Even though people keep asking me to create a book I’ve never really planned on doing so. All that changed after a conversation with good old Nils Karlson. We were talking about why we love analogue photography and one point raised was “getting your hands on your work; feeling it”.
Later the same night I was wondering about the way I work: shoot, develop (sometimes print), scan, upload. I thought, “if the end result is a digital image, what’s the difference to simply shooting digital?”
Suddenly there was this need to lift my work back out of its digital ‘grave’.
Getting to work
This was quite a while ago and I finally started working on my first book about a year ago. After countless hours of filling pages with my favourite photos from the various series I’ve produced…and then deleting them, I was about to quit. And again, there was Nils. He told me about his process for creating his books and basically going through the same stages. He told me to stay calm and to think about what I wanted to express with my art. I started to think about my urge to point at things I dislike about our society, about what art means to me and about the friends I found while doing art.
Things started to get a lot easier.
I picked three of my most recent series which all use manipulated Polaroid (or Impossible Project) sheets from my own trash pile or wasted shots that were sent to me by fellow Polaroiders. Each series picks up a theme that is important to me. These translated into three themes for the book: ‘The Does’, ‘Global Warming’ and ‘WEBB x KARLSON x WASTEDFILMS’.
‘The Does’ talks about our way of looking at people, modern media, beauty standards and self-consciousness. ‘Global Warming’ points its finger at what we do to our fragile ecosystem and ‘WEBB x KARLSON x WASTEDFILMS’ is based on freedom, friendship and upcycling.
With those themes in mind, the name of the book hit me while driving to work: “Studies of an ephemeral Medium”. Everything fades, photos, polaroids, people, friendship, our world.
With the themes set, my next step was to restart the process of filling the book with photos again. At first, I put a single photo on each page but it felt like the pictures needed more room to flourish. Nothing should distract attention. Even though the total page number kept growing, I decided to use one photo every two pages. This felt a little better but I wanted words to help tune into the upcoming photos.
Since one underlying theme of this book was friendship – and I had had the chance to meet a lot of awesome people – I decided to ask a few for some short submissions. I picked Anne Silver, Michael Behlen and Graeme Webb for the introductions and Keith Mendenhall for the epilogue.
Anne was perfect for ‘The Does’, she shoots a lot of portraits and has a psychology background like me. Michael featured my ‘Global Warming’ series on PRYME Editions and found the perfect words; and since I used Graeme’s Polaroids as part of ‘WEBB x KARLSON x WASTEDFILMS’, having him write about it was something very important to me.
And Keith? Well, Keith is awesome. That’s really all there is to say, he was completely free to write whatever he wanted and his words brought tears of happiness to my eyes.
Printing to reality
After getting the design ready with the help of a friend, I came back to thinking about what I want to express with this book: friendship, freedom, responsibility. I transferred these concepts last phase of creating the book.
I looked for a local place that prints with as little harm to nature as possible (doing no harm is impossible), and that does not exploit its workers. The book was printed on FSC-certified 100% 130GSM matte photo paper by printzipia.de in a small edition of 40.
Since I believe art is for everyone I wanted to keep the price as low as possible and I decided to donate almost half of my profit to the Hardcore Help Foundation and Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli e.V.
The final book is ~15x15cm (6×6 inches) and 56 Pages long. It has 23 Photos (24 if you count the cover) and costs €22 including tracked international shipping.
It took me about a year to get it ready. It was hard work and a lot of struggle but it is an awesome experience. If it sells, it won’t be my last!
Thanks for reading,
Write for EMULSIVE
EMULSIVE is all about knowledge transfer and developing more of it across the film photography community.
Help by contributing your thoughts, work and ideas to inspire others reading these pages: read this quick submission guide.
Lend your support
If you like what you’re reading you can help support EMULSIVE by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and adding financial support from as little as $2 a month. As if that’s not enough, there’s also an EMULSIVE print and apparel store over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.