World Photobook Day in Coventry

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

Ellen Terry Building
Coventry University
6pm – 8pm then pub


#PhotoBookDay in Coventry

Just a brief post to say thanks to all who made #PhotoBookDay a huge success across the world with more events, discounts and musings than last year. Plus a shout out to all who came to the event in Coventry last night held at the Big Comfy Bookshop. It was a great event and atmosphere that gave rise to some interesting conversations.

Among the books brought along were a selection from the Natural Collection and the Box of Books MKI which has arrived back in the UK after a 16 month round the world trip.

Some images below taken by Stephan Ma

#PhotoBookDay in Coventry
#PhotoBookDay in Coventry

World #PhotoBookDay in Coventry

To celebrate Photobook Day here in Coventry we will be hosted by the newly opened ‘Big Comfy Bookshop‘ at Fargo Village which ticks all sorts of boxes for a great meeting place – beer, coffee, cakes, books and sofas!

A suggestion from Lucy Bartlett will see members bringing books from as many different countries as possible and at the same time we will be having the homecoming of the ‘Box of Books’ which has just returned from it’s around-the-world journey.

If you are interested in attending this event on October 14th please email me – 


Tuesday 14th October
Big Comfy Bookshop
Fargo Village
Far Gosford Street
6pm – 8pm


Photobook Club Coventry

It has been too long since I have run a Photobook Club session at the University in Coventry, last nights success enforced that thought. Books were spilling over as students from all three years got together to discuss books from the library, the new ‘box of dummies’ and their own recent productions. My thanks to Chris Trafford for documenting the evening…

The Coventry Photobook Club
Kawauchi’s ‘Ametsuchi’
Recent book productions by Kate Green and Gabby Fulton
The Box of Dummies

Ruscha Rediscovered, an evening with Ed at the PBC Coventry…

…well perhaps not rediscovered, when I took a lecturing post at Coventry University I knew from my student days that their special collection housed a 2nd edition ‘Twentysix Gasoline Stations‘, but I had no idea what other treasures I would find…

In no small part thanks to the Brouws, Burtonn, Zscheigner book as well as the Artist’s Books Cooperative’s ‘ABCED‘ I have been thinking about Ruscha a lot recently and was keen to hold an event with a selection of his books and some chatter with the PBC Coventry. With the support of the University library I have been able to scour the entire collection for nuggets of Ruscha on the shelves, folio cabinets and behind lock and key, the result was surprising: Not only is there a copy of ‘Twentysix‘ but also one of the rarest books Ruscha has authored (due to a warehouse error!) in ‘Dutch Details‘ alongside ‘Thirtyfour Parking Lots‘, ‘Every Building on the Sunset Strip‘, ‘Crackers‘, ‘Royal Road Test‘, ‘Some Los Angeles Apartments‘, ‘Real Estate Opportunities‘, ‘Nine Swimming Pools‘ and more!

This event takes place tonight and with the nature of the books is for now, a student and alumni event only but I will be working to expand engagement with these books over the next few months and would be very interested to hear if anyone would be keen to see these books, or even have them visit their gallery or institution. If so, just shout me on email –

A report and images will follow tonight’s meeting.

– Matt


The #Picbod Exhibition

264 posts, this is only the second mentioning anything other than photobooks*, but it is something that I am very keen to share. For a while now I have been lecturing at Coventry University on the photography degree and just this term have been running an open class called #picbod (Picturing the Body) which looks to question our representations of the body as well as develop the students artisanal skills as photographers and producers.

The #Picbod Wall at Coventry School of Art and Design

The class is unique in that alongside the 30 students who attend classes with me in Coventry, there are a further 160 who take part remotely, from around the globe through a Google + Community. For the first five weeks all students had small tasks (The Self Portrait, The Tribe, Nude and Naked, Negotiation and The Empowered Portrait) which they would share with one another and be able to receive feedback and discussion outside class times.

©Melissa Santos

Now, students are working on their final submissions which will be exhibited at a venue in Coventry on the 8th and 9th of March (All of this organized solely by the students). They will also be exhibiting digital artifacts online which will be linked by the G+ Community so if you cannot get to the exhibition, this may be an interesting place to go.

If you are keen to see the tasks I have set the students as well as lecture notes and their responses, head to the G+ Community.
(All lectures and lecture notes are available for you to use and reuse how you see fit but I would ask that you let me know if you are planning to do this)

If you are interested in attending the exhibition in Coventry, UK, or just want to show support, head to the event page in facebook.

*Actually, a heap of students are making handmade books for their submission so perhaps this is about photobooks after-all.

