This workshop took place in the light-filled top floor media room within the fine art media department at the National College of Art & Design. We were invited to devise a workshop that would cater for a large group with varied work and limited time (two full days, spilling over into a third morning binding session in the studio). We were also aware of the fact that some of the students had never encountered a photobook before and were unfamiliar with the medium and its many functions and forms. A collaborative workshop seemed to be the most suitable format, getting the students to work together, discuss, and shape their books through conversation and experimentation. Editing and sequencing was a main focus, getting the students to let go of any links they had to their individual images and to work together to build new narratives and associations. Working in fours each group began from the same starting point and with same pool of images. The three books below show the three very different routes each group took, and the three very different books which came as a result.

Day One kicked off with a short introduction to Read That Image; why we started, what we do, projects we've worked on, etc. We watched a couple of videos from the Paris Photo Interview Series and got hands on with some books and zines we brought along for the students to see. After a quick coffee break we got stuck in. The students broke into groups of four and each with the same stack of work prints, began the process of editing their selection. Soon we moved from table to wall and the students began to sequence their selections; discussing, debating, agreeing, disagreeing, teasing out their opening sequence. Lunch. Fed and refueled we did one final sequencing session before moving the images from wall to maquette. Playing with sequence and placement, thinking about size and layout, each group fleshed out their dummy maquettes and soon images were being dropped into InDesign documents. 

Day Two began with an introduction to printing, binding and book finishing, and how each decision made will affect the reading of the finished book. Using the collection of books we brought on Day One we talked through the different possibilities, strategies and methods that are available when at the finishing stages of a book project...from hand-bound limited edition zines to 1,000 copy offset print runs. Final tweaks were made to the InDesign documents and then we took a trip to A4 Art for cover stock and other materials. Lunchtime. After lunch and a serious case of technical hiccups with the printer we printed out the dummies back in RTI HQ and cut down our covers. Pages were scored, some folded, and one book was bound before we ran out of time. The final binding took place on Day Three.

Day Three picked up where day two left off. As always some re-printing and re-trimming was necessary, new covers cut down and some pages added. Then with all our dummies printed and scored, all that was left was for them to be sliced and stitched. Once each book was trimmed the students got going on clamping their book blocks to the covers and punching holes with their awls, and then the stitching race began. Fueled by endless cups of tea we had five finished hand-bound books by lunchtime. All the books made over the three days can be seen below.



where is my group?

Rebecca Jordan / Zak Milofsky / Rory Morris / Anna Szafranska

  • Soft-cover, title hand-typed on typewriter
  • Saddle-stitched
  • 122mm x 180mm
  • 20 pages
  • 18 images


Rachel Fowler / Eimhin Joyce / Magda Kaczmarska / Milena Matejko

  • Soft-cover
  • Two hand-bound booklets, saddle stitched, glued to cover
  • Cover: 148mm x 210mm Inside booklets: 122mm x 180mm
  • 40 pages
  • 21 images


Lua Flannery / Stephen Hackett Delaney / James Turner / Sophia Vigne Welsh

  • Soft cover
  • Singer stitched, swiss bound
  • 190mm x 250mm
  • 32 pages
  • 23 images