Workshop Dummies Leipzig

In November we held our regular autumn Photobook-making workshop in Leipzig - fortunately and finally - live, and - unfortunately - right on the verge of the second wave of the pandemic and thus missing several participants. Nevertheless it turned out to be a cozy book making process with just enough time to get everything done, and even making a couple of dummies of the same project printed on different papers and bound in alternative ways. Our traditional round-table discussion of the result ended up with tasting Romanian schnaps. Happy upcoming Holidays! Prost!

A “Zaunkönig” (engl. wren) is a small bird which is often seen in rather rural areas and in places where it can hide itself like in fences or hedges. In German ‘Zaun’ also means ‘fence’. Max’s work is a contemplation about the nature of suburbs.

“The idea to this project came up when walking rather accidentally to the border of Berlin to Brandenburg. I came through areas which reminded me physically and emotionally of my home town in Saxony. I have ambivalent feelings while walking there, it feels attractive, on the one hand, and repulsive, on the other. Questions about what’s home and ways of living came up. When walking in the suburbs I’m searching for symbols which underline that feelings for me. So the work is not a description of a particular place, rather a narrative about suburbs in general.”

Following the character of photographs we went for the classical approach to the work: cloth hard-cover book with clean layout in pale grey-blue-beige pallete. The main focus was made on careful editing and balanced paring and sequencing to convey the narrative. Sequence is three times interrupted - or rather supported - by quotes about the specific behaviour of the bird wren and related in a subtle way to the suburban landscape. “The wren sings its song, there, in the fences and hedges. Always different, but somehow the same.” The title is to be debossed on the front cloth cover, and the white silhouette of the wren is to be debossed on the back cover. “As soon as his (wren’s) song is finished, he begins again to slip and crawl through the surroundings."

Aija’a project is a search of self in the new circumstances of life when the powerful parent role happens to overshadow other personal manifestations and they eventually break through the lens of the frontal camera of the mobile phone.

“More and more, I feel the need not to dissolve completely in my role as a mother, but rather to give space to other facets. Like in a game, I approach myself with my own fantasy and lust for life. "from gas to solid" is a sublimation of my different emotional states, of all the roles I play. How can I exist in such different states of matter?”

It is a work-in-progress project that aims to be flexible and easily adjustable. Another important thing is that each of Aija’s performative photographs is self-sufficient, creating a story on its own. That’s why we came up with an idea of solo full-spread images seen full or in halves, which creates a playful touch. A large format collection of unbound posters is held together by an elastic strap that can be easily removed, or - in the second dummy - is put together by pamphlet binding. Mirror cover refers to the self-reflection / self-portrait position with an oval mirror shape embossed on the front cover.

Catrin’s project is the study of a specific area Knopfhäuslesiedlung that makes part of the city of Freiburg and at the same time stands out against its background in terms of architecture and lifestyle. Basically becoming an island, somehow stuck between today and the 1870s when it was built. ‘Im Dazwischen’ means ‘in between’.

The ambition was to create a subtle object giving the feeling of the atmosphere and lifestyle of the place and show its island position. Long landscape format follows the form of the neighbourhood made up of two long rows of houses. Japanese style double-wide folded sheets allow to move through the area without any interruptions, with one picture starting on one page and continuing on the next one, flowing from yards to houses and deeper inside the unconventional homes. That continuous flow aims to create an impression of walk in this versatile eclectic space, with the layout following the free vibe.

We went for yellowish old-fashioned structured paper with inserts of semi-transparent brown sheets that hold black-and-white pictures of the Knopfhäuslesiedlung set against the modern Freiburg cityscape. One might see the historical and cultural context in these inserts and realise that Knopfhäuslesiedlung is an island indeed.

The workshop with Calin and Yana is an experience I would not want to miss. Calin and Yana created a harmonious and courageous atmosphere, which encouraged and inspired me. The structure of the workshop was carefully considered and bound my interest in many ways. A lot of useful knowledge and information was given, which was very valuable for me. Thank you Calin and Yana for accompanying me to my first dummy!;) I am very pleased to meet you and to experience your professional way of working. Next dummies only with you! :)

Aija's review

My goal to participate in the workshop clearly was to think about pictures in book form and to get more familiar about different approaches of designing and making a book. The workshop exceeded my expectations since 3 days seemed short at first for all the work that had to be done, materials gathered etc. But I have seen a few dummies made in workshops by dienacht so I was very optimistic. The feeling of having a first dummy in my hands is just great. I’m very happy with the classical book form and I have the feeling it fits very well. I enjoyed the calmness of you two, the good structure of the workshop as well as the steady push towards a good result. You created a productive yet familiar atmosphere (with coffee and sweets!) which I liked very much. I would recommend the workshop to everyone who is thinking about making more out of ones pictures than just having them stored on a computer.

Max's review

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New blog topic where we share our impressions from Calin Kruse / dienacht Publishing photobook workshops that culminate in the creation of dummies.

The series of online Photography and Photobook Workshops for Armenian photographers in 2020 - 2021.