Monday, 11 July 2011

Curriculum: Final Version

Here is the final version of the Curriculum book, as submitted to Photography Book Now 2011.

It's hardly a crowd-pleaser, but
it's something I'm happy to stand behind as my best effort. I think it's coherent, rhythmic, pleasingly varied, and above all good to look at. Some of the photographs, if I say so myself, are amongst my best work to date.

What more do you want? Yes, I know, a cheaper version... It's coming, soon.

[original Blurb BookShow replaced with current public version]

Thanks to those of you who commented, on and off blog. You wouldn't expect me to agree with or act upon everything suggested by everyone, but it really is an enormous help to have ideas and criticisms to bounce off. As my work colleagues would probably attest, I am not someone who thrives on consensus, but I do love having good people to argue with.

I have already picked up one comment on Blurb. It says, "Outstanding work! Every single shot is brilliantly composed and all together a masterwork. Congratulations". No, really! I swear I have no idea who this person is, and no money has changed hands. However, having seen the list of this year's judges, I know that there's no question of coming even within a mile of the "winners". But, as we all know, it's the taking part that matters...

Not to mention the usefulness of a deadline -- any deadline -- in actually getting things done, instead of daydreaming about them. Not that I have ever had anything against daydreaming; it's something in which I have World Class expertise.


seany said...

Beautiful set of images Mike, I really enjoyed looking at them, so much so I was tempted to purchase but the price put me off [cheapskate I'M afraid]

Mike C. said...

Thanks, seany -- "popular" edition at a smaller size and smaller price (about £17.50) on its way.


Poetry24 said...

This is superb, Mike, and deserves to do well in the competition.

Steve said...

May I ask, when you are out taking photos do you compose with a book in mind? I'm thinking especially of portrait / landscape compositions and how they may fit into a book.

A few years back I shot a project with a book in mind and every scene I encountered I shot twice: landscape and portrait so that when compiling the book photo selection became a little easier.

I'm not sure if that would work with your subjects or maybe you shoot wide and crop into composition.

Mike C. said...


Interesting question.

No, I have very rarely photographed with a book in mind at all. The images in Curriculum accumulated over about three years of lunchtime shooting. It took about six months to a year for me to notice something thematically-interesting was going on (and usually does), and a further year or so to conclude there was a full scale project there.

The 80+ images in the book are edited down from a first cut selection of about 450 "exhibition quality" pictures. All are full frame, apart from the square ones, as far as I recall. The variations in shape are down to the different cameras used (Canon 450D, Panasonic LX3 and GF1), and the variations in size down to my judgement as to what size worked on the page.

I have always had more portrait-oriented pictures than most people, though, as for years I used a Fuji 645 rangefinder (where the "normal" orientation is portrait) and I grew to like it. I especially like using the 16:9 ratio on the LX3 in portrait. I have never used that ratio on the GF1, though, as it's achieved by cropping the full frame.


Steve said...

Thanks for the detailed response, Mike. It's always interesting to hear how a person works.

I have this photo book by a Swedish Photographer called Jens Olof Lasthein. He uses a panoramic camera and exploits the landscape format of the book really well by placing the spine through the middle of the photo making it seem like two juxtaposed images but it's really one photo. Some of the shots are quite clever.

I like this idea of exploiting constraints hence the question about if you shoot with the book in mind. For example with film one constraint is 36 - the number of photos on a roll. I have this long term project to visit famous streets and challenge myself to take 36 interesting photos whilst walking down it. It's far easier on famous touristy streets that my own street where everything seems uneventful.

But I think your photography is rather good at finding the unusual in the usual. Especially if you are taking them all during lunch breaks and encountering scenes en passant.