Down and Dirty in the Valley

In our last installment about the creation of the photo book, Valley of Shadows and Dreams, we were happy to announce the debut exhibition of the work at Umbrage Editions ( from March through May, 2012.

Valley of Shadows and DreamsSince then, our team has been slogging through the very unglamorous and painstaking work of preparing the photographs to be printed. Ken Light, the photographer for this project, has been working closely with the team. Diane Lee, production manager at Heyday, explained to us that because digital and print technologies are different processes, it’s a lot of work to re-create the high quality images that reflect Ken’s artistry in the old fashioned, wet darkroom where images were made from film, vs the offset process of printing the book. The photo team – Uri Korn, Dan Figueroa and Erika Gentry –  has scanned both film negatives and paper photographs and then prepared several iterations of the digital files throughout the summer. In particular, Dan Figueroa has spent countless hours cleaning and adjusting the same files over and over to make the final product match the original print.

For her part, Diane has been going beyond the call of duty and has requested that the printing company make several proofs beyond the normal series. Ken and Diane have spent hours peering at the minute detail of press proofs with a loupe, commenting on qualities of the proofs that are difficult to see on monitors vs the extremely fine details offset printing can capture. The goal is to bring the highest quality visual imagery to our eager audience at the best price possible. We are confident that the many, many hours spent squinting at computer screens and print proofs will result in a lush, beautiful book that will take the reader on a unique journey through the heartland of California.

Valley of Shadows and Dreams photo team working to adjust prints for the press run. Left to right: Dan Figueroa, Uri Korn and Ken Light.” © Melanie Light, 2011.