30 Oct The book’s space interviews: US’ Episode 1
Book: US’ Episode 1: Our Industry
Photographs: Christopher J Everard
Book design: Rob van Hoesel
Editor: Interlife Pictures + The Eriskay Connection
Date of publishing: November 2014
N° of copies: Open Edition One – 400
Dimensions: 20×27 cm
Paper: Cocoon Gloss 135 gr, Revive 100 Natural Uncoated 80 gr, Profibulk 1.1 130 gr, Lessebo Design Smooth White 130 gr
THE BOOK AS A PROJECT
Which are the 5 indispensable pictures for this book?
Photographer: (1) p. 58: Marica and small dog / (2) p. 66-67: Mark Franks / (3) p. 86: Ariana Fox/ (4) p. 115: ‘Near Montezuma Creek, UT’/ (5) p. 126: Pink Visual ‘We Innovate, You Masturbate’
What is the framed structure of this book?
Book Designer: There are several different bodies of work in the book, each with its own visual language. The book is build up almost symmetrical from front to back and viceversa, with the following parts to distinguish: 1. The visual ‘intro’ and ‘outro’ which both have a strong reference to magazines, think of advert-parts in the front and back of magazines. These sections contain a number of images that position the story in a pop culture context and show some typical pictures with even more typical anecdotes, bringing the reader ‘in the mood’. 2. There are 2 pieces of textual ‘auto-fiction’ by a young London based writer called Daniel C. Blight. One is evolves around the idea of ‘Guilt’, the other one around ‘Normality’. 3. Then there are 2 portfolio’s with exclusive content for Open Edition One; the ‘Journey portfolio’, which contain road-trip kind of images placing the work in the west of the US, and there is the ‘Designer’s Cut Portfolio’. 4. Between all the sections above is the major section with the broader story being told. A lot of sub stories accompanied by small pieces of text that we like to call ‘voice overs’.
How did you choose your book designer?
P: I did a lot of research. I was buying a lot of photo books anyway, then really started focusing on the design and materials, as opposed to purely the content. At the Whitechapel Book Festival in 2013 I saw and bought a book, ‘Touch’ designed by Mr Rob van Hoesel. I was very drawn to the design, how it worked with the content, also it was a Dutch design(er)! Then I visited Unseen Photo in Amsterdam the next month – the first table I visited in the Book Festival was of The Eriskay Connection, with a very tall man attending – Mr Rob van Hoesel.
What was your approach to get into the photographic project?
BD: Christopher researched his subject extensively and knew what he wanted to shoot. But then he is a very intuitive photographer on site. When we started the process of designing this book Christopher dropped an enormous amount of images on a hard drive at my desk. First I spent hours going through all these files and I felt like I was watching a documentary, because of the number of images (10.000!), but even more because of Christopher’s intuitive style of photographing and his unique visual language, dark and slightly subversive. The images as a whole seemed very cinematic to me. Then I started to group all the sub stories and developed an understanding of the role of each group within the overall story. Christopher pushed me from the start to juxtapose different types of images which wasn’t hard consid ring his goal to embed the adult entertainment industry within normality. Although we started off quite boldly doing this, we became more nuanced during the process. This book wasn’t going to be about offending people, but about acceptation and embracing unnecessary feelings of guilt surrounding this industry.
How did you develop the work on the book?
P: Rob and I agreed an initially flexible time line. I gave him a hard drive with all the photographs and a lot of information regarding the project, the attitude, the position, the visual language, my aspirations. A few months later Rob and I started working together on the edit, the juxtaposing of imagery, the emerging narrative, ‘distressing’ the sequencing. We then started the design process, the selection of materials, the ‘structure’. Many months, even more PDFs, a real collaborative process.
BD: The different bodies of work defined by the ‘bigger picture’ contained numerous smaller side-stories, funny coincidences, landscapes, foliage, moody portraits, some hot girls, often captured as beautiful atmospheric moments. Maybe even a road trip. The process of ordering, shuffling, discussing and of course juxtaposing pictures needed quite some time. We changed selections and sequences again and again after another discussion, discovering the underlying meanings and commonality in different types of images. It was then very clear to us that this was going to be a very rich and layered book. Christopher also kept sending me small pieces of text which added so much to the book in terms of telling the story. And with every new piece of text we could get rid of any redundant image, making the book better and better. At one point we felt that we couldn’t get a single image out anymore without damaging the whole body. That’s when we knew we were there.
THE BOOK AS A STORY
Which narrative slant did you choose for this book and why?
BD: Right from the beginning we talked about the idea of a ‘distressed editing’. We weren’t going to tell a story from a to b, but rather juxtapose fragments of what Christopher captured on his journey through this industry.
What’s the difference between the book and the photographic project slant?
P: A combination of research, personal anecdotes and humour to position the narrative. This is about the normality of the people, the corporations, structure and activities of the adult entertainment industry. The information shared, the way it is delivered in terms of the ‘voice’ – whether authoritative, personal, humorous – is always working towards destabilising the audience. The core of the narrative is the exposure of the ‘denied reality’.
THE BOOK AS AN OBJECT
How did you choose the materials and the kind of printing?
BD: The papers we chose reinforce the references we make towards either pop culture (magazines), research readers (for the auto fictions by Daniel) or a more documentary style photo book. To achieve the best print quality, especially with the often dark images of Christopher, we requested the help of Sebastiaan Hanekroot (Colour&Books), a lithographer specialized in art books, who took care of all the optimization of the imagery and prepare the files for printing. Thanks to him we where very pleased with the results.
How the materials’ choices are connected to the photographic project?
P: The concept was always about the destabilisation of the audience. So, the content is ‘pop culture’ but the feel and look of the book is quite academic, quite traditional, in a modern context though. The aspiration though was always for a high level of production quality – the budget had to be flexible! The cover materials, the paper qualities, the choice of printer, the colour management of the photographs all enabled my aspirations to be fulfilled, more or less. This is my / our first book, we are generally really happy.
You can also find all the interview archive on 3/3 blog: www.treterzi.org