I love making photo books. I have hand-made two books of alternative process photography that have appeared in juried shows and one chapbook of poems and self-published 11 books and one magazine. My work has been included by publishers of three books and one magazine. And I have my first accordion file book on the way.
That’s a grand total of 20 books or magazines. I am clearly crazy about photo books.
Five of those books have been made from images I took while traveling. Photo books are a perfect format for travel photos because consuming the book form mirrors the travel experience.
Looking at a photo book is an event with a time and date certain just like your trip.
Turning the pages of a photo book is a very physical experience because to look at it you must hold it in your hands and turn the page with your fingers. Likewise, your trip was very physical because your body had to go somewhere. There is no virtual travel.
Looking at a photo book is intimate. Unlike looking at a photo on the wall, you hold a book within your personal space. What you remember and record from your trip is very personal too. No two sets of travel photos are exactly alike. Your point of view shows up in every frame.
You control the pace as the reader. For the most part, you control the pace of your travels, what you do on which day and in what order.
There’s a continued relationship with the content that makes friends. When friends talk about an upcoming or former trip to say Greece, you can share your book, as a way to share the experience.
Unlike painting as a medium, where there is one, photography naturally enables multiple copies of the same image. So does the book.
Travel photos in a book are not a bound portfolio. The selection of photos is different because the purpose of the book is different. We chose photos that would not go in the portfolio because a photo book is story driven. We chose photos to support a narrative, maybe about the place you visited, and maybe not. Maybe the story is much more about who you are and what you notice than it is about where you went.
If you like making photo books, here are some other posts that will interest you: