2015; a year in the photobook’s life

2015_year_in_photobooks_life_crop2015; A Year in the Photobook’s Life
A survey of photobook-specic happenings in the US and Europe.

Access the PDF here
Access the JPG here

This survey intends to visualise and in a sense, flatten, the many events, competitions and workshops that are taking place around the photobook right now. In doing so, a lineage — or at least a chronology — can be established, demonstrating a growth of interest and increasing institutional support in the medium.

It has been put together with the view that it will act as a record not just of 2015 but the new age of the photobook (golden or otherwise). is research is concerned only with photobook speci c events and only covers the US and Europe. is is not because these geographical areas can be seen as the home of the photobook – not by any means, but because this is both the focus of my broader research project, and provides an opportunity, through networks, to realistically claim con dence in correctly recording and listing the vast majority of appropriate events. e choice to begin with the year 2015 is similarly bene cial. While of course many events have run in earlier years, or are starting up in 2016, the single year provides a baseline from which to work back in establishing the aforementioned chronology and origin.

Only photobook-speci c events have been recorded — a choice which, if aiming to build a picture of the variety of spaces in which the photobook is present, would be disastrous. Here, art book fairs and non-medium-speci c zine workshops for example, have been excluded. In doing so it is hoped that clarity is improved and subjectivity removed.

Fairs and festivals are subject to a further limitation in that they must be multi-day events. Once again a choice of clarity and con dence and not a suggestion that single day events are not a part of the photobook world. Many single day events have been arrived at during this research, the transient and o en independent nature of which have on many occasions presented quite di erent ideas on what the photobook, and what a photobook event should be.

A list of thanks can be found on the right hand side of this visualisation — these are people who have contributed to this survey and without whom many omissions would have been made. ere are likely still some errors or misses so please do get in touch if you have any: A scroll of this document will be produced in Autumn of 2016 on lightweight poster paper, if you are interested in having a copy, please email the above address.

Matt Johnston


Despite a relatively strict set of criteria for the events listed here, it was inevitable that I would miss over signi cant happen- ings. In sharing beta versions of this research I was grateful to receive help from a number of contributors. My sincere thanks to Tommy Arvidson, Bonifacio Barrio Hijosa, Ana Paula Estrada, Sarah Greene, Jose Félix Liébana, Hermann Lohss, Malcolm Raggett and Hannah Watson who all got in touch to share information. If you see absences and would like to aid the building of this resource, please get in touch –


The Photobook Club London and Valencia

The Photobook Club London launched last Wednesday at Ti Pi Tin book store, this event was co-organized by Tom Wade and Sean McDonnell with the support of other members of the PBC London and Katja Chernova of Ti Pi Tin.

A summary from Tom Wade can be found below this extraction from a longer piece by Sean McDonnell and found on his blog:

Hosted at the marvellous Ti Pi Tin space in East London we were able to spend time perusing the photobooks on display and pick one, or more, off the shelf that took our fancy to discuss with everyone else. The choice is intriguingly diverse. Japanese miniatures bound by silken threads, idiosyncratic self-published pamphlets, heavyweight tomes from the major publishers all vied for my attention. – Sean McDonnell

The Photobook Club London

We kicked things off around the table, Sean and I said a few words before we dived straight into browsing the books on Katja’s shelves , spending time mixing and mingling. The chosen books were brought back to the table and the conversation was concentrated on sharing ideas and thoughts about the chosen books – from themes to the pacing, rhythm and production quality – not to mention the smells and types of binding.

The conversation and atmosphere of everyone browsing different parts of the shop was great and very loose, for example Naresh and I spoke about photography & his film background and his thoughts and views on the photobook. I found myself then in a discussion with Marco about digital photobooks and the difference between ibook & and app format. I spoke with Lewis about his opinions on photobook covers.

All in all a great night, next event will be announced soon…

– Tom Wade

PBC Valencia

Meanwhile… Another branch of the book club is launching in Spain; the Photobook Club Valencia is run by Jorge Alamar and will meet for the first time on the 1st June at an outdoor venue. More information from Jorge below or head to their Facebook page here.

The 1st session is Saturday, June 1 at noon of 12 open air, in the bed of the Turia River near the bridge of the exhibition as indicated on the map.

For this first date bring a photobook that you like to share with others and add a comment. In this way, we will start debate on the different books that arise.

To do this, only thing you need to do is send an e-mail to to let us know what book you would like to take.

La 1ª Sesión la realizaremos el sábado 1 de junio a las 12 del mediodía al aire libre, en el cauce del río Turia cerca del Puente de la Exposición tal y como se indica en el mapa.

Para esta primera cita no habrá todavía una temática concreta, es decir, cada uno podrá llevarse el libro de fotografía que más le gusta para compartirlo con los demás y comentarlo. De esta forma, podremos iniciar el debate en torno a los diferentes libros que se presenten.

Para ello, lo único que hay que hacer es enviar un e-mail a para informar de qué libro se va a llevar.



Meet-ups in New York and Barcelona

Great news for photobook lovers in New York – Helka Aleksdóttir is running a meet next weekend on Saturday 25th in Brooklyn. For more information on the event and to RSVP (as space is limited) please head over to the event page here.

Meanwhile in Barcelona….

Jon Uriarte, who does an awesome job organizing the Photo Book Club Barcelona meetings got in touch with news on a ‘gastro meeting’ held yesterday and the upcoming event with Steidl screening:

Yesterday we celebrated a special session: Photo+gastronomic+book Club at Elgoibar ( close to San Sebastián). It was gastronomic because after sharing books, we also had lunch together. We had a “photographic menu”, first a Fontcuberta Soup (it look like a chicken soup but it wasn’t…), an Elliot Erwitt black and white rice, Gregory Crewdson sorbet and a Jeff Wall cake. We had a great time, participants brought great books, such as Ortiz Echagüe’s Tipos y Trajes published in 1957.


Next Wednesday 29 at 19:30 we will have our regular meet-up in Bcn, this time there wont be a guest but instead a screening of the documentary  “How to make a book with Steidl”. So, we will be seeing the movie, talking about it and discussing about photobooks that were made by editors instead of photographers.

– Jon Uriarte

If you want to get to one of the Photo Book Club Barcelona’s regular meetings (and why wouldn’t you?) you can get in touch via their Facebook page here.


Photo Book Swap

A great idea to check out – The Photo Book Swap has popped up online and will be organizing photo book swapping events so you can trade in your books that you bought on the spur of the moment and since decided you didn’t like – it could bring someone else hours of pleasure!

What’s more, it sounds like CAKE and BEER will be available at said meetings – see you there!

– Matt