One of the most rewarding parts of being a work-scholar under Lesley Martin, Publisher and Book Editor at Aperture, is the opportunity to sit in on discussions between the editor, designer, and artist. Throughout the course of producing a book, these contributors have regular meetings to form the concept of the publication starting the original intent of the artist. It is always fascinating to see how much the design process can enhance the interpretation of an artist’s work. These factors really differentiate the experience of photographs as personal, handheld objects as opposed to large prints displayed in a gallery or online representations.
Layout spread by Andrew Sloat
One of Editorial’s current projects is the forthcoming Aperture monograph by artist Penelope Umbrico. Because of the appropriative nature of Penelope’s work, unlike a typical monograph with one essay and perhaps an introduction, her book will include a variety of essays taken from previously published sources that have added to and relate in some way with her process. Even though the design and production of a book takes place mostly on a computer screen, in order to determine the sequence we printed thumbnails of each spread of text and artwork. While this cut-and-paste process might seem elementary, it was an effective way to work freely and bounce ideas off each other without having to make any final decisions. Being able to move pieces around with our hands was a great way to visualize the different possibilities.
The making of an Aperture book is a truly collaborative process-in this case, a collaboration made all the more unique in that Penelope approached the book object as an installation space for her work. She took the lead in the process by pairing texts and artwork based on their relation to each other, questioning decisions and proposing fresh ideas. Our designer, Andrew Sloat, worked with her to shape the conceptual framework for the book and then proposed typographic, spatial, and aesthetic choices to uphold that concept. The editor, Lesley Martin, helped refine their decisions on sequence and selection of images and guided the overall direction of the project as a whole. While much of being an Editorial Work-Scholar can rely on organization and wrangling the different parts needed to complete the whole, the times spent watching the creative process occur make each book project come alive. It is constantly exciting to be part of the team mediating between the artist’s original vision and the compiled product released to the public.
Stay tuned for the release of Penelope’s first monograph, Penelope Umbrico (Photographs) in June 2011.
Cover design by Andrew Sloat
Chelsea Deklotz is an Editorial Work-Scholar. She is a Graphic Design and Photography graduate from UW-Milwaukee. Her favorite Aperture books are Sally Mann: Immediate Family and Paolo Ventura: Winter Stories. She enjoys exploring her Brooklyn neighborhood and can often be found buried in the stacks at the Strand.