Week 1- Lecture and technical session
My theme: ‘A fake photograph’
In this module we are going to create our own book based on a random theme and we are able to make decisions on each element of the book. We can have own preference and add personal style on it. By designing a book it provides a platform to share our thought, get works and ideas out. There are many things need to consider when making a book, that included size of the book, paper type, binding method, contents, typography and so on, things that compose a book will be decided by our own.
Photography link to reality, it keeps record. It is a kind of visual code to communicate, deliver and record stories. Photography is one of the most important ways to do documentation of people, events, and feelings, both happened in the past and in the present day. ‘A picture worth a thousand words’, picture tells a story in a simple way, it is a common language in the world.
In 1829, a French artist, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, he invented photography. Each daguerreotype (as Daguerre dubbed his invention) was a one-of-a-kind image on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper.
In 1834, an English member of parliament, scientist, inventor Fox Talbot , he is the pioneer of photography. He produced the first successful photographic images without a camera; he created photograph by placing objects onto paper brushed with light-sensitive silver chloride, which he then exposed to sunlight, he conceived and brought a wholly new way of making pictures. In 1844, Fox Talbot published the first photo book named ‘The Pencil of Nature’ which was a book that promote photography, technology and aesthetic. Because he couldn't find a publisher, he end up did a self-publishing.
Ed Ruscha work includes paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, artist’s books, and films. He opened the genre of how artist use photo book to expressed photographs and text.
Twentysix Gasoline Stations is an iconic artist book and the first artist’s book from Ed Ruscha in 1963 in an edition of 400 numbered copies. His book are considered seminal in the history of artist books and there is a first edition selling on the internet for £8,750.00. But back from now, it was relatively cheap: copies of the first edition were advertised as $3 in an article in Artforum in March 1964 that announced the book’s rejection by the Library of Congress. His work has influenced many photographer, no matter the design of the cover or the style of his work.
In an interview, Ed Ruscha said “When I was in Oklahoma I got a brainstorm in the middle of the night to do this little book calledTwentysix Gasoline Stations. I knew the title. I knew it would be photographs of twenty-six gasoline stations.” The photographs are in black and white and with captions of Twentysix petrol stations, along the highway between his home in Los Angeles and his parent’s house in Oklahoma City. Each opening of the book reveals one or two photographs in varying but repeated layouts, with the photographs set in relatively large areas of white space. The captions consist of the name of the petrol station and its location. The front cover has the title printed in red as three separate lines, the stark brightness of the design muted by the wrap around protective cover.
Every Building on the Sunset Strip was another documentary photo book that he published in 1966. He mounted a camera to the back of a pick-up truck and did a round-trip drives between LA and Oklahoma. This allowed him to photograph every house on the Sunset Strip while driving — first down one side of the street and then the other. The first edition was printing on white paper; folded and glued, and presented in accordion fold with 1000 copies. The presentation was very unique, he put the images on the top and also the bottom in a continuous facade, which matched the way he took the photographs, shows the photos with the same concept of the round-trip drive.
Kindle/iPad VS Book
Kindle was launched in 2007 and iPad was launched in 2010, they both presents book in a digital format; people can buy books from the internet to their Kindle device. The thinking behind of Kindle not only to save the environment(paper), but also saves the hassle of lugging around thick heavy books. When Kindle first publish, people said that print books are dying. But in 2015, the book industry released figures showing that e-book sales were down so far this year.
In no doubt that print books have it own attraction. It is a physical object that are nice and soft to the touch, paper makes reading physically pleasurable. Besides, print books are belong to ourselves for life, it has the value to collect, just like Ed Ruscha photo books; the limited edition in the past made it becomes extremely valuable and rare now. Printed Matter is a non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination, understanding and appreciation of artists’ books. They also invite artists and independent publishers to submit their books for sale at Printed Matter. Because they care about print books, therefore they organizes annual Art Book Fair in NY and LA which include variety of exhibitors, artists’ books, catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines.