Earlier this year my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary. They were married in 1962, and had been together for 50 years—a milestone to be admired as well as celebrated.
I was deputed as official photographer at the celebration party. Those images came out well enough, but I wanted to make something more memorable. I decided a one-off self-published photo book would be just the ticket.
I persuaded my Mum that I should pay a visit with my scanner and laptop so I could scan the original wedding photos, as well as the scrapbook from the event—Mum is a great one for scrapbooking such things: she has scrapbooks covering most of their major wedding anniversaries as well as other significant events in their lives together.
I won’t say I slaved over this book. I will say it took me ages to figure out how to join the two sets of images together in some way that made sense. In the end I hit on the idea of including information about 1962 and 2012 that would let someone looking at the book in say another 50 years understand the period, and some of the changes that happened between them.
There is a page—you can see a segment in the above image—which has each decade between 1962 and 2012. I felt this was a good way to segue between the “black and white” early 1960s to the ”technicolor multi-channel” 21st century. I spent a while picking out historical, social and family events that marked each decade, and put them across the page in a kind of grid.
I designed the book using Blurb’s book design template plugin for Adobe InDesign. This sets the page size and layout for you, with some basic instructions on making sure you have even numbers of pages and so on. Once completed, the plugin then provides a cover template design based on the number of pages and the chosen paper stock. The output was to a Blurb-specified PDF, which was then uploaded to their web site. All in all, a seamless and relatively painless process, even if the 130MB PDF took a while to upload!
I went for a hardback cover with wrapped-around colour image and reasonable quality paper stock for the insides. It’s not a fat volume, but it looks very smart indeed. Sadly, I made a silly error which resulted in each page being one place forward of where they should have been, which meant some of the spreads haven’t worked as intended. While a nuisance, and something I ought to have spotted, I am still chuffed to bits with the finished book. I hope my parents love it just as much as I do!
As you may recall, I have been trying to get photographic work with the British model railway press for a while. Despite contacting editors, I’ve only had one proper response, and no direct work as yet of course.
I’m not sure how Barry Norman came across my photos of Vic Burles’ beautiful ScaleSeven West Country class light pacific, but he asked me if I could send him versions for publication. I was happy to do that.
I haven’t been paid for them, but I didn’t expect the images to appear in print when I took them. I know that’s not the attitude, but if you know Wild Swan Publications then you’ll understand. It’s not a mistake I plan to make again.
Anyway, front cover and supporting images reproduced inside MRJ 213 at large sizes. It’s a start. Model Railway Journal is a respected journal, and hopefully my images will begin to get some attention in other publishing organisations.
I would link to Wild Swan, MRJ and Barry, but Wild Swan doesn’t really feel the need to move into the late 20th century with all that interweb and electronic mail nonsense.
Related: Looking for work and a plea
As you know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, I take a mean photo of scale models, if I do say so myself. You’ve seen some of my images and can judge for yourself, but I do think I have the knack.
I have been trying on and off for the past couple of years to gain a foothold in the UK modelling press as a freelance photographer of models, layouts, etc. I had a colour portfolio booklet printed, which I sent out to several editors and publishers. Disappointingly, I only got one indirect response, and even that hasn’t led to any work. I just can’t seem to break into the business at all, and I don’t know why.
Rather than go for a reprint of the portfolio with updated images, I have opted for a PDF version instead. Hopefully, you can click to download it from the image above. It’s around 3MB. Please download it and share it around with my blessings. If you can’t download it, please let me know and I can email a copy or provide it somewhere a download works as expected.
So, I need to ask a favour. If you know anyone in the print or publishing industries in the UK who deals with railway or other modelling titles, I would like to get contacts for editors and publishers for those titles. Personal contacts and recommendations would be even better. Please pass on to them my portfolio, point them at this blog and my Flickr collection of model images.
I really want to start getting some work in the model railway press in the coming year. I don’t ask for much, just a break to get my toe in the door would help. Thank you for your indulgence.