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UWC student publishes photography book

Pulkit Diwan’s photo book, titled The Soft Whispers, features several images from Lake Forest and the Chicagoland area that Diwan took for his photography and communication courses at Lake Forest College.

Diwan finalized plans to release the book through Amazon in October, and he plans to donate money he raises in sales to charity. 

Diwan originally published The Soft Whispers at the end of the summer with Blurb Books. Diwan had plans to release the book on a larger scale, should the original edition sell more than 50 copies.

“Blurb, before selling it to other publishers, wanted to make sure that they could sell,” Diwan said, referring to the new distribution arrangement.

He hit that benchmark last week, selling 60 or more. Amazon picked up the title, with plans for a new edition to be released soon with a couple of minor changes thrown into the mix. This edition is set to feature a new cover, a new arrangement of the images and, finally, a couple of additional photos.

“My original intention was not to sell a bunch of these… I don’t think it’s going to be a U.S. bestseller or something like that. I wanted to make it for myself, in the first place,” Diwan said.

The Soft Whisphers is split into four thematic sections: “Color,” “People,” “Two-dimensions” and “Words.” Presenting a variety of images from the Lake Forest College campus, the town, and downtown Chicago, the photos bring new perspective to objects and locations that students of the College have probably encountered many times before.

Some photographs perfectly represent the perspective of the student while others distort it, making the familiar seem strange. “Here’s one…” Diwan said, pointing to an image of what appeared to be a plain wooden door to a small shack, “I took this image at [the Office of Visual Communications], and most students did not recognize it. A lot of students didn’t recognize Reid Hall, either.”

Diwan didn’t originally intend to create a photo book, but ended up separating the images by theme and seeing the connection between them over time. What started as the growing personal collection of a budding photographer, quickly became an ambitious personal project.

When asked about the theme of the book, he returned to the subject of words, in particular.

“I wanted to demonstrate that not everything needs to be said. Not everything comes in words… Slowly as I realized that these photos speak, I started working on it and started picking out things from my collection,” Diwan said.

Compiling the book took Diwan about three months total. He spent many nights just editing and re-arranging photographs until the entire collection felt “right” to him.

“During the summer, I assembled it, edited all the photos, talked to Blurb about pricing and stuff,” he said.

Diwan started with photography only a year and a half ago, when he came to Lake Forest College. Already, he has a book release and might have plans to continue his photography career in the upcoming years. His experience with photography and publishing over the summer showed him that this might be the direction he plans to go in, professionally.

“I actually do [plan to put out other compilations]. My project in the future might be an idea to put together a comic book using real-life photography…It’s still developing.”

—Story by Asha Walker ’14