We’re John Ash and Paul Gotts, keen amateur photographers driven by the idea of photo books whether handmade or commercially printed.In the last few years we have delivered very successful workshops on the creation of concertina books, slip cases and four-sided Japanese cases. The results have been really outstanding in our view.Sign up for news and updates below if you'd like to find out about our future workshop series.New workshop for 2024: Making a Hardbound Lay-flat Photobook.

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John Ash and Paul Gotts

Find out more about your workshop leaders John and Paul

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Our Workshops

We offer various different workshops that have certain key principles in common.

  • Led by John Ash and Paul Gotts

  • Maximum of 8 participants per workshop

  • Materials provided on the day (except your own prints for the Concertina Book session)

  • Emphasis on freely available supplies so learning can be quickly duplicated at home after the event at least cost

  • Complete notes provided to ease pressure on the day and serve as a permanent resource

  • Coffee, tea and biscuits provided!

Keep reading to see details of each specific workshop.

Next Workshop

Hardbound Lay-flat

Making a Hardbound Lay-flat Photobook

Wed 26th June 2024
Aston, Sheffield

This workshop would be of interest to photographers who would like to see their images in book form. They would need to print off their chosen work, around a given template, and bring this to the workshop.Objectives:On this workshop you will learn to:

  • Take your artwork and make a 26-page lay flat book block using drum leaf binding

  • Make a cloth bound board cover

  • Glue the book block to the cover using endpapers to complete the book

  • Understand the principles and be able to replicate at home what you learned

Our Other Workshops

These are the other workshops we've delivered in the past and if there is interest would be delighted to run again in future.
Let us know if you'd be interested.


Making a
Concertina Book

This workshop would be of interest to photographers who would like to see their images in book form.They would need to print off their chosen work, around a given template, and bring this to the workshop.A week before the course participants will be invited to an online session to introduce themselves, ensure they are comfortable with printing their images off and to be able to hit the ground running on the morning of the actual course.A week after the course an online review session will close off the project.Objectives:On this workshop you will learn to:

  • Take your artwork and make a 20-page concertina book block

  • Make a cloth bound board cover

  • Glue the book block to the cover to complete the book

  • Understand the principles and be able to replicate at home what you learned

Concertina Book

Making a

This one-day workshop would be of interest to anyone who would like to see their favourite book sitting in a bespoke slipcase.For many, a handmade or otherwise special book is not complete without a purpose-made slipcase, which acts not only as protection but an opportunity in itself to be creative and best present the book. The process calls for accuracy in measurement, marking out and cutting, as a variation of only 1mm can be the difference between success and failure.Participants bring their book to the workshop, and at the end take away their own handmade slipcase, fully lined and board cased with an inlaid title or image on the front.Objectives:On this workshop you will learn to:

  • Line the book board with chosen paper

  • Measure the book, cut out and glue together the slipcase

  • Cover the slipcase with cloth and inlay a title or image on the front

  • Understand the principles and be able to replicate at home what you learned


Making a Japanese-style Four-sided Case

This one-day workshop would be of interest to anyone who would like to see a further and rather special option for presenting a favourite book.Japanese books are traditionally stored in hinged cases that fold up to enclose one book or to accommodate books of different sizes. They form protective sleeves for important books but in allowing cloths and lining papers to match ensure that the finish on the inside of the case is just as beautiful as the outside.Participants bring their book or prints to the workshop, and at the end take away their own four-sided case, tied with two bone clasps.Objectives:On this workshop you will learn to:

  • Measure, mark out and cut book board to exactly fit your book

  • Cover the case with cloth

  • Attach bone clasps and holders to the lid and side of the book

  • Strengthen the case and finish with lining paper

  • Understand the principles and be able to replicate at home what you learned

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Happy Participants


... and you can see more photos of them here!

