I stood outside for a few moments. Just breathing in the fresh new spring air. The sun has just set and there's a bit of dim blue light right before the night sets in. I check out my garden and the lilacs are raring to go. Little green and purple buds seem as though they want to emerge any second. Like they can't even hang on for a few more weeks for spring to settle in. I am filled with joy so much so that I grin from ear to ear and put my arms out into the air. I am overjoyed with the seed I have planted and the wonderful opportunities that they will bloom into. Just thinking about it makes me so impatient. I want it all to happen now. Like an eager child.
It has taken a lot of research and thought to finally come to the conclusion that I have......... and that is..... I am self publishing my very first photography/art book. I honestly can't believe the words that I am typing or even saying it out loud. Me, just me, this day dreaming girl is publishing a book.My whole life changed in 2008 when I discovered the photographic works of Tim Walker. It was like my eyes widened so big. I purchased his big book called "Pictures" almost immediately after falling in love with his photographs. Even the way he feels about child like imagination and being inspired. Everything about him is what I look up to as an artist. The idea of publishing a book seemed so far away at that time and over the years I have struggled with the idea of publishing a photo book. I wasn't sure if it was something that should incorporate my entire body of work over the years or if it should be centered around an idea or theme.
When I started working on my attic series 'The Secret Garden' things naturally came together. Working on a series allows me to focus my energy into one narrative. A narrative of images that also has a written story that accompanies it. Publishing a photo book really just seemed like the next step for me. Almost all of the photographers that I look up to have a photo book (or rather a few books) under their belts. Now, truly feels like the right time to make my own.
he Secret Garden book is going to be a MASSIVE undertaking. I am self publishing the book and designing the entirety of the book myself. I am hoping to have two editions a large edition and a smaller (less pricey) edition. The good news is I have already started to work on the book. The beginning stages have been set into motion. I have researched how to self publish and have locked down that the book(s) will be sold via amazon. I am getting so much inspiration from Tim's book. I love the idea of sharing the Secret Garden story as well as behind the scenes images and sketches from each concept.
Every part of this book is going to be created by myself. I don't have any backers, or publishers or fancy designers. It's all me being as picky and organized as I possibly can to produce something that I am going to be proud of. Now all of this is going to take an enormous amount of time. I can't say when the book will be ready. I have to photograph the entire series first and write the story of the garden ( so that there is a story book- like feeling to it) I will have to go through many print runs to see which paper, size, design etc works for both editions and everything will be done by me and me alone. This means that this book could take a year if not more before it's ready to be sold on amazon. That being said I do want to invite those who would like an update of when the book is ready to launch to share their e-mails with me that I will put on a list. Those on the list will be the first people e-mailed as soon as the book becomes available. I still don't know all of the final prices and sizes or page runs yet. What I do know is that the book will be 100% available through amazon and that I am working very hard on the beginning stages of the book and the design. I honestly don't know if this is the craziest thing I have ever decided to devote my energy into or maybe in the end all I will have is just a little story about this garden world I created in my attic to show my possible future children but it's something I know in my heart I need to make.
So much about this series has exploded in ways I never even imagined it would. I never thought anyone would care about these little worlds I make in my small attic. All I ever wanted to do was escape. I wanted a piece of a beautiful world that so many others who lived in much more beautiful places then I had. I wanted a bit of their nature in my world. I wanted wild wisteria's, explosions of flowers and color exploding everywhere. I found it so hard to find in nature everything I wanted in my photos and when I did find it in nature I had such difficulties photographing my grand ideas for so many reasons. Some that were out my control but here in my attic I control everything. I control the colors, the seasons, the concepts. I was able to find something beyond this world in the corner of an old dusty attic and one wooden backdrop. I am grateful for this gift of imagination I have been given. I don't know why it's mine I am sure there are so many others who could use it much better then I but (as cheesy as it sounds) I am grateful for it.
The weeks leading into spring have already proven to be intense for the series. I have been given slivers of opportunities that I either use to my advantage and could lead to something or I don't and I miss out. Nothing is ever certain but I try everything I possibly can. I have been in the biggest research mode of my life while also costume/prop making, photographing, editing, blogging, working on the book, working on future exhibitions and reaching out to press/magazines and others for possible opportunities. It has not been quiet around here. Whilst all of this I am battling some of my own personal challenges. Some I don't ever talk about and others I have begun to open up about a bit more. Anxiety, is one of them that I have been more comfortable talking about lately and it's one that I am on a journey on and beginning to get help for. It's like the garden's journey mirrors my own and it becomes scarily symbolic. There's this intensity with all of this. I am now a self proclaimed artist. I decided I would do this seriously this year. It's my last year in my 20's what do I have to lose?
Chapter two of the series picks up and it's a crazy first few days. I release the brand new images of Kellie as 'The White Witch'. One of the images (The White Witch II) is picked up as en editors choice for fine art on popular photo site 500px nearly one minute after it is uploaded. I am shocked but so happy. It's such a great start for the second half of the series. There was that little worry that the series would come back and fall flat on it's floral face. Or that maybe I just didn't have it in me anymore. Though inside I knew it was right. Self doubt is something that plagues us all!!! and boy does it plague me. The new images were received with so many wonderful comments and I could breathe a sigh of relief. At this time 'The White Witch II' has over 25,000 views which I think is just unreal.
'The Bee Keeper' was published in the spring issue of the U.K's Practical Photography magazine which was really exciting. I love when the older images get picked up for articles and magazines. I also mentioned in another post that I had been featured in the pages of the Hamilton Spectator (a local newspaper). It was such a wild experience. I was interviewed about my photography as well as my personal style. It wasn't anything I had ever experienced before. Having someone else standing where I usually stand in my set and I was the subject. I was mortified that I would look absolutely ridiculous but I guess that's just a photographer thing. Hiding behind the camera is where I feel the most comfortable.
To end this very long entry I want to share some more exciting news that I can't quite share yet. We just finished photographing the latest concept for the series and I am so beyond impatient to share the finals and the massive story behind them. Some big changes have already started seeping into the series and I can feel it's turning point. I can feel where the series is about to go. On another note I have already started to plant the tiny seeds for my next series but that story will have to wait until the chapters of the garden close. I am hoping my next 'Garden updates' post will have some more exciting news that I can finally share.
If you are interested in being on the list for the book launch send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org