6 years too late, and still not here… The Photobook Club publication

I have, since the first Photobook Club event, thought about how a short publication with the key principles of the project and voices from different communities around the world would be helpful. Not a guide as such but something solid, the product of the many communities which could serve as record of what we have, and continue to do, and how we go about it.

It’s still not here, but is approaching at least. I would love to include as many voices as possible in this (small)(lowfi) publication and so am asking for people to get in touch with some of the following…

  • General thoughts on what you would like/expect this publication to be/do
  • Short reflections on your time running or organising a Photobook Club
  • Images of events – particularly the more informal images
  • Particularly lively events you have been to, or conversations you remember
  • Practical advice on what has, and has not, worked for you

The publication will be in a single, multi-lingual edition so will also be looking for some help with translation. It’ll be run off on my local laserjet and ‘designed’ by me in order to keep things in the spirit of the PBC — a little disorganised and rarely polished but vibrant, critical and purposeful. This said, if anyone has particular thoughts about design and production please get in touch.

The publication will of course be free.
Email matt@photobookclub.org

The Photobook Club Rochester ( #RochesterPBC )

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.

The organisers:

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.

The Photobook Club Barcelona

News from one of the longest running Photobook Club branches via Markus Furgber…

Today we had the 12th meeting at Photobookclub Barcelona. It was the last one organized by Jon Uriarte. Thank you very much, Jon. We had a lot of fun at the 12 meetings and will have still more in the upcoming ones. Now Paco Navamuel, Carlos Pericás, Lea Tyrallová and Oscar Ciutat will be the people in charge of organizing future meetings.

Image Markus Furgber
Image Markus Furgber

They already outlined some very interesting ideas. The first one will take place February, 11. Now you can follow PCB’s activities on this website, where you can find all the books we have been talking about:http://photobookclubbarcelona.com/ Some photos of todays meeting are also available: https://picasaweb.google.com/105114524699511417613/PBC12#

Best regards, Markus

The Photobook Club and Generative Pedagogy

I am very pleased to have been working with the great folks at the ‘Hybrid Pedagogy Journal‘ recently on a piece I have written about the Photobook Club and it’s holistic approach to hybridity. My hope is that this piece solidifies some of the disparate themes I have talked about in presentations over the last few years and poses some questions for other people.

Whenever I speak of the Photobook Club project I am acutely aware that I speak, in part, on behalf of an entire community and so I would really love to hear any thoughts from those of you who run Photobook Clubs or attend them – whether you think the piece is fair to your awesome work.

The piece can be found in full right here.

– Matt

The PBC presented at the European League of Institutes of the Arts (VIDEO)

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.

Matt Johnston presents The Photobook Club at ELIA Confeence from Photobook Club on Vimeo.

More on ELIA – elia-artschools.org/


The Photobook Club Dunnedin launches!

News from Neil Satori who is setting up a Photobook Club branch in Dunnedin, NZ:

Welcome to the PHOTO BOOK CLUB Dunedin!

The PHOTO BOOK CLUB Dunedin has been initiated by Neil Satori of Neil Satori Brand, film photographer and photography based events who has just recently taken up residence in Dunedin.

If you are a photographer interested in the photo book format this is the forum to meet, exchange idea’s and opportunities. Dates and venue for our first meet will be posted soon, come along and bring a photo book to share. Each meet includes a presentation or video of interesting and/or successful photographers New Zealand and international photographers. First up is the photography and life of William Klein, an American photographer now resident in Paris known for his innovative fashion images using telephoto.

With online publishing and the advent of high quality and affordable publishing as a result, the photo book has changed dramatically from how we knew it way back then, the scope, size, content and the merging of design and photography has opened up a new world for the photographer, film or digital, old school or contemporary.

Friend the PHOTO BOOK CLUB Dunedin or Neil Satori Brand on Facebook and we’ll keep you posted on articles, photographers and events of interest.

Please feel welcome to forward news of the establishment of the PHOTO BOOK CLUB Dunedin to friends and contacts.

Coming up in 2014 … the PHOTO BOOK CLUB Dunedin International Photography Workshop, details soon!

A report from the Photobook Club Amsterdam

I was very fortunate to be invited by the organizers of the Photobook Club AmsterdamShirley Agudo and Taco Hidde Bakker to attend their second meetup last month. Already there is a great deal of interest in this branch but it was great to see the group meet in an intimate studio space courtesy of Rein Jelle Terpstra which allowed a very relaxed and fluid event to take place.

I had been invited to present a book on the day and had decided to present John Gossage’s ‘The Pond‘, in part because it is symptomatic of some of the reasons I founded the Photobook Club, and in part as I am always curious to see how the book is received. The discussion went in directions I never would have anticipated from the layout and design to the sequencing, title, cult status and a whole bunch more.

Interestingly I presented the book in a questioning and critical manner but found that when others also leveled any criticism at it, I found I became defensive about it and perhaps had a truer understanding of my own reading of this book. One thing that was decided on the night is that my copy of the book should be left in the hands of Taco Hidde Bakker who was keen to deconstruct the pages and collaborate in a re-editing and re-versioning of this classic (so keep a look out for this).

After my warm up act it was a privilege to have Hans Gremmen present to talk about his role as designer on Rinko Kawauchi’s latest Aperture book ‘Ametsuchi‘. Having this unique perspective reminded me of the very first Photobook Club event in London where Maxwell Anderson introduced me to a world of design choices in Kenji Hirosawa’s ‘Celebrity‘ that I had previously given little thought to. I think it fair to say that all who attended took a great deal from Hans’ candid take on the design process and having a variety of dummies from different stages of the project enabled us to better understand the process involved in designing a photobook as well as the relationships between photographers, designers and publishers.

It is a huge testament to the Photobook Club Amsterdam that despite the event starting at a very reasonable 7.45pm, I only just made the last tram back to town after midnight and took a whole bunch of questions and thoughts back with me. A huge thanks for the invite go to Shirley and Taco.


PBC Paris – a report

Thanks to Pablo Porlan of the Photobook Club Paris for sending through the following:


Here you can have a look to the chronicles (in French) from the third reunion of Le Paris Photobook Club. The theme for this 3rd meet up was “China” and our guest participant was Pierre Bessard; a photographer and editor.
For a full reading and if you want to see some pictures: http://parisphotobookclub.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/chronique-du-pbc-3-chine/

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 photobookclubvalencia@gmail.com 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 photobookclubvalencia@gmail.com para informar de qué libro se va a llevar.