Every so often I am reminded of why I have taught photography workshops for 30 years. Case in point-
I received a beautiful book in the mail yesterday produced by one of my former students, Bob Paulding. His first photography workshop was in 1997 in Acadia National Park and he took another one of workshops, Going Pro, a few years later. Despite the huge disadvantages of taking advice and instruction from me, Bob just produced his first book- The Art of the Car. It is magnificent.
The book is an extremely well designed and magnificently photographed exploration of all the photographic possibilities of cars. Bob has captured old vintage cars, newer cars and beaters with a beautiful eye for interplay between shape, color, form and utility. Furthermore, the photos are well presented on the page with each image complimenting the ones next to it.
It is a thrill to me to be a small part of this book.
I bring all this up because of all the self-produced book I have seen in my career, and there have been many, this is one of the very few that is professionally done. Almost every self-published book I have ever looked at has serious flaws- out of focus pictures, badly printed, poorly edited, messily conceived, etc. The reason is that the project is too close to the photographer- it’s a can’t see the forest for the trees kinda of thing. The photographer is too attached to the pictures, too ignorant of design principles and too gullible about the art of printing.
Don’t feel bad about this, I am as bad and ignorant about making books as everyone else. That is why I have never self-published a book and why I never will. I can produce photos and I can write words but putting them together in a professional way is way beyond me. Not for Bob, though. The Art of the Car is beautiful.