photographer

my first printed photo portfolio

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this post was created in partnership with blurb.

i got put onto blurb years ago when i first started shooting -- roughly 8-ish years ago -- and remember being in complete and total awe that any regular person could self-publish 'a real professional book' about whatever their heart desired. i decided that one day i was going to make an awesome book about something and print it through the blurb platform, even if it was just one copy for myself.

years passed and no book, but the dream remained. recently, i was able to realize my fantasy after blurb themselves offered me an opportunity to create a book to celebrate the launch of their new layflat book format. i was like, 'duh, hi. yesplz.'

the layflat book format is blurb's fancy new creation that allows books to -- wait for it -- lay completely flat so you don't lose any part of your image to the center. aka you can have full bleed two page spreads that win at life more than any other two page spreads in existence. 

of all the things, why did i decide on making a photo portfolio? when i first moved to new york about six and a half years ago (i have no idea where the time went), i was looking into printed portfolios; i'd been researching a screw-post situation for which i'd have to buy inserts and then pay for prints -- the smallest size for maybe a 40ish image portfolio was going to run me like $600-700. i decided to opt for an ipad solution instead and that's what i've been rocking with since about 2012.

this blurb project finally allowed me to delve into the long-time-coming realm of printed portfolios in a new way and presented me the super valuable opportunity to practice laying out a photo book -- something i've never done before and is really its own art form.

i prepared myself for a daunting task as i've been told that book and magazine layout design can be a beast. however, thanks to blurb's bookwright software and preset layouts to get me started with how things work and can look, the task was much more approachable than i thought it might be. and honestly, praise due to layflat book format for greatly expanding my layout possibilities and ability to play; i can imagine that with a limited gutter situation, layout options would be much more challenging.

i felt so gleefully reckless splaying photos across the gutter on as many pages as possible.

i got the large landscape style book and upon receiving it, i can tell you that the thing is not a casual situation -- it is an event; it is also neon grellow -- because, why not? the build of the hardcover is solid and the pages are substantial. to create the layflat effect, all the pages are essentially two 100 lb. stock pages glued together, yielding a luxurious page weight of 200 lb. in effect. not for the faint of heart.

the opening page is my only full bleed spread in the book and really, i sort of made it by accident; i dragged the image in just to see what would happen and it looked so good, i kept it. the feel of this layout combined with the richness of the color in the print quality is especially bold and striking.

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the cost of the book with shipping came out to something like $250ish (which i luckily didn't have to pay, compliments of blurb). crazy that it was about half the price of the portfolio option i was looking at some years ago. that considered, i could see printing a portfolio like this bi-annually or quarterly as a real possibility for adding a special touch to portfolio review meetings; i find that photo editors really welcome and cherish the nostalgia and tactile nature of print.

if you feeling extra fancy, blurb books can be sold on the blurb bookstore (which ships worldwide), apple ibooks, amazon, or via ingram (a distributor to many bookstores). and if perhaps, maybe, you feel like getting your very own copy of my october 2017 portfolio from the blurb bookstore -- that can happen.

perusing through the leave behind series some photo editors have on their instagrams, i've become quite fascinated with the creative ways people choose to present their printed photo portfolios; any fun ideas you have in mind or have seen out there in the world? also curious to hear your experiences about self-publishing since this is a space i'd love to grow into more with time -- maybe next time with a magazine or a trade book :)

how do you showcase your work or photography?

seher.co is here and this is why

photo // self portrait

photo // self portrait

writing this is the most nerve-wracking shit i’ve done in a while. in anticipation, i ate a whole meal and drank some water just before starting. still, i find myself dizzy. heart’s beating fast. something like public speaking jitters except the only thing i’m actually facing in this moment is myself. maybe it’s not so peculiar; our relationship with ourselves is ultimately the most frightening and highest stakes one of all. 

putting myself out there to the internet world is requiring me to more firmly own myself and the things i am about to share.

launching this new website means many things to me at once:

  • self acceptance and stepping into my name
  • getting out of my own way and honoring my work
  • owning both what i know and what i don’t know about my purpose
  • taking what i do know and formally claiming a career pivot
  • a jumping off point for projects that embrace my skills and interests more fully
  • a platform with the intentionality to communicate who i am and what i stand for

this site will be a living representation of my personal and professional metamorphosis in progress. you will find projects popping up in my new ‘projects’ section that may involve photography or have nothing to do with photography at all. this site is me officially giving myself license to do whatever the fuck i want — and a declaration to others of the dynamism and relationship with the unknown i intend to fully embrace.

