SoFoBoMo: Solo Photo Book Month 2009

SoFoBoMo has begun rercuiting for their second year, and it’s definitely worth a look.

SoFoBoMo is an project based loosely on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and NaSoAlMo (National Solo Album Month), efforts to provide structure for creative types to produce their first novel or musical album. SoFoBoMo participants pledge to entirely produce (from inital photography through graphic design, layout and writing) a photography book within a 31-day span (any one month span in May and June 2009). The only length requirement for SoFoBoMo is that the completed book must contain at least 35 photographs.

This is a wonderful time for photographers to embrace this project. Finally, in the last couple years, companies such as Blurb have finally begun to offer on-demand book printing that offers reasonable reproduction quality, bindings and affordable consumer pricing for on-demand publishing.

One reason for loving the idea of SoFoBoMo is easy to understand–I’ve always loved books, I have a large library, and for as long as I’ve been photographing I’ve had an interest at producing photographic books, but for many years that goal seemed out of reach In 2006 I published my first attempt, a limited edition Signatures of the Sun, but was frustrated by horrific reproduction and delivery issues with that book’s publisher. Last year, I had a much better experience with a second book of my Iceland photography, Saga, Visions of Iceland, and it’s proven to be an excellent vehicle for making a few dollars and promoting my own work more broadly. I’ve also been very happy with Blurb as a vendor.

But there are other reasons you should consider joining SoFoBoMo this year as well. Many photographers, myself included, often focus so much on creating that one perfect photograph that they fail to attack the challenge of making a good, coherent body of work arranged around a unified theme, and it is often this challenge that often brings a photographer up from being an excellent craftsman to truly becoming an communicator, an artist or journalist. Looking at thousands of images I’d made of Iceland during two separate trips, I found that most, but not all conveyed a deep and moody sense of age and power, and it was that central theme that led me to title the book “Saga”, a nod to the dramatic Icelandic tradition. I was forced to look at some really great images and decide that, for all their beauty, they didn’t “fit” the theme and set them aside. I spent longer than I’d like to admit working carefully to order the images the book, selecting pairs of images that “fit” together across spreads, and an ordering for the pairs that has a flow all it’s own. I grew as an artist in the process of producing Saga, and I believe that, should you take on SoFoBoMo, you might very well too.

(SoFoBoMo spotted first via The Online Photographer)

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