Assignment 4.2 Light in the Shadows of T’ien Shan

Light in the Shadows:
Book Concept

My concept for this book was to start with monochrome abstraction. Partly because I was really struck by the light and shadows in what I saw – the light had a particular clarity from the altitude in the sunlight. That is somewhat lost in colour. Partly because I know that monochrome styles are popular in Kyrgyzstan and ex-Soviet countries, and that many of the images are well-suited to this style. Partly because processing the images in different monochrome styles can improve my understanding of the images for clearer colour composition and processing.

I am interested in experimenting and getting feedback from different audiences on different moods and treatment possibilities:

  • Dramatic abstract light/shadow contrast.
  • Soft misty mystery
  • Grungy textures.
  • Fragility of thin delicate lines
  • Nostalgia.

As well as giving a feel for life in Baizakh.

I still need to decide whether to add text, where and how – based on audience input and relationship to the final more documentary colour book version. Possibly this might draw on Japanese/Chinese styles.


Influence Lithuanian photography, Atget/Brassai Paris and Photobook from Kettles Yard.

Japanese and Chinese photobooks.

!! Insert pages from Photobook logbook

Baizakh Black and White: original
Blurb 2017

The Original Blurb book for Landscape Photography done in Lightroom Book module. !! need to do annotations. This was printed as a hardcover landscape format photobook on Prolene Pearl paper. Text was limited to the inside flap of the back cover. 25x20cm 42 pages costing currently around £35 without discount or postage – probably around £20. Print quality was generally good, but the photos lacked depth or texture and were sometimes too dark, and the layout was not very inspired.

Light in the Shadows of T’ien Shan 1:
Landscape format Black and White

Revised landscape version with re ordering of photos, processing in Silver FX to give more targeted detail and contrast. 25x20cm 42 pages costing currently around £35 without discount or postage – probably around £20. I left out the photos of people. But needs more consistency and better juxtaposition.

!! slideshow needs to be annotated. These look much darker at smaller size.

Light in the Shadows of T’ien Shan 2:
Square format black and white

This version is inspired by the Kettles Yard book with much more subtle light and shade and more abstraction. The abstraction is enhanced by using square images in square format with large white margin, and careful juxtaposition of images. Focus is on landscape and textures.

18 cm square, 62 pages with hard cover and image wrap on premium lustre paper is £30 without discount or postage. So £20 with Blurb discount offer and small profit margin.

Light in the Shadows
of T’ien Shan 3:
Square format sepia

Inspired by Lithuania book. But I could make these images more contrasty and textured as sepia images. With slight duo-toning. Contrasting warm and cool. 18 cm square 66 pages £30 around £20 with Blurb discount offer and small profit margin.

Feedback so far

There seems generally to be a preference for the sepia images.

I now plan to do a detailed analysis in a logbook of the images and book layouts in sources I have looked at:

Lithuanian photography

  • Atget/Brassai Paris
  • ‘Light Spells’ photobook from Kettles Yard, Cambridge.
  • Japanese and Chinese photobooks.

I am particularly interested in:

  • how far they follow one particular style/mood and whether and how they vary the mood between pages and spreads
  • use of whitespace around and between images, including use of blank pages
  • whether, how and where they use captions
  • how and where they give other information sbout the publication – what is explicit and what is implicit and left to the viewer
  • which approaches I find most effective in communicating mood, beauty and particularly provoking questions about what I am looking at.

This feedback pdf will be added to as I get more input, and it will be attractively laid out. Currently I have left some black pages. Please ignore these.