We’ve been busy printing Jake McCann’s beautiful photographic journal, tales of a western world.
Softcover (260mm x 210mm)
300gsm double lined cover
100gsm uncoated internals
Edition of 100
Tales of a Western Road was bound using PUR glue. PUR binding refers to a method of perfect binding that has become increasingly popular in the last few years. As with traditional perfect binding, a book’s pages and cover are glued together at the spine while the three remaining sides are trimmed to give them the classic “perfect” edges.
It is the strongest glue on the market and can bind up to 24 pages.
Watch the process.
We asked Jake a few questions surrounding his creative process, why he chose softcover and how tales of a western world came to be.
FPP: We just watched the tales of a western world film, and wow, it is so stunning, so raw and emotional. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Jake: Ah thank you, glad you enjoyed! My name is Jake McCann. I moved up here to the coast coming on three years now to work for the surf brand Rhythm, which is where I still spend my working week looking after their marketing. Weekends, early mornings and late nights was where I found the time to work on personal pieces like this one.
FPP: We’d love to know what happens in a day in the life of Jake?
Jake: During the week it smells of tempered air and packed lunches in the Rhythm office though outside of there I enjoy the simple things; weekends skateboarding with friends, afternoons cruising on the bike to drink a beer and watch the sunset, good music, homemade meals from my roommate, DIY karaoke, red wine, surfing my log when it’s one foot and terrible out front and quiet mornings drinking coffee on my balcony.
FPP: It’s been a weird year. Has ‘the virus’ had an impact on your creative process, whether that be positive or negative?
Jake: At the time I was indifferent but now in retrospect it definitely did, and surprisingly it was positive. I remember when we began working from home, I felt the sacredness of my desk here was jeopardised and all creativity would stagnate yet instead it was quite the opposite.
COVID ended up being the two months at home I needed to finally get the book to print, the film finalised and everything done I needed done.
FPP: We’re deeply intrigued by your film about how tales of a western road came to be, can you share some background on the initiative?
Jake: Having just moved up from Sydney the project came about as I spent weekends driving around these empty roads and towns I’d never been. It was pouring with rain and I stood there in the park of Federal with a small black umbrella smiling at this questionable skatepark right by the tennis courts; it was two ramps, carelessly built, but it looked fun. I took some photos and soon this idea grew. I called a friend excitedly and explained how I wanted to travel around to more beatnik parks and take photos; make weekends of these adventures and see where we end up.
FPP: Was tales of a western road a long time coming, or did it stem from the need to explore a personal experience?
Jake: It definitely wasn’t a long time coming. When I moved north my previous partner decided to move back after a few months which became the end of a four-year relationship and there I was in this new town where I knew no one really. I spent more weekends away; small cabins in the mountains, six-hour hikes, camping along the creeks of tiny hinterland towns, completely introspective experiences that I began to enjoy more and more. Couple this with the idea to travel around to skate derelict parks and soon I had a list of trips in my notes we ticked off one by one.
FPP: How long did you spend working on tales of a western road?
Jake: I say two years, conception to completion. These trips weren’t happening every weekend and so it took months and months for the content to build up, for the rolls of film to be photographed up and video to be shot. After the last roll of Super 8 was developed though it was probably still about eight months before the book was printed and the film complete.
FPP: Your shots are obviously shot on film, can you tell us about why you choose to use this format?
Jake: Something about film really captures my attention. I look at beautiful images photographed digitally and find in there a lack of character. It’s not a sense of stubbornness by no means, just a personal preference for all that film allows, the intensity of moments that can be captured on limited frames — no one often shoots burst on a 35mm camera, it makes you stop and think about what you’re photographing. More often than not most of a thirty-six roll come out terrible but sometimes there are those few images that really capture my attention and keep me coming back to film again and again.
FPP: Do you use other mediums for creating?
Jake: Photography, video and writing have always been the three mediums I do stick to when creative and while I enjoy the romanticism of painting, the beauty in song writing and music I find myself gravitating most often to these three.
FPP: Can you spill the beans around the type of camera/s you use?
Jake: Tech talk, no doubt. Mamiya RB67 for the 120mm film, Canon 650 and A1 for 35mm and then Canon 518 for the Super 8mm.
FPP: The publication is beautiful. Please share some insight into your design decisions for print finishing, paper stock and binding?
This was definitely a hugely challenging part of the whole project, most notably due to my relentless desire for perfection. The design of the book went relatively unchanged and that was because I wanted the clean, methodical and polished look to the design. Paper stock and everything else was where the challenge laid wanting the Rolls Royce with budget only for a Toyota Yaris. Eventually, after numerous proofs, I was able to find a softcover finish I was stoked with.
FPP: What are your recommendations/suggestions for other artists hoping to publish their work?
Take your time and don’t settle for anything you’re not personally stoked on. A lot of the excitement with publishing can easily lead you to settle for something that you know could still be improved but with that comes complacency, and in retrospect complacency in publication isn’t always ideal.
FPP: Should we be putting any dates in our calendars to expect new work?
Nothing new on the horizon yet, but in an increasingly post-COVID world (in Queensland at least) it’s looking like we can finally have the book launch and film premiere for Tales of a western road. All will be announced soon via my personal Instagram I’d say.
FPP: Where can we get our hands (well, eyes) on the Tales of the Western World?
Everything is living online at the moment (https://jake-mccann.com) and hopefully August we will be (legally) allowed to host a launch evening here on the Gold Coast and one in Sydney.