Travel Photo-books

 

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I’ve printed some of my travel images on fabulous high quality Art Paper but can’t afford to print them all like that (and don’t have space to display them in my home anyway). Snapfish gave me the means to producing a series of personal travel books at reasonable cost. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my books are totally professional but they are more than good enough for home use. Why leave all these images languishing in my computer?

Notes

  • These images were high quality ones taken on my DSLR camera. As such they take a while to upload.
  • I was pleasantly surprised at how well the colour was managed because this can be a tetchy issue with printing.

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  • I didn’t add a title to a couple of travel books (see above)  – and regret it. A book looks so much better with a proper title.
  • All of my travel books were printed at the same size – 20x28cm – so they sit well together on a bookshelf
  • Each book is about 20 pages only with very simple and consistent layouts throughout the pages

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  • I think carefully about my front and back cover images

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  • My travel books have themes which I introduce in a paragraph on page one. Below ‘Living on Edge’ has this introduction:

It is said that the goal of every Vietnamese farmer is to purchase a buffalo; find a wife and build a house … in that order.

The individuals I photograph on my travels don’t benefit from my presence, not in a direct sense anyway. In fact there is potential for harm to them if I damage their landscape or use my images inappropriately. So I walk the edge of privilege and responsibility in observing the lives of people of cultures so different from my own.

Rice farmers in the mountainous regions of North Vietnam walk edges in a different sense. In fact they Live on the Edge, in a literal sense and with their subsistence lifestyle.

Rice constitutes about 3/4 of the daily calorie intake in the Vietnamese diet and it takes 3 months to grow a crop. Seedlings are gathered in bunches and transplanted in rows into prepared fields. Men and water buffalo work hard to carve steps into every available space on the steep slopes. The women help with the planting. Everyone helps with the harvesting.

The rice takes two months more to mature and is ready for harvesting when the field is yellow. In recent years there has been a move to diversify farming to include corn and other crops.

Now when I eat a bowl of rice, I have much more respect for its origins and the human hands that have worked to grow it in what, at first glance, seems to be too inhospitable land.

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  • The black background is very striking for brightly coloured images. Below a screen shot of the layout of ‘Celebrating Colour in India’

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  • I printed my India book ‘Ordinary Days’ in black and white. There’s definitely room for improvement. The images are sharp and clear but the tones inconsistent (my mistake) and next time I do B & W I’ll try glossy pages and probably a black background.

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