Transparency – I was sent a review copy by Kehrer Verlag
KayLynn Deveney’s ‘All You Can Lose is Your Heart’ looks at ranch-style dream homes in the American Southwest, built in the 50’s and 60’s. It is intended that the images inside, presented as a close-to-typological study is able to act as a metaphorical portrait for ‘those living inside’ that tells us about ‘a fading vision of the American Dream’. For some reason the press release seems keen to stress that this is the ‘first time these houses are the subject of a published photographic work’ – something that on its own should be nearly inconsequential.
What is a well trodden path though is the visual and verbal discourse of the American Dream and its health – it’s dead, it’s alive, it’s dead, it’s alive. It’s dead. So, important then that Deveney brings something of value to the discussion. This is certainly the case for the images presented in the book, which, despite learning more about their production in the accompanying interview with architect (and marketeer) Jean Valjean Vandruff, are still charmingly sweet. The mix of straight-cut timber with ornate, curved detailing on acutely angled roofs is only made more compelling for the pick up trucks and light-up reindeer that now block the view. Here is the strength of the work (not the book) – in plainly evidencing the augmentation or destruction of an historical ‘ideal’.
As I tend to find with almost all photobooks from more established houses, there are too many images here, and some focus is lost in the edit – it is a struggle to really feel as though we are seeing much of the occupant’s lives in these photographs. We should also ask whether we gain any insight into the wellbeing of that elusive American Dream – to an extent perhaps but greatly aided by the interview and essay at the rear of the book.
The sequence and edit of content (not only images) is my main issue with the reading – which feels somewhat cumbersome and in need of some rearranging. Using the essay and interviews as well as original marketing material and blueprint to break up sections of the photographs might simultaneously create a more sure delivery.
The box of dummies, which can be seen online here, is currently sitting around and waiting for a new destination – so if you fancy it heading your way, just drop me an email. The only thing needed, is to split the cost of shipping to your destination among members of a club or just a bunch of folk!
Looking forward to Paris next week – will be stopping by Paris Photo, Offprint, Le Photobook Fest and more. Would love to catch up with anyone else in town and also keen to see new works or just chat photobooks/projects. Pop me an email if you want to meet over coffee – firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a small chapter in a new publication looking at the book within a somewhat confusing digital (or rather post-digital) era. The piece is titled ‘The Photobook Club; a Pragmatic Response to Hierarchical Conversation and the Photobook as Capital’. The book features some great pieces from really insightful minds and positions, have a look at more info and a press release below…
A new bookRoom press publication edited by Danny Aldred and Emmanuelle Waeckerlé. With a foreword by Alessandro Ludovico and endnotes by John Warwicker.
Code X brings together a selection of personal histories of the current ‘transforming’ and ‘expanding’ of the book medium with the aim to challenge the very notion of what it could be(come) in today’s complex information era.
The design of Code—X within codex form represents a playful and daring twist of ink imitating pixel to render composition and design. The content is seen as a continuous scroll, cropped where screen meets paper edge. We celebrate both camps by highlighting dichotomies of edge to scroll, sequence to time and image to place.
Featuring essays, interviews and works by
Delphine Bedel, Simon Cutts, Sebastien Girard, Hans Gremmen, Andrew Haslam with Rose Gridneff & Alex Cooper, Alec Finlay with Ken Cockburn, Alessandro Ludovico, Silvio Lorusso, Katharine Meynell with Susan Johanknecht, Grégoire Pujade-Lauraine, AND Publishing, Colin Sackett, Jodie Silsby, Paul Soulellis, Stefan Szczelkun, John Warwicker (Tomato), Eric Watier, Maria White, Beth Williamson, David Lorente Zaragoza.
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!
Once again for World Photobook Day Bonifacio Barrio Hijosa has created some fantastic artwork which celebrates and reimagines Anna Atkins cyanotypes. Here Boni describes the process and asks anyone who downloads the zine or poster to share what they make (#PhotobookDay).
Anna Atkins’ cyanotypes are so powerful images, it seemed clear from the very first moment we should do something with them to catch the attention of anyone, to celebrate this day with us. It had to be an homage to her work.
And now it’s impossible to avoid them. So it get hader and harder to think on a poster to announce this DIY world wide event. As I was stuck with the impossibility of doing something new (well, in that moment I thought that), I started to play with the last thing I made last year. I was asked to vectorize some of the seaweed to make the poster for our local activity in the Library of Fine Arts Faculty, and I vectorized forty three seaweed. They only used a dozen or so.
I gathered them altogether and as I pass the cursor over, the outlines started sparkling. There you have this black gif.
After this childish exercise, with the outlined seaweed on the screen, it came to me the idea of putting them altogether in a way someone could cut them to, I don’t know, decorate their room. And old Burda magazines came to mind very fast. Burda is still a magazine you can buy for making your clothes through patterns. And old DIY way to dress yourself and your kids.
I was used to see them at home, as my mother was very fond of them. If you ever see the central posters spread with all those different lines shaped with circles, triangles, etc, you will understand they are an image you are not going to forget so easily.
So I had the idea, spread all these forty three seaweed outlines on a big paper and make a zine with it. It will be one for anyone to download and print it, if you are able to find the place to plot an A1. Well, that was not the problem at that moment, but to find a burda magazine to copy all these different line shapes, as my mother didn’t keep them. Finally I dismiss this possibilty (I’m still can’t understand how they drew all those lines), and concentrate on making the poster to announce the day.
I don’t know how many of you will download it and try to print it, and how many of those will be able to trace any individual seaweed and what they could do with them… still wondering, so if any of you finish yourself drowned in paper seaweed, could be nice someone make a picture of it and share it on social media 🙂
Great news from Thousandfold in Manila, Philippines who will be celebrating the anniversary of the first photobook with book launches, an inaugural photobook club meeting and a bunch more. You can find out about the event and RSVP here…
Along with the rest of the world, Thousandfold, as the first photobook library in Manila, invites you to join in celebrating The Photobook, born in 1843. October 14th marks the anniversary of the purchase by the British Museum of the first known photobook: Photographs of British algae. Cyanotype impressions, by Anna Atkins.
To celebrate World Photobook Day in Coventry we will be hosting a book club meeting at the University on 14th Oct with photobook dummies and photobook favourites. The latest ‘box of dummies’ will be in attendance and I am asking folks to bring along their favourite photobook.
The event is open to all but there will be a limit on numbers so please rsvp to email@example.com
Ellen Terry Building Coventry University 6pm – 8pm then pub
Throughout the day at MAUD CREATIVE we will present an exhibition featuring the covers of the favourite photobooks selected by photographers from all over the country. Alongside the print of the photobook cover will be a ‘Why I like this book’ statement and a portrait of the photographer reading the book in their favourite place.
To participate in this exhibition all you need to do is contribute by sending to us the following:
A photo of your favourite photobook’s cover
A photo of you reading the book in a place special to you – in bed, a comfy chair, in the backyard under a tree, at work or in a bath!! (A photobook selfie)
A few words, a paragraph (or two) maybe, as to why you like this book
You can use any technology to make the photos and any style or no-style – keep it as simple or as complex as you like.
We will print out these photos and your statement and Blu-tacked to the gallery wall for the duration of the World Photobook Day’s activities. This material may also be formed into a print-on-demand photobook as a record of the event. The book cover images may be selected for inclusion in a photobook-making project that will take place on the day. Some images and texts may be used on social media to celebrate the event.
Should you accept our invitation we will need:
Your book cover and portrait photos
JPEGS @ 300ppi, compression ‘8’
Image size around 13x18cm
The text file can be a Microsoft Word or a text file written into the email
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.