Sequencing a Photobook

Think about making brownies, to make brownies you would need

  • Instructions
  • Ingredients

Similarly with a photobook you will need ingredients ie photos, covers and a good concept)

What makes food exciting?

  • Different ingredients 
  • Trying something new

Like a photobook

Michel Roux Jr: what makes him a good chef?

  • Practise 
  • Formal training
  • Constantly checking his food
  • Tries his and others food

“Sequencing the photobook is not a science, it’s an art” – Gerry Badger

Michel Roux Jr has gained intuition and has a tried and tested method something an author of a photobook should have.

Photobooks are separate from films (that have narratives) they don’t necessarily have a beginning, middle and end.

Kinds of Narratives:

Arch: what we think of for a film normal than there is a peak. 

Tzvetan Todorov states Equilibrium, disruption, recognition of disruption, attempted t restore disruption, restored or new equilibrium.

Film: Juno

  • Equilibirum: boyfriend and school.
  • Disruption: Became pregnant
  • Recognition: Understand/accepting
  • Restoration: Adoption
  • Restored: Baby given up for adoption and continues with boyfriend happily.


  • Might seem disorganised 
  • Common in photobooks
  • Allows chapters
  • Different ideas

The past three kinds of narratives don’t give the reader to come away with.

Scattered: message is very subtle, input is needed to get message across, usually is dotted throughout the book.

Alec Sloth described his work as a scattered narrative.

Layout and Design


If you saw a photo of a man sleeping you wouldn’t think much of it but paired with a photo of a bird in the sky you might think he is dreaming or it is the morning.

Similarly a photo of broken glass is really a photo of broken glass but paired with a photo of a man carrying a TV you might believe it was a robbery.

Rhythm and Flow doesn’t need to be image followed by image etc.

Think about paper colour and texture

Rests: it is good to give rests either blank pages or more open spaced images or change of scenery or change of ideas in the images.

Motifs: something that is recurring in the idea of the images.

Text: additional information, but it might change understanding of images.

When editing and sequencing think:

  • What am I doing?
  • What is my message?
  • Who am I targeting?
  • What is my structure?

We looked at Nathan Pearce’s Midwest Dirt and were grouped up and did our own sequence within it. Image


Matt Johnston’s Work

  • Did a media production degree 
  • Soon into his degree he realised he preferred the medium of photography.
  • Used film, particularly medium format
  • Film allowed him to slow down and think about what he was taking a photo of.
  • Always interested in Mondrian’s work with lines and structure in it.
  • Looked at where light fell in an image

He like looking at

  • the home
  • light
  • shapes and light
  • night images
  • (he realised after looking back of the photos he took at university) trees
  • man altered landscape

He constantly made images everyday and wasn’t too concerned with fitting briefs.

He started making more commercial images and worked with a program on channel four called Wild Things (2009). Then worked for a magazine called ‘Build It’ He built himself up from working for nothing to then have the highest  pay and having a front cover article.

“Give them what they want but take what you need”

He liked the book Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger was about secondary school football matches on Friday nights where 20,000 people would turn up. He read the book in the second year of his degree. He wanted to go to Texas, which he did, but he couldn’t afford a hotel so ‘couch surfed’. He made portraits of the people he met along the way but also lots of buildings.

Current Project: The BBC released a website called Crash which where the most dangerous roads were listed. The most dangerous road is the A537 or ‘Cat and Fiddle’ the Blue Lagoon is along that road, it is beautiful (like the scenery on the road) but is deadly (like the road). This current project is on both these but mainly the road, he will also go to the pub on the road and take photos of those in the pub on a white sheet.



It was clear that the images that worked best were the images that had hints of the UK in them, such as a red bus or a red post box. Overall they liked the idea.

Also they felt there was a lot of ideas, which was good, but maybe narrow down a little more.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s