Out of the Shoebox: 21 January 2017

Out of the Shoebox: 21 January 2017

One great thing (or terrible thing) about trying to print little photozines is that it forces you to go back through your catalog and ruthlessly reassess photos. It's a chance to better organize the archive (ratings, keywords) and give photos a fresh look.

I'm working on a few zines right now. Sounds fancy, right? It's not. It is fun, though. I use Blurb, but there are tons of photobook companies out there. I'm not skilled at bookmaking or design, so I'm at the lowest point on the learning curve.

I came up with the idea of Out of the Shoebox because I'm easily distracted. I figured I could at least create a creative outlet (monster) for those distractions. I got distracted by a photo (below) from a Women's March in Seattle on 21 January 2017, the day after Trump's inauguration. It was nice re-living that day. This photo shows crowds of people walking towards the starting point.

It also shows some ghost signage on an old building - Rainier Oven Corp. I've always loved ghost signage. As far as ghost signage goes, this seems relatively recent or well-preserved. Tomorrow I'm going to Google the company, maybe learn a little Seattle history.

Women's March Seattle January 2017
Women's March, Seattle, 21 January 2017.


Archiving is an art. I'm painting by numbers and coloring outside the lines with a broken burnt siena crayon.

I use Lightroom for my catalog. I'm not a natural organizer. I have a general concept in mind, but I can run into problems with personal projects. I'm not as disciplined compared to client / photojournalism work, the little that I've done.

So going back through 4 years of photos is challenging. Not familiar with Lightroom? You're familiar with something similar. The photos in your phone are a giant catalog/archive. Want to make a ten page zine of the best photos of your pet? Imagine going through your phone and really trying to find the ten best images. Are they stand alone images, or are you trying to convey a narrative? If your first thought is EASY!, I have some advice for you - start a YouTube channel and begin dispensing your organizational know how, you'll make a fortune. I have a niece who could be a billionaire by 22 if she goes that route.

I'm always improving a little bit, though, and I'll take that small victory. I hope that while working on a few zine projects I'll simultaneously get caught up on rating or keywording the photos that mean something to me. It will be the highest level, least critical portfolio filter. I'll never stop whittling those down, but one of my goals is to be able to put that subset onto a couple of hard drives and somewhere online*. I'll then be able to start the new year with fresh hard drives and another shot at refining the organizational process right out of the gate.

Some of my photographer friends use multiple catalogs. They are very organized, and each client shoot gets its own catalog. It seems like that would be a nightmare for printing photobooks. If you wanted to print a small portfolio book, you'd have to go through each catalog. Maybe they get around this by vigilantly keywording or identifying "portfolio" shots in each catalog and combining them. I'll have to ask them.

*My photo archive is on redundant drives, but if the apartment goes up in smoke, the redundancy won't matter. I've done client work, but nothing where anyone would possibly reach out to me in a few years asking for a copy of something, so that's not a concern. I'd be bummed about losing the images, but I'd be able to find some stoicism after pounding my head against a wall for a couple of days.