This assignment enabled me to essentially create my ideal book title and artwork, which most definitely excited me as I used it as a chance to explore and research some of my favourite photo books, as well as ones that I would be interested in delving into based on their titles or artwork. I decided that by analysing various titles of photo books and bodies of work, I may be able to collate a selection of words from different titles in order to then produce a title inspired by these words, yet still relative to my chosen artwork.
Creating the title:
From listing numerous titles that peak an interest, I picked out individual words that I found an interest in, that responded to me in regards to my work and what I would look for in a book title.
From this, I began brain storming title ideas based on these words, as well as considering the artwork I would use. Regarding my artwork, I had visited two sites and shot a whole range of images that I would find contextually and visually if seen on a front cover of a book. These two locations where: Spetchley Park Gardens and the Malvern Hills – both places filled with flora, colour and natural form. With this in mind, my title ideas fed from thinking about these locations and how some of the images I had taken would relate visually and possibly contextually. I found that as I thought of one title, a developing idea would stem off, creating a web of notions.
‘Wandering Along the Mountain Tops’ (‘wandering’ from Tom Hull, ‘mountain tops’ in relation to the Malvern Hills)
‘Wandering Along This Path’ (‘path’ from Paul Gaffney, as well as the paths through Spetchley Park Gardens)
‘Wandering on Uneven Ground’ (‘uneven ground’ in reference to the stoney paths at Spetchley Park Gardens)
‘Roaming These Uneven Paths’ (‘roaming’ a synonym of wandering)
‘Strolling through…’ (‘strolling’ a synonym of roaming, and in reference to the act of walking through Spetchley Park Gardens)
‘Meander Through This Verdant Jungle’ (‘meander’ a synonym of wandering, ‘verdant jungle’ in reference to the overwhelming amount of flora and greenery at Spetchley Park Gardens)
‘The Verdant Jungle’ (in reference to Spetchley Park Gardens)
‘The Botanical Forest’ (in reference to Spetchley Park Gardens – I didn’t feel that ‘verdant’ justified how much floral form there was)
‘The Botanical Path’ (in reference to Spetchley Park Gardens and walking amongst so much floral form)
‘The Path to the Botanical Jungle’ (in reference to Spetchley Park Gardens: the enormous sum of flora and the experience of entering this via the path)
I chose The Path to the Botanical Jungle as my finalised title as I believed it covered a solid basis of the experience of entering and taking in Spetchley Park Gardens and being surrounded by only the natural form and environment.
Choosing the artwork:
Deciding what image to use as the artwork proved rather simple as whilst developing the title, my mind was switching between images I knew I had taken. The reference to a ‘jungle’ initiated the notion of a busy and hectic frame, full of the natural form.
These two images were what I considered suitable for the title as they fulfil the capturing of a busy frame and deliver a sense of chaos, something which may be found in the wilderness. Although the actual gardens themselves are maintained by man, these images show a juxtaposing notion which only enhances the concept of a jungle.
Although there is no visible path in these images, one must consider how the camera reached these points, where the photographer came from, what direction, did they venture around the whole of the gardens or did they aim straight for this particular flora? Even with these questions being unresolved, one gets a sense of journey and may question whether this is their destination or just a passing spot.
Choosing a font:
I also chose to use the books I referenced for my title, for font. The books that I referenced are all in a similar subject field regarding the natural environment, flora and landscape, this is why I felt that by delving into the nature of the fonts used for these books, it may add a sense of context to my own – with my artwork concerning identical notions.
By zooming into the fonts, I configured these with fonts on Photoshop in order to gain a perspective into what fonts are used, or at least were most similar.
By layering these fonts on top of one of my photographs, I began to see which ones I believe did and did not work, visually. This allowed me to illuminate several fonts that I was certain I didn’t want to use for my book cover, particularly as I didn’t think they enhanced the image in anyway.
Combining title, font and artwork:
Following this, I began experimenting with the remaining fonts, at different sizes and positioned in various places.
It took me a while to create a frame that I was happy with as I didn’t feel that there was anything striking or particular about these designs there were exciting, or brought anything to focus – especially the title.
I took into consideration the dimensions of the cover. I believed the particular sizing of the book was a strong reflection of my research by again bringing form contextually back to my referenced books. The format of Jem Southam’s Rockfall’s and Ponds has always stood out as the ‘perfect size’ to me, and adds enhancement to the content due to the size. His photographs suit and connect well with this particular size. This books dimensions of 30.5 x 23.9 cm is the scale I have chosen for my photo book to be due to the aforementioned reasons, as well as the fact that I believe it suits my images also.
After repositioning and rescaling the font many times, I still was not happy with the outcome of the placement of text and box in relation to the image. Choosing to start a fresh worked in my favour as by positioning the text in a position I hadn’t tried before proved catching to the eye. This centre alignment draws attention to the title in an instant and also binds well with the artwork due to the alteration of opacity on the box, allowing for the text to slightly blend in with the image, but still remains an apparent point of focus.
Final book cover: