Creative presentation Show your photos as a book
Alexandra Lethbridge reveals how she put her own creative spin on presenting her space-themed photo series
When you’ve worked hard on a photo series, you can present it in an online collection, as a traditional exhibition – or in a different
way. Presenting images in book form adds a layer of creativity to the process that can help you to stand out. Unlike an amateur photo album-style of photo book, you can weave a narrative through the collection that draws viewers in. My book is based on meteorites and the places they come from. The project follows a fictional hunter’s search for these meteorites. I completed my series The Meteorite
Hunter as both an exhibition and a photo book. I make the distinction because for me, they function differently. I show the series as an exhibition, each time redesigning it to fit different spaces. While the hunter idea came later, I’d always thought the project would become a book. I love photo books, but I don’t believe all projects should be books just for the sake of it. There has to be a reason the work needs to exist as a book.
You can change the pacing of the photographs through the book pages, slowing people down where you want them to spend longer. I used different kinds of paper – including tracing paper as well as a thicker stock – to create places where you could see through some pages and not others, often creating intriguing effects by layering photos. I bound the book using Japanese stitchbinding, as this allowed me to design the whole book in single pages at a time. Traditional book binding, which most online photo book publishers offer, means designing pages in sets of four.
The process of self-publishing was a learning curve, but I would recommend it to anyone thinking about it. It takes time and effort, but it’s extremely worthwhile if you can do it. After publishing the book, I entered it into the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation First Photo Book Award, and was delighted to be shortlisted. I’m soon to start on a new book. I love this part of the process: the possibilities are endless.