diary of an obsessed person – incl. book update + video of my exhibition talk

Man, that was intense!

‘That’ being the time between finishing the project in early March – and now, four and a half months later.

It’s all a bit of a blur so I thought I’d retrace my steps since March, to work out exactly why I haven’t had time to scratch myself:

1. Fulfilling the Rewards for my wonderful Kickstarter crowdfunding peeps


Kickstarter Rewards

Kickstarter Rewards


Looks pretty simple doesn’t it? Print some postcards, get some prints matted, organise stickers.

To start with, before I could do any of that, I had to review all 30,000 images I’d shot – to find a handful (remember I asked you all for your favourite images?). Then processing the chosen images. Then ‘getting the colour right’ – it took the printers four goes. Then the sourcing of all the bits and pieces – the mattes, the cardboard packages etc – etc – etc.

And I won’t even mention (okay, I will) how long it took me just to sign all the postcards and prints and then wrap them and package them up – almost an entire weekend!

Or how absurd I looked walking into the post office with close to 200 packages – it took almost an hour for the woman just to process them.

But it was worth all the time and effort – I was pretty happy with them but more importantly the Kickstarter backers seemed to be too – one job down, two to go…


2. Exhibition

This was probably the easiest job of the last four months. Mainly because there were other people doing a lot of the work – the Sydney Living Museum project managers and designers.

But it was still a big deal – choosing the 100 or so images to be exhibited, then processing all those.

I am, however, absolutely thrilled with the way the exhibition – which opened last Saturday at the Museum of Sydney – is looking. This time around we printed the images on cotton rag rather than photographic paper – the look is really lush and beautiful.

More on the exhibition a little later – the next major intense job was…


3. Make a book

Before I started work on this book, I thought my first book was a lot of work.

But that book was designed, produced and published by someone else.

This time around I’ve taken on all those roles, on top of actually providing the content of the book.

It has been another marathon of a journey! But have I loved it? Yes!

I had a designer help me with some of the mechanics but for the most part, it’s been my baby. And like any baby, I’ve fussed over it and been totally absorbed by it, almost 24 hours a day for the past few months.

I was determined to make the book as good as it could be – aside from having a slight perfectionist streak (!) I also knew I was planning to try and raise the funds to print it by setting up a pre-ordering system through a crowdfunding site. If people were going to place their trust in me to pre-order and pay for a book without seeing it first, I was going to repay them for their faith by giving them the best book possible.

I started working solidly on the book eight weeks ago. It began with choosing around 800 images from the thousands and thousands that I took – and then processing them. Just the processing alone took three weeks (one image can take up to 30 minutes to process if it’s a tricky one) – almost seven days a week for three weeks, making thousands of decisions about contrast, brightness, colour correction for printing etc.

Then there was editing the blog posts – getting 70,000 words down to around 20,000 – as well as new writing.

Funny in a way – after a year of roaming all around the world, I was stuck in one place, in a dark room (you need to process images without too much light around) glued to a computer screen.

Then the really intense phase kicked in as my deadline to go to print drew nearer. For the past month I have been going to bed at 1am, waking at 5 or 6am, often by an insistent thought – “change Pg xxx”. I started dreaming about layouts and fonts and images. Oh my gawd. Obsessive? Definitely.

Then as I was laying it all out, I’d realise, ooh, those other images I hadn’t processed, they’d go well here – or, I’ll write that instead of that. So there was more processing, more writing, more fussing…


4. Raise funds to print the book

When the book was 99% done, I started work on the pre-ordering/crowdfunding campaign. As you may know if you read the last post, enough lovely people pre-ordered it, enabling it to be printed – a small print run but nonetheless, a print run. Which is just amazing and wonderful.

So my baby is now in the hands of the printers – due to be born in mid September. Take that, Mr royal baby!


I can’t help myself though – I want to share with you the equivalent of some ultra-sound images – some of the pages as they look when they go to print (imagine the spreads much bigger though – 260mm high x 520mm wide):































Some of them are new images you didn’t see on the blog, like this intro page to one of the Tokyo suburbs:




And of course much of the 352 page book is made up of diptychs – I’ve tried to include all of the ones you told me were your favourites, like the ones from the very last suburb, Coogee:





So yes, the book – finally finished and in the hands of printers now. Be careful with my baby you printers!


5. PR

In the midst of final finessing and fussing in the last few weeks, I’ve also been busy giving interviews to various radio, magazine and newspaper people about the project and upcoming exhibition and book.

I always quite enjoy it – who doesn’t love talking about something they love? – but you never know how they’re going to come out.

So it was very nice to open the pages of the weekend Australian Magazine to see this lovely piece on me and my project – thank you Catherine Marshall!






5. The exhibition opening talk

Having done all this – the crowdfunding campaigns, the book, the exhibition prep. – my final job was to open my exhibition with a talk last Saturday at the Museum of Sydney.

I’d been so busy in the weeks preceding it, I’d had to leave it to the last minute to do. But I think it made enough sense.

I know many of you wanted to come but couldn’t because it was sold out. But wonderful Stephen Lead, who’s been helping me with map stuff on the blog amongst other things, decided to video the talk. So for those of you who missed out, here it is! Steve didn’t film the Q&A at the end, which was a lot of fun I have to say, but the whole 20 minute talk first up is there.



52 Suburbs Exhibition Talk by Stephen Lead on Vimeo.

Thanks Steve!

And many thanks to all of you who did manage to get tickets for the talk – it was exciting to have you in the audience.

The exhibition is on until November 24 – for other details check out the Museum of Sydney website.


So yes, that’s what I’ve been doing.

