The book’s space interviews: Estranger


13 nov The book’s space interviews: Estranger

Book: Estranger
Photographs: Yorgos Karailias
Book design: Maria Polan / Yorgos Karailias
Editor: Kehrer Verlag
Date of publishing: March 2015
N° of copies: 750
Dimensions: 15,5×23 cm
Binding: Hardcover, thread stitch binding
Paper: BVS Matt 150gr


Which are the 5 indispensable pictures for this book?

Photographer: Although it is very difficult to separate only 5 images, I think that there are 5 images very essential for the book’s narrative structure, as they reveal the shifting patterns of the whole experience during the 4 years of the project’s evolution and they justify in part the separation in 3 chapters/stages.

What is the framed structure of this book?

BD: A small, compact, portable dark blue book (visualizing the “black’n’blue” melancholic concept). No white pages, visual impact of full frame landscape orientated images arranged in double spreads because of the book’s portrait orientation and very little text intervention inside. The backbone of the book is the main graphic block of images, organized in 3 chapters and around this structure the rest of the design elements have been added.

How did you choose your book designer?

P: By knowing her work as an illustrator/designer through various publications and expositions. As I had already prepared the basic frame structure of the book I was looking forward to finding a person with artistic skills for the illustration and design finishing. I had a couple of options more, but I finally decided to go with Maria because we live in the same city and that could help to have a smoother workflow and more creative energy during the final stages of the project.

What was your approach to get into the photographic project?

BD: I asked for the book’s dummy and after viewing it many times I had various conversations with the photographer about his experience and motivation. Then I tried to think about all this data and get inspiration. I decided to use acids, inks and copper plates combined with traditional techniques for covers and chapter separators in order to capture the idea of “traces” and “inorganic memory”. Colors and tints were chosen following the images’ dark mood. Regarding the book’s interior, I decided to use clear and simple design elements in order to create some kind of order and counterbalance the fragmentation of the visual/graphic part.

How did you develop the work on the book?

P / BD: Book pre-press details (size, number of pages, binding mode) were specified with the publisher. Image processing, editing and sequence (photographer and co-editor) in order to create the basic narrative slant. Addition of texts. Designer’s implication in the book’s structure and design. Selection of materials. Creation of all the additional design and illustration elements (typography, first and last pages, cover and chapter separators). Fine tuning of the whole book project in collaboration with the publisher’s design department. Additional changes/modifications and final image control. Test prints. Final production set up, printing and binding.


Which narrative slant did you choose for this book and why?

BD: Editing and sequence was already prepared by Yorgos Karailias and Yorgos Prinos, the co-editors of the book. The basic narrative slant was given to me as such and all images in the main block have the same full frame size equilizing this way their visual value inside the narrative slant. I felt it was working OK so I had only a few things to do regarding the narrative slant, mostly some minor changes of aesthetic type. My main concern was how to maintain and fine-tune the melancholic and enigmatic tone of the book and around this I created all the additional elements of design and illustration.

What’s the difference between the book and the photographic project slant?

P: The project was a kind of visual notes on the experience of being an intra-European immigrant in a context of crisis, trying to combine a personal diary with a more social one. There were 3 stages during that process which resulted in 3 quite different styles or types of photographic approach, but the overall feeling was that of the visual fragmentation in a quite chaotic way. When we edited and sequenced the book we maintained the separation in 3 stages, transformed to the 3 main chapters, but then we had to organize that fragmentation in a more coherent way, in order to create a kind of narrative. The ex-post addition of chapter titles and subtitles following a known psychological model (Angst-Crisis-Sublimation) corresponding to 3 philosophical approaches (Reason-Shadow-Simulacra) and the creation of 4 sub-chapters in each main one helped us to organize the meaning and lead the viewer to a smoother and more progressive experience through the whole book.


How did you choose the materials and the kind of printing?

BD: By collaborating both with the publisher’s office and the photographer. All suggestions were based on the notes on the dummy, various material samples were sent upon request. Regarding the printing, offset 5/5 (cmyk + all-over printing varnish) was the standard mode offered and it was perfectly suited to our needs.

How the materials’ choices are connected to the photographic project?

P: The selected paper has very good response on dark tones and low contrast, and also ability of low physical curvature allowing a more flattened view of the double spreads. Matt paper’s finishing was selected to match better to the “raw” feeling of the photographs. In order to enhance the viewing experience of “traces of life”, the cover and chapter separators have been produced over engraved copper plates and then photographed. Cover’s glossy lamination has been chosen in order to reproduce as much as possible the metallic plate’s surface.

You can also find all the interview archive on 3/3 blog: