Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Love Town zine – an experiment in the promotion of photography

Photography books are a wonderful thing. They present images in bold and physical way, bringing photography as close as possible to the viewer.
Zines – hand-printed or limited run magazines – are an affordable and colelctable way to produce photo books or present themed work and projects.
If you ever get the chance to go to a book fair, and there are quite a few of them around the country including the 6th Manchester Artists' Book Fair organised by Hot Bed Press on October 21, 2011you will see an amazing assortment of zines made by artists from many disciplines. The fair is part of a Symposium being held on the same day and includes talks by Preston is My Paris's Adam Murray, the British Journal of Photography's Diane Smyth and Yorkshire photography Ian Beesley (probably the best lecture-giver I have witnessed and believe me I've seen a few).
Of course, Long Lens is interested only in photography which is why, through Love Town, it has recently launched the Love Town zine.
The second issue, featured below, focuses on Liverpool nightlife. This full-colour 12-page A4 publication, printed entirely independently on my eBay-acquired hugely-heavy Epson printer, is designed to be as collectable as it is eye-catching.
The documentary images have been collected by one photographer – me – over many lonely nights. Hours have been spent on the deign of the zine, not to mention the selection of the images. And all you have to do is look at it.
As with all Love Town strands, the aim is introduce new people to photography by producing photography that is accessible to those who enjoy their images without huge dollops of theory.
If you've ever stopped to look at a photograph in a newspaper or a magazine and went, 'Whoooah, that's great', then a copy of Love Town could be for you. It could open up a brave new world of images, books and prints.

Postage options
UK £2.00 Europe £3.00 Rest of World £4.50
And Issue One of Love Town is still available:

Postage options
UK £2.00 Europe £3.00 Rerst of World £4.50

Each of the first two Love Town zines is limited to an edition of 100 copies.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Racists – it's the conference you've been waiting for: Populist Racism in Britain in Europe

Populist Racism in Britain in Europe since 1945 – it’s a two-day conference being held on September 22 and 23.

It’s one of the subjects close to my heart – racism. I’m as perplexed that people in fairly well-developed societies are racist as I am that Facebook repeatedly fails to delete the accounts of those making racist comments which I report.

When the University of Northampton releases their comprehensive report on the English Defence League – The EDL: Britain's 'New Far-Right' Social Movement
– images taken at an EDL march in Preston last November (2010). And, yes, I did take them.


My interest in racism comes through photography, including an interview I did with BNP leader Nick Griffin in 2008, where I have tried to highlight different forms of prejudice and the reasons behind this slightly disturbing aspect of human behaviour.

This latest report examines the EDL’s influence on far-right terrorism and extremists such as Anders Breivik the lone killer who killed almost 93 people, mostly teenagers, in Norway on July 22, 2011.


Dr Matthew Feldman, Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century History and Director of the Radicalism and New Media Research Group at The University of Northampton, says of the report: “The EDL, perhaps the best representative of a new far-right dynamic this century, uses new media to organise support and protests on the one hand, while on the other, act as a social movement rather than a traditional political party.

“These features, along with the demonisation of Muslims, are very different than the far-right parties of the past, especially those of fascism's heyday between the wars. But for all the smoke and mirrors, the EDL may still be considered a far-right movement – and just like the past, is ultimately one that incites violence, prejudice and division in our communities. 


“For these reasons, our report is intended not only for policy-makers and officials, but also for the wider public - so affected by the disorder brought to towns and cities across Britain as a result of EDL 'protests'.”

Very handily, the report will be available to download for free from The conference will also be available as podcast.


Dr Paul Jackson also launches his book (Searchlight’magazine’s Gerry Gable is co-editor) at the conference.

The book is looks at how British far-right groups use the internet to develop extremist policies.

NOTE: Not all the images shown here are included in the report.

London Design Festival at the V&A featuring Bespoke and Garry Cook's images

The London Design Festival takes place over nine days between September 17 to September 25.

As far as brilliant design goes, it’s a very important festival. There are 280 events and exhibitions in the programme. There were 350,000 visitors to the LDF in 2010.


One of its major venues is the V&A (that’s the Victoria and Albert Museum for you lesser-educated souls) which hosts 13 specially commissioned installations and includes some of 2011's most important landmark projects. 

Amongst all this is the Bespoke Project, a two-year ‘multi-partner collaboration between a community in Preston and journalism, social science and design researchers – will explore how a new method of 'Insight Journalism' can be used for social innovation and engagement’.

That quote was taken from the Bespoke website where you can also read the full press release. My own interpretation of Bespoke is that a few universities got together and tried to introduce technology as a way of engendering better communication and social cohesion on a rough estate in Preston, Lancashire.

The BESPOKE project was been funded by the Research Councils UK as part of the Digital Economy Programme and is a collaborative project between five UK research institutions with Paul Egglestone (University of Central Lancaster), David Frohlich (The Digital World Research Centre, University of Surrey), Justin Marshall (Autonomatic, University College Falmouth), Patrick Olivier (Culture Lab, Newcastle University)  and Jon Rogers (University of Dundee). 


I got to know the area quite well over the past two years as I photographed a lot of the work Bespoke did. Some of these images are included in the display at the V&A

The Digital Buskers, Wayfinder and Viewpoint were three of the designs which were realised around Callon and Fishwick.

These designs are at the V&A during the London Design Festival, including a special talk by the designers on Tuesday September 20 at around 4.15pm work at the Hockhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre. 

Two of the Universities involved have their say:

Justin Marshall, Associate Professor of Digital Craft at University College Falmouth, said: “For me this project has opened up an exciting new space.