It has been intense but wonderful.

But it is nice not to be waking up at 5am. And feeling like I can breathe again. Yeah, that bit is good.


How to pre-order the book, or order prints or postcards:

The Pozible pre-ordering campaign is over but you can still pre-order the book.

In the next few days I’ll set up a facility on this blog site to do so, as well as order prints of any images from the exhibition or book, and the postcards.

Now there was something else I had to do… Oh yeah, Coco! Child! Pick up from school!

Later, as a wild-haired hippie I once knew used to say.


  1. Joel says:

    Like I mentioned before, I missed out on tickets. Decided to drop in anyway, and managed to get into the talk after all by loitering outside the door until the ticket-holders had been allowed in. I came and said hi to you, though I don’t think you had any idea of who I was. Not that I’m anyone. =)

    In any case, I was fascinated by the talk, and I’m very much looking forward to getting the book. =D

  2. Joel says:

    Whoop, forgot to ask: is there an online version of that article? It’s a little hard to read (and I don’t usually get the Australian, though ironically I did have one on hand last weekend that I could have read, had I known to look =P ).

    • Louise says:

      Good to meet you on Saturday Joel. Sorry if I seemed vague – as I said, I’ve not been sleeping much lately! I think there is an online version of the article but you need to be an Australian Newspaper subscriber maybe.

  3. Jo Kaupe says:

    I’m loving the look of the book, looks great.

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Jo, very glad you like it. And thanks for coming on Saturday!

  4. Gill says:

    Enjoyed your talk and the exhibition on Saturday and what a lovely girl Coco is – lovely to see the ‘partners in crime’ together! May you share many more happy times. All the very best, G

    • Louise says:

      Thanks for coming and very happy you enjoyed it, Gill. And yes, Coco is alright, isn’t she? It was very special sitting up there with my girl, answering questions. A forever memory.

  5. Donna says:

    Likewise..loved the talk and the exhibition Louise & Coco….it must be so nice to see it all come together like that…your images speak volumes…I am so looking forward to your next project (eventually)…enjoy the well earned rest Louise.

  6. Chantal says:

    What a marathon! I’m exhausted just reading up on the last 4 months – so I can imagine how you are feeling.
    I can’t wait to see the book – what a beautiful thing it will be.
    Hope there is some time now for some R & R ( & of course some husband shopping) CX

  7. Gillian May says:

    Hi Louise, Congratulations on opening the exhibit and getting the book off to print. Must be time to talk about author talks at Berkelouw in Paddington and at Mona Vale – if you can come so far north.

    Hope to tee something up soon,

    Gillian May, Berkelouw Books, 9979 2112

    • Louise says:

      Sure thing, very happy to come and talk! Will call you Gillian.

  8. mimi says:

    Can’t wait to be able to order prints and the book in the US. Do you think you will sell large prints of them in canvas? I would like to pick a few to hang around the house!!

    • Louise says:

      I’m not sure about canvas – but I’m definitely going to be offering prints on the cotton rag paper – it’s a beautiful look. Stay tuned!

  9. Catherine Marshall says:

    The “ultrasounds” look incredible Louise – this baby is going to be gorgeous! And Joel, it looks like you can now access my article online without a subscription at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/out-of-the-ordinary/story-e6frg8h6-1226676624568

    • Louise says:

      I’m seeing proofs of the book any day now – I get butterflies just thinking about it! Thanks for that link too Catherine.

  10. Anna Sticklebricks says:

    How lovely to have another blog post from you, and such an exciting one too. Just what I needed after a pretty glum week. The book looks great and I can hardly wait to see it in the flesh! Still plotting to be able to make it to Sydney for the exhibition …
    Thanks for all the smiles you’ve given!

    • Louise says:

      So glad I could brighten a glum week Anna. Boo to glum weeks! And I really hope your plotting comes off and you get to see the exhibition. So different seeing the images BIG!

  11. Nikki says:

    Hi Louise and Coco, made my weekend coming to hear your tales of afar and the project to date. The exhibition brought back all those wonderful images over the last year. Take a good long break, sit with your Coogee mermaid and ponder the next adventure.

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Nikki!

  12. Kate says:

    All wonderful, I have loved watching the creation and evolution of this creative project/process it so 2013!

    • Louise says:

      It is so 2013, isn’t it? Pixels, blogs, crowdfunding. Couldn’t have happened 10 years ago. Technology is so frustrating when it doesn’t work but when it does work, it makes you think anything is possible. Yeah!

  13. SarahN says:

    I had it in my calendar to come on Saturday ( though I missed out on tickets) but was flumoxed when it wasn’t on the Museum of Sydney’s website last week. Then I was inspecting my new rental, so I just shelved coming. Thankfully, it’s now on their website, and I’ll be there, to de-stress from the double move and the new job and all the rest, as soon as possible.

  14. Lisa Claridge says:

    Hi Louise. Just love reading and absorbing anything and everything you have to say re this fabulous journey.
    Now that you have absolutely nothing to do (ha ha!!) I did wonder if you had or might consider putting out a calender for next year. Maybe YOUR favourite diptychs from 12 countries. Just a thought. I would buy quite a few. I love your camera view of life.
    Look forward to reading more!
    Will get over to Sydney sometime soon.

  15. suzy says:

    Wow, that sounds crazy busy. But the book looks fantastic, and it must feel so good to have it all done. We were out of town last weekend, so thanks for sharing the link to your talk, and I am looking forward to checking out the exhibition soon.

  16. Elowyn says:

    Oh Louise, I can’t wait to get my copy!! thanks for your wonderful, wonderful work :)

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