Free and Signed – The Photobook: A History Vol III

If you want to skip my waffle and head straight to the competition, scroll to below the book cover!

The list has troubled me, and many others for some time. My initial reaction to the first two Parr/Badger books were to shun them; they made access to many influential photobooks incredibly difficult. I have had the same knee-jerk response to the end of year lists we are all familiar with yet I still chose to produce a version myself. Some of my pain from those early books has subsided with a good number of works being reprinted and available for very reasonable prices yet there still remains an uneasiness with the effect these lists can have on the market. This is inevitable and is the same in many industries – restaurants have the Michelin guide, literature has the Pulitzer and cinema has the Oscars (the latter two examples dealing mostly however with reproducible content online the finite resources of a restaurant or editioned photobook), all we must do is take it with a pinch of salt.

The Oscars might encourage us to view a film but rarely will we be persuaded only by an award with no initial desire to engage with the work. Likewise with the new Parr/Badger book those of us who fall outside the die-hard monetary collector or prospector spectrum can see it as a personal reference, an individualistic guide and ultimately a perspective. There is no doubt however that this is an important book for the photobook community at large – for some it will be confirmation of choices, for artists it might be recognition of work produced and for many others it will act as a well produced and coherent guide through some fantastic photobooks produced right up until 2013.

I am grateful to the kind folks at Phaidon who are offering a new and signed copy of The Photobok: A History Vol III to a competition winner! The book will be posted following an event with Martin Parr, Gerry Badger and David Campany at Foyles bookshop, Charring Cross on April 9th. 

Just fill out the form below and a random name will be selected on 28th March (Deadline for responses 12 noon GMT on 28th) – this individual will be contacted for a postal address and then the book will head on to you!

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The Natural Collection – Website and Event

The Natural Collection call only went up around 2 weeks ago but already the books that have arrived are in demand and will be travelling with me to a book club event at the University of Hertfordshire. Students there are currently undertaking a book module and a project centred around nature so it seems a perfect fit! All the books that have arrived before I leave on Tuesday 18th will come along for the ride and I will make sure I get some pictures to be posted here soon…

In the meantime, consider checking out the website in it’s infancy…

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Scopio Photobook Contest + Riga Workshop

The folks at Scopio have initiated a photobook contest with a theme that both sets a guide and gives freedom for exploration and perhaps destruction. You can find all the relevant details by clicking on the image below.

In other news there is a great workshop in Riga as part of Riga Photomonth – it is an artist’s book workshop and is run over 5 days, led by photobook designer Nico Baumgarten. A similar workshop was run last year, you can check out some of the results here. You can find all the details by hiting the image or see the direct message from the ISSP below it…

SSP and Riga Photomonth 2014 invite applications to ARTIST’S BOOK WORKSHOP with photographer and bookmaker Nico Baumgarten (DE)! The workshop will take place on 3-7 May 2014 as part of Riga Photomonth programme.

This time, we invite photographers as well as illustrators, graphic artists and other creatives with projects ready for presentation in form of a book to apply!
The dummies produced during the workshop shall be featured as part of SELF PUBLISH RIGA exhibition in May 2013.

Nico has lead a bookmaking workshop in Riga last spring and proved to be an amazing teacher. The results can be seen here:

The workshop will host 12 participants, selected based on applications.  Application deadline: 1 April.

The workshop is supported by Riga 2014, State Culture Capital foundation, Goethe Institut in Riga, AS Antalis and Hewlett-Packard. Information support: FK Magazine, FOLD, kim? Contemporary Arts Centre, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art.

