Why Make Your Own Book?

Since I read a book called How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith I have been kind of obsessed with book making

I had never made a book before. Honestly, I have always found most of the photobooks and photozines a little bit pretentious; plus I have never considered myself skilled enough to even try to do my own. 

As I have written before, I truly believe that the key of creativity is to give oneself permission to explore without judgement and to be everything but perfect. This fact, together with a personal need of spending less time in front of the computer, drove me to try this new format.

Everybody discusses how to know when a painting is ready, but what happens with photography? You can take your photos, edit them, make a coherent selection and still feel it is unfinished. This has happened to me recently with Blue Line, a photo series about the 3rd metro line of Budapest through it's plastic furniture. I know I am not the first one doing a project out of this topic but I achieved to get my own perspective, the aesthetic I wanted and tell a very specific story. Still something was missing.

Still having this feeling of unaccomplishment, I left the project to rest for some months until book making came into my life. While designing the format and the covers, I put even more thoughts in it and on what I really wanted to tell. I explored all the possibilities. I got messy cutting and binding and printing. I made something imperfect and unrepeatable. 

I think I have fallen in love with book making for the same reasons I am in love with analogue photography. It makes everything unique, real, tangible. It reminds me that photography can be still a craft, not an IT position.

Click here to see the full series!




First Steps to Start Your Personal Project

Ok, so you got your camera and you learnt how to use it. You brought it with you on your last vacation. You took nice photos of what you saw. Now what?

That's for a lot of people all their photographic journey. I don't want to sound dramatic but a few of the cameras of my collection come from family and friends who didn't know what else to do with them.  This can bring us a lot of frustration.

What I like the most about photography is how much access we have to it and how much variety. People can be afraid of playing the violin or making an oil painting, but who is afraid of taking a picture?


I think the most important thing is to think about the camera as a tool. You just have to find the tool you feel comfortable with and that adapts better to you and your needs. As far as I know, there are great images taken with view cameras, but also with iphones. 

If you got your tool and still don't know what to do, I encourage you to, instead of just taking nice pictures, start your own project. It will keep you engaged with your practice for longer time and it will make your learning process more fruitful. Probably, it will also make richer your everyday life. 

We also need to find a topic or a project that can fit in our lives. For example, if we can only travel once a year for 15 days, why to commit ourselves with travel photography? 

As with any other thing in life, the way to learn is to practice everyday. Even if you are just free for 10 minutes a day, what can you do during this time? A self-portrait? A portrait of your partner? A photo of the street you take everyday to go to work? A photo of your desk? Believe me, the possibilities are infinite. 


Based in my experience, the most important thing after perseverance is not to be too precious. Open up to experiment and to play. You don't have to show anything to nobody until you feel confident enough.

Explore your interests and push yourself out of your comfort zone as much as possible.

Never compare yourself or your work to other people. 


Want to get further? Check my workshop!

Taller sobre Creatividad y Generación de Ideas



He diseñado un taller de 4 sesiones sobre creatividad y generación de ideas abierto a todos aquellos que quieran incorporar una práctica creativa en su día a día. El taller es abierto a todo tipo de personas y niveles, independientemente de su edad o profesión. Sólo hace falta que sepas usar tu cámara mínimamente :)

En el taller aprenderemos a estimular nuestra visión creativa y fotográfica, reconectar con nuestro entorno y a plantear nuestro propio proyecto personal.

Si te interesa y quieres recibir más información u organizar un taller en tu ciudad, escríbeme a info@isabelval.com. Te puedo enviar la información en castellano, catalán o inglés. 

isabel val workshop creativity


I have designed a 4 sessions workshop about creativity and idea generation for anyone who wants to include a creative practice in their everyday lives. The workshop is open to everyone, no matter the age or profession. I only ask you to have a basic knowledge of your camera :)

In this workshop, you will learn how to boost your creative and photographic vision, reconnect with your surroundings and start your own personal project.

If you are interested and want to receive more information or to organice a workshop in your city, you can email me at info@isabelval.com. I can send you the information in English, Spanish or Catalan.