Workshop Dummies: Nantes

In March we held our Photobook Making Workshop at the first edition of the Festival Journées de la photographie à Nantes. A very tight schedule of just 2,5 days made it very intensive experience but all six participants
finished with a physical dummy. Take a look ↓

In 2019 Eric travelled throughout India, following the path of the narrator in the book 'Nocturne Indien' by Antonio Tabucchi. Eric relies on the index of 12 places / chapters of the author and holds his own journey from a bus stop in Bombay to Goa. "As the character of the book, I met different people, a blind man with his helping friend, an old father and his disabled daughter, young lovers… Those encounters have shaped the core of this journey." The dummy is conceived in the same format as the original book. It's split in 12 chapters with Eric's diaristic notes prefacing each chapter/ location, followed by a polaroid shot as the first image and a further sequence of photographs from the particular location. The book is printed on thin, warm white paper with miscellaneous particles, resembling local low fi paper. Front and back covers are made up of folded thick craft paper sheets that are supposed to bear a title and to hold a hidden print inside the fold. Open spine binding is sawn with thick beige cotton thread. The whole dummy has a very soft, natural and warm feel, supporting the narration.

The book is conceived as a large format multi-layered narration about the photographer's son who was adopted as a baby from Columbia. "Since my son left our house at the age of 21 to live in an assisted home, the distance between us has increased. Literally and figuratively. That's why I wanted to take my son back to the country where he was born. A search ~ búsqueda ~ for his roots, with a little hope that it would awaken something in him." The dummy features photographs taken during the trip to Columbia + a few archival pictures, personal letters by various family members and other writings, self-written rap songs and an X-ray. This complex narrative is supported by the layered layout that allows to reveal the story on different levels when one wants to dig deeper. Full-page sheets alternate with half-page sheets, creating juxtapositions and revealing more of the story details. The dummy has a cloth hard cover with a picture on top.

The book is an intimate journey Mathilde undertakes following her mother's multiple visits of Greece forty years ago. "As a child, she would talk to me about her journey. My imagination would be fed on those stories, as my attraction to the elsewhere. So, following this track without any geographical indication or photographical archives, I left. Paths would cross. It was the season of olives and oranges." The dummy is built as an intimate narration that attempts to rebuild memories and to conceive how the photographer herself relates to them and how they affect her relationship with her mother. Olives, fruits, landscapes, portraits… and an original vintage photograph from the Greek flee market at the very end of the book as a reference to past memories. The dummy is printed on warm white slightly structured paper, it has a soft and flexible bark tree cover with flaps, and saddle stitch binding.

The idea was to create a portfolio of 3 different projects that would each have their own form, tactility and design and yet work together as a presentation of the work by one photographer. All the three books are held by a box with linen cloth cover. The biggest dummy (with traditional Japanese binding) features the series "Lost hours" with a touch of Japanese aesthetics. 'L'Italie n'est pas en Italie' (with saddle stitch biding) features a series of indoor and outdoor images of Tuscany and portraits of local people. The envelop, attached to the back side of the front cover, holds a letter telling a personal story of the place. The third dummy is a collection of lose prints held by a paper case and a rubber band. Its second flap holds a plant from the series inside. We've chosen warm golden palette, coming from the palette of the images themselves.

Sylvain's work for the dummy is a selection of black and white images taken in various circumstances of life but all sharing one vision. Within the selection there is a clear focus on the various forms of water that pervade his work, hence the title. The dummy is based on tight sequencing, consisting of pairs and single images with 2 specific triptychs (at the end and at the beginning of the dummy) that unfold into a sequence of 3 images. The book also features a number of Sylvain's poems that lie loose between the sheets. Perfect binding with soft cover wrapped in transparent plastic jacket.

Royan (France) is an example of a city rebuilt on the ruins of the war, and redesigned in the Brazilian «tropical modernist» style from the 1950s. The houses that then sprung up in Royan with their new lines and curves fit perfectly into the seaside landscape and the villas were sunny and bright, colourful and graphic, and that gave a pop and exotic touch to the city. All the photographs taken by Isabelle at night share that brightness and certain mystery of the Brazilian style adopted by the French city. Sequences of solo and paired images are printed on high glossy paper to intensify the pop aesthetics. The inner cover is made up from recycled cardboard usually used by architecture bureaus, and further wrapped in yellow plastic jacket. When detached from the book, the jacket reveals the true bright colours of the title. Typography belongs to the 1950s. The dummy is conceived as an A4 format publication and it has open spine biding.

If you'd like to learn about the next Photobook making Workshop with dienacht Publishing subscribe to our newsletter or just e-mail Calin:

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