More information and applications:

NB! We’d like to remind that your existing dummies and self-published trial editions (up to 50 copies) can be submitted to SELF PUBLISH RIGA contest and exhibition till 20 April! Info -

Should you have any questions, please write to or

Yours with spring greetings,


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The Box of Books in new Zealand

An update from Anita Totha of the Photobook Club Auckland of the Box of Books visit to New Zealand…

The Photobook Club’s “Box of Books arrived in Auckland from Toowoomba AUS in late February. Photobook Club Auckland held its meeting in conjunction with the Tangent photo collective and brought together 20 photo book lovers. We thoroughly went through the box and all of its mementos and zines included from other clubs around the world. A crowd favorite photo book was Mrs Merryman’s Collection by Anne Sophie Merryman (Mack Books). We shared some other new titles too and had some great overall conversation around photo books and publishing in NZ. The box will be off soon to our friends in Victoria, Canada…


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The PBC Belfast and Herts

Next Thursday the Photobook Club Belfast hosted by Belfast Exposed will have an evening meetup with guests Paddy Kelly and Peter Marley, for more info head over to the event page here.

Photobook Club Belfast

And on the 18th March I will be headed to my home county for a meetup with the students at the University of Hertfordshire –  this will also be my first opportunity to bring the early stages of The Natural Collection. If you are interested in attending then please shout!

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The Natural Collection

There are some fantastic photobook collections the world over – collections that focus on indie or handmade books, collections that are driven by rarity and monetary value, collections based on location and many based on specific events or happenings. The Photobook Club has never been and never had a collection, occasionally kind folks have sent books through to me and I have sought wherever possible to take them with me to Photobook Club events and talks but no more.

Paul Gaffney – We Make the Path by Walking

Now, I find more and more I have been asked to bring collections of books to events, Universities and so on – I respond by bringing my own collection but it is a young and sparse collection lacking curation and coherence. At the same time I have been thinking a great deal recently about a thematic collection, a collection that, while not seeking to be exhaustive, does seek to provide both broad and deep reading. A collection that can be visited in my home, a collection that will be viewable online and a collection that can travel in whole, or in parts, to different locations.

Lucas Foglia – A Natural Order

I figured such a theme would need to be narrow enough that it could near a completion of sorts but in reality this will never happen. I have chosen instead to openly begin a collection with a broad headline, which can then be shaped both by works submitted and interest in it’s contents. The theme chosen I believe speaks not only about photography and it’s history but also relates to the indie photobook movement, the interest in the generative artefact and a quest for a less hectic way of life.

The Natural Collection
- Photobooks, zines and papers that explore our relationship with nature and the natural landscape.

As mentioned above, this is broad, but will be shaped in time. As a set of books to offer a well known guide, I would consider the likes of John Gossage’s ‘The Pond‘, Lucas Foglia’s ‘A Natural Order‘, Ricardo Cases ‘Palomo al Aire‘, Ron Jude’s ‘Lick Creek line‘ and Oscar Tuazon’s ‘Leave me be‘.

The call

I would be grateful to anyone, established or otherwise (incl publishers) who would be willing to send works through to the collection, these works will be featured on the Photobook Club website, will be taken to various book club events and will be open to anyone willing to pop by for a cupa! The condition of the works is not of paramount importance so any misprints at publishing would be welcomed with open arms!

The Natural Collection
The Photobook Club
10 Granby Avenue



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Self Publish Riga Launches!

I am chuffed to be a part of this awesome celebration of printed photobookworks that will take place in Riga, latvia this May. ‘Self Publish Riga’ is part of Riga Photomonth 2014 and will be a really vibrant event running from 3rd – 11th May. Alongside a lineup of speakers and workshops there is an opportunity to submit a dummy to their competition in which first prize will be a free ISSP workshop! All the details for now can be found below so check it out and head over to the website for more info. 

Note: coming soon on the PBC will be a wee conversation about the dummy and it’s new found fame/recognition.

Dear friends and photobook lovers!

ISSP in cooperation with Riga Photo Month 2014 invite submissions for the SELF PUBLISH RIGA international book dummy and self-published photobook contest.

The contest welcomes all projects realized within the medium of photography and presented in the form of a self-published book or book dummy. 
Submission deadline: 20 April (delivery date!). Submissions are free of charge. 


