So You Want To Write A Book? Self-Publishing Made Easy

"...anyone can write a nonfiction piece. In fact, all nonfiction writing was just `What I Did Last Summer' over and over again."--Evan Hunter writing as Ed McBain

After returning from a trip to Puerto Rico last year I tried a small venture in self-publishing, resulting in a 7x7" travel photography book. It's like a micro-sized coffee-table book and was designed and printed using software and printing services from Blurb ( Everything you need to get started in self-publishing is available on the site. Their free BookSmart page layout software is compatible with Mac OS and Windows computers and uses a series of built-in templates that, depending on the size and style of your project, allow you to create anything from the Great American Novel to that oversized coffee-table book on the Galapagos you've always wanted to do. Books are available in three styles: The Square 7x7 format I used costs as little as $12.95 each for up to 40 pages. The Standard (8x10) size is $19.95 and the Large format costs $54.95, both for up to 40 pages. Adding more pages costs just a little more and there are discounts for purchasing more than 10 copies of an individual book. When finished you can post information about the completed book on Blurb's website so other people can purchase copies and you even get to set the sales price. You can see Puerto Rico: The Island of Enchantment by going to and searching under "Farace."
Forget what you know about websites. Canadian Jesh de Rox's site opens with a series of questions about you and what you want to see. Each year de Rox accepts just a few wedding and portrait commissions, so I looked at the "Wedding" collection in his Experiential Galleries and was impressed by images that defy the cookie-cutter check list photography so prevalent in this marketplace. His color and monochrome wedding images show a fine art influence that is the essence of 21st century imaging, with photographs that are anything but "straight," yet his techniques never get in the way of telling a story and soar above the commonplace. "Moments" includes photographs that feature the kind of contemporary photojournalistic wedding images that are trendy these days. "Faces" offers wedding and portrait images focused on (surprise) people's faces, offering glimpses behind the façade that is unusual in today's portraiture.

© 2008, Jesh de Rox, All Rights Reserved

"Portraits," while seemingly traditional in image cropping (not as many close-ups), is another breath of fresh air. His "Fashion" photographs combine all of de Rox's techniques with dramatic cropping and an overarching sense of style. The site includes a "journal" that might be a blog by any other name and the images on view are fresh and I found them inspirational in that they demonstrate that even the most mundane subject matter doesn't have to be photographed in a mundane way. The site was engineered and powered by Parade (
Nuri Bilge Ceylan is a Turkish filmmaker and photographer whose cinematic background informs the large format panoramic images he creates with the kind of David Lean sweep that would make any cinéaste proud. His two galleries include "Early Photographs" (nudity advisory) and "Turkey Cinemascope." The "Early Photographs" contain four sets of monochrome images, each one different from the next. From powerful Uelsmannesque nudes to portraits of twins that look like something Goya might have done if he had a camera. Here there's a sense of the photographer as an explorer because these are not copies of another artist's work but images containing echoes of that work in a new and, in some cases, more profound way.

© 2008, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, All Rights Reserved

In the third set the styles of Van Gogh and Munch collide with F.W. Murnau as NBC (as he often refers to himself) finds ways to combine his still and cinematic selves. In the final set, he finds a blend of D.W. Griffith and his own unique vision that is a clear predecessor to the powerful color images found in "Turkey Cinemascope." That collection consists of panoramic photographs shot all over Turkey during the last four years, mostly on location scouting trips for his last film, Climates. What you see in "Turkey Cinemascope" is not the conventional gee-whiz "ain't it purty" landscape images but sweeping photographs that are coherent and beautiful and will change the way you think of panoramic photography. It's not enough to be big and wide. As in Rembrandt's Night Watch, NBC fills each inch of the frame with information, and while the master informs his style it is not even a close copy--it's all Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Like many Americans, I know little if anything about Turkey. NBC's panoramic images offer a virtual tour of this country and you will be moved by his artistry and the power and beauty of the environment he's captured.