Être à Paris, To Be In Paris – a Photobook by Billy Sheahan

Around July last summer I really began itching to finish one of my many projects that were ongoing in some state of completion. One on my list was my book that I started writing in 2007, got about 70,000 words into and needed to walk away from for a bit to clear my head.

But rather than go back to that book, I decided to begin a new one. Something a little less gigantic. Something I thought I could complete in a few months. Certainly before the Thanksgiving Holiday and in time for the serious season of shopping.

I did manage to meet that deadline, but just barely. These things always take longer than I imagine they’re going to.

Être à Paris, To Be In Paris, was an idea I had been kicking around in the back of my head for a few years. I had some of it already written as notes, blog posts and a few scattered pages here and there. It just needed to be organized and rewritten in a consistent voice.

I knew I wanted to make it a photobook with nearly equal weight for the photography and text, a way to follow the words along with the images or vice-versa. So I began working in parallel, organizing the stories into chapters based on my visits to Paris and going through my archive of thousands of Paris photographs to determine how they would complement each other.

And I must admit it certainly helps to have a photographic record to help remember in what order everything happened. Did I go to the top of l’Arc de Triomphe before or after l’Opera de Paris? The sheets of film negatives had the answers. And later with my digital photographs, I could track my travels through Paris to the minute. And when I wasn’t sure exactly what intersection I had photographed that row of parisien apartments, a little detective work comparing photos I made around the one in question and a trip to Google Streetview, and I had my answers.

It was a constant game of adding a little here and subtracting there, remembering a story I wanted to add and figuring out what photography would go with that. On top of that I was designing the layout of the book in Abobe InDesign. It had been a few years since I’d used it on a major project such as this, so there was a little getting reacquainted time with that as well.

All of the final photographs were rescanned from the original negatives and the digital files were remastered as well. Dust and scratches were digitally removed from the older negatives and they along with the digital photos were retoned, color corrected on calibrated monitors and finalized before their conversion to the CMYK print color space.

I sent out drafts to a few people whose opinions I trust, resulting in more good feedback and I incorporated those changes as well. Finally it was ready to be published.

And then the marketing. New web pages had to be created, an announcement to my growing email list and a preview of the book had to be integrated into all of that. Updates on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Blurb.

It is really remarkable  how much can be done these days in terms of a project like this, by one person or a very small team of people. Most of which was not possible ten or fifteen years ago, at least without a major publishing deal.

The feedback I’ve received so far has been very positive and the sales are beginning to come in. This book has certainly been a labor of love about a city I love to visit. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Content Protection by DMCA.com

Leave a Reply