ALEX The book (3)

The editing is finished, the layout is complete, the text is written and translated and I did the very final art work this morning. So I brought all print data for the book to Hannes Wanderer today. Hannes Wanderer is a photographer, a publisher, a book shop owner and also cares for the print productions of a print shop near Hannover where ALEX will be printed.

It was important for me to have a photo book specialist producing the book that I can ask questions about all concerns of making a book and preventing me from doing silly things that wouldn’t work in a printed format. A big advantage over any internet printing service about the choosen print shop is that there is no limit concerning sizes and papers. So you can basically do what you want. My book will be 24cm wide and 14cm high which isn’t a regular size on any „out of the box“ printing service. It will have an offset printed hardcover and stitched binding. And I will stand right next to the printing machine when the first paper comes out. Except for the cover, the book will be printed digitally at high state of the art quality. The release date should be Oct. 16th along with the opening of the Mittelpunkt Der Welt-Exhibtion at refugium II in Auguststraße, Berlin.

ALEX The book (2)

No man is an island and it’s good to have some „experts“ involved in the production of a book. I think every photographer knows that it can become very difficult judging your own work if you work on a project over and over again.

I’m happy that Falk Schreiber, a journalist from Hamburg who wrote a decent article about the project a year ago will write the introduction. I think he really understood what ALEX is all about and finds better words for it than me. Writing the introduction to my own photobook myself turned out to be an odd idea.

Concerning layout, selection of the photographs and sequencing them my friend and former photography teacher Andreas Rost brought in some really important impulses. The original format and layout is history now and I’m very grateful that he pushed the book to some stronger level. Hope we can finish the editing during the next week.

This image shows an early dummy version of the book – title rejected, format rejected – this is NOT how the book will look like.

Next steps will be defining the right paper, getting the files in the right data format and so on. And I’m happy to have another expert for that. Will tell you later…

ALEX The book (1)

from the ALEX series

The first pictures of my ALEX series were taken in the summer of 2008. I had just bought a new camera at Alexanderplatz and took my first few test shots there. Alexanderplatz isn’t far from where I live, so I went there from time to time in my lunch break – always with my new small camera with a 24mm wideangle lens. A few weeks later while looking at the pictures I had taken there, I realised that this might be an exciting project to keep working on. In the years before I had been travelling a lot – mainly to big cities of the western word until I finally had the first compilation of my Urban B’Sides together which were shown in some exhibitions in 2008. So this would be a nice contrast – instead of taking pictures around the globe I would just walk to the same place over and over again to see what was happening there. Alexanderplatz – Berliners simply call the place „Alex“ – is a very lively and busy square with lots of different kinds of people – it’s a microcosmos in its own right in the central district „Mitte“ of Berlin. And a perfect stage for my photographs.

After half a year I was offered the possibility to show a first interim conclusion of my ALEX series at Monochrom, Berlin. The reactions were surprising – the range of feedback I got, went from „Absolutely Bullshit“ to „Brilliant – your best work ever“. So this was a real motivation for me to keep going on with that project. If it provokes such different feelings it would be a good idea to go a bit further.

I always thought that the right way to present those images would be in a book. By the end of last year I produced a first dummy. This worked out quite well, but still not good enough. The printing wasn’t really striking and the editing was not yet distinct enough. I went on taking pictures at Alexanderplatz and after thinking about how to produce and how to publish the book this summer, the decision was made to produce it in time for a release in autumn this year when ALEX will be part of a group show during The 4th European Month of Photography in Berlin.

Writing a decent preface seems to be as difficult as editing the pictures perfectly. This is the stage that the book is now at. I think I’ll write a view posts about the development of it here on blog61 – so this will tell a story about the pleasure but also the problems in producing my first photo book.