Things to consider when sequencing a photo book
Could liken making a book to following a recipe. A series of instructions , sequence needs to be followed in order to get the right outcome.
Alex Sweetman – claims bulk of photography books remain collections, or a “portfolio between covers” . A photo book needs to be a whole, a narrative.
You have to consider the audience when knowing what work to include in your work. There is not a uniform set of instructions as to what to include in your book. Depends on a variety of variables.
Gerry Badger quote Sequencing “the photo book is not a science , its an art”
How can we learn what works? read photo books, read novels /books to identify the narrative. Watch Films.
Narrative structure , rhythm , Flow, Pairings, Texts, Rests, Motifs, Practical Guide.
Narrative Structure – beginning, middle and end, but it is more, what makes a story rather than a collection of images/film.
Types of structure :
Flat – beginning , middle , end, determined by front and back covers of the book. quite often based on aesthetics rather than the narrative per se. The tables of Power is an example.
Arc – story arc. used in films , novels, builds tension builds a peak and then return to normal – Tzvetan Todorov – Equilibrium – disruption to this equilibrium , a recognition of this , an attempt to restore the equilibrium – a restored /new equilibrium. examples of this –
Cluster Sequence – Looks all over the place but quite common in photo books, can almost act to provide chapters to a book. each section could work as a mini narrative within the larger narrative of the book.
Scatter approach – appears completely random, but can be subtle connections within the book. can be rewarding to the reader who makes the connections themselves. Can be difficult to understand, can use text to tie it together for example. Need to be able , even with this approach to be able to make your horizon clear to the viewer. examples of Ryan mcginley. Books feel more like ideas/sketchbooks. Presented with thoughts /concepts .
rinko Kawauchi – Illuminance . Alec Soth – Looking for Love 1996.
Pairings essential to the flow of narrative within the photo book
Rhythm and Flow – photo book is designed to be read, trying to curate the experience the reader gets. Needs to have a flow/pace. How to control the readers flow through the book, Think about how many images per page . Traditionally images were placed on the right hand side of the page as this is where the eye goes naturally on turning the pages. Changing the background colour can change the flow of the book. using black pages can make the images flow quicker as they appear to come together like a contact sheet.
Consider surprising the reader. Change the pace/flow. create differences to create interest in pieces that you want the viewer to dwell on.
So , this leads to rests. Give viewer space and time to consider what they have seen. Create a lull. Lulls to precede further action.
Motifs – something that is reoccurring, such as an object or light. or a setting
Text – do not use for the sake of using it. Can make a very powerful point but only used in context. only use if it brings something to the image that would otherwise be lost.