Why no Photobook Club GDPR email?

You may have been looking forward to a GDPR themed email from The Photobook Club if you are on the mailing list. Unfortunatley you wont have the pleasure of another opt-in related email in your inbox as the mailing list has consistently operated on opt-in basis.

Of course should you wish to unsubscribe at any point, simply use the button in email or contact me directly – matt@photobookclub.org

Photobooks, interactivity and lineage

Two posts I authored are on the College Book Art Association ‘Art Theory Blog’ found here. The first talks a little about the importance of remembering the multiple histories that the photograph and the page have, and the second introduces some thoughts around interactivity and the photobook. While they are only brief sections of much larger research and writing, they, like the other posts on the Art Theory Blog might well be of interest.

Experiments with the Academic Book (UCL Press)

While it may have limited crossover in its totality, a short article recently written for the ‘Academic book of the Future’ by UCL Press and the British Library touches a little on some of the pedagogic considerations behind the PBC and thus may be of interest. The full post can be found here.

[EXTRACT]

Perhaps counter-intuitively the photobook – a form which is expensive to make, buy and distribute, not to mention time-consuming – is experiencing something of a golden age (Crager, 2014), which to others seems an unhealthy cult (Bush, 2016). This phenomenon, linked to both post-digital pragmatism and oppositional reaction has lead to a landscape in which there is firstly an abundance of new works, and secondly (in relation to the first) an absence of considered discussion around the merits of new works or the hailing of classics. This presents a problem to the student of the photobook – including the formal academic student, as well as the photographer, designer, binder and publisher. Fundamentally the The Photobook Club looks to one of the most overlooked agents in the life of the photobook – the reader.

There is an Elephant – limited edition

A book I made 2 years ago. I think it is important and will help raise awareness and contribute to a discussion about the state of the photobook. So i’ve only made 5 copies and each is £100. I will consider it a success if they all sell or it ends up on a list #jobdone.

 
An extract from page 7

“…there are works that deceive – the book that seeks to change attitude, vocalise an unknown issue or empower a community. We have seen them, we have bought them and we have likely appreciated their attempt to affect real action. We have been convinced by glue, paper, thread and beautiful imagery – perhaps also by the heartfelt introduction or accompanying essay written by the author who just wants the work to be seen, the story to be heard. Unfortunately, as product in part of a community which rewards production-as-outcome and in part due to selfish desires, this book falls flat on it’s face. The book is on all our shelves, it has sold out, it still falls flat. The book enters top ten lists, the author is asked to judge next years competitions, the book still falls flat. Likely, it is gathering dust on our shelves, at best, of the 500 people who actually bought it as apposed to being given it, only half have ever really read it – the rest keeping it safe in case of astronomical rise in fame or the photobook being accepted as a currency. So 250 people read your book – 250 people who… are politically liberal and agree with your ideas or are similarly frustrated by what you show… So reach a real readership. Don’t kid yourself that you are doing any good… your book’s worth making, worth looking at and ultimately enriching, thats great, but that’s it, no more.

 

An extract from page 9

“This is not to discourage publishing at all – it is an individual experience and can serve multiple purposes but be realistic with your intentions… Just tell us you were proud of the work and felt that others might find enjoyment or interest in it – tell us this. If you want to speak about something – I mean really speak – to people, not book people – then think about why and how you make your book. It would be fair to suggest anything intended for a mass audience should be online but this would ignore the role of anonymity, memory and credibility we assign to the book. So a book may be the thing, but the £45 hardcover with pullouts and Dodo feathers is pointless. Think about squeezing the collectors to pay for the non-buyers – don’t see the non booklover as an annoyance but an untapped revenue stream. Not fiscal revenue but attention/interest/change/action revenue. Ultimately, the defetishisation of the photobook, a refocussing of energy on readerships and the life-beyond-publication could move us from the golden age of the medium to an altogether more worthwhile steel age.”

The Photobook Club Leeds launches in January

‘Z’ of the newly founded Photobook Club Leeds has been in touch to let me know that their first meeting will take place on the 10th January at Left Bank Leeds. Of course, as all Photobook Club events are, this is open to all and free to participate in. For more information or to show support for the Photobook Club Leeds, head over to their Facebook page here. 

Of course a first report will follow.

The 5th annual #PhotoBookDay

Welcome to the 5th anniversary of World #PhotoBookDay! A Toast To Anna Atkins

So this year, we have a double celebration. As you may know since 2013, every October 14th, we are celebrating the anniversary of the purchase by the British Museum of the first known photobook: Photographs of British algae. Cyanotype impressions, by Anna Atkins. This first copy is now in the British Library.

