Sunday, October 31, 2010

coming up for air - briefly

It's been two weeks since I last posted - which is at least one week too long.
Where have I been? Well, after swirling around the suburbs for 52 weeks, I've
spent the last two weeks rooted to the spot. Stuck in one place. Chained to a
computer. Bit of a shock to my restless being but all in the name of a good
cause: THE BOOK.

Part 1: The journey of an image from the ether into printed form

Now, who has any idea how much pre-press work is required to produce a
photographic book? Not me that was for sure. I now marvel at the mountain
of stuff that I have to do to give birth to The Book.

Not that I am complaining. This is a dream come true. Huge. Thrilling. But sheez,
you should see what's involved. It makes the last 52 weeks seem like a gentle stroll.
This is a MARATHON.

You may be entirely uninterested in what I'm about to describe but I just thought
I'd bore you with my current schedule:

Up at seven. Stumble immediately to the computer to start work, only stopping
to holler various commands at my daughter and deliver her to school. And here
is where I stay until midnight, only moving to pick up my daughter from school
and attend to vital bodily functions.

For the most part, I am processing images all day long. But occassionally I take a
'break' to do a little bit of writing work to pay the bills (bills which seem to forming
a small mountain of their own lately).

Sometimes I press on until 1am in the morning. I'd stay longer if I thought a
marathon effort would make a significant dent in the side of the mountain of
work. But no, I've been at this for ages and still the mountain towers.

So what's involved that makes it such a behemoth? Well, for one thing, I took too
many photos. Now I have to sort through them all, attempting to narrow thousands
down to around a thousand. Then there's this thing called colour profiles. Who knew
four little letters could mean so much - CMYK. Converting RGB to CMYK to be more specific.

Translation - you can end up working on one image alone for ages, just to
ensure it'll look good in printed form rather than online, computer form.

And the thing is, I'm a newbie at all this. Not only am I learning about preparing
images for pre-press, I've also just switched photo editing programs in the last fortnight.

End result is that I'm on a learning curve so steep I keep feeling that at any moment
I may just fall off.

The good news is, I am learning. A lot. And at the end of my learning curve will
hopefully be a beautiful book.

So I'm not complaining, really. I just wanted to let you know why I haven't posted -
and why I may not post much again until the book is out the door.

Part 2: A major omission

In my last post I couldn't thank everyone who's followed 52 Suburbs enough.
Yet where, I asked myself a little later, once those damn tears had stopped
spouting, were my thanks to all the people I'd photographed. The ones who
stopped mid-march to give some lady with a camera five minutes of their time.
People hurrying to work or to get milk or to meet a lover. They all - bar maybe
three - were gracious enough to let me take their photograph. 

So can I jut say a HUGE, ENORMOUS, HEARTFELT thank you to those kind souls.
This project would be much less rich without you. And an especially big thanks
to those who let me document their tattoos; it's not everyday someone stops
you in the street, stares pointedly at some part of your body and then says,
could you just pull up/down/around your shirt a little more so I can snap that tat.

Part 3: Er, me
Image by Andrew Goldie

This is for all those people who have asked me to 'come out of the shadows' and
show myself. I kept meaning to take a shot in some reflected surface but never
got around to it. And to be honest, I adore photographing other people but not
so keen on being photographed (oh, the irony).

However, I do like this photograph. Sure, I'm doing a bit of a serious trying-to-look-
relaxed pose but I love that the textures in the wall happen (true) to match my
top and bizarrely enough, my hair. Freaky. And I love the tiny dabs of yellow and
red above (lifesavers). The lovely Andrew Goldie shot it as part of the story Sydney 

Magazine did on 52 Suburbs last week (page 64-67 if you have it lying around).
So while I'm at it, thanks Andrew and Sydney Magazine!

How weird huh, a 52 Suburbs post without suburban images. Makes me want to
fly out the door and find a suburb to annoy. All in good time.

Okay, I feel much better having taken the time out to say hello. Now back to my
scary but wonderful monster.