  • "Thank you both for a fabulous day. I really enjoyed it and learned lots!" – JS

  • "Loved it…Thank you for the expert tuition and am buzzing to make another one – am so proud of my creation" – JB

  • "Love my book and am excited to get cracking on the next one" – PW

  • "Took my Sheffield book in its case to Photo Parlour in Nottingham last night, they loved it.” – HB

  • "Thank you Paul and John for yet another fabulous and fun day.  So pleased with my slip case." – JS

  • "Thanks Paul and John for a brilliant workshop with such clear directions, I made me a flawless box (far superior to other attempts!)" – JB

  • "Love the slip case, Paul and John, and learned less is more where glue is concerned!" - AH

2024 registration now open

Complete the form below to request a place on a workshop.Places are limited to 8 per workshop so we will get back to you ASAP to confirm your place and send you a secure payment link if successful.(if you'd like to register on more than one workshop, please complete this form for each date you are interested in)

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2024 workshops

Making a Hardbound Lay-flat Photobook
Wed 26th June 2024

Hardbound Lay-flat

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Between us we have worked together on four collaborative books since 2019: Brand New Day, Just Now, New Beginnings and Littoral which have raised over £3,000 for the Young Minds and RNLI charities. The ethos has been simple: we invite a small number of talented photographers to respond to a theme and we collect their diverse interpretations into a collaborative photobook.


We are now planning the publication of our fifth and sixth books for summer 2024 and 2025 – and we are asking for expressions of interest from photographers. All proceeds will again be going to charitable causes and we are proud of the fact that everyone involved so far has offered their time for free. We are very keen that this is continued. We are delighted to be able to say the books will contain more words from Jeff Young.

LocalOur fifth book Local (working title) will be published in summer 2024. It will include work from three photographers. Our aim is that this work will:

  • Be taken from areas very close to home (ideally within a mile) and certainly involve little transport

  • Be taken in areas that we might normally just pass by

  • Have a focus on the natural environment

AllotmentsOur plan is to publish this book in early summer 2025.
Allotments (working title) will again include work from three photographers. Our aim is that the images:

  • Should be of an allotment or allotments close to home

  • Should portray a real relationship between photographer and subject

  • Should reflect the approval of local allotment officials for the project

Our earlier books


Our latest and first hardback book Littoral was published in June 2023 and is based on the theme of the sea and the coast.It includes 35 black and white images from Lynn Fraser, Ali Lewis and Fiona McCowan brought together by a 1,000 essay by the Liverpool-based author, Jeff Young.With the proceeds of over £1,700 going to the RNLI the book benefited from a foreword written by master printer Jack Lowe.

New Beginnings

Published in May 2021, New Beginnings showcased the work of six photographers in responding to a lyrical theme of a Toyah song – chosen as pertinent to the time that the world was starting to slowly emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.Contributors were Tim Allott, Andrew Atkinson, Andy Holliman, Jan Beesley, Susi Petherick and Valerie Dalling, with a foreword by Doug Chinnery.The book was sold to support the charity Young Minds, and raised over £1,500 for this fantastic cause.

Just Now

For the second book of 2019, Paul decided on a lyric of John Martyn’s Just Now.Paul took part in this one as a photographer as well as pulling it together, and one of the projects was done by a father and daughter duo, Rob and Georgia Knight.The other photographers were Shelly Newnham, Juliette W Gregson, John Clifton and Anita Nicholson. Jill Reidy from an earlier book wrote the foreword to this one.

Brand New Day

In early 2019 Paul produced the first book.Inspired by the lyrics to a Van Morrison song of the same name Brand New Day asked six photographers to respond to the theme with a set of images: John Ash, Jill Reidy, Lesley Peatfield, Nicola Davison Reed, Janet Salmon and Rob Townsend.A foreword by Rob Knight set the scene and introduced the theme.

About Us

We're John Ash and Paul Gotts, and we're both keen photographers and advocates of using handmade books to best show our work – and yours.We have collaborated on published books together. We have been running workshops since 2021 and have never ceased to believe the quality of work participants bring to, and take away from their day. With course numbers restricted to a maximum of 8, we have had the time to ensure a 100% success rate.Here's a little more about each of us.

