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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Final Major Project: IoP Symposium Talk – John Spinks – 20-02-18

John Spinks spoke at #iopSymposium18 about his book ‘The New Village’.

Key points:-

  1. About a village between Coventry and Birmingham

  2. No-one in his family was artistic – he used a darkroom at secondary school to ‘hide away from the world.’

  3. ‘Photobooks are more than just a book of someone’s best photos.’

  4. Thought about the project since he was 18 – is now 47

  5. The images reveal more about him than they describe – they are a metaphor

  6. He always set out with the intention of producing a book of the work.

  7. Used images from George Shaw who drew pencil images of places in Tile Hill, Coventry.

  8. Read Herbert Read “The Green Child’ – strange book but one that he recommends.

  9. To him, fiction is more important than other people’s photographs. It opens up where the work can go.

  10. Narrative and storytelling are essential.

  11. You can experience the same world in a very different way to another person even when stood next to them.

  12. Kept looking and thinking about things in a different way to other people.

  13. Kept putting the project down and coming back to it after a number of years.

  14. He took around 450 portraits. Only approximately three were excellent, but couldn’t use them in the book.

  15. He does not feel able to direct people – this is surprising to me given that he is known as a fashion and portraiture photographer.

  16. His portraits for the project are just taken as the people were presented to him.

  17. In his opinion, photobooks should not contain too many pictures – they become too exhausting to read.

  18. Even after all of his onsite checks, there were still issues with the printers – some had black ink on ages or glue on covers or bindings not cut straight so that the images were not square in the books.

  19. He is never happy – always thinks he can do better – a perfectionist.

  20. You need to be able to talk about your work to others – do not work in isolation

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