Great to hear rumblings of Photobook Clubs in Ecuador and Seoul with more details coming int he next few weeks. In the meantime, if you are local (Guayaquil in Ecuador) then please pop me an email so I can forward on your details to the organisers.
In other news, it has been about 4 months since the launch of the 2 surveys of photobook readership I put out with the intention to build a picture of the ways in which we interact with (buy, read and speak about) photobooks. If you have taken part, a huge thanks. If you have not yet I hope I can ask you to spend some time filling out the anonymous survey which is already producing some fascinating insights. Below are three links, the first to anyone who reads photobooks, the second only to those who have attended a Photobook Club event, and the third in Spanish for those who have attended a Photobook Club.
The SOURCE photobook edition has been out for a wee while now and the full online archive of ‘great’ photobook selections is available to all for free so a little late sharing this but do check it out. For one, it is a valuable insight into the photobook and the way in which we think about it. Two, it shows who the ‘characters’ of the photobook are. Three, the Photobook Club is in there (and shown below)[and din’t quite follow the ‘greatest’ request]…
While there is definite merit in list forming as a means of introduction and suggestions, it is something I am a little uncomfortable with. The Photobook Club was set up in part as a pragmatic response to canonisation without qualification and seeks to enable open and non-hierarchical discussion. So with this in mind I have asked a number of Photobook Club organisers from around the world to suggest the photobook(s) that their community has had the liveliest discussion around. These choices come from Photobook Clubs in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Coventry, Madrid, Monterrey, Montevideo and Tokyo.
Julián Barón, Dossier Humint, 2013.
Martin Bollati, La forma Bruta, 2016.
Will Steacy, Deadline, 2016.
Musuk Nolte, La Primera Piedra, 2013.
Xavier Miserachs and Horacio Fernández, Miserachs Barcelona, 2016.
As part of my current research I am looking to explore ‘readership’ and the photobook — how we find, buy, read and speak about the photobook. For me, this is important if we are to better understand the form and how it operates and not only speak about its popularity.
The most significant part of this process is hearing from as many photobook readers as possible and so I have created a survey for anyone who has ever attended even one single Photobook Club event which can be found here – http://bit.ly/2duhgKH (organisers can also fill this out please!). And, thanks to the kindness of Juan Cires, there is a Spanish version also – http://bit.ly/2fjA5zW. I would be very grateful for anyone who has attended a meeting to fill this out, a process I hope you might also find interesting.
In addition, there is an ‘open’ version of this survey for anyone who has ever picked up a photobook — not just those who have attended Photobook Club meetings. That link can be found here – http://bit.ly/2fCDtXe.
I would be so thankful for your time in this or in sharing with others who might be able to take part — the results (which are anonymous) will soon feed into public presentations of photobook readership for anyone who is interested to get an insight into the lives of books and readers.
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 love 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.
Ask your local library to buy local self-published photobook and photozines, we are sure you can give them some ideas.
If you are in charge of a library, consider to purchase and support 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 will make your clients happy. Don’t forget to announce it with #PhotoBookDay on your usual social media channels.
This survey intends to visualise and in a sense, flatten, the many events, competitions and workshops that are taking place around the photobook right now. In doing so, a lineage — or at least a chronology — can be established, demonstrating a growth of interest and increasing institutional support in the medium.
It has been put together with the view that it will act as a record not just of 2015 but the new age of the photobook (golden or otherwise). is research is concerned only with photobook speci c events and only covers the US and Europe. is is not because these geographical areas can be seen as the home of the photobook – not by any means, but because this is both the focus of my broader research project, and provides an opportunity, through networks, to realistically claim con dence in correctly recording and listing the vast majority of appropriate events. e choice to begin with the year 2015 is similarly bene cial. While of course many events have run in earlier years, or are starting up in 2016, the single year provides a baseline from which to work back in establishing the aforementioned chronology and origin.
Only photobook-speci c events have been recorded — a choice which, if aiming to build a picture of the variety of spaces in which the photobook is present, would be disastrous. Here, art book fairs and non-medium-speci c zine workshops for example, have been excluded. In doing so it is hoped that clarity is improved and subjectivity removed.
Fairs and festivals are subject to a further limitation in that they must be multi-day events. Once again a choice of clarity and con dence and not a suggestion that single day events are not a part of the photobook world. Many single day events have been arrived at during this research, the transient and o en independent nature of which have on many occasions presented quite di erent ideas on what the photobook, and what a photobook event should be.
A list of thanks can be found on the right hand side of this visualisation — these are people who have contributed to this survey and without whom many omissions would have been made. ere are likely still some errors or misses so please do get in touch if you have any: firstname.lastname@example.org. A scroll of this document will be produced in Autumn of 2016 on lightweight poster paper, if you are interested in having a copy, please email the above address.
Despite a relatively strict set of criteria for the events listed here, it was inevitable that I would miss over signi cant happen- ings. In sharing beta versions of this research I was grateful to receive help from a number of contributors. My sincere thanks to Tommy Arvidson, Bonifacio Barrio Hijosa, Ana Paula Estrada, Sarah Greene, Jose Félix Liébana, Hermann Lohss, Malcolm Raggett and Hannah Watson who all got in touch to share information. If you see absences and would like to aid the building of this resource, please get in touch – email@example.com.
Great to hear from Moritz Neumüller about the possibility of setting up a Photobook Club Aarhus — something which would extend the great conversations that happen around Aarhus Photobook Week throughout the year. If anyone is interested in attending, or has any ideas/locations etc. to share, please get in touch with Moritz.
