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Interviews: Tom Chambers on Entropic Kingdom

Entropic Kingdom by Tom Chambers. Published by ModernBook.
Known for his evocative and beautifully eerie photomontages, the much-anticipated first book from Tom Chambers, Entropic Kingdom, will be arriving at photo-eye next week. Published by ModernBook, the book was designed by Chambers and features work from five of his photographic series and an essay from photographer and editor of the Lenscratch blogzine Aline Smithson. As with all ModernBook editions, Entropic Kingdom is also available in a limited edition of 100 copies that includes a matted print of With the Pack, signed and numbered.

We asked Chambers to tell us about the creation of the book and what it's like to finally have his work in print.

photo-eye:     How does it feel to have a book of your photographs published?

Tom Chambers:     I feel both a great sense of pride, as well as relief, now that Entropic Kingdom has been published. The book contains the best of my work from five series, which I have developed over thirteen years. It is rewarding to see my work wrapped up and preserved in a package. And, now I feel a fresh start and the freedom to explore other photographic directions.

Entropic Kingdom by Tom Chambers. Published by ModernBook.
PE:     Tell us a little bit about the process of putting the book together.

TC:     As an artist, at some point you ask yourself... “Do I have an interesting and large enough body of work to be published as a book?” In the last year, I felt the time was right for me to take the leap and was encouraged by ModernBook Editions, which also represents my work, to think about book publication. After some conversation, we decided to work together. The second step was deciding the book format, and we settled upon an overview of my work from the last 13 years, picking the strongest work from five series. We chose to separate the book into chapters or sections, one for each series with an introductory page. I relied upon gallery owners and publishers Mark Pinsukanjana and Bryan Yedinak at ModernBook to use their expertise and critical eye to select the work and decide upon the order the images within each series.

Tom Chambers signing copies of Entropic Kingdom
With some years of graphic design experience, including work as a magazine art director, I was able to design Entropic Kingdom using Adobe InDesign software for layout and production. There was a lot of back and forth dialogue between myself as the designer and Modernbook as the publisher. That give and take between us, incorporating our different points of view led to an interesting and dynamic layout. Next we selected the title Entropic Kingdom because that series contains some of my signature pieces. All we needed then was someone to write the foreword and for me there was no question who that would be, my good friend Aline Smithson. Aline is an immensely talented photographer, educator, curator, reviewer, editor of Lenscratch blogzine, and photo-eye Showcase artist.

The last decision had to do with the cover... Mark, Bryan, and I decided to remove the title for a cleaner look and let a detail image of my popular Saccharine Perch sell the book. After the layout was nailed down, the book was proof-read a number of times by Joanne Koltnow, an editorial consultant to ModernBook Editions.

In addition to the regular edition of Entropic Kingdom, we decided to offer 100 limited edition books packaged in a box along with a signed print. With The Pack seemed like the right image to accompany the limited edition book, because we wanted an image that was popular, but not one of the best sellers.

Limited Edition of Entropic Kingdom by Tom Chambers. Published by ModernBook.
At last the files were then sent off to the printer in China. After circumnavigating Chinese New Year celebration and what seemed like forever, we received proofs. Finally, the first shipment of books arrived just in time for my scheduled book signing in San Francisco at ModernBook Gallery in early April. Eventually 1000 books will hit the doors of ModernBook Gallery. I am very appreciative that book sales are going so well.

PE:     Do you have any advice for photographers who would like to have a book of their work published?

TC:     Be patient. Recognize that things move slowly for a reason. The reward will come at the end when you're holding your book in your hands and your work has come to fruition.

Pre-order a signed copy of Entropic Kingdom and find out more on the limited edition here

See Tom Chambers work at photo-eye Gallery

For more information on Tom Chambers' photographs, please contact Anne Kelly at photo-eye Gallery by email or by calling the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202