Rites of Passage

I’ve completed my Solo Photo Book Month project, Rites of Passage.  You can read it at Issuu.  (I hope you don’t get any “loading page failed” errors, it seems to generate those from time to time).  Update: you can now download the online PDF version directly.
This book was an experiment by one individual in making a photography book in one month. The project, outlined on the web by Paul Butzi, was designed to inspire photographers who have never produced a book to give it a try without a lot of pressure.

35 new images, one month, one book…many photographers trying together.

My personal goals for the project were:

  • to get experience with a new camera I had purchased
  • to shoot in an unfamiliar aspect ratio (1:1)
  • to shoot environmental portraits
  • to get experience putting together a book

The project delivered in spades!

I had originally envisioned shooting 35 distinct individual’s portraits, but as the month wore on, and I was busy with work and life as usual, I resorted to shooting the subjects I had handy—my kids.

Photographs were taken with a Ricoh GX100 camera. A few photos received some post processing, but to save time, usually not much. The book layout was done using the Scribus desktop publishing program. The font used is FormalScript 436BT.

The title of the book is in reference to the activities that mark the passage of childhood. I hope this book helps my children reflect back on their childhood with fond memories.

All in all a really enjoyable project, and it was a lot of fun to follow the other photographers’ progress on the various blogs.  I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

A few more technical details that didn’t make it into the book:

I edited as the month went along, using gthumb to sort through the pile, and uploading the selects to a set on Flickr.  That made it easy in the end; I just needed to pick over the selects.  I found that for me, getting all the photography done was the hard part.  I was really busy during the month, but I didn’t want to miss out on the project.  So I shot as I could on weekends, and just barely put together enough selects in the end.  If and when I do this sort of project again, I will definitely schedule the photography.

I found Scribus to be a very nice tool for laying out the book.  I used the GIMP to tweak the images as needed, and Phatch to downsample them in the end for insertion.  Once I had the book laid out, and the selects in a folder, it was trivial to have Phatch create two sets of images, one at 144 dpi for the web, and one at 300 dpi for printing.

I am very interested in getting a copy of this book printed.  If anyone has a good suggestion for a B&W POD press, that takes a fully-baked 8.5″x8.5″ PDF, please let me know.

Comments and questions are welcome.

–Eric

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