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A photo book for a world-traveling photojournalist

>> Friday, March 9, 2012

When a book leaves my studio and is shipped to its new owner, I like to think that the book's journey has only just begun.  The pages are folded, the covers are glued and pressed, and the binding is stitched neatly into place, but the book is not yet complete.  Most of the books I make are meant to be filled.  Perhaps with congratulatory notes from wedding guests, or records of a baby's first steps and words, or photos of travels far and wide.  Once a book is filled, it takes on new meaning and importance, and it is transformed into something even more special than when it left my studio.

I wish I could check in with all of my handbound books months or even years later to see how they've come to life in their new homes, but I don't always get the chance to see my books when they've been put to use.  On the occasions that I do, however, it's always thrilling to me. 

Photojournalism book, handmade

This particular book was commissioned by Lianne Milton, a San Francisco-based photojournalist, to hold a special collection of her photographs. She requested a simple design for the book.  The pages were made from thick, textured watercolor paper.  For the covers, I made my own bookcloth using a soft grey linen fabric.  And I bound the book with the Coptic binding using navy waxed linen thread.

When the book left my studio, the pages were blank and I was curious to see how they would be filled.  Lianne was kind enough to photograph her book for me once she had added photos to the pages, and I'm excited to share her images of the book here.  

Lianne Milton photography book

I highly recommend that you take some time to look through Lianne's online portfolio of her photographs.  She is a world-traveling photographer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and many other publications.  Her work mainly focuses on the effects of politics on people and their environments, and she travels around the globe to capture her stunning images. She also photographs a limited number of weddings each year, in a similar documentary style to her editorial work.  You can view her wedding portfolio here.  

Lianne Milton photography handbound book

The craftsmanship of the blank book is very important to me and I enjoy the detailed process of creating a handbound book completely from scratch.  But a book like this clearly takes on more meaning once it has completed its journey.

Photos courtesy of Lianne Milton.  


AES March 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM  

That is a really lovely book that complements Ms. Milton's photography perfectly.

What method do you use to make your own bookcloth?

Katie March 9, 2012 at 1:11 PM  

Hi there! Thanks for reading my blog, and thank you for the kind words about my book. I make my bookcloth by ironing a layer of Heat-n-Bond to the back of the fabric, and then ironing a layer of acid-free tissue-weight paper to the back of that.

AES March 10, 2012 at 3:33 PM  

Oh, thank you for the info! I'll have to try that sometime :)

Katie March 12, 2012 at 10:22 AM  

You're very welcome! If you give it a try, feel free to let me know how it turns out or to share some photos of your project.

Debbie @ OtRD March 13, 2012 at 2:58 PM  

I think if you could check back on your books after the owners have filled them you would be so proud!! Your books are just beautiful and a great place to house someone's favorite memories!!

Katie March 14, 2012 at 11:38 AM  

Debbie, thank you so much for reading my blog and for leaving such a sweet comment. I'm so glad to hear that you like my handmade books.

I noticed that you live in Nashville. I do too, and I'll be selling my books at the Cherry Blossom Festival downtown next weekend. If you're able to stop by, please visit my booth and say hello!

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