Five years ago I sat in the back of a photography conference event listening to a speaker talk about a photo project they'd just completed and how important personal projects were for photographers to do. I've never been great at these sorts of things and I don't remember a 30 day photo challenge that I've ever managed to complete! But I remember how instantly the idea of this book came to me as I sat there listening to this speaker. "I could turn Dad's biography of his life into a photobook with his photographs and some of my own".
That was in 2017. So over the next five years I began taking Dad's handwritten memoirs and putting them into digital form. Going on numerous road trips visiting places around New Zealand where Dad grew up, lived and worked. I procrastinated about how I would bring it all together, the format of the final book and what words of my own I should add. Finally this year I finished it with the help of friends, peers and my family along the way.
Today the published book arrived in the mail from the wonderful Jackie at MomentoPro who was behind me all the way since the inception of the very idea for this book. I cried tears of joy as I held this beautiful book in my hands for the first time. I don't think it's possible to describe how precious this book is to me. My Dad wrote his memoirs for me before he passed away and this book is a culmination of those special words, his life in photographs and the love I had for my Dad all poured into it's pages.
The title is gold foil embossed on to distressed leather to give it an old book feel. And that is actually Dad's handwriting (yes he had the most elegant writing!). My beautiful, talented friend Courtney took his handwriting and converted it in to a digital font for the cover of the book for me.
It's impossible to ever show how gorgeous anything in print is online but I hope from these photos you can get a sense of the book's quality, the crisp pages, the rich colours of the photos and the detail.
I printed two copies of this book (that was all I could afford haha!); one to sit pride of place on the bookshelf in our lounge and the other a 'library' copy to lend to family, friends and those who knew Dad that might like to read his biography. I've made an old fashioned library card for the front of it for readers to sign and date which I think will be a fun record.
I was a little sad when I sent this book to the printers because it was the end of a five year project with my Dad. I almost didn't want it to end. But today was a very happy day to receive the finished book and hold it in my hands. I don't think I've been more proud of any project ever. I had no real reason to do this project, I did it just because and I did it purely for myself. In the process I have gained so much and I feel like I finally know what that photographer at conference meant when he spoke of the importance of personal projects.
This is a video of me unboxing the books today if you want to see me get all emotional! 😭
Warning; I might have sworn once...🤭