More information:  



The Jury: All entries to the contest will be judged by an international jury:

Markus Schaden (founder, Schaden publishing house, DE)
Teun van der Heijden (photobook designer, NL)
Ania Nalecka (photo book designer, PL)
Matt Johnston (founder of the Photobook Club, UK)
Juris Petraškēvics (professor, Art Academy of Latvia)
Nico Baumgarten (photographer and bookmaker, DE).

Awards and Exposure: The shortlisted books will take part in the SELF PUBLISH RIGA exhibition in May 2014. The winner of the contest will attend an ISSP 2014 workshop of their choice free of charge. The three best entries will receive individual porfolio reviews with the Jury members. Top ten books will receive a special feature promoted by the event partners.

We invite all book lovers and printed edition enthusiasts to take part! 

Please forward the information about this opportunity to your friends and colleagues! 

NB! For international partners with existing photobook collections! Apart from the dummy contest selection, the SELF PUBLISH RIGA exhibition, taking place as part of Riga Photo Month opening week on 9-11 May 2014, will also feature several existing collections from international partners- including Swedish Photo Book Prize winners, Polish Photographic Publication of the Year 2013, the UK Photobook Club collection, and a selection of publications made in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. 
We welcome other quality collections in Riga as part of the event – if you have a collection to feature, please contact us at

SELF PUBLISH RIGA is organised within Riga Photo Month 2014 and the Riga 2014 EU Culture Capital programme. Thanks to our partners and supporters: The Photobook Club (UK), Archivo (PT), Association of Swedish Professional Photographers, Lugemik (EE), FK Magazine, FOLD, KIM?, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Goethe Institut Riga, British Council Latvia, Polish Embassy in Riga, State Culture Capital Foundation.

With best greetings,


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Belfast, Dublin and Malaga

Have just returned from a 4 day stay in Dublin with a cohort of students from Coventry and was blown away by all of the awesome things happening around the photobook and photography in Dublin and during our visit to Belfast…

I wanted to say a huge thanks to all at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin who made us feel most welcome and introduced us to the Photo Album of Ireland project, something which brought up some interesting discussions about curation, narrative, context and the changing face of the digital album. Big thanks to Tanya, Darragh, Trish and Maeve for their time.

From here we went to The Library Project, only 200 meters from the gallery in the Temple Bar area. The project is half shop, half library, all awesome. We spent a great deal of time pouring over the various books for sale and those that had been kindly donated for people to see and touch and engage with. This I suppose was the most refreshing aspect of the project – the library space was most welcoming and with a sofa and table meant that you could research and reflect for hours without feeling obtrusive. Thanks go to Sinead and Ángel for speaking about the project and for their hospitality.

A coach to Belfast Exposed for the day seemed a fair piece but was well worth it as we were privileged to hear Ciara speak about the Tom Wood exhibition as well as to introduce the students to the history of the gallery and it’s important voice in photography. As it happened, on the same day, Anthony Luvera, a previous BX resident was speaking to second year students at Coventry University. Hannah had kindly allowed the 28 or so students the opportunity to also take part in a great 30 minute book making workshop run by Lewis Rankin – the results were pretty staggering considering the purposefully imposed restrictions in material, time and resource – a workshop we will look to experiment further with in Coventry.

Aside from the above there was time to fit in a few beers with Paul Geraghty who is doing interesting things with the picturk platform and on the last day a chat with Agata Stoinska and Karolina Schlagner from Blow magazine who have a whole bunch of interesting things line up and passion to go with it.

Malaga news from Jose Gallardo!

We have created a photobook club south of Andalusia in the town of Malaga, finally we have called “Photobook club Malaga”, we are still organizing site for meeting,  although we already have had some meetings. Our philosophy is to create a space dedicated to the study and dissemination photography book in our city Málaga, our link in Facebook is found here.

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