Lostintheworldofgoth – finally available in hardback; By Stephen Bell CPAGB

Over the last few years I have been thinking about doing a book project to try and satisfy the constant requests from people asking to see my photographs. I am not a prolific printer, so most of my images remain on my hard drive with the odd exception of some appearing on Facebook, Flickr, and 500PX. One decision to make was whether to produce a book on a single theme, or as dedicated chapters of various themes. One thing for certain was that there would definitely be Goth images from Whitby, as this is an event I really like to capture. The next decision was to decide which publisher to use, as there are loads out there including Blurb, Bob’s books, Albelli and lots more. So when I attended Focus on imaging this year, I made a point of looking at sample products from the various companies attending. It was at this point when Jed Wee caught up with us telling us about a great offer from Aperture books where you could get a massive discount code on a really nice A3 hardback. So Ian, Jed, Tony and me had a look at the product and we all grabbed a discount code or 2 from the company rep.

Ian was really quick off the mark in producing his first masterpiece of his trip to Vietnam. It was seeing his work that made me really determined to produce my own portfolio.

By now I had decided my theme was to be Whitby Goths but it was to be 1 Goth in particular. As most of you know I take my own Goth to Whitby, namely my daughter Samantha who happened to have her 21st birthday coming up later in the year. So the light in the brain was ignited and I suggested to Val “Do you think our Sam would like a book as a 21st birthday present?”. Now this really put me in the good books in the Bell household. We decided it would have to be kept secret which was to prove quite tricky. There was no going back now.

The next bit of the plan was as follows. Over the last few years we have met and become friends with some of the many photographers who flock to Whitby Goth weekend including a fair few from our own club. Some of them send images to her by e mail but not many are printed. So my thoughts were to kill 2 birds with one stone, and so I asked if I could use some of their images combined with my own to produce a wider portfolio. Everyone I asked agreed and said it was a great idea. So phone calls were made, e mails were sent and arrangements were made to receive images from the various photographers. I asked for large files to produce large images, and soon I had over 100 great images to choose from. Once I had the images on the computer, it was simply a case of putting them into a folder and uploading the folder into the programme. The book layouts are really easy to follow and you can also do more editing if you wish such as black and white conversions images within images and so on. The preview panes are really good allowing you to swap pages around, insert templates, add borders if you wish, and so on. The only bit I found a little bit tricky was inserting the text at a suitable size for the page.

You are then given various options such as paper type, dust covers, protection boxes etc. Once I was happy with everything all I needed to do was create an account, click upload and wait for the images to upload into the server. This took a little while so I asked our Sam to stay off the internet for a short time as I was “exporting files to different countries for international salons”

About 4 or 5 days later the book was delivered by recorded delivery well protected in the packaging and quite a size. Sam questioned what I had been buying, “oh just some print mounting boards” I replied. Now I just needed to sneak it out of the house to get the people involved to sign it for me. I have managed to get some signatures and intend to take the book to Whitby to complete this process.

It was on Tuesday 22nd of October on her 21st birthday that I presented her with her little memento for her special day. When she unwrapped the book and saw it, I knew it had all been worthwhile as she was totally gobsmacked by it. In fact it was quite an emotional moment for all of us.

To see your own images in a book form is quite something and I feel this is now the way forward with regard to both showing your work and more importantly, as a way to archive your work too. As Peter Walton said to me “this is something Samantha’s children and grandchildren can look at many years down the line” something that had not even crossed my mind. It is permanent and with care should last for many years to come. Now, can we say the same thing for images on a cd or a hard drive?

I encourage you all to have a go at your own project, after all if I can do it anyone can, believe me you will not regret it.

Stephen Bell.

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