In June of 2013 I was invited to present the Photobook Club at the ELIA ‘Preparing the Artist of Tomorrow’ conference held in Utrecht and Amsterdam. I spoke about the projects birth, how it has enhanced my students learning and how, through the removal of my own authorship, the project has taken off all over the world.
I mentioned briefly when it was launched that I have been working with a talented Midwest photographer Nathan Pearce to bring his story and vision of the Midwest to more people in the form of a beautiful photobook.
It was not lightly that I took on this project and there have been a number before and since that have simply not been a good fit but I am very interested to hear from anyone who may be interested in working alongside me on book projects or photography or any other medium provided it provokes memory or emotion.
This is the last in the current series of conversations based on the future of photographic publishing that I dubbed ‘Dr Strangepub‘. If there are people you think should be part of these conversations (and I already have an extensive list), then let me know.
When I introduced the ‘Dr Strangepub’ project a few weeks back which features a series of conversations about the future of photographic publishing, I mentioned I would highlight those conversations over the coming weeks. This time it is the turn of Andreas Schmidt, who has been described as someone who ‘takes the concept of the book and shakes it like a rag doll…until its head comes off.’
Here, Schmidt talks about the rise of print on demand technology and what it has enabled a generation of artists to do as well as the role of the performance in photobook publishing.
The Photobook Club San Sebastian’s inaugural event was a huge success with a great turnout and fantastic selection of photobooks, new and old. Big shout to organizer Yosigo Yosigo who also put together this wee trailer/teaser from the event and also documented each of the books brought along (which you can see below).
This talk I gave at the Open Education conference in Vancouver (2012) tells the story of The Photobook Club in particular focusing on the importance of accessibility, discourse and experience. I hope you might enjoy it and share it.
This really should not have taken as long as it has, and for that my apologies. I often stress that accessibility is of paramount importance to me and The Photobook Club so was well aware that in publishing the Invisible City iBook I was both improving access to content for some but excluding a large audience also.
This publication takes on a magazine-style format, inside of which you will find not only the images and text featured in Invisible City, but a variety of personal reflections, commentary on the process of creating Invisible City from Ken Schles and even original notes from a lecture given at New York’s International Center of Photography in 1990.
If you have an iPad, you can download the publication free from the link given below via the iBook store.
The complete forward featured in the publication alongside screenshots is featured below this introductory video.
Forward I set up the Photobook Club in 2010 as a response to both my own fascination and frustration with photobooks. My fascination was born and nurtured as a student spending thousands of hours in the University library choosing books at random by the colour of their spine, or based on recommendations from my peers and tutors. My frustration was a little harder to pinpoint but essentially stemmed from my wanting to learn more about the classic photobooks, those revered and often rare books that held a sense of mystery between their two covers; everyone agreed they were classics but there was little discussion of why.
At the time there was, and still is, a huge interest in photobooks, but predominantly in the new, the self published and the handmade, and so together with partner-in-crime Wayne Ford, I decided to open out my thoughts and learning to a wider community – just as a traditional book club. As well as promoting and facilitating this shared experience online, I was keen to encourage the generative experience the photobook offers us both in spending time with a beautifully crafted artifact, and in sharing thoughts (as well as books) in person.
I certainly hope that (depending on your knowledge of Invisible City), this publication will either introduce you to, or help create a greater understanding of a hugely influential modern photobook. Inside you will find not only the images and text featured in Invisible City, but a variety of personal reflections, commentary on the process of creating Invisible City from Ken Schles and even original notes from a lecture given at New York’s International Center of Photography in 1990.
Regardless of your previous experience with this book, or whether you are a lecturer, photographer, student, book lover or just curious, I would really appreciate your comments via the email address below.
Finally, thanks must of course go primarily to Ken Schles, not only for allowing all to see his wonderful images but also for kindly lending me a copy of the book to work with, and for his enthusiasm towards this project. My thanks also to the contributors listed on the following page who offered their own, personal reflections on the book.