Man, I really dig that cover.
I know, it’s awkward for an artist to compliment themselves, but sometimes you’ve just got to express yourself, share what you are feeling.
And right now, I’m feeling positively giddy.
That’s because this book makes me smile. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my previous books. But, they made me nervous. My first book, the North Dakota book Memorial Highway – One Week In The Peace Garden State, made me nervous because it was my first serious attempt at making something like this, and my first real presentation of my work for public view. My second book, South Of Zion, made me nervous because of all I had put into it. That was the accumulation of over four years worth of photographs. That was work that has high aspirations; commentary, observation, and documentation. South Of Zion is heavy.
On the other hand, Hard Rhythm was a joy to do. Well, joyful, but not easy. That title, for instance. Man, I struggled for months with what to call this book. I was going to settle for something like, “Cars”. No, seriously, that was in the running for the title. Eventually I thought about what makes me like cars. What exactly is it about them? Then I started thinking about how often we think of cars not as inanimate objects, but as having feelings, and thoughts of their own. How cars make us happy, or let us down. Or how, somehow, cars just seem to drive better after being washed. They just….know.
I actually didn’t want to do a book of just cars. Originally I didn’t think my car shots would be interesting enough, or strong enough, to warrant a book of their own. But, two things have happened in the last couple of months. First, my post processing has really taken off. I have learned a lot of different techniques that have really allowed me to define my work. I feel like I’ve always had a “style” in terms of composition, which I have talked about before, but now I see there is a “look” to my photographs as well. And my car shots, especially, have been doing from strength to strength.
Second was that, while I love my first two books, I kept thinking about how basic they were. My original motivation for doing a third book was to really push the boundaries in terms of design. I wanted to explore more complex arrangements. That’s code for “I wanted to do more fancy-schmancy stuff”. Show off a bit. But I just couldn’t make anything work. Multiple shots per page, different color backgrounds, I tried it all. Eventually, apart from some amazing two-page layouts, I stuck to my previous conventions. I had felt defeated about that until someone told me, “Snazzy layouts are for disguising weak material.” You want people to notice the photos, not the layout. Truer words were never spoken.
So, instead of layout being important, my attention turned to photo placement and order within the book. This became the real turning point for me, when I realized that this book could be more than just a bunch of random car shots thrown together. Working with that vision, only then did it all start to come together. Take this paring for example:
These are two of my favorite parings in the entire book. The compare/contrast is amazing: Ford/Chevy, Mustang/Corvette, old/new, cool color/warm/color, it just keeps going on. And I tried to work on these types of connections on every page. Again, it’s just a fun book to look through. It really does make me smile.
And, just so you know, this will probably be the last book I’ll be doing for a while. Three in almost as many months is a hell of a roll, but I think I’ve done what I set out to do. For now, at least.
In the first month of launching Generator Photography, I talked about how I enjoy taking pictures of cars. That post was almost a year ago, and it feels like it was a million miles away. I would never have imagined how far my photography would have come in this time. Or, how far Generator Photography has come. If I can be really honest, I’m not that sure what the next year is going to bring. All I know is that I am going to try to work harder, bigger and better than I have ever done before. Creating Hard Rhythm has been a great motivator for me.
I hope you like it too.