Layout – Final Online Version.

This is my final online version of my migrations book, as seen on Issuu. It has all the final corrections to it, including the changes to the front cover and text to match the hardback copy of the book I have created as I felt that they should match to show they are the same book. I have also taken out the extra pages I included for the print version of the book because due to this being an online version, the extra pages may make it look like I have just forgotten to use the page. So therefore I’ve removed pages that otherwise appear in the hardback version, such as blank pages and end pages.

FINAL ONLINE BOOK:

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LINK TO ISSUU: https://issuu.com/ffyonaspeed/docs/andrew_and_lynn_final_book_layout_o

Creating my Book in Physical Version

Now I have finished and finalised my book, I am printing it myself and then binding it myself. This is the process that I have used to do this:

  1. I had to buy the paper I wanted to use. I went for a creamy/white paper with about 180gsm so it is thicker than standard. I brought this in A4 sheets because each page of mine is individually 10×8 roughly. If I print individual pages this incurs a perfect bind rather than a sewn bind, based on the fact that my book is an odd size for finding paper for double page spreads.
  2. I then took the InDesign file I had created of my book, and individually printed each page, rotating the paper out of the printer each time to print on both sides. I needed to use the bypass tray because of the thickness of the paper. I had to set up the print options to accommodate for the bypass tray and for thicker paper. I also had to set up with crop marks and lines on so I could give the best estimate that my pages matched up. (I did have a big issue with printing on page because the margins kept moving upon printing, but I was told by Tim Adams this can happen. To rectify it I had to export my document as individual page jpegs which I then placed on a new layout and could print from. This worked.) Once all my pages had printed I had two books ready to go to illustration.
  3. In illustration I used the crop marks on the paper to cut the pages to the right size and then lined them up in the correct order. I left a slightly bigger margin on the left border because I knew some of this would be lost to the binding machine and it wouldn’t matter so much. 20170515_182124
  4. I then got them bound using the perfect binding machine. (One did bind the wrong way round so I had to cut the glue off and rebind the correct way round.)
  5. Once bound the pages then had to be cut to size so they were all equal and no pages overhung. This was done using a special guillotine on all three sides. I had to ensure that I did not lose any of the work on the pages so I had to be careful of this. 20170516_094551
  6. Once they were all cut and of equal length I could then begin to work on my hardback covers.
  7. I had to measure my pages and give 3mm extra on 3 sides for the grey board so the pages would be protected inside. I then was able to cut the right size out of the grey board using a scalpel and ruler. I did this twice for the front and back cover. I then had to put the front and back cover around my pages to work out how big I needed my spine to be, which I could then cut from the grey board using the scalpel. (I did everything twice, because I made 2 books.)
  8. Once the grey board had been cut, I could then begin to mark out my book binding cloth. The book binding cloth was laid out on the cutting board and then the piece of grey board I had cut were laid out over the top. I ensured the cloth was straight before I began to mark out the outline. I left a rulers width around the outside of the grey board because this is what will be pulled over to secure the material in place. I also gave 3mm either side of the spine piece of grey board so there is flexibility within it.
  9. I then marked 3mm from each corner and drew a diagonal line which would help to fold in the material. I then cut out one big shape using the scalpel.
  10. Once the shape was cut out, I could then stipple the glue onto the material before placing the grey board in their right places.
  11. Then using a bone folder I rubbed the edges of the cloth against the grey card before pulling it over and down, securing it in place and nipping in the ends. I made sure to do the long edges first and then the shorter sides and this gives a more secure holding.
  12. Once it was all glued into place, I then flattened it using some rocks to keep it set ready to be used later. 20170516_14341820170516_143424
  13. In the meantime I created end papers for my book that will go in to attach and cover over the messy ends from the folding. I chose green end papers to match the inside of my book. These will then go on the front page of my book and the front of the cover and the back cover and the back page to tidy and offer support. I would go on to attach these at a later time.
  14. I then printed off my title onto MFD paper which was then cut down and oiled so that it because translucent. I am screen printing my title onto the book so this is the process I need to use to get the best result. I decided I would also like to emboss so this came later after printing.
  15. The screen printing process was quite complex and long and involved UV light and mixing colours. I had originally thought I would have a black title but because my book is quite dark on the cover, I have opted for an off white instead  so it stands out a bit more. We had to put the paint on the frame and then check all the text lined up where we wanted it to be printed. Once this worked I could then scrape the paint over the screen print, which would print it on the covers of my book. It took a lot of time to set up the correct measurements!
  16. I decided to not emboss my book because this would look a bit too ‘family album’ which I was trying to avoid, and also it would have potentially damaged the book I had already created. Plus in this case, I think the minimalist book design works really well and gives a more old fashioned, professional look to the work.
  17. I then stuck the perfect bound pages into the hardback cover of the book and attached my end pages using PVA and the stippling technique.
  18. I then had to weight my book down for a while to set the glue. I made sure the spine was loose so that it didn’t get crushed under the weight. Once out the book couldn’t be opened for a while because it had to stay set.
  19. THEN….
  20. My book was finished! 20170516_160348

 

Overall my book took 2 days to print, bind and create but it was such a fantastic experience and I love the outcome I have created!

