During my trip to China in May 2010 I accumulated more than 3,000 images. From these, I chose a set of 100 images from Beijing to create my book titled One Hundred Views of Beijing, a name derived from One Hundred Views of Edo (1856-58) which later inspired artists like Vincent Van Gogh. Preceding this work was Thirty six Views of Mount Fuji, large color woodblocks, by Hokusai, created 1826-1833, and later, One Hundred Views of Mount Fuju, upping his previous number.

Technically, one of my images in this collection of 100 is of the great wall, which is not exactly Beijing. But since I felt the great wall had a close relationship with Beijing, I deemed it okay to make this stretch. (But I didn’t want to push it and only kept it to the one image; I could have gone wild with great wall pictures!) Also, Ninety Nine Views of Beijing with One Thrown In of The Great Wall would’ve been a very cumbersome title.

The organization of these images were done as a part of a graduate design studio class I had Fall 2010, and later improved upon.  I first went through an exercise of pairing photos in preparation for each spread, for an early first draft. This process was mostly intuitive. But this wasn’t enough by itself, it needed an additional form of organization. As such, I came up an idea for four themes, or chapters: Iconic, Architectural, Patterns, and People. Still, there were other issues to be solved. Tagging images wasn’t perfectly exclusive: there are people patterns, architectural patterns, iconic architecture, etc. But in general, I assigned a major attribute to each image. Most people shots were on the street, so that section was named accordingly.

Later, the Iconic split into Prologue and Epilogue, joining the two ends. Doublends Jined as Joyce would put it. Now I had a continuous loop when you considered Epilogue and Prologue as a split-Iconic. Every chapter had a one before it and one after it. Now I could make use of each image’s secondary attributes and sort them according to what section preceded and followed. For example, architectural images when from iconic in style to pattern. The pattern section began with the most architectural looking images and ended with people-patterns. Likewise for the other two sections, On the street (people), and Iconic. I had a system for placing every image appropriately to a spread.

Given the symmetry which emerged from this project, when I went to add a preface, it seemed to throw it off balance, looking at it holistically. So that gave me the impetus to create a colophon to put at the end, and why not describe my work? Except I didn’t go into as much detail about the organizing principles in the colophon as I did here, but rather kept to typeface choices and other interesting details which I did not include in this post.

It was a very satisfying book project and a great accomplishment. Now I’m ready to start another.