Musings on Photography


Posted in Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on July 4, 2009


Quite a few folks have written thanking me for the whole SoFoBoMo thing. I appreciate the thanks!

I’m happy so many folks have found SoFoBoMo to be worthwhile.

And that brings me ’round to the points behind this post.

First, let me bring to your attention two folks who have done yeoman’s service: Bernie Sumption, who did the website work, and Gordon McGregor, who with Bernie set up the blog aggregator and who has been SoFoBoMo’s foremost cheerleader. Thank you, both of you.

Second, while I appreciate the thanks, the thanks should really go to the nearly 900 people who participated this year. Each and every one of you contributed to the effort. Whether you registered early or toward the end, whether you finished a book or not, whether you blogged about your experience regularly or not at all, whether you were one of the ones helping people solve their problems or one of the ones being helped, your participation helped make SoFoBoMo 2009 a smashing success. Without the folks who participated, there would have been no SoFoBoMo. Thank you, each and every one of you.

And finally, I just spent some time browsing the page of completed books. It is, by any measure, extraordinary. Books done with sophisticated wunder-cameras. Books done with cell phone cameras. Subjects ranging from architecture and landscape through mother’s wisdom and on to quotidian scenes. Books done at every skill level, using bookmaking tools ranging from the simplest possible to professional level. Books that follow traditional book design principles, and books that test the limits of what photo books can be. Even my wildest dreams of what it might be like when I first floated the idea of SoFoBoMo pale when compared to the reality of this years 200+ books.

So – to all of you who participated – thank you, thank you, thank you. I am, like Miranda, astounded:

O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!

11 Responses

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  1. Anita Jesse said, on July 4, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Eloquent and gracious, of course. As we would have expected.

  2. Juha Haataja said, on July 5, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Great thanks!

    The innovative interpretations of “photobook” were a nice surprise, demonstrating the possibilities of the PDF format. Also, due to the time constraints, many books were more “rough” than usual, giving a glimpse to the thinking behind the images, more so than is usual with published photography nowadays.

    And further, many of the books generated appetite for more, demonstrating a topic with a lot of space for exploration.

  3. Erick said, on July 5, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Wonderful post that keenly summarizes the whole SoFoBoMo experience.

    On a more personal note, this project has been a disinhibiting and revealing experience and it has already opened some new doors in my photographic path. I’m so glad I heard about this event a few months ago.

  4. Mike said, on July 5, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Yes, Paul. I had been planning on a thankyou post to you and the team – your efforts certainly made the process enjoyable and, being a public affair, led to mine actually getting done!!

    So, thanks again and already looking forwards to next year (lower tech camera possible…)


  5. cataclog said, on July 5, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I’d like to add my own heartfelt thanks to the team. I thought it would be fun to participate this year, but had no clue as to how much it would mean to me in so many ways. This was an experience that I’ll keep forever, no matter how many other books I do or don’t create. Thanks for putting the idea out there and for giving us a place to share our thoughts and results.
    Lois Elling

  6. Houston Photography said, on July 6, 2009 at 7:20 am

    You did a wonderful job. Definitely Eloquent as Anita said.

    Can’t wait to see the next project.

    Michael from Houston

    Custom Minds Photography
    Wedding Photographer | Portrait Photographer | Event Photographer

  7. yz said, on July 7, 2009 at 12:31 pm


    i can hardly wait for next year’s sofobomo 🙂

  8. Rakesh Malik said, on July 7, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I’m also grateful for this, because I’m going to be putting mine up for sale. I’ve already encountered a couple of people who said that they would buy it based on the photographs within, and had it not been for the SoFoBoMo, I would probably not have even attempted to put together a photography book this year, let alone actually finish one!

    Sometimes, all it takes is a little encouragement, and the SoFoBoMo provides that along with inspiration. I can’t wait to see more of the books from this year, I haven’t had time to view very many yet 🙂

  9. Becky Miller said, on July 8, 2009 at 6:38 am

    I wasn’t sure who was behind it but want to say thanks again now that I know. This was a groundbreaking experience for me and I greatly appreciate it.

  10. Hugh Alison said, on July 8, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I’m really grateful to you for the inspiration, and to all three of you for the work put in.

    I didn’t manage to do the book as planned this year because work took over, but that’s the nature of the day job. On the other hand, I have realised I can do a book any time this year, I just need to schedule a full week or so, and decide that it will be finished in that time – for better or worse.

  11. Jeffrey Goggin said, on July 10, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Allow me to add my voice to the chorus and thank Paul, et al for having organized and promoted the SoFoBoMo iniative. After decades of shooting photographs in a helter-skelter manner, lazily flitting from one subject to the next, I find myself smitten with the project approach and the focus it enforces on me. So much so, in fact, that I did two SoFoBoMo projects this year (Superior after dark, Vol. I & II) and am already well underway with my next one. SoFoBoMo 2009 has proved to be exactly the shot in the arm that my photography needed!

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