©Kate Green



The Photobook Club’s ‘Box of Books’ Launched in Coventry

Last night I launched the Photobook Club’s ‘Box of Books’ at a special event with the Photobook Club Coventry. The books were all really well received and prompted some great discussions. While these meetups remain as offline, generative experiences I thought I would share a few of the discussions around particular books for other branches to pick up…

We discussed (among other things):

  • Whether the books was the right medium for Paul Graham’s ‘The Present’. I argued for but many who were seeing it for the first time argued against.
  • What exactly is the other language in Marten Lange’s ‘Another Language’, and does it ultimately matter or change our reading of the work?
  • How the text accompanying Filipe Casaca’s ‘Blue Mud Swamp’ works with the images. Whether the beauty of the physical book is a comparison with the city in the text before we head into the apocalyptic content.
  • The connection between Granddaughter and Grandmother in ‘Mrs Merryman’s Collection’, in general we wanted to know much more about the original collection and the taste of Mrs Merryman.
  • Who is being trapped in Ron Jude’s ‘Lick Creek Line’?
  • How the photographers presence may or may not have altered suspects and interrogators behavior in Donal Webber’s ‘Interrogations’. We hoped but doubted that the photographer may be of some comfort to the suspects!

On a personal note I found that with books I own and have already formed opinions on, it was much harder to take a step back and take on board some fantastic alternative readings from members.

You can see more images of the event on the ‘Box of Books’ Facebook page found here.

Next stop: Ireland


The Photobook Club’s ‘Box of Books’ Launches Tuesday 29th

The Photobook Club’s ‘Box of Books‘ will begin it’s 30,000 mile journey around the world on Tuesday night next week in Coventry. Following this the book will be sent to other branches of the Photobook Club based all over the world, each group just paying for the postage of the box to get to them.

I will produce a video on the Tuesday as I pack up the box detailing what is inside and it’s next few stops but if you want to know more then check out the following links:

The ‘Box of Books’ on Facebook
What’s in the box?
Where is the box going?

The event will be held in Whitefriars pub, Coventry at 6.00pm and all are welcome to attend. As I am currently teaching the open class #picbod which deals with the photographic representation of the body, I shall also be inviting folk to bring along a book that ties to this theme, although we will focus on the books in the box.

Hope to see any that can make it on Tuesday night. If you require any more details, do send me a message.




A Winter Meetup in Coventry

Next Monday I will be hosting a winter-themed meetup at the Photobook Club Coventry with students from the Photography BA course. There will be Christmas sweaters and tenuously linked winter photobooks alongside some drinks and discussion – should be a good’n…

This event is for the students but I will be running more next year that will be open to anyone in the area so pop me an email if you would like to attend.

PBC Coventry

– Matt


#fromthelibrary 3 – Paul Graham on the shelves at CU_Photography

Students from Coventry University will be visiting the Paul Graham exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London next week. And so it seemed appropriate to add a bonus #fromthelibrary – highlighting the Paul Graham books on the shelf in the library.

It was great to find rare, original copies of Graham’s earlier books – ‘A1 The Great North Road’, ‘Beyond Caring’ and ‘Troubled Land’, along with ‘New Europe’, and the Phaidon ‘Contemporary Artists monograph’ offering a look at work between 1981 – 1996.

All books are now back on the library shelves for the students to discover before our visit.

– Matt Johnston

A1 The Great North Road, 1983
Paul Graham

Lorry Driver, Beacon Services, South Mimms, Hertfordshire, May 1982 ©PAUL GRAHAM

Images Online:
Here, in Graham’s first publication, he documents both the physical landscape and people that inhabit the roadside service stations, rest-stops and motels of the Great North Road in order to ‘weave a picture of England in the 1980’s’.

Beyond Caring, 1986
Paul Graham

Horse Poster, DHSS Office, Bristol, 1984 ©PAUL GRAHAM

Images online
‘Beyond Caring’ chronicles the state of employment in 80’s Britain through images made in the waiting rooms, corridors and cubicles of the department of social security and department of employment.

Trouble Land, The social landscape of Northern Ireland, 1987
Paul Graham

Graffiti, Ballysillan Estate, Belfast, 1986 ©PAUL GRAHAM

Images Online:
Troubled Land was Graham’s last book produced in the 80’s and followed the style of the two previous publications via ‘Grey Editions’. This time examining the subtle relationship between the landscape of Northern Ireland and the ‘troubles of its society’.

New Europe, 1993
Paul Graham

Page 1, New Europe ©PAUL GRAHAM

Images Online:
‘New Europe seeks to dig beneath the utopian dream of a united continent arising to face the 21st century. Paul Graham’s photographs reflect on the inescapable shadow of history that falls over each nation’s conscience, from the dictatorships of Franco and Hitler, to the Holocaust and the Irish conflict.’ (From back cover of ‘New Europe’)

Paul Graham Contemporary Artists monograph, Phaidon Press, 1996
Paul Graham, Phaidon

Phaidon - Paul Graham 1981-1996

This book features a collection of Graham’s images, along with essays and an interview to provide a solid overview of his work up to 1996. The extensive interview with Gillian Wearing, is alone worth the read and to find a conversation with the great Lewis Baltz at the end of the book is a great treat.