10 years the book

The book

Currently I am running a crowdfunding campaign for 10 years, a book about the Barcelona based floral design brand Rita Flowers. It is a photography book with a selection of the photographs that I’ve made for Rita Flowers since 2013 when Marga created the brand. In this blog post I explain the process of creating this book.

The process

It started with the idea of a leaflet with QR codes that link to Rita Flowers’ (online) workshops. But I wanted more so I decided to make a book and began thinking about what it should entail. Of course there should be a lot of visual material in it, because I am a photographer and with Rita Flowers we work extensively with photos and videos of the unique designs in various settings. Was it going to be a catalogue of Rita Flowers’ designs? No, that’d be a different product, this was going to be an Art book in which the designs and its theory behind it would prevail. I also needed texts so I looked for suitable passages in the many blog posts and other publications that Marga had written. I chose those excerpts that communicated with the selected images and that would give the reader an impression of the nature of Rita Flowers’ work.

I made a rough selection of the photographs that we have published over the last ten years. I made small prints and laid them out on the table. This is where the real work begins. I moved the prints around until there was a coherent and fluent set of images that somehow correspond with each other.

For the video stills section, prior to the “moving around small prints”, I first needed to make the stills. So I sat hours and hours watching the videos to extract good images, which is not easy and obvious. Video and photography are distinct mediums. A good shot in a video doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good photograph as well. When I had all the stills I printed them and treated them like photographs.

Once the rough selection of visuals and texts were ready I sent it to Luvia, the designer. She made a layout of the images and decided on the font for the texts etc.

Placing the photos and adjusting them is a craft and I really need a professional like her for that. For example by just making one image a little bit smaller or placing it a little bit out of the centre of the page makes a whole difference and in the end it gives the book this exquisite look.

After Luvia has done her work she sends it back to me so that I can make sure I agree with her suggestions. In this case we had some discussions about certain changes that she’d made to some photographs. These dialogues are very important and form part of the process to come to the best possible outcome. And then when both of us are happy Luvia prepares the print files to be sent to the printer and there is no way back anymore.

To avoid tunnel vision I also showed the design to several other people. One of them is Barend Fieret, a Dutch photographer and a photography teacher. Barend and I were classmates at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, The Netherlands. We spoke at length about the book as a project and what the draft design was communicating to him. We changed the sequence of the different chapters so that as a whole it conveyed stronger the raise in awareness and the transformation, motifs present throughout the book.  He also recommended adding some abstract images that definitely made the book complete.

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