Crowdfunding is a fantastic opportunity for photographers and other creatives to sidestep traditional barriers of entry to the production and publication of work. It also offers the chance to target and reward niche groups and communities for work that would otherwise not be supported by the ‘mainstream’.
Unfortunately for photobook enthusiasts and potential funders, the crowdfunding platforms are generally geared towards the project and content than the form of the artifact; that is that we cannot see the print or design quality, cannot feel the weight or sniff the pages (always surprised how many people do this, and if you don’t – try it!).
This isn’t so much of a problem when the funding goes towards both the production of content AND artifact as we are very much aware that funds make the project happen in the first place, they bring it to life.
However, when money is being raised after-the-fact and images exist elsewhere, in some form, it is a harder task to get funding for a physical object which is only described or shown as a preliminary sketch.
This is why book dummies are so important, and ensuring these dummies can be seen and touched, I hope, will become more common. I only raise this post as today I was notified that Bruno Quinquet’s excellent ‘Salaryman’ series has just been launched as a crowdfunded book project here. As well as a snappy video and detailed guide to both editions, the dummy copy was available to see recently at the photobookshow in London. Seeing this has alleviated any potential worries over shoddy craftsmanship or print quality (which can vary wildly in self published titles).
And so I wonder whether more can be done here. There is already Bonifacio Hijosa’s promising ‘Gloves for Dummies‘ and of course the Fotofestival’s ‘Dummy Awards’, but why not more? Perhaps photographers can team up with bookstores or galleries to hold a copy of their dummy in a small section of the store; the visitors likely appreciate the physical artifact and would enjoy casting an eye over the dummy before going online to conveniently fund it. On that note, dummy’s could be sent to various Photobook Club meetups and other live events, accompanied by the author for direct feedback or introduction?
However these books get seen, I believe it is vital that they are seen and held, not simply to avoid potential disappointment but to generate a community interested and excited about the book and it’s physical properties; after-all these people are parting with money for something they can likely see on screen, for free.
If you would like to send a dummy to be shown at a Photobook Club meetup, send an email to me here or pop in the post:
10 Granby Ave