At Last.. A Book

Well its that time again.. hand in time! Felt pretty good to have been able to produce a piece of work like this, I really enjoyed making a book and putting the whole thing together. Lets just say its not as easy as it looks!






Looking into Book Layouts

So I thought it was best to start researching into book layouts, I’m going to design mine on InDesign but just have no clue how to lay it out. Here’s some of my inspirations so far..




I quite like the more simple designs, the ones with smaller text and less images. I think for my final book piece the less I have on the pages will suite my narrative. The spreads that have a photo over two pages are quite nice as well, they make a statement.


What do you guys think?

Anastasia Taylor-Lind ‘The National Womb’

Having found it quite hard to find photography that involves documenting around pregnancy and birth i stumbled across the work of Anastasia’s.

The following information is about the body of work taken from her website:

The series of images from ‘The National Womb’ are in connection with the “birth encouragement program” introduced in 2008, it distributes cash payments to newlyweds for each baby born, this is to repoulate the region after the effects the 1991-1994 had left.

The conflict started when the Soviet Union collapsed. Nagorno Karabakh’s ethnic Armenians went to war with Azerbaijan, backed by neighboring Armenia. The war left 65,000 ethnic Armenians and a further 40,000 ethnic Azeris displaced. The Muslim Azeri population never returned, and neither did many of the Armenians who had fled. While a ceasefire was declared in 1994, there has been no peace settlement yet between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

On the 2nd of September this year, Nagorno Karabakh celebrated 20 years of independence, yet remains unrecognized by the international community. Life is not easy in the republic. There is high unemployment, low salaries, few opportunities and the young continue to leave in search of better futures abroad.

Since its introduction 4 years ago, the “birth encouragement program” is credited for an increased birthrate of 25.5% from 2145 recorded births in 2007 to 2694 in 2010. The program is administered by the Department of Social Security which oversees the payments to married couples of approximately €575 (300,000 ad) at their wedding. They are paid €190 (100,000 ad) for the first baby born, €380 (200,000 ad) for the second, €950 (500,000 ad) for the third and €1350 (700,000 ad) for a fourth. Families with 6 children under the age of 18 are given a house.

Nagorno Karabakhs baby boom was also sparked in 2008 by a mass wedding on the 16th October that was held for 674 couples. The event was funded by private donations from several wealthy Armenian diaspora businessmen including Levon Hairapetian and Ruben Vardanian and couples who participated receive privately funded higher payments of €1400 ($2000) for the mass wedding, €1400 ($2000) for the first child, €3500 ($5000) for the second and increasing amounts up to €70,000 ($100,000) for the seventh. Figures on the 1st July 2011 show that a total of 693 babies had been born to these mass wedding couples so far. These payments are quite substantial in a region where the average monthly salary is €35 ($50).

Family life in Nagorno Kharabak is deeply traditional and conservative. When women marry they are expected to live with the husbands family and stay at home to raise children and care for their mother and father-in-law. Even within the home men and women live parallel but separate lives. A mans role is to provide for the family financially and fathers play only a small part in child rearing. So, what of the young women who are being paid to increase their nations population, the communities of expectant and young mothers and their daily struggles as women in this unrecognized republic??



What I found most interesting about Anastasia’s work was her ability to really be just a ‘fly on the wall’ when she takes her photographs, they have a documentary aspect to them whilst being very specific in what she wants to show. I think she does an excellent job in reflecting on the back story to her body of work. The images are predominantly focussing on the women, there is a lack of men within the frame, this highlights their absence and lack of involvement with the birth. The photograph above of the women in the hospital bed, all in the same room with their children could suggest their solitude together as women, they have had the same experience of birth and are lacking support from their partner. The fact that they are all in the same room and not in confined separate areas also highlights the high volume of women giving birth. What also particularly stands out to me in the image of the lady giving birth is that she has been careful with her cropping and selectivity of what she is showing to the viewer, it is enough for us to understand what is going on but not enough to be too graphic.

I suggest anyone interested to have a further look into her other projects!



Self Publishing Talk

Thursday 20th February 2014

We had an interesting lecture regarding ways to get your work shown to the big wide world – the key being self publishing.

The idea of making a book does seem very daunting but I’m also looking forward to being able to create an actual ‘object’ to show, in this talk we was shown the different ways of making a book and how you can get really creative with it. There were lots of different examples of books etc to look at..


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Ranging from carefully crafted spines, zine type books to tiny tiny books it was interesting to see how creative you can get when self publishing your work. We have a book binding workshop on the 28th February which will be great to finally see a way to make a book and hopefully learn lots of new skills.


Midwife Visit with Jo

Wednesday 5th February

I was lucky enough to accompany Jo to one of her visits to the midwife at her local doctor surgery which was really nice to see all the check ups and procedures that are taken (measuring the baby bump, listening to heartbeat, general checks). During the visit I just snapped away as the midwife was doing her checks etc, I wasn’t allowed to include the midwife’s face in the photo which actually worked out well because the visit and my project is all about Jo, so the photos are thoroughly focussed on her. I wanted to experiment with using different angles when taking the photos, predominantly focussing on Jo and her beautiful baby bump. I’m really chuffed that Jo allowed me to come with her, afterwards I felt like i’d been able to document something even more personal to her which is going to be great to include in my final piece.

Here’s a contact sheet of images from the day:



Thursday 13th February – Narrative Review

Overall my review for my digital piece went well, we had to talk about our theme, stratagies we used, experimentation and presentation of the video.

With regards to improving my digital piece to make it even better the comments i got were as follows:

– sort out the sound to make sure it all matches, make it cleaner and flowing

– add more audio and photos to make it longer

– take out my voice from the piece completely, make it specifically about Jo

– double check the transitions to make sure they flow


Plan for the next few weeks.. 

– have a back up plan for narrative book piece as idea is not reliable

– keep shooting photos

– carry on research

– organise time effectively for deadline as I will miss out on a week due to work experience

– go to InDesign workshops to see how a book can be put together

– research book types to suit my theme

Jo’s House with Interview

Following the midwife visit with Jo I felt it would be a good opportunity to take photos of her in her own house and to hear a bit more about her own experience of pregnancy. I decided to record the questions that I asked her so that I could use the sound for my video.

Some of the questions were:

– What has been the most memorable thing about your pregnancy so far and why?

– Have you got any baby names ready?

– Is there anything you want your achieve when she is older?

– Is there anything you think is going to majorly change for you after the birth?

The photos I took of Jo in her house range from her showing me the baby’s room to reflecting on her self in the mirror.


Jo’s Baby Shower

Sunday 26th January 

I made my travels back to Orpington to meet Jo for the first time, having not met Jo before I was a bit scared she would change her mind and not want me at the baby shower, but she was in fact really inviting and keen on the idea. Arriving at Jo’s house after driving back from Farnham I was pretty shaky. How was I going to go about this? Was everyone going to think I was strange taking photos? Would anyone mind me being there? When I first walked in it was so overwhelming, a lady opened the door and greeted me with a big smile welcoming me in, lots and lots of women were in the sitting room chatting and laughing, then emerged Jo from a crowd of people greeting me with a hug and assured me to make myself at home.

Okay so there I was in this house.. full of women and children… not knowing anyone.. wow I had really thrown myself in the deep end. But I started to talk to people, lots of Jo’s family and friends were there and they were all very chatty and interested in my project, after a while it felt natural me being there taking photographs. It was also a really nice chance for me to start and get to know Jo as a person, I’m really looking forward to showing the progression of my project.

Here’s a section of my contact sheet of photos from the baby shower..