See you next week? Maybe. But definitely soon.


  1. Oh! Lovely to see you Louise resting in a corner, looking for an angle maybe?
    I'm sure the work on the book is hard - but can;t be anything compared to what you have already achieved!

  2. I was SO excited when I saw your article in the(sydney)magazine! Congratulations. The story was wonderful. Looking forward to seeing your book...

  3. Well done, Louise. If your 'suburbs' is any indication, your book will be superb!
    Beatrice Ho

  4. I love reading the article in the Sydney Magazine. Missing your weekly posts but looking forward to the book!

  5. Hang on, hang on. Books are always vastly more work than could be imagined, but suddenly, suddenly, there is nothing more to do.

  6. Nice pic ... of you! Yep, the book process will be interesting and hard work - especially choosing between photos - but can I just say I think you've got a handle on the text, too. You have a nice writing style (from someone who does it for a living...)

  7. I came on board half way through your ride and have enjoyed it immensely. I've discovered some monuments that I want to photograph for my blog too. I didn't see the story in the magazine but I'll look for it now. I look forward to seeing your book. Good luck and hope you do another 52 Suburbs, at some stage. There's so many more to show.

  8. Thank you so much for the gorgeous inspiring year Louise...I am looking forward to the 'must have' book AND the 52 cities in 52 weeks...I love love love your work.

  9. Totaly empathize with you on the looonng days and hard compiling. Keep up the great work, can't wait to see the book. When things have calmed down a little for you send me an email, we would love to run an update in Good Gabble Newzine.

  10. Good to have some news from you... and nice to see your picture! Lots of luck on the book, can't wait to see it!

  11. Congratulations again.

    Keep at it as we all can't wait for the book.

    I will be buying one for each of our clients, so you have a few sales in the bag already :)

  12. I'm graphic designer so I can imagine how hard are your days! Maybe this work will haunt you even in your dreams every night as if you were awake. I'm sure you book will be beatiful because you are doing it with love and soul :)

  13. Actually, whilst I adored 52 I would love your take on something totally different. Your choice, obviously. I just like your slant. But dont want you to get the blahs!

    Hanging in until you work out a direction. Will get the book when it is out ...

  14. We always knew you would be gorgeous Louise!!
    Enjoy the workload. It will be worth it.
    Di xx

  15. Just remember to stand up and stretch from time to time! Goog luck with the book.

  16. Thanks for sharing the beautiful images. You open my eyes to angles I have never seen in these suburbs. I will try to do the same when I return to my birth place (Hong Kong) and try to see HK from the eyes of someone who has lived in Sydney for more than 30 years.

    Good work, thank you.

  17. Hi, I've never written in (actually to any blog for that matter), love your images. we do similar things. I just finished my book after 10 years of shooting bondi beach. I printed it in Singapore...and know all the ins and outs. Its a 208 a3 photo book, and I learnt so much...and have all the contacts. contact my gallery if you want me to help you. 9130 7788 :: uge

  18. Wishing you all the best with the book...I'm sure it will be brilliant...and gr8 pic of yourself...

  19. Just discovered your blog by accident and love it. My home town of Cronulla was portrayed brilliantly and brought back memories, as did other suburbs I've lived in. Am now in the inner west, would have loved to have seen Leichhardt included but never mind, Haberfield was there. You have inspired my 11 yr old daughter to keep clicking!

  20. Dearest Louise, inspiring to keep reading and seeing all your great work.
    Lovely to see your face again after so long.
    I'm hanging out for your book and must get someone to send me the Sydney Mag.
    Love to miss C.

  21. Thanks Louise, you made my day in so many ways. Following 52 Suburbs has renewed my faith in suburbia. TH.

  22. Hi Louise, I would offer to help you with all the file converting and saving, but I guess it's too late now. Hope you're coping with it all! Lovely to see a photo of you at last, btw.

  23. Have loved watching/reading your take on Sydney unfold - look forward to your book.