Written by Yasas Ratnayake
There is a lot of work that goes into the making of something that can be considered as a historic accomplishment. We wanted to make “Angampora: A Nation’s Legacy in Pictures” a book that could command the attention, interest, and respect of anybody, regardless of where in the world they may be. But capturing the photographs for the book was only one aspect of a much more intricate process that had to be followed through in order for us to get to our goal.
A book is a precious object. It’s been at the cornerstone of our civilization, spreading the thoughts and ideas that would transform humanity, fostering our evolution into more sophisticated creatures. It is with that same respect that we treated our present endeavor. Meticulous attention to detail, poring over the finer points of designs and layouts, constant fact checking and revisions, and funding to execute a historic work in an international standard were all required in putting everything together.
A book, especially when it is based on pictures, needs to have a sublime design that will holistically merge facts, images, and messages together with elegance. Choosing a suitable layout is also critical to give meaning and prominence to the hundreds of beautiful photographs we had captured for the book. Typesetting, ease of reading, and the transmission of ideas all need to be clinically looked at with painstaking effort in order to be, what most people call nowadays; on point.
We have put in countless hours of work inside Q&E Advertising’s spacious and cozy office in Rajagiriya together with our imperturbable layout designer Sumith Kalupahana, who has unhesitatingly assisted us in every last detail, even after multiple rounds of revisions. After much brainstorming, we opted to go with a simple and clean design that gives most prominence to the photographs. Choosing the correct layout is a matter that could easily make or break the entire presentation of the book, and we feel like we chose the most suitable layout style to transmit our message in the most effective way.
Fact checking too, is of paramount importance. Most of the research that we have integrated into the book is the work of Dr. Ajantha Mahanthaarachchi, the author of our book. While the precursor to this book, Helaye Satan Rahasa: Angampora, was written in Sinhalese and was text intensive, we had to do multiple rounds of revisions to make sure that our photographs matched the rigid standards of historical accuracy that is needed to make a strong case of original research. With all these tasks in hand, the factor that had been dogging our efforts the most was time and money.
The primary reason that kept on delaying the launch of our work was simply our underestimation of the time and effort that is needed to create a iconic book. We must admit that we underestimated much of the time that would be taken for layout, design, proofing, and all the other factors that followed the completion of the photography. The funding required for this came in the form of sponsorships from some upstanding organizations, namely, DIMO PLC, Sri Lanka Army, Brandix PLC, Sampath Bank, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Holcim-LaFarge, and Q&E Advertising who really believed in the mission of this work. But, with much effort, we managed to bring all these factors together and focused on creating a work that would last a lifetime rather than rushing our work and making mistakes that could not be redeemed.
As a team, it was frustrating to be constantly worried about our crowdfunders and explaining the delays that have kept this book in the works for the entirety of last year. But being the generous and supportive individuals they are, our supporters put their faith in us to deliver the product we promised. It was indeed frustrating to be occupied with the many minute details that comprise a thorough work of research. Indexing, glossaries, obtaining messages from dignitaries, and conducting a book launch event were all different aspects of the book, and we had taken it as our mission to strive on and accomplish these tasks and finish what we started.
When we began this journey, we did not foresee the numerous hurdles that we would have to overcome. But being resolved in our mission to do justice to this noble art, we prevailed, albeit in staggered and halting fashion, in creating a work that will leave an unforgettable mark in Sri Lankan research and photography. We have grown as people throughout the duration of this work and we are really excited to share our findings with you, and you will see that time and effort can give birth to marvelous things.