Sunday, February 28, 2010

Making a book in Guatemala: Part 1.

One of the several exciting aspects of doing a Spanish language edition of Guatemala: Eternal Spring Eternal Tyranny that most of the work, with one exception, was completed in Guatemala.

The photographic scans were produced at National Geographic Imagining at NG headquarters in Washington, DC. NG used a Hasselblad Flextight scanner to make 60MB scans from 167 Kodachrome and Ektachrome 200 (very few, yuck to Ektachrome). The scanning took about five business days (150 Kodachromes); cost was $12 per chrome for a 60MB scan. The result was spectacular. The scans were copied to two DVDs and a back-up hard drive for insurance. I took the scans to Guatemala in November, and sent a few stragglers via overnight in November.

In Guatemala, photographer Daniel Chauche (see Victor Perera, Unfinished Conquest: A Guatemalan Tragedy (Univ. of California, 1995) introduced me to a group of professionals who produced the book from that stage on. Without Daniel's intervention, this book would have been a disaster: not only does Daniel have a good eye for photographs and the editing process, but he is also connected to all the top photographic experts in Guatemala.

The process in Guatemala began with editing the photographs. Andrés Asturias, owner of Estudio/A2 in Guatemala City, is a great photographer and a technical wizard. (Check out the blog post below for his current show, Arena Negra, in Guatemala City.) Using 27-inch screen Macs and professional-standard PhotoShop software, Andrés enhanced the images. There is as much ethics as aesthetics built into the PhotoShop process, and if you have someone do this part, make sure you have similar ideas regarding the amount of manipulation you are comfortable with in a photo. Andrés' views on the subject were virtually identical to mine: I hate cropping and am uncomfortable with a lot of digital magic. Because all my pictures originally were taken with emulsion-based film (read: non-digital), in truth a good PhotoShopped image should have re-produced what was on the Kodachrome image. Since Kodachrome is unforgiving, I tried to give Andrés photos that were good quality in terms of saturation.. On a later post I will try to show some before and after images.

More on the design and printing process later.

National Geographic Imaging:

Daniel Chauche:

Andrés Asturias:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A photo from Guatemala: Eterna Primavera, Eterna Tiranía

Here is another photo from Guatemala: Eterna Primavera, Eterna Tiranía, which will be published in June 2010 under the imprint of the Fundación Soros Guatemala

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In response to people who have asked about my photo exhibition in Guatemala: It's in the works. Stay tuned.
Here is another photo from the book. Enjoy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Another Guatemala book: For Every Indio Who Falls, Dr. Betsy Konefal (College of William & Mary)

Professor Betsy Konefal of the College of William & Mary, Virginia, has a new book: For Every Indio Who Falls (Univ. of New Mexico Press), which describes the Mayan resistance movement in Guatemala between 1960 and 1990. I will post the amazon link when it is published in April.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Andrés Asturias: Arena Negra, Exposición, Galería Sol del Río zona 10, 25 febrero 19 horas

Exhibit in Guatemala

The exhibit of my photos at Ex Céntrico will not take place in March. Stay tuned. I am also posting the information for a photo exhibit by Andrés Asturias, a wonderful photographer who has done a killer series on Holy Week at the beach in Guatemala, and specifically, photos of all kinds of Guatemalans covered in sand. When you see these photos you can almost feel the sand between your fingers.

In the meantime, here's a photo! Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Print Studio is a color printing company located in zone eight, Guatemala City. Print Studio has a triple-A reputation for quality color printing, and I am fortunate that they are printing Guatemala: Eterna Primavera: Eterna Tiranía this spring. When I was in Guatemala in January, José Fahsen, the general manager, took us on a tour of the facilities. It was the first time I had ever seen the inside of a printing house; Print Studio prints everything from cornflake boxes to six-color coffee table books. Their facilities run the technological gamut from high-tech German presses to an over sized book "sewing machine" for book spines. Print Studio even is able to affix scents to its products; Mr. Fahsen had us smell a few pages for perfume and soap ads.
Here is a picture of the scale PS uses to measure paper weight. In this photo they were weighing the paper used in the U.S. edition of my book.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Exhibit at Ex-Céntrico, Guatemala City

The exhibit of photographs from Guatemala: Eterna Primavera, Eterna Tiranía will be held sometime in Spring-Summer 2010., in Guatemala City.

The exhibit will feature approximately three dozen color photos from my upcoming book, Guatemala: Eterna Primavera, Eterna Tiranía (June 2010). I am posting a few of those photos on this blog site. Enjoy!