“Hard Hats and Horses” Preliminary pdf and evaluation

Hard Hats and Horses (1)

I’m most pleased with my front cover (image/title/font), I think it’s very strong, eye-catching and looks professional, a really bold start to my book.  However, unfortunately I don’t think the rest of my first draft is as professional looking as the front cover is. On reflection I think I’ve used too many different layouts with not enough blank pages, it might be a bit too “cluttered looking” and few less layouts may do the trick and make it neater. I also should have had the first page with some text/an introduction and just the ‘Kim Bailey Racing.com’ image opening with it. This would set the scene, give a little background information about Kim and his yard and some more general information about the life of stable boys/girls. I thought that would be all the text I wanted (I only wanted photos to tell the story rather than words) but I think looking back at it I may need some quotes, just a few, throughout the book, just to add some context to a few images. I’ve tried to tell the story of “A day in the life of” with the order of the images but I’m still missing a few key shots that I’ll need to go back for, a couple more “wow factor”/striking shots and I want a couple showing the yard workers before work and relaxing after work just to see how their full day really is. I feel that will complete the story nicely if I start with the days natural cycle of waking up and then going back to sleep. It will also give a better perspective of the whole yard rather than just working with the horses. The light is forever changing as we get closer to Christmas and I feel I made the most of the sunrise morning however when there is incredibly flat light I don’t think I capture interesting enough images (there are no shadows to work with/silhouettes etc) so that would be a good time to photograph the people not working directly with the horses on the yard/farm but working behind the scene for the horses welfare (building stables, making paths, farming, making medicine, cleaning the stables, getting their food, buying/selling, paperwork, seeing owners etc). I think if I can get those shots and include them I will be able to tell a full rounded and honest story of the daily life of these people, one that seems very far from reality to most of us. I may also need to cut a few photos down, I don’t want it losing impact because there are too many photos that take away from the stronger, stand alone images. I will look for repetition and replace the images with new ones that help tell more of the story. It’s missing a few more more detail shots like the tack hanging up, the writing on the white board, some tighter stuff on the people involved – expressions etc.

I desperately need to change the last two pages, they’re my least favourite, the second to last just looks amateur and by doing so has taken away from the content of the photos as the layout is so distracting and weak. The last page needs something that I can’t put my finger on quite yet but it doesn’t say, “Boom! That was a great closure/lasting page to a great set of images”. I’ll probably edit that page last once I’ve been shooting a few more times. On the whole I think I’ve made a good start but still have a lot of work to do. I now need to research a lot more successful/unsuccessful photo books and analyse what makes them so good and take on board information/ideas for my own book. I also need to go back and shoot some more images as I’m still not quite there; I’ll have a look at another photo story about horses and get some inspiration from that, but I am pleased with the photos I’ve taken thus far. I feel I’ve really developed as a photographer and gone out of my comfort zone, firstly with the subject and secondly with my technique and courage and I feel it really shows compared to my horse photos from last year (see sketch book). I’m excited to improve this work as I want it to represent the yard how they deserve to be represented, which is hard-working/strong yet beautiful and provocative; if I can get that across in my pages I’ll be happy.

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