(inter)National Solo Photography Book Month (aka NaSoPhoBoMo)
After some email exchanges with Todd Gehman, current organizer for National Solo Album Month (aka NaSoAlMo) it seems that both Todd and I think that a similar effort focused on photography is a great idea. Judging from the comments on my first post, it seems there are others interested as well. Exactly how many are interested doesn’t seem to be vitally important – I’d note that apparently National Novel Writing Month started out in 1999 with 21 participants, six of whom ‘won’. (Here the word ‘won’ means that the participant completed a novel.) In 2007, NaNoWriMo had 101,510 participants of whom 15,333 were winners.It’s worth spending a little time at the NaNoWriMo website and the NaSoAlMo websites to get a feel for the flavor of this sort of enterprise. In his email to me, Todd referred to it as a ‘contest’ but it appears to me that it’s not a contest in the sense of competition, it’s a contest in the sense that it’s hoped that each participant will finish (and thus ‘win’).In particular, I found this page at the NaSoAlMo website that described the ‘rules’. I think they do a lot to capture the flavor of the sort of undertaking I’d like to see.So it seems there are questions to be resolved:
- What month? I’d advocate for some month in Winter, mostly because that’s when I personally most need a little intense immersion. Todd seems to strongly favor some summer month, when it’s less forbidding out and thus easier to photograph.
- How many photos? Todd seems to favor 90 – a number I think is very high. For comparison, the image counts in some photo books I happen to have close at hand (because I’ve been looking at them, natch): George Tice Common Mementos: 16 images, Linda Butler, Inner Light: the Shaker Legacy: 58 images, Michael Kenna Monique’s Kindergarten: 65 images, Ray McSavaney Explorations: 64 images. The George Tice book is arguably more of a pamphlet than a book. Still, Jay Dusard’s Open Country is a serious photo book, and it’s only 40 images. Oliver Gagliani’s monograph has 42 images. John Sexton’s Listen to the Trees has 49. Nick Nixon’s Photographs from One Year has 39. Kenna’s Easter Island has 44, Ruth Bernhard’s Gift of the Commonplace counts in at 35. If we’re going to go by the shortest inarguably awesome photo book then I’d argue for 35 based on the Bernhard book.
- What’s the goal? Both Todd and I feel that since the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write the book and not to get it published, and the goal of NaSoAlMo is to record the album, and not get it into distribution, that we should pick some reasonable analogue for the photo book process. I’d argue for having a PDF like you’d upload to some of the POD publishers as the natural analogue to having an album recorded. Todd seems to be leaning more toward having a portfolio on a website like Flickr.
Other than that, I think the rules seem self-evident: all the photographs must be made in the designated month, although thinking and planning in advance is allowed. All the editing, layout, etc. done in the designated month.Thoughts?