Making Books: New and Upcoming Titles

The title of my blog is WalkClickMake. As the subtitle says, my goal is to explore the unlikely intersections of walking, photography and making.

One of those “unlikely intersections” is my growing collection of small, affordable books. Each volume is at the “making” end of a process that begins with a walk, leads to a collection of photographs and culminates in a personal essay.

WalkClickMake, the blog, is an integral part of the making process. This is where photos are edited and selected, graphics are developed, and words are formulated. For some walks, the blog post is the final resting place for a small project. Others are taken one step further and assembled as a book.

New: Walking the Water

Walking the Water is my latest self-published book, available through the on-demand publisher, Blurb Books. It’s the fifth in a string of publications that will grow into an extensive Encyclopedia of Walking. You may recognize the photos, text and graphics used in Walking the Water. All began life, earlier this year, as blog posts on WalkClickMake.

Here’s a synopsis for Walking the Water:

If you look at a map of North Vancouver, three geographical elements appear to define its character: the mountains that line its northern edge, Vancouver Harbour to the south and, in between these two natural barriers, Highway One. All are east-west lines, effectively squeezing the district into a long, narrow box.

The walker sees North Vancouver differently, from a perspective only available to those on foot. The walker sees the city as a network of paths following the course of rivers and streams as they run north-to-south down the slope of North Vancouver. Shoelaces that naturally tie together mountain and sea. Forces of nature cutting across the otherwise impenetrable barrier of The Highway and breaking down the organized grid of streets.

Walking the Water is a remapping of North Vancouver based on several walks that trace the north-south flow of its waterways.

Like my other walk-inspired publications, this one is a soft cover, 7” x 7” book. Inside are 58 well-reproduced, full-page colour photographs accompanied by a 3,000-word essay and 5 hand-crafted map graphics. You can purchase Walking the Water at my Blurb bookstore (Canada, U.S.A.).

Upcoming: Arlington Street

Coming later this fall will be a new volume with the tentative title, “Arlington Street”. This Winnipeg street is perhaps best known for its steel bridge. Rumoured to have been originally designed to cross the Nile River, it serves a less auspicious role, crossing the vast Canadian Pacific Railway yards in Winnipeg. While the rail yards divide the city in two – a source of on-going contention – the bridge is one of a very few passageways connecting the two sides. Today, that bridge is slated for demolition and replacement.

My approach is to look at the street as whole, as a walk from end-to-end. It’s a complex journey, exploring north side-south side cultural divides, modest residential neighbourhoods, industrial lands and busy commercial stretches. At its midpoint lies the bridge, an evocative sculpture of rusted steel beams. A piece of accidental public art, perhaps, with much to say about Winnipeg’s thorny history.

The photographs are all taken with an iPhone. Some are straight forward still photos. Many exploit the phone’s panoramic mode. I use this, as intended by Mr. Jobs, to produce 360° views of Arlington streetscapes and – more perversely – to create“still movies” while walking with the camera. I’ll elaborate on my technique in a future blog post.

Previous books were assembled in Blurb’s Bookwright software. It’s a very easy-to-use desktop  application with enough design flexibility to produce a professional-looking publication. But Arlington Street requires a more complex presentation that incorporates rectangular photographs, long panoramas and display text. And it all has to fit into a square format book. To make it work, pages are being assembled as two-page spreads in Photoshop, allowing for a more creative layout crossing the book gutter. To date, I have prepared preliminary mock-ups for each photo page. A few sample spreads are shown below.

The next step will be to refine the mock-up spreads, write text, complete the book layout in Bookwright and print a proof of the book. I anticipate further refinements will be necessary and at least one more sample book printed before making it available on my Blurb bookstore.

Make that: “Coming this winter”.


Walking the Water: page views from the book



Arlington Street: a sampling of page mock-ups




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