Elsewhere, on Wednesday 22nd I will be presenting the Photobook Club’s Box of Books at an exciting conference called ‘Books and the City‘ in Maastricht. Along with a discussion of the box and intent, I will highlight the fantastic variety of events and outcomes of Photobook Club communities all over the world. It is only a brief paper but will be a good way to begin a more thorough survey of the Photobook Club, its organisers, attendees, conversations and locations.
Really looking forward to some time in Barcelona next week. I will be heading over to launch Code-X; Paper, Pixel, Screen and Ink with the bookRoom (UCA Farnham) at Arts Libris. The book brings together some great voices who are playing with, responding to, and generally trying to make sense of the sometimes chaotic changes the codex is going through. The chapter I contributed is titled ‘The Photobook Club; a pragmatic response to hierarchical conversations and the photobook as capital‘ and is available in the book (of course) and soon online.
Over 2 million folks reached via the #WorldPhotobookDay tag on Twitter and Instagram is pretty awesome, but this report from Gabriela Cendoya (who has a great blog, here), a collector from Spain is so fantastic to hear about. One of the goals for this year’s event was to engage with non-photobook lovers and here Gabriela has certainly done that…
This year’s photo book day has been special. For the second time, it was an open house day, for all the people to come and enjoy the books.
Two friends came in the morning, wanting to see some books, planning to publish a book themselves, and looking for ideas and cool tips. It was nice seeing them and talking about their project, as they seemed to enjoy lots of books. One of them is a teacher, and we agreed that she would come back with some of her students to see some books and discuss about them. I think it is a great idea, and I really can’t wait to see it happen.
What happened in the afternoon was even greater for me. I live in a rather small town, a fishermen town. That doesn’t mean there is not much cultural life around, there is a nice public library and some interesting art galleries. But not much on photobooks, despite the fact that we are near Donostia, where we have a Photobook Club, and a very nice photo book shop…
Well, I invited some neighbors to come and see my house and books, explaining it was a day to celebrate. None of them knew exactly what was what we usually call a photobook. Some brought nice books with old pictures of Donostia, and other beautiful places, wondering if that was all right…And of course, it was! But then I showed them some of Julión Barón books, and well, that was something else! Rinko Kawauchi was somehow easier to love, and Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Places a very good start for a very nice and rich conversation. Nami, by Syoin Kajii, was a beautiful way to feel in communion with each others.
In the end, it was a wonderful day, for me at last, and I hope, for all the people who came. Photobooks are a world within themselves, a world to share with everybody. Thanks, and see you next year!
Rikard Osterlund and Tracey Affleck have just launched the Photobook Club Rocherster with an opening night on October 15th at INTRA. The event is free but sign up required here. More information from Rikard below…
Come along to an informal evening all about photo books. This is the first of what we are hoping will become a monthly get-together where you might be inspired by something you haven’t seen before.
To kick things off we will talk about ‘The Americans’, Robert Frank’s groundbreaking book from 1958. You are welcome to BYOP (Bring Your Own Photobook – bought or made) for everyone to look at and chat about. Anyone with an interest in the photobook format is welcome.
Date: Thursday 15th October
Time: 20.00-22.00 (turn up a bit earlier)
Location: INTRA, 337 – 341 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1DA
Hashtag away on social media #PhotoBC #RochesterPBC
We have been wanting to do this for a long time and can’t wait to get a group of likeminded people together.
Rikard Österlund is a freelance photographer with an irrational love for photobooks, with many years experience as a photography lecturer at UCA and London College of Fashion.
Tracy Affleck is a photographer/artist and educational facilitator who works primarily with found photographs.
I spent the first weekend of the month running a Photobook workshop in Casablanca, Morocco funded by Coventry University’s DMLL and with a great group of students. Some of these participants were photographers, some had studied at art schools, some were passionate amateurs but all were super engaged and I learned a lot…
Images by Daniel Donnelly
The desire to make is great
– while there is some critique of a maker culture which undervalues curation and debate in favour of production, it was clear that the transition from screen to paper and images into book brought about genuine excitement.
Sometimes sharing is separating
– Daniel Donnelly (with whom I ran the workshop) and I were keen to involve an online and social element to the project – to tweet particular moments, Facebook particular questions etc – a way to engage with communities beyond the room. It was apparent though that this took away from the intense experience of the session, removed participants and their attention – it was instead used as refference and record for the ‘real life’ experience. We didn’t push it, and I now notice how these spaces have become a great repository – extending the project longitudinally.
Competition isn’t healthy
– competition pushes us, it is a useful element of the learning process – I call bullshit – it was so refreshing to see people truly pleased for one another and their works. I want to find out how to inject some of this into an education system that constantly seeks to place people in competition – either by age, institution, or through high fees and low employment options.
These were exciting books
– it is hard to say without appearing patronising, getting giddy over the exotic or promoting the location-based photobook mining we have seen over the last ten years BUT these were exciting books. Techniques and structures were used without knowledge of their reference to previous works – they were used as they were appropriate. Images were treated as possibilities in the book and the book was treated as a possibility for the images.
These folks would love some books
– it isn’t easy to come by photobooks in Casablanca, in fact it is almost impossible, yet their is a community hungry to see new works and old. I have been sending books to Morocco for some time, and will continue to do so, but maybe think about the next time you send out X% of your edition to reviewers and collectors – send some to a library, community or school – it will likely be far more useful.