We think it’s safe to say that Liezl Was Here: Adventures in Comedy Photography features more photos of funny famous people than any other book at Blurb. It features the likes of Amy Poehler, Conan O’Brien, Sarah Silverman, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Ed Helms, Neil Patrick Harris, David Cross – you get the idea – all photographed doing what they do best: making people laugh live on stage.
While it’s easy to make a big deal out of the people in the book, it’s the photographer behind it all that really blows us away. Liezl Estipona is a Los Angeles-based photographer, graphic designer, and comedy fan. Her love for the genre is infectious. And she shared with us the story of how she got all these funny people in one book.
Blurb: You describe this book as totally approved by the comedians. Can you describe how you got involved, and got them involved, in this?
Liezl: I’ve been taking photos at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre on my own, as a fan, since about 2007. During that time, comedians took notice of my photography and would invite me to their shows. After a couple years, the venue granted me full access to shoot any show in return for photos. Ten thousand photos later, I decided it was time to make something tangible of it in the form of a coffee-table book as a tribute to my favorite funny people.
From there, I spread the word on various social networks such as Facebook, Tumblr and A Special Thing, a comedy forum. I made a preliminary version of my book on Blurb at full quality and brought it to the comedians to get their approval before doing a final edit and publishing a new copy for public sale.
Blurb: How did it work approaching the comedy fans?
Liezl: As a fellow comedy fan, I really wanted to make this something other fans and comedians would be proud to have. However, as a graphic designer and photographer, I didn’t want to compromise quality, so I took a survey on what they were willing to spend and the book size they’d want. When a price was settled on, I gave myself four months to work on it, which gave fans ample time to save up.
Blurb: What reactions have you had from the featured comedians?
Liezl: People familiar with my work knew the images were going to be good, but as a whole, they’ve been really surprised and pleased with the quality of the book itself.
Blurb: What draws you to photographing comedy, besides the funny?
Liezl: Comedians and improvisors work off crowd reactions and other performers on stage, so each show produces a unique experience.
Blurb: Can you talk about why you chose the ProLine Pearl paper for the book? Also, any tips for other bookmakers?
Liezl: I bought the Swatch Kit, and liked the weight and feel of the paper, on top of the rich blacks it produced. As for the bookmaking process, I found that giving yourself hard deadlines and breaking up your work over time helped immensely. If I had to change anything about my process, I’d have have a second set of eyes to proofread all copy, and definitely don’t leave proofreading until 4 a.m. the night of publishing.
Blurb: Thanks so much for talking with us.
Liezl Was Here is available in the Blurb Bookstore, and is definitely worth picking up for yourself or the comedy fan in your life. We have a feeling this girl is going somewhere.