Gander father-son duo release book

Andrea Gunn
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Son's Signal Hill photography inspires dad's poetry

For anyone who ends up in St. John's, whether by chance or will, visiting Signal Hill is almost a rite of passage.

THE HILL — Arch, left, and Zach Bonnell share both an artistic streak and an appreciation for the beauty of Signal Hill. That's why they collaborated on the book The Hill, released last week. The Hill contains 26 of Zach's photos of Signal Hill coupled with Arch's original poetry.

According to Arch Bonnell, one of the biggest challenges was getting a printer who could accommodate the wide panoramic shots his son favours without much of the picture being lost in the crease where the two pages meet, they had to seek a publisher in China when they found no one in Canada could print the book in the fashion they wanted.

“It took a large measure of time, and, of course, when you're doing a book you have to make sure you've got it right, that you feel good about it,” said Arch Bonnell. “Both Zach and I had to feel good about it, and our graphic artist has to feel good about it, but we finally got it straightened out.

Arch Bonnell said it was worth the wait, and that he is pleased with the finished product from the graphic design he described as phenomenal, completed by graphic artist Gabriela Altman, to the quality of the pictures and the printing. He said, however, he thinks the photos take the cake.

“The book really turned out with the photos as the main element,” said Arch Bonnell. “The book is structured so that if you want to read the poems you can do that but you can also enjoy the book and experience what’s in it without even looking at the poems, you can just look at the pictures and form your own conclusions and your own thoughts.”

“A lot of people go to Signal Hill to escape, they want to escape the city, they want to escape their own lives, or maybe they just want to go up and look at the ocean and the rocks.” Arch Bonnell

Both said working on the book together was a rewarding experience.

“We've always been close but this is the first time we've worked together on something like this,” said Zach Bonnell. And while it might have been the first, Arch Bonnell said it is likely not the last time they will collaborate

“Zach has so many photographs and so many different ideas, there's a likelihood we'll probably see another book in the future,” said Arch Bonnell. “It was very rewarding being able to work with Zach, he and I are very close and we have in common I think a respect for creative processes, we're able to work together very closely, it's been a real joy to work with him.”

The Hill's official release was on Nov. 23, 2010 and is currently available at several bookstores in St. John’s. It is also being worked on to make the book available in Gander.


Organizations: The Beacon

Geographic location: Signal Hill, Gander, St. John's China Canada

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