Field Notes

Emmanuel College Residency – Day 26

The last few weeks at Emmanuel College have really trucked by. I feel like it took a couple weeks for me to just decompress from being in New York and escape the constant feeling of always being overwhelmed. Once I felt relaxed–like I had come up for air–the work began.

So far I’ve begun to prep some stuff I will be doing here in Boston. But for the most part I’ve been working on projects that have been sitting on the shelf for a while. Namely, editing work and designing artist books. Below is a rundown of a few of the projects I’m in the process of working on.

Nothing Can Steal What We Build

This is a book project that I am nearing completion on; I wrote about it in my last Field Notes post (“Emmanuel College Residency – Day 6“). last week I completed the edit of the new dummy, prepped all of the files, and made a primitive, spiral bound copy of the book using regular printer paper. I’m going to let it sit for a week or two so that I come back to it with fresh eyes and see if there are any final changes that need to be made. Then the plan is to make a more serious dummy, printed on nice paper, that will be saddle stitched in signatures with a hardcover. The aim with this dummy is to have a very nice PDF to send out digitally alongside a nice hardcover copy to show in person to solicit an introduction/foreword for the body of work.

A few people have asked me about what my process was like making this book dummy. Later this summer I should write a Field Notes post about the entire process. Because I had to pretty much figure everything out on my own, I’m sure it will be informative for others as well as a nice way for me to reflect on the process.

Good Earth

In August I will be having my first solo exhibition at Columbia College in their Greg Hardwick Gallery. We will be showing my project Good Earth, which documents the Old Lead Belt in southeast Missouri. Presently I’m in the early stages of figuring out what photographs to print for the exhibit and how I want to present the work. But along with the exhibit I want to have an artist book that serves as an exhibition catalog. I just completed a digital proof of the artist book and over the next few weeks as I finalize the show I’ll also finalize the catalog. I think this will turn out really nice as the design is simple and clean.


While living in Los Angeles a decade a go I met a lot of bands in the Silverlake / Echo Park music scene. One of whom, Local Natives, have found a good deal of success outside of the LA scene. Over the years I’ve seen them play shows across the country and photographed them in a number of places. Putting some of these images together into an artist book has been a long time coming, and last week I was finally able to scan a bunch of 35mm negatives and lay something out.

Plato Project

I need to produce two artist books of work from my decade long project to document the small town of Plato, Mo. that sits at the exact center of the US population. The first of two has already been designed and is about half the copies are printed. The second needs to be designed and printed. About 2/3 of these are to be sent out to Kickstarter backers that helped support a trip I made to Plato in 2014. Yes, I realize I am behind on delivering these books (and other rewards) to backers. But, the upside is that I’ve shot so much more work in the interim to pull from and I think with the added time they’ll be better in the end. I plan to write a Field Notes post about my experience with Kickstarter once I have all the rewards out to backers this summer.

Other Artist Books

There are also some other artist books that I made somewhat recently including An Edge to America, an artist book about refugees illegally crossing the border from the US into Canada to seeks asylum, and The High Sierra, a personal artist book with photographs from a trip I made with my father in August 2016 in California.

Eventually the plan is to make these books available to you, along with prints, via this website. I hope to tackle that this summer as well.

I will be posting daily updates from Boston to Instagram with notes about what I’m working on. Please follow along if you like @benhoste