Utilizing multiple self-publishing platforms on one project.

In April 2017 I wrote and article titled MagCloud vs. Blurb which as of this writing has been on of my all time most read stories on Medium. This article is me taking the advice of Blurb’s ‘Creative Evangelist’ Daniel Milnor. When I published that article he said something to the effect of “shouldn't it be ‘and’?” I don’t always take the hint right away. I liked his comment and proceeded on with my own work.

Fast forward a year and I am working on a book of images from a family trip to San Diego. My idea is to…

Pause Update #1 (not a full return to situation normal…yet)


What the hell have I been doing since putting Daily,Weekly on pause? Back in October I had a few plans and here May is tomorrow and my plans are still hard to discern.

I’ve finished my We Are Neighbors book collaboration, found 10 founders to fund a printing, and am about to host a party and give them their books. We also have a 6x9 trade book version that we will launch with a gallery show or something next. This project has been a long time coming and it feels…

February in southern New Mexico. Winter (or what passes for winter) is usually in it’s last throws. Soon the sun will begin to scorch the new growth on the desert greenery.

This year marked my fourth consecutive family trip to White Sands National Monument. It is beginning to feel like a pilgrimage. Each one happening around Valentines Day. A trip to Alamogordo for a nephews birthday party that we also use as an excuse to play in the magical white sands just outside of town.

My mind often pulls my eyes to my feet and I find myself framing the…

My thoughts and experiences of self publishing in 2017.

Last year I wrote an article on my experiences of MagClouds’ 8" square format. I followed that up with another self publishing article comparing/highlighting the differences between MagCloud and Blurb. Both of those articles are still getting double digit reads weekly after a year. All that to say I think it is worth a follow up article on the subject of self-publishing.

What I made and why.

As in 2016, I published six books in 2017. Though two of them almost don’t really count. The first was an exploration of the format and a “mission statement” of me working on portraits more.

Spoiler alert, I…

Twelve? Was it ever really twelve? I can’t remember a year that ever happened. I mean now we have a whole season for the thing. It starts just after Halloween and carries on through Thanksgiving and only really ends with New Years. Through those “twelve days” we are encouraged to buy, buy, buy. The holiday is measured in profits and sales. Black Friday is all weekend and Cyber Monday is now almost two weeks.

making a statement, not a name


I don’t want to make a name for myself. My parents already hold that record. My previous stated goal with my art was to make an impact. Instead I now want to make a statement. At least one clear, concise, and meaningful statement about this world.

I have said stuff before but as I get older and more “experienced” (what ever that means) I know that it was just stuff. It wasn’t a full thought, instead just a piece of an idea. …

moving on


The air quality book is ordered and should arrive in a couple weeks. Blurb has been getting them out faster so fingers crossed.

Now back to my collaboration projects. It is hard to stay focused on them because they are so big and each milestone reached feels like completion. But that isn’t the case at all. Finalized the sequence but I still need to finish editing and getting final images together. Then to put the book together. Write the intro. All of that times 2 because I have 2 going. …

step by step guide to creating a book
(not really step by step or a guide per se but hear me out)


I shot everything with my X-Pro1 and 35mm f1.4 lens. ISO and focal distance of 2 feet stayed constant. I adjusted aperture and shutter speed to accommodate for a +2/3 exposure in camera so the editing of the photos was simple. After I opened Lightroom and imported the RAW files from my card I tweeked the sliders on one photo until it resembles what I envisioned. Contrast, exposure, vibrancy, and saturation all got subtle nudges. Color temperature goes…

turning 34.


I did not get my 100 photos in this weekend although I did make about 30 more. So total I am close to 100. I feel that I am ready to move onto the book phase but I am going to hold off until next week. I hope that restriction will help the project.

Restrictions can really help a photographer focus and it can make them explore things in new ways. This project is doing that for me already and I want to continue that.

I do need to do some research on air quality and air pollution…

… making space to breath


I have started to make photographs for my Air Quality project and am really excited about them. I am shooting one specific type of photo as a study but also as an exercise in repetition. I was inspired by the way musicians practice music. Playing the same notes over and over with only minor alterations in between.

Here is my plan for this phase of the project: * make photographs through the rest of September * then in October layout the content of the book first * once the book is set then work on…

Justin Thor Simenson

A husband, father, son, civil designer, photographer, and writer. Living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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