Kudos to Peter Eastway for creating two of the five finalist books in the 2018 AIPP Australian Professional Photography Book Award, but it was his inkjet printed limited edition, Middlehurst | Middle Earth that earned a Gold Distinction and the crown. The judge’s felt it was “an absolute standout … a work of art … a real masterpiece.” We agree that it was the complete package, with exceptional photography, a simple sophisticated design and production values that did the photographs justice. Read on to learn more about what the judges thought, and how to put together an award-winning photo book from the master himself.
How many photos did you start with and how many made the cut?
I shot about 10,000 exposures over four visits which was cut down to 46 for the book. When I’m in the air, I shoot lots because there’s rarely a second opportunity and the landscape and light are so variable from year to year. My motto, “Shoot now, edit later!”
How do you approach sequencing?
Sequencing varies, depending on subject matter. For Middlehurst I started and finished with black and whites. The opening shot is of sheep, so it also made sense to include more sheep throughout the book, to continue the flow and establish a theme. In the middle, it’s all about keeping the reader excited to continue turning the pages, that’s why the book is big with plenty of double page spreads. My wife Kathie is the best sequencer ever – she has an innate understanding of what works from years of being a book designer and looking at other books.
Does a photo book need text?
It depends. For Middlehurst, the introductory text was all that was needed to put my portfolio of images into context. I didn’t include captions this time but I do like captions as they give the viewer context. Without context, the viewer can misinterpret your message That’s completely appropriate for some art projects but if you want people to relate to what you’re doing, write something – a photograph is only worth a thousand words when it’s in context!
How do you decide whether to present one or more images per page?
I put my finger up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing! We all have a database of ideas and experiences, so I tap into that. I look at the photos, move them around a bit, balance shapes, tones and colours, or set important photos alone. I crop photos because I can – as I see the book as a separate expression to the original files.
What’s your theory on images that span across the gutter?
I have no problems with photos spanning the gutter. Some books have a curved gutter, some are lay-flat with just a crease or line of stitches, but all of these are invisible to me when I’m looking at a book. You do have to be mindful with positioning your photos though so you don’t lose the subject in the depths of a gutter!
Why did you choose inkjet instead of digital offset printing?
All the photos were taken on a Phase One XF or A-Series 100mp camera with Schneider and Rodenstock lenses. You can’t get better quality equipment and the resulting medium format files are amazing. Image quality is part of the aesthetic in my work, it’s just as important as exposure, light, gesture, mood and composition, so I wanted the viewer to see the photos up big and with as much tonality and colour as possible. The answer was a big inkjet printed book – an output quality which is the same as my exhibition prints.
Were any hobbits harmed in the creation of this book?
Unfortunately, there was some collateral damage. Many pixels have been removed from the New Zealand landscape forever and can now only be found in this book.
View the book
Watch the video as we flick through the pages here or step through each page by clicking the image below.
What did the APPA 2018 judge’s think?
Watch the judging video from 17 mins 26 seconds.
Peter Eastway Photography
See more of Peter’s award-winning imagery at petereastway.com.
Buy a copy of Middlehurst | Middle Earth
If you like what you see, grab a copy at betterphotography.com.au.
Create your own limited edition book
Produce your own fine-art photo book with Momento Pro.
For photo book design assistance from the Eastways email here.
And yes, if you’re wondering, Momento Pro printed both Middlehurst |Middle Earth and The New Traditions (Premium Edition) so we’re officially biased!