“A space where the digital capabilities for creating individualised products and services have been re-orientated away from the burgeoning market for unique personalised goods, towards crafting responses to wider, and I would argue, more important community focused issues.”


Jon Rogers, Senior Lecturer in Product Design at the University of Dundee, said: "All of these design prototypes act as demonstrators for how a future could look if we engaged with our communities better.

“It is the first test and the first showcase of how Insight Journalism, a radically new method of community engagement, has been researched, implemented and tested. 

“While we present a method that has led to a collection of community design responses, we think this has potential for any responsive way of working with people.”

I have to confess I did not take this photograph of the digital buskers - though I did take the image from which the digital buskers cut-out was made. If you follow me.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Converting your photo book to a pdf for CreateSpace (it's very, very hard)

Another in a long-running, helpful, popular and largely uninteresting series of Print On Demand self publishing advice, this time with Amazon affiliate CreateSpace. If you don't want the advice, look away now.

Converting a photo book document into a print-ready pdf is not as easy as it should be. As with lulu and Blurb, CreateSpace's own guide on how to do this lacks detail and is difficult to find on its website.

So to help them – and you – out, this is my easy to follow guide on creating the photobook pdf. Hopefully this will mean that for your book and cover, you won't have to convert your file 100-odd times like I did.

The first thing you've got to do is get your document sizes right. CreateSpace offer advice on this.

Next the conversion. First you need to do a general pdf conversion (I did my book 6x9 in InDesign).

Then open the pdf in Adobe Acrobat 9. Select PRINt and then follow these instructions. There are a lot of them but are straight-forward to follow.

1.    Open your document
2.    Go to “File,” and then “Print”
3.    Choose “Adobe PDF” as the printer in the drop-down menu
4.    Click “Properties”
5.    Go to the “Default Settings” drop-down menu, and click “Edit”
6.    Go to the General tab
7.    Choose “Acrobat 5.0” under “Compatibility”
8.    Choose “Off,” under “Object Level Compression” 
9.    Choose “Off,” under “Auto-Rotate Pages” 
10.    Go to the Images tab
11.    Change the resolution of Color Images to Bicubic Downsample to “305” pixels per inch for images above “320” pixels per inch, also change the compression to “JPEG” and image quality to “Maximum”
12.    Change the resolution of Grayscale Images to Bicubic Downsample “305” pixels per inch for images above “320” pixels per inch, also change the compression to “JPEG” and Image quality to “Maximum”
13.    Go to the Fonts tab 
14.    Deselect the “Subset embedded fonts” option
15.    Select all of the fonts under “Font Source,” and add them to “Always Embed”
16.    Go to the Color tab
17.    Select “Leave Color Unchanged,” under Color Management Policies”
18.    Click “Save As,” name the job option “CreateSpace,” and click “Save”
19.    Click “OK” and ensure “Adobe PDF Security” is set to “None”
20.    Select the appropriate page size for your document or create a new size if needed. You have to work this out on your own.
21.    Deselect “Rely on system fonts only; do not use document fonts,” then click “OK” 
22.    Click “OK,” you will be prompted to name and save your file
23.    Upload your file through your CreateSpace Member Account

For other versions of Acrobat follow the instructions on this link. If you've got Acrobat 6.0 or below, you will have to use Adobe Distiller as well and this is not a good thing.

Next, go back to your design program and load the saved Adobe Acrobat setting from above (you need to know where you saved it).

You can then press convert to pdf in your design program - but before you hit the convert button, you need to make these changes:

Option 2: Export as PDF



  1. With the native document open in the application you used to create your work, select "File>Export" You may need to select "PDF" if other file formats are available for export in the application.
  2. Provide a name and location for the PDF file you are exporting (may default to the current name and location of the native document) and click "Save" or "OK" in the print dialog box.
    1. Fonts and images are embedded.
    2. Bookmarks, annotations, and comments are disabled.
    3. Document security (any type) is not used.
    4. PDF/X format is used. PDF/X is preferred, but if you are submitting non-PDF/X files (for example, PDF/A), any comments, forms, or other non-printing objects could be removed during our review process.
    5. Transparent objects are flattened.
    6. Spreads and printer's marks are disabled.
    7. Downsampling, or decreasing resolution, of images is disabled.
    8. Bleeds are enabled (if applicable).
  3. Click "Export" or "OK" in the export dialog box.
  4. Once created, make sure to open the PDF file to see that it appears as you intended. Otherwise, make the necessary adjustments in the native document and re-create the PDF file.

This link gives you alternative conversion instructions.

If yu're using the above link thereis a bit of confusion in the gudiea concerning the PDF/X-1a type pdf conversion. I think you can ignore this bit of advice as your should now using the settings you created in Acrobat.

Create your pdf which should now be perfect. If you missed any of the changes, particularly in the Acrobat part of this guide, images in your photobook could be outputted in a lower resolution than is need. Be careful you get it right.

Next, upload your book and cover to CreateSpace and wait for their report to see if it's okay to get a proof copy.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Women and Alcohol goes to London Photomonth



Shot entirely in Liverpool, it shows female Scousers enjoying a beverage.


Entering boss including bars Alma de Cuba, the Blob, Globe and Walkabout, the project was first shown in Liverpool as part of the Look2011 festival.


It goes to London’s Photomonth Festival October. The venue is Oxford House in Bethnal Green.


The show – Control – is being put on by (almost) the same nine photographers who took over the Baltic Warehouse in Liverpool earlier this year. This is the Control website

The special preview show is Thursday, October 6, from 6pm. You're very welcome to come along. The show runs for approximately one month.

And you can read more about Women and Alcohol – and see more images – over at