Atlanta photographer Beth Lilly dropped off some her new books, The Oracle @ WiFi on Friday. We sat down to chat a little about the book and the project. Intern Mandy fired interesting questions away, and we learned a lot from Beth.
Tell us about the project, and how it began. She began The Oracle @WiFi project in 2006 (and she keeps a blog of her time as oracle here). She sent out emails to friends and acquaintances to call her on a specific day each month with a question. You don’t reveal your question right away to Beth. You chat for a few minutes and she takes your email. Whenever she is when receiving your call is her starting point. She then takes three photos she will later email you, and only then do you reveal your question.
Chance and cell phone cameras. Beth doesn’t claim to have psychic powers; it’s all by chance. She’s more interested in the cell phone camera, as a way to decrease the time between creation and consumption. (She has bigger plans in the future to further decrease this time span - keep your eyes open for that.) She also believes you already know on some level the answer to your question. The images just may help you gain insight.
Turning project into book. Beth always knew she wanted the project to be made into a book. After a meeting with Alexa Becker, Acquisitions Editor for Kehrer Verlag at Foto Fest Paris in 2010, her dream became a reality.
Biggest challenge. Without a doubt, Beth said raising money to front her end of the production costs was the most challenging. She ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, and the book would not have been possible without the generous support of those that gave to her Kickstarter.
Favorite part. Sequencing. This once photo editor loves creating a story with the images. The book is divided into four sections. Subtle transitions and open ended, Beth allows you as the viewer to come to your own conclusions about the answers the images provide to the questions.
Favorite photo books. In no particular order…
People of the 20th Century by August Sander
(photographs) by Penelope Umbrico
Box of Ku by Masao Yamamoto
The Transparent City by Michael Wolf
Tulsa by Larry Clark