Before Christmas 2017 I made an announcement that I was going to commit a considerable amount of time in 2018 to finally getting around to publishing my first photobook. I've been umming and arring about doing this for a while now. My good friend Matt Peers suggested that I should ease myself into publishing more gently because of the energy and commitment required for such a big endeavour. He suggested that I should look at producing a series of zines in the first instance to get some experience on a smaller scale and build up my experience of sequencing and editing and other tasks involved in laying out and publishing a book.
At first I was resistant to Matt's suggestion. I saw it as another time sucker and an obstacle towards my path of producing my book. However, I said I'd consider it and started doing some research. Matt provided me with some website and YouTube links including a terrific short series of tutorials by Nick Exposed. Here's a link: https://youtu.be/GMtDwU4D5_I
The upshot was that I got hooked into the whole idea. Matt usually talks a lot of sense, and I don't always listen at first. And so for most of January I have been putting together the first issue of my new photozine which I've called Trickbox.
The name Trickbox is a word I've wanted to use in some context for some time. A while ago I read about how native Americans refused to have their photographs taken by the early travelling photographic pioneers. The natives said that the camera was a magic box of tricks that stole the soul from the subject, or sitter, of the photograph. That description has always stayed with me. I also believe the camera to be a box in which 'magic' tricks happen, albeit supported by scientific and technological explanation (more on that subject another time).
So, I had a name. Not being much of a graphic designer I struggled with a logo design for a couple of days before another good friend, Philo Sinnett, showed me his Dymo label maker. I asked him to produce a label for Trickbox. I photographed the resulting label, tweaked it a wee bit, and lo and behold the Trickbox logo was created. Not being a lover of perfection I liked the kerning error between the letters R and I and the little full stop/blob at the end.
The first issue of Trickbox was to focus on the work I have done over the past few years for Bristol 24/7, a local online events website that has some kudos in the city as it is the successor of Venue magazine which we all bought back in the days of paper magazines and listings.
I gathered photographs of all the gigs that I've shot for the organisation (36 all together), and printed my favourites onto ordinary inkjet paper. All the photographs were laid out on a table and paired into complimentary images. The images looked great. I could see things taking shape but there was something missing, words.
So, I contacted the music journalists who wrote the accompanying gig reviews and asked them for permission to use some of their words. They were up for it and suggested a couple of lines from the reviews. They sent them over and we were away.
The zine would be A5 in size and black and white, and produced in Adobe Indesign (a software package I've never used before). There would be two images per two page spread. I knew what images I wanted for the front and middle spread, John E Vistic for the front and John Fairhurst for the spread. I've photographed these two local musicians many times over the years and a couple of times for Bristol 24/7.
I thought my image of John E Vistic photographed at the Thunderbolt venue with his index finger pointed to the sky (suggesting 'Number One'), would make a great cover image. Similarly, the image of John Fairhurst giving it some welly at the Golden Lion would make a great middle page spread.
The first issue was sent to the printer 2 days ago and I'm currently waiting to approve the proof. It will be published at the end of January 2018. A special launch party is planned on February 1st.
I'm currently working with a few potential distributors but more ideas and leads are welcome. Please leave me a comment below, or get in touch if you are interested or have ideas that may help me.
Issue 2 will be available in April/May 2018 to coincide with the second Ramblin Roots festival in Bucks. It will feature photographs from last year's inaugural event.
My photobook idea looks like it may be stalled for a little time longer.