 

(In the photos Mark let me photograph him showing the actions taken to create the book, but I did most of the things I could myself and he made a great model to show the process!)

Update to Book Design and Layout – FINAL CHANGES

After hearing back from Andrew and Lynn about the last draft of the book I sent, I have had to make a few amendments. Andrew replied in his email saying he wasn’t sure about one of the photographs that I had used of him, so after checking with Julia, I changed the image to a similar one I have as I figured this was a safer option.

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So now the layout stands as below and this is the final draft that I will take to print. I have changed a few words in the text such as E111 to EHIC because this is more relevant and talking about today’s society not the past.

THE FINAL DESIGN: (There are blank pages for when I print, but I have left this out for showing on the blog.)

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The image I changed was the one of the postbox. I had a similar one in the selection I had been given by Andrew so I just substituted it.

I now need to print and create my book because I am finally happy with the overall layout and also my participant is happy too which is the main concern because of the nature of the participatory project.

Image selection for our book

Image selection for this project has actually been quite difficult. I was given a wealth of images, but in dribs and drabs. This meant I was constantly having to develop narrative surrounding the images I did have.

Before I even received the images, there was an image selection process going on from Andrew’s end as he was self editing and choosing which images to send to me. From this point I was then given a preselected selection of images to work with. When I got all the images finally, this meant that I could begin to really develop and work on narrative by then cutting down the images even further and selecting some from the selection I had been given. Although this is particularly hard to do because they are not my own images, I have given my best shot at developing and building upon a built narrative. The thing I found most helpful in creating a working narrative was actually though using the text that had been sent to me previously.

I was able to pick out certain themes in the text and then find images to illustrate what was being talked about. This is the main way in which I have created an image selection for the project because it was the only way in which I could get information about what the images were showing as I was not provided with any captions.

I did attempt to develop the image selection when I was in contact with Andrew by suggesting images that he could send over or images that may help to convey the narrative. This is an aspect of image selection that was quite hard to do, because it is not always easy to convey what you are looking for, and if there are no pictures like these in existence in your archives then it is even harder for them to give you them because they don’t have them. Despite this, using archives and pictures taken everyday, we did manage to get together a good selection of images that can be used to help tell the narrative of Andrew and Lynn’s migration, but cutting these down was quite difficult for me. There were quite a few similar images so cutting these down wasn’t too hard, but because they were all quite momentous moments to start with and not everyday types of images I was struggling to find a way to weave a narrative. As more images came in this became easier, but it was still hard to start with.

I think my final selection of images really did come down to what linked with what was written in the text. I chose images based on how they fitted into the aesthetic of the book as well as how well they conveyed the narrative. Some images are clearly a lot stronger than others and this is obvious, but at the same time, they are just as critical in telling the narrative.

I have also tried to select images that work well together and not just on their own. It has been hard to do this in some cases because of the different tonalities within the images and how they have all been taken at different points throughout the years.

Image selection has changed as the project has developed, including the removal of some images that my subjects were not happy with in the end. It has shaped the way the story has been told and has enabled me to think about ethics as well in regards to my subject.

I think the final images I have included I am happy with, despite the fact I would have loved to have include a lot more because some of the images are so aesthetically interesting. However due to the text I had and the narrative, I felt there was just no place for them to fit in without seeming out of place and a bit odd. This is a bit disappointing, but I do feel the best images to convey the narrative were put into the book in the end so I am happy about this.

How the wording took shape for insertion into book.

The wording for the book has come almost exclusively from the word document that Andrew sent me describing his and Lynn’s reasons for moving to France. I did not wish to change the writing too much, other than to correct any grammar or spelling issues, and correct the tenses throughout the paragraphs. Therefore I have kept it very much the same as it appeared in the word document. I have also kept the order relatively similar and not shifted the paragraphs around that much because I felt they were already fairly chronologically ordered. If I started changing the order the timeline of their move would have become very mishmash and out of place and so for that reason I have kept it as chronologically ordered as possible according to the below word document:

Kings word doc 1Kings word doc 2Kings word doc 3

As well as using text that Andrew has sent me, I thought it would be a good idea to include a little bit of text at the beginning of the book, describing the participatory process and what the book is about. I wanted to do this to give the book a little bit of contextual information. I drafted a few copies of what I wanted to write, and then gradually developed it and cut it down to the final copy which I then inserted into the beginning of the book.

