Book: Title? Type? First go…

I’ve been thinking a working title for the photobook I aim to produce and will summarise my rationale here.

My first thought was to entitle the book anomie. I don’t feel wanted, accepted or part of society at large and its common purpose. But if I entitled the book anomie most people would not connect this with art, photography or disability and impairment. So then I thought about these terms:

  • Disability
  • Disabled people
  • In-valid

But these just didn’t resonate. They are all too general and don’t reflect that my book will show a body of work that is about my particular and cultural experience as a paralysed person.

One good title was the one I used for the pop up show images: Documented, Experienced, Interpreted, Signified. But this is quite wordy and would need a prefix like Disability in front of it. But I have come up with a working title: Paralysis. Too often clever titles obscure rather than illuminate. Let’s hope I can overcome that hurdle.

One of the things I need to consider if I am going to produce a book is the type of book it should be. There are almost endless ways of presenting my work. For example, broadsheet newspapers, tabloids, paperbacks, coffee table books, leather bound volumes – the list is almost endless as to the nature – scale, size, colour, aspect ration, textures, – used in a book. Indeed Camberwell even offers an MA in Book Arts. Each aspect of a book imparts values and I need to think about what the values are for my work and how it will be received.

There are a variety of options for creating my book. Online book creators such as these:

And lots of small publishing houses such as these:

Book Empire:

My approach
The key for me is to keep things simple. The book is a self-contained vehicle to present my work and I am committed to trying to let the images speak for themselves through their content and association values and so don’t want to create complex pages or sections with lots of words within the book.

Neither do I want to create a book where its own production values outweigh or overwhelm the discourse. Thus no fancy wooden covers, locks, satin place holders or other artistic affectations will be included.

Moreover given that I have no experience of producing a book I am going to constrain my choices in the following ways. Firstly I am going to produce a photobook of my images as opposed to a book documenting my MA exhibition. It is the format I am most used to as a consumer and will focus my attention on articulating my visual discourse through the image values and book context over and above everything else.

Secondly, the approach that meets all of my requirements is Blurb. But using Blurb also allows me to produce the book using Lightroom 5 to format it. This does limit the choices of format but Blurb offers 4 main one and I can work within these constraints. Using Lightroom gives me the best means to manipulate and control the quality, order and format of the images enough to produce a decent book and its templates should even help a novice like me by ensuring I am consistent where I need to be.

Book title and overs 
Given that many of my images are panoramic is aspect because they are diptychs I think the aspect ratio should reflect that. So it was with these thoughts in mind that I began working on developing a front and back cover. Here are a few of my ideas.

I like the simplicity of this first image but think that monochrome is too conventional and seen as objective – so it evokes nothing of my personal view.


This next image is much better: the double aspect of the works suggest multiple and fragmented experiences and the less definite shape of the symbol hints rather than states. The blue injects some personality but is a cool colour and not want I want.


After some further experimentation I arrived at this cover below. I’ve kept the double aspect of the lettering to suggest multiplicity and fragmentation; I have overlaid the symbol with the earlier more conventional symbol in a very soft shadow so the modern symbol looks like its emerging or pulling away from the conventional one; I’ve introduced a muted red colour with all of its associations; lastly distressed some of the area. This looks okay to me.


The back cover continues the distressed theme but I have adapted the evolving series I used in an earlier project to suggest my emergence and evolution, while leaving room for any administrative details needing to be shown.


I am happy with this first stab at covers and will now turn my thoughts to structure.


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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2 Responses to Book: Title? Type? First go…

  1. Catherine says:

    The covers look good Pete. Blurb do seem to be one of the best. I hadn’t heard of Book Empire though. Have you used them in the past?


    • anomiepete says:

      Thanks Catherine. I’m just playing with ideas really and think there is a long way to go with the book structure and imagery.

      No, I’ve not used any of the other services I mentioned here – but there are quite a few!


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