Taking part in workshops is something I haven't done much of over the years, so when I found out that my friend Tabitha Jussa (click here for her website) was giving a workshop, titled 'Here's looking at you Liverpool!', I decided to give it a go!
The workshop was delivered in three different sessions over a few weeks from June to July, with the aim to document a route around Liverpool's city centre and then, as a group, curate a selection of photos to create a photobook.
The first session saw our group go around Liverpool's city centre, keeping our eyes peeled for interesting people, places, contrasts, details, textures and colour. The route started at The Bluecoat and took us through the shop's high street to the top end of Seel Street, and then back down to The Bluecoat.
Click through a selection of photos from the walk and continue reading underneath:
You may have noticed a few square black and white photos in the gallery have a different look and feel to the others. This is because they were taken with a Holga 120N camera, which is a cheap, plastic and toy-like camera that uses medium format film. This combination of film and its construction gives it a unique look. This workshop was the first time I had used one, and since then I have bought one for myself!
For the second session we gathered at Metal (an arts space at Edge Hill train station) to go through the photos from the first session and organise a layout for our book. This was an interesting challenge as it's unusual for me to curate other people's work, but at the same time it's somewhat easier as you have a level of distance from other people's work which allows you to look at the work without a personal attachment.
We went for an approach of gathering photos together that had a flow. Through this we found that there were photos that we liked but left out of the layout because they didn't quite fit in, which did surprise us at times.
In the third and final session we had printouts of the photos and a variety of card and paper ready for us to piece together our books. This part of the workshop was led by Hannah Fray (click here to see a blog about some of her work), who has made a lot of artist books from her own prints.
We started off by making a small notebook as practice for making the final photobook using a pamphlet stitch. This is quite a simple stitch that we made by piercing along the spine of the book with three holes, and then stitched in a figure-of-eight style pattern. After our books were together we tidied up the pages by trimming them down with a cutting knife. With a bit of practice we then moved on to the final books.
I didn't do the best of jobs with the final book as I didn't tighten up the string of the bind enough, which meant when cutting the pages they moved around a bit. I recently got round to binding the book again after the workshop and tidied up the pages. This time I did a much better job.
I really enjoyed this workshop. Going through the process of start-to-finish of creating the imagery and then piecing the book together was fun and has definitely made me think about making a book for myself in the future. Thanks to Tab and Han for their time, knowledge and expertise!
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