First edited Draft of the introductory piece by myself:

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I have since edited the wording ever so slightly to read better as below.

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I did not want this text to appear as a block chunk, so when in InDesign I have split it into two columns of text with a title.

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Similarly with the text by Andrew I have split it up into more manageable chunks and spread it throughout the layout. I have also increased the emphasis on certain words that I felt were more important than others in order for them to stand out. I have altered their colour and their font, as well as the size in order to do this. Breaking the text into more manageable chunks also means that it is more likely to be read, which in my opinion is a good thing because I have noticed than in phonebooks if you are given a large chunk of text, it is all too easy to skip over it and not really read what it says.

The wording of this project is important as it is participatory and I really wanted Andrew and Lynn’s voice to come across in it. I feel I have been successful in retaining their voices by keeping the text almost exactly as I received it, thus maintaining my participatory approach and also being respectful of ensure that it is their voices we hear throughout the book as it is their story after all.

 

The wording was not an easy thing to do because I had to be so careful that I wasn’t influencing my voice to come through overall. But I think that as the book developed the text developed with it and has now got a good point where it works well and is unique to my participants so I am fairly happy with it. I think it could be better if there was more, but of course I do not wish to pry into my subjects life too much as this could be intrusive. The story could be much longer but because of this reason, I have just let tit as it is and worked from here. I am happy with the overall results but I am aware there is the opportunity to make it much longer.

Book Layout Edit 4

I have made corrections to my book layout from my last design, which I do think has vastly improved the design overall as well as enhanced the narrative to a degree because it looks more structured and well considered.

Book Layout 4:

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I have made all the corrections that I spoke about in my last blog from the peer review in class. It has made some definite improvements to my work and I can see that this has made a difference to the way my eye falls across the page as well as to how I focus on certain aspects of each page.

I think a key improvement is the keeping of house style on text. This has ensured the narrative looks like it all belongs together and not separate from each other. I have experimented with colour throughout the pages that should compliment the images themselves. This works because it ensures a stronger theme throughout the pages of the book thus linking them together.

I have also moved more of the images in line with each other so they don’t look so jagged and mismatched. It was pointed out a lot of the images were dropping off of the page or appeared to be so I have tried to sort this out by giving a bigger gap at the bottom of my pages instead of at the top, which I think should work better.

I have made all the font smaller so that when it is printed it doesn’t look unnaturally big. It should also give the book a more professional style and layout to it because it won’t look as childish.

I have made other smaller tweaks to the book which have improved the layout and the overall design and I feel the book is now in a much better place than it was.

There are still bits I am not completely sure on or not completely sure work which is why I would like to have it reviewed by Andrew and also my tutors before I go to print. But overall I am moving in the right direction and I am much happier with the narrative progression and way the book flows. I found looking at other books and sources has definitely helped and influenced the way that I was thinking about the design and the layout,  so I am glad I have kept consistently looking at other publications.

Book Layout Review

As I have been recently been working on the book edit for this module, I took it in to get some peer reviews on where it could be improved before I think about taking it to print.

It was a good thing I did because there were quite a few changes to be made, which I did expect because I was aware there were parts where my work was actually quite weak.

I created a list (as below) which details the changes I need to make to the book design and layout in order for it to be all round stronger.

The List of Corrections:

  1. Add in another single page at the top after the *hard cover* (purpose is for when I book bind, not online). This will serve as the page stuck to the leaf at the front of the book and will push back the start slightly.
  2. Check the guttering on all images so that any images running into this can cross over the two pages and not have any important aspects of the photographs lost to the guttering. This may mean splitting images to avoid this.
  3. Use a sans serif font on the text ‘Andrew and Lynn’ rather than the calligraphy scrawl currently used (the risk is it looks a bit like an obituary.)
  4. Pull up the image on the same page as ‘Andrew and Lynn’ so it is centred more at the top of the page rather than the bottom because otherwise it looks like it is falling off.
  5. Check my copyright and edit it slightly so that it shows joint copyright for design.
  6. Change the ‘floral’ fonts to something more structured.
  7. Shunt the text up so that it doesn’t appear to be falling off of certain pages. (This is throughout the book).
  8. Make sure there is similar emphasis on each word that is made bigger than the rest of the text. Try to keep a similar house style throughout.
  9. Drop the text size down to around 8/9pt instead of 12pt.
  10. Move the selfie image in line with the London Eye image and bring the text up.
  11. Adjust the mid-tones to the road image because although it is an amateur photograph it has a greater style of a professional one.
  12. Check the consistent emphasis on the wording on the page about acquiring the house.
  13. Use the green background again on a double page spread of the kitchen and rooms to stop the white from images bleeding into the background and give more definition to the images.
  14. On the chicken page, check the guttering and potentially flip the chicken round if this cannot be solved.
  15. Ensure an equal gap on the big group picture page between the other 3 images and move them upwards so there is more of a gap at the bottom.
  16. Line the text up with the edge of the bacon image.
  17. Insert a more final ending page, e.g. the photograph of the yellow fields but lift the sky to fit in more with the other images in the series so it is less overcast looking.

