Online Book Printing

Over the next day or two I shall be winding up the blog, as the project is pretty much complete.

Before I slip off into the non-digital night I thought I would write a follow up to the post I wrote about making an online published book of the ‘Other Histories’ project.

The reason I wanted to make a book of the work was mainly due to the amount of pictures I made during the residency that I simply couldn’t put into the exhibition. Also I am of the mind that, like Parr and Badger, the best way to deliver photographs to an audience is via a book. It changes the way we read the work and gives the artist another way of assembling the images so they can create new relationships between the photographs.

Online publishing via sites like have made it very easy to create and publish low cost books of your own photography, in an age where most people view their photographs on the home computer I think some of the popularity of these books harks back to the enjoyment of ‘snaps’ that can be handed around and shared.

I did create a small dummy copy of the book on Blurb but when I got the book back from the printer the images were darker than I wanted and also had lost a great deal of the shadow detail. I know that the main reason for this is that fact that the images are black and white. Digital printers do not like black and white, even high end printers struggle. Usually the image will have a colour cast, blue or magenta when printed from an inkjet ordye jet printer. More expensive inkjet printers now come with a range of black/grey inks specifically to create proper B&W images (Ive seen some pretty good stuff through epsons) but Im afraid that when it comes to low cost online printing it looks like trying to get decent results with black and white may be a frustrating experience.

I decided that the quality was not good enough and that the time needed to get a passable version made did not make the book a possible project in time for the exhibition, but I still think that Blurb, and the way you can sell affordable books online, does hold some interesting areas for exploration for future projects.

Beth Dow’s book ‘In the Garden‘ seems to be the exception that proves the rule, but I wonder if they gave her some assistance as she is a well known photographic artist.

There is a online pdf document here which explains correct colour management for sites such as Blurb which may be of use.

I will eventually try again to see if I can get a passable book and I will post any new findings/tricks as a comment on this post in the future


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