Martin Penny

New Zealand D-Photo - - THE BOOK BINDING MASTER -

Marty has been bind­ing books for nearly two decades and al­though half a mil­lion books have passed through his hands he still treats ev­ery one like it’s the most im­por­tant book on the planet. Here’s his story...

“I got into this busi­ness 20 years ago. I mar­ried into it. My Ger­man fa­ther-in-law was a book­binder for 45 years and he taught me ev­ery­thing I know. I love to bind books be­cause I love mak­ing things with my own hands.

I ran my own bindery for ten years and Mo­mento was my client but when they set up their photo book fa­cil­ity in 2008 I came on board to run their state-of-the-art bindery. There's so much that goes into bind­ing a book to get it look­ing and feel­ing per­fect. You've got to use pa­per with the cor­rect grain so it bends in the right di­rec­tion and sits flat, the folds have to be sharp, and ev­ery­thing has to line up seam­lessly. I love how the pages are printed on the lat­est dig­i­tal print­ers but we still use old school bind­ing tech­niques to put them to­gether. Most of my team have been work­ing with me for eight years now and I just hope that peo­ple re­alise that it’s hu­mans who make their books, not ma­chines, and we gen­uinely care. If I’m not happy with a book there’s no way it’s go­ing out the door.” Be­fore I started bind­ing photo books most of my work was the­sis bind­ing, and while we al­ways pro­duced beau­ti­ful work, Mo­mento ramped up the qual­ity even more. We use the best board, linens and leathers from Europe, and ev­ery sin­gle book is stitched not just glued. Some cus­tomers want em­boss­ing on the cover, and get­ting a clean crisp im­pres­sion is an art in it­self. Each di‚ffer­ent ma­te­rial needs di‚ffer­ent heat, time and pres­sure ap­plied to get it look­ing just right. Start mak­ing your own photo book at mo­mento.co.nz/marty

Marty lines up the book boards to ap­ply the cover

Em­boss­ing back cover

Grand land­scape book with Lay-flat Lus­tre pages

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