© John Vink / Magnum Photos

 

‘The Quest’ for iPad: why?

CAMBODIA. 29/05/1989: View on the ricefields from helicopter to Phnom Penh.

CAMBODIA. 29/05/1989: View on the ricefields from helicopter to Phnom Penh.

I am sorry but there is going to be more writing and less photographs than usual in these posts… I am going to go through the nuts and bolts of the creation process of that App about land issues in Cambodia. Hopefully you’ll follow me, enjoy it and learn from it just as much as I am… And hopefully I am not mistaken in this endeavour.

It has been over 10 years now that I have been working on land issues in Cambodia. Time to check on what has been collected, to draw a line sort of…

Not that there are no more land issues in Cambodia. It goes on unabated. Just as it does in India, the Philippines, China, Palestine, you name it. Land, soil, territory, borders, is what brings some of our most brutal animal instincts to the surface. Packs of wolves chasing the weaker from a territory.

Stopping to work on a story is hard. Because there are always new twists which were never covered, because there is always a sequel to a story. There is an aftermath where new stories develop, feed on the old one, grow, spread out, always just as interesting. And when living in a country instead of popping in and out, that flow of events is immersive. You can’t escape it. It is still in front of your nose…

It is especially hard to stop when that particular long-term story was not commissioned. You are on your own to drag yourself out of a comfort zone which was slowly built up. With these long term stories one knows about the recurring patterns, is just spotting the essential differences, the quirks. One goes straight to the point. All the elements fit more easily. And now you suddenly have to choose between that comfort zone and the big void which opens up after a story is stopped… No more familiar patterns. Scary sometimes…

Anyhow… So I will draw a line… But what sort of line? How is it going to translate? What is it going to look like? There are more than 3500 edited photographs directly related to Cambodian land issues in my Lightroom catalog. And several thousands more which would contribute to putting things into perspective.

Put together a book, the perfect wrap-up for a story? That is the quintessential form. The perfect balance between content and intention. Making a dummy is not too complicated. I have been living with that story and those pictures for so long now that it is outlined fairly precisely in my head. It is all that comes after which is tough. Even if I was self-publishing it here in Phnom Penh it would be too costly to distribute abroad. I am too disconnected and isolated from the decision centers to find a publisher who would take the responsability to go for it old style, taking it upon himself to find the money to produce an A4 size, 300-page, duo-tone printed hardcover… How many publishers are assuming the whole package these days anyhow? The content producer has to bring half or all the money before most of them would lift a finger.

But these are digital times. We know it reshuffles the cards for the distribution of content. Distribution of hard copy eats 60% to 65% of the sales price of a book. With an additional 30% disappearing into the production, that leaves little to play with for the content producer. Replace the distributor by one who takes 30%, reduce the production costs to 20% and save a few trees in the process, that leaves 50% of the sales price for the content producers. The math is quite straightforward: go digital young man! Go for an iApp or an eBook. Reach and sell to 2000 people, that is 0,009% of those with an iPad, and you’ll even make some money… That is the plan… To get it out there and at least get the invested money back. The physical book, the exhibition, the print sales: they will eventually come later.

Next post on ‘The Quest’ for iPad: Building the Team…

5 Responses to “‘The Quest’ for iPad: why?”

  1. […] also: ‘The Quest’ for iPad: why?, ‘The Quest’ for iPad: the […]

    © John Vink / Magnum Photos » ‘The Quest’ for iPad: organising content - February 27th, 2012 at 4:01 am

  2. […] also: ‘The Quest’ for iPad: why?, ‘The Quest’ for iPad: the team, ‘The Quest’ for iPad: organising […]

    © John Vink / Magnum Photos » ‘The Quest’ for iPad: about editing - March 5th, 2012 at 4:03 am

  3. […] also: ‘The Quest’ for iPad: why?, ‘The Quest’ for iPad: the team, ‘The Quest’ for iPad: organising content, ‘The […]

    © John Vink / Magnum Photos » ‘The Quest’ for iPad: some more editing considerations and organising it - March 13th, 2012 at 4:01 am

  4. […] also: ‘The Quest’ for iPad: why?, ‘The Quest’ for iPad: the team, ‘The Quest’ for iPad: organising content, ‘The […]

    © John Vink / Magnum Photos » ‘The Quest’ for iPad: additional content and first hints on navigation - March 20th, 2012 at 4:02 am

  5. […] also: ‘The Quest’ for iPad: why?, ‘The Quest’ for iPad: the team, ‘The Quest’ for iPad: organising content, ‘The Quest’ […]

    © John Vink / Magnum Photos » ‘The Quest’ for iPad: navigation and interface - April 8th, 2012 at 8:21 am

Leave a Reply