and this blog will perhaps be the thread that weaves it all together. just like everything, i have no concrete plans for it. the possibilities: anything and everything on my mind and in my world. a window into my process and my path to purpose. still, definitely open, fluid, and real.

i bought this domain about two and a half years ago, just because i thought it would be good to own my name in this way online. i began to consider that it might be nice to move my website to this URL. soon, that tiny thought became a decided leaning towards changing my business name and web address to just “seher.” rehes creative just didn’t fit anymore, and by some miracle, i felt this unfamiliar pull to embrace my given name.

i spent most of my adult life brushing off compliments about how pretty my name is because it was never something i believed myself. apathy probably better described our relationship. i was teased for my name from childhood through high school and in retrospect, it came to represent the many ways i was different and didn’t fit in; i’d wrapped up much of my not-good-enough-ness in it. i realized that in naming myself “rehes” (my name backwards), it was my subconscious trying to hide from myself and the shame that came with my name.

i quickly became clear that owning “seher” represented a deeper shift: i was ready to more fully own and accept myself.

i started thinking about my name, particularly in the vein of career shifts i’d been thinking about. seher translates to dawn. i thought about beginnings, the sun; i realized my personal work of the last two years had lead me to explore coming into myself as an initiator, an illuminator. i’d also recently learned that my name in german means seer; another connection — i had spent the last two years deeply awakening to my intuition and inner knowing.

the inherent resonance my given name shares with the true self i have been unfolding gave me profound pause.

an intuitive initiator and illuminator; sharing and championing the truth of things, the truth of us — that is, in fact, what i care about most. writing this, i am in awe once again.

i’ve shared a bit about finding my purpose and exploring a career pivot on social media. recently, i wrote:

i’m coming to see myself more as a thinker, artistic communicator, and facilitator for the universal good. where i’m going, photography and writing — amongst other skills i intend to conscientiously develop — are simply my tools for self expression, individual/community/global healing, and mobilization towards social change. these values form the root of all things for me now — not photography, not writing, nor any other skill or talent i may possess.

i’ve spent the last couple years engaging in deep spiritual work to identify my life’s purpose and true gifts. upon getting a grasp on the general themes, it quickly became clear that my career needed to shift; as far as what the details look like, i accept that i cannot force the natural process of inner awakening — it’s all still a work in progress.

during this period, my relationship with photography has constantly been hazy and in flux; figuring out how to redefine my relationship with photography as i explore a somewhat nebulous career pivot is a constant challenge.

the last couple years found me frequently disconnected from photography and even resenting it; in so desperately wanting to figure out the complete picture of my purpose, photography oftentimes felt like a mindless distraction. so through all that, it feels really great to be able to say that this new site and the new work i’m sharing are something i feel proud of. i don't take time to do that too often — stop to feel proud of myself and celebrate myself. 

going through the labor of launching this site and framing it in a way that leaves open space for the other pieces of me and my talents that are slowly emerging — for me, it’s fuel. to look at work that i like is affirmation that i do want to keep shooting and reclaim my relationship with photography — reincarnating it into something that more fully speaks to my spirit and that of others.

as i continue my process of personal discovery, i am constantly updating what i think is exactly my purpose. right now, how i’ve chosen to phrase it is:

using art, media, and community building to promote personal healing and social equality.

i see personal transformation and healing as powerful catalysts for activism and social change. in some way, i also see my work exploring this important intersection. where i currently stand, the issues closest to my heart are social equality for women and people of color, and personal healing as it relates to mental health and the body-mind connection (subtle energy stuff).

in expanding the scope of my work, i have natural strengths i’m looking to exercise and develop. these include: idea generation, creative problem solving, facilitation (people + groups + ideas), storytelling (speaking + writing + photography), leadership, strategic planning, and building safe community spaces.

to help me do this, i am looking to connect with people working in progressive and interdisciplinary spaces in the arts, media, personal healing, and social equality. i’d like to partner with people and/or organizations already doing work in this realm — even in a volunteer capacity — to inform my career pivot and process of personal discovery by diving into the work itself. i want to begin exercising my entire skill set, contribute towards meaningful causes, get a lay of the land, and connect with like minded individuals. 

if anyone is willing and able to make an introduction, i would love to link with any relevant people, organizations, or companies. even if only for an informational interview! 

in any case — my deep gratitude to you for reading this far. and to so many of you — thank you for believing in me and in my work countless times where inside i was secretly at war with both. you've kept me going.