Two weeks ago I started working on a book project about my aviation photos. You can catch up by reading the blogpost I wrote earlier.

I don’t want this book to be just a random collection of photos I made over the years. It doesn’t necessarily have to tell a story either, but there needs to be a certain flow to it. It has to make sense when you flip through the pages. That’s why I had the final selection of images printed and delivered by a local supermarket. Pretty handy since all shops are still closed in Belgium.

I have experimented with self publishing in the past and I always found it difficult to sequence on a computer. With the images printed I could lay them open on the floor and start switching them around. First I paired the obvious ones and then added to that. Slowly a pattern started to emerge and I ended up with 7 main parts. These are not parts in the sense of classical themes, they’re rather visual themes. After the sequence I had a couple of shots that I didn’t end up using so the selection was further trimmed to the very best.

The books I have in my mind has a certain class. It’s again not just some photos. I want it to have a certain standard of quality and design. To get to that point I had to start with a plain ‘photo only’ version. It’s the basis on which I could add certain elements as text and design. Now I could also virtually browse through the book and see if my sequencing felt right.

With the basis right it was time to add the first building block; the cover. I didn’t miss a career in graphic design as I made probably 10 different designs ranging from bad to absolute shit. Luckily Adobe Spark made the process more comfortable since it offers a wide range of templates on which you can build your own personal design. After trying and retrying I ended up with a cover design that works well with how I envisioned the book. It shows what the book is about and it’s minimal and stylish. You can see the evolution from the first try to what I have now in the album below.

An important part of the cover design is the title. I had a work title while designing the cover but it became very clear that this would not be the final one. Just when I thought that book design was difficult I get this thrown on my plate. I’m still undecided but I’m leaning towards ‘Chasing Clouds’. It sounds right, it has a meaning that makes sense to me, it fits the subject and the words work in the cover design that I made. It’s not written in stone yet so in the end it might be a completely different title after all…

I already realized that a photo book without any text would be quite boring and feedback only confirmed my assumptions. I absolutely don’t want any captions to go with the photos. Most of them are made in the air so the locations don’t matter and in every photo it is obvious what is happening. Yet, the pictures don’t tell much of the backstory. So after a long thought I decided to write a few anecdotes about how some of the pictures came to be. They focus on how I got into aviation photography and what I find important (the people, adventure, etc.). I’ll pair them up with matching quotes about flying.

When I finally feel that the book looks and feels like I want it to, I’ll have two versions made. One in 20x25cm with uncoated paper and a matte hardcover and one in a larger magazine style finish. My heart goes out to the book, but I want to be sure of the print quality on both, also for future projects.

This project started out as a way of coping with quarantine and the fact that this year will be a hiatus in my aviation work (and unfortunately also in travel it seems). But I’m surprised that quite some people are interested in this project and even want to support it. So I’ll probably make it available for purchase which makes this quality control all the more important.

I’m not yet sure how I’ll sell it, but I will definitely post it on this blog when it’s up for sale.

Thoughts, comments, questions? Let me know in the comment section below.

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  1. Great idea printing the images, in order to better visualize the sequence they will appear in the book and shuffle them around.
    Also your decision to ” So after a long thought I decided to write a few anecdotes about how some of the pictures came to be. They focus on how I got into aviation photography and what I find important (the people, adventure, etc.). I’ll pair them up with matching quotes about flying.” looks very promising.

    Can’t wait for the book


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