Asia Stories | Flemming Bo Jensen

Charlene general 13 Comments

I am proud to present my book Asia Stories featuring stories from Papua New Guinea, Laos and Cambodia. The images in this book contain some of the stories that have affected me deeply during the first two years of my life on the road. The experiences I gathered, people I met, places I visited, and lessons I learnt, changed me almost completely. Little exists of the person I was before. The books is 138 pages, hardcover with dust jacket and printed on gorgeous thick Mohawk uncoated cotton paper with a lovely textured art feel to it. – Flemming Bo Jensen

This winter, I took on my first editing assignment for Flemming and its outcome has finally been launched: Asia Stories. Watch a video about it here:

Asia Stories book from Flemming Bo Jensen on Vimeo.

Asia Stories is for sale via Blurb.com. Order the book directly on the Blurb website.

The book you are seeing is the result of a couple of months of solid work between Flemming and I. To say we “kicked each other’s asses getting this book done” describes the pace and intensity with which we both worked on this perfectly.

Highlights for me during this process:

  • Mutual faith. Flemming and I agreed at the start to be completely honest, as nothing would get done if we got bogged down in skirting around issues that needed to be raised. It made communicating massively easier, and resulted in some fine dialogue. We’d agree to disagree, sound new (sometimes ridiculous) ideas out, clarify potentially contentious things before they got that way, and basically felt free to speak our minds without fear of giving offence. I’ve never worked with anyone else with half this level of trust and confidence, and it has been extremely enlightening.
  • The pace at which we progressed. I don’t often come across people who get as obsessed as I do about stuff, and it has been really great to work with someone who believes in diving into it full stream, although I daresay it wore both of us out a bit. 268 very long emails over a couple of months just on the book alone – phew!
  • Working with images and text. Regular readers will remember my ongoing frustrations with editing pictures (here and here), most of which stem from the fact that I haven’t been exposed to picture stories as much as I need to be. Pairing pictures with words, which I am leagues more comfortable working with, made it a whole different ballgame. I knew what I wanted Flemming to write more of, write less of, write differently, and how to ask for it. We ended up with images that are not always directly related to the textual stories, but complementary where they need to be.

All in all, i found playing editor an immensely rewarding experience, both in what I got out of it personally, as well as the fact that I helped a friend and fellow photographer attain their goal. Being part of this effort has been damned good, and no less for it being a book that contains such personal significance in Flemming’s life.

Happiness is not real unless it is shared.
– Chris McCandless, Into The Wild

Quite so. There’s no price that can be put on fellowship.

Asia Stories is for sale via Blurb.com. Order the book directly on the Blurb website. Want to know what you get? Preview it here:

http://www.blurb.com/books/2432037?ce=blurb_ew&utm_source=widget

Comments 13

  1. You two are awesome! So pleased to see this come to fruition, and it’s nice to read about the working process.

    I tell you what, when I feel myself flagging and wanting to be lazy, I think about you guys, and it keeps me motivated. Seriously. 268 emails?? My word!

    1. Thanking you 🙂

      Could have been more, but I only remembered to label so many threads of conversation. Works out to a fairly hefty daily average nonetheless. I don’t think I’ve ever emailed one person that much in my life, heh.

      I have to say, I got so stuck into it that when we decided to leave the last draft alone for a few days (it turned out to be about a week) before doing the final run through, I was at a loss for what to do with myself. So i sent Flemming another few emails telling him about it. Hahaha.

  2. 268 emails but that was just the ones regarding the book – we then had several other threads discussing the DITL project, tug boats, freediving and anything in and around water really plus much more. Yes I think we set a new standard in emails and teamwork 🙂

    The book turned out quite fantastic because of your work Charlene, again I would whole heartedly recommend you to anyone in need of a great editor. You took my images and words and lifted them many levels.

    An example: many images were added and removed along the way in the sequencing and editing, some of them were favourites of mine but that’s why you need an editor, to create a tight edit that as a photographer is hard as we’re too close to our images. Towards the very end, Charlene removed two images in the PNG set that – I concur – do not fit all that well into the story. But I loved those images and said “no, these two, they have to be in there. They mean so much, I know they don’t fit all that well but I don’t care.”. Right away Charlene emails an alternative edit saying she predicted that, so here’s where they fit in in case I would not agree to remove them 🙂

    I can’t wait till the next book we do together, I felt withdrawal when the book was finished!

    1. Haha! I am amused that you picked that particular example. That was a standout moment in my memory as well, since the “they have to be in there… i don’t care” was so uncharacteristically outside your usual rational approach, it had me chuckling for a good while.

      I was moping around questioning the meaning of life for a while afterwards too, suddenly devoid of something to obsess over. Definitely can’t wait till we get cracking on the next one… it’ll be something else!

  3. Well done Charlene and it indeed looks a fantastic book, I agree choosing and deciding which ones to keep and which ones to put aside is the hardest thing to do, so I can imagine how Flemming must have felt.

    1. It certainly was a good exercise Peta, and it was good to have a kindred spirit to collaborate with. Learnt heaps for sure!

  4. That does look like a fantastic book, and I’m in awe of the effort you both put in. 268 emails? Wow.

    I’m hopeless at editing my own work for things like this (one of the reasons I haven’t made a book for a while), and I think this approach, and having someone to bounce things off, would be invaluable.

    1. I’d love to help JP. Drop me an email if you’re keen 🙂

      Our entire editing conversation took place over email, largely owing to the fact that I only worked on it early mornings Perth time for some reason, and the time difference meant Flemming was asleep. I think the next time, have to organise Skype into the mix if the face time isn’t viable.

    2. It’s tempting, but first I think I’d need to come up with a theme… ‘Random Photos I Have Taken’ seems to lack some focus, somehow 🙂

      Skype would be really good for this type of thing.

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