The motivation behind the need to publish a photobook was a simple and strong one. He wanted to tell his story.
“The photobook “s1xte6n ” represents the photographic journey imagined by Paul Musescu throughout his 16 years of existence. The experiences are essentialized then captured in black and white images full of emotions and subtle symbols revealing themselves to the viewer at every step into this journey. Beyond the narrative line the 32 photos in the book create a story about inadequacy and revolt, about the struggle to preserve one’s individuality, about the difficulties and joy of teenage life and about a dark future yet with much hope and beauty.”
And he asked for my help to make it happen – from a curatorial and project management point of view. For me it was my first official involvement in the photobook area so I wanted this to be as good as possible. There is a huge difference between a project published in electronic form and a project you can touch, hold, smell. Form makes all the difference, amplifies the emotion, makes a statement, empowers the message.
And right before starting it all I read an article by Darren Soh on Invisible Photographer Asia called “The real costs of making a Photo Book“. Although a very helpful and useful article it totally discouraged me and put more pressure on the project.
“Because the fact is that it is going to take alot of cash, blood, sweat and tears in order to put that vision of yours into print, and you really do want the print version to be representative of the version in your head don’t you?”
I will not bother you with details – otherwise my “The Photo Project Workshop” (details TBD) would remain out of topics to discuss. I can say the process was alarmingly hard and time-consuming. Good thing there were some amazing friends around with some valid critical arguments for printing (Andrea Dapueto), text (Sorin Vidis), wording and english (Claudia Asanachescu) and concept (Cristina Irian). And good thing the people from Grafiprint (printing house) were professional, calm and they delivered such good results in terms of quality and price.
The feedback Paul got on the photobook was great and we were glad people appreciated the photos and supported a 16 years old kid at a difficult stage in his life, when he was close to dropping high school.
The photobook got some amazing reviews and features from Christer Erk, Josef Chaldek, Mondorama, SUB25 and more. The cherry on the top, with the help of Claude Lemaire from L’Ascenseur Vegetal: the photobok was showcased at The Rencontres d’Arles, one of the biggest photography festival, founded in 1970, gathering an amazing array of photographers and projects each year.
Who knows what Paul’s next project will be… or if I would be involved in it. But a condition of my participation is that he takes his high school exams and does not flunk classes. Paul’s next project will probably be about the hard-knock life of teenage photographers forced into child-labour (homework and grammar) by ruthless corporate curators.