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Posts Tagged ‘artists books and photobooks


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Daniel Milnor is Blurb’s Photographer-at-large and inspirational bookmaker.  Last week we attended presentation by Daniel at the Edge (SLQ) in Brisbane. Attended by an audience of around 80 the presentation, of three hours duration, told the story of how to make photobooks. Not just a bunch of photos in a catalogue or folio form but something that told a story – expressing a narrative.

Milnor is the consummate presenter and storyteller – adding to each technical concept and thing to consider in book-making his own personal story. And there were some amazing insights into Daniel’s career as a photodocumentary photographer of exotic places like South America and Sicily, but also of his own life. In one book he discussed, which was made entirely in his own home, he showed a picture of his shower curtain!!

Milnor's shower curtain

Milnor’s shower curtain


In the presentation Milnor provided a step-by-step approach to the making of a book:

Step 1 Make/locate a body of work

Step 2 Give yourself time to edit

Step 3 Time to sequence

Step 4 Start the book using an online POD service – Like Blurb.

Step 5 Get the book

And – not really covered specifically although constantly part of his refinement of book ideas: Step 6 – Review it and re-do it better!!!


His little phrases and comments that stuck in my memory (or notepad include):

Photobooks that are driven by the photographer –“don’t make any money” unless you have a big-name and are chosen by Steidl. However “subject driven books” can be successful

“Leopard lighting” portraits made under a tree – dappled light

Unless you “Think about your work, write about your work, talk about your work and show your work – You are never going to have a connection with your work!”

“Book builder”

Landscape “rocks and twig” photography

“The narrative arc”

“The perfect solution is YOUR solution”

“Don’t be afraid to play around…”


What interested me was the excitement he expressed for his own books – their concepts and development. Towards the end of the presentation he showed examples of books created as collaborations with artists, books that were ‘added-to’ by creative intervention whereby the outcome became a unique state work of art. A seminal book for him in his challenge to the ‘normal’ photobook is the book On Approach which has won much acclaim for him. He commented that a curator he had met casually had described him as a ‘conceptual artist’ he seemed excited by the title and that his work, as art, could enter another space – the gallery.


See Daniel Milnor's book On Approach @ Blurb

See Daniel Milnor’s book On Approach @ Blurb


In the second last question of the day I asked him about the idea of the artists’ book and how artists can inform, as he had found, a new direction for photobooks – in his answer he spoke at length about the proposition — I think he agreed…

Thank you Daniel Milnor, and thank you Blurb for bringing some discussion on photobooks into this country. And the opportunity to engage with so many Australian photographers wanting to tell photo stories using the emancipating opportunities of print-on-demand indie publishing.


Doug Spowart




His Website: http://www.smogranch.com/



Attendees looking a Blurb sample books



Daniel Milnor talking with an attendee during the break



All  photographs  © Doug Spowart 2013.

Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.



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