As we fast approach the deadline of the Unseen Dummy Award 2018, we are getting to know the jury members in a series of conversations. This week, we talk to the winner of the Unseen Dummy Award 2017, Małgorzata Stankiewicz, who joins this year’s panel. Małgorzata tells us about her experience of having her dummy, cry of an echo, transformed into a published book. Travelling with us to Moscow for Weekend with Unseen at Lumiere Brothers Centre, the photobook has received international attention already, prior to its launch this on the 2nd of August 2018. cry of an echo explores new threats brought to the existence of the Białowieża Forest, the last remaining primaeval forest in Europe, due to a recent change in legislation.
How did the project come about?
The project came together after I heard the news about the government-approved logging of the forest. I immediately began thinking about the best way to travel to Białowieża. The faint and perhaps naïve hope of being able to do something to stop the logging was the main force behind this project. I made a conscious effort to allow the project to develop in a very natural progression, very intuitively. All I knew was that I was extremely motivated to express myself as truthfully as possible and through that, share the works and raise awareness of this atrocity with as many people as possible.
As for the book itself, it was not until the late stages of the printing and post-printing experiments that I realised a photobook format would be most suitable for this project. I knew right away that it had to be full bleed and very simple. My boyfriend, Brian Paul Lamotte, who is an extremely talented graphic and book designer, helped me to create an InDesign file, suggested the typeface and gave me some hints as to where to look for binding instructions (YouTube!).
How did you collaborate with Lecturis publishers on realisation of the book?
We started by discussing possible paper alternatives. Trying to find the right paper was one of my main concerns, given the importance of the haptic but also the visual quality of the Japanese sumi-e paper used in the original handmade dummy. After some research, it became apparent that such paper is not readily available for offset printing so we decided to settle for Munken Print Cream 80g/m2 due to its uncoated surface, off-white tone and relative thinness.
What was the biggest challenge in translating a dummy into a book? And what went smoothly?
Probably trying to match the offset prints to the original proofs in the hand-made dummy without being able to see any test prints. Working myself as a fine art printer, what surprised me was the difference between (digital) fine art and offset printing. With the latter, one has very little influence on the tonal rendition of the files while printing. Being accustomed to a practically endless array of possible changes to the print, I didn’t anticipate how little could be done to the images while 'on press’. All the design negotiations with Paul van Mameren, the director of Lecturis, went really smoothly.
What advice would you give to anyone sending a book to a dummy competition?
My main advice would be to do some research into various competitions before submitting and decide which ones are most appropriate for your project. I also think it is important not to get discouraged if your book isn’t selected; after all, all contests and awards are subjective. What is important is to believe in the project and produce the best possible representation of how you envision the project within a book form.
Thank you, Małgorzata!
The launch of the photobook will take place on the 2nd of August at Bradwolff Projects in Amsterdam, more details here. And the deadline for the Unseen Dummy Award 2018 is the 10th of August 2018, apply here.