Return trip to Switzerland to collect 5 dummies of the book
The journey towards the book
"It is time for a book" -
Such read the subject line of an e-mail that I sent to Roelof, designer Rob van Hoesel and book printer Arie Lenoir on 2 Januari 2013. And not just a book: one that would do perfect justice to the universal beauty of the horizon.
That wish did not spring from nowhere. It emerged during the first exhibition of NEW HORIZONS, which officially only lasted three days. I really wanted to find a way to extend the invitation to experience abundance in space and time over a longer period of time, to more people. Initially, I thought the book would have to show all 8.785 horizons. That idea gave me only little energy. Only when I pulled the machine's plug shorly after midnight on 1 Januari 2013, I realised that the success of the exhibition was in the selection and composition of the images, not the completeness of the representation.
With that thought in mind, the idea of a book started coming back to life. A substandial book it would become. Possibly expensive to make. Especially when we found out about the flatbook binding method - with thanks to Wim van Sinderen: a book that can lie open flat on every single page. At the time, only one company in all of Europe was able to manufacture a book like that. Bubu in Zwitserland. The calculations for 2012 copies amounted to € 100.000.
That\`s impossible, may people in the book making trade told me. I want it anyway, would be my reply, and I do believe it's possible. I just haven't yet figured out how. But I will. Find out what the horizon is inviting me to. As I did in many ways, including the first 24-hour horizon observation I organised in collaboration with project partner Lie van Schelven in April 2013. During these 24 hours at the horizon, we found out that it would not only be an adventure to make this book, but that adventure would also be its theme and subject.
The first pre-orders came in in May 2013, mostly by people who had know the project from an early stage onwards. The first sign-up price of € 84,95 posed quite a barrier to many people. This is what led me to go and collect 5 blank book dummies in Switzerland, so that I could show people what kind of book I was talking about.. 20 kilograms of white paper in a large suitcase. No horizon on it whatsoever, but anyone who saw it, would immediately get an impression of the size of the book, and the ambition level we had set ourselves.
Thanks to a beautiful publication in newspaper NRC, sales had risen to € 15.000 by the end of 2013. Now it was necessary to make the jump towards € 40.000, the amount needed for the minimal feasible print run of 400 copies. The crowdfunding campaign we held in February and March 2014 helped us achieve this milestone. In the meantime, we had also increased the price of the book. It was now selling at € 106, which we decided to be 50% of the eventual sales price of the book once it was published.
How the book got funded, February and March 2014
I had fixed the date of the book presentation to the 4th of December, in the Big Church in the city centre of The Hague. We used the time between the crowdfunding campaign and the presentation to take the step from a minimal print-run (400 copies at € 40,000) to the intended print-run (2,012 copies at € 100,000). We managed to raise most of that. On the day of the presentation, we were still missing € 20,000, while all books had been print and bound. The exhibition at Panorama Mesdag helped cover the unpaid invoiced right in time for their due dates.
Exploring the horizon
It was actually not bad news that it took 2 years to collect the required budget for the production. This time also allowed us to patiently see what the book should be going to look like. Which story it would tell, or to which queation it would reply. Hoe to make a selection out of 8,785 photos of the same view?
I was lucky to have met alchemist Lie van Schelven some time before I even started photographing the horizon. From the beginning of the project, Lie played a major role in discovering what the horizon holds for us.
It was also Lie with whom I organised the first 24-hour horizon observation, back in April 2013. We named it: About ebb and flow . While observing the horizon for 24 hours, we realised how the horizon serves as a giant invitation. The adventure of seeing beyond what you have seen and known before. To see beyond the everyday contrasts. Beyond the duality of heaven and earth. Beyond the idea that it's one or the other, to see that they don't exclude, but rather complement each other.
24-uurs horizon observation nr 3, photo: Eric de Keizer
Adventure. Both as a process and as an underlying storyline for the book. How does adventure unfold? Where does it stem from, and where does it take you? From home to home, which everything you experience inbetween that gives meaning to your journey.
I was happy to have some experience with adventure, in particular the adventue of travelling through Europe for one year. I did that in 2007 and 2008: interview 2,700 young Europeans across 27 countries . I dived back into this journey, and translated my personal experience into a generic, universal interpretation of how adventure unfolds.
Rob van Hoesel figured out which design considerations we had at our disposal to add to the image selection. He also developed a dynamic grid that would allow him to play with the composition. As a preparation for the final design, he designed a draft that looked like music score, to start determining the sizes of each image, whether a horizons on a page would be in harmony or in contrast, how the white space would be used... To the turn to the selection of eventually 300 of the 8,785 images available.
Rob preparing the design
Book printer Arie Lenoir introduced me to Stefan Kirschner, commercial director of paper distributor IGEPA Nederland. He told us about a newly developed type of paper from Switzerland, which would have the perfect characteristics to give our images the right sensitivity and impact. Around the same time, Rob introduced me to Sebastiaan Hanekroot, one of only two people in The Netherlands who are fully dedicated to lithography: the art of preparing images for the highest possible print quality. Sebastiaan joined in January 2014, at the same time when I was working on a new website with Robert Cabri and had the please of meeting Wendy van Buul, who got involved in the communication and promotion if the project.
NEW HORIZONS was printed at Lenoirschuring in Amstelveen, in September 2014. It was then transported to the bindery in Switzerland, which I visited again when the book was in production. We made a group excursion out of it, and took the first copy of the book home from that journey .
The complete print run followed a couple of weeks later. It arrived at Drukgoed in Amsterdam by the end of November, giving us only a few days to pack the booksand prepare them for the presentation in the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. 4 December 2014 was a memorable evening, with 750 contributors gathering to collect the books they had long been waiting for.
750 books ready to be handed out. Kunstmuseum Den Haag, photo: Carel Fransen
As long as the book has not been sold out, you can still order a copy of NEW HORIZONS on this website.
Order your copy of NEW HORIZONS
Browse NEW HORIZONS on Issuu