WAS IT A WASTE OF INK??
Whenever looking for inspiration, I find my self trawling the internet, gazing longingly at the food images, watching hours of videos before compiling my own list of ideas to create back at the studio. I rely heavily on the internet, would be lost without google images and the huge 27" backlit screen to view them on...how things have changed!!
Recently, I pulled a pile of magazines from the gloomy depths of the garage in a vain attempt to discard unwanted hoardings. admittedly I struggle to throw anything, everything has a degree of sentiment, my conscience repeats "may be useful one day" and so the idea of just throwing, fades as quickly as it appeared. Faced with a pile of the 'Gourmet Traveller' magazines from over ten years ago, I found my self leafing through the pages, gazing at the Donna Haye food images, reminiscing over recipes, admiring the lighting and print quality of each publication.
There is something long forgotten and quite magical about the printed picture. In the same way I think that people have returned to the allure of the dusty vinyl, and surely not for the sound quality, but to actually hold within your fingers a physical object, to explore the text, admire the imagery and feel as though you have something of substance. The magazines, I sat quietly perusing, for me delivered the same enjoyment. Its been a long time since my chef days, when every month without fail, I would acquire a new book, subscribe to a thick overpriced food magazine, religiously devouring the contents, until placing with pride onto the bookshelf. In all honesty, I think once read they attracted more dust than interest, but never the less they were mine, trophies of my trade, collectable pieces of art, of which, held as much importance as the vinyls on the shelf below.
The vinyl's went first, finding solace inside a heavy-duty box, into the cold dusty darkness of the attic they travelled, pushed behind the baubles and Christmas tree. The cd's, I refused to except as a replacement, had won, brainwashed me into a life of effortless disco, into realising that I could jump through tracks at the flick of a switch ... the stylus and two penny piece had now gone forever.
Over the years, the magazines, I fear knew their fate, they slowly became the elephant in the room, watching over me as I replaced the gloss of paper for the glow of screen. There was no need to sit with a damp finger leafing through pages any more, now, I could sit with a cup of tea, biscuit and a keyboard, copying, pasting and reaching further afield than the any of the books could ever offer.
After a few hours, and a now, wrinkled finger tip, I piled the magazines and their thicker hard back siblings, back into their makeshift graves and loaded them into the car. Rather than discard, I offered the artefacts of days gone by to Barnsley catering college, explaining that although they were a cumbersome instrument of the past, the students may find use for them. The senior lecturer welcomed my contribution with open arms, and I left feeling as though I had fostered out a whole clan of children to a more rewarding and hopefully appreciative family, those pages would be flicked once again with fresh eyes.
So after this painful adoption process, I accepted that I no longer needed these objects, but alas, I actually enjoyed my final foray, I realised that possibly I could engage people through my own printed work. I decided to create a magazine (of pamphlet thickness) highlighting my own work and skill sets. I'd forgotten how enjoyable the process of creating pages, adjusting the layout, adding text and colour management could actually be. During my studies I had created quite a few books using Indesign and Blurb, and once I began the knowledge came flowing back. To be fair the process is fairly easy, as long as your organised, the hardest part was profiling to CMYK, and then proofing to ensure colour match.
One thing I have noticed over the years, is that every image to an extent looks good on the screen, bright and appealing, but when setting up for print your perspective changes. Its all too easy nowadays to fill a website or social platform with every image taken, to question why photographers charge, when in fact, photography is relatively easy, and pretty much fool proof (An argument for another day). Yet this process challenged me. It challenged me to reassess my work, look again at composition, colour and exposure, the process saw me discard quite a few from the pile, accepting now that they may not be as good as first thought. Yet on a more positive note, I've pulled images from the backup drive, images of which, had given up the ghost, images that had found their own dusty attic, albeit a digital one.
So finally the pamphlet thickness magazine is finished, the initial proof copies have been approved and the order has been placed for a neat stack. My intention is, to send these out to existing clients, potential and contacts, I'm hoping that the receipt of a physical website, a printed page, of which you can hold, admire and use a long forgotten damp fingertip to flick through, will strike new interest towards my work. It has for me, opened my eyes, filled me with some long overdue refreshed insight into where my work is, and what needs to be revisited, or discarded, in order to move forward. The printed copies may well find themselves lining the bottom of a rusty basket or simply become a coaster, big enough for six coffee rims. Yet, whatever the outcome, the ink was worth it, this has become more than a marketing tool, more than a flashy business card. The process had turned into a reflective process, which has refreshed and relit the the fuse of creativity.