Photographer nowadays have a lot of option to publish their work to their audience and I believe the rise of social media on the Internet have been very influential in this trend.
With photography become more accessible to almost everyone, more people wanted to share their picture in the instant that they have captured it and personally, I don’t really like it but the idea is certainly tempting (i have an Instagram account by the way) but sometimes its not the best way to present your own personal photography work accept for those thing related with your friends and family.
Internet has make photography to be accessible to most part of the world and promoting your work has never been this convenient. This has somehow reduce the demands in photography prints and it is pretty obvious as most of the local photo lab around Malaysia is closing down, even in my own hometown. The fact that this has slowly changing the usual trend from 10 years ago means that photographer need to adapt to survive and somehow I find people just need to be more open minded and take advantage of this opportunity.
Facebook is a powerful online platform to promote your photography work and if used wisely, more people will be exposed to your work. I find this true as I manage to find a lot of inspirational work from a photographer that I didn’t even know exist such as Hajime Kimura, Kosuke Okahara and Aik Beng Chia, just to name a few. A few months ago I saw a photo essay on IPA website called ‘Scoffing Pig’. It was good and nicely done which impress me on the photographer effort to answer such difficult question on the life of domesticated animal. A few days later, I happen to saw a familiar picture with a prints of a pigs, which is oddly similar to ‘Scoffing Pig’ that I saw a few days before and to my surprise it was. This prove that internet is a good way to promote your work to international audience and this is just a few of those that I found on Facebook.
There was something interesting about it as it was not just a print but an ‘accordion’ shape book that consist the work of the photographer from her series ‘Scoffing pig’.
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING?.
I actually like the series, not because of the photobook design.
Sometimes I ask myself on the life of those caged animal which were raise and born in a farm where their only sole purpose is to be slaughter once they have reach their suitable age. It was certainly weird to live a life like that only to wait for your own death knowing well that everything is temporary. The photographer really have a strong stand in this and it was certainly shown on her portrait of the pigs which is pretty strong and human like in my opinion.
Nozomi Iijima is the daughter of a farmer, born and raise around the cattle pen and piggery. She have a very interesting story to tell;
“With my house between a cattle pen and piggery, I grew up with the calls of livestock and the smells of grain and dung. My parents worked at the pen everyday, and often faced injuries from the kicks of cows. Once during elementary school, my classmates came to visit my house as part of a school excursion. One of them said, “I feel sorry for them.” I was a little distressed to hear that because I felt the same way. I asked my friends “So, you don’t drink milk?” or “Don’t you eat meat?”, but that did not ease my mind. I have been thinking about this for a long time.”
You can have a look at her work on IPA Website and if you are interested in getting a copy, try looking at this link : http://reminders-project.org/rps/nozomi-iijima-newsprint-scoffing-pig-is-now-on-sale/
I got the photobook along with a newsprint and a handbag through a pledge that they offer on the Photography Stronghold website. It was worth it although it took a long time before I actually receive it but it was certainly nice to be able to support a fellow photographer on their work and in return, to receive a piece of their own personal work right on my door step. The concept for the pledge is really interesting and I probably would do the same somewhere in the future.
The package arrive in a nice package and I particularly like the newsprint more than the ‘accordian’ shape photobook.
Concept wise, this is certainly new for me as it open up another new possibilities in showcasing your work in the form of a photobook plus its entirely handmade (accept the newsprint though). I believe newsprint is probably cheaper to make compare to a conventional designed photobook which means it could be produce in higher volume or quantity at once. This would be great for a project which require a worldwide attention or something that is related to a certain political or environmental issue.
Somehow I believe the dark stark black and white imagery from Nozomi suits well with the newsprint medium as it doesn’t make you to concern over the image sharpness or quality.
The accordion style photobook on the other hand has a different feel to it as the unconventional way to look through the image is different than most photobook but it offer greater possibility to make an entire series of picture to look much more attractive in terms of sequencing. The printing seems to be alright as well. As you can see, somehow the black and white image suits well with subject and the message is pretty clear to me, “Animal is a living thing!!!”.
GOING THROUGH THE BOOK
I am a fan of high contrast black and white picture but a lot of people doesn’t seems to do it as well as Daido Moriyama or Hajime Kimura. High Contrast black and white picture tend to look superficial if it is not done properly and it certainly need a proper image editing before before sequencing it into a book and surprisingly, it works well in Nozomi Iijima photobook, although I prefer the newsprint better than the DIY photobook.
The accordion photobook is interesting in its own way as you can stretch across the table or display shelf to show the entire spread in the series, something that I might do for myself in the future considering the creative outcome from seeing one here. There is also a different series at the back of the photobook cover which consist a series of portrait of the pigs, presumably Nozomi own piggy in their farm. This series is interesting because the way the picture were arranged reminds me of the picture that was used to show a deceased person. (or those who lose they life in wars.)
High contrast black and white enhance the rather dark atmosphere of the farm surrounding and the portrait of the pigs is so human like, it reminds me of those old portrait of a fallen soldier during WWII and to think that this pig is soon will be killed for human consumption, I couldn’t help but to think that this series is all about the common life of a farm animals. This is a photo series that reminds us the true nature of commercialism and that life is somehow different with other living things, especially those we call ‘food’ and ‘pets’.
Flipping (or rather scrolling?) through the image on the accordion book is a nice experience and I wonder why I haven’t thought about this before. For a DIY photobook, its not bad and it certainly easy to make as long as someone is willing to spend some time gluing those paper together. The sequence is nice although I would prefer some of the picture to change from here and there but overall, its good.
Impressive, those are the word that I could say when I finish going through the newsprint and photobook.
D.I.Y photobook shows us another unexplored medium in the recent years where internet has been involves in practically everything in our life. This give me a new appreciation on printed media and its power to influence people to such degree and combine with the effectiveness of the internet in spreading coverage (or propaganda), DIY photobook could certainly lift your photography to another level.
Nozomi Iijima photobook have reach its target worldwide and I am sure there should be more coming out from her in the next few years. Her ‘Scoffing Pig’ series is truly impressive and despite the rather high contrast imagery throughout the series, I couldn’t help but to feel content with the fact that she manage to capture all the intricate detail of the life of a living life stock. This certainly provide another interesting addition to my collection and if people were wondering on whether or not to get a copy of the newsprints, you guys probably should. 😀
*I was just informed that Nozomi Iijima was one of the finalist for IPA Photo Award 2013, check it out : http://invisiblephotographer.asia/2013/07/23/photobookasiaaward2013-finalist5/
**Some of my family member (who are not photographers) are really impress on the series.