John Ash

I'm John and I'm an enthusiastic amateur photographer and book-maker, based in North Yorkshire. I self-published two books in 2020, Shoganai and Shinrin-Yoku, which both demonstrated a more project-based emphasis to my work, and connection to the local area.Making handmade books has been a natural extension of this project-based approach, which developed after meeting Paul back in 2017.I've been involved in three collaborative photobooks with Paul, Brand New Day as a photographer, and more recently New Beginnings and Littoral as joint editor.My photographic influences have mainly been Steve Gosling and Rob Knight, who instilled in me a belief to photograph from the heart and to develop a close connection to your environment.

Paul Gotts

And I'm Paul, a Leicestershire-based photographer and book-maker.I enjoy making images of my local area where I have a particular interest in historical land use. My most recent book Fort Crosby looks at the remains of a World War II battery in the aftermath of the Liverpool bombings.My work is nearly all project-based with the end result being a handmade book – these include stab bindings, concertina and stitched forms. Increasingly working alongside John, I've edited four photobooks – Brand New Day, Just Now, New Beginnings and more recently Littoral, which have raised over £3,000, mostly for the Young Minds and RNLI charities. These books have given the opportunity for photographers to see their work in book form perhaps for the first time.I enjoy projects that are commercially printed but allows the same artwork to be used in limited edition prints and handmade books. This diversification has allowed me to offer up and sell books into a number of charity auctions.I enjoy the community aspect of work and continue to be inspired by the #Connected ethos of Rob and Karen Knight. I have a young family and balance photography and books with school runs and supporting junior football.

Paul Gotts

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Privacy Policy

Key detailsThis website privacy policy describes how Making a Photobook protects and makes use of the information you give the company when you use this website.
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This policy is updated from time to time. The latest version is published on this page.
This website privacy policy was updated on 25th October 2021. If you have any questions about this policy, please email makingaphotobook@gmail.com or write to: John Ash, 22 Woodlands Close, Harrogate HG2 7AZ.IntroductionWe gather and use certain information about individuals in order to provide products and services and to enable certain functions on this website.We also collect information to better understand how visitors use this website and to present timely, relevant information to them.What data we gatherWe may collect the following information:
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IntroductionWelcome to our website. If you continue to browse and use this website, you are agreeing to comply with and be bound by the following terms and conditions of use, which together with our privacy policy govern Making a Photobook's relationship with you in relation to this website.The term ‘Making a Photobook' or ‘us’ or ‘we’ refers to the owner of the website whose address is: 22 Woodlands Close, Harrogate HG2 7AZ, United Kingdom. The term ‘you’ refers to the user or viewer of our website.The Contract between usWhen you place an order, including a pre-order, the order is only accepted once full payment of is received. Once payment has been received you will receive an order confirmation. Our acceptance of your order brings into existence a legally binding contract between us.
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PriceThe price payable for your order is set out on the website. To secure your place, full payment is due at time of booking.AvailabilityIf we cannot supply a service ordered, you will receive an email and have the option to wait until we can provide the service or to cancel the order with a full refund.CancellationIf the participant cancels their place on a workshop more than 1 month before the date of the workshop then the fee paid minus any costs incurred would be refunded, or the participant offered a place on a future course.If the participant cancels their place on a workshop less than 1 month before the date of the workshop then the fee paid minus any costs incurred would be refunded only if a replacement participant can be found.If a course needs to be cancelled by us, then all participants will be offered a full refund or an alternative date.Payment dataOur payment processing is provided by a secure third-party payment services provide, Stripe.com. At no time is any private payment data such as credit card numbers, expiry dates or CVC numbers given to, visible to, or stored by us. See the Privacy Policy for further information on data management.WebsiteReproduction is prohibited other than in accordance with the copyright notice, which forms part of these terms and conditions. Unauthorised use or abuse of this website may give rise to a claim for damages and/or be a criminal offence. Your use of this website and any dispute arising out of such use of the website is subject to the laws of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.Governing lawThe contract between us shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with English law and the English courts shall have jurisdiction to resolve any disputes between us.Website disclaimer
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