An introduction to a collaborative photobook
It’s all too easy to think of Covid-19 in the singular, but it has many histories and many geographies.
Please Adhere is a photobook produced by eight photographers working collaboratively. Our aim in producing the book is to indicate our responses, reactions, and feelings to the pandemic. Through our photography, we sought to explore how the pandemic has changed the ways we see the world.
Based in diverse locations – north/south; urban/rural; from a wide variety of backgrounds, -we photographed as individuals and brought our work to a weekly series of virtual group critiques and meetings sessions.
Although most of us did not know each other, it became apparent at the outset of our work that, with the exception of the making of the original images, a thorough collaboration in all aspects of the project would be our primary guiding principle. Our intention was always to produce a collection of images that best expressed our responses to our widely differing circumstances. In this way, sharing our individual images culminated in a collectively owned book.
We strived to combine different types of image to produce a cohesive whole. The only aspect of our work which remained in each of our individual hands were any minor post-processing adjustments to an image. Even then, we always agreed on the inclusion or exclusion of images as well as their sequencing and juxta-positioning, the format and length of the book, its layout and other aspects of design including text and fonts were collectively resolved and implemented.
“Some matchings were decided quickly, such as the two images by different photographers of cardboard memorials. Other spreads took longer to settle and some images needed to stand alone.”
“Images of hands provided a recurrent theme. Towards the end of the book, the hand from a statue points to gloves and masks on a washing line. These two pictures were taken by the same photographer but in different locations.”
“We placed some portraits with masks at the beginning of the book in order to ground it in these pandemic times. We paired one of these – a woman in a navy flowered mask– with an abstract of window markings, from which the head and shoulders of a figure with a similar colour palette, seemed to emerge.”
“Early on, we had a working title of “Through differing eyes”, inspired by a quote from Daniel Defoe in his 1722 book, A Journal of the Plague Year. We found his comments very prescient, but ultimately chose the title Please Adhere from one of our chosen images.”
“We took advice about how to successfully sequence images in a book. We used a mixture of mono and colour images and also carefully chose when to use full page spreads or smaller images.”
“As the project evolved and the pandemic continued, some of the more literal images of Covid were replaced with ones representing our emotional reaction to the crisis."
“The words are relatively few but important. They came out of our discussions. We aimed to create the mood of the book and to invite the viewer to react personally.”
“The sequencing of the images was improved by the application of eight minds. We were all editors and it worked for us; we were lucky because we gelled so well.”