Momento Pro established the Australia and New Zealand Photobook of the Year Award, and its earlier incarnations, to help antipodean photo artists produce publications and progress their photographic career. We’re proud to have now helped bring 10 new photo book titles to life including, A Sundance in Sandringham by Solomon Mortimer. This title was published by Mortimer and PhotoForum in March 2019, and the story behind-the-book is outlined below.
Mortimer was a double finalist in the New Zealand Photobook of the Year Award 2015 with F.16 G3 20/25/30 and When the sun sets your eyes change colour, co-created with his partner and dance artist Zahra Killeen-Chance. F.16 G3 20/25/30 was crowned winner of the Self-Published category and his prize included thousands of dollars print credit. This allowed him to produce A Sundance in Sandringham as a limited edition of 200 softcover books, in collaboration with PhotoForum.
What inspired you to create A Sun Dance In Sandringham?
I’m not really one to work in projects or with a clearly defined method. The emotional and rational decisions that drive my work are as much from the unconscious as the conscious. It has been eight years since I captured most of the photos and the archive was a tempting stack of hard drives, so I thought I might find some previously overlooked gems.
Finding a way to fit them together was an issue but I realised that it was through the geography of my childhood suburb that my photographs from this period seemed to make the most sense as a publication. The enthusiasm of Geoff Short and PhotoForum team was also inspiring. The lineage of iconic titles they have published has guided much of my photographic education.
I was hoping to show a slice of life from Sandringham suburbia meets family snaps and autobiographical imagery, to give the viewer an idea of what I was up to while skateboarding around the streets trying not to drop the camera.
How many images did start and end with, and what guided your selection?
2011 into the beginning of 2012 were particularly productive for me. So I initially narrowed it down to works that; had not been previously published, were in focus
and had the possibility to talk with the images I had already selected. This left a few hundred. From here I went through 4 or 5 mock ups over 6 months.
Trying to find a way to fit the work together was interesting, at least to me, and anyone who came over for coffee! It was hard, and I realised that the more time I spent away from the images, the harder it is to get back into the mindset of why I made them and how they fit together. The eye changes.
In an attempt to resolve this, I limited the images to being shot within the perimeter of Sandringham. This left roughly one hundred. Then once I cut out the weird ones that didn’t fit, and got close to 43, I cut the extras out and that was that. So there are 43 plates in the book. It’s an arbitrary number that I thought would make the book about the right thickness
How did you go about sequencing the images?
In addition to the above, I spent a lot of time reviewing on the computer. Physical prints are still the method I find the most helpful, however the scale of images often influences their strength, so the computer is helpful for that and saves paper.
I started it in July – August 2018 and it went to print in February 2019 which is quite a long time for me, as I usually find I need to print things quickly or I get confused about why I thought it was a good idea.
Did you work with an editor, designer or publisher?
This was a great opportunity to try new things as I had Geoff Short from PhotoForum as a guiding light and shadow critic. It was also the first time I had worked with a predetermined format, being the Momento Pro small perfect bound softcover format at 148 x 210.
I always have a list of go-to eyes, whose opinions I hold in high regard, and that is as close to having an editor as my books get. Design is done by me due to convenience and keeping the ‘creative voice’ consistent but I always like the idea of someone else doing it.
How are you distributing/selling the book?
PhotoForum sent a copy of A Sundance In Sandringham to all members as issue #90, but you can also buy a copy for NZ$40 at Photoforum online or at the Anna Miles Gallery.
If you feel inspired to self publish your own photo book edition, contact us at Momento Pro, and learn more about the photographer, his work and collaborators here: