Book Design

Design for the new monograph from renowned Texas photographer Keith Carter capturing the eerie beauty of the Southern wetlands.

Ghostlight is a new book from Texas photographer Keith Carter featuring haunting but beautiful sepia-toned, black-and-white landscapes, wildlife images and studies of swamps, marshes, bogs, baygalls, bayous and other wetlands shot primarily at Caddo Lake–the largest natural lake in Texas –and other locations in Texas and the South. Designed by Pentagram, the 100+ image, 184 page volume housed in a large square-format, coffee table book marks the culmination of the photographer’s three-plus years of soggy effort.

Published by the University of Texas Press, the new monograph is the eleventh book DJ Stout, Partner and Principal of Pentagram’s Austin office, has designed for the Beaumont, Texas native, following From Uncertain to Blue (1988), The Blue Man (1990), Mojo (1995), Heaven of Animals (1996), Keith Carter: Photographs, Twenty-Five Years (1997), Ezekiel’s Horse (2000), Natural Histories (2000)A Certain Alchemy (2008), From Uncertain to Blue (redesigned in 2011), and the photographer’s 2020 retrospective Keith Carter Fifty Years. The book designer and the photographer began their lifelong collaboration in 1987 when Stout was the Art Director of Texas Monthly magazine. 

That first book, From Uncertain to Blue, was Carter’s photographic debut. For that project, Carter traveled to small, forgotten towns all over Texas with the objective of taking one interesting photograph at each stop. That road trip and the resulting body of work was published as a substantive cover feature in Texas Monthly magazine, landed the artist his first book deal, and started Carter on the road to international renown. 

The layout of Ghostlight shuffles full-page, single image spreads with carefully paired juxtapositions, multiple-image grids and large, horizontal compositions that stretch across the gutter. The text and titles are set in Nantes, a handsome Roman typeface designed by Luzi Gantenbein for Luzi Type. Bret Anthony Johnston, a best-selling author and the Director of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, wrote the introduction and the master photographer himself wrote the afterword. 

DJ Stout
Project team
Michelle Maudet
Nick Cabrera, photography
View all images