Writes Jennifer Blau, "Creating a photo series to document a subject in depth can be a rich and rewarding process. But it can also be quite daunting: what is realistic to take on, what do I care about, who might want to see it and why might it be important to devote time to?
"These were some of the questions I grappled with when I began a 12-month mentorship with Contact Sheet in Sydney. Furthermore as the global pandemic hit, opportunities to exhibit the work began to evaporate. I decided instead to create a photobook, even if it could only be shared online.
"After working for many years in illustrated-book publishing before my own book was published, I am the first to understand that finding a publisher and a subject that has commercial appeal can be extremely difficult. But self-publishing a photobook is now an accessible process for us all and a satisfying way to present a longer visual narrative, even if we print only one book.
"Free of commercial constraints, I took the opportunity to focus on a topic I felt was important, but confronting: how we dismiss older people as they decline, told through a documentary series of my mother-in-law at 90. The resulting photobook, Patricia’s Room, was first released as a signed limited edition of just eight books, printed on demand by Momento Pro. While I was unsure as to whether the subject would have wide appeal I was delighted to have it selected among their ‘Best of 2020 Photobooks’ and the edition sold out. Since then, the images from Patricia’s Room have had further acknowledgement: one image was nominated as a finalist for the Living Memory National Photographic Portrait Prize this year and others have been selected for a featured exhibition in Sydney’s Head On Photo Festival in November. But getting here wasn’t easy..."
Read how Jennifer planned her project and put her plan into action in the current issue of Better Photography (Issue 105). Click on the link below to subscribe - plus you get immediate access to 50 back issues full of informative material and inspirational ideas! Use coupon code BP40 to get 40% off - just $29.88 for an annual subscription.