Thursday, March 07, 2013

attr - new e-book available now

I have a new, completely unplanned, e-book available now.

ATTR is photography, documentary, part-asemic text art, visual poem, found poem, and 'a reading of Manchester & Salford on 1 day'.

But what is it apart from that?

In part it's an accident. I didn't plan on creating anything last weekend, much less something that would consume more than half a week. Having finished 28 I wanted to take at least a week off.

But early into a walk on Sunday afternoon something possessed me and I thought 'wouldn't it be interesting to make a long poem from photographs of found text?' So I started taking photographs of text.

Three hours later I had just over 100 photos, and a broad idea of how I'd arrange them.

The photos fell, very roughly, into five categories: packaging, 'official' text (for instance, road signs), graffiti, asemic marks (mostly natural), and text on motor parts.

That last one is an odd one out, the text could have been categorised as packaging or (a a stretch) 'official' text. But there were quite a lot of photos in the category, all of which were visually quite similar, so I classified them together.

Later I added a sixth category, print. That is, printed material that wasn't packaging or 'official' text.

I started editing the book on Sunday evening when I cut the 103 images to 90, and edited the rest. A number had be made monochrome because there were unfixable issues with the colour, others had to be cropped. The rest had slight adjustments to their appearance. Around three were left unaltered in any way.

On Monday I created five folders for the different sections. The idea was that images from all six categories would intertwine through each section. Since there were sufficient images, a first section was created containing all the monochrome photos.

Well, most of them. As I came to assemble the section in a final readable form I was ruthless about cutting images that were weak, or just didn't fit.

On Tuesday the process continued with the creation of the second and third sections. More photos were dropped, and the layout of the document began to take place. By now I was down to 78 photos remaining.

This evening (Wednesday) I created the final two sections, ending up with a 64-page book containing 58 images (more if you count multiples of certain images).

You can read the book below, or download it for reading at leisure.

What are my initial thoughts on the text? It's hard to say, I won't have any distance from it for a while, but I suspect that I've given visual considerations primacy over textual concerns. That it might have been possible to edit the book to resemble something more like a poem.

In fact I did consider adding in occasional pages where there would be textual interventions. And, if I felt I could have committed to taking longer to create the book I might have done just that.

But all is not lost - if you think there are weaknesses, possibilities unexplored, or things you wish were not there, the book is published under a Creative Commons license. Feel free to sample, remix, and generally fuck about with the images.

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