Brad Evans' Alcatraz Book

One of my goals this year is to print more images. The work-prints will get tacked to the wall and absorbed, and the final prints will be matted and or framed for sale and/or gallery shows. My website, blog, and fine art prints are the primary end result of my best photographs. Last week I had a pleasant reminder to think outside the box on image presentation.

The time-lapse video above was created to illustrate the enjoyable, tactile experience of examining photographer Brad Evans' hand made photography book on Alcatraz. A sturdy 5.5x7" box is opened to reveal a metal tin emblazoned with the word Alcatraz. The tin fits neatly into the corrugated cardboard interior. The tin itself is a metal clamshell DVD case.

Opening the tin you'll find an index of the 12 images in the book with their titles on the left. The book rests on the right within a protective foam border. When removing the book from the tin, the continuity of the copper colored backing is a nice touch.

The book itself is about 4x5", and uses a clever double accordion folding design. The the color, contrast and printing quality of the 12 images is top notch. Brad let me know he made the book using an Epson 4800 printer. Upon closer inspection I noted the images were printed in pairs of 2, and carefully attached with white linen tape on the back. The white printed pages were glued into what becomes the copper cover and binding, and 2 additional copper pages form the title and short text page when opened.

You can see by my card shark skills in the video above that the experience of opening and examining the book is quite fun. When was the last time you looked at images in a container that you'd call fun? A monitor isn't fun. Getting that last dust speck off the inside of your frame's plexi certainly isn't fun either.

Brad and I were at a meeting with a handful of photographers, and there was definitely excitement in the air when he showed the book around. In this age of the short attention span, a nicely designed hand made container is a superb way encourage people to spend more time with your images.

When you're telling a story with a dozen photos, the importance of editing and sequencing is paramount. The 12 Alcatraz images in the book show an excellent mix of details, and convey a mysterious mood. Brad sometimes includes human figures in his images, which helps trigger thoughts about the history of this location.

In addition to the Alcatraz book, Brad also had a finely crafted wood box that opens to reveal prints on the bottom. When the box is open, the interior of the lid becomes a print display area. Again the tactile experience of handling prints in a smartly designed container was quite enjoyable.

Hand crafted books can offer an additional way to market your work to customers who may not have the room or budget for a large fine art print. I'd like to thank Brad Evans for sharing his process and knowledge of book printing, and for selling me a copy of his book! You can see more of Brad's photography, including a slideshow of recent Alcatraz images, on his website: