In celebration of the first print of my first ever self-published photo book “The Little Black Book” selling out, I wanted to share with y’all how this project came to exist. This honestly was never even supposed to be this large, this time consuming of a project, but I loved every second of the process.

As I mentioned multiple times, this really wasn’t even supposed to exist or get a whole commercial, but here we are because of art and creativity. I recently started working at a photo/print shop and because of that, I can experiment with different projects at a low cost; it has its pros and cons lol. Once I figured out how much it would cost to produce these books, I started putting different photo book concepts together in my head; and in my phone. I kept albums of images for a few different photo book ideas in my phone so I could look at them from time to time, assess the images I had chosen and revisit the concepts.

 

I had officially started working on “The Little Black Book” in late August and it was released exclusively to my newsletter subscribers in early October, then released publicly early November. During the process of me choosing the images for the book, I was told the 4x4 inches black book cover I had chosen could hold 20 pages front and back; I misinterpreted this lol. I thought that meant I would have 40 pages max, but it basically meant 10 pages front and back. So now I had to cut even more images from the book (don’t worry, I’ve had FIRE reviews lol. It’s a few pages, but it’s worth it.) My selection process, even for my photoshoots, is really particular, but ultimately this was a very minor setback.

So after cutting those images, I was ready; the sample of my first self-published photo book was created. The images in this first sample (shown above) were all shot on APS film. I will spare y’all the long details of what APS film is and why it’s so rare, but it’s expired and that ages the film so you get certain color tints. The colors looked cool, but the images weren’t as clear as I wanted them to be; the discoloration from the aging made the images grainy. A very dope concept, but I decided to ditch it (for now); back to the drawing board.

To make sure the images came out as clear as possible, I decided to chose some of my favorite, color 35mm film images instead of the APS film images for the photo book; this really changed everything. I had to change the foreword too because it originally was all about the APS film.  I was pretty locked in on everything at this point. My next step was printing two copies (one with a white border around the images and one without it) and seeing which I liked more. I decided to go with the copy without borders. My book was done.

Sike, I thought. So, I sat with that borderless image copy of the book for a few days and even asked some people their opinion on it. One piece of feedback I got was that the font could be a little difficult to read. I looked at it a few more times, then just decided to print a version with a different font to see how it would look.

 

Now THIS is when my book was complete (shown above). Thank you to everyone who has owns a copy; those are really special. You have the first edition, first print. Since we’ve completed our photo book journey, I’ll take you on another trip for this commercial.

First, I wanted to address why I chose to include my firearms in the commercial. I am an advocate for firearm ownership amongst black people; it’s essential, especially right now. I completely understand if you’ve dealt with gun violence-related trauma and don’t want anything to do with firearms as well. In that case, I’d recommend having some type of weapon for self-defense; pepper spray, taser gun, etc. Gun ownership amongst black people has always been subject to systemic oppression and racism via gun control in the United States. I’m not going to get too much into it, but it’s a fact; you can click here for some proof. I just wanted to address that because I feel very strongly about that, but now I’ll get into the concepts behind the commercial.

The goal of the commercial was to advertise the book, give a great feel of my artistry for new supporters and have something dope for the Day 1s. I settled on having three versions of myself doing different things. As soon as the Phill in the middle opened the photo book, the other two would look at the book too. The timeline visual gave the new supporters a look into my past work and accomplishments. The last bit of the commercial is an over-the-shoulder shot of me looking at the book, inspired by those Zoobooks commercials from the 90’s. Another big inspiration for this commercial were ads with black people in them from the 1950s-2000s. I came across some really funny shit; that was really fun. Above you can see the story boards I drew for this commercial. I know, my handwriting is bad lol; it got the job done though.

one of the images chosen for the final photo book

Thank y’all for reading this. Unrelated, but you’ve got about 23 days to order a print from the “October Embers” photo project. Once it hits January 1st, it won’t be available for purchase anymore. Check out my blog post explaining how the It and Black Horror-inspired collaboration with C.B. Imagery happened.