Douglas Stockdale Ciociaria – copyright 2011 Douglas Stockdale
One of the principal reasons to initially assembly a book dummy (a.k.a. marquette) of a project for a potential photobook is to facilitate conversations with the publishers, to gain traction with them and hopefully a contract for your concept. In the case with my photobook Ciociaria, I had captured the imagination of Marco at Edizioni Punctum, who was intrigued by our discussions of my concept, supported by a few photographs coupled with an artistic statement, was willing to proceed on the book development without a book dummy presentation. I suspect that our discussions about my earlier projects, especially my Blurb “book dummy” for Insomnia: Hotel Noir, provided some reassurances, as he really likes the concept behind Insomnia.
Another reason to develop a book dummy is to show to prospective investors who might be interested in providing some financial support to underwrite the project. Fortunately, for Ciociaria I have received major underwriting support from a company located in the same region of Italy as my project as a result of sharing the photographs of my work in progress without a book dummy.
A third reason to develop a book dummy is to help move the project from a conceptual idea to a paper-in-hand reality, to vetted out the possible combinations of paired images and attempt to understand the visual and emotional effects of the sequential order of the images in the book. This is the principal reason that I assembled my book dummy, and I am very glad I did. As I had stated before, one of my primary interests in working with Marco and the Edizioni Punctum publishing team is reap the creative benefits of collaboration. I was very interested in working with Marco and the book designer, hoping that they could help distill even more out of this body of work than I envisioned.
Even though I sent Marco about 200 photographs that constituted my final rough cut to initiate the book design, concurrently I also was interested in understanding how I would design this book. So I printed the 200 photographs in the relative size that the book would be printed and started the process of pairing and sequencing them to construct a loose book dummy. In the photographs below, you can see the paper clips in the corners that I use to temporarily hold the prints in place.
I can validate one of the statements that Himes and Swanson stated in their Publish Your Photography Book, that when you deal with a publisher who is located half way around the world, the ability to communicate and work with them even in this digital age can become more complex during this process. After Marco had received the images and my updated artistic statement, which is now developing into an essay for the book, he let me know that he was having some difficulty with the rough design of the book. As I carry my book dummy around with me every where I go and continuously tweak it, I was able to very quickly photograph the book dummy layout and provide Marco my idea of the image sequencing and pairing. And this was exactly the thing he needed to start the rough layout! Since I developed the book dummy to a pretty advanced state, we have kept my book publication on track for later this year. nice.
Meanwhile, I will continue to test other images as alternatives to what I have in the dummy, as well as the sequencing. I recently uploaded many of the Ciociaria images to a FaceBook album that is allowing me to virtually accomplish the same feat.
Best regards, Doug