Oxford County photography book cancelled, photographs 'acquired'

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Although Oxford County will not release a photography book in the coming year, it did receive more than 100 professional photographs of spectacular County scenery it retains ownership of for future use.

The County paid a $6,000 advance for a $26,620 project to photographer Richard Bain in 2012 for a souvenir book to support tourism. The project was cancelled when it failed to meet a 25 per cent target in pre-sales. Photographs taken to date have now been transferred to the County to redeem the book advance.

While Oxford’s landscapes have been the subject of many stunning photographs—several of which are displayed in the Oxford County Administration Building—the County does not own copyright to the majority of these photographs. As County property, the Bain photographs can be used and reproduced at its discretion.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

By Bruce Urquhart

QMI Agency

Oxford County is soon going to have its own coffee-table book.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, council gave the nod to an initial $6,000 investment from Tourism Oxford’s two-year market development plan budget of $78,450 to begin production of a county photography gift and souvenir book. While the entire county investment will be $26,620, with the balance coming from the 2013 budget, photographer Richard Bain told council the project should, at the very least, break even.

Bain, an accomplished photographer and publisher, told council the 96-page book could even turn a “surplus.”

“We would go out … and pre-sell the book so we would know where we are before we go to press” Bain said during his delegation to council.

The book, Bain said, would incorporate both new photographs and images from the county’s own stock. The case-bound hardcover book would also contain a foreword from a prominent Oxford citizen and Tourism Oxford-approved quotes to complement the photographs.

“I think it’s an expression of pride and the price tag is low,” Ingersoll Coun. Ted Comiskey said.

“If we want to bring people to Oxford County, let’s show them what we’ve got.”

Bain described the book as a wonderful promotional tool for the county. While part of the project would involve selling the book to county residents as a keepsake, Bain suggested Oxford could also use the photographs to boost tourism and economic development in the region.

“It would showcase the community very well,” he said.

The 10”X10” books will likely have a per-unit cost of about $17.75 and, Bain said, an average sell price of $24. If the county sold an entire print run of 1,500, for example, the surplus would be almost $9,400.

“The project itself is not expected to cost anything and actually generate a surplus,” Warden Don McKay said. “The logistics to how it happens, the county will be front-ending this cost.”

While approved by most around the horseshoe, Woodstock Coun. Deb Tait voiced her reluctance to pay roughly $26,000 for the souvenir book, pointing to other county residents who have published books about Oxford history and culture without municipal support.

“I can’t support the taxpayers paying for this,” she said.

Woodstock Coun. Pat Sobeski also had reservations about approving a project that hinged on earmarking an additional $20,620 in next year’s budget.

“I like to wait until the budget process and see the 12 items listed,” Sobeski said as an example. “We won’t have money for all of them.”

Oxford Tourism specialist Cathy Bingham described the book as a “project that could celebrate the beautiful scenery we have here in Oxford County.” In her report to council, she explained how, in the past, Tourism Oxford has used “the quality of local photography” to promote the county to visitors.

“One of Oxford County’s strengths is its photogenic nature,” she wrote. “It is common to receive feedback from visitors on the beauty of our landscapes, heritage buildings and people.”


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