With my upcoming gallery show, I had the idea of creating a coffee table style photo book. My vision, my reason for this book was to not only have an organized, printed documentation of a year-and-a-half in Garrett’s life, but to compile what I felt were the strongest images chosen from over 10,000 that were taken over the last 1.5 years. Up to this point most people would have only seen what I have either presented to the review board at school, or posted on my web site. There are so many other images that have never been seen that feel help define Garrett’s struggle with EB.
After finishing school I archived all of my images, holding onto only 4 & 5 star rated images totaling nearly 2000 images. From these I chose about 70 images that best represent 1.5 years in the life of Garrett. No easy task, believe me. Of the 70 to be chosen I already had 32 on my web site, a solid working edit. These 32 were chosen from over 150 to potentially be used in stringing a solid narrative together for my final presentation. There were so many other images that spoke of the peaceful moments, extremely painful and quiet moments, smiles, happiness, frustrations. Though these images weren’t being considered for a final edit of 21 images, at some point they would could be used as part of the larger story. This book is just that.
As I began laying out the book I found myself pondering how to arrange the images. One big photo essay? Chronological? By topic? I laid out all 150 working prints on the floor in my office and began organizing based on subject. Basketball, friends, family, bandaging, pain, portraits, outside, school. And then the idea came to me. Since the pages were being designed with 1-4 images on each, why not group them together to create interesting combinations based on shape and subjects listed above. I had recently been to the Ed Kashi exhibit at 50 Crows. Looking at his triptych series inspired me to approach this challenge differently. I now looked at these images in a whole new way. As I arranged the images on the pages, subbing images in and out, the groups started to take on a voice of their own, yet all still communicated Garrett’s story.
I am still working on the book almost as I type here. Images are being subbed in and out, new relationships being formed that I hadn’t seen before. The process is nearing completion. I am very happy with the choices that have been made. This book opens the door into the life of a boy with a debilitating disease, and grant access to some very personal, intimate, and in some cases heart breaking moments.
There will be no captions. The only text in the book will be an introduction, an excerpt from my final thesis paper, explaining the disease and my personal experience with Garrett, his family, and the disease, EB (epidermolysis Bullosa).