Saal Digital Photo Book
After a summer working on the production of the zine BARDO: Summer of '20 with my colleagues at New Exit Group, I really got into the flow of curating, sequencing and creating print media. Looking at your images as part of a larger body of work rather than images in isolation is extremely useful in helping to create cohesion and develop narratives throughout your work.
The practice of curation and sequencing is incredibly important, especially if you are planning on working on your own photo book, or even simply on your own portfolio. There will undoubtedly be commonality and themes running through your work, and it is often the case that you may not have even noticed these. With platforms like Instagram becoming where a huge number of people consume the vast majority of their photography or art, we often become too focused on the single image - the big hitter - rather than the story told across a sequence of numerous images. We have become used to the equivalent of skipping the movie to the climax and just watching that one, high octane scene out of context, rather than watching and enjoying the whole thing.
I really enjoy looking through a series of images and figuring out how different sequencing can tell a story in a different way, so when Saal Digital offered me the chance to print a photo book to test their product range, I jumped at the opportunity! I was actually looking to produce a physical portfolio for myself in order to show to potential publishers, clients and agencies, so this felt somewhat serendipitous.
I had been gifted a £100 voucher to use on any of Saal Digital's photo book range, and I decided that rather than spread this over 2 or 3 smaller books, I was going to blow the whole thing on 1 single Professional Line book, approximately A4 size with an acrylic front cover and black leather spine. I opted for the "high end matte print" finish and added a few extra pages to use up the majority of the credit that I had.
Above: the thick acrylic front cover of the Saal Digital Professional Line books.
First of all, I had to download Saal's design software. I use a Mac and the software was simple to download and install. It is also incredibly easy to use and make amendments on the go. Once I had designed the complete book, I simply added it to my cart, applied the voucher code and waited for a few days until my shiny new book arrived at my door.
The quality is absolutely superb. The paper is nice and thick, and the fibrous stock works extremely well with the grain of 35mm film. I purposely selected both digital images as well as digitised film images to see if there was a noticeable difference between the 2 formats. The image below shows a close up zoom of a black and white film image on the left and a colour digital image on the right so you can come to your own conclusions based on your preferences.
The front cover of this book is a thick piece of acrylic which not only protects the book itself, but it also has the effect of creating a little bit of drama. I think this is a nice touch, but feel like this is a bit of a trend or fad that will be out of fashion fairly soon.
Above: an image that spreads across the centre fold facilitated by the lay flat book.
I'd like to thank Saal Digital for sending me this voucher, and if you're after high quality print for something like a portfolio or a wedding album, then I would highly recommend using their service.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article! If you enjoyed my photographs here please consider following me on Instagram! I buy all of my film from Analogue Wonderland. You can find the debut zine from my collective, New Exit Group, at this link here.