4.2 Cuckoos at Dawn: outsider in a Kyrgyz village

Book concept

The original Photobook brought together a selection of photos based on what I thought were immediately attractive or provocative images from my outsider perspective – beauty of the mountains and light at dawn and sunset, distinctive textures and colours of gates, dramatic weather, some people, animals and plastic pollution. The photographs were all spontaneous images taken in snatched times of day fitted around my consultancy work, so early morning, lunchtime break and late afternoon. There was no possibility because of transport to add on any time specifically for photography and a more purposive documentary with informal interviews, planned portraits etc.

The idea for the new book was to focus much more explicitly on the photograph series as a basis for asking questions about the meaning of what I was seeing in terms of village life in Kyrgyzstan and get information and text from people from the village and also development agencies in Kyrgyzstan. To produce a publication with distinctive photographs (unlike the general run of tourist photos) and more unusual/provocative text that could be of interest to people in development agencies, internationally and in Kyrgyzstan itself (translated to Kyrgyz) and a socially interested tourist audience.

I would select the photographs on that basis, using digital processing in Photoshop and InDesign layout to make the images work instead of just selecting ‘easy’ images. Drawing inspiration for designers like Dave Carson and Dan Eldon as well as photographers.

Developing a collaborative workflow using Adobe Connect (for initial feedback in English) and Facebook (to enable multilingual feedback discussion with more people in Kyrgyzstan through Google Translate).

Cost: Blurb, standard paper. About GBP15 cost price gives 64 pages with some allowance for postage. Possibilities of cheaper bulk printing? How much might people pay? Need to make sure the text and images are attractive and unusual enough. And market can be large enough. Maybe as a charity publication to get funding for Women’s Associations?

Baizakh revisited:
review of original colour photobook

The original colour book ‘Baizakh’ was put together quite quickly as part of my initial learning process in Lightroom, using Lightroom layout templates exported to Blurb. This enabled very rapid experimentation and a reasonably consistent look. Although my experience of digital processing in Lightroom was also very rudimentary at that time.

My first step was therefore to go through each spread in detail in the light of what I had subsequently learned about Book Design, and also digital processing of more problematic photos from the camera. Combined with ideas from my background reading on Kyrgyzstan and reports on women and men’s visions and realities from the workshops I had been facilitating.

  • Baizakh Original Cover Full Spread
  • Baizakh Original Spreads Cover Front
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 0-1
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 2-3
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 4-5
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 6-7
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 8-9
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 10-11
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 12-13
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 14-15
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 16-17
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 18-19
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 20-21
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 22-23
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 24-25
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 26-27
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 28-29
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 30-31
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 32-33
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 34-35
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 36-37
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 38-39: Sunset
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 40-41
  • Baizakh Original Spreads 42-43

First redraft: Coloured Lives