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Book Making Workshop with Ralph Gibson




Friday, July 14th - Monday, July 17th, 2017

Price: $2,500 Join Now


“The art of creating a photography book begins with the dummy. The dummy or maquette is in fact the definition of the idea made concrete. It was while working on the sequence of The Somnambulist that I discovered this most basic and important principle of bookmaking. Taking the book idea out of the head and into the hands is how it is done. Through the years I have presented a final dummy to publishers and the fact is that in this manner the photographer and the publisher are talking about the same book…”

-Ralph Gibson



This will be a 4-day workshop and will deal with the dummy as an object in and of itself. An object developed to the level of presentation for final publication. Aspects of layout, design, double-page spreads, book cover impact and editorial thrust as well as binding, typography, separation for plate-making, distribution formulas and more will be addressed.



Each participant will be required to bring a laptop computer along with the necessary jpegs of their photographs to be placed in the dummy. A basic knowledge of a layout program such as InDesign is entirely recommended. The dummy pages will be printed with inkjet printers provided during the workshop.



To date, Ralph Gibson has produced more than 50 books in this manner. The computer has vastly enhanced the process of book making and production and he strongly believes that these are the golden years of the photography book.



Workshop participants will have the opportunity to view two books by Ralph Gibson and their hand-made dummies, created via this same process. Ralph’s position has always been that an accurate facsimile of the book intended for publication is the optimum approach.



This informs the photographer as to the exact content of his/her book as well as shows the potential publisher exactly what is being offered for publication. In this manner the editing comes after the idea of the book is made, not before. It is a strong step towards the autonomy of the photographer in an otherwise very amorphous and confusing world. The world of photography book publishing.



It should also be mentioned that very often the initial dummy is not in fact the final dummy, the initial dummy functions to show the photographer what is strong and what is weak in the sequence.



The more accurate the final dummy, the more accurate and satisfying will be the printed and published book.






The Ralph Gibson Bookmaking Workshop will address such issues as:


- Overall Layout


- Tactility / Viewing Distance


- Typography


- Scale and Proportion


- Sequence and Rhythm


- Ideal form for the specific content


- Lithography concerns


- Pricing and Distribution


- Self-Publishing




The Ralph Gibson Bookmaking Workshop attendees must bring jpeg files for all images to be considered for inclusion in the dummy. More rather than fewer images are essential and basic knowledge of a layout program such as InDesign is recommended.



Join Now



About Ralph Gibson


Gibson (b.1939) studied photography in the US Navy and further pursued the medium at the San Francisco Art Institute in the early 1960's. Gibson went on to assist Dorothea Lange and later, Robert Frank on two of his films, launching his professional career. Having a strong interest in books and book-making, he founded his own publishing company, Lustrum Press out of New York and went on to create his trilogy, The Somnambulist, Deja Vu, and Days at Sea which were instant hits and helped solidify his mark as a key player in 20th century photography.


Gibson's photographs are in many important museum collections and have been shown in hundreds of exhibitions across the globe. His awards include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, Leica Medal of Excellence, Lucie Lifetime Award among many others, and in 2002 he was appointed Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France.


Click here to learn more and view images by Ralph Gibson