In 2016, I published my first book: B Is For Buffalo: An Aerial Alphabet. The photo book is an A-Z listing of landmarks in the Buffalo area with aerial photography of each entry and a short write-up of the history and significance of each. To my knowledge, it is the first published book of aerial photographs of the City of Buffalo.
The book began its life as a simple photo project in the Summer of 2016 as something to occupy my time with. The project was fun for me and challenged me to photograph new locations around Buffalo.
Halfway through the summer, I was contacted by a local Buffalo publisher who had seen my work and was interested in making the project into a book. After agreeing to terms, I signed the book deal and began to move the photography project into a book project.
From the outset of my work with the publisher, I wanted to make sure that the book remained true to my vision. My publisher was very understanding and assured me that while we were partners, I retained final veto power and could creatively steer the project, which included designing and laying out the book myself.
My first step was creating a cover. When I began the project, I’d created a logo and placed it over an existing shot of City Hall I had to announce the project and give it a face. I returned to that original logo piece and used it as a basis for the cover.
Adding the subheader “An Aerial Alphabet” gave prospective readers an idea of what the book was about. I then removed the black & white effects and created the cover in color so as to better draw the eye. I was very happy that I had such a sharp design foundation already in place for the cover!
The actual layout of the book was a very fun process for me. I’d originally set out to have a very simple book: one-page full image with a facing-page of text. My publisher advised that it would get boring and repetitive, and challenged me to come up with a more colorful and creative solution.
After playing around with a lot of ideas, I retained the “full image” idea but expanded on it. Some images would be a full-page, some would carry over onto the facing page. Most had a secondary image associated to provide another unique view. For the text, I sampled colors from the entry’s images so each was unique but matched the rest of the spread. The publisher loved the proof I sent with the new concept and I immediately began to design the rest of the book.