Artist Research – James Jones

Another version of Woolf’s novels, essays and short stories produced by Vintage Classics is this 2012 photographical approach by James Jones.

I was taken aback by how different this version of the books is as it is purely photographical, with a beautiful focus on light and pastel colours. Below you can see the original photographs, next to the final composition on the books:

It’s interesting to see how the artist chose to zoom right in on a tight crop into the image; there is also some colour manipulation to create a warmer hue. The subtle typography is cleverly chosen so it does not distract from the main image, and it’s refreshing to see this type of photography on a classic novel. It seems Woolf’s writing was the catalyst for this approach to the images as explained by Vintage’s senior editor, Frances MacMillan:

“Woolf’s own beautiful, sensuous descriptions of light and water in The Waves were one of the starting points for inspiration.”¹

the_waves_alternative_route__virginia_woolf1569_1In addition, Jones also reimagined some of the novels’ text in a graphic way to make the text come alive and visual represent the meaning of the words. This could be a fun experiment for me to try out as it will encourage me to make a stronger connection between image and words; we have an upcoming typography workshop with Ged Palmer which could be the perfect opportunity to do this!

These photos reminded me of one of my own photographs that I am really keen on. Perhaps I’d be able to somehow incorporate photography into my final covers…

  1. Sinclair, M. (2014) A quality of light: Vintage classics’ Virginia Woolf series. Available at: (Accessed: 30 September 2016).

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