Book Design

mickyatesCambodia, CambodiaFMP, ContextualResearch, Critical Research Journal, Documentary, History, ICWeek8, Informing Contexts, Khmer, Plans & Notes, Project Development, Unfinished Stories 1 Comment

From the beginning of this project, I have been planned a book capturing the ‘Unfinished Stories’ of Sarath and family. Whether this is actually my Falmouth FMP, I am not yet sure. But I do want to publish by the end of this year, partly to set myself a deadline, partly to be sure I do justice to the time and energy given by Sarath and others, and partly to hit a natural marketing deadline in Cambodia. The November/December period is a good one for launching a new book, both locally and tourist-wise.

I have also discussed the idea of publishing before any collaborative exhibition with local photographers, in 2020, so that the book could be a reference point.

As I have noted previously, conversations with Lukas Birk led me to determine to do this in Cambodia – printed, distributed and marketed there. I see this as both a contribution to the local economy, and a sign of my determination to be sensitive to the accusation of ‘colonial gaze’.  In preparation, I had met with printers, local photographers, and the largest distributor/marketer of books in Cambodia. I summarised this, here.

During Surfaces and Strategies, I created a book dummy which combined semi-transparent pages (with black and white negative images)  and colour pages. The scale of the images was too small, but am still intrigued by this idea as a way of linking past and present. Sadly there is no printer in Cambodia with this capability, so will hold that for a possible extended International edition.

Our youngest daughter, Victoria, is a professional designer. She knows the country, our project, and Sarath very well, having been with us on our first visit to meet the Khmer Rouge in 2000. I am not yet clear about editing, though several names have been suggested.

Conceptually, this is not a photo-only book, as it will be quite text heavy. equally, I do not want to fall into the photographs simply being illustrations. I want the images to have power and impact in their own right, quite a design challenge. Equally, Cambodian book stores are full of ‘personal memoirs’ of KR times, text heavy and with little in the way of historical or geographic context. These seems a staple in the airport book stores.

Amongst my biggest inspirations for my book are Moises Saman and Judy Glickman Lauder, for different reasons. Saman, in Discordia, combines colour and black and white. He also uses a index of images, with brief explanations, which seems to summarise and punctuate the narrative of his book.

Glickman Lauder, in Beyond the Shadows,  mixes black and white, negatives and infrared to tell the story – and she completes her narrative with a detailed time line of the Holocaust, from a Danish perspective.

Victoria and I are researching design inspirations, and amongst many, Victoria found The Berlin Wall (in Russian), designed by Anna Kremenetskaya. I find this an intriguing mix of text, graphics and photographs, which could be well suited to the subject matter I am pursuing – and quite different to ‘competing’ titles in Cambodia.

The header above is one spread from that book, and here are two others.

We have also been exploring colour pallets – here are leading options:

Cambodia does not have a long history with hardback printing, but I have agreed with our printers, Image Printing in Phnom Penh, that we will go along this route, as they have some experience. We have also discussed a larger size than the ‘standard’ Cambodia personal memoire books, to give the photographs space to breathe.

Working Title

Unfinished Stories


English-speaking, with emphasis on catching the interest of both Cambodians and serious tourists who want to know more about what happened.

International ISBN


The book will feature work produced this year, exploring the aftermath of Genocide. It will also explore my archive materials on the schools program and Sarath’s history.


  • Forward – 2 pages (external writer)
  • A short history of the Khmer Rouge years – 6 pages
  • A short biography of Sarath’s family, pre war – 10 pages
  • Personal Stories from Sarath and family during 1975-1979 – 60 pages
  • The schools program, which defines Sarath’s career and also our personal connection – 10/15 pages depending on archive imagery used.
  • My photography throughout
  • A visual appendix – 4 pages
  • Timeline – 2 pages
  • Index and bibliography – 4 pages

Retail Price

Target retail around $16.

Physical dimensions

Hardback, with dust cover, 17.5cm by 25cm, with approximately 100 pages


  • Explore funding – default is self-funded.
  • Explore printing & distribution agreements – February 2019, ongoing
  • Design – from March 2019
  • Content finalised: July/August 2019
  • Files to printers: End August 2019
  • Publication: October 2019
  • Launch in Phnom Penh: November 2019


GLICKMAN LAUDER, Judy. 2018. Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception. New York: Aperture.

SAMAN, Moises. 2016. Discordia. Treviso: Grafiche Antiga.

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