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On the rare occasions that I have any free time I like to give myself a little challenge or two my resigning alternative covers for some of my favourite novels. It gives me the opportunity to work out some ideas that often end up being used elsewhere. It also lets me give my typographic abilities a work out which does not happen too often when doing pure illustration or photography commissions or stock imagery. Hope you enjoy them and perhaps I will add a few more in the coming months.
2001 A Space Odyssey by Arthur C.Clarke.
I wanted to show what I consider the most iconic image of the movie, The Monolith in a suitably ethereal setting with clean typography too finish it off.
Crash by J.G.Ballard
One of the finest British writers we ever had and a sad loss to the world of publishing. One of these rare authors who inspired me in both my photography as well as my art over many, many years and still dose to this very day. Unfortunately many of his novels are about themes that many publishing houses have found difficult to display on the cover in a commercial sense so to readers like myself remain rather tame.
Not under any such pressure I tried to distill the themes of the book in my own fashion although I doubt it would find its way onto any book public book stores shelf anytime soon.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
I suppose this will be better know to everyone from the great film. What always comes as a surprise to many is that is was penned by Ian Fleming , better know for all his James Bond novels.
I wanted a very fresh clean and simple approach with bright colours and fun typography. I choose to show just a wing and a cloud as the flying car is so symbolic of the complete book and film.
The Shining by Stephen King
There is so much strong imagery in the book and the movie adaptations that it was hard to pin point in what direction to go. Once more I went for a more graphic approach, clean lines and typography, with just a splash (no pun intended) of blood red to set thing off.
I love all things digital and when it comes to photography it has made capturing that moment so easy. So why is it that so much of what we shoot never leaves the camera. Way back in the stone age, when I was a young thing, I remember the thrill of loading a 24 exposure film, a 36 if I was really lucky. Each shot was considered and when the spool was finished we immediately wanted to see our prints, but alas we often had to wait for up to a week for the labs to return them. Eventually prints in hand we would share the moments with family and friends and the best shots would end up in the album.
So where are we today?. Digital has taken over all aspects of our photographic life. We have gone through a mini revolution in storage for our precious shots, the 100k floppy disc, zip discs, optical discs, cd's, dvd's flash drives, memory cards, mobile hard drives, blu ray… it never ends. Ever since Apple dropped the disc drive in 1998 there has been a need for greater and greater storage facilities. Now the latest is cloud services. The virtual hard drive offering us instant access to all our stored memories. The problem with all these is that we never quite get around to actually using our images. There are so many memories lost on ancient devices or stored on camera chips where most will never see the light of day. It's just to dam easy to take a thousand shots. How often has someone shown you a photo of their baby or kid on their mobile phone!
The photographic print has been around since the 1800's the book from around the 1400's when Gutenberg put ink to paper. Now ask yourself how long digital imaging been around and how much has it changed in such a short period. Files become corrupt, technology becomes old and unusable, all these images, all those memories stored and forgotten on technology that will last as long as the humble lifetime guarantee that manufactures offer.
There was a time when a family album was a book to be cherished, often handed down from family to family. Inside all the precious moments that make us who we are. The places we traveled too, the people that touched our life's, old friends, lost friends and so much more. Sure, some photos may be dogged eared and fading but its a real solid document of everyones life and without these little memories captured with the alchemy of light and chemicals our memories would be lost forever.
Even as I write this there is storm brewing over the rise of the digital ebook and digital editions of newspapers. Publishers wishing to stay in business are are having to adapt to new media technologies such as the iPad and Kindle readers. I love my iPad and the convenience of having novels, magazines , art books, reference books, newspapers from home and abroad, all on one small device, is life changing. I for one now download more magazines than I buy in the local newsagents, it suits my lifestyle. On the other hand I am also aware how disposable these digital goods become at times when you run out of space, hit delete, job done. Its that very convenience that will ultimately be our undoing. Would you look through the family album then throw it out! of course not, but with digital unless you are obsessive about backing up and keeping track of your images or data and that also includes regular maintenance of all your equipment such as hard drives etc you will loose these precious moments forever.
In an attempt to preserve my own photos and art I have over the years produced several printed books and I am currently working on several more. All are available from the Blurb book store. I will also be making them available via an ebook for these very same devices that make my life easy, yes you can have your cake and eat it!. My objective when I started to publish my work was to produce a collection of beautiful books that I could hand down to my kids and say, hey this is what your dad did for a living, life through my eyes. Its a personal archive of moments, emotions, likes and dislikes and I'm sure these printed books will far out live any digital image that remains on any discs, hard drives or the latest virtual cloud service that I end up using.
Just stop for a moment and ask yourself about all those photos you have lovingly uploaded to social networking sites such as Facebook. If and when the next things comes along will the site still be there and who's in control of your memories! So start now, download them, edit them and print them.