Anatomy of an Island
Producing a photography book: Rick Medlock interview
Rick Medlock won Gold in the series category of last year's My Back Yard: 3 LPA competition. You may remember reading our interview with him
at the time. The Coventry-based photographer has now produced a book of the "Anatomy of an Island" images and we caught up with him to find out how he went about it.
The images which won My Back Yard: 3 were from a set of images about Coventry City Centre entitled "Anatomy of an Island". Rick says that winning the award strengthened his confidence, enabling him to take the final step towards producing the books. "The images had already been given great marks on my college course," says Rick, "so, when they also won the LPA award, I felt confident that they really were as good as I thought they were! It's hard to be objective about your own work, and photography is such a difficult market. Winning the award gave me the boost I needed."
Rick had previously produced a run of 50 books entitled "You're Very Welcome", featuring images of his local pub and its regulars. This project enabled him to learn about desktop publishing and gave him an idea of the financial side of producing his own books.
"For the "Subways and Bridges" book," Rick explains, "I approached a local printer who agreed to give me £100 off the price of printing if I'd put his logo on the back cover. I then sold the back cover as advertising space to a number of local companies. In just two days of asking around, I'd raised £1300 in this way. Before the book was even out, one of the advertisers had some business from it - just from someone seeing the mock-up of the back page!
"You then need to get an ISBN code and bar code, which cost about £175 and £15 respectively. All in all, I'd say it cost about £2000 to produce the first book. I'm selling them for £10 and am rolling out the marketing slowly. I think that a project like this appeals on various levels - it's a social documentary, it captures a four-year period of a City, it can be used as a guide-book and the images are artistic. I predict that in five or 10 years time, there will be extra interest in the images as a social documentary of a time gone by.
"What has the biggest challenge been?"I need more publicity for the book," admits Rick. "I've tried various outlets locally and my advice to anyone else would be persistence. For instance, I got the local Borders bookshop here in Coventry to stock the book simply by asking, and Friswell's Picture Gallery gave me free rental of their space (they said that this project has driven their biggest-ever footfall through the gallery).
"It's the same with getting the £1300 sponsorship - I just asked. Some people won't want to support projects like this, but it will capture the imagination of some and those people will see its worth, whether that's locally or nationally. You need to keeping asking for support so that you find those people."
Rick is holding a book-signing at Borders in Coventry on Saturday 14 June and the "Anatomy of an Island" book and award-winning images can be purchased and viewed at Friswell’s Picture Gallery 223 Albany Road Earlsdon, Coventry CV5 6NF. The book can also be purchased on line direct from Rick Medlock-LightWorks at www.trickym.demon.co.uk priced £10.00 plus postage and packaging. Part Two - City Centre (ISBN 978-0-9559345-1-3) will be released towards the end of the year and Part Three – Refurbishment at some time in the future.
For further information, please contact Rick Medlock-LightWorks on 07941 985925 or firstname.lastname@example.org