October 14th was a Saturday in 1843, and the person that wrote this date on the book couldn’t imagine that 174 years later, a bunch of photobook enthusiasts around the globe would remember this small gesture. On this 2017 Photobook Day also falls on Saturday, and what better occasion to celebrate it and toast the creator of this wonderfull publication: Anna Atkins. This will be our motto for this year #AToastToAnna.

We celebrate our passion for photobooks, we rejoice that Anna Atkins bound some cyanotypes, we commemorate every book we have on our shelves, we applaude all the libraries buying photobooks and photozines, we love every person who loves photobooks!

And we’d love you to join us to celebrate this global event by organizing an action related to photobooks in your own city. Spread your love for photobooks around your community. Please share your activities on social media using the hashtag #PhotoBookDay, it will be the best way for everyone in your local community to reach your activity.

On this map see how others celebrate!

As every year, we know there is not much time to organize large events. We can propose some easy activities you can take to celebrate locally this global event:

  • Spread the love by sharing something you think someone will like, not something you think they should like.
  • Post a #PhotoBookDay Selfie or a Shelfie on social media: an image with you and your current favourite photobook.
  • Ask your local library to buy local self-published photobooks and photozines, we are sure you can give them some ideas.
  • If you are in charge of a library, consider purchasing and supporting self-pulished photobooks and photozines on this special day, and mark your book record with a special note to PhotoBookDay.
  • Buy a photobook. Many bookshops and publishers will make special discounts for the day. Follow your favourite bookshops on social media or search for #PhotoBookDay for offers and discounts.
  • If you make or sell books, offer your customers discounts or some special goodies. If you run a bookshop a special 5% discount, or free shipping costs, will make your clients happy. Don’t forget to announce it with #PhotoBookDay on your usual social media channels.
  • Search for a PhotoBook Club in your city to meet with like minded people and share photobooks. If there is no one, PhotoBookDay can be a good day to start one. We’ll make a list with activities organized by clubs all around the globe.
  • Discuss your love of photobooks via the twitter hashtag #PhotoBookDay. Or on instagram, too.


Use the image of the 5th anniversary stamp with the profile of Anna Atkins with lots of her seaweed on her head, that you will find on this site, to add to your visuals. And please, tell us what you did for World PhotoBook Day 2017. We hope we all have fun this day with photobooks.

Organise! Participate! Celebrate! The World Photobook Day has been set up as a collaboration between the organizers of Photobook Club Madrid and Matt Johnston. Celebrating the photobook, born in 1843.

Best,
Juan Barte
Juan Cires
Bonifacio Barrio Hijosa
Matt Johnston

The International Photobook Club – 9 clubs meeting live on 17th

Great to be able to share this… on Wednesday 17th May at 7-9 Barcelona time (UTC+1), 9 Photobook Clubs from around the world will take part in a streamed event as part of the Widephoto, CCCB and Foto Colectania organised discussions on the Photobook Phenomenon. For all the information and streaming details check out the links below…

 

Clubs taking part…

Photobook Club Brisbane
Photobook Club Barcelona
Photobook México
Photobook Club Jakarta
Photobook Club Madeira
Photobook Club Madrid
Photobook Club Montevideo
Photobook Club San Sebastian
Photobook Club Bristol

6 years too late, and still not here… The Photobook Club publication

I have, since the first Photobook Club event, thought about how a short publication with the key principles of the project and voices from different communities around the world would be helpful. Not a guide as such but something solid, the product of the many communities which could serve as record of what we have, and continue to do, and how we go about it.

It’s still not here, but is approaching at least. I would love to include as many voices as possible in this (small)(lowfi) publication and so am asking for people to get in touch with some of the following…

  • General thoughts on what you would like/expect this publication to be/do
  • Short reflections on your time running or organising a Photobook Club
  • Images of events – particularly the more informal images
  • Particularly lively events you have been to, or conversations you remember
  • Practical advice on what has, and has not, worked for you

The publication will be in a single, multi-lingual edition so will also be looking for some help with translation. It’ll be run off on my local laserjet and ‘designed’ by me in order to keep things in the spirit of the PBC — a little disorganised and rarely polished but vibrant, critical and purposeful. This said, if anyone has particular thoughts about design and production please get in touch.

The publication will of course be free.
Email matt@photobookclub.org