 

These are the major corrections I need to undertake in order to get the book to a better standard for printing.

Today I have also looked at printing options for my book as I want to present a hardcopy. I am currently thinking of perfect binding my book and then creating a hardback cover to go over this, which means that the guttering is very important. I have been to look at paper and have found some that I like. I now need to work out what my print options would be when I am happy with my finalised version of the book after editing – although I want to hear from my subject first to ensure that they are totally happy with the outcome or if I need to make any changes.

I have also discovered that there is some green book binding material available to me in illustration which is perfect because this is the colour I wanted to use, and considering when I went out there was nowhere that sold book binding material, except on line in bulk and for too much and quite expensive. So having the ability to use illustrations material is a real bonus.

I need to finalise my book and the edits to make sure it is perfect first, but then my next steps are to get it printed.

Research – Wendy Ewald: This Is Where I Live.

Julia lent me a book! (yay!)

This book is by Wendy Ewald and it is a delight to read from start to finish. Even looking at the images you can get lost in the pages. The most fantastic thing about this book is the fact that it is part of a participatory/collaborative project. In each section you are started with a block of colour, different for each section or chapter as there are so many different stories and places being explored within the book. The block of colour comes with the text for that chapter, defining a little bit about what is going to go on in that particular section and what the images should be conveying.

There is a massive difference between each section of the book and the layouts. It varies so much as you go through. There are some sections that have a very rigorous style to them that is consistent throughout the chapter and there are some cases where the design flows and changes become really interesting. Each chapters very distinctive style enables you to see clearly which stories fit with each narrative. I love the fact there are so many narratives within the book because it gives rise to these chapters and section of work that can be viewed almost as individual stories within one big body of work. The fantastic layouts are so engaging, and have really influenced my own work because of how unique and changing they are. There is no consistent house style throughout the book, but somehow it is clear to tell that all the narratives are part of one bigger narrative.

There are also pages of portraits taken of those who have contributed to the book with their names underneath them. This gives an identity to the collborators of the project which I personally really love and think works wonderfully well.

Overall the entire book is beautifully put together with strong considerations to design style and narrative. Each individual involved in the collaborative and participatory process has been noted and given the recognition for their work. They have also been able to convey the narratives they set out to because of how well they flow into the main project title. Ewald has been a very successful facilitator of this project and this really comes across i the results produced.

I have used this book extensively as a resource for my own work, especially the layouts and the use of colour. It had given me the chance to explore avenues I hadn’t previously considered because I could see how they worked within the book and how they might work within my own. It has been by far of one of the best influences for this project, and I think it is a fantastic representation of the lifestyles of people in the project involvement.

New Draft of Book Layout

I have drafted another example of a book layout for this project. I took on board feedback that I received from the group in class, as well the feedback from my participants and this is the result of what I have come up with. I heavily considered the format of my book, and did decide to go for a portrait format, rather than square to prevent it from looking to ‘family album’ and potentially tacky. I also decided to go for a blank front cover, to keep a more minimal style, but also because if I want to make this myself, I can create a plain hardback cover with printed words on instead, which I think will look much smarter.

I am still really unsure on this design and I think it has a lot of work that needs to be done to it before it will be ready to be a final draft, but at the moment it is definitely a good place to be at because I have begun to put text and images together. There is still a lot of tweaking that needs to be done, especially in terms of narrative construction and page layout. I am also concerned the book length is getting rather long, and I feel it may need to be cut down, but I also do not want to lose images at this expense.

I am happy with the way it is going, and I think so far it is a step the right way, but I am aware there is a lot that needs to be done to the design layout before I will be happy with it and the way in which it looks. I have sent a copy of the book edit so far to my participant to have a look at, so that I can also get their feedback and progress from here in regards to what they would like to do and how they think the project has come together, as as a participant, their input is invaluable.

Here is the 3rd draft as it stands:

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I have tried to make the book more chronologically based as we discussed in class as a sensible narrative. This is the best way to look at the narrative I feel and the best way to try to create and tell the story visually as well as using the text. I have hit points where I have struggled to find images that relate strongly to the text, or I have images I really want to include but I just cannot find space for them to sit within the narrative well. This is an issue that I hope to iron out as I progress the design more and the narrative.