I have been a member of the Photographic Society of America for three years now. They have a number of competitions and portfolio evaluations that I would love to take part in, but I cannot figure out their hierarchical system to enter the contests. This year, I spotted a photography book contest that did not seem to require a collection of previous badges of honor. I entered, and earned Honorable Mention, and a few badges I don’t know how to use.
I assembled my book using BookWright, a free desktop layout software that has a number of easy-to-use book and magazine templates. I downloaded the app from blurb.com, prepared my book, then I uploaded it on that same site for printing. The whole process was very easy and intuitive.
The physical book, which I named “Chloropast” based on my portfolio with the same name, is an 8X10 hardcover that contains 24 photographs of botanical subjects in black and white. Except for an introduction in the beginning and the usual “about the author” in the end, the only text in the book is the title of each picture and the year when it was taken. Printing with a hardcover to enter the contest cost me a total of $55 dollars. Blurb allows you to generate an e-book and a pdf version of your printed book. I paid $4.99 for my pdf, and if I wanted an e-book, I would have to pay about $9.99 additional.
I will be distributing a link to the pdf version of my book to all those who ask for it. If you would like a free copy, please shoot me a message through the contact form saying that you want a copy.
Why did I spend money entering a book contest to get badges I don’ know how to use? Well, I thought it was going to be a good experience. During the process, I had to make many decisions about what to write, which photos to choose, in which sequence to present them, all of which required decisions and skills that I had not exercised before. I have learned a lot in the process.
I did like the experience of compiling a photography project and I love having the physical book to browse over. When I am tired of looking at it, I might give it to a family member or friend, as an especial, and very personal, gift.