How does the juxtaposition of photographs within a book create meaning, imply narrative, or generate poetic associations? What kind of visual relationships can be made between images?

“The photobook is a text in which the principle carrier of meaning is the photographic sequence contained between its covers. If one photograph is a word, it’s by putting it into a sequence with others that sentences and paragraphs are created. Reading a photobook is firstly about appreciating the aesthetic worth of the individual photographs within the book. Secondly, it’s about following the story that’s being told, negotiating not only a trail of facts, but a labyrinth of signs and symbols.” So I think what [Gerry] Badger implies is that while individual images are very important, they can exist not only as individual facts, but when joined together they become something else, something more than what they depict, something symbolic. – Christian Patterson

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Mostly what I’m looking for are relationships between pictures that I hadn’t planned on that I discover in the editing process. You can take these squares and shuffle them like a deck of cards and lay them out and look and see what happens, scoop them up, reshuffle them, and lay them out [again].

One of the first types of juxtapositions that I found in my own work was when I had taken basically the exact same photograph in two different places . . . I found that this is actually the least interesting type of relationship. These kind of juxtapositions for me don’t hold up over time and in fact they kind of cancel each other out. Sometimes there would be a graphic relationship. Sometimes a kind of fictional narrative would come out. Sometimes something totally goofy. I found that the best juxtapositions had a sort of “hovering” quality.

A photograph like the image here on the bottom really only makes sense in the sequence of the book, where it follows the picture on the top. The split image in the middle, between the reflection of the tree and the reflection of the sky, leads you through the book in a visual way, as it follows the picture of the contrasting tones in the back of the landscape on the top of the picture. – Jason Fulford

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This feeling of being carried by the photographs is very powerful and I don’t know if I’ve been able to access that since, but there’s a certain intuition that came with taking these pictures. And if you look at the book it’s very straightforward, all the pictures are the same size and it’s quite small. I wanted all the photographs to be of equal weight, on the same scale, and they’re all square, which helps, and the design is very simple because there’s so much nuisance and noise going on inside the photographs that I wanted some sort of organizational method to clean it up and make it quiet.

Trying to contemplate what this notion of history is, and this notion of place, and how things are constantly shifting. Within the book I did this thing where you’ll see the deer and then a few pages later they’ll run, so again this repeating motif that happens over time that is completely suitable for the book format. – Danielle Mericle

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