Alongside other tectonic shifts happening around the world at the moment, reflex is now produced differently, i.e. using the services of Norderstedt’s Books on Demand GmbH. This is in lieu of printing my photos with a laser printer and binding them by hand into little booklets, which is how it worked until now.
While many appreciated the handmade quality of the old booklets, perhaps their shape somewhat distracted from the content of the photos. If some part of my process could be considered to be handcraft it would be the development of the films. More important, the recent arrival of our baby made it necessary to decide how to allot the sparse time available for photo work. Long story short: handstitching booklets did not make the cut.
(The back issues will continue to be available as handmade booklets from the nachladen.)
As usual, reflex 08 is available from the glorious nachladen as of now.
Reflex 05 is here, with photos from (mostly) Hamburg, Strande and Kiel. And its not just here, now its also there:
I decided to make the new issues of reflex available to the general public in the “nachladen“, Hamburg’s hot spot for self-published magazines and art printing. Drop by if you are in the area and have a look, they have heaps of nice prints and magazines by local artists well worth a visit.
issues 01 to 04 are finally finished. Each issue contains 36 of my photos taken
during one quarter year, printed using electro photographical printing.
It’s been a long time coming: In March of 2018 I wrote that I would concentrate on printing my photos, instead of just publishing them on my homepage. Afterwards it seemed like no progress happened in this regard for well over one year. What can I say? The PhD thesis continues to occupy the largest part of my attention and from last summer onward, curating the exhibition “Negative/Scans” kept me busy as well. As a result, the stream of photos published on the homepage became a mere trickle, while no printed photos appeared.
I continued shooting though, as well as developing films and making proof sheets of the films. When some time was available, I experimented with different ways to print my photos.
The question of printing process
reason why the silver bullet – traditional enlargements, chemical development –
could not be used: Our apartment lacks the space necessary to set up a darkroom
able to handle print development. Turning the bathroom into a darkroom by putting
an enlarger onto the toilet seat and some development trays in the shower is
nice for some fooling around, but not for producing a reasonable quantity of prints.
The throughput rate would be far too low. While I do hope to be able to set up
a real darkroom again in the future, for now I will continue to use a hybrid
workflow, meaning I take my photos on film, scan them and use the computer to
prepare them for printing.
question of the throughput – or maybe better output – rate, there were further
requirements which the printing process would have to meet:
– The prints need to be reasonably archivable
(they should not degrade before I do, print durability should be in excess of
– The prints should cost as little as possible
(a drugstore print of the size 13x18cm costs around 0,40€. Nice for a few quick
prints, but too much when having to print a lot)
– Print quality (resolution, tonality, luster)
should still be as high as possible
experiments with on-demand digital photobook printing, which proved to not be
right for me due to reasons of cost and lack of control over the process, I
tried to print the photos myself using an inkjet printer. That one did a good
job preserving the tonality of the negatives, but I do not print every day (or
even week) and the danger of inks drying out in the printer is looming too
large. (The printer wasting ink on purpose to flush out its printing heads is
also unacceptable for financial reasons.)
I then stumbled upon “xerography” or electro photographical printing. The prints meet common archival standards and are not very costly in production. Their only downside is that tonality is not too good (resolution is reasonable though). Even if electro photographical printing sounds exotic to you, you probably have already encountered the process: It is the same one used in the humble photocopier. Following some deliberations, I figured since exhibition prints would be done through a different process anyway, xerography is the way to go for producing this little ongoing catalog of my work.
The editorial workflow for “reflex”
After the question of printing process was settled, another decision had to be made on how to edit my photos. Sometimes I work on limited projects, which turn into little portfolios of photos almost by themselves (compare the Greek wedding), but what about the photos I take day-to-day without any connecting thread? These form the bulk of photos I shoot, by a wide margin.
I decided to select 36 out of all the photos I take every quarter year (Jan.-Mar., Apr.-Jun., Jul.-Sept., Oct.-Dec.), purely based on the criterion of which photos I like. These will be printed, presented and archived together. What results over time will be a kind of photographic reflection of the world around me, in the shape of a photographic journal. The focus is smack on the pictures, usually printed one per page with as little captions provided as possible.
Shoko helps me to embed the 36 photos selected into a simple layout using the
software InDesign. After printing the pages, I stitch them together between two
sheets of packaging paper, resulting in a durable booklet of 21cmx21cm. On the
front of this, the most important information about the content is given, as
well as the issue’s number.