Stillness is the first key word…and then Home, Away, The End of Youth, Adventure and Quiet, Wild Freedom Wide Open Spaces, Harvest: all of this, and more, is Midwest Dirt.
Photographer Nathan Pearce and Editor Matt Johnston (Photobook Club creator) have been working over a year in editing the book.
When they contacted us, they both had in mind the mood of the book and were looking for help in how to translate the idea into a book project.


The editing was great and was already there: sequencing the pictures has been one of the best and interesting part for us at Akina Factory.  The sequence and layout are build upon the idea of mini stories of the Midwest, portraits of a generation who doesn’t fall into the banality of “Young American”.

midwest dirt - nathan pierce - akina


What is different here is Nathan: the photographer is part of the generation who he portrayed, he’s not looking for stereotypes, he tells you how the place really is. The mini sequences are moving on the pages from the very top to the very bottom, assuming that “The world moves slower here”, as Nathan once said.


The book project came shortly after have seen the material at glance: time passing by, nothing has changed, growing up running away and coming back, a circle yet different, yet within passages. We printed the Harvest both sides: in this way the wheat field goes along all the front/back cover and inside.




The Two-Sections Pamphlet Stitch Binding Variation was the best idea to hold together the concept of Midwest Dirt: the two signatures are bound together with a “W” shape folded cover, which is not the reason for choosing it but now it makes even more sense!

Start creasing the long sheet for the cover 3 times, according to the final size of your book: first spine + internal pleat + second spine.



midwest dirt - nathan pierce - akina


Then fold your cover. You make a pleat in the cover, which is going to be in the middle of the book.


Punch 2 holes for each spine.




Collate the signatures and fold each sheet in two with a bone folder, make sure before printing that you’re using the right grain direction which has to be along the spine.

Punch your sewing holes in the sections following the same distance you used for the cover.







You insert then a section onto each folded spine piece. In order to have the sections hold together you start sewing from the first hole of the first section inside, then outside into the first hole of the second section, then going to the bottom hole of the second section and going back from outside into the bottom hole of the first signature. Repeat it twice and close the thread where you started with a knot.





midwest dirt - nathan pierce - akina


Once the binding is finished, the book is done. You can trim the side in excess or leave it as it is.
Since the layout of the book was based on the white frames and moving pictures on the pages, we trimmed the side in excess, having fun doing it.




We wanted to add a final detail to the book: a string to close the book.
To secure the string, set eyelets to the front and the back covers. Place the hole punch on the spot, and hold it straight. Use a hammer to hit the top of the punch. It may take a few taps depending on how thick your card stock is. When you lift the punch, you should see a hole.

Align your eyelet pliers. The flat (good) side of your eyelet should sit in the slightly curved side of the pliers, while the tube (bad) side of the eyelet should be aligned with the “pointed” side of the pliers.


midwest dirt - nathan pierce - akina



“Now it’s just after harvest time, my favorite time of year. The fields are almost cleared and I’m barefoot on my porch with a beer in my hand. I can see for miles.”

Nathan Pearce


midwest dirt nathan pierce akina



To buy a copy of Midwest Dirt

Read more about the collaboration with Matt