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Photo book club // Matt Johnston Talk

7 November 2017

With the morning being filled with a talk from Pablo, in the afternoon, we had Matt Johnston which interest lies with the photo book. From making my own photo book for my narrative project last year, it really interested me in the production of a book so this talk was a must.

Considerations on the photobook - its histories, status, and the construction of meaning through the multiple.

''The photobookwork, then, is a series of images - that is tightly knit, well-edited, organised group or set of images in a linear sequence presented in book form''  

Matt brought up some really interesting points about many aspects of the photo book and sequencing images that I wouldn't of thought of before and will be points to consider in the future when sequencing images and producing work with the potential to be made into a final book. Firstly, He mentioned the Photo Book Club which he runs, what it is and why he does it, and how its expanded across the globe in order to get like minded people speaking about different photo books. Then he went onto the photo book itself and how different meanings can be made just by adding or taking a photograph away from a sequence, or pairing two images which one way could mean something, and the other way round can mean something different. Images can be sequenced in many ways, some can just aesthetically fit together due to similar colours, shapes, compositions maybe, however this isn't the only way images will sequence. We can sequence through an atmospheric feel to the images or two images may not fit together aesthetically but as a series may add important narrative that the artist wants.  As viewers of images,narrative is often made through association which creates meaning. We make connections between images which allows us to read photo books however conflict can be added (images that don't quite fit) which disrupts our own readings. Following on from this, he added a quote to his presentation which I will add here-
''Keith Smith notes the international and ambiguous nature of these sequences implying two terms; the 'Random referral' - free association made by the viewer, and the '(directed) referral' - as an intentional relationship set up by the picture maker''  This was an interesting point that stood out to me in order to consider when producing a book. The viewer will naturally make associations that are out of your control, however as the artist, you can make decisions in order to intentionally make or disrupt associations that the viewers make when viewing your book. Also in terms of sequencing, repetitive sequencing (same layout within each page for example) can get too familiar and the viewer can get to predict the next page, switching layouts throughout the book can keep the viewers attention for longer. Another important aspect that was said was also when sequencing our own work, we need to take a step back and disconnect ourselves in order to see a wider picture.

At the end of the talk, we did a workshop, in groups we had a go at sequencing images that Matt had brought in. For the first task, we were given a small amount of images to sequence and create different narratives. In the group, we made a few different sequences in which each told a slightly different narrative depending on the way we ordered them. 
For the Second
For the Second part of the workshop, in the same groups we were then given a larger amount of work from one photographers various series and then sorted and arranged them into sequence. Firstly we started with sorting the images that matched aesthetically into groups. Then we started to look at how these groups worked together. After sorting the images, we were then given sentences to add to the pictures on what we thought went together to create a narrative. The final task were to sequence the images into how they would be presented in a book, using any of the images and also adding in blank spaces.    

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