In honor of
Harry K. Shigeta and Bruce Davidson
Taken in part from my forthcoming artists’ book:
Presenting Photography to Curators and Museums
Before I start printing an artists’ book I’ve already made a bunch of 4 x 6 work prints to whip an image in shape with the post processing. The other purpose is to develop a rough order the book will flow.
Until one makes a full size print, a 4 x 6 print will only go so far. If you have endless amounts of $, time, paper and ink then by all means make full size work prints for your book. You will have to do that at some point down the road anyway when you make a full size maquette. Sometimes defects show up in larger prints, whereas they go unseen in small prints.
Once I get full size work prints in order I start on the final layout. After that I will glue prints back to back to form the maquette. I sometimes have problems getting super flat matte DUO paper. So I generally use the defective paper I am stuck with for the working copies of the artists’ books. RC gloss DUO and semi gloss DUO are usually pretty flat, but they are generally a lot more expensive than matte duo.
At the end of this article is a list of DUO paper suitable for book arts:
The problem with getting flat paper is it is the luck of the draw. Depending on what part of the roll the paper was cut from and how long it was rolled, has a lot to do with how flat the cut paper will be. Many stores wont take the paper back once you open it, so over time a book printer can amass a large stock of proofing paper.
If the stores do take it back, they will shut you down in short order if you keep buying lots of paper that you open just to return it to them for a refund because it has a slight bow in it. Now, there is a trick to use slightly bowed paper in an artists’ book. But that is a topic for another time.
The photo below shows the maquette with glued up pages on the right and the galley proof with true DUO paper on the left. The glued up pages adds a lot of thickness to the book.
The maquette will also have a lot of more notes in it as can be seen in the next photo. (Maquette is shown in the bottom of the photo.)
As the book gets perfected with layout, page numbering and print IQ, there is a lot less notes that have to be written in the book. Once I have the galley proof 100% it is time to start printing the regular edition. I will make the artists’ proof copies first to make sure everything is right, then I start production printing.
You would be surprised how making small changes in the type of paper used in printing the book can make the previous design for the book unworkable. When I was printing an early, small size (5.5 x 6.5 inch) artist’s book called Engaging the Enemy Frigate I found out how fast design can change depending on the paper that is used for the book
The original maquette was printed on DUO matte proofing paper and printed up fine. For the galley proof I generally switch over to semi gloss paper which I did with Engaging the Enemy Frigate.
Once I switched to semi gloss paper I found out the page number and page title information both had to be moved . They were too close to the edge of the paper for semi gloss combined with small size book printing. They would pick up stray ink from the head of the printer.
I tried 2 different printers and opened up the platen gap to the highest setting and it was still a no-go. So I moved the page title information in 3/4 of an inch more and moved the page number to far left center of the page. This fixed the problem when printing on semi gloss paper.
Some semi gloss paper reacts poorly when you use a Post It note on a page and just for a few minutes. I’ve use self adhesive note on semi glass paper and it ruined the surface in just 15 minutes.
Save your maquettes and the pre-production prints and notes for your books. Museums and special collection libraries will want all related ephemera to your projects. (Provided of course, you are a museum grade photog and are collectable.)
Partial Listing of Artists’ Books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.*
Peephole: Peering Into the World of 1970’s Hollywood and L.A. – 2013
Portfolio: Peering Into the World of 1970’s Hollywood and L.A. – 2013
Twenty-six Roadkills – 2013
Cutters: There is nothing I hate more than myself. – 2014
Encyclopedia of Photographic & Fine Art Ink Jet-
Printing Media – 12 Volume Set – 2014
Bikers’ Mardi Gras – 2015
Gender Benders from the 1970’s – 2015
De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District – 2015
180 – The Circular Fisheye at Large – 2016
Piercing Darkness – 2016
A Day in the Life of a Drag Queen – 2016
The Americans…60 years after Frank – 2016
Gay Bar – 2017
Whoop-Whoop – 2017
Charmed – Forthcoming
Presenting Photography to Curators and Museums – Forthcoming
Magnifying Lens Photography – Forthcoming
Yum! – Forthcoming
Secrets of Candid Photography – Forthcoming
With Due Respect Beloved One – In Development
Thirty-six Views of Bison – In Development
*For a complete listing of artist’s books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.